Tag Archives: Buddhist Disciple

From the most recognizable Buddhist World Leaders Respond To Violence Against Muslims In Myanmar


From the most recognizable Buddhist World Leaders:

Myanmar Buddhists Muslim

To Our Brother and Sister Buddhists in Myanmar,

As world Buddhist leaders we send our loving kindess and concern for the difficulties the people of Myanmar are faced with at this time. While it is a time of great positive change in Myanmar we are concerned about the growing ethnic violence and the targeting of Muslims in Rakhine State and the violence against Muslims and others across the country. The Burmese are a noble people, and Burmese Buddhists carry a long and profound history of upholding the Dharma.

We wish to reaffirm to the world and to support you in practicing the most fundamental Buddhist principles of non-harming, mutual respect and compassion.

These fundamental principles taught by the Buddha are at the core of Buddhist practice:

Buddhist teaching is based on the precepts of refraining from killing and causing harm.
Buddhist teaching is based on compassion and mutual care.
Buddhist teaching offers respect to all, regardless of class, caste, race or creed.

We are with you for courageously standing up for these Buddhist principles even when others would demonize or harm Muslims or other ethnic groups. It is only through mutual respect, harmony and tolerance that Myanmar can become a modern great nation benefiting all her people and a shining example to the world.

Whether you are a Sayadaw or young monk or nun, or whether you are a lay Buddhist, please, speak out, stand up, reaffirm these Buddhist truths, and support all in Myanmar with the compassion, dignity and respect offered by the Buddha.

We stand with you in the Dharma,

Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh
Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
Vietnam

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
President Buddhist Global Relief
(world’s foremost translator of the Pali Canon)
Sri Lanka/USA

Dr. AT Ariyaratne
Founder Nationwide Sarvodaya Movement
Ghandi Peace Prize Laureate
Sri Lanka

Ven. Chao Khun Raja Sumedhajahn
Elder, Ajahn Chah Monasteries
Wat Ratanavan, Thailand

Ven. Phra Paisal Visalo
Chair Buddhika Network Buddhism and Society
Thailand

Ven. Arjia Rinpoche VIII
Abbot Tibetan Mongolian Cultural Center
Mongolia/USA

Ven. Shodo Harada Roshi
Abbot Sogenji Rinzai Zen Monastery
Japan

Achariya Professor J Simmer Brown
Chairperson Buddhist Studies
Naropa Buddhist University
USA

Ven. Ajahn Amaro Mahathera
Abbot Amaravati Vihara
England

Ven. Hozan A Senauke
International Network of Engaged Buddhists
Worldwide

Younge Khachab Rinpoche VIII
Abbot Younge Drodul Ling
Canada

Ven. Sr. Thich Nu Chan Kong
President Plum Village Zen temples
France/Vietnam

Dr. Jack Kornfield Vipassana Achariya
Convener Western Buddhist Teachers Council
USA

Lama Surya Das
Dzogchen Foundation International
Vajrayana Tibet/USA

Ven. Zoketsu N. Fischer Soto Roshi
Fmr. Abbot largest Zen community in the West
USA/Japan

Tulku Sherdor Rinpoche
Director BI. Wisdom Institute
Canada

Professor Robert Tenzin C. Thurman
Center for Buddhist Studies
Columbia University
USA

HH the XIV Dalai Lama
Nobel Laureate
Tibet/India
Though not able to be reached in time to sign this letter, HH the Dalai Lama has publicly and repeatedly stated his concern about the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. He urges everyone to continue to practice non-violence and retain the religious harmony that is central to our ancient and revered culture.

Source:Huffington Post : Buddhist Leaders Respond To Violence Against Muslims In Myanmar

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/buddhist-leaders-respond-to-violence-against-muslims-in-myanmar_n_2272336.html

THE DISCOURSE OF THE TEACHING BEQUEATHED BY THE BUDDHA


THE DISCOURSE OF THE TEACHING
BEQUEATHED BY THE BUDDHA(just before His Parinibbana)

Translated into Chinese by the Indian Acarya Kumarajiva sometime prior to the year 956 Buddhist Era.[1]

I. OCCASION

WHEN LORD BUDDHA, Sage of the Sakyas, first turned the Wheel of the Dhamma, Venerable Annakondanna crossed over (the ocean of birth and death); while as a result of his last Discourse Venerable Subhadda crossed over likewise. All those who were (ready) to cross over, them he (helped) to cross over. When about to attain Final Nibbana, he was lying between the twin sala trees in the middle watch of the night. No sound disturbed the calm and silence; then, for the sake of the disciples (savaka), he spoke briefly on the essentials of Dhamma:
II. ON THE CULTIVATION OF VIRTUE IN THIS WORLD

1. Exhortation on keeping the Precepts

O bhikkhus, after my Parinibbana you should reverence and honor the Precepts of the Patimokkha. Treat them as a light which you have discovered in the dark, or as a poor man would treat a treasure found by him. You should know that they are your chief guide and there should be no difference (in your observance of them) from when I yet remained in the world. If you would maintain in purity the Precepts, you should not give yourselves over to buying, selling or barter. You should not covet fields or buildings, nor accumulate servants, attendants or animals. You should flee from all sorts of property and wealth as you would avoid a fire or a pit. You should not cut down grass or trees, neither break new soil nor plough the earth. Nor may you compound medicines, practice divination or sorcery according to the position of the stars, cast horoscopes by the waxing and waning of the moon, nor reckon days of good fortune. All these are things which are improper (for a bhikkhu).

Conduct yourselves in purity, eating only at the proper times and living your lives in purity and solitude. You should not concern yourselves with worldly affairs, nor yet circulate rumors. You should not mumble incantations, mix magic potions, nor bind yourselves in friendship to powerful persons, showing to them and the rich (special) friend-liness while treating with contempt those lacking (in worldly wealth, power and so forth). All such things are not to be done!

You should seek, with a steadfast mind, and with Right Mindfulness (samma sati), for Enlightenment. Neither conceal your faults (within), nor work wonders (without), thereby leading (yourself and) other people astray. As to the four offerings, be content with them, knowing what is sufficient. Receive them when offered but do not hoard them. This, briefly, is what is meant by observing the Precepts. These Precepts are fundamental (to a life based on Dhamma-Vinaya) and accord exactly with freedom (mokkha), and so are called the Patimokkha. By relying on them you may attain all levels of collectedness (samadhi) and likewise the knowledge of the extinction of dukkha (unsatisfactoriness). It is for this reason, bhikkhus, that you should always maintain the Precepts in purity and never break them. If you can keep these Precepts pure you possess an excellent (method for the attainment of Enlightenment), but if you do not do so, no merit of any kind will accrue to you. You ought to know for this reason that the Precepts are the chief dwelling-place of the merit which results in both body and mind (citta) being at rest.

2. Exhortation on the control of Mind and Body.

O bhikkus, if you are able already to keep within the Precepts, you must next control the five senses, not permitting the entry of the five sense desires by your unrestraint, just as a cowherd by taking and showing his stick prevents cows from entering another’s field, ripe for the harvest. In an evil-doer indulging the five senses, his five desires will not only exceed all bounds but will become uncontrollable, just as a wild horse unchecked by the bridle must soon drag the man leading it into a pit. If a man be robbed, his sorrow does not extend beyond the period of his life but the evil of that robber (sense-desires) and the depredations caused by him bring calamities extending over many lives, creating very great dukkha. You should control yourselves!

Hence, wise men control themselves and do not indulge their senses but guard them like robbers who must not be allowed freedom from restraint. If you do allow them freedom from restraint, before long you will be destroyed by Mara. The mind is the lord of the five senses and for this reason you should well control the mind. Indeed, you ought to fear indulgence of the mind’s (desires) more than poisonous snakes, savage beasts, dangerous robbers or fierce conflagrations. No simile is strong enough to illustrate (this danger). But think of a man carrying a jar of honey who, as he goes, heeds only the honey and is unaware of a deep pit (in his path)! Or think of a mad elephant unrestrained by shackles! Again, consider a monkey who after climbing into a tree, cannot, except with difficulty, be controlled! Such as these would be difficult to check; therefore hasten to control your desires and do not let them go unrestrained! Indulge the mind (with its desires) and you lose the benefit of being born a man; check it completely and there is nothing you will be unable to accomplish. That is the reason, O bhikkhus, why should strive hard to subdue your minds.

3. Exhortation on the moderate use of food.

O bhikkhus, in receiving all sorts of food and drinks, you should regard them as if taking medicine. Whether they be good or bad, do not accept or reject according to your likes and dislikes; just use them to support your bodies, thereby staying hunger and thirst. As bees while foraging among the flowers extract only the nectar, without harming their color and scent, just so, O bhikkhus, should you do (when collecting alms-food). Accept just enough of what people offer to you for the avoidance of distress. But do not ask for much and thereby spoil the goodness of their hearts, just as the wise man, having estimated the strength of his ox, does not wear out its strength by overloading.

4. Exhortation on sleeping.

O bhikkhus, by day you should practice good Dhamma and not allow yourselves to waste time. In the early evening and late at night do not cease to make an effort, while in the middle of the night you should chant the Suttas to make yourselves better informed. Do not allow yourselves to pass your lives vainly and fruitlessly on account of sleep. You should envisage the world as being consumed by a great fire and quickly determine to save yourselves from it. Do not (spend much time in) sleep! The robbers of the three afflictions forever lie in wait to kill men so that (your danger) is even greater than in a household rent by hatred. So, fearful, how can you sleep and not arouse yourselves? These afflictions are a poisonous snake asleep in your own hearts. They are like a black cobra sleeping in your room. Destroy the snake quickly with the sharp spear of keeping to Precepts! Only when that dormant snake has been driven away will you be able to rest peacefully. If you sleep, not having driven it away, you are men without shame (hiri). The clothing of shame (hiri) among all ornaments, is the very best. Shame can also be compared to an iron goad that can control all human wrong-doing; for which reason, O bhikkhus, you should always feel ashamed of unskillful actions (akusalakamma). You should not be without it even for a moment, for if you are parted from shame, all merits will be lost to you. He who has fear of blame (ottappa) has that which is good, while he who has no fear of blame (anottappa) is not different from the birds and beasts.

5. Exhortation on refraining from anger and ill will.

O bhikkhus, if there were one who came and dismembered you joint by joint, you should not hate him but rather include him in your heart (of friendliness — metta). Besides, you should guard your speech and refrain from reviling him. If you succumb to thoughts of hatred you block your own (progress in) Dhamma and lose the benefits of (accumulated) merits. Patience (khanti) is a virtue which cannot be equaled even by keeping the Precepts and (undertaking) the Austere Practices. Whosoever is able to practice patience can be truly called a great and strong man, but he who is unable to endure abuse as happily as though he were drinking ambrosia, cannot be called one attained to knowledge of Dhamma. Why is this? The harm caused by anger and resentment shatters all your goodness and so (greatly) spoils your good name that neither present nor future generations of men will wish to hear it. You should know that angry thoughts are more terrible than a great fire, so continually guard yourselves against them and do not let them gain entrance. Among the three robbers (the afflictions), none steals merit more than anger and resentment: Those householders dressed in white who have desires and practice little Dhamma, in them, having no way to control themselves, anger may still be excusable; but among those become homeless (pabbajjita) because they wish to practice Dhamma and to abandon desire, the harboring of anger and resentment is scarcely to be expected, just as one does not look for thunder or lightning from a translucent, filmy cloud.

6. Exhortation on refraining from arrogance and contempt.

O bhikkhus, rubbing your heads you should deeply consider yourselves in this way: ‘It is good that I have discarded personal adornment. I wear the russet robe of patches and carry a bowl with which to sustain life.’ When thoughts of arrogance or contempt arise, you must quickly destroy them by regarding yourselves in this way. The growth of arrogance and contempt is not proper among those wearing white and living the household life: how much less so for you, gone forth to homelessness! You should subdue your bodies, collecting food (in your bowls) for the sake of Dhamma-practice to realize Enlightenment.

7. Exhortation on flattery.

O bhikkhus, a mind inclined to flattery is incompatible with Dhamma, therefore it is right to examine and correct such a mind. You should know that flattery is nothing but deception, so that those who have entered the way of Dhamma-practice have no use for it. For this reason, be certain to examine and correct the errors of the mind, for to do so is fundamental.
III. ON THE ADVANTAGES FOR GREAT MEN GONE FORTH TO HOMELESSNESS.

1. The virtue of few wishes.

O bhikkhus, you should know that those having many desires, by reason of their desire for selfish profit, experience much dukkha. Those with few desires, neither desiring nor seeking anything, do not therefore experience such dukkha. Straight-away lessen your desires! Further, in order to obtain all kinds of merit you should practice the fewness of desires. Those who desire little do not indulge in flattery so as to away another’s mind, nor are they led by their desires. Those who practice the diminishing of desires thus achieve a mind of contentment having no cause for either grief or fear and, finding the things they receive are sufficient, never suffer from want. From this cause indeed, (comes) Nibbana. Such is the meaning of ‘having few wishes.’

2. The virtue of contentment.

O bhikkhus, if you wish to escape from all kinds of dukkha, you must see that you are contented. The virtue of contentment is the basis of abundance, happiness, peace and seclusion. Those who are contented are happy even though they have to sleep on the ground. Those who are not contented would not be so though they lived in celestial mansions. Such people feel poor even though they are rich, while those who are contented are rich even in poverty. The former are constantly led by their five desires and are greatly pitied by the contented Such is the meaning of ‘contentment’.

3. The virtue of seclusion.

O bhikkhus, seek the joy of quietness and passivity. Avoid confusion and noise and dwell alone in secluded places. Those who dwell in solitude are worshipped with reverence by Sakka and all celestials. This is why you should leave your own and other clans to live alone in quiet places, reflecting (to devdop insight) upon dukkha, its arising and its cessation. Those who rejoice in the pleasures of company must bear as well the pains of company, as when many birds flock to a great tree it may wither and collapse. Attachment to worldly things immerses one in the dukkha experienced by all men, like an old elephant bogged down in a swamp from which he cannot extricate himself. Such is the meaning of ‘secluding oneself.’

4. The virtue of energetic striving.

O bhikkhus, if you strive diligently, nothing will be difficult for you. As a little water constantly trickling can bore a hole through a rock, so must you always strive energetically. If the mind of a disciple (savaka) becomes idle and inattentive, he will resemble one who tries to make fire by friction but rests before the heat is sufficient. However much he desires fire, he cannot (make even a spark). Such is the meaning of ‘energetic striving’.

5. The virtue of attentiveness.

O bhikkhus, seek for a Noble Friend (kalyanamitta). Seek him who will best (be able to) aid you (in developing) the unexcelled and unbroken attention. If you are attentive, none of the (three) robbers, the afflictions, can enter your mind. That is why you must keep your mind in a state of constant attention, for by loss of attention you lose all merits. If your power of attention is very great, though you fall among (conditions favoring) the five robbers of sense-desire, you will not be harmed by them, just as a warrior entering a battle well covered by armor has nothing to fear. Such is the meaning of ‘unbroken attention.’

6. The virtue of collectedness (samadhi).

O bhikkhus, if you guard your mind, so guarded the mind will remain in a state of steady collectedness. If your minds are in a state of collectedness, you will be able to understand the arising and passing away of the impermanent world. For this reason you should strive constantly to practice the various stages of absorption (jhana). When one of these states of collectedness is reached, the mind no longer wanders. A disciple who practices (to attain collectedness) is just like an irrigator who properly regulates his dykes. As he guards water, even a small amount, so should you guard the water of wisdom, thereby preventing it from leaking away. Such is the meaning of ‘collectedness’.

7. The virtue of wisdom. (PRAJNA)

O bhikkhus, if you have wisdom, then do not hunger to make a display of it. Ever look within yourselves so that you do not fall into any fault. In this way you will be able to attain freedom from (the tangle of) the interior and exterior (spheres of senses and sense-objects–ayatana). If you do not accomplish this you cannot be called Dhamma practicers, nor yet are you common persons clad in white, so there will be no name to fit you! Wisdom is a firmly -bound raft which will ferry you across the ocean of birth, old age, sickness and death. Again, it is a brilliant light with which to dispel the black obscurity of ignorance. It is a good medicine for all who are ill. It is a sharp axe for cutting down the strangling fig–tree of the afflictions. That is why you should, by the hearing-, thinking- and development-wisdoms increase your benefits (from Dhamma). If you have Insight (vipassana) stemming from (development-wisdom), though your eyes are but fleshly organs you will be able to see clearly (into your own citta.) Such is the meaning of ‘wisdom’.

8. The virtue of restraint from idle talk.

O bhikkhus, if you indulge in all sorts of idle discussions then your mind will be full of chaotic thoughts, and though you have gone forth to homelessness you will be unable to attain Freedom. That is why, O bhikkhus, you should immediately cease from chaotic thoughts and idle discussions. If you want to attain the Happiness of Nibbana, you must eliminate completely the illness of idle discussion.
IV. SELF EXERTION

O bhikkhus, as regards all kinds of virtue, you should ever rid yourselves of laxity, as you would flee from a hateful robber. That Dhamma which the greatly-compassionate Lord has taught for your benefit is now concluded, but it is for you to strive diligently to practice this teaching. Whether you live in the mountains or on the great plains, whether you sojourn beneath a tree or in your own secluded dwellings, bear in mind the Dhamma you have received and let none of it be lost. You should always exert yourselves in practicing it diligently, lest you die after wasting a whole lifetime and come to regret it afterwards. I am like a good doctor who, having diagnosed the complaint, prescribes some medicine; but whether it is taken or not, does not depend on the doctor. Again, I am like a good guide who points out the best road; but if, having heard of it, (the enquirer) does not take it, the fault is not with the guide.
V. ON CLEARING UP ALL DOUBTS

O bhikkhus, if you have any doubts regarding the Four Noble Truths: of unsatis-factoriness (dukkha) and the rest, (its arising. its cessation and the Practice-path going to its cessation), you should ask about them at once. Do not harbor such doubts without seeking to resolve them.

On that occasion the Lord spoke thus three times, yet there were none who question-ed him. And why was that? Because there were none in that assembly (of bhikkhus) who harbored any doubts.

Then the venerable Anuruddha, seeing what was in the minds of those assembled, respectfully  addressed the Buddha thus: ‘Lord, the moon may grow hot and the sun may become cold, but the Four Noble Truths proclaimed by the Lord cannot be otherwise. The Truth of Dukkha taught by the Lord describes real dukkha which cannot become happiness. The accumulation of desires truly is the cause of the Arising of Dukkha; there can never be a different cause. If dukkha is destroyed (the Cessation of Dukkha), it is because the cause of dukkha has been destroyed, for if the cause is destroyed the result must also be destroyed. The Practice path going to the Cessation of Dukkha is the true path, nor can there be another. Lord, all these bhikkhus are certain and have no doubts about the Four Noble Truths.

In this assembly, those who have not yet done what should be done (i. e., attained to Enlightenment), will, on seeing the Lord attain Final Nibbana, certainly feel sorrowful. (Among them) those who have newly entered upon the Dhamma-way and who have heard what the Lord has (just said), they will all reach Enlightenment (in due course) seeing Dhamma as clearly as a flash of lightning in the dark of the night. But is there anyone who has done what should be done (being an Arahant), already having crossed over the ocean of dukkha who will think thus: “The Lord has attained Final Nibbana; why was this done so quickly?”

Although the Venerable Anuruddha had thus spoken these words, and the whole assembly had penetrated the meaning of the Four Noble Truths, still the Lord wished to strengthen all in that great assembly. With a mind of infinite compassion he spoke (again) for their benefit.

“O bhikkhus, do not feel grieved. If I were to live in the world for a whole aeon (kappa), my association with you would still come to an end, since a meeting with no parting is an impossibility. The Dhamma is now complete for each and every one, so even if I were to live longer it would be of no benefit at all. Those who were (ready) to cross over, both among the celestials and men, have all without exception attained Enlightenment, while those who have not yet completed their crossing (of the ocean of Samsara to the Further Shore or Nibbana) have already produced the necessary causes (to enable them to do so in course of time).

From now on, all my disciples must continue to practice (in this way) without ceasing, whereby the body of the Tathagata’s Dhamma will be ever lasting and indestructi-ble. But as to the world, nothing there is eternal, so that all meeting must be followed by partings. Hence, do not harbor grief, for such (impermanence) is the nature of worldly things. But do strive diligently and quickly seek for Freedom. With the light of Perfect Wisdom destroy the darkness of ignorance, for in this world is nothing strong or enduring.

Now that I am about to attain Final Nibbana, it is like being rid of a terrible sickness. This body is a thing of which we are indeed well rid, an evil thing falsely going by the name of self and sunk in the ocean of birth, disease, old age and death. Can a wise man do aught but rejoice when he is able to rid himself of it, as others might (be glad) when slaying a hateful robber?

O bhikkhus, you should always exert the mind, seeking the Way out (of the Wandering-on, or samsara). All forms in the world, without exception, whether moving or non-moving, are subject to decay and followed by destruction. All of you should stop. It is needless to speak again. Time is passing away. I wish to cross over to Freedom (from existence in this world). These are my very last instructions.”
Notes from the editor of the web edition
[1] Around 344-413 AD.

Print version published by The Buddhist Association of the United States (BAUS)

[TOP]


Buddhism Study and Practice Group (http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/)

A gift for 1 of 84,000 Dharma Doors friends and subscribers _/\_


I developed this app mainly for my 108 bows buddhist practice and meditation.
“I developed this app mainly for my 108 bows buddhist practice and meditation.”

Description

Dharma Timer Counter Lite is a very simple (yet), small (just 200KB, compared to several MB of other similar apps) and intuitive timer/counter app that is suitable for measuring time in timed activities. It rings a beautiful bell at every specified interval for the specified number of times.  I developed this app mainly for my 108 bows buddhist practice and meditation.  Currently only one bell and limited UI/features that will be definitely upgraded gradually. Practice your mind with this app and get closer to attaining more enlightened mind! One can also increase/decrease the number so it can be used as a manual counter app as well.
Developers webpage http://www.melcornsoft.com/

With Metta,

Changhui Upasika

1 of 84,000 Dharma Doors blog

Venerable Master Jen Chun’s Teachings QUICK LINKS


Ven Master Sheng-yen // 23 Videos with English subtitles


This Youtube site has videos of Ven Master Sheng-yen’s lectures with English subtitles!
May all beings be happy
May all beings benefit

shengyenfilm uploaded a new video(9 months ago)
When you emerge from the absorbed, meditative state after realizing no-s…   more
shengyenfilm uploaded a new video(9 months ago)
Recitation of the Buddha’s name is a practice advocated by all schools i…  more
shengyenfilm uploaded a new video(9 months ago)
Group cultivation enables us to enjoy steady growth in a safe environment.
shengyenfilm uploaded a new video(9 months ago)
Sitting meditation is not only a method of Chan practice but also the be…   more
shengyenfilm uploaded a new video(9 months ago)
With an open and broadened mind, one would not be disturbed by the environment. When you apply wisdom and make an effort to improve your environment—you will be at peace and every day will be a good day.   less

TAKING REFUGE IN THE THREE TREASURES by Ven Master Yin-shun


Taking Refuge in the Three Treasures

excerpt from Chapter 1 “The Way to Buddhahood” by Ven Master Yin-shun

To study Buddhism means to learn from the Buddha One takes the Buddha as ones’s ideal and one’s mentor and learns from him incessantly When one reaches the same level as the Buddha, then one has become a Buddha

The Budha is the great Awakened One, the great Compassionate One, the one perfect and compete virtue, the ultimate and unsurpassed great sage For an ordinary person with little good fortune and no wisdom, reaching this supreme and unsurpassed state of buddhahood through practice and study is difficult But by practicing and studying the necessary methods and by following the right way to buddhahood, one can reach the goal of buddhahood Only in this way, and without skipping any steps, can one advance to this distant and profound goal The methods necessary to become a Buddha are known as “ the way to buddhahood’ Because beings have different abilities, the Buddha Dharma has different ways: the way of blessedness and virtue, the way f wisdom, the difficult way, the easy way, the mundane way, the supramundane way, the way of the sravaka, the way of the bodhisattva, and so on But ultimately, there is only one way All of these ways are nothing but methods to become a Buddha “ in order to open up and make manifest the Buddha’s knowledge and insight to sentient beings, so that they can also apprehend and attain the same” Thus we have the saying “ One way to one purity, one flavor for one emancipation” and “Many doors exist for tactful reasons, but only one path runs to origin” The way to buddhahood is like a long river that has many streams, lakes, and rivers flowing into it; together they flow into the ocean In the same manner, all doctrines are nothing but the way to buddhahood Therefore, the Buddha Dharma is called the One Vehicle Way in the agama Sutra and the Lotus Sutra

 The Three Treasures represent the general principles of the Buddha Dharma, and taking refuge in them is the first step to entering the Buddhist path The merits of the Three Treasures are countless, limitless, and inconceivable But without taking refuge in them, one cannot receive and enjoy these merits It is like staying outside the entrance to a park; one cannot appreciate the  wonderful flowers and trees inside If one resolves to study Buddhism, the first thing one should do therefore is take refuge in the Three Treasures

Yinshun – The Way to Buddhahood Verses (成佛之道 頌) (English & Chinese)


“Original Chinese and English translation of the verses from Ven. Yinshun’s modern classic, The Way to Buddhahood (成佛之道).  Very useful outline for the whole book, which makes for great class outline notes.  Also useful for those who wish to learn some of the basic Buddhist terminology and concepts in Chinese and / or English. ” –

the-way-to-buddhahood-verses-english-chinese

Enjoy  May all beings benefit

 

 

Why Take Refuges in Three Jewels by Master Sheng Yen (聖嚴法師)


Why Take Refuges in Three Jewels

by Master Sheng Yen (聖嚴法師)

Titles
What is Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels?
Different Levels of the Three Jewels
How to Take Refuge in the Three Jewels
The Benefits to Taking Refuge

Introduction

Sheng Yen and Ren Jun Make offerings
Above: Master Sheng-Yen (L) with one of his teachers, Master Jen-Chun, ca. 2002. Taken during an offering ceremony at CMC

Buddhism values our intelligence and our own choices in life. It encourages us to cultivate wisdom and compassion to the fullest extent and to be responsible for all our actions. This attitude not only applies to how we approach Buddhism and the world, but to our own relationship to its traditions, practices, and rituals.

If you wish to be formally recognized as a Buddhist, you are encouraged to first learn and try to understand the teachings. If they truly resonate with you, then the next step is to become a Buddhist and begin the path of cultivation. This booklet is for those who have already read about Buddhism, practiced some of the teachings, found them useful, and now wish to proceed further on the path.

Participating in the ceremony of taking refuge in the Three Jewels is the first, important step for anyone who wants to become a Buddhist. Why? Because the heart of Buddhism is the Three Jewels of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Still, many people have erroneous ideas about the significance of the refuge ceremony. Let us first examine some of these misconceptions before we discuss the profundity of the Three Jewels.

In the West, many people are increasingly attracted to Buddhism, even though they have not participated in the formal ceremony of taking refuge in the Three Jewels. They fear taking refuge will bind them to the institution of Buddhism, so they maintain a window-shopping attitude. Or perhaps they view taking refuge as analogous to rushing into marriage without sufficient knowledge of the future spouse and worry that personalities may clash, interests differ, and divorce ensue.

But taking refuge in the Three Jewels is completely different from marriage! It is about committing one’s life towards a path to awakening, which is, in fact, freeing not binding. It is a relationship that includes all sentient beings, not just two people. If we realize that the Buddhist teaching is beneficial or meaningful in our lives, then the next step is to take refuge in the Three Jewels. When we become Buddhists, we commit ourselves to bringing genuine liberation to ourselves and to everyone around us. This is the Buddhist path.

Trying to learn Buddhism without taking refuge is to be a bystander and not a participant. If we feel constrained by taking refuge, then Buddhism is no path to liberation. It may happen that you ultimately embrace a set of principles or develop a line of reasoning that leads you away from the teachings. After taking refuge, it is still possible to follow other religions or even decide not to believe in any religion. Taking refuge is not a contract written in blood and stone. The preciousness of the Dharma is that after leaving Buddhism, the door is always open, ready to welcome any who decide to return.

Those who believe that having a pure, sincere heart is enough to qualify them as Buddhist practitioners and who see no need to go through the formal refuge ceremony, are not really Buddhists. If you want to get an education, you must first register and then proceed through elementary, middle, and high school until you reach college—perhaps reaching as far as a Ph.D. It is impossible to progress in one’s education without taking these successive steps.

Similarly, self-proclaimed Buddhists are not real Buddhists. They are like people who are fond of another country, emigrate there, pretend to be citizens, but never apply for citizenship. Those who refrain from taking refuge, but insist upon calling themselves Buddhists, may glean some benefit from the teachings, but the essence of Buddhism will always elude him. Taking refuge is a required process, not an option. The sutras or Buddhist scriptures tell us that even people who perform good deeds will not be able to eradicate bad karma unless they take refuge in the Three Jewels.

Some people believe that their comprehension of the Buddhist sutras, which they take to be one and the same as the Dharma, is sufficient to enable them to advance directly to full enlightenment. They see no need to practice meditation or receive the Three Refuges. While this may have its appeal, it is a serious mistake.

The Buddhist sutras were taught by the Buddha and his disciples, and later collected and written down by members of the Sangha. Concentrating on these texts only yields a limited understanding of the Dharma Jewel. This would lead us to disregard the Buddha, who gave these teachings, and the Sangha, who spread the Dharma. Buddhism stresses the Dharma—the path which leads to the ending of suffering—only in conjunction with the Buddha and the Sangha. The three are inseparable. It is true that taking refuge requires investigation of the Buddha’s teachings, but it also necessitates participation in the refuge ceremony, which must be conducted by a precept master, who is usually a member of the Sangha. This confers the formal recognition that you are a Buddhist.

Precept masters also began their practice by taking refuge in the Three Jewels. Each consecutive precept master represents the continuity of the transmission of the Dharma. No one can take refuge without a master; you cannot do it by yourself. In this sense, the ceremony is a testimony to the unity of the Three Jewels. In taking refuge in the Three Jewels,we recognize the Buddha for discovering the Dharma and our own Buddha within—our potential to liberation. We also recognize the transmitters of Dharma, the Sangha members throughout the ages. Through them we realize the Dharma. Therefore, I would urge everyone to take refuge in the Three Jewels in a formal ceremony. Whether you already consider yourself a Buddhist, are planning to become Buddhist, are exploring Buddhism, or following another religion. There is no harm in putting aside your preconceived ideas so that you may take refuge. You will gain genuine benefit with no loss of freedom. If you take refuge wholeheartedly, it is highly unlikely that you will abandon the Three Jewels.

Devotion in Buddhism by Nyanaponika Thera


Devotion in Buddhism by Nyanaponika Thera

The Buddha repeatedly discouraged any excessive veneration paid to him personally. He knew that an excess of purely emotional devotion can obstruct or disturb the development of a balanced character, and thus may become a serious obstacle to progress on the path to deliverance. The history of religion has since proved him right, as illustrated by the extravagancies of emotional mysticism in East and West.

The suttas relate the story of the monk Vakkali, who full of devotion and love for the Buddha, was ever desirous to behold him bodily. To him the Buddha said: “What shall it profit you to see this impure body? He who sees the Dhamma, sees me.”

Shortly before the Buddha passed away, he said: “If a monk or a nun, a devout man or a devout woman, lives in accordance with the Dhamma, is correct in his life, walks in conformity with the Dhamma — it is he who rightly honors, reverences, venerates, holds sacred and reveres the Perfect One (tathagata) with the worthiest homage.”

A true and deep understanding of the Dhamma, together with a conduct that is in conformity with that understanding — these are vastly superior to any external homage or mere emotional devotion. That is the instruction conveyed by these two teachings of the Master.

It would be a mistake, however, to conclude that the Buddha disparaged a reverential and devotional attitude of mind when it is the natural outflow of a true understanding and a deep admiration of what is great and noble. It would also be a grievous error to believe that the “seeing of the Dhamma” (spoken of in the first saying) is identical with a mere intellectual appreciation and purely conceptual grasp of the doctrine. Such a one-sided abstract approach to the very concrete message of the Buddha all too often leads to intellectual smugness. In its barrenness it will certainly not be a substitute for the strong and enlivening impulse imparted by a deep-felt devotion to what is known as great, noble and exemplary. Devotion, being a facet and natural accompaniment of confidence (saddha), is a necessary factor in the “balance of faculties” (indriya-samata) required for final deliverance. Confidence, in all its aspects, including the devotional, is needed to resolve any stagnation and other shortcomings resulting from a one-sided development of the intellectual faculties. Such development often tends to turn around in circles endlessly, without being able to effect a break-through. Here, devotion, confidence and faith — all aspects of the Pali term saddha — may be able to give quick and effective help.

Though the Buddha refused to be made the object of an emotional “personality cult,” he also knew that “respect and homage paid to those who are worthy of it, is a great blessing.” The Buddha made this statement in the very first stanza of one of his principal ethical injunctions, the Discourse on Blessings (Maha-Mangala Sutta [1]). Mentioning the value of a respectful, reverential attitude together with the blessings “avoiding fools and associating with the wise,” the Buddha obviously regarded such an attitude as fundamental for individual and social progress and for the acquisition of any further higher benefits. One who is incapable of a reverential attitude will also be incapable of spiritual progress beyond the narrow limits of his present mental condition. One who is so blind as not to see or recognize anything higher and better than the little mud-pool of his petty self and environment will suffer for a long time from retarded growth. And one who, out of a demonstrative self-assertion, scorns a reverential attitude in himself and in others will remain imprisoned in his self-conceit — a most formidable bar to a true maturity of character and to spiritual growth. It is by recognizing and honoring someone or something higher that one honors and enhances one’s own inner potentialities.

When the high heart we magnify, And the sure vision celebrate, And worship greatness passing by, Ourselves are great.

Since respect, reverence and devotion are partial aspects of the Buddhist concept of confidence, one will now understand why confidence has been called the seed of all other beneficial qualities.

The nobler the object of reverence or devotion, the higher is the blessing bestowed by it. “Those who have joyous confidence in the highest, the highest fruit will be theirs” (AN 4.34). The supreme objects of a Buddhist’s reverence and devotion are his Three Refuges, also called the Three Jewels or Ideals: the Buddha, his Teaching (Dhamma) and the Community of saintly monks and nuns (Sangha). [2] Here, too, the Buddha is revered not as a personality of such a name, nor as a deity, but as the embodiment of Enlightenment.

A text often recurring in the Buddhist scriptures says that a devout lay disciple “has confidence, he believes in the Enlightenment of the Perfect One.” This confidence, however, is not the outcome of blind faith based on hearsay, but is derived from the devotee’s reasoned conviction based on his own understanding of the Buddha Word which speaks to him clearly with a voice of unmistakable Enlightenment. This derivation of his assurance is emphasized by the fact that, along with confidence, wisdom also is mentioned among the qualities of an ideal lay follower.

We may now ask: Is it not quite natural that feelings of love, gratitude, reverence and devotion seek expression through the entire personality, through acts of body and speech as well as through our thoughts and unexpressed sentiments? Will one, for instance, hide one’s feelings towards parents and other loved ones? Will one not rather express them by loving words and deeds? Will one not cherish their memory in suitable ways, as for instance, by preserving their pictures in one’s home, by placing flowers on their graves, by recalling their noble qualities? In such a way, one who has become critical of the devotional aspects of religion may seek to understand the outward acts of homage customary in Buddhist lands when, with reverential gesture, flowers and incense are placed before a Buddha image and devotional texts are recited not as prayers but as meditation. Provided that such practice does not deteriorate into a thoughtless routine, a follower of the Dhamma will derive benefit if he takes up some form of a devotional practice, adapting it to his personal temperament and to the social customs of his environment. Buddhism however, does not in the least impose upon its followers a demand to observe any outward form of devotion or worship. This is entirely left to the choice of individuals whose emotional, devotional and intellectual needs are bound to differ greatly. No Buddhist should feel himself forced into an iron-cast mould, be it of a devotional or a rationalistic shape. As a follower of the middle way, he should, however, also avoid one-sided judgment of others, and try to appreciate that their individual needs and preferences may differ from his own.

More important and of greater general validity than outward forms of devotion is the basic capacity for respect and reverence discussed at the beginning of this essay, and also the practice of meditations or contemplations of a devotional character. Many benefits accrue from these and hence it was for good reasons that the Enlightened One strongly and repeatedly recommended the meditative recollection of the Buddha (buddhanussati), along with other kindred devotional recollections. [3] Here again, the reference is to the embodied ideal; thus the Buddha, as a being freed from all traces of vanity and egotism, could venture to recommend to his disciples a meditation on the Buddha.

What, then, are the benefits of such devotional meditations? Their first benefit is mental purification. They have been called by the Buddha “efficacious procedures for purifying a defiled mind” (AN 3.71). “When a noble disciple contemplates upon the Enlightened One, at that time his mind is not enwrapped in lust, nor in hatred, nor in delusion. At such a time his mind is rightly directed: it has got rid of lust, is aloof from it, is freed from it. Lust is here a name for the five sense desires. By cultivating this contemplation, many beings become purified” (AN 6.25).

If, by practicing that devotional meditation, one endeavors to live, as it were, “in the Master’s presence” (sattha sammukhibhuta), one will feel ashamed to do, speak or think anything unworthy; one will shrink back from evil; and as a positive reaction, one will feel inspired to high endeavor in emulation of the Master’s great example.

Images, and not abstract concepts, are the language of the subconscious. If, therefore, the image of the Enlightened One is often created within one’s mind as the embodiment of man perfected, it will penetrate deeply into the subconscious, and if sufficiently strong, will act as an automatic brake against evil impulses. In such a way the subconscious, normally so often the hidden enemy in gaining self-mastery, may become a powerful ally of such an endeavor. For that purpose of educating the subconscious, it will be helpful to use a Buddha image or picture as an aid in visualization. In that way concentration of mind may be attained fairly soon. For evoking and deeply absorbing some features of the Buddha’s personality, his qualities should be contemplated, for instance in the way described in the Visuddhimagga.

The recollection of the Buddha, being productive of joy (piti), is an effective way ofinvigorating the mind, of lifting it up from the states of listlessness, tension, fatigue, and frustration, which occur during meditation as well as in ordinary life. The Buddha himself advised: “If (in the strenuous practice of meditation, for instance) in contemplation of the body, bodily agitation, including sense desires, or mental lassitude or distraction should arise, then the meditator should turn his mind to a gladdening, elevating subject” (SN 47.10). And here the teachers of old recommend especially the recollection of the Buddha. When those hindrances to concentration vanish under its influence, the meditator will be able to return to his original meditation subject.

For a beginner especially, attempts at gaining concentration are often frustrated by an uneasy self-consciousness; the meditator, as it were, squints back upon himself. He becomes disturbingly aware of his body with its little discomforts, and of his mind struggling against obstacles which only grow stronger the more he struggles. This may happen when the subject of meditation is one’s one physical or mental processes, but it may also occur with other subjects. In such a situation, it will be profitable to follow the advice given earlier and to turn one’s attention from one’s own personality to the inspiring visualization of the Buddha and the contemplation of his qualities. The joyful interest thus produced may bring about that self-forgetfulness which is such an important factor for gaining concentration. Joy produces calm (passadhi), calm leads to ease (sukha), and ease to concentration (samadhi). Thus devotional meditation can serve as a valuable aid in attaining mental concentrationwhich is the basis of liberating insight. This function of devotional meditation cannot be better described than in the words of the Master:

“When a noble disciple contemplates upon the Enlightened One, at that time his mind is not enwrapped in lust, nor in hatred, nor in delusion. At such a time his mind is rightly directed towards the Perfect One (Tathagata). And with a rightly directed mind the noble disciple gains enthusiasm for the goal, enthusiasm for the Dhamma, gains the delight derived from the Dhamma. In him thus delighted, joy arises; to one who is joyful, body and mind become calm; calmed in body and mind, he feels at ease; and if at ease, the mind finds concentration. Such a one is called a noble disciple who among humanity gone wrong, has attained to what is right; who among a humanity beset by troubles, dwells free of troubles.”

— AN 6.10

source 

Words To Live By // The Gospel of Buddha


The Gospel of Buddha (1894) The Gospel of Buddha is a compilation from ancient records by Paul Carus
Neither fire, nor moisture, nor wind can destroy the blessing of good deeds, and blessings enlighten the whole world.

Ch. 58 The Buddha Replies to the Deva

On a certain day when the Blessed One
dwelt at Jetavana, the garden of Anathapindika,
a celestial deva came to him in the shape of a Brahman
enlightened and wearing clothing as white as snow.

The deva asked,

What is the sharpest sword?
What is the deadliest poison?
What is the fiercest fire?
What is the darkest night?”

The Blessed One replied,

The sharpest sword is a word spoken in wrath;
the deadliest poison is covetousness;
the fiercest fire is hatred;
the darkest night is ignorance.

The deva said,

What is the greatest gain?
What is the greatest loss?
Which armour is invulnerable?
What is the best weapon?

The Blessed One replied,

The greatest gain is to give to others;
the greatest loss is to greedily receive without gratitude;
an invulnerable armor is patience;
the best weapon is wisdom.

The deva said,

Who is the most dangerous thief?
What is the most precious treasure?
Who can capture the heavens and the earth?
Where is the securest treasure-trove?

A saviour has a greater right over the saved one than killer.

The Blessed One replied,

The most dangerous thief is unwholesome thought;
the most precious treasure is virtue;
the heavens and the earth may be captured by the mind’s eye;
surpassing rebirth locates the securest treasure-trove.

The deva asked,

What is attraction?
What is repulsion?
What is the most horrible pain?
What is the greatest enjoyment?

The mind is everything. What you think you become.

The Buddha replied,

Attraction is wholeness;
repulsion is unwholesomeness;
the most tormenting pain is bad conscience;
the height of bliss is redeemed awakening.

The deva asked,

What causes ruin in the world?
What breaks off friendships?
What is the most violent fever?
Who is the best physician?”

The Blessed One replied,

Ruin in the world is caused by ignorance;
friendships are broken off by envy and selfishness;
the most violent fever is hatred;
the best physician is the Buddha;

The deva continued,

Now I have only one doubt to resolve and absolve:
What is it fire cannot burn,
nor moisture corrode,
nor wind crush down,
but is able to enlighten the whole world.

To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others.

The Buddha replied,

Blessing!
Neither fire, nor moisture, nor wind
can destroy the blessing of good deeds,
and blessings enlighten the whole world.

Hearing these answers,

the deva was overflowing with joy.
Then clasping hands, bowed down in respect and
disappeared suddenly from the presence of the Buddha.

THE FOUR IMMEASURABLE STATES by Ven. Traleg Rinpoche


THE FOUR IMMEASURABLE STATES

Ven. Traleg Rinpoche

of Kagyu Evam Buddhist Institute, Melbourne

EQUANIMITY

All religious traditions emphasise that we should love one another. All of us, whatever we choose to believe, suffer, and all of us want to be happy, and are frustrated that our efforts so often are counter productive.
Over the centuries, practitioners of Buddhism have created a rich toolbox of methods to enable us to love our fellow humans, to drop hatred and become more effective human beings, more capable of knowing our own needs and of actually being of benefit to others.
In the Buddhist tradition each of these four positive attitudes can be developed with precision and clarity, so that we know ourselves well enough to be of real use to others. At the same time we cease imprisoning ourselves in habitual anger and hatred and liberate ourselves, at the same time as being more capable of helping others.
In order to cope better with our own roller coaster of emotions, the starting point is to develop equanimity. In the Buddhist tradition it’s not a question of contriving or manufacturing equanimity. It’s nothing to do with positive thinking, or blotting out the negative, or making affirmations. Equanimity is a discovery. It is discovered to be ever present. Underneath our roller coaster experience of pain, pleasure, happiness and dissatisfaction is the basic ground of our being, which is equanimity.
Equanimity means the absence of evaluation. Usually we are unable to look at the situation or deal with anybody without superimposing our own value judgements or subjective evaluations. We never see situations as they simply are. Our value judgements colour our understanding of the world and other people. Usually when we meet someone, even while we are in the midst of conversation, we are drawing our conclusions. Then we go away with a fixed impression that he is like this and like that. We project onto people rather than relate to them as they are.
From the viewpoint of equanimity, no-one is a downright enemy, or an everlasting friend. There are no real ultimate friends or enemies at all. As long as we look for friends we are bound to have enemies. The two exist simultaneously. We want to possess and have friends, which is why we create enemies. As soon as the communists cease to be our enemies, we make the Arabs into enemies. It is because we have the attitude of enmity towards others, we can have friends as well.
So equanimity is the key which unlocks the whole toolbox of spiritual development. It gives us access to the enormous diversity of tools available to anyone who wants to be more effective, capable, loving and compassionate. Equanimity is the start of the spiritual path.
Equanimity is not apathy, it is not a fatalistic indifference to what is going on. Equanimity is being completely open to reality so we can directly experience things as they are, rather than interpreting everything and making it into a second hand experience.
But equanimity isn’t enough. The next stage, in the Buddhist tradition, is to discover your capacity to love.

LOVE

Love is the great four letter word. The greatest art, the latest video clips, the most sublime religious poetry are all about love. Our whole culture is driven by the search for love, but we have become cynical, because our experience is mixed up with attachment, possession, clinging, expectation and demands.
In the Buddhist tradition, love is one of the four immeasurably great catalysts of being, along with equanimity, joy and compassion. Love is an indispenable foundation of spiritual practice. Love is the soil in which the flower of compassion may flower, nurtured by the pure water of joy in the shade of equanimity.
Yet we usually find ourselves slaves to love, held in the thrall of an elusive ideal in hope of deliverance from the complicated lives we have created for ourselves. Love so often is the name we give to a euphoric state which perpetuates our habitual lack of genuineness, or authenticity. In the name of love we make so many demands on others, we expect so much, we work out intellectually a whole drama. “Maybe she loves me, maybe she doesn’t.” Intellectualizing the love we think we feel loses touch with it.
The Buddhist tradition is to generate love unconditionally, without exceptions of being loved in return. In Buddhist meditation, the practitioner imaginatively pervades the world with love, in every direction. Start with yourself, filling your heart with loving kindness, abundant, grown great, free from enmity and free from distress. To love yourself is to be able to love all sentient beings, without reserve. There is nothing intellectual about this. There is no story to tell yourself about whom you love and whom you can’t.
You may be able to pause, and imagine someone who is hard to get on with, a difficult person in your life, and remember that they too are driven by the same desire for happiness as is everyone. Make use of your enemy to teach yourself patience, and the ability to love unconditionally.
Love is of the heart. It manifests in the level of intuition rather than intellect. You don’t need to interpret, or make judgements, or give yourself a part in a soap opera version of your own life. The heart directly experiences love. If you love completely then you don’t need to say, “I love you.” Because love becomes you and I. Love actually dissolves the gate between you and I, and between I and the universe.
Unconditional love is without desire to possess, because ultimately there is no possession and no possessor. Love does not take the inborn sense of I, me, mine as the constant reference point. It is spacious, neither selecting nor excluding.
Intellectualizing love creates such confusion you know longer no whether you love the person or hate him. You can no longer differentiate. Then, even when the relationship begins to break up you are still attached, still clinging to how it used to be in the past, still hoping it can magically come good again. You don’t even have enough space for a new relationship, a new space where you could actually appreciate and love someone else. When that happens we have to generate something else – compassion.

COMPASSION

If we are to be effective and capable in daily life, if we are to live up to our ideals, if we are to be of actual help to others, we need to train. The Buddhist tradition offers us a wide range of tools we can use to train ourselves. There are specific methods practiced over many centuries, to generate equanimity, to create a little spaciousness amidst our habitual clutter. There are methods to allow us to become more loving. But love can go stale and cold. This is when we need to generate compassion, which has larger connotations than love.
Compassion means openness or spaciousness, opening up to all situations we are in. It means not bogging down in subjective judgements. It means dropping the compulsion to be constantly asking: “How does this affect me? What do I think about this?” We create space, which allows us to sit back and look at everything properly and precisely. We can then see where our attachment comes from, how we colour our view of the world, how things go wrong.
In order to generate compassion one has first to generate warmth, firstly warmth towards oneself. One has to learn how to accept and like oneself, as only then can one like someone else. Unless you know how to have warmth and compassion towards yourself, you won’t be able to have it for other people. When you have it, then you can share it with others. You can’t share what you don’t have.
Compassion fulfils the needs of situations, as they arise. It is a readiness, an openness to respond properly and precisely, spontaneously, without the selfish agenda, without being so needy that the self gets in the way.
Compassion is the opposite of passion. Passion is egocentric. It is demanding, it makes demands on people. Compassion is open space, it’s undemanding, it’s generous. Compassion is direct, spontaneous. It is felt, rather than manufactured. It requires no investment of your identity or personality. It may take a bit of practice, but it is a natural capacity.
But then compassion can also go askew. You get involved with someone, trying to help them, but you judgement is tinged with sentimentality. It becomes part of ego’s game. You try to help someone, only they don’t respond as you want them to. You can’t rescue them, and that is frustrating. They insist on learning the hard way. No matter how hard you try to help him or her, they don’t change. You feel terrible and get depressed. You feel it would have been better if you hadn’t taken up the practice of compassion. At that point, you need another spiritual practice, which is to generate joy.
As an old Buddhist prayer says:
May all sentient beings enjoy
happiness and the root of happiness.
May they be free from suffering
and the root of suffering.
May they not be separated from the
great happiness devoid of suffering.
May they enjoy the great equanimity that is
free from passion, aggression and prejudice.
JOY

Buddhist tradition teaches us equanimity, love, compassion and joy. These four attitudes can be developed, with practice. They are helpful in daily life, and are the root of the spiritual life.
How does one cultivate joy? First, let’s be clear about what we mean. Joy is not the momentary elation of backing a winner. Joy is the steady appreciation of the qualities and potential of others without envy.
The basis of joy is self acceptance. I may be confused, I may suffer from conflicting emotions, and from intellectual perplexity, yet basically I recognise my capacitay to attain liberation. Joy arises from recognizing that your confusion is not inherent, your sufferings are not inevitable, that you do have choice. Your anxiety is not your human nature, it is merely a passing cloud, which will pass from the sky of its own accord.
This historic Buddha was a human being, who awoke to reality, and to his actual nature. He isn’t a god to be worshipped but a person whose example can be followed. What he did, is open to each person to do. None of us is a terrible person, or beyond redemption. No-one can save us from ourselves, but each of us can save ourselves. There is no person who does not have the capacity to become enlightened.
With that attitude one begins to have joy, which is the ability to look at things without being overwhelmed by emotion. Joy is the ability to appreciate the attributes and abilities of others, to rejoice in their beauty and strength, rather than become envious or judgemental. Joy is the antidote to competitiveness, Joy unlocks our ability to relate to the social world.
Joy is a sense of richness, of unboundedness, of not being necessarily a prisoner of the past. It is the opposite of a poverty stricken attitude, which is always comparing oneself, judging, ranking, criticising myself as better or worse than others.
But joy can also beome a prop. a reassurance that things aren’t so bad after all. Joy can become elation, you begin to congratulate yourself, which is nothing but an ego boost. Elation is just as irrelevant as feeling depressed.
It’s a highly emotional, unstable state, and it’s not the same as a quiet, steady joy.
When joy becomes elation, it’s time to go back to equanimity, to the practice of accommodating everything as it is in actuality. You accommodate your depression, elation, joy, happiness, dissatisfaction. You can actually sit back and accommodate everything without judgement. You aren’t trying to force anything. You can accomodate your own emotional ups and downs and the whole universe. This isn’t some mystical process of becoming one with the universe, or that you identify yourself with the universe, but you actually are the universe, and you realize that.

BUDDHA NATURE

Equanimity, love, compassion and joy are four specific attitudes which Buddhists cultivate so as to enter the path of spiritual development.
The beginning of spirituality is facing up to the reality of personal experience, which is the kaleidoscopic mix of pain, suffering, happiness, dissatisfaction. There must be more to life than alternating pleasure and pain.
Our usual way of dealing with suffering and pain is to try to possess pleasure and happiness. We try to fight off whatever is unpleasant.
Buddhist spirituality asks of us that we awaken, that we wake up to our selves, that we recognize that there is no such thing as one hundred percent pleasure or one hundred percent pain.
When we experience pleasure or happiness there is always a fraction of suffering at the same time. Without suffering, we cannot experience one hundred percent pleasure. That applies the other way round, to suffering as well. Suffering and pleasure both help us to exist, and confirm our existence. Suffering, pleasure and pain exist simultaneously. It’s a basic fact of existence, like a dog having hair or the sun radiating warmth, we can’t have one without the other. So we don’t have to condemn pain, or anything else that happens.
We simply accept our experience as a message that comes from our Buddha Nature. That everything requires courage, the courage needed to deal with everyday life.
Usually we feel we are going to be overwhelmed by our emotions. We become depressed or unhappy, and then defensive and avoid looking into things as they are. We fail to learn how depression comes about, from where depression actually comes. So we need courage to face situations as they arise, without becoming alarmed or defensive.
Courage to face life comes from the practice of developing equanimity, love, compassion and joy. These four attitudes are the first steps on the great path of spiritual development which, in the Buddhist tradition, culminates in enlightenment. The courage to face life is practical and immediate, yet it is also a necessary preliminary to the process of mental cultivation as practiced over many centuries by Buddhist meditators.
Enlightenment may seem like a far distant goal, but Buddhists have always stressed that we all possess the seed of enlightenment, whether we are aware of it or not. In fact, enlightenment isn’t really the right word, it would be more accurate to speak of awakening, or of wakefulness.
There is no-one to turn to who can wake us up. It is up to us to do it for ourselves. We are not woken up by anything divine, or magical or mystical. Enlightenment is not a hypotheses, it is not a theroy or a dogma, it is born from personal experience.
With equanimity, love, compassion and joy we are ready to fully wake up.

The Song of the Skin Bag – Master Hsu Yun


The Song of the Skin Bag
Written by Master Xu-Yun in his 19th year
From “Empty Cloud: The Autobiography of the Chinese Zen Master”.
Translate by Charles Luk. Rev. and edited by Richard Hunn

The Song of the Skin Bag, (1) the skin bag is sung. Before the empty aeon (2)

it had neither name nor form,

After the Buddha with awe-inspiring voice (3) it became a hindrance.

Three hundred and sixty tendons are linked within the body (4)

Enclosed by four and eighty thousand pores.(5)

Divided it splits into heaven, earth and man,

United it combines the four elements.

It supports heaven, props up earth,

But what of its mettle?

Understand cause and effect, discern the times

Survey the stupidity of past and present.

Because of wrong clinging to illusory forms,

Parents are involved and wife and children loved.

By vain indulgence in delusion karma is left behind,

The Song of the Skin Bag, the skin bag is sung.

Drinking wine and eating meat upset the mind-nature,

Indulgence in pleasure and desire leads to utter ruin

When officialdom is strong to oppress the innocent(6)

And traders artful against their consciences, how long

Will their wealth and power last, the their pride and their extravagance?

The poor and lowly will not so last while there is cruelty and violence.

Discrimination between self and others leads to inequality,

Destroying living beings as worthless things.

Thinking and discerning cause desire, stupidity and hatred,

While becoming lost in heresies invites self-destruction..

Killing, stealing, adultery and lying have no end,

And rude behavior to others increases attachment and aversion.

To scold the wind and curse the ram is disrespectful to the gods,

While depression comes from ignorance of birth and death.

When leaving a cow’s womb to enter a mare’s belly

Who will sing of or lament your change of form?

Many evil acts without a good deed will make

Aimless and toilsome your transmigration.

Entering the three evil realms, falling into hell (7)

Causes suffering to animals and hungry ghosts.

The ancient sages would oft repeat their warning,

Likewise the morning bell and drum at eve are to change your bean.

Good and evil karma bring certain retribution,

Escape then, worldly men, from the five periods of impurity.(8)

The Song of the Skin Bag, the skin bag is sung;

If the owner of form is not entangled by it,

For illusory matter to interdependence owes its name –

He can readily turn his mind within

To contemplate in sovereign case.

With no desire for fame and for wealth no craving,

Cut off all liking and from the world retire.

With no love for wife and no affection for children

Enter a monastery to keep the discipline;

Look for learned teachers, seek out their teaching

On Chan practice and meditation to O’er-leap the three worlds.(9)

Store what you see arid hear, forsake all causal clingings

To escape for ever from the worldly way.

By taming the six senses and stopping all your thoughts,

With neither self nor other, no trouble will remain,

Unlike worldly men who sigh when mist and dew disperse. (10)

With one robe to cover you and food enough

To satisfy your hunger, keep yourself in shape.

Give wealth away, sacrifice your body and life

Without a second thought as when you spit or sneeze.

Keep pure the discipline, be without fault

And correct in your deportment.(11) Be not angry

When insulted, bear no hatred when you are beaten,

Forget all derison by enduring the unendurable.

Without deviation, without interruption

Hold for ever the one thought of Amitabha.

Let there be no dullness, no confusion,

But like the fir and cypress defy the bitter cold.

Doubt no more the Buddha, doubt no more the Dharma;

With innate wisdom look clearly into what you see and hear,

Bore the paper, cut the hide(12) and go back

To the source, for self-liberation means

Returning to the spring and source of reality.

There is neither ‘non-existence’ nor emptiness

Exposed is the potentiality divine, wondrous and inconceivable

When you reach here al lgrievance ends.

Hurrah, for now you realize the goal.

With the ten titles of Buddha (13) you will teach a myriad worlds.

Aha, that same leaking shell (14) is now

The omnipresent Buddha-body. (15)

Clearly good and evil karmas are infallible, so why

Rely on falsehood instead of practicing the truth?

When the absolute is split the two extremes appear,

The spiritual mind turns into heaven and earth.

Kings and ministers are noble owing to their past karmas,

None are rich or noble, poor or humble without previous cause

Where there is birth – there will be death,

Why grumble since this is known to everyone?

For wife, children (and self), for happiness and wealth

All prospects are spoiled by anger and desire.

For what fame or gain did I trifle

Away my last nineteen springs? (16)

Frustrations of a thousand, nay ten thousand kinds

Harass and make your life yet more unbearable.

When you grow old with failing sight and snow-white hair

You will have vainly passed a lifetime ignorant of virtue.

From day to month, from month to year in vain will you

Regret that months and years turn like a wheel.

Who is an immortal in this world of ours?

‘Tis better to revere once more the cloud of compassion (17)

Ánd on a famous mountain or in some renowned place

To live at ease in transcendental bliss

Do not you know how fast the temporary flies?

Respectfully ponder a few expedient sentences,

Recite Amitabha’s name, see clearly into birth and death,

Then enjoy happiness beyond the reach of others.

Practice Chan, seek out its aim; the pure

And the spiritual are only this.

With clear tea and vegetarian food the mind

Errs not enjoying Dharma night and day.

Forsake both self and other, relinquish ‘you’ and ‘I’

Treat friend and foe alike forgetting praise and censure

When the mind is free from hindrance and disgrace

Do Buddhas and Patriarchs regards its Oneness as being without use?

The World-Honoured One renounced his love to climb the snowy mountains(18)

While Avalokitesvara left home to become a son of the Buddha. (19)

In the days of Yao and Shun(20) lived Zhao and Yu,(21)

When the throne was offered to Zhao he washed his ears.(22)

Remember Zhang Zi-fang and Liu Cheng-Yi

Who cast away their glory, retiring from the world.

In this period of termination when troubles lie ahead, (23)

Why do you not awaken to vie with the ancestors?

To indulge in ignorance, commiting the ten evils

Exhaust  your ingenuity and wins the world’s contempt.

Wars, epidemies, droughts and floods are frequent,

Dearth, famine and strife succeed each other and

When weird tales prevail misfortune follows.

‘Midst earthquakes, landslides and tidal waves

What will you do in order to escape?

Evil acts in past transmigrations

Cause present falsehood and frustration

When poor and in trouble virtue should first be cultivated,

Then in a monastery worship with virtuous heart the King of the Law,

Repentance and reform from past wrong deeds improve your lot.

Call on learned teachers, seek your experience to seal,

First learn, then leave both birth and death to realize the Mind-nature,

Impermanence exposed reveals eternity.

Path lies in path within your practice.

the saints and sages left clear sayings to reform the world,

Slight not then the teaching of the Tripitaka.

With earnestness and deep sincerity

I urge all human beings to be righteous

Take not my words as idle nor forget them,

for self-cultivation leads to perception of self-nature.

Hasten your practice, be ever zealous,

For the sowing of Bodhí is the direct cause of awakening.

the nine stages alter rebirth in the lotus are testified by the Buddha,

An Amitabha will take you to the Western Paradise.

Lay down your bag of skin, leap en the Vehicle Supreme.

This is the Song of the Skin Bag, hearken to it friends !

____________________________________________________________________

Notes Source

1. The human body is likened to a skin-bag which obstructs our realization of the truth.

2. The empty aeon is regarded as coming after that of the destruction of the world systems and preceding that of their formation, the latter being followed by that of ‘existence’.

3. Bhimsa-garjita-ghosa-svara-raja (short form Bhímsa-raja) or the King with awe-inspiring voice, the name of countless Buddhas, successively appearing during the aeon free from misery, decay, calamities, epidemics, etc.

4. The digit 3 symbolizes the past, present and future, or time. The digit 6 stands for the six worlds of existence and the six directions north, south, east, west, the zenith and nadir, or space.

5. The digit 8 stands for the eight consciousnesses and the digit 4 for the four elements: earth, water, fire and air which constitute the human body.

6. The Master’s father was an official.

7. The three evil realms: hungry ghosts, animals and hells.

8. The five periods of impurity: (1) the aeon in decay when it suffers deterioration giving rise to form; (2) Deterioration of views, selfishness etc., arising; (3) Passions and delusions arising from desire, anger and stupidity in which pride and doubt prevail; (4) the subsequent increase in human miseries and decrease in happiness and <5) the gradual shortening of human life to ten years.

9. The Triple realms’ of Desire, form and formlessness.

10. All worldly men are grieved about the impermanence of things which are likened to mist and dew.

11. That is, while walking, standing, sitting and reclining.

12. Bore the paper of the sutras to extract the correct meaning and pierce the ox-hide ignorance to realize the truth.

13. The ten titles of a Buddha are: (1) Tathagata, He who comes thus as do all other Buddhas; the absolute ‘coming’; (2) Arhat or one worthy of worship; (3) Samyak-sambuddha, Omniscient; (4) Vidyacarana-sampanna perfect knowledge and conduct; (5) Sugata, the well-departed; (6) Lokavid, knower of the world; (7) Anuttara, the peerless lord; (8) Purusadamya-sarathi, the tamer of passions; (9) Sasta deva-manusyanam, teacher of gods and men; (10) Bhagavat or Lokanatha, the World-Honoured One.

14. The illusory human body.

15. The spiritual body appearing in full.

16. Xu-Yun complained that he had wasted his time until his 19th year before succeeding in escaping from home.

17. The over-spreading, fructifying cloud of compassion, the heart of the Buddha.

18. The Himalayas. According to the Chinese Buddhist tradition, this symbolizes the Buddha’s renunciation ascent on the Bodhi-path.

19. A bodhisattva, son of ‘the Buddha’s family’.

20. The golden age of Chinese history when the country was ruled by the wise Emperors Yao and Shun.

21. Yao knew that Zhao and Yu were two sages and offered to abdicate in their favour but both declined,

22. When Zhao heard of Yao’s offer the throne to him, he went to the river bank to wash his ears from the ‘impurity’ of the offer.

23. The present period of the Dharma-ending age.

24. The nine stages of progression as described in the Sutra of Amitabha.

Two styles of insight meditation by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi



Two styles of insight meditation

Bhikkhu Bodhi

Today the practice of insight meditation has become popular all around the

Bhante

world, yet to achieve this popularity it has undergone a subtle metamorphosis. Perhaps the most powerful pressure that has shaped the contemporary style of teaching insight meditation has been the need to transplant the practice into a largely secular environment remote from its traditional matrix of Buddhist faith and doctrine. Rather than being presented as an integral part of the Buddhist path to deliverance from samsàra, insight meditation is now taught as a self-contained discipline whose fruits pertain more to life within the world than to absolute release from the world. Many people who have taken up insight meditation eloquently testify to the tangible benefits they have gained, benefits that range from such relatively mundane goods as stress reduction and enhanced job performance to more spiritual ends like greater calm, deeper self-knowledge, and clearer awareness of the present.

While such benefits are certainly admirable in their own right, it must nevertheless be stressed that, taken by themselves, they do not constitute the final goal that the Buddha himself holds up as the end point of his training. That goal, in the terminology of the texts, is the attainment of Nibbàna, understood as the destruction of all defilements here and now and ultimate release from the beginningless round of rebirths. While the concrete results brought forth by the secularized practice of insight meditation will also permeate the experience of one who takes up the practice within a classical Buddhist framework, success in reaping these benefits is not necessarily an indication that one is drawing close to the final goal.

Given the sceptical climate of the present age and the stress on personal experience as a guide to truth, it is quite appropriate that newcomers to the Dhamma be invited to explore the potential inherent in the practice for themselves, without having the full agenda of Buddhist doctrine thrust upon them from the start as if it were another system of dogma. However, though we may initially take up the practice of meditation with an open and undogmatic attitude, at a certain point in our practice we inevitably arrive at a crossroads where we find ourselves faced with a choice. We can either continue with the meditation based upon the initial premises from which we started, generally a purely naturalistic worldview, or we can set off along a different track that leads to full actualization of the potential inherent in the practice. If we choose the first route, we might still deepen our meditation and reap more abundantly the same type of benefits we have obtained so far — deeper calm, more equanimity, greater openness to the present. Nevertheless, as worthwhile as these benefits might be in their own right, from the standpoint of the Dhamma they remain incomplete. For the practice of insight meditation to achieve its full potential as intended by the Buddha himself, it must be encompassed by several other qualities that rivet it to the framework of the teaching.

Foremost among such qualities are the complimentary pair of faith and right view. As a component of the Buddhist path, faith (saddhà) does not mean blind belief but a willingness to accept on trust certain propositions that we cannot, at our present stage of development, personally verify for ourselves. These propositions concern both the nature of reality and the higher reaches of the path. In the traditional map of the Buddhist path, faith is placed at the beginning of the training, as the prerequisite for the later stages comprised in the triad of virtue, concentration, and wisdom. The canonical texts do not seem to envisage the possibility that a person lacking faith in the specifically Buddhist sense could take up the practice of insight meditation and reap positive results from it. Yet today such a phenomenon has become extremely widespread, as many present-day meditators make their initial contact with the Dhamma through intensive insight meditation and use their experience as a touchstone for deciding exactly how to incorporate the Dhamma into the pattern of their lives.

On the basis of this choice, we find that meditators divide into two broad camps. One consists of those who focus exclusively upon the immediately tangible benefits of the practice, suspending all concern with what lies beyond the horizons of their own experience. The other consists of those who recognize that the practice flows from a source of wisdom much deeper and broader than their own. In order to follow this wisdom in the direction to which it points, such meditators are ready to subordinate their own understanding of the world to the disclosures of the teaching and embrace the Dhamma as an organic whole. These are the ones who adopt Buddhism in its religious and doctrinal sense as the framework for their practice.

The fact that insight meditation can be earnestly practised even without the sustaining role of faith raises an interesting question never explicitly posed within the canon and commentaries. If insight meditation can be pursued solely for the sake of its immediately visible benefits, what role does faith play in the development of the path? Certainly faith, in the sense of a full acceptance of Buddhist doctrine, is not a necessary condition for the undertaking of the precepts or the practice of meditation. As we have seen, those who lack faith in the distinctively Buddhistic tenets of the Dhamma might still accept the Buddhist precepts as guidelines to right conduct and practise meditation as a way to inner happiness and peace. Thus faith must play a different role than that of a simple spur to action.

Perhaps an answer to our question will emerge if we ask, “What exactly does faith mean in the context of Buddhist practice?” It should be clear at once that faith cannot be adequately explained simply as reverence for the Buddha as a great spiritual teacher, or as some alloy of devotion, admiration, and gratitude. For while these qualities often exist alongside faith, they may all be present even when faith is absent. If we look at faith more closely, we would see that besides its emotional constituents, faith also involves an indispensable cognitive component. This component consists in a readiness to accept the Buddha as the unique discoverer and proclaimed of liberating truth. From this angle, faith is seen to involve a decision. As the word “decision” implies (“to decide” = to cut off), to place faith in something is to exercise an act of discrimination. Thus Buddhist faith entails, at least implicitly, a rejection of the claims of other spiritual teachers to be bearers of the liberating message on a par with the Buddha himself. As a decision, faith also entails acceptance, that is, a willingness to open oneself to the principles made known by the Enlightened One and accept them on trust as reliable presentations of the real nature of things and of the proper way of life.

It is this decision that marks the distinction between one who takes up the practice of insight meditation as a purely naturalistic discipline and one who takes it up within the framework of Buddhist faith. The former, by suspending any judgment about the picture of the human condition imparted by the Buddha, limits the fruits of the practice to those that are compatible with a purely naturalistic worldview. The latter, by accepting the Buddha’s own picture of the human condition, gains access to the goal held up by the Buddha as the final fruit of the practice, complete deliverance of mind and the realization of Nibbàna.

The second pillar that supports the practice of insight meditation is the cognitive counterpart of faith, namely, right view (sammà ditthi). Though the word “view” might suggest that the practitioner actually sees the principles considered to be “right,” at the outset of the training this is seldom the case. For all but a few exceptionally gifted disciples, “right view” initially means right belief, the acceptance of principles and doctrines out of confidence in the enlightenment of the Buddha. Though Buddhist modernists often claim that the Buddha said that one should believe only what one can see and verify for oneself, no such statement is found in the Pali Canon. What the Buddha does say is that one should not accept his teachings blindly but should inquire into their meaning and attempt to realize their truth for oneself. There are, however, many principles taught by the Buddha as essential to right understanding that we cannot, at the outset of training, ascertain for ourselves. These are by no means unimportant, but define the entire framework of the Buddha’s programmed of deliverance. They delineate the deeper dimensions of the suffering from which we need release, point in the direction where true liberation lies, and prescribe with pinpoint precision the steps to be followed to arrive at the liberating wisdom.

These principles include the tenets of both “mundane” and “transcendent” right view. Mundane right view is the type of correct understanding that leads to a fortunate destination within the round of rebirths. It involves an acceptance of the principles of kamma and its fruit; of the distinction between meritorious and evil actions; of the vast expanse and multiple domains of samsàra within which rebirth may occur. Transcendent right view is the view leading to liberation from samsàra in its entirety. It entails understanding the Four Noble Truths in their deeper dimensions, as offering not merely a diagnosis of psychological distress but a description of samsàric bondage and a programme for final release. It also involves understanding dependent origination as an account of the causal dynamism of samsàra; recognizing the inadequacy in all conditioned modes of being; and accepting Nibbàna as the sphere that offers final deliverance from suffering.

While the actual techniques for practising insight meditation may be identical whether it be pursued as a purely naturalistic discipline or taken up as an integral part of the Buddha’s path, the two styles of practice will nevertheless differ profoundly with respect to the results those techniques are capable of yielding. When practised conscientiously within the framework of a naturalistic understanding, insight meditation will bring greater calm, understanding, and equanimity. It will purify the mind of the coarser layers of defilements and can culminate in a tranquil acceptance of life’s vicissitudes coupled with a capacity for compassionate action. Thus this style of practice should not be disparaged. However, practice in this style will still remain confined to the sphere of the conditioned; it will still be tied to the round of wholesome kamma and its fruit. It is only when insight meditation is buttressed from below by deep faith in the Buddha as the perfectly enlightened teacher, and illuminated from above by the wisdom of the Buddha’s teachings, that it acquires the power to cut away all the fetters that have kept us in bondage through beginningless time. It then becomes the key to open the doors to the Deathless, to winning a freedom that can never be lost. With this, insight meditation transcends the limits of the conditioned, transcends even itself, and arrives at its proper goal: the unconditioned truth of Nibbàna, final release from all fetters and from the round of birth,aging, and death.

Bhikkhu Bodhi
BPS Newsletter, No. 45, 2000,

Investigating The Mind -Ajahn Sumedho


Chapter 1 from the book The Way It Is

Ajahn Sumedho

INVESTIGATING
THE MIND

The root of suffering is what we call avijja — not knowing, or ignorance of the way things really are. This basic ignorance is one of not understanding our true nature. We suffer because of views and opinions, habits and conditions which we do not understand. We live our lives in a state of ignorance, not understanding the way things are.

If you listen to yourself very much you can sometimes hear such statements as, I should do this but I shouldn’t do that, I should be this way, I shouldn’t be that way,’ or that the, world should be other than it is, our parents should be this way or that way, and shouldn’t be the way they are. So we have this particular verb tense ringing through our minds because we have an idea of what shouldn’t be or should be. In meditation listen to that opinion within yourself of what should be and what shouldn’t be, just listen to it.

Our tendency is to try to become something, and so we set a goal, create an ideal of what we would like to become. Maybe we think society should be other than it is. People should be kind, generous, understanding, loving, there should be brotherhood and people shouldn’t be selfish. The government should have wise leaders, the world should be at peace and so forth. But the world is as it is at this moment in time and things are as they are. When we don’t understand this then we are struggling. So listen inwardly to yourselves, to the constant crying, ‘I am this way, I am not this way,’ and penetrate this ‘I am, I am not’ with awareness.

We tend to just react and take it for granted that all the ‘I am’ and ‘I am not’ is the truth. We create ourselves as a personality and attach to our memories. We remember the things we learned, we remember what we’ve done — generally the more extreme things; we tend to forget more ordinary things. So if we do unkind, cruel, foolish things then we have unpleasant memories in our lives, we feel ashamed or guilty. If we do good things, charitable things, kind things, then we have good memories in our lives. When you start reflecting on this, then you are going to be more careful about what you do and what you say, because if you have lived your life foolishly, acting on impulse out of desire for immediate gratification, or out of an intention to hurt or cause disharmony or exploit others, you are going to be faced with a mind filled with very unpleasant memories.

People who have led very selfish lives have to drink a lot, or take drugs, to keep themselves constantly occupied so that they don’t have to look at the memories that come up in the mind.

In the awakening process of meditation we are bringing awareness to the conditions of the mind here and now, just by being aware of this sense of ‘I am, I am not’. Contemplate the feelings of pain or pleasure the memories, thoughts and opinions as impermanent, anicca. The characteristic of transiency is common to all conditions. How many of you spent the day really investigating this in every possible way while sitting, standing or lying down? Investigate what you see with your eye, hear with your ear, taste with your tongue, smell with your nose, feel and experience with your body, think with your mind.

The thought ‘I am’ is an impermanent condition. The thought ‘I am not’ is an impermanent condition. Thoughts, memories, consciousness of thinking, the body itself, our emotions — all conditions change. In the practice of meditation you’ve got to be quite serious, brave and courageous. You’ve got to really investigate, dare to look at even the most unpleasant conditions in life, rather than try to escape to seek tranquillity, or to forget about everything. In vipassana the practice is one of looking into suffering; it’s a confrontation with ourselves, with what we think of ourselves, with our memories, and our emotions, pleasant, unpleasant or indifferent. In other words when these things arise and we are aware of suffering, rather than rejecting, repressing or ignoring this, we take the opportunity to examine it.

So suffering is our teacher. It’s teaching us, so we have to learn the lesson by studying suffering itself. It always amazes me how some people think they never suffer. They think, ‘I don’t suffer. I don’t know why Buddhists talk about suffering all the time. I feel wonderful, full of beauty and joy. I’m so happy all the time. I find life one fantastic experience, interesting, fascinating and never-ending delight.’ These people just tend to accept that side of life and reject the other because inevitably what delights us disappears and then we are sorry. Our desire to be in a constant state of delight leads us into all kinds of problems, difficulties and situations. Suffering is not just because of massive things like having terminal cancer, or losing someone you love; suffering can occur around what is very ordinary, like the four postures of sitting, standing, walking, lying down. Nothing extreme in that.

We contemplate the normal breath, and the ordinary consciousness. In order to understand, existence, we contemplate ordinary feelings, memories and thoughts rather than grasp hold of fantastic ideas and thoughts to understand the extremes of existence. So we’re not getting involved with speculation about the ultimate purpose of life, God, the devil, heaven and hell, what happens when we die or reincarnation. In Buddhist meditation you just observe the here and now. The birth and death that’s going on here and now is the beginning and ending of the most ordinary things.

Contemplate beginning. When you think of birth you think of ‘I was born’, but that is the great birth of the body, which we can’t remember. The ordinary birth of ‘me’ which we experience, in daily life is ‘I want, I don’t want, I like, I don’t like.’ That’s a birth, or seeking to be happy. We contemplate the ordinary hell of our own anger, the anger that arises, the heat of the body, the aversion, the hatred we feel in the mind. We contemplate the ordinary heaven we experience, the happy states, the bliss, the lightness, the beauty in the here and now. Or just the dull state of mind, that kind of limbo, neither happy nor unhappy, but dull, bored and indifferent. In Buddhist meditation we watch these within ourselves.

We contemplate our own desire for power and control, to be in control of someone else, to become famous, or to become someone who is on top. How many of you, when you find out someone is more gifted than you are, want to put them down? This is jealousy. What we have to do in our meditation practice is see the ordinary jealousies, or the hatred we might feel for someone who might take advantage of us, or annoys us; the greed or lust we might feel for someone who attracts us. Our own mind is like a mirror which reflects the universe and you watch the reflection. Before, we would take these reflections for reality so that we became entranced, repelled or indifferent to them. But in vipassana we just observe that all these reflections are just changing conditions. We begin to see them as an object rather than as a self, whereas when we’re ignorant we tend to seek identity with them.

So in practice we are looking at the universe as it is being reflected in our minds. It does not matter what anyone else happens to experience; one meditator will sit here and experience all sorts of brilliant lights, colours, fascinating images, Buddhas, celestial beings, even smell wonderful odours, and hear divine sounds, and think, ‘What a wonderful meditation, such brilliance came, “the radiance” — a divine being came like a radiant angel, touched me and I felt this ecstasy. The most wonderful ecstatic experience of my whole life…waited my whole life for this experience.’ Meanwhile the next one is thinking, ‘Why doesn’t something like that ever happen to me. I sat for a whole hour in pain with an aching back, depressed, wanting to run away, wondering why on earth I’d come to this retreat anyway.’ Another person might say, ‘I can’t stand all those people who have those silly ideas and fantasies, they disgust me, they just develop this terrible hatred and aversion in me. I hate the Buddha image sitting in the window, want to smash it. I hate Buddhism and meditation!’

Now which of these three people is the good meditator? Compare the one who sees devas dancing in heaven, the one that is bored, indifferent and dull, or the one full of hatred and aversion? Devas and angels dancing in the celestial realms are anicca, are impermanent. Boredom is anicca, impermanent. Hatred and aversion is anicca, impermanent. So the good meditator, the one who is practising in the right way is looking at the impermanent nature of these conditions.

When you talk to someone who sees devas and experiences bright lights, you start doubting your own practice and think, ‘But maybe I am not capable of enlightenment. Maybe I am not meditating right.’ Doubt itself is impermanent. Whatever arises passes away. So the good meditator is the one who sees the impermanent nature of bliss and ecstasy, or experiences dullness, experiences anger, hatred and aversion, and reflects on the impermanent nature of those qualities, when sitting, walking or lying down.

What is your tendency? Are you very positive about everything? ‘I like everybody here. I believe in the teachings of the Buddha, I believe in the Dhamma.’ — That’s a faith kind of mind. It believes, and that kind of mind can create and experience blissful things very quickly. You find that some of the farmers in Thailand, people who have hardly any worldly knowledge, who can hardly read and write, can sometimes experience blissful states, experience lights and see devas and all that, and who believe in them. When you believe in devas, you see them. When you believe in lights and celestial realms, you’ll see them. You believe that Buddha is going to save you, Buddha will come and save you. What you believe in happens to you. You believe in ghosts, fairies, elves, you don’t doubt those things, you find those things happening to you. But they are still anicca, impermanent, transient and not self.

Most people don’t believe in fairies and devas and think such things are silly. This is the negative kind of mind, the one that’s suspicious and doubtful, does not believe in anything. ‘I don’t believe in fairies and devas. I don’t believe in any of that kind of thing. Ridiculous! Show me a fairy.’ So the very suspicious and sceptical mind never sees such things.

There is faith, there is doubt. In Buddhist practice, we examine the belief and doubt that we experience in our mind, and we see that these are conditions changing.

I have contemplated doubt itself, as a sign. I’d ask myself a question like, ‘Who am I?’ and then I’d listen for the answer — something like,’Sumedho Bhikkhu’. Then I’d think, ‘That’s not the answer, who are you really?’ I’d see the struggle, the habitual reaction to find an answer to the question. But I would not accept any conceptual answer. ‘Who is it sitting here? What is this? What’s this here? Who is thinking anyway? What is it that thinks?’ When a state of uncertainty or doubt would arise I would just look at that uncertainty of doubt as a sign, because the mind stops there and goes blank, and then emptiness arises.

I found it a useful way of emptying the mind by asking myself unanswerable questions, which would cause doubt to arise. Doubt is an impermanent condition. Form, the known, is impermanent; not knowing is impermanent. Some days I would just go out and look at Nature, observe myself just standing here, looking at the ground. I’d ask myself, ‘Is the ground separate from myself?’ ‘ What is that, who is that who sees the ground?’ Is that ground with those leaves, are those leaves in my mind or outside my mind?’ ‘What is it that sees, is it the eyeball?’ If I took my eyeball out would it be separated from myself, taken out of the socket, would I still see those leaves? Or is that ground there when I’m not looking at it?,’ ‘Who is the one that’s conscious of this anyway?’ And sound. I did some experiments with sound because the objects of sight have a certain solidity like this room — it seems fairly permanent, you know, for today at least. But sound is truly anicca – try to get hold of sound and hold it.

Investigating my senses in this way — can my eyes hear sound? If I cut off my ears and ear drums, will there be any sound? Can I see and hear in exactly the same moment? All sense organs and their objects are impermanent, changing conditions. Think right now, ‘Where is your mother? Where is my mother right now?’ If I think of her in her flat in California it’s a concept in the mind. Even if I think ‘California is over there’, that’s still the mind thinking over there’. Mother is a concept isn’t it? So where is the mother right now? She is in the mind: when the word ‘mother’ comes up, you hear the word as a sound and it brings up a mental image or a memory or a feeling of like or dislike or indifference.

All concepts in the mind which we take for reality are to be investigated: know what concepts do to the mind. Notice the pleasure you get from thinking about certain concepts and the displeasure that other concepts bring. You have prejudices, biases, about race, nationality — these are all concepts, or conceptional proliferations. Men have certain attitudes and biases about women, and women have certain attitudes and biases about men: this is just inherent in those identities. But in meditation, ‘female’ is a concept, and ‘male’ is a concept, a feeling, a perception in the mind. So in this practice of vipassana you are penetrating with insight into the nature of all conditions, coarse or refined. Insight breaks down the illusions that these concepts give us, the illusions that they are real.

Now talking like this, people might question: ‘How do you live in this society then, if it’s all unreal?’ The Buddha made a very clear distinction between conventional reality and ultimate reality. On the conventional level of existence you use conventions that bring harmony to yourself and to the society you live in. What kind of conventions bring harmony? Well, things like being good, being mindful, not doing things that cause disharmony, such as stealing, cheating others, exploiting others. Having respect for other beings, having compassion, being observant, trying to help: all these conventions bring harmony.

So in the Buddhist teaching on the conventional level we live in a way that is to do good and refrain from doing evil with the body and speech. So it’s not as if we are rejecting the conventional world ‘I want nothing to do with it because its an illusion’- that’s another illusion. Thinking that the conventional world is an illusion is another thought.

In our practice, we see that thought is thought, ‘the world is an illusion’ is a thought. ‘ the world is not an illusion,’ ia a thught. But here and now, be aware that all we are conscious of is changing. Live mindfully, put effort and concentration into what you do, whether you’re sitting, walking, laying down or working. Whether yu’re a man or a woman, a secretary. housewife of labourer or executive or whatever, apply effort and concentration. Do good and refrain from doing evil. This is how a Buddhist lives within the conventional forms of society. But they are no longer deluded by the body or the society, or the things that go on in society, because a Buddhist is one who examines and investagates the universe by investigating their own body.

Ajahn Sumedho


Repentance


Repentance

By Master Yin-Shun

The non-Buddhist or free thinkers always feel that it is an act of superstition when they see Buddhists repent or chant. To repent is to admit one’s mistake. Everyone of us, from the past until the present, have committed countless wrong and evil deeds. We have left behind the karma that brings us sufferings and obstructs our progress towards enlightenment and freedom. In order to reduce and get rid of this karma that is obstructing and bringing suffering to us, we should repent in front of the Buddha or the Sangha and admit our mistakes, so that the past evil karma can be reduced. There are methods of repentance in Buddhism and these are equivalent to the confession’ in Christianity.

This practice is very important for us to progress further along the path of Buddhahood. One must repent for oneself with great sincerity. Then this repentance can be beneficial and comply with the teaching of the Buddha.

People generally do not know how to repent. So, what should we do? The great masters in the past thus compiled some procedures and observances that one could follow if one wants to repent. They taught us to chant word by word, contemplate and understand the teaching behind it. The services of repentance teaches us how to pay respect to the Buddha, seeking for the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas, loving kindness and compassionate protection. We should admit our own mistakes, knowing that killing, stealing and adultery are evil deeds, sincerely repenting our past evil deeds and be determined to practice for a better future. These are the procedures of repentance taught by the great masters in the past. However, the most important aim of these services is to develop one’s mind to correcting oneself and repent sincerely for one’s past evil deeds.

Some people cannot even read the readily written procedures, hence, they invite the monks or nuns to lead them during the repentance. As time passes, it gradually turns out to be that these people do not even know that they should repent, and only employ the monks and nuns to repent for them. Some, when their parents or family members pass away, in order to release the past evil karma of the parents and the other family members, invite the monks or nuns to do a repentance service for them. They hope that relying on the merits of the Triple Gem, the death may be relieved from the realms of suffering. However, sometimes they do not understand the real purpose of the teaching and only emphasise on how big the ceremony should be; or do it for the sake of tradition, and spend money to employ the monks or nuns to do the services for them. They do not have faith in Buddhism, and do not show any sincerity in repenting themselves. In this case the purpose of these repentance services will not be achieved.

Gradually, the purpose of the services for repentance becomes vague. The Buddhist devotees do not repent and request the monks or nuns to do everything for them, As a result, the monks and nuns are busy with all these services all day; to do the service for this family today, and the next family tomorrow. And these services become the only activity in some of the monasteries, with the main task of the monks and nuns being neglected. This is one of the causes of lack of faith in Buddhism nowadays.

Repentance has to come from within. If one repents sincerely, even for just an hour, it has better merits than inviting a lot of people and conducting a few days services but not repenting oneself. If one understands this theory, and would like to show one’s filial piety to the one’s parents, the best merit will be to do the repentance oneself. It is not right to regard the services of repentance or other services as the occupation of the monks or nuns, as this will not bring any good to the society, but creates more misunderstanding and defamation for Buddhism.

By Master Yin-Shun

https://amitabhabuddha.wordpress.com/miao-yun-by-ven-master-yin-shun/common-buddhist-misunderstandings/

Chapter 6 Common Buddhist Misunderstandings ( Suffering/Emptiness/Out Wordly ‘Supra-mundane’ and other misunderstandings) from the Selected Translations of Miao Yun ,Book 1
(Master Yin Shun’s English translations)

____________________________________________________________________________

Discourse on Repentance 1

AT ONE TIME there was a large gathering of literary men and commoners gathered from Kwong-chow, Shiu-chow and other places, to listen to the Patriarch’s words at his monastery of Tso-kai. The Patriarch ascended his platform and delivered the following address:–

Come, good people. In Buddhism we should start from our Essence of Mind. Let us purify our minds always and from one momentary sensation to another. Let us follow the Path by our own effort, recognise our own Essence-body, realise that our own mind is Buddha, and free ourselves by a voluntary observance of the disciplinary rules,–then this gathering will not be in vain. You have all come from distant places: and your gathering here shows the affinity that exists among us. Let us now sit down together in the Indian fashion for Dhyana, while I first lead you in the ritual of Repentance (Ksamayati).

p. 258

When they were seated the Patriarch continued:–The first is the Sila Incense (Behavior), which symbolises that our minds are free from all taint of misdeeds, evil, jealousy, avarice, anger, spoilation and hatred. The second is Samadhi Incense, which symbolises that our mind is serene under all circumstances–favorable or unfavorable. The third is Prajna Incense, which means that our minds are free from all impediments; that we constantly seek to realise our Mind-essence with wisdom; that we refrain from all evil; that we do all kinds of good acts with no attachment to the fruit of such action; and that we are respectful toward our superiors, considerate of our inferiors, and sympathetic for the destitute and those in trouble. The fourth is the Incense of Liberation, which means that our minds are in such a perfectly free state that they cling to nothing and bother themselves neither with good nor evil. The fifth is the Incense of “Knowledge gained because of the attainment of Liberation.” When our minds cling to neither good nor evil, we should take care not to let them go to the other extreme of vacuity and remain in a state of inertia. At this point we should study and seek to broaden our knowledge so that we can understand our own minds, thoroughly understand the principles of Buddhism, be considerate of others in our dealings with them, get rid of the idea of “self” and “existence,” and realise that up to the time when we obtain enlightenment (Bodhi) our true nature (Tathata) is immutable.

Learned Audience:–This five-fold Incense perfumes us from within; we should not seek it without. Now I want to explain to you this Ritual of Repentance

p. 259

which is designed to expiate our sins whether committed in the present, the past or future lives; and whether physical, or by word, or by thought. (In Buddhist thought, sin is considered not in a legal sense as something to be punished, or forgiven, or atoned for by sacrifice, but in its cause-and-effect aspect of Karma and its maturing.)

Please follow me carefully and repeat together what I am going to say. May we, disciples (from such and such a village), be always free from the taint of ignorance and delusion. We repent of all our past, present and future sins and evil deeds committed under delusion or in ignorance. May their karma be expiated at once and may they never rise again.

May we, disciples (from such and such a village), be always free from taint of arrogance and dishonesty. We repent of all our past, present and future evil deeds done in an arrogant or dishonest spirit. May their karma be expiated at once and may they never rise again.

May we, disciples (from such and such a village), be always free from taint of envy and jealousy. We repent of all our past, present and future evil deeds done in an envious or jealous spirit. May their karma be expiated at once and may they never rise again.

As you will notice, there are two aspects to this repentance ritual: One refers to repentance for past sin; we ought to repent for all our past sins and evil deeds committed under delusion or ignorance, arrogance or dishonesty, jealousy or envy, so as to put an end to all of them. This is one aspect of repentance. The other aspect refers to future conduct. Having realised the

p. 260

evil nature of our transgression we make a vow that hereafter we will put an end to all evil deeds committed under delusion or ignorance, arrogance or dishonesty, envy or jealousy, and that we will never sin again. This is the second aspect of repentance. On account of ignorance and delusion, common people do not always appreciate that in repentance they must not only feel sorry for their past sins, but must also refrain from sinning in the future. Since they often take no heed as to their future conduct, they commit the same sins over again almost before the past ones are expiated. How can we call that repentance?

Learned Audience: Having repented of our sins, we should take the following all-embracing vows: Listen very carefully:–

Our Mind-essence is potential of an infinite number of sentient beings. We vow to bring them all unto deliverance.

We vow to get rid of the evil passions of our minds, inexhaustible though they seem.

We vow to learn the countless systems of Dharma in our Mind-essence.

We vow to attain the Supreme Buddhahood of our Mind-essence.

We have now vowed to deliver an infinite number of sentient beings; but what does that mean? It does not mean that I, Hui-neng is going to deliver them. And who are these sentient beings, potential within our minds? They are the delusive mind, the deceitful mind, the evil mind, and such like–all these are sentient beings. Each of them has to be delivered by oneself by means of his own Essence of Mind; only by his own deliverance, is it genuine.

p. 261

Now, what does it mean, “delivering oneself by one’s own Essence of Mind?’ It means the deliverance of the ignorant, delusive, and the vexatious beings that spring up within our own mind, by means of Right Views. With the aid of Right Views and Prajna, the barriers thrown up by these delusive and ignorant beings may be broken down; so that each of us will be in a position to deliver himself by his own efforts. The false will be delivered by truthfulness; the delusive by enlightenment; the ignorant by wisdom; and the malevolent by benevolence; such is genuine deliverance.

As to the vow; “to get rid of the inexhaustible evil passions,” that refers to the transcendence of our unreliable and illusive thinking faculty by the transcendental Wisdom (Prajna) of our Mind-essence. As to the vow: “to learn the countless systems of Dharma”; there will be no true knowledge until we have been brought face to face with our Essence of Mind, by our conforming to the orthodox Dharma on all occasions. As to the vow, “to attain Supreme Buddahood”; I wish to point out that when we are able to control our mind to follow the true and orthodox Dharma on all occasions, and when Prajna always rises in our minds, so that we can hold aloof from both ignorance and enlightenment, and can do away with falsehood as well as truth, then we may consider ourselves as having realised our Buddha-nature, or, in other words, having attained Buddhahood.

Learned Audience: we should always bear in mind that we are following the Path for thereby strength is added to our vows. Now, since we have all taken the four-fold vows, I will teach you the Ritual of the threefold Guidance.

p. 262

We take “Enlightenment” as our Guide, because it is the fruit of both merit (Punya) and Wisdom (Prajna).

We take “Orthodoxy” as our Guide, because it is the best way to get rid of desire.

We take “Purity” as our Guide, because it is the noblest quality of mankind.

Hereafter let Shakyamuni, the Enlightened One, be our guide and on no account should we listen to the suggestions of Mara, the evil one, of any heretic. We should testify to ourselves by constantly appealing to the “Three Gems” or our Essence of Mind, in which I advise you to take refuge. They are:

Buddha, which stands for Enlightenment;
Dharma, which stands for Orthodoxy;
Sangha, which stands for Purity
.

To take refuge in Enlightenment so that evil and delusive notions do not arise, so that desire decreases, discontent becomes unknown, and lust and greed no longer bind us–this is the fruitage of Punya and Prajna. To take refuge in Orthodoxy so that from momentary sensation to another we will be free from wrong views–this is the best means of getting rid of desires. To take refuge in Purity so that no matter under what circumstance we may be, we will not become contaminated by wearisome sense objects, by craving nor by desire–this is the noblest quality of mankind. To practise the “Three-fold Guidance” as thus outlined means to take refuge in one’s Mind-essence. Ignorant people often take the “Three-fold Guidance” without understanding it. They say that they take

p. 263

refuge in Buddha: do they know where he is? If they cannot conceive Buddha, how can they take refuge in him? Would not such an assertion amount to self-deception? Each of you should examine this point for himself, so that his energy may not be misapplied through ignorance. The Sutra distinctly says that each should take refuge in the Buddha within himself. It does not refer to any other Buddhas, hence if we do not take refuge in the Buddha of our own Mind-essence, there is nowhere else for us to go. Having cleared this point, let each of us take refuge in the “Three jewels” of his own mind. Within, each should control his own mind; without, each should be respectful toward others–this is the way to take refuge within ourselves.

I have a stanza, the reciting and practising of which will at once dispel the delusions and expiate the sins accumulated during many kalpas. This is the stanza:–

People under delusion accumulate tainted merit but tread not the Path.
They are under the illusion that to accumulate merit and to tread the Path are one and the same thing.
Their merit for alms-giving and offerings may be infinite,
But they fail to realise that the ultimate source of sin lies in the greed, hatred and infatuation within their own mind.
They expect to expiate their sin by the accumulation of merit,
Without knowing that the felicities to be gained thereby in future lives
, p. 264
Have nothing to do with expiation of sin.
If we get rid of the sin within our own mind
Then it is a case of true repentance.
One who realises suddenly what constitutes true repentance in the Mahayana sense,
And who ceases to do evil and practises righteousness, is free from sin
.

*

Essence of Mind (Tathata) is the real Buddha,
While heretical views and the three poisonous elements are Mara.
Enlightened by Right Views, we call forth the Buddha within us.
When our nature is dominated by the three poisonous elements, as the result of heretical views,
We are said to be possessed by Mara;
But when Right Views free our minds of these poison elements,
Mara will, be transformed into a real Buddha.
A follower of the Path who keeps constant watch on his Mind-essence
Is in the same class with the many Buddhas.
Our Patriarchs transmitted no other system but this of “Sudden Enlightenment.”
If you are seeking Dharmakaya,
Search for it apart from the world of things and phenomena,
Then your mind will be pure and free.
Exert yourself in order to come face to face with Mind-essence and relax not;
For death may come suddenly and put an end to your earthly existence
.

p. 265

Learned Audience:–All of you should recite this stanza and put it into practice. If you succeed in realising Essence of Mind, then you may think of yourselves as being in my presence though you may be a thousand miles away. But should you be unable to do so, though we were face to face with each other, we would really be thousands of miles apart. In that case what is the use of your taking the trouble to come here from such a long distance? Take good care of yourselves. I bid you good-bye.

A BUDDHIST BIBLE by BY DWIGHT GODDARD 1932

The Way Of Faith ~ by Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai


The Way Of Faith ~ by Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai

Those who take refuge in the three treasures, the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, are called the disciples of Buddha. The disciples of Buddha observe the four parts of mind-control—the precepts, faith, offering and wisdom.
The disciples of Buddha practise the five precepts: not to kill, not to steel, not to commit adultery, not to lie, and not to take intoxicants of any kind.
The disciples of Buddha have faith in the Buddha’s perfect wisdom. They try to keep away from greediness and selfishness and to practice offering. They understand the law of cause and effect, keeping in mind the transiency of life and conform to the norm of wisdom.

A tree leaning toward the east will naturally fall eastward and so those who listen to the Buddha’s teaching and maintain faith in it will surely be born in the Buddha’s Pure Land.
It had rightly been said that those who believe in the three treasures of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha are called the disciples of Buddha.

The Buddha is the one who attained perfect Enlightenment and used his attainment to emancipate and bless all mankind. The Dharma is the truth, the spirit of Enlightenment and the teaching that explains it. The Sangha is the perfect brotherhood of believers in the Buddha and Dharma.
We speak of Buddhahood, the Dharma and the Brotherhood as though they are three different things, but they are really one. Buddha is manifested in His Dharma and is realized by the Brotherhood. Therefore, to believe in the Dharma and to cherish the Brotherhood is to have faith in the Buddha, and to have faith in the Buddha means to believe in the Dharma and to cherish the Brotherhood.
Therefore, people are emancipated and enlightened simply by having faith in the Buddha. Buddha is the perfectly Enlightened One and He loves everyone as though each were His only child. So if anyone regards Buddha as his own parent, he identifies himself with Buddha and attains Enlightenment.
Those who thus regard Buddha will be supported by His wisdom and perfumed by His grace.

Nothing in the world brings greater benefit than to believe in Buddha. Just hearing Buddha’s name, believing and being pleased even for a moment, is incomparably rewarding.
Therefore, one must please oneself by seeking the teaching of Buddha in spite of the conflagration that fills all the world.

It will be hard to meet a teacher who can explain the Dharma; it will be harder to meet a Buddha; but it will be hardest to believe in His teachings.
But now that you have met the Buddha, who is hard to meet, and have had it explained to you what is hard to hear, you ought to rejoice and believe and have faith in Buddha.
On the long journey of human life, faith is the best of companions; it is the best refreshment on the journey and it is the greatest possession.

Click here for a free copy of The Teachings of Buddha by Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai