Whence?

22279804_1116160435180495_9004800618825953625_nFrom attachment springs grief,

From attachment springs fear.

For one who is wholly free from attachment

There is no grief, whence then fear?

From lust springs grief, from lust springs fear.

For one who is wholly free from lust

There is no grief; whence then fear?

From craving springs grief, from craving springs fear.

For one who is wholly free from craving

There is no grief; whence then fear?

—Buddha Shakyamuni, Dhp XVI, Piyavagga

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Difficult and Easy

65e9f6621ad83c2be605942ab1dafaaf (1)There are innumerable modes of entry into the Buddha’s teaching. Just as there are in the world difficult and easy paths —travelling on foot by land is full of hardship, and traveling in a boat by sea is pleasant—so it is among the paths of the Bodhisattvas. Some exert themselves diligently, while others quickly enter Non-Retrogression by the easy practice based on serene trust. […] 

All who are mindful of that Buddha’s infinite power and merit will instantly enter the stage of Non-Retrogression. So I am always mindful of the Buddha Amideva. […] 

With whatever merit I have acquired in this and previous lives, I wish to be in the presence of the Buddha Amideva and attain eternal purity of heart.

—Arya Nagarjuna, Dashabhumika-vibhasa

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Real Mindfulness

8f149c267e63931d58a5dc1f9848587d--buddhist-philosophy-bodhisattvaMindfulness is often misrepresented as the practice of “being here now”, but what did the Buddha teach?

One is mindful to abandon wrong view and to enter and remain in Right View.

One is mindful to abandon wrong intention and to enter and remain in Right Thought.

One is mindful to abandon wrong speech and to enter and remain in Right Speech.

One is mindful to abandon wrong conduct and to enter and remain in Right Conduct.

One is mindful to abandon wrong livelihood and to enter and remain in Right Livelihood.

This is Right Mindfulness. —Buddha Shakyamuni, Maha-Cattarisaka Sutta

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Dharma Schools

300px-Dol_po_pa_1_copyThere are many boats the shore —some large, some small; some strong, some feeble; some beautiful, some not; some full, some almost empty; some rich, some poor; some sea-worthy, some not; some propelled by rowing, some by sail…

So are the schools of Dharma: they have a captain, a crew, and a shape. Check out the captain, inspect the crew, see if the structure of the boat is sound.

An experienced captain might tell you of a place you had never considered as a destination.

When you choose a boat, you must first ask where it is going. Not all are going where you may want to go, and some will not go the distance.

Once on board, it is dangerous to attempt to jump onto another boat.

Sometimes, however, if the boat makes water, you must jump.

Have no fear, there are life-savers!

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There is no “license”

imagesRare is it to be born into human form,

yet we take the lives of other sentient beings

to satisfy our craving for the taste of flesh,

this being something that we should never do,

and even the Tathagata thus sets forth strict precepts against it.

—Shinran Shonin

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Contemplation

12509032_445648505629325_8943463534646617412_nThere is one contemplation which, when often practiced and much developed, leads to the complete turning away from the world, to detachment, to stilling, to ceasing, to peace, to final penetrating knowledge, to Enlightenment, and thus to Nirvana.

Noble disciples, who by progress have understood the true Dharma, dwell frequently in this state. Which is that one contemplation? It is reflecting over the qualities of the Buddha exactly like this:

Worthy, honorable, and perfectly self-Enlightened is the Buddha.

Consummated in knowledge and behavior, totally transcended,

expert in all dimensions, knower of all worlds,

unsurpassable trainer of those who can be tamed,

teacher and guide to gods and humans,

blessed, exalted, awakened, and perfectly enlightened is the Buddha.

—Anguttara Nikāya

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Nothing Else

item08_mainimgWe are all foolish beings (prthagjnana= lacking wisdom). The sincere mind is the true understanding that even though we are, by nature, pure Light, since time immemorial we have been subject to the delusions of cognitive and affective obscurations.

This foolishness cannot be eradicated by the mere exercise of the will, intellect, and effort of the false self. The deep mind looks to those enlightened Buddhas and Great Bodhisattvas who have come before us, and rejoices in Their virtue. The aspiring mind accepts the transference of Their merit to our liberation and enlightenment and, with gratitude, dedicates all our merit to the welfare of others.

It helps to remember the process when we encounter suffering in the world. The process of recovering our Buddha Nature —our enLIGHTenment— is gentle, persistent, and skillful. Very few beings, if any, are open to direct intervention, as our false selves will perceive such directness as an attack, and will recoil from it.

Bodhisattvas employ the four teaching principles of the Buddha: generosity, encouragement, sharing, and example. If and when persons ask for a more direct approach, we may be more explicit in sharing the Dharma, but we still must observe the other three principles.

We might break every precept; we might engage in countless dramas. We are subject to attachment, aversion, and indifference. We are all foolish beings.

But we simply go on relying on Buddha Nature, Unbounded Light, and dedicate our merit, however small, to all other sentient beings. There’s nothing else we can do, and nothing else is necessary.

om amideva hrih

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