Innumerable Beings

16427714_10210104816049821_8134499034600387556_nHowever many species of living beings there are

—whether born from eggs, from the womb, from division, or spontaneously;

whether they have form or do not have form;

whether they have perceptions or do not have perceptions;

or whether it cannot be said of them that they have perceptions

or that they do not have perceptions—

we must lead all these beings to the ultimate nirvana so that they can be liberated.

And when this innumerable, immeasurable, infinite number of beings

has become liberated, we do not, in truth,

think that a single being has been liberated.

—Buddha Shakyamuni, Diamond Sutra

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Single

22519416_2084721418481075_2302685706424814809_nThe very moment of remembering the Buddha

is the very mo­ment of seeing the Buddha

and the very mo­ment of becoming the Buddha.

The very moment of seeking birth in the Pure Land

is the very moment of attaining birth in the Pure Land

and the very moment of liberating all beings.

The three margins of time are all a single, identical time.

There is no before and after.

— Jixing Chewu

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Undeceiving

17190505_1481685678529848_2194111065249882605_nThe Tathagata speaks of things as they are,

speaks what is true, and speaks in accord with reality.

He does not speak deceptively or to please people.

—Buddha Shakyamuni, Diamond Sutra

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Separated

14462898_1307219615976456_121855462349982519_nWhat we call “I” is blind passions.

If there is any attachment to the self, the Dharma that is practiced and the practitioner attached to the self are separated from each other, so it is altogether impossible for practice to be fulfilled.

All the teachings of Shakyamuni’s entire lifetime are thus.

—Ippen Shonin

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Vows

26231500_1068272843324451_8867248289443846923_n“I didn’t want to think it.” “I didn’t mean to say it.” “I didn’t intend to do it.” How many times have we said these or similar words to ourselves or others? When we entertain unwelcome thoughts, utter words that should remain unspoken, or do what should be left undone, we have allowed our wrong views and afflicted emotions to drag us into committing unskillful acts.

When we act (in thought, word, or deed) impelled by attachment, aversion, or indifference, we are living by karma. We are slaves to physical, emotional, and mental tendencies that are, in turn, the product of our previous acts. We are indentured to the past. We are not actors, but re-actors, constantly forced by external circumstances to conduct ourselves in ways we may come to regret.

Some are of the opinion that making Vows restricts or negates freedom. However, the ‘freedom’ to be bound by desire, to be led here and there by the dictates of body and mind, is not freedom at all. It is abject submission to mere mood, habit, and circumstance.

The Bodhisattvas, on the way to enlightenment, refuse to succumb to the sway of karma. Bodhisattvas are guided by Vows: the intentional adoption of guidelines that align us with the Dharma and advance our spiritual cultivation.

To live by Vow —to decide for ourselves what thoughts we will entertain, what words we will speak, and what deeds we will perform— that is true freedom.

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Never Forget

wpid-taranatha-e5a49ae7bd97e982a3e4bb96e5a4a7e5b888-13-jpg

Birth is suffering.

Aging is suffering.

Disease is suffering.

Death is suffering.

I am separated from those I love.

I seek what I want but do not find it.

I encounter the unpleasant at every step.

Making my body the chariot,

my calves the horse, my arms the reins, my head the whip,

I drive myself south and pull myself north,

but not one of my aims is reached.

—Jetsun Taranatha

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Never Forget

wpid-taranatha-e5a49ae7bd97e982a3e4bb96e5a4a7e5b888-13-jpgBirth is suffering.

Aging is suffering.

Disease is suffering.

Death is suffering.

I am separated from those I love.

I seek what I want but do not find it.

I encounter the unpleasant at every step.

Making my body the chariot,

my calves the horse, my arms the reins, my head the whip,

I drive myself south and pull myself north,

but not one of my aims is reached.

—Jetsun Taranatha

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