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This blog is created by a Buddhist living in Singapore. He embraces the Mahayana spirit of Bodhicitta, deeply respecting all Buddhist Traditions as expressions of Kindness guiding us on the path towards human perfection ~ Buddhahood.

He likes to post stuff that he had read or think is good to share here, sometimes he adds a little comments here and there... just sometimes..

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“Sariputra, if there are people who have already made the vow, who now make the vow, or who are about to make the vow, ‘I desire to be born in Amitabha’s country,’ these people, whether born in the past, now being born, or to be born in the future, all will irreversibly attain to anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Therefore, Sariputra, all good men and good women, if they are among those who have faith, should make the vow, ‘I will be born in that country.’”

~ Amitabha Sutra

When I obtain the Buddhahood, any being of the boundless and inconceivable Buddha-worlds of the ten quarters whose body if be touched by the rays of my splendour should not make his body and mind gentle and peaceful, in such a state that he is far more sublime than the gods and men, then may I not attain the enlightenment.

~ Amitabha Buddha's Thirty-Third Vow

Saturday, February 28, 2009

True Realization of the Pure Land Way

Shinran 親鸞 (May 21, 1173 – January 16, 1263)

To reveal, with reverence, the true realization: It is the wondrous state attained through Amida's perfect benefiting of others; it is the ultimate fruition of supreme nirvana. It arises from the Vow of necessary attainment of nirvana, also known as the Vow of realization of great nirvana.

When foolish beings possessed of blind passions, the multitudes caught in birth-and-death and defiled by evil karma, realize the mind an practice that Amida directs to them for their going forth, they immediately join the truly settled of the Mahayana. Because they dwell among the truly settled, they necessarily attain nirvana. To necessarily attain nirvana is [to attain] eternal bliss. Eternal bliss is ultimate tranquility. Tranquility is supreme nirvana. Supreme nirvana is uncreated dharma-body. Uncreated dharma-body is true reality. True reality is dharma-nature. Dharma-nature is suchness. Suchness is oneness. Amida Tathagata comes forth from suchness and manifests various bodies - fulfilled, accommodated, and transformed.

ch. IV, v. 1

~End of Post~


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Anatta-lakkhana Sutta: The Discourse on the Not-self Characteristic

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Varanasi in the Game Refuge at Isipatana. There he addressed the group of five monks:

"Form, monks, is not self. If form were the self, this form would not lend itself to dis-ease. It would be possible [to say] with regard to form, 'Let this form be thus. Let this form not be thus.' But precisely because form is not self, form lends itself to dis-ease. And it is not possible [to say] with regard to form, 'Let this form be thus. Let this form not be thus.'

"Feeling is not self...

"Perception is not self...

"[Mental] fabrications are not self...

"Consciousness is not self. If consciousness were the self, this consciousness would not lend itself to dis-ease. It would be possible [to say] with regard to consciousness, 'Let my consciousness be thus. Let my consciousness not be thus.' But precisely because consciousness is not self, consciousness lends itself to dis-ease. And it is not possible [to say] with regard to consciousness, 'Let my consciousness be thus. Let my consciousness not be thus.'

"What do you think, monks — Is form constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"...Is feeling constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."...

"...Is perception constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."...

"...Are fabrications constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."...

"What do you think, monks — Is consciousness constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"Thus, monks, any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every form is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

"Any feeling whatsoever...

"Any perception whatsoever...

"Any fabrications whatsoever...

"Any consciousness whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every consciousness is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the group of five monks delighted at his words. And while this explanation was being given, the hearts of the group of five monks, through not clinging (not being sustained), were fully released from fermentation/effluents.

北傳:雜阿含34經 南傳:相應部22相應59經 /南北傳經文比對 /巴利語經文



  2.北傳經文的「餘五比丘」,南傳經文作「[那]群五比丘」(pañcavaggiye bhikkhū,直譯為「五群比丘」),菩提比丘長老英譯為「五位成一群的比丘們」(the bhikkus of the group of five)。
  4.北傳經文「亦不得於色欲令如是,不令如是」,南傳經文作「也應能願色為:『我的色要這樣;我的色不要這樣。』」(labbhetha ca rūpe– ‘evaṃ me rūpaṃ hotu, evaṃ me rūpaṃ mā ahosī’ti),菩提比丘長老英譯為「那將可能得其色:『讓我的色是這樣,讓我的色不是這樣。』」(it would be possible to have it of form: ‘Let my form be thus; let my form not be thus’)。此處南北傳經文文義似乎相反,但如果將北傳經文理解成從「他者」的角度來看,將南傳經文理解成「『我』自身」的度來看,則含意是一樣的。
  5.「已受教導的聖弟子」(sutavā ariyasāvako,另譯為「多聞聖弟子」),菩提比丘長老英譯為「已受教導的崇高弟子」(the instructed noble disciple)。「聖弟子」參看《雜阿含1經》「經文比對」。
  9.北傳經文的「不起諸漏,心得解脫」,南傳經文作「心由不執取而從諸煩惱解脫」(anupādāya āsavehi cittāni vimucciṃsūti),菩提比丘長老英譯為「心以不執著而從污點自由了」(the mind ……were liberated from the taints by nonclinging)。「煩惱」,另譯為「漏」,參看《雜阿含55經》「經文比對」。
  14.南傳經文「悅意的[那]群五比丘們」的「悅意的」(attamana,另譯為「適意的;滿意的」),菩提比丘長老英譯為「得意洋洋的;興高采烈的」(elated)或「滿意與喜悅」(was satisfied and delighted)。
  16.南傳經文經名「無我相經」(anattalakkhaṇasuttaṃ),菩提比丘長老英譯為「無自我特徵」(The Characteristic of Nonself)。

SN.22.59 (7). Anattalakkhaṇasuttaṃ
59. Ekaṃ samayaṃ bhagavā bārāṇasiyaṃ viharati isipatane migadāye. Tatra kho bhagavā pañcavaggiye bhikkhū āmantesi– “bhikkhavo”ti. “Bhadante”ti te bhikkhū bhagavato paccassosuṃ. Bhagavā etadavoca–
“Rūpaṃ, bhikkhave, anattā. Rūpañca hidaṃ, bhikkhave, attā abhavissa, nayidaṃ rūpaṃ ābādhāya saṃvatteyya, labbhetha ca rūpe– ‘evaṃ me rūpaṃ hotu, evaṃ me rūpaṃ mā ahosī’ti. Yasmā ca kho, bhikkhave, rūpaṃ anattā, tasmā rūpaṃ ābādhāya saṃvattati, na ca labbhati rūpe– ‘evaṃ me rūpaṃ hotu, evaṃ me rūpaṃ mā ahosī’”ti.
“Vedanā anattā. Vedanā ca hidaṃ, bhikkhave, attā abhavissa, nayidaṃ vedanā ābādhāya saṃvatteyya, labbhetha ca vedanāya– ‘evaṃ me vedanā hotu, evaṃ me vedanā mā ahosī’ti. Yasmā ca kho, bhikkhave, vedanā anattā, tasmā vedanā ābādhāya saṃvattati na ca labbhati vedanāya– ‘evaṃ me vedanā hotu, evaṃ me vedanā mā ahosī’”ti.
“Saññā anattā …pe… saṅkhārā anattā. Saṅkhārā ca hidaṃ, bhikkhave, attā abhavissaṃsu, nayidaṃ saṅkhārā ābādhāya saṃvatteyyuṃ, labbhetha ca saṅkhāresu– ‘evaṃ me saṅkhārā hontu, evaṃ me saṅkhārā mā ahesun’ti. Yasmā ca kho, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā anattā, tasmā saṅkhārā ābādhāya saṃvattanti, na ca labbhati saṅkhāresu– ‘evaṃ me saṅkhārā hontu, evaṃ me saṅkhārā mā ahesun’”ti.
“Viññāṇaṃ anattā. Viññāṇañca hidaṃ, bhikkhave, attā abhavissa, nayidaṃ viññāṇaṃ ābādhāya saṃvatteyya, labbhetha ca viññāṇe– ‘evaṃ me viññāṇaṃ hotu, evaṃ me viññāṇaṃ mā ahosī’ti. Yasmā ca kho, bhikkhave, viññāṇaṃ anattā, tasmā viññāṇaṃ ābādhāya saṃvattati, na ca labbhati viññāṇe– ‘evaṃ me viññāṇaṃ hotu, evaṃ me viññāṇaṃ mā ahosī’”ti.
“Taṃ kiṃ maññatha, bhikkhave, rūpaṃ niccaṃ vā aniccaṃ vā”ti? “Aniccaṃ, bhante”. “Yaṃ panāniccaṃ dukkhaṃ vā taṃ sukhaṃ vā”ti? “Dukkhaṃ, bhante”. “Yaṃ panāniccaṃ dukkhaṃ vipariṇāmadhammaṃ, kallaṃ nu taṃ samanupassituṃ– ‘etaṃ mama, esohamasmi, eso me attā’”ti? “No hetaṃ, bhante”. “Vedanā… saññā… saṅkhārā… viññāṇaṃ niccaṃ vā aniccaṃ vā”ti? “Aniccaṃ, bhante”. “Yaṃ panāniccaṃ dukkhaṃ vā taṃ sukhaṃ vā”ti? “Dukkhaṃ bhante”. “Yaṃ panāniccaṃ dukkhaṃ vipariṇāmadhammaṃ, kallaṃ nu taṃ samanupassituṃ– ‘etaṃ mama, esohamasmi, eso me attā’”ti? “No hetaṃ, bhante”.
“Tasmātiha, bhikkhave, yaṃ kiñci rūpaṃ atītānāgatapaccuppannaṃ ajjhattaṃ vā bahiddhā vā oḷārikaṃ vā sukhumaṃ vā hīnaṃ vā paṇītaṃ vā yaṃ dūre santike vā, sabbaṃ rūpaṃ– ‘netaṃ mama, nesohamasmi, na meso attā’ti evametaṃ yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya daṭṭhabbaṃ. Yā kāci vedanā atītānāgatapaccuppannā ajjhattā vā bahiddhā vā …pe… yā dūre santike vā, sabbā vedanā– ‘netaṃ mama, nesohamasmi, na meso attā’ti evametaṃ yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya daṭṭhabbaṃ.
“Yā kāci saññā …pe… ye keci saṅkhārā atītānāgatapaccuppannā ajjhattaṃ vā bahiddhā vā …pe… ye dūre santike vā, sabbe saṅkhārā– ‘netaṃ mama, nesohamasmi, na meso attā’ti evametaṃ yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya daṭṭhabbaṃ.
“Yaṃ kiñci viññāṇaṃ atītānāgatapaccuppannaṃ ajjhattaṃ vā bahiddhā vā oḷārikaṃ vā sukhumaṃ vā hīnaṃ vā paṇītaṃ vā yaṃ dūre santike vā, sabbaṃ viññāṇaṃ– ‘netaṃ mama, nesohamasmi, na meso attā’ti evametaṃ yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya daṭṭhabbaṃ.
“Evaṃ passaṃ, bhikkhave, sutavā ariyasāvako rūpasmimpi nibbindati, vedanāyapi nibbindati, saññāyapi nibbindati, saṅkhāresupi nibbindati, viññāṇasmimpi nibbindati. Nibbindaṃ virajjati; virāgā vimuccati. Vimuttasmiṃ vimuttamiti ñāṇaṃ hoti. ‘Khīṇā jāti, vusitaṃ brahmacariyaṃ, kataṃ karaṇīyaṃ, nāparaṃ itthattāyā’ti pajānātī”ti.
Idamavoca bhagavā. Attamanā pañcavaggiyā bhikkhū bhagavato bhāsitaṃ abhinanduṃ .
Imasmiñca pana veyyākaraṇasmiṃ bhaññamāne pañcavaggiyānaṃ bhikkhūnaṃ anupādāya āsavehi cittāni vimucciṃsūti. Sattamaṃ.


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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dhamma Nature

Dhamma Nature1 A Dhammatalk by Ajahn Chah

Sometimes, when a fruit tree is in bloom, a breeze stirs and scatters blossoms to the ground. Some buds remain and grow into a small green fruit. A wind blows and some of them, too, fall! Still others may become fruit or nearly ripe, or some even fully ripe, before they fall.

And so it is with people. Like flowers and fruit in the wind they, too, fall in different stages of life. Some people die while still in the womb, others within only a few days after birth. Some people live for a few years then die, never having reached maturity. Men and women die in their youth. Still others reach a ripe old age before they die.

When reflecting upon people, consider the nature of fruit in the wind: both are very uncertain.

This uncertain nature of things can also be seen in the monastic life. Some people come to the monastery intending to ordain but change their minds and leave, some with heads already shaved. Others are already novices, then they decide to leave. Some ordain for only one Rains Retreat then disrobe. Just like fruit in the wind - all very uncertain!

Our minds are also similar. A mental impression arises, draws and pulls at the mind, then the mind falls - just like fruit.

The Buddha understood this uncertain nature of things. He observed the phenomenon of fruit in the wind and reflected upon the monks and novices who were his disciples. He found that they, too, were essentially of the same nature - uncertain! How could it be otherwise? This is just the way of all things.

Thus, for one who is practicing with awareness, it isn't necessary to have someone to advise and teach all that much to be able to see and understand. An example is the case of the Buddha who, in a previous life, was King Mahajanaka. He didn't need to study very much. All he had to do was observe a mango tree.

One day, while visiting a park with his retinue of ministers, from atop his elephant, he spied some mango tees heavily laden with ripe fruit. Not being able to stop at that time, he determined in his mind to return later to partake of some. Little did he know, however, that his ministers, coming along behind, would greedily gather them all up; that they would use poles to knock them down, beating and breaking the branches and tearing and scattering the leaves.

Returning in the evening to the mango grove, the king, already imagining in his mind the delicious taste of the mangoes, suddenly discovered that they were all gone, completely finished! And not only that, but the branches and leaves had been thoroughly thrashed and scattered.

The king, quite disappointed and upset, then noticed another mango tree nearby with its leaves and branches still intact. He wondered why. He then realized it was because that tree had no fruit. If a tree has no fruit nobody disturbs it and so its leaves and branches are not damaged. This lesson kept him absorbed in thought all the way back to the palace: ''It is unpleasant, troublesome and difficult to be a king. It requires constant concern for all his subjects. What if there are attempts to attack, plunder and seize parts of his kingdom?'' He could not rest peacefully; even in his sleep he was disturbed by dreams.

He saw in his mind, once again, the mango tree without fruit and its undamaged leaves and branches. ''If we become similar to that mango tree'', he thought, ''our ''leaves'' and ''branches'', too, would not be damaged''.

In his chamber he sat and meditated. Finally, he decided to ordain as a monk, having been inspired by this lesson of the mango tree. He compared himself to that mango tree and concluded that if one didn't become involved in the ways of the world, one would be truly independent, free from worries or difficulties. The mind would be untroubled. Reflecting thus, he ordained.

From then on, wherever he went, when asked who his teacher was, he would answer, ''A mango tree''. He didn't need to receive teaching all that much. A mango tree was the cause of his Awakening to the Opanayiko-Dhamma, the teaching leading inwards. And with this Awakening, he became a monk, one who has few concerns, is content with little, and who delights in solitude. His royal status given up, his mind was finally at peace.

In this story the Buddha was a Bodhisatta who developed his practice in this way continuously. Like the Buddha as King Mahajanaka, we, too, should look around us and be observant because everything in the world is ready to teach us.

With even a little intuitive wisdom, we will then be able to see clearly through the ways of the world. We will come to understand that everything in the world is a teacher. Trees and vines, for example, can all reveal the true nature of reality. With wisdom there is no need to question anyone, no need to study. We can learn from nature enough to be enlightened, as in the story of King Mahajanaka, because everything follows the way of truth. It does not diverge from truth.

Associated with wisdom are self-composure and restraint which, in turn, can lead to further insight into the ways of nature. In this way, we will come to know the ultimate truth of everything being ''anicca-dukkha-anattā''2. Take trees, for example; all trees upon the earth are equal, are One, when seen through the reality of ''anicca-dukkha-anattā''. First, they come into being, then grow and mature, constantly changing, until they die finally die as every tree must.

In the same way, people and animals are born, grow and change during their life-times until they eventually die. The multitudinous changes which occur during this transition from birth to death show the Way of Dhamma. That is to say, all things are impermanent, having decay and dissolution as their natural condition.

If we have awareness and understanding, if we study with wisdom and mindfulness, we will see Dhamma as reality. Thus, we sill see people as constantly being born, changing and finally passing away. Everyone is subject to the cycle of birth and death, and because of this, everyone in the universe is as One being. Thus, seeing one person clearly and distinctly is the same as seeing every person in the world.

In the same way, everything is Dhamma. Not only the things we see with our physical eye, but also the things we see in our minds. A thought arises, then changes and passes away. It is ''nāma dhamma'', simply a mental impression that arises and passes away. This is the real nature of the mind. Altogether, this is the noble truth of Dhamma. If one doesn't look and observe in this way, one doesn't really see! If one does see, one will have the wisdom to listen to the Dhamma as proclaimed by the Buddha.

Where is the Buddha?

The Buddha is in the Dhamma.

Where is the Dhamma?

The Dhamma is in the Buddha.

Right here, now!

Where is the Sangha?

The Sangha is in the Dhamma.

The Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha exist in our minds, but we have to see it clearly. Some people just pick this up casually saying, ''Oh! The Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha exist in my mind''. Yet their own practice is not suitable or appropriate. It is thus not befitting that the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha should be found in their minds, namely, because the ''mind'' must first be that mind which knows the Dhamma.

Bringing everything back to this point of Dhamma, we will come to know that, in the world, truth does exist, and thus it is possible for us to practice to realize it.

For instance, ''nāma dhamma'', feelings, thoughts, imagination, etc., are all uncertain. When anger arises, it grows and changes and finally disappears. Happiness, too, arises, grows and changes and finally disappears. They are empty. They are not any ''thing''. This is always the way of all things, both mentally and materially. Internally, there are this body and mind. Externally, there are trees, vines and all manner of things which display this universal law of uncertainty.

Whether a tree, a mountain or an animal, it's all Dhamma, everything is Dhamma. Where is this Dhamma? Speaking simply, that which is not Dhamma doesn't exist. Dhamma is nature. This is called the ''Sacca Dhamma'', the True Dhamma. If one sees nature, one sees Dhamma; if one sees Dhamma, one sees nature. Seeing nature, one know the Dhamma.

And so, what is the use of a lot of study when the ultimate reality of life, in its every moment, in its every act, is just an endless cycle of births and deaths? If we are mindful and clearly aware when in all postures (sitting, standing, walking, lying), then self-knowledge is ready to be born; that is, knowing the truth of Dhamma already in existence right here and now.

At present, the Buddha, the real Buddha, is still living, for He is the Dhamma itself, the ''Sacca Dhamma''. And ''Sacca Dhamma'', that which enables one to become Buddha, still exists. It hasn't fled anywhere! It gives rise to two Buddhas: one in body and the other in mind.

''The real Dhamma'', the Buddha told Ananda, ''can only be realized through practice''. Whoever sees the Buddha, sees the Dhamma. And how is this? Previously, no Buddha existed; it was only when Siddhattha Gotama3 realized the Dhamma that he became the Buddha. If we explain it in this way, then He is the same as us. If we realize the Dhamma, then we will likewise be the Buddha. This is called the Buddha in mind or ''Nāma Dhamma''.

We must be mindful of everything we do, for we become the inheritors of our own good or evil actions. In doing good, we reap good. In doing evil, we reap evil. All you have to do is look into your everyday lives to know that this is so. Siddhattha Gotama was enlightened to the realization of this truth, and this gave rise to the appearance of a Buddha in the world. Likewise, if each and every person practices to attain to this truth, then they, too, will change to be Buddha.

Thus, the Buddha still exists. Some people are very happy saying, ''If the Buddha still exists, then I can practice Dhamma!'' That is how you should see it.

The Dhamma that the Buddha realized is the Dhamma which exists permanently in the world. It can be compared to ground water which permanently exists in the ground. When a person wishes to dig a well, he must dig down deep enough to reach the ground water. The ground water is already there. He does not create the water, he just discovers it. Similarly, the Buddha did not invent the Dhamma, did not decree the Dhamma. He merely revealed what was already there. Through contemplation, the Buddha saw the Dhamma. Therefore, it is said that the Buddha was enlightened, for enlightenment is knowing the Dhamma. The Dhamma is the truth of this world. Seeing this, Siddhattha Gotama is called ''The Buddha''. And the Dhamma is that which allows other people to become a Buddha, ''One-who-knows'', one who knows Dhamma.

If beings have good conduct and are loyal to the Buddha-Dhamma, then those beings will never be short of virtue and goodness. With understanding, we will see that we are really not far from the Buddha, but sitting face to face with him. When we understand the Dhamma, then at that moment we will see the Buddha.

If one really practices, one will hear the Buddha-Dhamma whether sitting at the root of a tree, lying down or in whatever posture. This is not something to merely think about. It arises from the pure mind. Just remembering these words is not enough, because this depends upon seeing the Dhamma itself, nothing other than this. Thus we must be determined to practice to be able to see this, and then our practice will really be complete. Wherever we sit, stand, walk or lie, we will hear the Buddha's Dhamma.

In order to practice his teaching, the Buddha taught us to live in a quiet place so that we can learn to collect and restrain the senses of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind. This is the foundation for our practice since these are the places where all things arise, and only in these places. Thus we collect and restrain these six senses in order to know the conditions that arise there. All good and evil arise through these six senses. They are the predominant faculties in the body. The eye is predominant in seeing, the ear in hearing, the nose in smelling, the tongue in tasting, the body in contacting hot, cold, hard and soft, and the mind in the arising of mental impressions. All that remains for us to do is to build our practice around these points.

The practice is easy because all that is necessary has already been set down by the Buddha. This is comparable to the Buddha planting an orchard and inviting us to partake of its fruit. We, ourselves, do not need to plant one.

Whether concerning morality, meditation or wisdom, there is no need to create, decree or speculate, because all that we need to do is follow the things which already exist in the Buddha's teaching.

Therefore, we are beings who have much merit and good fortune in having heard the teachings of the Buddha. The orchard already exists, the fruit is already ripe. Everything is already complete and perfect. All that is lacking is someone to partake of the fruit, someone with faith enough to practice!

We should consider that our merit and good fortune are very valuable. All we need to do is look around to see how much other creatures are possessed of ill-fortune; take dogs, pigs, snakes and other creatures for instance. They have no chance to study Dhamma, no chance to know Dhamma, no chance to practice Dhamma. These are beings possessed of ill-fortune who are receiving karmic retribution. When one has no chance to study, to know, to practice Dhamma, then one has no chance to be free from Suffering.

As human beings we should not allow ourselves to become victims of ill-fortune, deprived of proper manners and discipline. Do not become a victim of ill-fortune! That is to say, one without hope of attaining the path of Freedom to Nibbāna, without hope of developing virtue. Do not think that we are already without hope! By thinking in that way, we would then become possessed of ill-fortune the same as other creatures.

We are beings who have come within the sphere of influence of the Buddha. Thus we human beings are already of sufficient merit and resources. If we correct and develop our understanding, opinions and knowledge in the present, then it will lead us to behave and practice in such a way as to see and know Dhamma in this present life as human beings.

We are thus different from other creatures, beings that should be enlightened to the Dhamma. The Buddha taught that at this present moment, the Dhamma exists here in front of us. The Buddha sits facing us right here and now! At what other time or place are you going to look?

If we don't think rightly, if we don't practice rightly, we will fall back to being animals or creatures in Hell or hungry ghosts or demons4. How is this? Just look in your mind. When anger arises, what is it? There it is, just look! When delusion arises, what is it? That's it, right there! When greed arises, what is it? Look at it right there!

By not recognizing and clearly understanding these mental states, the mind changes from being that of a human being. All conditions are in the state of becoming. Becoming gives rise to birth or existence as determined by the present conditions. Thus we become and exist as our minds condition us.


...Dhamma Nature1
Delivered to the Western disciples at Bung Wai Forest Monastery during the rains retreat of 1977, just after one of the senior monks had disrobed and left the monastery
Anicca-dukkha-anattā: the three characteristics of existence, namely: impermanence / instability, suffering / unsatisfactoriness, and not-self / impersonality.
... Gotama3
Siddhattha Gotama: the original name of the historical Buddha. (Buddha, the ''one-who-knows,'' also represents the state of enlightenment or Awakening.
... demons4
According to Buddhist thought beings are born in any of eight states of existence depending on their kamma. These include three heavenly states (where happiness is predominant), the human state, and the four above-mentioned woeful or hell states (where suffering is predominant). The Venerable Ajahn always stresses that we should see these states in our own minds in the present moment. So that depending on the condition of the mind, we can say that we are continually being born in these different states. For instance, when the mind is on fire with anger then we have fallen from the human state and have been born in hell right here and now.

Books by Ajahn Chah (Click to browse Amazon Reader Reviews)
~ Food for the Heart: The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah
~ Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away: Teachings on Impermanence and the End of Suffering
~ Being Dharma: The Essence of the Buddha's Teachings


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Monday, February 16, 2009


— 盘珪永琢 (Bankei Yōtaku)











  只要大家能够究极这颗灵明、不生的佛心决定不疑,以不生的佛心自处者,即可说是从今日起尽未来 际的佛如来。如果“佛”只是一个名相,那么悟得不生之理的人就是居于诸佛之根本。不生的佛心为一要之本、一切之始。没有不生,就没有一切之本,万物也无所为始,所以说不生之佛心是居于诸佛之根本。















  注一  阿修罗和简称,是一种常与帝释天战斗的鬼神。

  注二  佛教将未开悟的世界分为六道,即天、人、修罗、畜生、饿鬼、地狱。其中的畜生、饿鬼、及地狱三道,是苦不堪忍的世界,故被称为“三恶道”。

  注三  是传说中每三千年一花一次的植物。

  注四  眼、耳、鼻、舌、身、意。眼是视根,耳是听根,鼻是嗅根,舌是味根,身是触根,意是念虑之根。根者能生之义,如草木有根、能生枝杆,识依根而生,有眼根则能生眼识,余可类推。

  注五  又名为六尘,即色、声、香、味、触、法,因此六境是眼、耳、鼻、舌、身、意六根所对之境界,故名六境。


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Bankei's Song of Original Mind

Bankei Yōtaku

Unborn and imperishable
Is the original mind
Earth, water, fire and wind
A temporary lodging for the night

Attached to this
Ephemeral burning house
You yourselves light the fire, kindle the flames
In which you're consumed

Keep your mind as it was
When you came into the world
And instantly this very self
Is a living "thus-come" one

Ideas of
What's good, what's bad
All due to
This self of yours

In winter, a bonfire
Spells delight
But when summertime arrives
What a nuisance it becomes!

And the breezes
You loved in summer
Even before the autumn's gone
Already have become a bother

Throwing your whole life away
Sacrificed to the thirst for gold
But when you saw your life was through
All your money was no use

Clinging, craving and the like
I don't have them on my mind
That's why nowadays I can say
The whole world is truly mine!

Since, after all this floating world
Is unreal
Instead of holding onto things in
Your mind, go and sing!

Only original mind exists
In the past and in the future too
Instead of holding onto things in
Your mind, let them go!

Having created
the demon mind yourself
When it torments you mercilessly
You're to blame and no one else

When you do wrong
our mind's the demon
There's no hell
To be found outside

Abominating hell
Longing for heaven
You make yourself suffer
In a joyful world

You think that good
Means hating what is bad
What's bad is
The hating mind itself

Fame, wealth, eating and
drinking, sleep and sensual delight —
Once you've leaned the Five Desires
They become
Your guide in life

Notions of what one should do
Never existed from the start
Fighting about what's right, what's wrong
That's the doing of the "I"

When your study
Of Buddhism is through
You find
You haven't anything new

If you think the mind
That attains enlightenment
Is "mine"
Your thoughts will wrestle, one with the other

These days I'm not bothering about
Getting enlightenment all the time
And the result is
I wake up in the morning feeling fine!

Praying for salvation in the world to come
Praying for your own selfish ends
Is only piling on more and more
Self-centeredness and arrogance

Die — then live
Day and night within the world
Once you've done this, then you can
Hold the world right in your hand!

If you search for the Pure Land
Bent upon your own reward
You'll only find yourself
By the Buddha after all!

People have no enemies
None at all right from the start
You create them all yourself
Fighting over right and wrong

Clear are the workings of cause
and effect
You become deluded, but
don't know
It's something that you've done yourself
That's what's called self-centeredness

Though the years may creep ahead
Mind itself can never age
This mind that's
Always just the same

Wonderful! Marvelous!
When you've searched
and found at last
The one who never will grow old
— "I alone!"

The Pure Land
Where one communes at peace
Is here and now, it's not remote
Millions and millions of leagues away

When someone tosses you a tea bowl
— Catch it!
Catch it nimbly with soft cotton
With the cotton of your skillful mind!

(Zenshu, pp 519-522 — translated by Peter Haskel, Bankei Zen, pp 125-132 )

~End of Post~


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Friday, February 13, 2009