Learn more about Amazon Prime. Pure Land Buddhist practice consists of reciting the name of Amitabha Buddha. This is a method of mindfulness and concentration is considered the easiest and most certain path to enlightenment. In lectures given in during the course of a seven day Amitabha recitation session, the late Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua explains the methods of Pure Land Buddhism and how it relates to Chan Zen meditation and other Buddhist practices.
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What he found there changes him forever. This is his amazing story. Product details File Size: January 7, Sold by: Customer reviews There are no customer reviews yet. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. That means that during the last two days everyone has been sincere. That does not look nice. They should be right in front of your rib cage, directly below the heart.
When you hear the big bell, raise your palms and join them together. Although rules are not important, you still have to abide by them. Seeing that he had this question at such a young age, I knew that he was an unruly kid. He wants to be free to run around, play, and be rowdy. He is very lively and his eyes are always looking around at everything. But he can really tell stories. He is only eleven now and he can really make stories up; wait till he grows up—he will be even better at it then. So keep your eye on him. Pretty soon his stories will fly right up into the sky.
If anybody here wants a story, he can make one up for you. Also, when you stand at your places, those who come first should stand up in front and those who follow should stand behind them in the order that they file in. The first to come should not stand in the back so that those who follow have to shove past to find a place. No matter where you go, you should proceed according to the rules for order in the assembly. You should all take note of this.
Cultivation must be done every day. The same applies to following the rules. You have to follow the rules every day. It is suitable for everyone. You who are sick suffer from the pains of disease because of karmic obstacles. Old people who are approaching the end of the road should follow the good path to the end. Thus, the Dharma-door of Buddha Recitation is suitable for every type of person.
You can chant while walking, standing, sitting, or reclining. However, when reclining you should not recite aloud. Do it silently in your heart. If you recite aloud it is disrespectful. How do you practice recitation when you are very busy? Then face the West, or better still face an image of Amitabha Buddha. If any of you would like to have an image, I have some paper images at Gold Mountain Monastery that I can give you.
Face the Buddha image, join your palms together very respectfully and bow three times. Do this in the morning and in the evening. It should be very natural. Can you recite at other times during the day?
Of course you can. The more you recite, the better. With the skill derived from your practice of this Dharma you can be reborn in the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss. This method of Buddha Recitation is the most convenient Dharma door. The wiser you are, the better! No matter how wise you are you cannot exhaust the method of Buddha Recitation. No matter how stupid you are, you are still included within it and it can be your guide. How stupid was he? Finally the Buddha thought of a plan. He was that dumb. None of us here is quite that stupid.
You are all, of course, much more intelligent than I am. Anyway, what was his name? He got that name because he was born by the side of the road. Although he was very stupid, he later became enlightened when he found out—What did he find out? He discovered that his mother was a woman! The Buddha certified his enlightenment and he gained spiritual powers. See, if such a stupid person can get enlightened, we who are so intelligent will certainly have even more success.
The first involves a Pekinese dog who live in Fresno. Pekinese dogs were developed in China as a response to the introduction of Buddhist Sutras. The very first printed books in China, printed from wood-block, were of the Vajra Sutra, and they depicted the Bodhisattva Manjushri riding on a lion.
The ladies of the imperial court were very much taken by the lion, and so a new breed of dog was developed—the Pekinese—to look like the lion of the Bodhisattva Manjushri. So in Fresno, California, there was a small Pekinese—the runt of the litter. A runt, but a show dog. At any rate, when I went down to visit my great aunt, who owned the dog, the Pekinese was paralyzed from the waist down.
Something had happened to her spine, and the whole back end of her. She was in tremendous pain. You could see that she was exhausting her strength and was going to die very soon. The treatments were not doing anything for the dog. And it occurred to me that perhaps—of course I had no way of knowing—but perhaps in previous lives this had been something that she was familiar with and that somehow struck a bell.
At any rate, from that time on she improved. Within a few days, she was virtually normal with only a slight limp, and eventually she recovered entirely. This was by virtue of the recitation. Before they had their daughter Guo Fang, they had a dog name Lucy. Lucy was a very lively and intelligent terrier. She had a lot of tricks and was very rambunctious—a very human kind of dog. I felt I had a lot of affinities with the dog.
I went running out and found her lying in the street, severely injured. The car had probably hit her on the side of her head and the front part of her body. Her eyes were starting to roll back, blood was coming out of her mouth, her legs were sticking straight out and she was going stiff. Other people came out to recite, and someone went to tell the Master what had happened. We recited for a couple of hours, and during that time, you could see Lucy coming back to life. We kept reciting until it was time for the Master to lecture. The Master immediately asked how Luc was and had us bring her upstairs.
Now some people figure that Lucy had taken refuge at some point. At any rate, she had a lot going for her in terms of studying the Buddhadharma. The Master scolded her and reminded her that he had told her that if she kept running out of the building, she was due for some trouble. All of this she meekly accepted. She was already running around in a subdued fashion that evening, and she was normal by the next day—completely cured.
Shortly before Guo Cong's daughter was born, Lucy just disappeared. She didn't get lost; nobody lost her. She just wasn't there anymore and very shortly after that Guo Fang was born. Now, don't draw any conclusions from that necessarily, because I've never seen Guo Fang pull that trick of sitting down on her haunches and playing around with her paws, so there may not be a connection.
At any rate, that's the story of Lucy. Lucy isn't here today due to those causes and connection of the Buddha's name. The important thing in this, of course, is the power of not of one person but of lots of people. When I was reciting for the other dogAh Choo was her name and she's actually very much alive at the presentI knew that it was the power of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that worked through the invocation of the mantra and the Buddha's name.
People aren't always clear about this. However, it's easy when you have an extremely powerful mantra in your grasp to figure that it's you doing it and somehow get confused and maybe show off a little bit. This can be very dangerous. This happened to someone in China. There was a Bhikshu who had a lot of cultivation and he was known as the "Living Arhat. One time a lot of Dharma Masters were assembled at Pu-tuo-shan Pu-tuo Mountain in china for a precept ceremony. After the ceremony was over, many of them had no way to get back to their home temples.
The Living Arhat did a lot of flamboyant curing with the Great Compassion Mantra, amassed a lot of money, and rather conspicuously bought everybody tickets or chartered a boat to get everyone back to their temples. At that time the Master was part of the assembly and he saw that the Living Arhat was due to die pretty soon himself, so he went up to him and said, "You're called the Living Arhat, aren't you? You can cure other people's illnesses, but have you cured your own? In fact, it won't be long before you fall," said the Master. Now the Arhat had some cultivation. He never lay down to sleep and ate only one meal a day, and he had this power, and he recognized that something was going on.
But it was very strange: So, since the Master grants people's wishes and the man was sincerely asking to be saved when he fell, the Master said, "Alright, when you fall I'll save you. Years passed, and Dharma Masters had to leave the mainland and flee to Hong Kong and Taiwan and so on. After a passage of time, what should happen but, on the streets of Hong Kong, the Master ran into the "Living Arhat," except that he was no longer a Bhikshu.
He was dressed as a layman. He had gone back to lay life; in other words, he had fallen. The Master said, "Well, what happened to your Living Arhat? The man said, "It's just because everything you say is so effective. Your words are magical. It's just because you said I was going to fall that I've fallen. So you can go back to being a Bhikshu now. Now, in China, you had to pay a lot of money to leave home. If you wanted to leave home and you were broke, you were out of luck.
You would think the man learned his lesson, but he got involved with a layman in Hong Kong who was looking for a Bhikshu as a drawing card for his establishment. The layman at first approached our teacher, who would have no part in being used as an advertising gimmick. But this former Living Arhat took him up on the deal. So the layman set him up as a "Living Buddha," bowing to him as such. It wasn't very long before the "Living Arhat" just disappeared. So it's very dangerous to play around with the mantras and the curing power behind them for one's own personal benefit.
What is generally done in order to aid people is to transfer the merit from recitation of the mantras or recitation of the Buddha's name for other people's benefit. Transferring merit is one of the Ten Great Vows of the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra, and these vows are recited every morning by people who do Morning Recitation. The first vow is to worship and respect all Buddhas. This is done by bowing to all the Buddhas, not just one Buddha. It certainly doesn't mean bowing to blocks of wood or pieces of stone that are carved to represent Buddhas.
Rather, it means taking refuge with all the Buddhas of the ten directions and three periods of time. Such praises are, for example, the praise of the Buddha Amitabha. The mark of the white hair tuft between his eyes is as large as five Mount Sumerus and his clear purple eyes are as vast as four great seas. In his light there are countless transformation Buddhas and boundless transformation Bodhisattvas. His forty-eight great vows save living beings and the nine grades of lotuses completely cross beings over to the other shore. The third vow is to extensively cultivate the giving of offerings.
Giving offerings can be done in many ways. It can be done by offering incense and flowers before Buddha images or it can be done with the offering of the pure heart which is not fixed at all. The fourth vow is to repent and reform all karmic faults. You repent of all the evil done through body, mouth, and mind through beginningless time up to the present.
This is very important in taking refuge. There is a moment in the taking refuge ceremony when the aid of the Buddhas is invoked. At that point, the Buddhas of the ten directions shine light upon you, and if you can very sincerely repent at that moment, you can completely eradicate your karmic obstacles and be completely pure. It all depends on the degree of your sincerity at that time. The fifth vow is to compliantly rejoice in merit and virtue, which sounds sort of occult and mysterious, especially about 4: But this means that whenever anybody is doing something that is good, you are pleased and you also participate; you join in.
They not only approved, but rejoiced or followed in accord and came up to participate. Other people have also come from a great distances. The sixth great vow of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva is to request the turning of the Dharma Wheel. Now we know that the explanation of the Pure Land Dharma door was spoken by the Buddha without anybody explicitly requesting it.
But in general, the Dharma must be requested before it is spoken. So the sixth great vow is to request that giving of Dharma, the turning of the Dharma Wheel. The seventh vow is to request that the Buddhas dwell in the world. If living beings want them to stay around, however, they will. So the seventh is to request that the Buddhas stay in the world and teach living beings. The eighth vow is to always follow the Buddhas in study, which means doing what the Buddha did.
The Buddha, for example, gave his life to save a starving tiger. This vow involves doing this kind of practice. The Buddha also cut off his flesh to feed an eagle. The ninth vow is to forever accord with living beings. It means that whatever living beings like, you start from there in teaching them. Whatever they like to do is what you use as a basis for helping them to end birth and death, without imposing some exterior kind of structure or regulation on them.
The tenth is to universally transfer all merit and virtue. That means that you take the merit and virtue of all of the practices that you do from knowing about the Buddhadharma and being able to cultivate according to it, and transfer it to other living beings, ideally to all living beings on a very vast scale so that all will accomplish Bodhi. Merit can also be transferred for individual needs or for healing purposes. Those are the ten great vows of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva. Now the living Arhat that was mentioned, of course, was no Arhat because a real Arhat has ended one of the two kinds of birth and death.
There are two kinds of birth and death. One is being born in a body with a given life span which is more or less fixed, though not completely fixed. And the other is change birth and death which is the birth and death involved in the constant succession of thoughts: One thought being born and dying, the next thought being produced and then being destroyed, and so forth.
Arhats have ended the first kind of birth and death. They are no longer subject to being born in a body with a given life span. Oftentimes examples are used to illustrate things that happen on the mind ground that happen in the world of the relative. An example such as this occurred to me today.
I used to live with a group of people on a beach on Maui, called McKenna Beach. We were all engaged in setting up a camp. Right smack-dab in the middle of the camp was a part of the foundation to an old army bunker of reinforced concrete that was about a foot thick, two feet high, and quite a few feet long. Anyway, it had to go. We were all busy setting up camp and none of us really wanted to face the task of getting that thing out of there. Nevertheless, it was right in the way of the camp and impractical to keep.
This went on throughout the course of the day. A person would get on it for five or ten minutes, get discouraged and bummed out about the thing, then go back to whatever they were doing. Basically no one wanted to get on this thing. I was avoiding it altogether. It just looked hopeless. An idea occurred to me about half way through the day that with anything in the world, if you hit hard enough and long enough in one spot, it will eventually break up.
After I took a swim to refresh myself, I grabbed a sledge hammer and worked on that piece of concrete. I just kept hitting it in the same placetoward the middle and toward the bottomfor about two hours. Finally, the entire thing broke. A couple of us hauled it out in two long pieces and got it out of there. This illustrates how one should cultivate on the mind ground.
This is a very, very common tendency and a tactic that people use to avoid facing the deeper problems of life. At the beginning notices nothing. After a while one notices that attachments and false views come into view. These will take a very definite personalized form according to who the individual is and what his attachments and shortcomings are. After a long as definite, tangible forms, these attachments all merge together into a kind of a blob within oneself of misery and melancholy and total, utter blah.
This actually shows a little bit of success. Then one meditating on it, and lo and behold, this blob starts producing light. This is when a state of equilibrium is achieved. The longer you can keep the conscious thought equal to the unconscious thoughts arising, the longer the light will actually appear. Basically, even meditation is false. In our daily activities there is ample opportunity to practice meditation, even for very busy people. One can take these opportunities to get in quite a few hours of meditation a day, even in the course of daily activities.
The Buddha instructed his left-home disciples that after he passed into Nirvana the monks should take the precepts as their teacher. Basically, a person who becomes a monk is not supposed to get involved with any meditation whatsoever before keeping the precepts for at least five years, and there is a very good reason for this.
Now, the car will eventually stop and if it does stop, it will take a lot longer and it will also be a lot easier to get going again with no brakes applied, a child could come along and push it. The same principle applies to keeping precepts.
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If one achieves success in meditation and one has held the precepts for a good length of time, his chances of falling into worldly ways are pretty slim. Suppose one runs across a beautiful woman or a nice beautiful bag of ganja marijuana or psilocybum another drug or whatever one may like. I am rather new to Buddhism and would like to know what school or sect you teach.
At gold Mountain Monastery we study the entire spectrum of Buddhism. We do not subscribe to any one particular sect or school. We maintain no such divisions. I recall the Master once saying that we must cultivate our roots where we come from and we must cultivate the Dharma where it comes from. I understand that when things die, new things are born. I would like the Master to expound upon that and tell us more about what the Dharma is and how we can learn to propagate it in the Dharma-ending Age.
Like other living things, when the Dharma ends, does it then get reborn? The Dharma is a methoda method for cultivating the Way.
After practicing for a time, people often feel that the Dharma is not as fresh and exciting as it was at first and they quit cultivating. The Dharma itself is unmoving. The Buddha Recitation session we are conducting here is a vigorous one and it is the proper Dharma Age for us. Could the Master please tell us more about the third eye? There are five eyes, not just three eyes.
Where have you heard about three eyes? The Buddha has a hundred thousand billion, limitless, boundless eyes. If we living beings cultivate, we too can possess a measureless number of eyes. On the tip of every hair alone there is an infinite number of eyes. The third eye which non-Buddhist religions talk about is really nothing.
They simply have no understanding of what the doctrines of Buddhism are all about. If you cultivate and become a Buddha you will have an uncountable number of eyes and an uncountable number of hands. It cannot be known how many hands and eyes she has. Has anyone been bitten by mosquitoes? Certainly a lot of people must have bites? The mosquitoes are not trustworthy. They are bound to fail to observe the terms of the contract. They are just too small to pay attention to things like that.
There are too many of them, besides. They like their independence and are very democratic in spirit. The Master only made out a contract with one mosquito…. It was a lot of them. For example, in this country there are the Democrats and the Republicans. Mosquitoes have the Mosquito Party. Ants have ant parties and bees have bee parties. Each creature belongs to its own organization and faction. Only my Buddhism has no party, no school, and no sect; it is all-inclusive, complete Buddhism. This is because people can become Buddhas.
This includes the living beings who fly in the air, those who walk on the earth, and those who live in the waters, as well as all the plants and trees. All the trees have living beings inhabiting them. Living beings are born from a conflux of changing conditions. When the causes and conditions conjoin, living beings are born. They are one and the same. And I embrace the teaching of the Dharma Realm. The Substance of the Dharma Realm. The School of the Dharma Realm.
The Function of the Dharma Realm. The Teaching of the Dharma Realm. The entire Dharma Realm is our scope. All living beings live within the Dharma Realm. Moreover, there is no way you can deny that you are a living being. All living beings are included within the Dharma Realm.
Thus you are encompassed within Buddhism. Whether you are a good person or a bad person, you are included within Buddhism, and I consider you to be a Buddhist whether you consider yourself to be one or not. You are like a person who ran away from home at an early age and now no longer recognizes his own father. Even face-to-face you no longer know your father.
The scope of my Buddhism includes everyonebelievers and non-believers alike. Are believers real Buddhists and non-believers not Buddhists? Whether you believe or not, I claim you as a Buddhist. So when my disciples want to draw near, they may do so; if they want to leave, they are free to leave. My Buddhism has no limits. If you believe, fine. If you praise Buddhism, fine. I am vigorous whether the situation is favorable or unfavorable.
Even if you slander Buddhism, I will still take you across to Buddhahood. For example, yesterday Guo Li said a mosquito was biting his ear and I told him to make a vow to cross it over to Buddhahood. Guo Tong said that a mosquito had bitten him and I told him to take it to jail. Even though I said that I had signed a contract with the mosquitoes, some people have been bitten by them. Although a contract was signed, in all matters one should reflect upon oneself, illuminate inwardly. The first doctrine I spoke was the real one. Okay, you can just offer me a bit of your blood.
How do you like that? If your heart is true, then,. Better would it be to change the course of a thousand rivers, Than to disturb the mind of a cultivator of the Way. The same is true, of course, for all of you as well. I have to transform him in a tough way instead of gently.
Buddha Root Farm: Pure Land Talks : Dharma Talks - Hsüan Hua - Google Книги
There are none of the three evil paths, and no mosquitoes, ants, or other pests there either. And if you do bring forth the thought of enlightenment, then the mosquitoes become your Good Advisors. They truly help you cultivate. Yesterday when I said that I had signed a contract, that was false. What I told you today is the truth. When we cultivate the Way, we should start from the small, not from the big.
One proceeds from the small to the big, from the near to the far, from the lowly to the lofty. So if you can be clear about the things close at hand, you will understand what is going on at a distance. When it rains, the paths are hard to walk, especially at night.
Everyone should be mindful; be extremely earnest and sincere as you chant. Be patient, no matter what happens, and continue to recite sincerely. Then you may obtain a response or observe an auspicious sign. For instance, you may see Amitabha Buddha come to rub you on the crown of your head; he may draw near and cover you with his sash; you may see Amitabha Buddha emitting light. These are all auspicious signs. You may also smell a very strong and fragrant incense, and extraordinary scent, or you may see lotuses.
If you obtain such a response, it proves that Amitabha Buddha has come to watch over you, to take care of you. There are other types of favorable signs. Tomorrow, if anyone has experienced such a sign or evoked a response, they can tell everyone about it. I want to know about it. No matter who you are, if you see Gunayin Bodhisattva or Amitabha Buddha, tell us about it. Guo Tong, have you seen any Bodhisattva or Buddha during this recitation session? If you have had any such experience, you can tell everyone. Little Guo Fang, you can speak up, too, if you have had some special state.
Anyone can speak up. All the Buddhas of the ten directions were born from this practice. He started out as a cultivator of Dhyana meditation and later he became enlightened. Within the light was a transformation body of Amitabha Buddha! So it is said,. Shakyamuni Buddha taught this Dharma-door without having been requested to do so, because its wonders are manifold, ineffable, and uncountable. They shall be taken across only by relying on Buddha Recitation. That is why we call it the most wonderful of Dharma-doors. You see, the recitation session itself is a mountain of treasures. When you come to the mountain, you should take some treasures back with you.
What do we consider to be gems and treasures?
There are many kinds of them. Gold is a treasure, silver is a treasure, lapis lazuli is a gem, mother-of-pearl is a gem, red pearls are gems, carnelian is a gem. Ginseng is a treasure! So are he-shou-wu Polyonum multiflorum Thunb. How does ginseng become a treasure?
Whoever finds a root weighing eleven ounces will live without disasters, without sickness, and have a lifespan as long as that of the gods. Many Westerners have white hair, and the moment they are born they look like old men and women with frosty temples. But there is hope for all of you. Eat a little he- shou-wu and your hair will turn black and so will your beard. Therefore, we consider it a treasure. Because they were far away from civilization and had no car, plane, motorcycle, or other means to get to town to buy rice or other staples to eat, they subsisted on whatever herbs they could find growing in the mountains.
It is a very nutritious herb that can prolong your life. In the Ben-Cao , a book on Chinese herbs, it says that if you eat huang-jing, you can fly. She ran into the mountains where there was no food for her to eat, no oil, no salt, nothing. She survived by eating huang-jing and before long she was able to fly through thin air.
People saw her flying around in space and coaxed her down with some food to eat—a piece of candy—but once she ate their cooked food, with its oil and salt, she lost her power of flight. Thus, we consider huang-jing a treasure. This layman plants and studies Chinese herbs. I was told that the kitchen served ginseng tea today. Did you drink any?
If you did, then when you recite you should have even more energy. I want you to sing so that the gods in the heavens will hear our sound and join in! That will be a great response! It can prolong your life, and people who eat it can fly. People who are cultivating immortality eat it. They have to steam it and sun it nine times. They steam it until it is cooked, then dry it in the sun, then steam it again.
After doing this nine times, they eat it. My hair once turned white. You have been working so hard translating; I hope everyone will work just as hard when we do the Great Transference of Merit. That goes for Guo Tong, too! Thursday, August 21, afternoon Ullambana Day. So much has been going on that trying to share with people the beauty and wonders of it is like trying to scoop the ocean out with a teacup. The conditions were somewhat similar, and certainly the quality of Dharma was of the same flavor. As the saying goes,.
As the Master said last night, to return empty-handed from the mountain of jewels would really be a mistake. One of the more obvious Dharma treasures we can share is the verse you hear every afternoon, just before you plunge into the natural goodies that Peggy Brevoort lays on the table. That verse goes, in part: As you eat, you should be mindful of the amount of work that it took to bring the food here to the place of eating. The second thing that Sanghans and faithful disciples should be mindful of is: Are you worthy of this offering of food? That is to say, have you done anything today to deserve the blessing of eating?
What have you done today to serve the Dharma? Have you served anyone else? Have you been a lazy worm? Have you been vigorous? Have you been mindful of the Buddha and really done the work out here? Have you been interested mainly in pursuing the five desires instead? These are questions that only you can answer. This is the second contemplation. Guard your mind and depart from all transgressions, of which the most coarse is greed.
The foremost of the three poisons greed, hatred, and stupidity is greed. But almost everyone else, up to and including Seventh Stage Bodhisattvas, still have some slight flicker of desire, some slight stirring of the passions. I was able to put down that fourth bowl of noodles today and share it with someone else. You start near if you want to go far. But know that greed manifests in a thousand different ways, and once you get past the coarse forms of greed, there are subtle forms of greed that are just as powerful and poisonous.
It all depends on the subtlety and quality of your mind as you cultivate. So the third contemplation is to guard the mind and depart from all transgressions, of which greed is by far the most prominent. Some people say that greed is the thing that turns the world. I know all about Buddhism. I sat in meditation this morning and I know what Buddhism is all about.
Buddhism includes all that. Buddhism includes just about every kind of practice and every kind of thought that you can imagine. Wow, eating is the place where a lot of cultivation or lack of cultivation happens every single day. The Master urges his disciples to be mindful of their eating. For a lot of people that would be too muchit would turn them away from Buddhism. The way to go about it is to be mindful of your eating, and be mindful of the greed that makes you want to eat more, and eat more, and eat more….
Basically, Americans are pretty wasteful when it comes to eating. Americans eat much too much. So the third contemplation is to guard the mind and depart from transgressions, of which greed is the most prominent. The fourth contemplation is that food is medicine. If you think about it, it is medicine. Everything that you put in your body is medicine of one kind or another. The Master has lectured time and time again: People eat away their blessings. The same thing with food. Some people have a huge capacity. Another person has a smaller capacity. You eat your own food, just like you wear your own clothes.
But you should know your own limits. The fifth contemplation is that you should accept food only to cultivate and to accomplish the Way. The only reason that you eat at all is to keep your body going so that you can continue to do the work with vigor and accomplish the Way. Basically, the body is impure. At death, this fallacy really comes home and you can see this body for what it isa stinking bag of skin.
Inside are bones and they come popping through; and the worms eat it and it goes right back to the ground. While this body is impure, at the same time, a human body is the perfect vehicle to cultivate the Way. So you eat just enough to cultivate and accomplish the Way.
It goes like this: This offering of the faithful is the fruit of work and care. I reflect upon my conduct: Have I truly earned my share? Of the poisons of the mind, the most despicable is greed. As a medicine cures illness, I eat only what I need. To sustain my cultivation and to realize the Way, So I contemplate in silence on this offering today. When a person leaves the home life, he takes a vow of poverty. One of the Shramanera novitiate precepts is that you own nothing valuablemoney and so forth.
Basically, Sanghans need nothing. They need the requisites of a roof, food, and clothes, but in minimal amounts. In India, monks went begging. Because in China the weather could go to extremes and it was really hard for monks to go out daily beggingoften the monasteries were way out in the wilds and there were no communities to beg fromgradually the practice of begging was discontinued in China, and the monks relied for the sustenance on the offerings of the faithful. The major function of a left home person is to serve.
He serves by maintaining the Proper Dharma, keeping it alive in the world. How does he serve the community of laypeople? He serves by becoming a field of blessings. Does the Sanghan cultivate his own blessings? He serves the disciples, the lay community, by allowing them to make offerings through him and thus cultivate blessings for themselves. In this way they also make offerings to deceased relatives, and do real work for others.
A layperson can make offerings and cultivate this principle of Bodhisattvaship, which is helping himself and helping others. By making offerings to the Triple Jewel, you are doing real work for other people-you are planting seeds in the field of blessings that the Sangha represents. At the same time you are tying conditions with the Dharma so that in the future you can encounter the miraculous Dharma again and continue your cultivation towards Buddhahood.
And you are also keeping this pure, ancient wisdom in the world a little longer by making these offerings. Now in America where the Dharma is really young, the sprout is just out of the ground. People have to investigate how this relationship between the Triple Jewel, between the Sangha and the lay community operates. There is a proper way for it to work. For a Sanghan to accept any offering whatsoever is to put himself under a heavy karmic burden.
They should not miss that point. He gave up his life, which you could say is a sincere offering. Time and time again, for the sake of the Dharma, for the sake of other living beings… The Master has said that to give up your life for the sake of the Dharma as many times as there are atoms in the universe. He gave up his life that many times. How much the more did he give up his external wealth-things like money, possessions, even wives, husbands, children, families, houses, vehicles… Venerable Master: If anyone has experienced any unusual states, now is the time to tell us about them.
My mind feels a lot clearer than it did before I came here. I feel like when I leave here I will have a few more tools to cultivate the seed that has been planted within me. I have something I would like to share with the people who are planning to take refuge. I was drawn there through faith, very auspiciously, as someone said. Before I left for San Francisco, someone gave me a very meaningful poem which I would like to read:.
There are ways we travel Silent, golden and yet unseen By most who stand behind The hand of life as it sows the field. Those who know say let it go And it will grow to radiate itself. Never fear, For very near you stands the guardian. The gate he guards is never closed To close inspection. His compassion shines, and forever lights up my way. And again we stand before the guardian Of yet another gate. Does anyone else want to say something?
Last night I dreamt that I was with my mother, my sister, and three of my cousins and we were all respectfully walking around the Buddha. I had some significant visions while I was sitting. I saw a golden sphere with a keyhole in it. A golden key was inserted in it and it began to turn. As it turned, the light intensified. Another vision was that of a formation of jewels. It had a definite pattern and was set in something that looked like highly polished lapis lazuli. The colors were intense reds and golds. Who else had an experience? In the world at present there are a great number of people who do not have enough food to eat, who are not properly dressed or housed, while a small minority of people have much more than they can use.
I experience a lot of frustration because of my actions seem very insignificant and the problems are great. Just what can we do to change these things? Worrying about them is of no use. An individual has only a limited amount of influence. There are too many people in the world. You must first rescue yourself. A couple of months ago, I asked a friend to wake me up in the morning… [Sound unclear] The Master: If you had a special feeling or experience that you feel good about, you can bring it up.
It is the beginning sign of entry into samadhi. You may feel as if your body and empty space have united into one. There will be no mark of people, no mark of self, no mark of living beings, and no mark of a life span. You are certainly not asleep, but everything has come to a stop. This layman just said that many people in the world lack food, clothing, and shelter.
Many people have no food to eat, no clothing to wear, and no house to live in. People who commit many evil acts and do not practice good deeds must undergo this kind of retribution. This kind of retribution is not easy to avert, since those who do evil are so numerous and those who do good are so few. If you want to make the world a good place, you must first begin with yourself. If you want to alleviate the sufferings of everyone in the world, you must also begin with yourself. Do no evil yourself; instead, practice all kinds of good deeds. In this way you can avert the disasters due to afflict us and help the world out a bit.
Do as many good deeds as you have the power to do. What can I do? You yourself must do good deeds and make it so that there are more good people in the world every day and fewer bad people. Then the world will be well, and everyone will have clothing, food, and shelter. We should become communists and share the wealth. In fact, sometimes there is misery on top of misery. Therefore, if you wish the world to be good, you must refrain from all evil and practice all good, and then the world will naturally become good. Plant a good seed, reap a good fruit; Plant an evil seed, reap an evil fruit.
If you plant ginseng, in the future you will harvest ginseng. If you plant he-shou-wu, in the future you will harvest he shou wu. You get what you plant. Karma works in the same way fields are planted and harvested. I have just asked you to speak about your experiences, and I, too, remember an experience I had at Gold Mountain Monastery in San Francisco.
At that time I only gave informal Dharma talks once a week, on Sundays. He came every Sunday for two years. His name was Mountain Deer. I gave him this name. Why did so many people believe in him? Because during the two years he studied with me, he learned a few doctrines and set himself up as a patriarch, and took disciples.
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