People who haven’t awakened to the true nature haven’t fulfilled their mission as humans. For other creatures, even insects, there is no need for awakening. They are nature as they are. Humans have fallen from their natural state because of delusion. So they awaken to their original nature that everything is one—to that original feeling. The mission of humans is to cease producing the waves [of thought] that have occurred up until now as a result of egotism. When that is done, a human being is born for the first time; that is the definition of a human being. Without that experience, no matter how renowned or eminent one is, no matter how great one’s achievement in history is, one is after all a scoundrel, no different than the criminal [waiting to die] on the gallows. Without that [experience], no matter how respectable one may appear to be, everyone (excuse me for saying this), even the emperor, is a villain on the gallows. . . . So we have to do zazen. It’s the most important thing in the life of a human being. Other animals are doing zazen naturally, so they don’t have to make a special effort. Even insects, bugs, and worms are all doing zazen. Continue reading
Here, O, Monks, a disciple lets his mind pervade one quarter of the world with thoughts of unselfish joy, and so the second, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around, everywhere and equally, he continues to pervade with a heart of unselfish joy, abundant, grown great, measureless, without hostility or ill-will.The Buddha
The virtue of mudita, (Usually rendered by unselfish, sympathetic, or altruistic joy.) i.e., finding joy in the happiness and success of others, has not received sufficient attention either in expositions of Buddhist ethics, or in the meditative development of the four sublime states (brahma-vihara),of which mudita is one. Continue reading
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As soon as there is ‘self’, there is selfishness. These two are very different, nonetheless, they are inseparable. The ‘self arises, then selfishness comes. And selfishness is a powerful and destructive burden which can easily be observed in oneself and in the world.
Selfishness gives rise to love, greed, anger, hatred, fear, worry, frustration, envy, jealousy, possessiveness. All of these are aspects of selfishness. Love through fear and worry, are just different aspects of selfishness. All this is such a powerfully destructive burden upon the mind. It weighs the mind down. If we get outside of our little worlds and start to observe what is really happening around us and also within us, if we come out of our clouds, break free of our daydreams, and really look, we shall see all this selfishness and all the harm and pain that it causes, both to ourselves and to others, This is the burden of selfishness. Continue reading
Now, there are about forty thousand Chinese characters in the total Chinese language. Nobody, of course, can possibly know them all, but they exist. The ordinary educated person knows, or used to know, some four thousand, and then the specialists know one or two thousand in addition in their own field by which they recognize each other like magic passwords. Of course, the Bodhisattvas in China know them all; and the Devil knows them all too! He’s been around, and he’s got these forty thousand off — or he thinks he has! Continue reading
Everything we do is directed outward. We spend most of our time doing things and reacting to things in a quite automatic way. A major part of our lives consists of just this acting and reacting, ‘Don’t just sit there, do something,’ we are told.
Just to sit there is ‘passive, lazy, and antisocial’. Though there are different kinds of ‘just sitting there’—aware and not aware, or perhaps we can say ‘awake (Buddho) and asleep’.
Most of the time we are pushed into courses of action without even noticing what has happened or what caused it, though the Buddha said that to look for causes is largely a waste of time. He told the story of the man who was hit by the poisoned arrow and before he would let anyone remove it, demanded to know who fired that arrow and why. By the time his desire for information was satisfied, he was beyond earthly help. Looking for causes and culprits is usually a waste of time; we have to deal with what is happening not what happened in the past.
The Buddha spent some time explaining how the mind goes astray and this process of confusion in order to help us clear our minds and see things as they are rather than as we assume them to be. Continue reading
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The Heart of Wisdom Sutra (the Heart Sutra) is the sutra we are most familiar with. It is a sutra in which Avalokiteshvara (Jap. Kanjizai) Bodhisattva, in place of Shakyamuni Buddha, clearly expounds Emptiness to his disciple Shariputra. In terms of compassion, Kanzeon is the Japanese name for this Bodhisattva and in terms of wisdom, Kanjizai is the Japanese name. In either case, this Bodhisattva is actually we ourselves.
The name Kanjizai (Seeing Freely) is derived from the sense function of sight and by being able to use this sense function freely and completely, it represents the freedom to use the other five functions in the same way. Shariputra was the leader of a group of more than one hundred people, and after Shakyamuni Buddha realised the Way, all of them took refuge in the Buddha. Shariputra was one of the ten main disciples of the Buddha and because he was reputed to have the deepest wisdom was known as Shariputra Sonja. Continue reading
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