Being kind is not necessarily being gentle.

Sometimes, true kindness is being stern. 

One of Buddhism’s four all-embracing methods is kind words. Picturing this, we might come up with a doting grandmother whose grandson has just played a joke on her. Smiling, she tsks “Alan” to him. He, in turn, just laughs at her. Ah, such kind words!

Not really.

The kind words will likely be those from the shocked mother who turns to her son and firmly says, “Alan! That’s not the right way to treat your grandmother.” The mother then goes on to explain why it is wrong. She spells out the right behavior for the circumstance and tells her son why he should apologize to his grandmother.

The grandmother says what we imagine a grandmother might say. But the mother’s words are the truly kind ones because they teach the type of behavior that her son will need to get along well with people.

Kind word aren’t soft words, but those that help us become better people.



Before teaching others, we cultivate ourselves. (Click image for video)


Nurture good seeds 

to overwhelm the bad. 

The honeysuckle shrub can grow so tightly compacted that even the most persistent weeds cannot invade it. The plant stands untouchable—any attempted incursion would be forestalled. We can only imagine the stamina of the seeds, the tenacity of the roots that enables the plant to remain impregnable.

Imagine if we plant Amituofo seeds with similar stamina and tenacity in our mind. And then we supported those seeds by planting more and more of them.

In time, those seeds would grow, their once-shallow roots becoming strong.

Provided with the right conditions through our cultivation and mental weeding of bad habits, our Amituofo seeds would thrive. In time, like those dense, impregnable roots of the honeysuckle, our good roots would forestall any incursion. With this accomplished, our garden will bloom, our fruit of birth in the Pure Land will mature.

Finally, we will go home.