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Wednesday
Apr182007

A Peaceful, Stable World

We perceive ourselves as individuals, as being independent of others. We think “I am an individual” and most of the time consider our own personal wishes and desires before we think of the wishes and desires of others. And when we do think of others, they are usually our family and those we know and care about, those who think the way we do and who share our beliefs.

But we all live in the same world, have the same problems. Many of us need help when we have problems. If someone is drowning, and we can swim, we do not ask who they are or what they believe in. We do everything we can to help them. If all of us gave help when it was needed, our world would be gentle, peaceful, and happy, and we would not have the problems that we do, the hatred, the wars.

We can either choose to create problems or to solve them. But if we do not help, we will never solve our problems. We can spend millions of dollars on a bomb or $25 to feed a hungry child in a third world country for a month. We can spend money to kill or to save lives. Which one solves the problem? War will not solve problems, giving unselfishly will. True giving is totally without expectation of reward. If we expect something then it does not solve the problem. When people of different beliefs and cultures respect and help each other, we will finally have a harmonious and prosperous society, and a peaceful and stable world.

This is what we hope for. This is our responsibility to create.

 

Tuesday
Apr172007

Our True Work

956849-771538-thumbnail.jpg 

Your work is to discover your work

and then

with all your heart

to give yourself to it.

~ Buddha

 

Monday
Apr162007

True Nature

In the world today there are many beliefs, religions and cultures, many different viewpoints of how to explain our world and our relationship to it. But although we seem to have so many differences, we really have so many similarities. Do not kill, do not steal, do not lie. Do all that is good and nothing that is bad. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. Remember the kindness of others and repay the kindness with gratitude.

Whether we call it caring for and respecting others or loving-kindness or compassion, we believe in helping others, in giving of what we have or who we are, to those who need our help or our wisdom. Today, many people are searching for wisdom, for the understanding of why we are born, why we live, and why we die. We are compelled by conflicting emotions. We are compelled by logic. When we hear of other beliefs the feelings of many people range from fear to curiosity, from surprise to fascination, from suspicion to cooperation.

Everywhere we look, we see societies with greater diverse cultures, societies with more differences, societies that often emphasize these differences. Today many people look outside of themselves, to these differences, believing that they are the reason why so many are so unhappy. But the reason lies within us.

As human beings, we undergo the sufferings of birth, old age, sickness, death, hardships, unfulfilled wishes, separation from our loved ones, and association with those we dislike. The failure of people to understand the real cause of their unhappiness—their suffering—is increasing this very suffering.

To overcome this suffering we need to achieve ultimate wisdom. Accomplishing this is the main objective of our learning and cultivation. Everyone has the potential to realize this state of ultimate wisdom, because it is already an intrinsic part of our nature. It is not something we can obtain externally.

But most of us have become confused through general misconceptions and therefore, are unable to realize this potential. However, if we can break through this confusion, we will realize this intrinsic part of our nature. Thus, the Buddhadharma is an educational system aimed at uncovering our own innate true nature.

 

Sunday
Apr152007

Anger or Clarity?

956849-716148-thumbnail.jpgWe often think that anger will spur us on to taking action. For example, we think that it will strengthen our resolve and provide the energy we need to remedy a bad situation. But then in our practice, we are told to let go of our negative habits, like anger, that have arisen. To learn to detect the rising of such emotions and stop them from becoming stronger. How do we resolve this seeming conflict?

Underlying our anger in such circumstances is the wish to "do something." But the energy that comes from anger is blind, not insightful. Such anger burns through our good intentions and leaves us exhausted.

With clarity, we will be able to determine whether or not the situation can be allowed to play itself out without any harmful, negative consequences. If the situation looks like it will result in negative consequences, then our becoming angry will not help. Only with a clear, rational mind will, we discern the wisest way to react.

 

Saturday
Apr142007

Far to the West or Deep Within Me?

Question: Is the Pure Land real or abstract? West of here or within me?

Response: The Pure Land exists on two levels. One level is that of unawakened beings. The ultimate level—where duality no longer exists—is the state of awakened beings.

As unawakened people, we view the Pure Land as the very real land that is far to the west of us.

But on the ultimate level of understanding, the Pure Land is already within us. We ordinary beings see everything in terms of duality: good or bad, loving or hateful, east or west. Buddhas no longer see duality. They understand that we are all one and that everything outside of us is actually already within us. “Me” doesn’t exist for we are already one with everything that is. When my mind focuses solely on Amitabha, I am Amitabha. When it focuses solely on the Pure Land, I am one with the Pure Land and it is already within me.