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Thursday
Mar292007

Forgiveness

When others hurt us, we usually react with resentment, anger, even a wish for revenge. But these actions will only prolong our suffering, for to hold onto resentment in our hearts only serves to make us feel worse. If instead, we can forgive those who harm us, we will release ourselves from this pain. Then, if we can go one step further—to let go of even the thought of having forgiven—we will reduce thoughts of pride and dissolve memories of unhappiness. In doing so, we will know peace.

 

Wednesday
Mar282007

One-hundred Percent

956849-786934-thumbnail.jpgWe do not need to wait for the big challenges in life to work on developing our virtue. We can work at increasing virtue in small, everyday ways. We can practice moderation in eating just what we need to be healthy and in sleeping just enough to be rested. We can work on our patience while waiting in line at the post office and on our impartiality when two children are each telling us their version of how the glass was broken.

Gradually, we will become more adept at our practice and as we encounter life's more difficult challenges, we will be better skilled at reacting wisely and calmly.

I realize this sounds very simple and obvious, but unfortunately, even small acts of virtue require much effort on our part to accomplish them perfectly. So while this may sound simplistic and repetitive, the question we need to ask ourselves is "Am I doing this one-hundred percent of my time with one-hundred percent of my effort?"

 

Tuesday
Mar272007

Thoughts from Patriarch Yin Guang

Thoughts from Patriarch Yin Guang
Thirteenth Patriarch of Pure Land Buddhism

  • Whether a layperson or a monastic, we need to respect those who are older than we are and to exist harmoniously with those around us.
  • We are to endure what others cannot and practice what others cannot achieve.
  • We should do all we can on behalf of others and help them to be good.
  • When sitting quietly, we would do well to reflect on our own faults.
  • When talking with friends do not discuss the rights and wrongs of others.
  • In our every action, from dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn, mindfully chant the Buddha’s name.
  • When chanting, whether aloud or silently, do not give rise to wandering thoughts.
  • If wandering thoughts arise, immediately dismiss them.
  • Constantly maintain a modest and regretful heart. Even if we have upheld true cultivation, we still need to feel that our practice is shallow and never boast.
  • We should mind our own business and not the business of others.
  • We should see only the good examples of others instead of their shortcomings.
  • We would do well to see ourselves as ordinary and everyone else as bodhisattvas.
  • If we can cultivate according to these teachings, we are sure to reach the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.

Monday
Mar262007

Small Stone

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Imagine reaching out your hand to pick up a small stone. With your palm facing down, use your finger and thumb to carefully pick up the stone. Now, you need to hold on to it tightly or you will drop it. You may hold on to the stone for ten minutes, a half hour, two hours. But, the minute you release your grasp, you know the stone will fall. You cannot hold on to it forever, because at some point your grip will inevitably fail and the stone will be gone.

Now, again imagine reaching out your hand to pick up that same small stone. This time, after you pick it up, turn your hand over with your palm facing up. Open your hand so the stone just rests on your hand effortlessly.

With grasping we lose. Without grasping, we gain.    

 

Sunday
Mar252007

Suffering and Joy

Whatever suffering there is in this world,

it all arises from
desiring only myself to be happy.

Whatever joy there is in this world
it all arises from
desiring to share my happiness with everyone.