It is not the amount of teachings that matters . . . (Click image for video)


Without focus, 

we will lose our balance and lurch off the path. 

Imagine you are going to step onto on a balance board for the first time.

It looks friendly enough: a rectangular piece of wood placed over the barrel of a cylinder. And it looks easy: step on the board, legs apart, keep your balance. If you remain centered and upright, you won’t fall. So they say. And so on you go. Oops, down you go! Telling yourself that mastery will take some practice, you try again. And this time you concentrate.

But the next second, you think of something else. Losing your focus, down you go again. Telling yourself that you just have to focus harder, you step back on.

Now you really concentrate. Over time, as you practice over and over, and over, you realize that you cannot have a single wandering thought, or you will lose your balance.

Our Buddhist practice is the same. As we focus on “Amituofo,” wandering thoughts will arise, jeopardizing our focus. Just like on the balance board, when we lose our concentration, we fall off and have to get back on.



As a fissure can split a stone, doubt cripples one’s confidence (Click image for video)


“Don’t shoot the messenger.” 

In this case, the messenger is the one bringing about our consequences. A co-worker laughs openly at our mistakes made in the annual report. A loved one criticizes us embarrassingly in front of others. Our laptop is stolen, a neighbor plays his TV loudly while we’re trying to sleep, a visiting child breaks our heirloom teapot.

Getting upset with the co-worker, loved one, thief, neighbor, or child are misdirected actions—born from not understanding or nor remembering the pervasiveness of causality. If we hadn’t laughed at another, criticized unskillfully, stolen or broken someone’s property, made a lot of noise that bothered others in this or past lifetimes, we wouldn’t be experiencing these incidents.

All the above people are just the messengers delivering our karmic retributions. Our getting upset or angry or sad just plants more seeds for the same, and even worse. We need to work with ourselves on learning to accept our karmic consequences.

And not shoot the messenger.

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