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Sunday
Mar102019

“Do you have time to chant?” 

“Sorry, not now.” 

“Then do you have time to watch a movie?” 

“Sure!” 

In the thirty-seven limbs of enlightenment, diligence appears four times. Why so often? Because diligence is crucial to our accomplishing pretty much everything worthwhile. Unless we have already planted abundant seeds to attain something, we need to get busy. But getting busy is the difficult part. We find it much easier to do something enjoyable than to do something we regard as work.

An example? Observing the efforts of others rather than doing something ourselves. Most of us make excuses to just coast. Inertia is king.

Any exceptions? Yes. We get energized with things that matter to us: our loved ones, an avocation, our principles. We need to move our Buddhist practice to this exception list. And then move it to the top of the list!

Because in samsara, freeing ourselves from momentary indulgence and inertia will prove to be the ultimate enjoyment. 

Wednesday
Mar062019

Too often, we not only repeat our mistakes . . . (Click image for video)

Monday
Mar042019

A time to test

and a time to trust. 

After being warned by their parents not to touch a hot stove, some children may ignore the advice. But when the hand gets closer to a burner, the parent will be seen as wise. Hopefully, this will be enough for a doubting child to heed future parental warnings.

Other children may just trust the parent and do not need to test their advice.

Now grown up, we face advice from diverse sources. But the issue of trustworthiness still remains. Even in regards to the Buddha.Many of his teachings we can test.

Having learned that our karmas have results, we act mindfully and find that we face fewer problems.

Letting go of expectations, we have fewer disappointments.

Not giving in to anger, we are less disturbed.

Overall, we’re happier. What about the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Joy? There’s no hot-stove test for doubters of this place. At some point, one trusts a good teacher, someone who has diagnosed myriad problems and prescribed all the right treatments.

Thursday
Feb282019

When about to complain, remember . . . (Click image for video)

Tuesday
Feb262019

Regrets are afflictions 

that cause grief and distress, 

disturbing both body and mind. 

A crucial objective in cultivation is to discover our faults, feel remorse, correct them, and then continue practicing. One risk in this process is to go through it quickly and without much thought. Call it a cursory correction.

Alternatively, another risk we run is getting mired in the process and being overwhelmed by feelings of guilt. We need to move mindfully through each step, neither progressing so quickly that wedon’t really learn from our mistakes nor so slowly that we find ourselves trapped in guilt, unable to practice.

Repeatedly replaying what we did saps us of our energy, leaving little for our desired improvement. Acknowledging that so much of what we do is a continuation of karmic threads can help here. And also to realize that we need to stop adding to the karmic chain. How? By chanting “Amituofo” and dedicating the merits to all those we hurt.

And expending our energy thus saved on self-cultivation.