light of compassion that grasps us illumines and protects us always;
The darkness of our ignorance is already broken through;
Still the clouds and mists of greed and desire, anger and hatred,
Cover as always the sky of true and real shinjin.
But though light of the sun is veiled by clouds and mists,
Beneath the clouds and mists there is brightness, not dark."
Just as fog is dispelled by the strength of the sun
and is dispelled no other way,
preconception is cleared by the strength of realization.
There's no other way of clearing preconceptions.
Experience them as baseless dreams.
Experience them as ephemeral bubbles.
Experience them as insubstantial rainbows.
Experience them as indivisible space.
We must work with our fears, frustrations, disappointments, and irritations, the painful aspects of life. People complain that Buddhism is an extremely gloomy religion because it emphasizes suffering and misery. Usually religions speak of beauty, song, ecstasy, bliss. But according to Buddha, we must begin by seeing the experience of life as it is. We must see the truth of suffering, the reality of dissatisfaction. We cannot ignore it and attempt to examine only the glorious, pleasurable aspects of life....So all sects and schools of Buddhism agree that we must begin by facing the reality of our living situations. We cannot begin by dreaming.
GRACE CHEN visits Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen monastery.
Jenjarom, Selangor (Malaysia) -- THE Fo Guang Shan
Dong Zen monastery in Jenjarom, near Banting, Selangor, is a landscape
of lanterns and flowers. In the gardens, the trees bend under the
weight of pink cherry blossoms, and the tea trees have been sculpted
into Bodhisattvas. At seven metres, they are a majestic sight.
The two million visitors expected will certainly be floored by the work
done by the monks, nuns and volunteers on the monastery grounds.
Pictures by Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen
As Venerable Man Dao comes to greet me, the first words to leap out
of my mouth are: “Are those cherry blossoms for real?”
The 58-year-old nun laughs indulgently and explains that they are
artificial. “But isn’t the effect spectacular?”
“We set up these decorations so that people will feel the joy and confidence of Buddhism,” explains Man Dao.
The mind is something more radiant than anything else can be, but
because counterfeits - passing defilements - come and obscure it, it
loses its radiance, like the sun when obscured by clouds. Don't go
thinking that the sun goes after the clouds. Instead, the clouds come
drifting along and obscure the sun.
Here in Tallahassee the news is of an execution tomorrow and another
next week. It is strange and distressing to be in a country that still
clings to human sacrifice. Some say it is a deterent, but if that
really were so one would have to marvel at what the homicide rate would
be here without it. The fact is that the US, as we all know, has one of
the highest killing rates in the world and it seems much more credible
to think that
Walking through a Japanese garden, one truly feels the life force
energy that is known as Hado. Hado isn't just present in Japan, but it
is a concept that has existed in Japan for centuries. The two Japanese
characters that make up the word Hado mean "wave" and "move" - perfect
words to describe the energy vibrations that permeate all life. Hado is
present in all things, animate and inanimate. It resides everywhere,
even in the air and in people.
I'm an Acharya (a senior teacher) with the Order of Amida Buddha, which is a Pureland Buddhist Order. I'm a minister, teach on-line and hold Pureland Buddhist sangha gatherings in Perth, Scotland. I mainly write about Buddhist matters and share the teachings of the Head of our Order, Dharmavidya David Brazier