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42126.07.14: Your Best Ally | Are You Still 'Tied' Down? | How The Buddha Discriminates No One | Can I Move House During The Seventh Month?

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  • NamoAmituofo
    Jul 26, 2014
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      The Daily Enlightenment
      Quote: Your Best Ally

      Your greatest spiritual challenge
      is your personal Mara
      but you have a greater spiritual ally
      which is your Buddha-nature.

      – Stonepeace | Get Books
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      Feature: Are You Still 'Tied' Down?
      A flappy tie is one of the
      most dangerous items of clothing,
      being susceptible to being caught
      in all manners of moving objects.

      – Anonone

      'The tie is a useless rag that constrains your neck… I'm an enemy of consumerism. Because of this hyperconsumerism, we're forgetting about fundamental things and wasting human strength on frivolities that have little to do with human happiness.' So said Uruguayan President José Mujic, who never wears ties. The wearing of a tie is one example of many social norms that constrict instead of liberate us – both physically and spiritually. It is superficial, a redundant object of vanity, an extension of ego. Its usage represents but a small tip of the giant iceberg of over-consumption. The more are we obsessed over such fancy and needless material items, which wastes time and energy, the more will we lose focus on growing the spiritual essentials that lead to True Happiness, which is what we all really want.

      The tie worn is like a tightened noose that strangles and limits our freedom. Such is the nature of all excess stuff in our lives. While we imagine that they bring us more bliss, as expressions of our 'financial freedom' to buy whatever we desire, they are leashes and chains that bind us instead. The more we imagine objects of True Happiness are external to us, the more will we lead ourselves astray, as we commit and waste more resources for their acquisition. Even the most expensive and beloved tie becomes absolutely useless on one's deathbed, unable to bring peace of mind, or lead one to a better rebirth. We depart naked. Even a single shred or thread from this tie cannot be brought over to the next life. What we should accumulate now are long-term virtues such as compassion and wisdom for one and all instead.

      The tie, of a special colour, print and fabric, as an individualistic fashion statement that overrides common sense, is an extra appendix, that distracts others from who you really are. Having many different ties perhaps reflects the fickleness of your ego on show? Is it not an indulgent badge of affluence? The tie, if worn as part of formal uniform, might as well be printed on the shirt, to save cloth and other precious limited resources, and the hassle of putting it on. Every tie-wearer once off work loosens or yanks it off. Why not cut such joyless and pointless frills from everyday life, that steal life itself? It is too much an ingrained norm to not wear ties, you might say? But worldly customs stuck to collectively can be transformed collectively too. Why be part of the crowd that follows the 'ritual' of knotting necks blindly? Time to sew your ties into a quilt or scarf for those in need? They would not be 'useless rags' then!

      A flappy tie is one of the
      most distracting items of clothing,
      being susceptible to being caught
      by all manners of moving people.

      – Anonone

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      Excerpt: How The Buddha Discriminates No One
      Perfect compassion is
      with perfect loving-kindness
      and perfect equanimity.

      – Stonepeace | Get Books

      In Savatthi of India, there was a scavenger named Sunita. As a road-sweeper he received a very small salary which was not enough for him to buy his daily needs. He did not have money enough for him to buy his clothes or medicine. He slept on the road side, for he did not have a house to sleep in. He saw other people enjoying themselves but he could not mix with them because people called him an outcaste. Whenever a high caste person went on the road, Sunita had to leave the road completely for them and stand very far off the road because if his shadow fell in the high caste person, he would be scolded and beaten until he bled very badly. He could not learn anything because he was very poor and had no chance to attend the religious practices. So he lived a most miserable and unhappy poor life.

      One day, he was sweeping a dirty, dusty and smelly road. His body was covered with dirt and sweat. He was wearing only one small piece of cloth. Suddenly, he saw the Buddha coming along that road with thousands of monks behind him. Sunita was collecting the swept dirt and rubbish, putting them into baskets, keeping them on his head and carrying them away to throw. And when he saw the Buddha and thousands of monks coming towards him, his heart was filled with joy and fear. Finding no place to hide on the road, he put his yoke in a bend of the wall and stood as if stuck to the wall, joining his palms in respect to the Buddha. The Buddha came near him, stopped and spoke to him in a voice divinely sweet, saying "My dear friend, do you like a leave this job and become a monk?"

      Nobody had ever spoken to Sunita like this before. His heart was with such a great joy and happiness that his eyes were filled with tears. He could not talk for a moment. He did not believe his eyes and ears. He never knew that the Buddha was so kind. He always had received orders but never a kind word from anybody. So he said, "O! Most Venerable Sir, I always have received orders, but never a kind word. If you accept a dirty, and most miserable scavenger like me, why should I not like to leave this dirty job, Sir?" Standing on the same spot, the Buddha ordained Sunita and took him along with other monks. Afterwards, no one knew what his caste was and everybody – kings, ministers, commanders in chief all respected him.

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      The Life Of The Buddha (Part One & Two)
      Rev. Siridhamma
      Letter: Can I Move House During The Seventh Month?
      Question: I will be moving to a new house when it coincides with the seventh lunar month. However, some old folks in the family think this is unwise. What should I take note of? Or is there actually nothing to fear?

      Answer: According to Buddhist teachings, wandering spirits are around us 'all' the time now – thus the term 'wandering spirits'. The seventh lunar month is not particularly special, as there are not more spirits during this period, since the 'gates of hell' never open for 'holidays', as hell-beings' negative karma is so strong that they do not get holidays, just as human prisoners in our world do not have 'off' days. Hell-beings are different from the spirit world (of hungry ghosts and wandering spirits), which we share the same world with.

      The seventh lunar month is 'special' only in the sense that humans hold festivals of making offerings to wandering spirits at Buddhist temples and other non-Buddhist ceremonies. If there is congregation of spirits partaking of offerings, it should be at these places, and not at new homes, especially since there are no special offerings there. If there are wandering spirits, they would be those who happen to be there or passing by. This might happen occasionally according to karmic affinity, but not particularly during any time of the year.

      For peace of mind, you can set up a shrine and do some simple chanting at the house to bless the house upon moving in. You can just Nianfo (chant 'Amituofo' – the name of Amitabha Buddha in Chinese) sincerely with the intention of guiding any unseen being possibly around to do the same wholeheartedly, to move on, to reach Amituofo's Pure Land. You can also collect blessed water at Buddhist temples for sprinkling around the house while chanting. Chanting should be done 'live'; not just by playing a recording as it lacks the power of blessing. To truly understand the meaning of Nianfo, so as to practise it well, it is best to learn about the Pure Land teachings systematically through courses.

      Related Course:
      The 48 Great Vows Of Amituofo: Boundless Blessings For This Life & The Next (4th Run)

      Related Articles:
      How To Help The Deceased With Nianfo
      Where To Set Up Shrine?

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      Wandering Thoughts

      33: Nagging | 32: Expectations
      31: Volatility | 30: Cracks
      29: Communication | 28: Remake
      27: Apology | 26: Barrenness

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