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42209.08.14: Make A Difference | Lady Who Did (Not) Lose Her Beloved | Best Shrine Offering | Understanding Amituofo Via The Amitabha Sutra

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  • NamoAmituofo
    Aug 9, 2014
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      The Daily Enlightenment
      Quote: Make A Difference

      Make a difference to the world
      even if the world is indifferent,
      because it makes a difference -
      at least to you, in trying your best.

      – Stonepeace | Get Books
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      Feature: The Lady Who Did (Not) Lose Her Beloved
      While we cannot truly lose
      what we cannot truly have and hold,
      we can truly suffer,
      over what we imagine we had and held.

      – Stonepeace | Get Books

      Once upon a time, Zen Master Foyin encountered a lady, who was about to drown herself in a river out of despair. After saving her, he asked why she wished to kill herself, especially since she was still so young. She replied that she had been married for just three years, when her son perished, leading her husband to abandon her. Thus, she felt her life to now be meaningless. The master next asked how her life was like before marriage. She recalled that she was carefree and doing alright. The master remarked that right now, she has merely returned to that original state three years ago. Just as she was without her husband and son then, she is without them now. Essentially, on the whole, she did not have any real loss. The 'koan' to ask is – 'If she could be so carefree three years ago, why should she be so sorrowful three years later?'

      How do we answer this question? The truth is, we suffer only when we dwell on our present unfortunate situation out of needless aversion. Yet, this misfortune is so only when we compare with it with a just transpired previous state, that was relatively more fortunate, which we have equally needless attachment to. Due to this, those who have the most suffering tend not to be those who were long-suffering at first, whose lives have since improved; but those who had much but lost it all later. Because of the sense of loss from comparison, there is grief and lamentation. However, if we are to look at the big picture over a longer period of time, both the suffering and happy now are but experiencing transitory twists and turns of the wheel of karmic mis/fortune. Thus, it is equally delusional to be stirred up by both experiences of good fortune and misfortune.

      The master was nudging the lady to transcend the dualistically alternating states she was going through, to return to how she was before it all – which represents the original state of our Buddha-nature. Especially in times of turmoil, we should return to this stable spiritual home base within, which is free from confusion by attachment to good fortune and aversion to misfortune. Why be too elated or depressed? Simply by bringing our hearts and minds home through mindfulness of Buddha(-nature), instead on dwelling on external conditions that keep fleeting by, sustainable peace of mind will arise. The stuff of our present situations should thus be contemplated to only be passing fruits of causes and conditions gathering for a while, before eventual departure. This is not being indifferent or uncaring though, as true equanimity functions proactively with equal compassion for all, while being unperturbed by anyone or anything. How wonderful!

      Because everything changes
      from moment to moment,
      we should treasure everything
      in this moment.

      Because everything changes
      from moment to moment,
      we should not be attached to anything
      in this moment.

      – Stonepeace | Get Books

      – Shen Shi'an | Comment | More 
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      Excerpt: Tibet's Best Shrine Offering
      When we give anything or make any offering,
      may we give with genuine generosity,
      while we give up greed for returns.

      – Stonepeace | Get Books


      Geshe Ben once lived in retreat in a mountain cave. Generations of hermit yogis had furnished it with a crude wooden door, a rocky altar, and a fireplace. Still, it remained a simple cave in which the monk practiced meditation in perfect solitude. At the end of a lengthy period of total isolation, Geshe Ben received word that his patrons would arrive on the following day to bring supplies, make offerings, and receive his blessings. He cleaned, dusted, and polished everything in the cave and arranged beautiful offerings on the altar in preparation for receiving his visitors.

      Then he stepped back and surveyed his domain with satisfaction. "Ah-yii!" Ben suddenly exclaimed in alarm, observing his own handwork. "What demonic force has entered into this hypocrite's haven?" Reaching into a dark corner, he picked up a handful of dust and cast it upon the immaculate altar. "Let them see this hermitage and its occupant as they are!" he exulted."Better no offerings at all than offerings to the mere facade of virtue."

      In that moment, Geshe Ben had realized that all the offerings he had so artfully arranged in the freshly scrubbed hermitage were not offerings to the enlightened Buddha but to his own ego, made in order to impress his benefactors. "Let them come and visit now," he thought with satisfaction. Years later, when Padampa Sangayay came from India and heard the tale, he exclaimed, "That handful of dirt was the best offering ever made in Tibet."

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      The Snow Lion's Turquoise Mane: Wisdom Tales From Tibet
      Letter: If Remorse Is 'Bad', Why Practise Repentance?

      Question: I learnt in Abhidhamma that remorse an unwholesome mental factor. If so, why do we chant Repentance Verses?

      Answer: 'Remorse' (Kukkucca) is deemed unwholesome only when it is as below, in terms of (1) regret over good undone, and (2) regret over evil done. It hinders spiritual practice as it causes fretful restlessness. When we chant the Repentance Verses, it is exactly to overcome or rid this remorse, so as to regain peace of mind for furthering steady spiritual practice. Not having regret over evil done is in fact 'moral shamelessness' (Ahirika), that leads to doing of more evil due to lack of shame. The practice of repentance is to recognise evils done and to express resolution to never do them again. It does not nurse regrets with no resolution. It is thus a crucial practice.

      From p.120 & 116 of www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhidhamma.pdf :

      Kukkucca (Remorse):

      '… Remorse over the evil that is done is Kukkucca, and so is remorse over the good that is not done. It has the characteristic of grieving over the evil that is done and the good that is not done… Kukkucca is one of the Five Hindrances (which hinder spiritual progress: sense desires, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and doubt) and is used together with Uddhacca (Restlessness). It pertains to past things only.'

      Ahirika (Moral Shamelessness):

      '… He who is not ashamed of doing evil is Ahiriko (shameless)… One who has Hiri (shame) recoils from evil just as a cock's feather shrinks in front of fire. One who has no Hiri (Shame), would commit any evil without the least compunction.'

      – Shen Shi'an | Comment | More 

      Moonpointer
      Wandering Thoughts

      45: Sincerity
       | 44: Divisiveness | 43: Partiality | 42: Transience | 
      41: Partnership
       | 40: Temper | 39: Respect | 38: Consulation | 
      37: Laziness | 36: Wisom | 35: Promise | 34: Tension
       


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