04.12.08 : Raft that Leads from Sea to Shore
Realisation: The Raft that Leads from Sea to Shore
When compassion increases, your Dharma raft broadens, offering room for more than yourself. - stonepeace
Samsara, which is the world of strife and suffering we live in, is often likened to a 'sea of suffering'. This is an apt metaphor because we are trapped, adrift and immersed in dissatisfaction, bobbing up and down in the waters of change; not unlike us undergoing the restless states of (re)birth and (re)death, time and again. Sometimes, the tides are wild, sometimes calmer, but there is no refuge in the sea. The worldly comforts we cling to are but temporal and insubstantial pieces of 'wood' - never 'solid' or 'broad' enough to offer good rest.
However, as the saying goes, 'Though the sea of suffering is boundless, turn your head [towards the Dharma] and there the shore is." This shore represents the goal of spiritual liberation. (Or enlightenment; Nirvana; emancipation; True Happiness.) The shore offers true lasting refuge. Even the Triple Gem (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) that we take refuge in is not as substantial as the refuge from becoming enlightened. The Triple Gem is but a raft, a vehicle that leads to this shore. Upon reaching it, we become truly one with the Triple Gem.
During spiritual cultivation, we should not cling too tightly to the raft, namely, the Dharma (that which the Buddha taught, which the Sangha practise). This is good advice - lest we become dogmatic and follow the Dharma blindly. That said, we do need the raft of Dharma. Relinquish the raft too soon and you will fall back into the sea of Samsara. Wise usage of the Dharma is to use (practise) it to steer towards the shore of release. Otherwise, it would be useless, rendering one still adrift in Samsara. But to step upon the shore, let the raft go! - Shen Shi'an
Though Pure Land is not the shore of liberation, it is the most solid bridge towards it. - stonepeace
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