05.11.09 : What Emptiness Is | How a Monk Failed a Temptation | The Two Dimensions of Reality | Happy Belated World Vegan Day
If you can't view this, please click hereQuote: What Emptiness Is?
Emptiness in Buddhism is not nothingness.
Emptiness is everythingness or anythingness.
[Emptiness is of mind and matter
being empty of permanence and substantiality,
as they are constanty changing without fixed nature.]
- Stonepeace: http://twitter.com/stonepeace
The TDE Collection Realisation: How a Monk Failed a Temptation The Buddha taught us
how to become living Buddhas;
not to mimic lifeless Buddha statues.
[Erratum: The word 'unwise' in the first paragraph of last issue's article should be 'wise']
There was once an old woman, who supported a monk for more than twenty years. She had taken the trouble to build him a small hut, for his both his lodging and meditation. She even offered him food for his meals. One day, she decided to test him for what he's worth, so as to know the progress of his spiritual cultivation. This she did by getting a girl who desired much to make love to go forth and embrace him. The girl did as she was told. Caressing him, she asked him what he was going to do about it. To that, he poetically replied, 'An old tree grows on a cold rock in winter. Nowhere is there any warmth.' When the girl recalled his reply to the old woman, she angrily exclaimed, 'To think I fed that fellow for twenty years! He showed no consideration for your need, no disposition to explain your condition. He need not have responded to passion, but at least he could have showed some compassion.' With that, she went to his hut and torched it down.
This is truly a very powerful story that offers counterintuitive lessons on on many levels - so much so that it leaves many readers puzzled as to what it really means. For one, the actual teacher is the old woman, instead of the typical 'Zen master'. The tables are totally turned. Her self-devised test might seem incredibly crude and irreverent, yet it was totally relevant for the monk. In fact, it offered probably the biggest lesson that he had been missing during his twenty odd years of practice. A dramatically fiery wake-up call! His meditation had rendered him into an unfeelingly dispassionate person. If that was the goal of meditation, we might as well freeze up to become statues. Obviously, this is wrong. Even Buddha statues remind us of the need to nurture compassion while cultivating wisdom - by their gentle but definite smiling expressions. Indeed, what good is the deepest wisdom within oneself if it is never expressed with the deepest compassion for helping everyone else? Meditation is not merely about becoming personally calm and composed. The Buddha even specifically taught about the need to cultivate loving-kindness via meditation.When we look inward too much, we become too detached to the suffering of the world out there. Was the old woman's reaction too drastic? Well, if she did not do what she did, the monk might end up wasting a few more decades meditating complacently in a skewed manner. The monk had displayed no hint of kindness; just giving a cryptic expression of apathy that probably didn't mean much to the girl. Instead of seizing the golden opportunity to inquire on what the girl yearned and to teach her how to not to be enslaved by her desires, he simply expressed disinterest... and perhaps with a tinge of stand-offish pride too? The old woman had wanted to help nuture a future Buddha; not maintain the life of a useless old tree! Her sole mistake was to had given rise to anger, that came with attachment to expectations. But maybe she was secretly a Zen master who manifested wrathful tough love! – Shen Shi'an:http://facebook.com/shenshian We need more warmth of compassion;
less heat of passion;
less cold of dispassion.
Share Articles & Comments: comment@... | More Realisations Excerpt: The Two Dimensions of Reality
Since every thing is interdependent upon one another,
there is no one independent creator of everything.
We come to the practice of meditation seeking relief from our suffering, and meditation can teach us how to transform our suffering and obtain basic relief. But the deepest kind of relief is the realization of nirvana. There are two dimensions to life, and we should be able to touch both. One is like a wave, and we call it the historical [relative] dimension. The other is like the water, and we call it the ultimate [absolute] dimension, or nirvana. We usually touch the wave, but when we discover how to touch the water, we receive the highest fruit that meditation can offer. In the historical dimension, we have birth certificates and death certificates. The day your mother passes away, you suffer. If someone sits close to you and shows her concern, you feel some relief. You have her friendship, her support, her warm hand to hold. This is the world of waves. It is characterized by birth and death, ups and downs, being and nonbeing. A wave has a beginning and end, but we cannot ascribe these characteristics to water. In the world of water, there is no birth or death, no being or nonbeing, no beginning or end. When we touch the water, we touch reality in its ultimate dimension and are liberated from all these concepts. The second century philosopher Nagarjuna asked, "Before something was born, did it exist or not?" Before the egg was born from a chicken, was it existent or nonexistent? If it were already there, how could it have been born? Since a baby is already in the womb of her mother, how can we say she is not yet born? Nagarjuna says that something already present cannot be born. To be born means from nothing you become something; from no one you become someone. But nothing can be born from nothing. A flower is born from soil, minerals, seeds, sunshine, rain, and many other things. Meditation reveals to us the no-birth of all things. Life is a continuation. Instead of singing "Happy Birthday," we can sing "Happy Continuation." Even the day of our mother's death is a day of continuation; she continues in many other forms. Touching Peace: Practicing the Art of Mindful Living
Thich Nhat Hanh
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