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02.03.12 : Rich Or Poor? | Is Mindfulness Of Buddha Applicable In Everyday Life? | Ikkyu's Poison | The Path Of Paths | Project Rebirth | Understanding Amituofo | 108 Zen Stories

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  • NamoAmituofo
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    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2012
      The Daily Enlightenment
       Quote: Rich Or Poor?

      Always craving,
      always poor,
      even if always rich.

      Always content,
      always rich,
      even if always poor.


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       Courses By TDEditor
       Realisation: Is Mindfulness Of Buddha Applicable In Everyday Life?

      Life is uncertain;
      death is certain.
      Rebirth is certain;
      where to is uncertain.

      - Extended Buddhist Saying

      Summarised in one line, the Pure Land teachings, which are the most popular in the Mahayana tradition, teach that via faithful single-minded practice of mindfulness of Amituofo (Amitabha Buddha) using his name, coupled with sincere aspiration to reach his pure realm (Pure Land) to perfect learning and practising the Dharma, one would be able to be born there, upon which enlightenment is eventual, guaranteed with the presence of enlightened teachers.

      Sometimes, there is the misconception, that the Pure Land teachings are less, or even not applicable in everyday life, because they seem to focus more on dying, death and rebirth, which seems to be a matter deserving attention during the last days of this life, instead of right here and now. This is a serious misconception, because the Pure Land teachings are actually of immediate importance and urgency.

      They are directly applicable in our daily lives, simply because we can pass away any day (and at any time), and we will pass away. Uncertainty of where we will be reborn is thus a constantly pressing problem. The Pure Land teachings are about ensuring one has the safest and best of rebirths. If left entirely to 'chance', one will never attain such a precious rebirth. It thus makes perfect sense to be as mindful of Amituofo as possible in everyday life.

      Understanding and practising the Pure Land teachings well re-orientates how we look at and live this life too, as we become more ethical and compassionate in conduct, which increases merits for enabling birth in Pure Land. As mindfulness of Buddha aligns us to our Buddha-nature and Amituofo, it also trains calm concentration of the mind directly, for the arising of clear insight into the Buddha's teachings. Connecting to Amituofo lets his blessings flow to us. Why wait?

      To be as close to a Buddha as possible,
      be as mindful of the Buddha as possible.
      To become a Buddha as soon as possible,
      be as mindful of the Buddha as possible.


      Related Course:

      Understanding Amituofo Via The Amitabha Sutra
      (Introduction to Pure Land Teachings)

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       Excerpt: Ikkyu's Poison

      The truly skilful are able
      to correct the unskilful
      without antagonising the latter.


      When Zen Master Ikkyu was still a child, he began to study Zen in a monastery. Ikkyu's master had a jar of candy that he was particularly fond of and, to keep the novices from eating it, he told them that the jar was filled with poison. Ikkyu, however, was not fooled.

      One day he opened the jar and ate some of the delicious candy. It was so good that he shared it with the other novices. They all enjoyed the candy very much and ate every last piece. Ikkyu then dropped the jar and broke it. When the master returned, Ikkyu went to him and said, 'Master, I dropped your favourite jar and broke it.' 'Well' said the master, 'all things must pass. It's good you told me. Where is the poison that was inside?'

      'Oh Master,' said Ikkyu, 'when the jar broke I felt so bad about it that I ate the poison. I thought it a fitting punishment. But strangely, nothing has happened to me.' The master looked suspiciously at Ikkyu, but the boy just stood there quietly. 'Er, yes. hummph,' said the master. 'Very strange. You are a lucky child, after all.' And, still somewhat confused he let Ikkyu go. [Of course, Ikkyu's theft and deceit shouldn't be emulated, though he did practise some generosity and teach us some lessons indirectly. It would be better to do so without breaking any precepts at all.] 

      Related Course:
      108 Zen Stories Illustrated & Demystified

      Comment More 
      One Hand Clapping: Zen Stories for All Ages
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