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06.04.14 : Higher Ground | How Well Should You Observe The Precepts? | Why Particularly Seek One Pure Land? | Destination Pureland | Project Makan

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  • NamoAmituofo
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      The Daily Enlightenment
       Quote: Higher Ground

      Do you act 
      from higher moral ground, 
      or merely speak 
      of higher moral ground?

      – Stonepeace | Get Books

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       Feature: How Well Should You Observe The Precepts?

      To be late without notice
      for a promised appointment
      subtly breaks the first precept
      of abstention from taking life.

      – Stonepeace | Get Books

      When it comes to observation of the precepts, there is the occasional question of how well are we supposed to observe them. Take for instance, the second basic precept of ‘not taking what is not given’ – i.e. to abstain from stealing. This seems basic enough… but with deeper reflection, especially in terms of the scope of theft, it can prove more challenging than usual in practice. Must the stolen pertain only to tangible objects? Could the intangible be just as important, if not invaluable? The subjects of theft need not be physical, mental, or spatial… but the temporal!

      Time, although abstract, is a limited and measurable personal resource or 'commodity' that can be 'stolen' – by being late. As the Chinese saying goes, ‘An inch of time is (precious) like an inch of gold, but an inch of gold cannot buy an inch of time.’ (一寸光阴一寸金,寸金难买寸光阴) Unlike things, time taken or wasted cannot be returned or reclaimed. Though being late seems trivial, it does ‘rob’ the seconds, minutes, hours and days of others’ lives. Time is equivalent to ‘money’ for some, while it is life itself, that trickles by to all. Forcing 10 persons to wait 10 minutes due to your tardiness is to steal 100 minutes of their lives!

      Some might think that to interpret the second precept to include time is ‘too creative’ a stretch, to probably not be intended even by the Buddha himself. However, the quest towards spiritual perfection means we must expand the sphere of that encompassed by moral mindfulness as widely as possible. The precepts are broadly phrased, surely, not for us to interpret as superficially as we can, but as profoundly as we should.Increasing care for the tiniest details is the key to true greatness. To embrace the fullest spirit of the precepts, their mere letters must be transcended!

      To be late without notice
      for a promised appointment
      subtly breaks the fourth precept
      of abstention from false speech.


      – Stonepeace | Get Books


      – Shen Shi'an | Comment | More 
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       Excerpt: Why Particularly Seek One Pure Land?

      Just as we cannot equally focus 
      on all worldly goals simultaneously,
      thus should we specially focus 
      on one spiritual goal immediately.

      – Stonepeace | Get Books

      The Fourth Doubt: Doubt Of Particular Seeking Of One Pure Land

      Question: Equal to mindfully seeking birth in one Buddha’s Pure Land, why not, within the ten directions’ Buddha Lands, as wished, be mindful of any one Buddha’s Pure Land, to accordingly attain rebirth there? Why is there need to be particularly mindful of the Western [Pure Land’s] Amitā[bha] Buddha [Amituofo]?

      Answer: Ordinary beings without wisdom should not dare to act arbitrarily on their own. Focusing on following the Buddha’s words, thus should there be particular mindfulness of Amitā[bha] Buddha [Amituofo]. How should we follow the Buddha’s words? Our Great Teacher Śākyamuni Buddha, for all his life, spoke the Dharma, giving sagely teachings everywhere, only encouraging sentient beings to focus their minds on particular mindfulness of Amitā[bha] Buddha [Amituofo], to seek birth in his Western [Pure] Land Of Ultimate Bliss.

      As the Immeasurable Life Sūtra, Contemplation Sūtra, Rebirth Treatise et cetera, numbering more than ten sūtras [Update: 290 sūtras archived to date], treatises, essays et cetera enthusiastically and thoughtfully guide and teach, encouraging birth in the West[ern Pure Land], thus is there this particular mindfulness. Moreover, Amitā[bha] Buddha [Amituofo] specially has forty-eight great compassionate vows, to receive and guide sentient beings.... Continue Fourth Doubt here | See Third Doubt here

      – Comment | More 

       净土十疑论 The Treatise On Ten Doubts About Pure Land ('The Faith Factor') 
       隋天台智者大师著 Written by Sui Dynasty’s Tiantai Tradition’s Great Master Zhizhe
       优婆塞沈时安英译 Translated to English by Upāsaka Shen Shi’an
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