The Art of Living

Saturday - 29/06/2013 01:44 - Viewed: 3938
Our goal in studying Buddhism is to open up our wisdom; to attain this goal, we must cultivate purity of mind. In today旧 society, our greatest obstructions are TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines - these all contain contents which pollute our minds. I often persuade people not to read or listen to these things. When our hearts are free f-rom these unneeded afflictions, we can live each day in peace and happiness; thus, allowing our minds to return to purity. With an undeluded mind, one will see matters of life clearer, deeper, and farther than others. This is because a settled and concentrated mind is a mind of wisdom. The key in cultivating the Buddha旧 teachings is having a settled and concentrated mind, in practicing the Pure Land method, purity of mind is of foremost importance.

The Art of Living
-- Se-lected Passages --
Houston 1996
Talk given by the Venerable Chin Kung

- Our goal in studying Buddhism is to open up our wisdom; to attain this goal, we must cultivate purity of mind. In today旧 society, our greatest obstructions are TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines - these all contain contents which pollute our minds. I often persuade people not to read or listen to these things. When our hearts are free f-rom these unneeded afflictions, we can live each day in peace and happiness; thus, allowing our minds to return to purity. With an undeluded mind, one will see matters of life clearer, deeper, and farther than others. This is because a settled and concentrated mind is a mind of wisdom. The key in cultivating the Buddha旧 teachings is having a settled and concentrated mind, in practicing the Pure Land method, purity of mind is of foremost importance.

- The Infinite Life Sutra teaches us to cultivate purity, equality, and understanding. Being mindful of the Buddha is cultivating this, for Amitabha Buddha is purity, equality, and understanding. When we recite the Buddha旧 name, we are reminded of these qualities.

- In China, Buddhism can be divided into ten schools. Aside f-rom the two Small Vehicle school which has already declined, there are eight schools remaining belonging to Great Vehicle Buddhism. There are 2 schools (Ch学n and Shing) which enter the Buddha旧 teachings through the method of 捜nderstanding/ Enlightenment". They seek the great enlightening, to understand the heart/mind, and see the self-nature. Usually, those of lesser capabilities to enlighten on their own are unable to reach their goals through this method. Thus, to cultivate the Ch学n/Zen School requires a high level of wisdom and a very pure heart. Without these, then one would have to start learning f-rom the stage of Teachings. The study of Teachings is to help establish proper understanding and proper viewpoint, thus, the method of 壮ight-eousness/ Properness" is used here to enter the Buddha旧 teachings. There are 4 schools belonging to this category (Tien Tai, Shian Shou, Fa Shiang, and San Lwun). The practitioners of these schools study and abide by the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha to correct their erroneous views, thoughts, and actions. Most people are capable of learning this method, but it is a long journey, such as going to school. One must start f-rom elementary school, then gradually advance grade by grade to junior high, high school, and college. In finishing one grade, one attains the benefit of that single grade. The final 2 schools are Pure Land and Esoteric. These stress on the importance of cultivating purity of mind, thus, their method of entering the Buddha觧 teachings is through 禅urity". The Pure Land School can be practiced by people of all capabilities, regardless whether they be smart or dull. All can practice, and all can succeed in cultivating Pure Land. The Esoteric School requires a high level of Purity of Mind, making it very difficult to reach attainment.

- The difference between the cultivation of Purity in Pure Land School and Esoteric School is that the Pure Land School teaches us to cultivate purity of mind away f-rom pollution, while the Esoteric School teaches us to cultivate purity of mind in the midst of pollution, the latter path involves state of being in pollution but not being polluted; naturally, this state is too difficult for commonfolk to succeed in attaining.

- True wisdom arises f-rom purity of mind, thus, 聴isdom" mentioned in the Buddha觧 teachings is not attained f-rom reading and studying books; the 聴isdom" we attain f-rom reading and studying is only worldly knowledge, and not true wisdom.

- True wisdom is the function of our self-nature. Our self-nature is complete with unlimited wisdom, virtues, and abilities, these qualities are present in everyone旧 self-nature, and we must know to bring them out.

- 苘uddha' is Purity, Equality, and Understanding. The Buddha旧 teachings can be summarized into 10 simple phrases: True Sincerity towards others, Purity of Mind within, Equality in everything we see, Proper Understanding of life and the universe, Compassion, helping others in a wise and unconditional way, See Through to the truth of impermanence, Let Go of all wandering thoughts and attachments, Freedom of mind and spirit, Accord With Conditions, go along with the environment, Be Mindful of Amitabha Buddha, wishing to reach the Pure Land and follow in His Teachings. The first five represent the Buddha旧 heart, also the virtues of our self-nature. We are presently unable to completely manifest these qualities due to our lack of cultivating the latter five. Diligent practice is needed to bring out these virtues of the Buddha-nature within us.

- The ultimate goal in learning Buddhism is the great Perfection. In all classes of society and fields of occupation, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas act as role models for all people to follow. Students of the Buddha must be good examples for all others, and families which follow the Buddha旧 teachings must act in a way which is worthy of being the role model for all families. If one is still a student, then one旧 schoolwork, conduct, and health become an example for one旧 classmates. This is being a student of the Buddha. In going to work or running a business, one must be a role model for all businessmen to follow. Thus, everything in the Buddhadharma can be number one.

- A family living in perfect wisdom is the most content, fortunate, and happy family in the world.

- Buddhism is the education of wisdom, it encompasses all things, and exceeds the boundaries between countries, races, and religions. Since Buddhism is an education, it is not limited in the boundaries of religion. Followers of all religions are welcome and should learn and cultivate the education of true wisdom.

- In the Sutra of Observing Amitabha and His Pure Land, the 3 Conditions mentioned stands as the basic foundation of cultivation in Buddhism. Upon perfecting the 3 Conditions, one will have complete wisdom, fortune, and virtue.
The first condition consists of four practices based on the
fundamental morals of mankind:

1. The practice of filial piety
2. The practice of respecting teachers and elders
3. The practice of harboring compassion and not killing
4. The practice of the 10 Kind Deeds.
The second condition consists of three practices based on cultivating the self:
1. Taking Refuge in the Triple
Jewels
2. Understanding the spirit of
precepts
3. Being a law-abiding citizen of
the world.
The third condition consists of four
practices which follow the practices
of Bodhisattvas:
1. Giving rise to the Bodhi Mind
2. Deeply believing in the Law of Cause and Effect
3. Studying the teachings of the Large Vehicle
4. Introducing the Teachings to
others.
Altogether, these 11 practices, each having its deep and vast meaning, must be put to use in everyday life, for they are the foundation of the 49 years of teachings spoken by Shakyamuni Buddha.

- Great Vehicle Buddhism in China can be represented by the great Bodhisattvas of the Four Famous Mountains. First is Earth Treasury Bodhisattva of Jiou-Hua Mountain, representing filial piety and respect. Second is Kuan Yin Bodhisattva of Pu-Tuo Mountain, representing compassion. Third is Manjushri Bodhisattva of Wu-Tai Mountain, representing wisdom. Fourth is Universal Worthy Bodhisattva of E-Mei Mountain, representing true practice. These 4 great Bodhisattvas represent the core of cultivation in Buddhism. As beginners, we start learning f-rom Earth Treasury, for the earth is the root of life of all living beings. Because the great earth nurtures all beings and is the treasury of all that is precious, the Buddha uses it to represent our 単ind ground" or 単ind earth". Our true mind/original nature is complete with infinite wisdom, virtuous abilities, and talents; we must know how to open this treasury in order to attain its benefits. Earth Treasury Bodhisattva teaches us to be filial to our parents and respectful to our teachers, for in these practices lies the key to opening the treasury of our self-nature.

- The field of filial piety is very vast. Our parents have shown us great kindness in bringing us up and educating us, thus, we should not only nurture their aging bodies, but we should also nurture their minds, and let them be happy- this is practicing filial piety.

- Regarding the practice of filial piety, we should strive to do our best in living up to our parents' expectations. When they wish for us to be good persons and benefit the society, we should do so; to act otherwise would be unfilial. For children going to school, it would be unfilial to do poorly at schoolwork, causing one旧 parents to be worried and disappointed. It would be unfilial if one觧 conduct was poor, or if one旧 health was poor, or if one was disrespectful to one旧 teachers, or if one could not get along with other schoolmates. After reaching adulthood, and entering the society, it would be unfilial to be rebellious towards one旧 boss, or being unable to cooperate with others at work, causing one旧 parents at home to worry. F-rom these, we realize how vast the field of cultivating filial piety really is, and that the entire Buddhadharma is actually just teaching the Way of Filial Piety. In Buddhism, the perfection of filial piety is only completed upon reaching the Unsurpassed Understanding (Buddhahood).

- In today旧 generation, mankind has been seriously polluted in heart, thoughts, views, spirit, and body, thus leading to the birth of many strange illnesses. The root cause of illness and disease is pollution - if one旧 body and mind are pure, then one will definitely not fall ill or grow aged. To not age or become ill is true happiness and fortune. To attain this goal, we only need to learn and cultivate/practice according to the Buddha旧 teachings.

- In our world today, whe-re foods have been polluted by toxins and poisons, we should harbor compassion, for compassion is the antidote for all poisons. A truly compassionate heart can neutralize all poisons. The Buddha once said, 声ll dharmas arise f-rom the mind." Thus, a pure, equanimous, and understanding mind/heart naturally brings health to one旧 body.

- When we recite morning and evening ceremonies in front of the Buddha and Bodhisattva images, it is just as if we were vowing to abide by their teachings right in their presence. Morning recitation acts as a reminder, preventing us f-rom forgetting the Buddha旧 teachings, and reminding us to act accordingly in the course of the day. Evening recitation is a reflection of today旧 practice, checking to see if we acted accordingly to the Buddha旧 teachings. If we did, then we should work even harder next time, if not, then we must reform, seeking to renew ourselves with each day. Only practicing in this way can true benefits be attained. Morning and evening recitations are the most basic practices in learning Buddhism. It is necessary to remind ourselves each day, and reflect and reform.

- One who wishes to become a student of the Buddha should first learn f-rom Maitreya Buddha, or better known in America as 浅appy Buddha". Maitreya Buddha represents the most basic conditions necessary to become Buddhist - a smiling face and a big heart. (Represented by his big belly). We must recognize that all Buddha images serve to remind us of the Teachings, and are not idols or gods of worship. 浅appy Buddha" teaches us to give rise to an equanimous mind, and be happy; thus being able to enter the Buddha Way.

- The content of the Buddha旧 teachings is infinitely deep and vast, one is unable to speak of it all, for the flavor of it is unfathomable. Understanding it can bring great help to our living, work, and dealing with all people, matters, and affairs. Buddhism truly surpasses the boundaries of nationality, races, and religions - there isn急 a single thing it cannot encompass. The Buddha旧 teachings is truly a very complete education

Total notes of this article: 0 in 0 rating

Click on stars to rate this article

  Reader Comments

You did not use the site, Click here to remain logged. Timeout: 60 second