Be awakened

Don’t be lazy. We have been lazy and ignorant for millions of years, and we are now lucky to hear the bell of Buddha.

Meditate all day and night while lying, sitting, standing and walking. Always be awakened and mindful. That is the message from Zen Master Vien Hoc. But how can the lazy body be conquered? It is a hard work, and only you can do it to save yourself. You should observe your body carefully. Eat healthy, eat little. Work and exercise everyday.

Always remember that the law of impermanence is drifting us swiftly all day and night, and we have very little time in this life to practice Buddha Dharma to reach the shore. So don’t be lazy.

That doesn’t mean that you have to punish your body. The body is a raft, a vehicle; you have to take good care of it for a really hard trip.

Observe all your bodily movement; that’s a part of meditation. In a certain way, this kind of meditation might have originated some forms of martial arts. Also, you can have your own style Tai Chi Chuan for fun while meditating.

Try this: breath in and out gently, move your right hand very slowly in any way you want while you observe and feel all the bodily movements. Then, with both hands. Then, with eyes open, stand up and move gently while you observe and feel all the bodily movements. It is so much fun for the children to practice their own style Tai Chi Chuan while meditating.

Ask them to try it around five minutes a day. The practitioner would some time see that the mind and body become one.

Watchful

Watch yourself everyday, constantly. Watch yourself, be mindful, be alert. In this dream world, do not search for Dharma counselor; Watch yourself, and see the Buddha’s face on your face.

Watch yourself, and see you are impermanent, no-self. Watch yourself, and see whether you are living in a dream. You are changing swiftly, endlessly. Yesterday, you had millions of different bodies, millions of different feelings, millions of different thoughts – just like a stream flowing swiftly.

Look back and see all those bodies, feelings, and thoughts just like dreams, like echoes, like mirages. Then look at the day before yesterday. Do you feel just like millions of lives away? Are those dreams? Think nothing, just observe.

Just be alert, feel the breath, observe the body breathing. And feel the life and death flowing swiftly, endlessly in your whole body.

The Ten Recitation Method

The Ten Recitation method is a sim­ple, convenient, and effective way of prac­ticing Buddha Recitation.  It is especially suitable for those who find little time in the day for cultivation.

Practicing the Ten Recitation method helps us to regain mindfulness of Amitabha Buddha and brings us peace and clarity to the present moment.

The practice begins first thing in the morning when we wake up.  We should sit up straight and clearly recite Amitabha’s name ten times with an undisturbed mind, whether out loud or silently to ourselves.  We repeat the process eight more times for the rest of the day:
1.  At Breakfast
2.  Before Work
3.  At Lunch Break
4.  At Lunch
5.  After Lunch Break
6.  Getting Off Work
7.  At Dinner
8.  At Bedtime

Altogether, the method is practiced nine times a day, everyday.  The key point in this cultivation is regularity; we must not practice one day and not the other.  If this practice can be maintained undis­turbed, the cultivator would soon feel his purity of mind increase, and wisdom grow.

Diligent practice of the Ten Recita­tion method together with deep faith and determined vows can ensure fulfillment of our wish to reach the Western Pure Land of Infinite Life and Infinite Light.  We hope everyone will practice accordingly.

Buddha’s Zen

Zen is also a form of Buddism that emphasises the originally pure nature of the mind. Zen, more than anything else, is about reclaiming and expanding the present moment. Life exists in the present, or nowhere at all, and if you cannot grasp that you are simply living a fantasy.

Buddha said: “I consider the positions of kings and rulers as that of dust motes. I observe treasures of gold and gems as so many bricks and pebbles. I look upon the finest silken robes as tattered rags. I see myriad worlds of the universe as small seeds of fruit, and the greatest lake in India as a drop of oil on my foot. I perceive the teachings of the world to be the illusion of magicians.”

And Buddha also said: “I discern the highest conception of emancipation as a golden brocade in a dream, and view the holy path of the illuminated ones as flowers appearing in one’s eyes. I see meditation as a pillar of a mountain, Nirvana as a nightmare of daytime. I look upon the judgment of right and wrong as the serpentine dance of a dragon, and the rise and fall of beliefs as but traces left by the four seasons.”

A Letter to a Dying Man

Quoted from last paragraph:”Your end which is endless is as a snow-flake dissolving in the pure air”. The Buddha taught there is no birth, there is no death; there is no coming, there is no going; there is no same, there is no different; there is no permanent self, there is no annihilation. We only think there is. When we understand that we cannot be destroyed, we are liberated from fear.

Bassui wrote the following letter to one of his disciples who was about to die:

The essence of your mind is not born, so it will never die. It is not an existence, which is perishable. It is not an emptiness, which is a mere void. It has neither color nor form. It enjoys no pleasures and suffers no pains.

“I know you are very ill. Like a good Zen student, you are facing that sickness squarely. You may not know exactly who is suffering, but question yourself: What is the essence of this mind? Think only of this. You will need no more. Covet nothing. Your end which is endless is as a snow-flake dissolving in the pure air.”

True Reformation

Love – Buddha taught: “Love is the only way to destroy hatred. Hatred cannot be defeated  with more hatred”.

Ryokan devoted his life to the study of Zen. One day he heard that his nephew, despite the admonitions of relatives, was spending his money on a courtesan. Inasmuch as the nephew had taken Ryokan’s place in managing the family estate and the property was in danger of being dissipated, the relatives asked Ryokan to do something about it.

Ryokan had to travel a long way to visit his nephew, whom he had not seen for many years. The nephew seemed pleased to meet his uncle again and invited him to remain overnight.

All night Ryokan sat in meditation. As he was departing in the morning he said to the young man: “I must be getting old, my hand shakes so. Will you help me tie the string of my straw sandal?”

The nephew helped him willingly. “‘Thank you,” finished Ryokan, “you see, a man becomes older and feebler day by day. Take good care of yourself.” Then Ryokan left, never mentioning a word about the courtesan or the complaints of the relatives. But, from that morning on, the dissipations of the nephew ended.

The Gates of Paradise

When emerge from anger, open the gates of hell. The gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, on the contrary. In a daily life, there are some people leisurely stepped into the Hell as if they hanged out the park. How scary is!

A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: “Is there really a paradise and a hell?”

“Who are you?” inquired Hakuin.

“I am a samurai,” the warrior replied.

“You, a soldier!” exclaimed Hakuin. “What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar.”

Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: “So you have a sword. Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head.”

As Nobushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: “Here open the gates of hell!” At these words the samurai, perceiving the master’s discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed. “Here open the gates of paradise,” said Hakuin.

The Last Will and Testament

The teaching of Buddha was mainly for the purpose of enlightening others. If you are dependent on any of its methods, you are naught but an ignorant insect

Ikkyu, a famous Zen teacher of the Ashikaga era, was the son of the emperor. When he was very young, his mother left the palace and went to study Zen in a temple. In this way Prince Ikkyu also became a student. When his mother passed on, she left with him a letter. It read:

To Ikkyu:

I have finished my work in this life and am now returning into Eternity. I wish you to become a good student and to realize your Buddha-nature. You will know if I am in hell and whether I am always with you or not.

If you become a man who realizes that the Buddha and his follower, Bodhidharma are your own servants, you may leave off studying and work for humanity. The Buddha preached for forty-nine years and in all that time found it not necessary to speak one word. You ought to know why. But if you don’t and yet wish to, avoid thinking fruitlessly.

Your Mother,

Not born, not dead.

September first.