Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Heart Mantra


1. (Sanskrit) Tayata: Om! Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate. Bodhi, Svaha!
2. (English) This is to say: Om! Gone, Gone, Gone Beyond (to the Other Shore of Liberation),  Gone Altogether Beyond. Oh, What an Awakening, All hail!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chung Tai Monthly Newsletter

文/美國佛心寺禪修班學員 Jeanna Salinas  

  Most of us are familiar with the story of Krisha Gotami, the woman who upon the death of her young child went to Buddha and asked for his help. He instructed her to go to each house in the village until she found a family that had not experienced death and to ask of that family a mustard seed. She was then to bring the mustard seed back to Buddha. 

  She went from house to house but was unable to find any household that had not been touched by death. As she continued to search for a family untouched by death it gradually occurred to her that death was universal. There was not a family that had not experienced death. Everyone dies and realization was her first glimpse of the nature of impermanence and the futility of grasping. 

  Losing a loved-one through death can be a dark and difficult time, and for some perhaps the most difficult time we are to face during our lifetime. Often, the threatened loss of someone dear can provoke more fear than a perceived loss of our own self, especially when it involves the loss of a child. But as in the case of Krisha Gotami, children do die. As do parents. As do spouses. As do siblings. 

  However, the most precious Dharma has provided a path to gradually develop the perspective and insight not only to endure, but to learn from our losses, and to find and maintain the inner peace and happiness that comes from the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha. 

  One of the first teachings that we are taught is that of impermanence. This teaching is very clear and we are taught to look for ourselves at this impermanence and how it affects everyone universally. By the recognition of impermanence we obtain the true picture that shows us that everyone suffers at the hands of death and once we accept this, the natural progression becomes one of learning how to let go. Recognition of this need to let go brings us to a different perspective. 

  We learn to see how futile it is to grasp and the more that we can embrace the idea of impermanence, the easier it is to let go in times of personal loss. When this realization becomes anchored firmly in place, we then through our practice and training, learn to turn our loss outwardly into compassion - compassion for others who have also experienced the sadness of death, and compassion for those who have not yet realized the truth of impermanence and nonattachment. 

  Buddha has given us the teachings that allow us to turn the darkness of grasping and attachment into the light of compassion. When we experience a loss, through our training and practice we are able to experience the loss, but at the same time, experience it through the perspective of one who understands impermanence and is able to still see the sky through the clouds. 



  面對至親的死亡、失去所愛,可能是一段灰暗困苦的日子。甚至對某些人來說,這是他們一生中最為艱苦的時光。通常,害怕失去親人的感覺遠比失去自己的生命更令人恐懼,特別是當一個人失去了自己的孩子。但是,就如同在瞿曇彌的公案所見,小孩會往生,正如我們的父母、 配偶、兄弟姐妹也會往生一樣。





Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chung Tai Monthly Newsletter, No 149 (III)

文/ 美國佛心寺禪修班學員 Mark Cunningham
  I first started reading and observing Buddhist principles and material a couple of years ago. This past fall I started attending "Beginning Meditation Classes" at Buddha Mind Monastery in Oklahoma. I wanted to find a teacher who could teach me better ways to practice and help to guide me and share their experience with me as tried to deepen my efforts of practicing the principles that I had read about.

  The more that I read and, more importantly, the more that I tried to "apply" what I read to my life, the more I felt it was becoming a "truthful way of life" for me. Not only did it enhance some of the spiritual practices and principles that I was already making a part of my life, it offered a "hope" for me in crossing through some areas of my life that are still causing me to suffer, and maybe more importantly than just me, they are areas of my life that also have caused suffering for others that are dear to me too.

  While I am far from "enlightened" I know in my heart of hearts that I am on this path and that while I am just a beginner, I know that there is some power or pull "within" that keeps moving me in a direction of growth in a positive way.

  No doubt, the losses and failures in my life have been the biggest catalyst for lasting beneficial change in my life. To date, one of the biggest losses or troubles that I have ever had to face was alcoholism; many of the principles that I was taught in rebuilding my life and overcoming alcoholism are central to the Noble Eightfold Path. Self-examination (Right Mindfulness and Right Understanding), amending relationships (Right Action), and helping others are all principles that I try to practice in my life.

  Where does tolerance fit in? Buddhism has helped me to be able to better practice tolerance for others. My intolerance for others and not allowing them the dignity of growing as they are supposed to grow in their own time is a guarantee for a disaster in my relationship with others. Meditation and contemplation in how to better understand them have helped me to have a more kind and tolerant view towards others.

  Sometimes the best that I can do is to "step back" from the moment until a later time when I have a chance to let the "emotions of the moment" subside and clearer thinking prevail. Now those are nice ways of saying it and on paper it sure looks a lot better than how it might really happen in real life. Some days life just seems to "come at you", and all the spiritual tools in the world can't stop that. BUT, they do give me some assistance in how to respond.

  I have always been fond of the story of the boy that was trying to learn to play the guitar. When you first are learning to play the guitar putting your fingers in the right spots for the chords is very awkward, sometimes uncomfortable. You strum the strings and a noise that is similar to the sound that the chord should make comes out of the guitar. The more you strum, the better the sound becomes. That is just one chord. Eventually the teacher has you move from one chord to another, it doesn't flow anything like a beautiful song for some time as you practice. At first it isn't always a pretty sound, but in time with more practice eventually you become able to make that "joyful sound" that you had hoped to be able to make one day.

  That to me is how the spiritual life seems to work too. I will be able to play a beautiful melody in my life.









Chung Tai Monthly Newsletter, No 149 (II)

文/ 美國佛心寺研經班學員 Tania Herman
  There are many sounds produced from many sources. They are loud and some even deafening. The rumbling of the cars, the typing on the keyboard, the discussion in the monthly meeting, the arguing of the children in the back seat, and the commercials for toys on TV, to mention a few.

  Although loud sounds continuously bombard my ears, it is possible to listen to silence. When I pay attention to silence, I can perceive deeper thoughts and analyze my actions. Buddhism teaches me to be mindful. When I hold still to a situation, it allows me to choose how I'm going to react to it. I can observe the lesson and save myself from feeling pain or inflicting pain on others.

  Being mindful helps me practice tolerance, and tolerance brings me peace. Practicing tolerance frees me from regrets and expands my view of the world surrounding me.

  I can stay in line at the store and not be angry because the cashier is too slow; maybe I would be too in her situation. I can drive and not be bothered by the cars that cut in front of me; maybe they have an emergency. I interact with people of different religions, cultural backgrounds, and races, and accept and respect those differences.

  My perceptions were modified when I started practicing Buddhism. I became aware of the control I have over my choices. Tolerance is like the gift that keeps on giving; the more I practice it, the more tolerant I become, and with this, the more peace and tranquility I achieve.






Chung Tai Monthly Newsletter, No 149 (I)

文/ 美國佛心寺護法會諮詢委員、研經班學員  Blaine Frierson
  Mahayana Buddhism for the westerner is a complete reorientation of life. In the West, you are trained to take initiative, to reach out, to move forward. It is said, 'If you don't do it, who will?' Being aggressive is the way to success and accomplishment; Those who wait don't eat; Those who procrastinate don't succeed. Yet, Buddhism teaches the opposite.

  In the West we are also told in our education system to define every item to its most minute degree, and to logically separate those definitions by making distinctions. The so-called critical method of study encourages students to contrast, compare, and make critical distinctions. This is the opposite of Buddhism and thus leads to a different path.

  In Mahayana Buddhism, we are taught to 'just sit', to not make distinctions, to not compare and contrast. When we try to assert ourselves, shoving forward into life, we become lost.When we wait, or, just sit, the world and everything in it comes to us! The whole world manifests itself in us. We do not manifest ourselves in the world; we allow all beings, sentient and non-sentient to manifest themselves through us. This is practice. This is enlightenment.

  We wait. This is the secret to the Buddhist principle of tolerance. By its definition tolerance does not force itself on other beings. It waits. It listens. It watches the breath. It counts the breath. It watches the watcher.

  Tolerance may be defined as the practice of permitting a thing of which one disapproves. It may be also called patience, or long-suffering. In tolerance, we wait; we make no distinction; we do not judge; we see the others as ourselves-us.

  As not good, not bad. We allow the intolerant person to manifest themselves through us. This is neither good, nor is it bad. It is not approved and it is not disapproved. It merely exists.

  As a young male growing up in the United States, I was trained to not allow anyone to overstep their boundaries with me, to prevent aggression by another, and to 'stand up for myself.' This is in contradiction to Buddhism.

  My profession is practicing law. When I first started practicing, I wrote one of my first letters to another lawyer, making a demand. The old lawyer called me and said 'you need to watch what you say in your letters, for, if you are too demanding you may be committing extortion on others.' I have remembered this lesson forever, but I have never really quite understood the philosophy behind his words.

  In Buddhism I have learned the logic behind the lesson. To practice the Buddha Way one must be patient, kind and tolerant. When a person becomes aggressive or raises his/her voice towards me, I try not to speak and say little, to allow them to speak their piece before responding. Then, when I speak, I speak with power; I speak from the heart.

  The Buddha way is waiting and being one with the world. The world is one through your sitting. The world comes to you. You do not go to the world. The peace that passes all understanding will come when you wait, if you are tolerant.









  現在回想起來,是佛法讓我了解這個事件背後的道理。也就是說,在成佛之道上,必須要學會忍耐、慈悲和包容。當別人攻擊我或對我大聲嚷嚷的時候,我學會儘量不要回應,讓他們先把話講完,我再回應。於是,當我開始說話時,我的話變得更有力量,而且它完全發自於內心。 成佛之道有賴於靜觀及與世界融合無礙的智慧。世界的真實相貌會因你的靜觀而自然呈現,這不是強求而來的。當你能靜觀和包容時,一種由於全然了解而生的寂靜之心,自然現前。)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Words of Wisdom from Grand Master Wei Chueh

True cultivation is to practice all good deed, without any attachment whatsoever.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Words of Wisdom from Grand Master Wei Chueh

The Principle of Causality (cause and effect) in Buddhism actually teaches us to depend on our own diligent efforts. If we understand our life then we can direct our life. If you can perceive these truths clearly, then you can understand your fate and create/establish your fate.