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Wednesday, November 26, 2014
While Buddhists do not believe in the existence of a creator-god, the existence of the universe cannot be doubted, nor can the existence of life be denied. According to Buddhism, the most basic elements that comprise the universe are empty of self-nature, and the elements that comprise life are also devoid of self-nature. This lack of a separate self-nature, called emptiness, is the only unchanging truth in the universe. That it is an unchanging truth implies that emptiness has no beginning and no ending: emptiness is the true state in which the universe and life have always existed.


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The second dualism-"neither pure nor impure"-refers both to phenomena, and to judgments people make about phenomena. For example, you may choose not to brush your teeth, not to wash, not to change clothes, in which case you may look dirty and smell bad to others. On the other hand, you may clean up, shower, brush your teeth, and change your clothes. Then you will look clean to others. Either way, you are the same person. Some people appear clean most of the time and dirty some of the time; others look dirty most of the time and clean only some of the time. Furthermore, the criteria for cleanliness are not absolute. You may think you are clean while others judge you to be unclean. You may think you are unkempt, but another might find you attractive.
No. Orthodox Buddhism does not have the idea of a world-creator. The Buddha is an enlightened one among humans, and although he is capable of knowing all the truths in the world, he cannot change what has already occurred. And although the Buddha can help all sentient beings reach liberation, only those who make efforts can succeed. He is the best doctor to diagnose sentient beings’ suffering: anybody who takes his prescriptions will be delivered (released from adversity). But he cannot help those who are unwilling to take his medicine. He is the best guide: anyone who follows his guidelines will be liberated from the world’s sea of suffering. But he cannot help those who do not take his advice.
I told a woman whose son had died that the reality is that she had a son, and now he is gone. Her memories of him persist, but he is somewhere else. He may now even be someone else’s child. It would make things easier for her if she considered him her ex-son and move on. She said that it would be very difficult to think along that line. I told her she should nevertheless cultivate it as a method of practice.
Not clinging to either the negative or the positive is correct Buddha dharma. The reason we lose hope when faced with failure, and get overexcited when meeting success, is that we cannot let go of our self importance. Whatever we cannot let go of becomes an obstruction. Buddha dharma espouses being aware of the reality of the moment, then letting it go. A young person is not yet old; an old person is not yet dead. Work with what you have, and do not resist change. Understanding that every moment, your life indeed, the entire universe--is a dynamic process of birth, growth, decline, and death, will help to loosen your attachment to self. In turn, you will be hopeful in facing difficulties, composed when meeting success, and dedicated when fulfilling our obligations.
In Buddhism itself, there is no distinction between orthodox and superstitious, since the fundamental teachings are the same everywhere. Buddhism flows out from the sea of wisdom and compassion that was engendered by Sakyamuni, the enlightened Buddha. Its teachings are full of wisdom, kindness, radiance, comfort, freshness, and coolness. Buddhism as a religion is alive in the communities that have been established based on the Buddha’s teachings.
When I first heard about the Meditation Retreat in Centennial Beach from my friend who is a Buddhist, I decided to give it a try. Not only because I like Buddhism but also I was told that meditation can help a person to calm his/her mind.
If you contemplate your mind, you will find no mind, except the mind that comes from mis-conceptions.
The Senior Group in Marpole and Oakridge Community Centre always look out for opportunities to broaden their interest and learn from different cultures. We were fortunate that Venerable Chang Wu of Dharma Drum Vancouver Center has agreed our group’s visit and arranged a day program for us on August 5.
In view of a series of recent calamities, the Abbot President of DDM, Ven. Guo Dong, specifically encouraged the public to face impermanent situations with a peaceful mind, which is also the most important fortress for us. Only with calmness and steadiness, we can prevent ourselves from getting into panic.
Dharma Drum Mountain frequently hosts week-long meditation retreats in Chinese, and occasionally hosts similar retreats in English. I am grateful to have benefited from the special opportunity to participate in a seven-day retreat at Dharma Drum Mountain this July.
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