It is neither a religion in the sense in which that word is commonly understood, for it is not "a system of faith and worship owing any allegiance to a supernatural being."
Buddhism does not demand blind faith from its adherents. Here mere belief is dethroned and is substituted by confidence based on knowledge, which, in Pali, is known as saddha. The confidence placed by a follower on the Buddha is like that of a sick person in a noted physician, or a student in his teacher. A Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha because it was he who discovered the path of deliverance.
A Buddhist does not seek refuge in the Buddha with the hope that he will be saved by his (i.e. the Buddha's own) personal purification. The Buddha gives no such guarantee. It is not within the power of a Buddha to wash away the impurities of others. One could neither purify nor defile another. The Buddha, as teacher, instructs us, but we ourselves are directly responsible for our purification. Although a Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha, he does not make any self-surrender. Nor does a Buddhist sacrifice his freedom of thought by becoming a follower of the Buddha. He can exercise his own free will and develop his knowledge even to the extent of becoming a Buddha himself.
The starting point of Buddhism is reasoning or understanding, or, in the Pali words, samma-ditthi.
To the seekers of truth the Buddha says:
"Do not accept anything on (mere) hearsay -- (i.e., thinking that thus have we heard it for a long time). Do not accept anything by mere tradition -- (i.e., thinking that it has thus been handed down through many generations). Do not accept anything on account of mere rumors -- (i.e., by believing what others say without any investigation). Do not accept anything just because it accords with your scriptures. Do not accept anything by mere suppositions. Do not accept anything by mere inference. Do not accept anything by merely considering the reasons. Do not accept anything merely because it agrees with your pre-conceived notions. Do not accept anything merely because it seems acceptable -- (i.e., thinking that as the speaker seems to be a good person his words should be accepted). Do not accept anything thinking that the ascetic is respected by us (therefore it is right to accept his word).
"But when you know for yourselves -- these things are immoral, these things are blameworthy, these things are censured by the wise, these things, when performed and undertaken conduce to ruin and sorrow -- then indeed do you reject them.
Narada Maha Thera
The Venerable Narada Maha Thera (1898-1983) was
The Venerable Narada Maha Thera (1898-1983) was a Theravadan Buddhist monk and translator.
The Path Toward World Peace . . . .
Dalai Lama Quote of the Week
"Actually, we are all part of the community of humanity. If humanity is happy, has a successful life, a happy future, automatically, I will benefit. If humanity suffers, I too will suffer. Humanity is like one body, and we are part of that body. Once you realize this, once you cultivate this kind of attitude, you can bring about a change in your way of thinking. A sense of caring, commitment, discipline, oneness with humanity--these are very relevant in today's world. I call this secular ethics, and this is the first level to counter negative emotions.
The second level in this connection is taught by all major religious traditions, whether Christian or Muslim or Jewish or Hindu. They all carry the message of love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment, and discipline. These are countermeasures for negative emotions. When anger is about to surface, when hatred is about to flare up, think of tolerance. It is important to stop any mental dissatisfaction when we feel it because it leads to anger and hatred."
This post was modified from its original form on 17 Oct, 7:07
"The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the world's ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances."
- Atisha (11th century Tibetan Buddhist master)
Practice in Everyday Life
The Roshi says,
"For Dogen, doing something thoroughly doesn't mean just doing it well. For him, "thoroughly" means non-dualistically and wholly. It means to do whatever we're doing in such a way that we connect with the entire universe. Buddha-nature is expressed in our activity when we do things this way. Done this way, every activity becomes an expression of enlightenment."
From Barbara's Buddhism Blog
Cooking Your Practice:
"...a good example of not separating our daily activities into different categories of practice can be found in some of the writing of Master Dogen (1200-1253), who brought Soto Zen from China to Japan.
"Dogen wrote the Tenzo Kyokun in 1237...
[the Tenzo Kyokun tells] how the tenzo should handle food and cooking utensils...how he should work with...kitchen helpers [etc]... integrated into instructions are pointers to practice. Instructions for washing sand from rice are followed by a koan -- do you wash the sand from the rice or the rice from the sand? Always, the tenzo is told to be completely mindful and treat even the most mundane ingredients with respect, as if they were his own eyes.
"In a Zen monastery, it is traditional for the monk in charge of the kitchen, the tenzo, to be a senior monk with deep understanding of the dharma. Some of the great masters of Zen history held the role of tenzo during their training. The tenzo not only nourishes the monastic community with food; he also nourishes the community with his practice.
"Dogen's writing...shows us a life that doesn't separate "sacred" time from "ordinary" time. Even the most ordinary action is practice-ritual-enlightenment."
Pictured above, Dojin Zen
Practice in Everyday Life
Dogen wrote in the Tenzo Kyokun:
- "Do you wash the sand from the rice or the rice from the sand?"
- "Do not just leave washing the rice or preparing the vegetables to others but use your own hands, your own eyes, your own sincerity. Do not fragment your attention but see what each moment calls for; if you take care of just one thing then you will be careless of the other. Do not miss the opportunity of offering even a single drop into the ocean of merit or a grain atop the mountain of the roots of beneficial activity."
- "Taking up a vegetable leaf manifests the Buddha's sixteen-foot golden body; take up the sixteen-foot golden body and display it as a vegetable leaf. This is the power of functioning freely as the awakening activity which benefits all beings."
Zen and the Art of Tea
Since the time of Bodhidharma, tea and Zen have been connected. Fittingly, it was one of Japan's first Zen Masters, Eisai, who brought tea seeds from China. And it was the Zen student Rikyu who refined the art of tea, cja-no-yu, in the sixteenth century.
Like Zen, the art of tea aims at simplification. It consists simply of boiling water, preparing tea and drinking it. Its spirit conjures up harmony, reverence, purity, tranquillity, poverty, solitariness; and it has deeply influenced the arts of flower arranging, pottery and architecture. The ceremony itself is practiced in a simple thatched hut - the "abode of vacancy." The untesils are few and unpretentious, and there is nothing else in the room except perhaps an arrangement of flowers or a single painting.
No more than four or five guests can be in the tea room, and they are welcomed by the singing of the kettle - pieces of iron are arranged inside it to create sounds that suggest a far-off waterfalls or wind blowing through pines. An elaborate set of rules dictate how the thick green tea is whisked and served, how utensils should be passed and admired - all, paradoxically, to achiever tea's state of artless art.
Zen for the World care2 group
Album: Hiroshima - Shukkein Gardens
The tea ceremony hall in the Shukkein Gardens