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Posts Tagged ‘Mohammad’

Here is one of the sutras that we chant frequently in our services. We begin by chanting it in Japanese several times and then in English several times it is called Emmei Jukku Kannon Gyo. This is a wonderful sutra about Kuan-yin (Chinese) or Avalokiteshvara (Sanskrit). The literal meaning of Avalokiteshvara is sometimes translated as:

He who hears the sounds [outcries] of the World. Avalokiteshvara embodies one of the two fundamental aspects of Buddhahood compassion. Avalokiteshvara is the power of the buddha, Amitabha, manifested as a bodhisattva and appears as his helper. His limitless compassion expresses itself in his wonderful ability to help all beings who turn to him at times of extreme danger. In folk belief, Avalokiteshvara also protects from natural catastrophe and grants blessings to children (page 15).[1]

We talked about Avalokiteshvara when we chanted the meal gatha in Beyond Prayer Part 4. Today we often see him in the feminine form especially when we see statues or pictures of Kuan-yin. Regardless of form this chant will help us during times of need when we wish to seek compassion for ourselves or others. I often call upon Kuan-yin when I see tragedies around the world like earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, gun violence, and terrorist attacks.

EMMI JUKKU KANNON GYO (Kanzeon Sutra)
Kanzeon Namu Butsu
Yo Butsu U In
Yo Butsu U En
Bu Po So En
Jo Raku Ga Jo
Cho Nen Kanzeon [compassion]
Bo Nen Kanzeon [compassion]
Nen Nen Ju Shin Ki
Nen Nen Fu Ri Shin

Kanzeon!
Praise to Buddha!
All are one with Buddha
All awake as Buddha
Buddha, Dharma, Sangha
Eternal, joyous, selfless, pure
Through the day, Kanzeon [compassion]
Through the night, Kanzeon [compassion]
This moment arises from Mind
This moment itself is mind

This is an especially powerful chant that when used regularly can help our world become more compassionate and loving. Imagine what could happen if all the people of the world stopped on the same day and time and chanted this sutra. I think we could heal the world and everyone in it.

Even if people wanted to change the word Buddha to Christ or Mohammad, God/Allah, or Gaia we might heal the planet and all sentient beings in one fell swoop!

A world filled with compassion what a thought!

What a dream! Let’s make it so….

In gassho,

ingassho
Shokai

[1] The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen (1991) Shambhala: Boston, MA

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When was the last time you went on a hike and were able to actually enter into a physical stream?  When was the last time you felt the water rushing over your feet or shoes and toes and ankles?  When was the last time you heard the noise of the rush of the water over the rocks and pebbles and the cacophony of sounds that it produced?  That may just be the last time you and “prajna” were one.

So what is prajna anyway? “Prajna, consciousness or wisdom in Mahayana Buddhism refers to an immediately experienced intuitive wisdom that cannot be conveyed by concepts or in intellectual terms. The definitive moment of prajna is insight into emptiness, which is the true nature of reality (page 171)”[1]

One of my “prajna” moments occurred many years ago in the Colorado Rockies hiking with a friend—the water was so pure we could drink from it and refresh our bodies, minds, and spirits and all it seemed to take was just one cold crisp handful. For hours no words needed to be spoken as we immersed ourselves in the beauty of the forest and its insentient capacity to answer all our questions and fulfill all our needs.

Dogen says, “To dedicate yourself and take refuge in the manifestation of prajna is to see and uphold the Buddha, the World-Honored One.  It is to be the Buddha, the World-Honored One, seeing and accepting (page 65).”[2] For students of other paths it may be seeing and accepting the Christ, or Mohammad, or Krishna, or Kwan Yin all honored ones amongst their followers.  How you get there is not the point, the point is simply getting there.  As if “there” was someplace to get, which there is not. But on the physical plane we always think of it that way.

Since prajna cannot be conveyed in concepts or intellectual terms it is important for us to take time each day to simply experience the moment in which we are living.  Regardless of what we are doing in that moment: eating, shopping, bathing, singing, sitting, walking, or cleaning—be there fully, wholly, and unabashedly!

Enlightenment is not some “place” that you go to or get to—it is right here, right now. So if you are still waiting for just the right meditation, sitting, sesshin, prayer, teacher, time, or location you’re going to miss it.  You’ve taken your eyes off the ball—life—and the multitude of opportunities you will be given today to enter into the stream.

Intimate with everything I see,

Walking, sitting, and lying down are truth itself.

If someone asks the inner meaning:

“The treasury of the dharma eye in a speck of dust.”

–Dogen (page 172)[3]

Be here now.

upaya-gold-buddha-Doshin

Upaya Gold Buddha

Photo by my teacher, Mitch Doshin Cantor

http://www.listeningwiththeeye.squarespace.com

Things to focus on this week:

1.  I will begin each day being “intimate with everything I see” and everything I do.

2.  I will remind myself that prajna is not a place to go, but is an experience.

3.  I will remember that I am in charge of my experiences and not the circumstances that I find myself in.

4.  Lastly, I will keep a journal of the opportunities that have been presented to me so I can keep track of my progress and my opportunities for growth.


[1] Kohn, M. H, Editor, The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen, Shambhala Dragon Editions (1991) , Boston, MA

[2] Tanahashi, K. Levitt, P. (2013) The Essential Dogen, Writings of the Great Zen Master. Shambhala: Boston, MA

[3] ibid

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Determination: Paramita #8 in our series on the 10 Paramitas

“The Gateless Gate”
The great path has no gates,
Thousands, of roads enter it.
When one passes through this gateless gate
He walks freely between heaven and earth. (Mascetti, 2001)[1]

This is life in the 21st Century.  How many of us see the thousands of roads, opportunities, challenges, joys, and frustrations and get so befuddled that we freeze up and simply stop in our tracks?  The challenge feels overwhelming, too much for us to take on, too much to think about, too much to do, and we become impotent.  And yet when we do move ahead and accept the challenge we find that we can succeed and overcome even the most demanding and mind boggling life’s situations.

Once we find that gate and have the strength and determination to pass through it we see that it wasn’t as difficult as we may have thought.  Or the reward at the other end was greater than we could have imagined.  Or if we do not succeed we find that life did not end, that failure was easier to accept than we thought, or that our desire changed and we decided that we could live without the thing, the job, the person, or the possession.  We may even have reviewed what we truly value in life and found out that it was NOT it.

Determination is something that all of the most enlightened creative  people that we recognize on this planet had—Jesus, Shakyamuni Buddha, Mohammad, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore (Founders of the Unity Church), Thomas Edison (inventor of too many things to list), Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and you. Yes, you!  You would not be reading this if you were not on your way to enlightenment or have not had some wonderful enlightening experiences through your determination to pray, meditate, or sit. Some of those experiences may have even come simply by accident. That great universal AH HA can sneak up on us at any time, and many times when we least expect it…so keep your eyes open—it just may be right here, right now!

Notice the word “light” inside the word “enlightenment.”  These people saw the light in something that was greater than them, they paid attention, and they acted on the light and thus changed the world.

And yet, sometimes we simply need to be determined to let things go, to stop pushing, trying, thinking, mulling, and running the show. As Osho wrote:

Sitting silently,
Doing nothing,
Spring comes,
And the grass grows by itself.[2]

Enlightenment is knowing when, and if, and how to do it, or NOT—to simply be determined to let go and let the spring know how to grow the grass all by itself.


[1] Mascetti, M.D., 2001, The Little Book of Zen Haiku, Koans, Sayings, NY: Fall River Press, pg.69

[2] Ibid. page 24

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Shunryu Suzuki in his famous book wrote, “Every existence in nature, every existence in the human world, every cultural work that we create, is something which was given, or is being given to us, relatively speaking.  But as everything is originally one, we are, in actuality giving out everything.  Moment after moment we are creating something, and this is the joy of our life (Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, 1970, page 65).  At Thanksgiving time we are especially busy giving and creating things from a sumptuous dinner for family and friends, to decorations for the table, to food for the local food bank for the Thanksgiving Dinner baskets for the needy, and this year to the victims of the Super Storm Sandy.  We are creating and giving from the material to the ephemeral in our prayers and well-wishes for all those on planet earth, planet earth herself, and beyond.

How do we do this?  Suzuki goes on to say, “But this “I” which is creating and always giving out something is not the “small i”; it is the “big I.”  Even though you do not realize the oneness of this “big I” with everything when you give something you feel good, because at that time you feel at one with what you are giving.  This why it feels better to give than to take. (page 65)”  This month in church we have been collecting money to purchase enough celery for 250 families that are receiving Thanksgiving Baskets from the food bank.  We do this every year!  We give the celery.  Sounds silly maybe but what would Thanksgiving be without celery in your stuffing, or on the table filled with something like cream cheese or peanut butter, and what would the leftover turkey salad be without the celery.

Those in need of food baskets often do not get fresh vegetables and fresh food because the food pantry cannot take perishables.  So even a bunch of celery can be an exciting thing for children to experience and green is good for everyone.  In fact, many children in urban areas today do not even know where the food comes from.  When a classroom of children were taken to the grocery store one day and the teacher asked them where the meat came from in the packages they could not tell her that it was from a cow or a pig.  They could only identify that the chicken was at one time a living bird.

Suzuki goes on to say “Actually, to create with the “big I” is to give; we cannot create and own what we create for ourselves since everything was created by God.  This point should not be forgotten. But because we do forget who is doing the creating and the reason for the creation, we become attached to the material or exchange value.  Everything you do should be based on such an awareness, and not on material or self-centered ideas of value. Then whatever you do is true giving, is dana prajna paramita. (pages 66-67)”

This is why we enjoy this time of year so much because it gives us that opportunity to have a reason to give whether it is gifts for our family and friends, time at the food bank or soup kitchen, help to provide food for the turkey baskets for families in need, or just to give a smile to the clerk in the store.  Rich or not so rich—we can give with abandonment.  And most of the giving can be free of any monetary value, so how about giving some of your time and yourself this year along with your cash.  When we do this type of giving from the “big I” Suzuki believes “we will not be attached to it, and we will not create problems for ourselves or for others.”

Today is the perfect day to view each thing that you give as coming from the “big I” and seeing yourself as the conduit of the teachings of the great masters of the world from Jesus to the Buddha to Mohammad, to Krishna, and many more whose names I have not mentioned, down to you.  Selfless giving is selfless living at its best.

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