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Effort is more important than so-called success because effort is a real thing. What we call “success” is just the manifestation of our mind’s ability to categorize things. This is “success.” That is “failure.” Who says? You says. That’s all. Reality is what it is, beyond all concepts of success and failure.
Brad Warner, “Think Not Thinking”
The body of the Buddha is like empty space. The mind of the Buddha is like a phantom city. The speech of the Buddha is like an image of the moon in still waters.
Think about it: can we achieve liberation through our own efforts? No.
This may be hard for Buddhist beginners to appreciate.
If they haven't practiced self cultivation, they would not know whether it is easy or hard.
Only after doing so do they realise it is difficult.
That's why so many who have turned to Pure Land are those who have practiced for some time.
After three to five years, or ten to 20 years they have realised they just aren't up to the task.
For example, to travel from this shore to the opposite one, we could swim, or ride a bamboo raft or take a regular boat.
But only after disembarking does it strike us that we lack the stamina to swim across.
Moreover, there are large waves. Even a sturdy boat may sink half way.
Whoever sincerely and joyfully entrusts to Amitabha’s deliverance through the exclusive practice of Name recitation “Namo Amitabha Buddha,” then Amitabha, in accord with his Fundamental Vow, will immediately embrace the aspirant and, when her life ends, receive her to be reborn in the Land of Bliss.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean that those aspirants who rely on the 18th Vow do not practice the basic Buddhist precepts in their daily life. They just do not dedicate such practices toward rebirth in the Land of Bliss. They clearly understand that, for rebirth in the Pure Land, they simply rely on Amitabha’s true merits and virtues which are contained in his six-syllable Name: “Na-Mo-A-Mi-Tuo-Fo.” Thus, the Name is perfect and all-sufficient. Nothing else is required.
Alan Kwan - Pure Land: An “Easy Path” of Practice?
There are 84,000 Dharma paths in Buddhism. Those who can develop faith in the Pure Land way have truly obtained “great benefit.” Why is that?
Because Pure Land can be practiced and Buddhahood achieved without leaving secular life. All we need to do is have faith in Amitabha’s deliverance and recite his name. It’s simple and easy. People from all circles and social strata, good or evil, rich or poor, educated or illiterate, are able to recite Amitabha’s name, whether at home or amid social activities. In this way, all Amitabha reciters can attain Buddhahood, completing their Dharma learning.
“For most of us, our mother is our first teacher.”
— H. H. The Dalai Lama
"Dogen statt Drogen" *
"Dogen instead of Drugs"
ENTRUSTING OUR LIVES TO AMITABHA by Dharma Master Jingzong
Amitabha Buddha’s supremely compassionate summons is for us to entrust our lives to him
It is also a solemn instruction
Amitabha intends fully to saturate our lives and replace them with his own life so he asks us to entrust ourselves to him
It’s like an ocean calling out to drop of water
When a tiny drop merges into the ocean it is immediately suffused with all oceanic life
As we ordinary beings entrust our lives to Amitabha our hearts are promptly immersed in his life which covers the entire Dharma realm
We know from the wording alone “entrust our lives” that we can attain Buddhahood simply by reciting Namo Amitabha Buddha
No more doctrinal proof is needed
So long as we entrust ourselves to Amitabha and become one with him how can we fail to achieve Buddhahood?
Amitabha wishes thoroughly to change our fate which is samsaric, distorted, defiled and impure so he calls upon us to entrust our lives
This can be compared to the maintenance of vehicles
One must drive his car into the garage for upkeep
Amitabha does not apply other methods or materials to refurbish us
He uses his own self to fulfill and replace us, his pure and enlightened Buddha body
“Entrusting my life” means that I abandon my ego and put “myself” into the hands of Amitabha for disposal as he sees fit
It means that my ego dies and the Buddha lives
Only when the ego is dead can space be vacated for Amitabha to come alive in the domain that belonged to me
But the ego is cunning indeed
When I say “I entrust my life” and surrender myself to Amitabha my ego easily finds a substitute (virtue and meritorious deeds) and sneaks back stealthily
My ego is fully aware that it will die in the hands of Amitabha so it disguises itself and produces plausible (but incorrect) arguments to make use of goodness and merit to evade its destiny
The ploy always works and the ego muddles through every time
Some Buddhists vow daily, even all life long, to entrust themselves but never really do
We each entrust our lives to Amitabha one time
Once we do so, entrustment is accomplished and lasts forever
We must entrust entirety, not a fraction of our lives
And it must be done by “me”, in person
There is no substitute
Since nothing in this world is more precious than life, no virtue or meritorious deed can surpass the entrusting of lives
I may have no shred of virtue but I entrust myself to Amitabha Buddha
I acquire everything he possesses
A person’s positive actions, however great, can never be sufficient if he does not entrust his life to Amitabha
All of Dharma learning and practice is no more than entrusting our lives to Amitabha
If you are tired of suffering, give it to Buddha Amitabha.
Whatever you hate or dislike, leave it to Amitabha Buddha. We just do what we like to do and stay in a good mood.
Since it has been handed over to Amitabha, it will be handled by Amitabha, and there will be no negotiation with him.
If you are still thinking about it in your heart and you are reluctant to give up, then you have not handed it over at all, or you have taken it back.
Physical pain, which is the result of karma, is more difficult to hand over; mental distress, which is the cause of karma, is easier to hand over.
It is really comfortable to let go of the whole body and completely lean on Amitabha Buddha.
“The teachings of Buddha are eternal, but even then, Buddha did not proclaim them to be infallible.
The religion of Buddha has the capacity to change according to times, a quality which no other religion can claim to have...
Now what is the basis of Buddhism?
If you study carefully, you will see that Buddhism is based on reason.
There is an element of flexibility inherent in it, which is not found in any other religion.”
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, "The Buddha and His Dhamma: A Critical Edition."
"By clinging to the fingers you will not see the moon"
"If the Buddhas are the Dharma Realm,
they exist within my body.
If I myself am also the Dharma Realm,
then I exist within the Buddhas."
Suppose you are on a flight. The aircraft is state-of-the-art, comfortable. Beautiful sky outside the window, attentive stewards, soft music, classy passengers…everything is perfect! You are sure that the journey will be quite pleasant.
But suddenly comes the voice of the captain; “Our plane is off course and has lost contact with the ground. We have no landing point and must keep flying. We have enough fuel to do so for only ten minutes.” How would you feel then? All these wonderful things disappear instantly. “Captain, please try all means to find a safe landing spot before the fuel runs out!”
When a person is born, the plane of his life takes off. Even if one has another 40 or 50 years to live, the time is like the fuel of the plane: it only decreases and will soon be used up.
Where is the landing point of our life? Can we enjoy living at ease until we find it?
Power, status, money, career, family – are any of these the final landing point of our life?
Someone who believes that these are the aim of life is like a lost plane taking the clouds in the air as a safe landing field.
"Generations of peoples, primarily in Asia, have maintained that the historical Buddha, Gautama, invented zazen, and so was an Absolute God in zazen.
The truth is, of course, zazen was not born of, nor created by the historical Buddha; Buddha was born of the unfathomable depths of zazen.
We too may be born from the same place, as countless buddhas have in the past. We are all absolute perfection in zazen, infinite perfection — the transcendence of ourselves; the transcendence of the practice; the transcendence of all things.
Zazen is and was the mother of Buddha. We should confirm this with our own direct experience."
~ Hōgen Yamahata
"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."
“Waking up is not a selfish pursuit of happiness, it is a revolutionary stance, from the inside out, for the benefit of all beings in existence.”
— Noah Levine