Fear of Death

Reply to Yuan Kuang-shou, Layman Hain-yuan of Su-chou

The fear of death is due to not having awakened to fundamental birthlessness.

Fundamentally there is no birth, so how can there be death, and how can there be the fear of it?

But after all, it is not easy to awaken to birthlessness.

Right now you must devote yourself sincerely to buddha-rememberance. If you recite the buddha-name  for a long time until your mind is unified and undisturbed, then you are sure to awaken.

Even if you do not awaken, the power of a life time of reciting the buddha-name will give you the knowledge when you face death that you are sure to be born in the Pure Land after you die. It will be as if you have wandered in other towns, and then gotten to return to your old home. Amitabha Buddha will reach down to lead you into the Pure Land. Your joy will be: boundless how could there be any fear?

~ Pure Land Teachinigs of Master Chu-hung

Well this gives me some consolation, the proverbial load of the mind. It also gives me a goal a “mind  that is unified and undisturbed”. And even if I don’t make it as such I’ll be hedging my bets haha

“Amitabha Buddha, Amitabha Buddha, Amitabha Buddha”

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the path that leads into the temple
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Do Not Concern Yourself

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Water dragon

To Wu Ta-chun
Do not concern yourself with whether or not you will become enlightened.

Do not concern  yourself with existence and non-existence,  with inside and outside and in-between.

Do notconcern yourself with “stopping” (shammata/samatha) and “observing” (vispashyana/vispasyana).
Donot concern yourself with whether this method of reciting the buddha-name is the same or not the same as other Buddhist methods.
If the feeling of doubt does not arise, do not concern yourself with who it is or who it is not who is reciting the buddha-name. Simply go on reciting the buddha-name with unified mind and unified intent without a break pure and unmixed.
~ PURE LAND TEACHINGS OF MASTER CHU-HUNG

This is a good point, sometimes I do worry on whether or not I’m doing the right practice. I sit there thinking sometimes, maybe there is another way one of more efficient means.
These zen masters words give be a bit of confidence

Too Many Concerns

To Ming Ta-hsiao

You have too many concerns that preoccupy your mind too urgently. That’s why you develop all these illnesses.

Just work continuously on Buddha-rememberance without any breaks,  with out mixing in any other thoughts. This is the work for you. Excessive austerities are not needed.

False thoughts are powerful, but after a long struggle they will submit. Have no doubts about this.

~ PURE LAND TEACHINGS of MASTER CHU-HUNG

I have to say this is what I have to focus more on, It is so easy to get caught up in the activities of the day and forget to be mindful. Mindfulness could range from daily meditation, to walking mindfully keeping the focus on the feet for a few minutes, to even do as the above text suggests reciting the Buddhas name.

                                                                    ” A-mi-ta-bha Bud-dha “

laughing-buddha
A laughing buddha at a temple near my house

Contemplation

Reply to Te-Ch’ing, Hsu Kuang-jung, Layman Huo-ju

shrine at ishbashi
A cute little shrine

You come asking about such matters as reining in the functioning of the mind, doing contemplation when sitting and when standing, and contemplating the concept and image of Buddha. All these practices are carried out according to the occasion: there is no fixed routine.

But to contemplate impermanence all the time is not something that can be done by those who have not finished with sensory entanglement. Even though you cannot contemplate constantly, this is still valid meditative work for you.

Amidst sensory entanglements, the method of contemplation is hard to perfect. It would be better when you have time off from your studies and from family business to silently recite the buddha-name. What’s important is that every syllable be clear and distinct, that every repetition be intimately taken to heart. Then mind will rein itself in.

If you do this for a long time without giving up, stable concentration will be achieved: this is contemplation.

                  ” A-mi-ta-bha Bud-dha “

http://www.cttbusa.org/amitabha_session/amitabha_session.asp

On Insects

Question:

20150406_142707Since they possess buddha-nature, why don’t insects become Buddhas?Why do they remain in the cycle of birth and death subject to suffering instead?

Answer:

It is just because they are attached to form and deluded about reality nature: they turn their backs on enlightenment and join with the dusts of sensory experience and create all kinds of evil karma, so they fall into non-human levels and suffer. But lets put aside the case of insects for now and say no more of it.

Right now you have gotten a human body, but you are still unwilling to maintain a vegetarian diet, uphold the precepts. recite the buddha-name, and seek birth in the Pure Land. Instead, you want to make the non-humans species become buddhas.

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Pure land, pure mind      – master Tsung-pen

An interesting answer to a question, I believe in the idea of pure land, and  whether or not its a reality it doesn’t matter. Its better to believe and work towards something then believe in complete oblivion. This Answer though puts Buddhist practice into perspective too, we shouldn’t be worrying about whether or not insects can become Buddhas when in fact the more urgent thing we should be worrying about is our own personal  practise