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Buddhadharma : Spring 2015
spring 2 0 1 5 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 13 first thoughts every last insect Lama Zopa Rinpoche lays out the incredible task before us. We are responsible for enlightening the small ants crawling around. To have them become enlightened as quickly as possible, that is what we are responsible for. Every hell being, every hungry ghost, every ani- mal, every insect, and every being in the ocean and in the ground, so small that they can only be seen with a machine—we are responsible for all of them. We are respon- sible for the happiness of every insect in the grass, to give them the happiness of future lives, liberation from samsara, and enlight- enment. That is why you exist. That is why we are all here—to fulfill that wish, that responsibility. Everybody is included, everybody. “To benefit all sentient beings” includes your father and mother and your enemy. Nobody is left out. You dedicate your life to sentient beings—those most kind, most precious, most dear, wish-fulfilling sentient beings. Just to be able to think about achieving enlightenment for them (not the realiza- tion!)—wow, wow, wow—it’s amazing, amazing. FROM A TALK GIVEN AT ThE GREAT STuPA OF uNIVERSAL COMPASSION IN AuSTRALIA, PuBLIShED IN FPMT Mandala, JANuARy–MARCh 2015 no god to forgive me When Bryan Hoffman left the Catholic Church and entered Zen practice, he had to find a new way to deal with his transgressions. Many years ago, I betrayed my closest friend. At the time, I was in my early twen- ties and had been estranged from the Catho- lic Church for nearly five years. I had sinned with this betrayal, but for me, sin was no longer the act of violating God’s will. Find- ing absolution through confessing to a priest, which was my previous path, was not an option. For perhaps the first time, I was forced to confront the fullness of my error. No longer could I merely beg God to forgive me. About the same time I hurt my friend, I joined the Rochester Zen Center and began a daily practice of zazen. At the Center, I took the precepts during the Jukai cer- emony; thus began a great shift in me from “Thou shalt” to “I vow.” Under the former paradigm, I was taught to obey Church law because it pleased God the Father. The mes- sage was, “You will obey because it is your Artwork by Tongchic from Finding the True Self by Master Jinje