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Buddhadharma : Summer 2014
SUMMER 2014 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 83 Jodo Shinshu Correspondence Course Office 2140 Durant Avenue Berkeley, CA 94704 USA Phone: 510-809-1441 Fax: 510-809 -1459 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Jodo ShinShu CorreSpondenCe CourSe Term: 2-year on-line (computer based) International Program Tuition: $360.00 per year Subjects: Origin & Development of Buddhism Shinran Shonin’s Life and His Teaching Sutras & Masters of the Pure Land Tradition History of Jodo Shinshu Visit: jscc.cbe-bca.org Fortunate is it to be born into human life. Now we are living it. Rare is it to encounter the Teachings of the Buddha. Now we hear it. If we do not seek the Truth of the Dharma in this life, in what life shall we find it? Let us reverently take refuge in the Three Treasures of the Truth. ” “ between a sinner and a saint. One moment of awakening, and an ordinary person is a buddha. One moment of delusion, and a buddha is once again an ordinary person.” And so it goes. One last way to understand the Buddha’s teaching to Bahiya, and to us, is as an invitation to enter spacious and choiceless awareness. We can practice with each of the sense doors (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and think- ing) and work with the hindrances in a direct and intimate way. We can also open to everything at once without choice or preference, agenda or direction; we can simply sit silently and alertly, open to whatever shows up. Life simply aware of itself. This is no longer an intentional practice of doing. It is the full expression of being alive on and off the cushion, every sense open, alert, receptive. Relaxing body and mind into simply listening, seeing, and hearing, there is no “me” doing any- thing, nothing to choose and nothing to reject. Thoughts arise, sights and sounds come and go, all known by awareness. This awareness doesn’t need “you” at all. If “you” are not there and there is only seeing, hearing, and so on, what has happened to suffering, to discontent? Might this be exactly what the Buddha is pointing to as the freedom of awakening? When you are not there as a separate thought in the moment of choiceless awareness, then the call and response of life are happening in complete harmony and with complete ease. And even when we miss that moment of freedom and are lost in struggle, conflict, and suffering, at some point, choicelessly, there is that small waking up and see- ing clearly that is also simply this. Nothing is excluded. There is a place at the table for each of the many beings who show up. Fear sits beside hope, which sits beside sadness, which sits across from joy, which is next to anger, which is next to love, and on and on. They visit and hang around for as long as they do, then are back on their way as long as “I” am not there to block their journey. When there is just this, then the host of awareness and the guest of whatever is passing through are in complete harmony. That is the end of suffering. This path beyond suffering is one of learning and using our life as the way to greater freedom and compassion. We recog- nize the urgency of life calling out to itself. We see where we restrict ourselves through conditioned thinking and how we hold back from living fully, vibrantly, and joyfully because of unresolved wanting, aversion, fear, self-image, and ignorance. We begin to recognize this small, clear voice suggesting that we are sometimes fooling ourselves into believing that we are living fully, when we are really not valuing the incredible gift of this moment—even if this moment’s particular gift may not be what we want right now. How do we meet the fact of life and not withdraw because it is different from our fantasy of how it should be? That voice challenges us to stop fooling ourselves. Are we willing to ask the questions that Bahiya asked? Are we really willing to ask, listen to the answer, and then live that understanding without hesitation? ➤ continued from page 59