Once upon a time, the wisest soul around lovingly gathered his top students. All beings who became enlightened through 25 practices circled around the Buddha one balmy evening. The Buddha Shakyamuni knew that his students have valuable lessons to share with those of the present and future, so he asked each: “Tell me how you entered meditative absorption and actualized your potentiality for wisdom and compassion.”
If you expect to evolve spiritually, you must exert yourself. If you expect miracle to strike simply because you willed it, it’s not likely to happen. You must cultivate the terra firma of your soul so it flowers fruits. You must cleanse the vessel that carries the messages of wisdom and compassion. You must polish the instrument that ignites and channels the transcendental. According to the Shurangama Sutra, a Mahayana Buddhist text that is revered for its teachings on meditation a long and powerful Buddhist mantra, here are four ways to dig deep into the soil of your soul, to bath your messenger, and to make your physical instrument for practice shine.
Where is the divine Source? If the Source is a father figure God in the sky for you, you may resolutely proclaim that God is UP there. If you’ve been meditating to the point that you’re just blissed out and could careless about the world, you may lift your gaze from your navel and slowly utter the words, “In here.” If you’re a nature lover who is fond of hiking, the whistles of the leaves, and the sounds of the birds, you may claim that the Source is everywhere in nature, in creatures large and small. What’s the right answer? Is there a right answer? Well, let me recount seven incorrect answers for you first.
1. We get to choose that which shapes us. Words shape us. Words originate from thoughts. Thoughts matter – a Buddhist belief. Buddhists hardly use the word awesome. Buddhists hardly use the word awesome to describe life. It is awesome that I am using the word here now and using…
More harrowing tales of sex scandals, money laundering, power struggles and coercive threats. . . Apparently Buddhism in the West is no different than any other faith tradition. No matter how developed, an organizational structure comes to embody some aspect of unhealthy cultic dynamics— and the denial of such dynamics, or a lack of awareness of them, is one of the most common indicators of this disease.