most people, death is an unwelcome event. With so many cravings to be satisfied,
the business of living in spite of enormous suffering is never quite finished.
People feel more comfortable with the mirage of happiness than with the reality
of death. If at all they have to think
about it, it only has a slot in the eleventh hour. Attachments to worldly life create a morbid fear of death. But the truth is that all life is nothing but
suffering. Death is natural and inevitable. It is not half as frightening as the thought
of dying itself. The mind has an ability of its own to create and to stretch
phantom images of death. The reason is
that a mind untrained to see life with all its impermanence and
unsatisfactoriness, is likely to cling to illusions just as a drowning man will
even cling to a straw. It creates
uneasiness even for those who fervently pray to an imaginary supernatural being
for forgiveness and a place in heaven when life seems hopeless. Of course the fear of death is a manifestation
of instinctive self-preservation. But
there is a way to overcome that fear. Do
some selfless service for the welfare of others to gain hope and confidence in
the next life. Altruism purges all selfish attachments. Purity of the mind, not attachment to worldly
things, will ensure a happy parting from this world. It is the constant contemplation on death to
understand the impermanence of life, and the wisdom to correct the wrong way of
living, that take the fear out of death. Strengthen the mind to face fact and realities
of life. Avoid unrealistic and impracticable ambitions. Develop self-confidence.
Then you will be more relaxed in
overcoming your difficulties in life.
Problems and Responsibilities by Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda
Having too much karma of killing will destroy the
roots for Bodhi and cause divergence from the Buddhist path of liberation.
Conversely, as one switches from eating meat to being vegetarian, one discovers
an improvement in mood from depression to joyfulness.
The reason is simple; animal spirits are no longer seeking for debts to be
A: The meaning of Amituofo is infinite life and infinite light.
It is infinite life because Amituofo can receive infinite sentient beings
universally in the endless long river of time; it is infinite light because
Amituofo can take care of endless sentient beings in the sea of bitterness with
infinite wisdom and immeasurable compassion.
When we recite Buddha's name, our mind will correspond to compassion and
wisdom, i.e, the infinite lightof Amituofo; our mind will never separate with wisdom and
compassion as well as the name of Amituofo, that's also infinite life.
Learning the Dharma takes
more than just listening to talks on the teachings. Oftentimes, while listening
to the Dharma talk, our hearts become very open and expansive, full of great
joy, peace, and inner freedom. Yet, with the end of the talk and our return to
the matters of everyday life, we easily lose this sense of joy and peace. Our
encounters with people or issues can very quickly upset us, causing our mind to
give rise to many afflictions. Haven't we all experienced this? Why does this
happen? When listening to the
Dharma talk, our minds were on the Dharma, and in the process we began drawing
closer to our Buddha nature. When we returned to our daily living, however, our
mind also returned to our habitual ways of seeing and thinking. That is why it
did not take much for afflictions to arise once more. With the arising of
afflictions, we drew farther away from our Buddha nature.
shows us is that though listening to the Dharma talk brought us spiritual joy,
this joy is temporary until we have worked on overcoming our many habitual
tendencies and afflictions. Without addressing these, our heart and mind easily
slip back into their mundane state. What we need to do is to take the teachings
to heart and truly apply and practice them. It is through this practice that we
can truly touch the teaching's meaning and become effective in eliminating our
afflictions and unwholesome habitual tendencies.
Source : Tzu Chi Foundation
From Dharma Master Cheng Yen's Talks
into English by the Jing Si Abode English Editorial Team
Today marks the anniversary of Buddha’s first teaching or turning the wheel of Dharma in this world.
The date is June 4 in the lunar or Tibetan calendar, as recorded by Tibetan text. This is based on calculation of 49 days after gaining enlightenment, the Buddha taught his 5 former companions of the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.
Source : Let's strengthen the Buddhist Faith Group
started with the Senior Monk and his young Novice on their visit to a Venerable
of another monastery.
Their journey was a long and arduous one, requiring them to cross
a fast-flowing stream and two mountains.
When they were approaching the stream, they saw a lady trying to cross
over to the other side, but was afraid of the fast-flowing waters.The Novice wanted to carry the lady over to
the other side, but the Monk stopped him, and piggy-backed the lady across the
stream himself instead.
Upon crossing the stream, the Monk and the Novice bade the lady
farewell. The Novice was extremely
annoyed. He thought,"Monks
are supposed to keep a distance from the opposite gender, but that lecherous
monk stopped me and ferried her over himself instead !"The more
he thought about it, the angrier he became.
the Monk and the Novice crossed the two mountains and were approaching the
monastery.Unable to contain his anger anymore, the Novice burst out his
frustration to the Monk. The Monk
replied, "All I did was just
piggy-back the lady across the stream. I harboured no desires or lust, but you
were not ready yet.By the
way, I have let go of the lady by the stream, but why have you been carrying
(the thought of) her across the mountains, and all the way to this place
Novice realised his foolishness and was enlightened.Upon reaching the monastery, the Novice
dedicated his time eradicating the Three Poisons (ignorance, aversion and
craving & attachment, and became a very good monk.
Once upon a time, there was a very
rich man living in Benares, in northern India. When his father died, he
inherited even more wealth. He thought, "Why should I use this treasure
for myself alone? Let my fellow beings also benefit from these riches."
So he built dining halls at the four
gates of the city — North, East, South and West. In these halls he gave food
freely to all who wished it. He became famous for his generosity. It also
became known that he and his followers were practicers of the Five Training
In those days, there was a Silent
Buddha meditating in the forest near Benares. He was called Buddha because he
was enlightened. This means that he no longer experienced himself, the one
called 'I' or 'me', as being in any way different from all life living itself.
So he was able to experience life as it really is, in every present moment.
Being one with all life, he was
filled with compassion and sympathy for the unhappiness of all beings. So he
wished to teach and help them to be enlightened just as he was. But the time of
our story was a most unfortunate time, a very sad time. It was a time when no
one else was able to understand the Truth, and experience life as it really is.
And since this Buddha knew this, that was why he was Silent.
While meditating in the forest, the
Silent Buddha entered into a very high mental state. His concentration was so
great that he remained in one position for seven days and nights, without
eating or drinking.
When he returned to the ordinary
state, he was in danger of dying from starvation. At the usual time of day, he
went to collect alms food at the mansion of the rich man of Benares.
When the rich man had just sat down
to have lunch, he saw the Silent Buddha coming with his alms bowl. He rose from
his seat respectfully. He told his servant to go and give alms to him.
Meanwhile, Mara, the god of death,
had been watching. Mara is the one who is filled with greed for power over all
beings. He can only have this power because of the fear of death.
Since a Buddha lives life fully in
each moment, he has no desire for future life, and no fear of future death.
Therefore, since Mara could have no power over the Silent Buddha, he wished to
destroy him. When he saw that he was near death from starvation, he knew that
he had a good chance of succeeding.
Before the servant could place the
food in the Silent Buddha's alms bowl, Mara caused a deep pit of red hot
burning coals to appear between them. It seemed like the entrance to a hell
When he saw this, the servant was
frightened to death. He ran back to his master. The rich man asked him why he
returned without giving the alms food. He replied, "My lord, there is a
deep pit full of red hot burning coals just in front of the Silent Buddha."
The rich man thought, "This man
must be seeing things!" So he sent another servant with alms food. He also
was frightened by the same pit of fiery coals. Several servants were sent, but
all returned frightened to death.
Then the master thought, "There
is no doubt that Mara, the god of death, must be trying to prevent my wholesome
deed of giving alms food to the Silent Buddha. Because wholesome deeds are the
beginning of the path to enlightenment, this Mara wishes to stop me at all
costs. But he does not understand my confidence in the Silent Buddha and my
determination to give."
So he himself took the alms food to
the Silent Buddha. He too saw the flames rising from the fiery pit. Then he
looked up and saw the terrible god of death, floating above in the sky. He
asked, "Who are you.?" Mara replied, I am the god of death!"
"Did you create this pit of
fire?" asked the man. "I did," said the god. "Why did you
do so?" "To keep you from giving alms food, and in this way to cause
the Silent Buddha to die! Also to prevent your wholesome deed from helping you
on the path to enlightenment, so you will remain in my power!"
The rich man of Benares said,
"Oh Mara, god of death, the evil one, you cannot kill the Silent Buddha,
and you cannot prevent my wholesome giving! Let us see whose determination is
Then he looked across the raging pit
of fire, and said to the calm and gentle Enlightened One, "Oh Silent
Buddha, let the light of Truth continue to shine as an example to us. Accept
this gift of life!"
So saying, he forgot himself
entirely, and in that moment there was no fear of death. As he stepped into the
burning pit, he felt himself being lifted up by a beautiful cool lotus blossom.
The pollen from this miraculous flower spread into the air, and covered him with
the glowing colour of gold. While standing in the heart of the lotus, the Great
Being poured the alms food into the bowl of the Silent Buddha. Mara, god of
death, was defeated!
In appreciation for this wonderful
gift, the Silent Buddha raised his hand in blessing. The rich man bowed in homage,
joining his hands above his head. Then the Silent Buddha departed from Benares,
and went to the Himalayan forests.
Still standing on the wonderful lotus, glowing with the color of gold, the
generous master taught his followers. He told them that practising the Five
Training Steps is necessary to purify the mind. He told them that with such a
pure mind, there is great merit in giving alms — indeed it is truly the gift of
When he had finished teaching, the
fiery pit and the lovely cool lotus completely disappeared.
moral is: Have no fear when doing wholesome