Saturday, March 27, 2010
Were you to live three thousand years, or even thirty thousand,
remember that the sole life which a man can lose
is that which he is living at the moment.
This means that the longest life and the shortest life
amount to the same thing. For the passing minute
is every man's equal possession, but what has once gone by is not ours.
For the sole thing of which any man can be deprived
is the present; since this is all he owns.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
...clinging is suffering. It's because of clinging that physical pain becomes mental pain. It's because of clinging that aging, illness, and death cause mental distress. The paradox here is that, in clinging to things, we don't trap them or get them under our control. Instead, we trap ourselves.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
The Master begins by revealing the boundless temporal and spatial dimensions
against which the quest for enlightenment unfolds. He then swiftly narrows down
the focus of his attention to the prospective student’s own situation in the here and
now. His concern is not with theory but with attitudes and actions. Repeatedly, he
drives home the point that our purpose in studying the Dharma should not be the mere
acquiring of information, however interesting, but the transformation and purification
of our minds. Though he ultimately steers us towards the broad bodhisattva
path aimed at benefiting all sentient beings, he does not let us escape the “narrow
path” with its hard tasks of self-scrutiny, self-rectification, and self-cultivation.
Alertness, heedfulness, conscientiousness, and integrity are the watchwords of this
training. The path he guides us towards is never an easy one, but it is one that
brings abundant rewards. It enables us to master the conditions of life instead of
drifting along with them; it helps us ride over the high waves of good fortune without
being dashed by the tidal waves of calamity. It teaches us how to dwell like a
mountain, ever tall, strong, and steady, unswayed even by the roughest winds.
Extract from Foreword by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
To read: Gateway to the Dharma by Venerable Master Jen-Chun
Sunday, March 14, 2010
It's important to reflect on what true happiness is and where it can be found. A moment's reflection will show that you can't find it in the past or the future. The past is gone and your memory of it is undependable. The future is a blank uncertainty. So the only place we can really find happiness is in the present. But even here you have to know where to look. If you try to base your happiness on things that change — sights, sounds, sensations in general, people and things outside — you're setting yourself up for disappointment, like building your house on a cliff where there have been repeated landslides in the past. So true happiness has to be sought within. Meditation is thus like a treasure hunt: to find what has solid and unchanging worth in the mind, something that even death cannot touch.
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