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Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama, who generally speaks from the point of view of the Mādhyamaka-Prasaṅgika, states:

One of the most important philosophical insights in Buddhism comes from what is known as the theory of emptiness. At its heart is the deep recognition that there is a fundamental disparity between the way we perceive the world, including our own experience in it, and the way things actually are.

In our day-to-day experience, we tend to relate to the world and to ourselves as if these entities possessed self-enclosed, definable, discrete and enduring reality. For instance, if we examine our own conception of selfhood, we will find that we tend to believe in the presence of an essential core to our being, which characterises our individuality and identity as a discrete ego, independent of the physical and mental elements that constitute our existence.

The philosophy of emptiness reveals that this is not only a fundamental error but also the basis for attachment, clinging and the development of our numerous prejudices. According to the theory of emptiness, any belief in an objective reality grounded in the assumption of intrinsic, independent existence is simply untenable. All things and events, whether ‘material’, mental or even abstract concepts like time, are devoid of objective, independent existence.

To intrinsically possess such independent existence would imply that all things and events are somehow complete unto themselves and are therefore entirely self-contained. This would mean that nothing has the capacity to interact with or exert influence on any other phenomena. But we know that there is cause and effect – turn a key in a car, the starter motor turns the engine over, spark plugs ignite and fuel begins to burn… Yet in a universe of self-contained, inherently existing things, these events could never occur!

So effectively, the notion of intrinsic existence is incompatible with causation; this is because causation implies contingency and dependence, while anything that inherently existed would be immutable and self-enclosed. In the theory of emptiness, everything is argued as merely being composed of dependent related events; of continuously interacting phenomena with no fixed, immutable essence, which are themselves in dynamic and constantly changing relations. Thus, things and events are ‘empty’ in that they can never possess any immutable essence, intrinsic reality or absolute ‘being’ that affords independence.

THE KALAMA DISCOURSE

One time, when the Buddha passed through the city of Kalama, people asked him: “So many teachers were here, and all of them gave us excellent teachings, but they contradict each other. What should we do?” The Buddha then gave the so-called Kalama Discourse and expounded on ten aspects that one should consider when listening to spiritual teachings. (See the full text of the Kalama Sutra.)
Summarised, the Buddha said:

“Do not believe a spiritual teaching just because:
1. it is repeatedly recited,
2. it is written in a scripture,
3. it was handed from guru to disciple,
4. everyone around you believes it,
5. it has supernatural qualities,
6. it fits my beliefs anyway,
7. it sounds rational to me,
8. it is taught by a respectable person,
9. it was said to be the truth by the teacher,
10. one must defend it or fight for it.
However, only when it agrees with your experience and reason, and when it is conducive to the good and gain of oneself and all others, then one should accept the teachings, and live up to them.”

Or, as the Buddha taught:

“My teaching is not a philosophy. It is the result of direct experience…
My teaching is a means of practice, not something to hold onto or worship.
My teaching is like a raft used to cross the river.
Only a fool would carry the raft around after he had already reached the other shore of liberation.”

To his favourite disciple, Ananda, the Buddha once said (from: Old Path, White Clouds by Thich Nath Hanh):
“If you were to follow the Dharma purely out of love for me or because you respect me, I would not accept you as disciple. But if you follow the Dharma because you have yourself experienced its truth, because you understand and act accordingly – only under these conditions have you the right to call yourself a disciple of the Exalted One.”

Resourse: viewofbuddhism.com

Do not accept any of my words on faith,
Believing them just because I said them.
Be like an analyst buying gold, who cuts, burns,
And critically examines his product for authenticity.
Only accept what passes the test
By proving useful and beneficial in your life.
The Buddha

What is the Dharma?

Dharma is a Sanskrit word with many meanings, but in this case, we will mainly use it in the meaning of the “Buddha-dharma” or the teachings of the Buddha. Probably the shortest summary the Buddha himself gave of his teachings is

“I teach on suffering and the way to end it”.
Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical teacher gave many teachings during his life, and it is not very simple to condense these all into a small, comprehensive package.
Moreover, during the last 2,500 years, various different traditions have developed in Buddhism (see history), which all are based on slightly different interpretations of his teachings, and emphasize somehwat different practices.

The Buddha gave some remarkably modern-sounding advice just before his passing away on how to approach the teachings, called the Four Reliances:

“Rely on the teaching, not on the person;
Rely on the meaning, not on the words;
Rely on the definitive meaning, not on the provisional;
Rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordinary mind.”
These kind of statements may clarify a bit why there is not simply ‘one Buddhism’; every individual is encouraged to use their own intellect and wisdom to figure out what the teachings mean for them.

Buddha-dharma is also not a simple, easy-to-grasp subject, as the Buddha himself explained:

“This Dhamma that I have attained is profound, hard to see and hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, unattainable by mere reasoning, subtle, to be experienced by the wise.”

What surprises the Dalai Lama most about humanity…

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
By: Altered States

The Heart Sutra: Prajnaparamita-Hridaya-Sutra

Commentary and translation of Text by Harischandra Kaviratna

This scripture has always been held in the greatest veneration in Mahayana countries. In China and Japan there are at least twenty-eight different recensions of this sacred bible of the Buddhist schools. The Prajnaparamita-Sutra is regarded as the holy mother that feeds the bodhisattva with the amrita (nectar) of prajna (transcendental wisdom), and guides him to paramita (the other shore). It is the “utmost great perfection” which gives full enlightenment to the bodhisattva after he has successfully completed the other five paramitas: dana (charity), sila (morality), ksanti (patience, forbearance), virya (energy), and dhyana (concentration).

Linguists who had only an etymological mastery of Sanskrit without even a rudimentary understanding of Buddhist thought have done much harm to the dissemination of esoteric Buddhism in Europe and America. During the last decade of the nineteenth century, Samuel Beal published the first English rendition of the Prajnaparamita in his Catena of Buddhist Scriptures. Next appeared the English translation by Max Muller in the Sacred Books of the East series, Vol. XLIX. In the eighteenth century, although there already existed several Japanese renditions based on Chinese texts, Hion Shon translated it into Japanese direct from the Sanskrit. Tibetan Buddhists believe Boom or Bum (Prajnaparamita) to be the most infallible text to arouse them from the illusion of samsara (round of births and deaths). Various French and German translations are also in circulation, based on partial Chinese versions or on fragmentary Sanskrit texts.

Prajnaparamita-Hridayam (hridaya means heart) — the most condensed recension of the Sutra — was rendered into Chinese in the year 400 AD by the famous Indian scholar and Buddhist missionary, the Venerable Kumarajiva, and even today is used as a protective spell or charm by all Buddhists of Tibet, China, and Japan, monks and laymen alike. It was translated into English by D. T. Suzuki of Japan in 1934, by Edward Conze of England in 1958, and in America by Dwight Goddard in 1969. My verbatim translation, which follows, is made directly from the original Sanskrit.

The complete text of the Large Sutra of Prajnaparamita was ruthlessly destroyed by Muslim incendiaries in the conflagration of the Buddhist University of Nalanda. Millions of Buddhist and Hindu manuscripts were burnt in this great fire along with the monks and artifacts. Because the original Prajnaparamita is reputed to have consisted of a hundred thousand stanzas it was called Satasahasrika Prajna-paramita. It is primarily intended for memorizing, and is believed to protect the aspirant who knows it by heart.

The Heart Sutra: Prajnaparamita-Hridaya-Sutra

Om namo bhagavatyai arya-prajnaparamitayai!

Om! Salutation to the blessed and noble one! (who has reached the other shore of the most excellent transcendental wisdom).

(In this invocation the perfection of transcendental wisdom is personified as the compassionate mother of bodhi — wisdom — who bestows enlightenment upon the bodhisattvas who had vigilantly followed the course prescribed for the aspirant to full enlightenment — samyak sambodhi.)

Verse 1

arya-avalokitesvaro bodhisattvo gambhiram prajnaparamitacaryam caramano vyavalokayati sma: panca-skandhas tams ca svabhavasunyan pasyati sma.

The noble bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara, being engaged in practicing the deep transcendental wisdom-discipline, looked down from above upon the five skandhas (aggregates), and saw that in their svabhava (self-being) they are devoid of substance.

Verse 2

iha sariputra rupam sunyata sunyataiva rupam, rupan na prithak sunyata sunyataya na prithag rupam, yad rupam sa sunyata ya sunyata tad rupam; evam eva vedana-samjna-samskara-vijnanam.

Here, O Sariputra, bodily-form is voidness; verily, voidness is bodily-form. Apart from bodily-form there is no voidness; so apart from voidness there is no bodily-form. That which is voidness is bodily-form; that which is bodily-form is voidness. Likewise (the four aggregates) feeling, perception, mental imaging, and consciousness (are devoid of substance).

Verse 3

iha sariputra sarva-dharmah sunyata-laksala, anutpanna aniruddha, amala avimala, anuna aparipurnah.

Here, O Sariputra, all phenomena of existence are characterized by voidness: neither born nor annihilated, neither blemished nor immaculate, neither deficient nor overfilled.

Verse 4

tasmac chariputra sunyatayam na rupam na vedana na samjna na samskarah na vijnanam. na caksuh-srotra-ghrana-jihva-kaya-manamsi. na rupa-sabda-gandha-rasa-sprastavya-dharmah. na caksur-dhatur yavan na manovijnana-dhatuh. na-avidya na-avidya-ksayo yavan na jaramaranam na jara-marana-ksayo. na duhkha-samudaya-nirodha-marga. na jnanam, na praptir na-apraptih.

Therefore, O Sariputra, in voidness there is no bodily-form, no feeling, no mental imaging, no consciousness; no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, or mind; no sense objects of bodily-form, sound, smell, taste, or touchable states; no visual element, and so forth, until one comes to no mind-cognition element. There is no ignorance, nor extinction of ignorance, until we come to: no aging and death, nor extinction of aging and death. There is no suffering, no origination, no cessation, no path; there is no higher knowledge, no attainment (of nirvana), no nonattainment.

Verse 5

tasmac chariputra apraptitvad bodhisattvasya prajnaparamitam asritya vibaraty acittavaranah. cittavarana-nastitvad atrasto viparyasa-ati-kranto nistha-nirvana-praptah.

Therefore, O Sariputra, by reason of his nonattainment (of nirvana), the bodhisattva, having resorted to prajnaparamita (transcendental wisdom), dwells serenely with perfect mental freedom. By his non-possession of mental impediments (the bodhisattva) without fear, having surpassed all perversions, attains the unattainable (bliss of) nirvana.

Verse 6

tryadhva-vyavasthitah sarva-buddhah prajnaparamitam asritya-anut-taram samyaksambodhim abhisambuddhah.

All Buddhas, self-appointed to appear in the three periods of time (past, present, and future), having resorted to the incomparable prajnaparamita, have become fully awake to samyak sambodhi (absolute perfect enlightenment).

Verse 7

tasmaj jnatavyam: prajnaparamita maha-mantro mahavidya-mantro ‘nuttara-mantro samasama-mantrah, sarva-duhkha-prasamanah, satyam amithyatvat. prajnaparamitayam ukto mantrah. tadyatha: gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha. iti prajnaparamita-hridayam sa-maptam.

Therefore prajnaparamita should be recognized as the great mantra, the mantra of great wisdom, the most sublime mantra, the incomparable mantra and the alleviator of all suffering; it is truth by reason of its being nonfalsehood. This is the mantra proclaimed in prajnaparamita. It is:

gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha!
Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond (to the other shore)! O enlightenment! Be it so! Hail!

This concludes Prajnaparamita-Hridaya-Sutra.

(From Sunrise magazine, December 1996/January 1997. Copyright © 1997 by Theosophical University Press.)

Lotus Sutra

The udumbara flower of the Ficus racemosa tree appears in chapters 2 and 27 of the 3rd century Lotus Sutra, an important Mahayana Buddhist text. The symbolic nature of the udumbara is used in the Lotus Sutra to compare the unique occurrence of its bloom with the uncommon appearance of the Buddha and its doctrine in the world:

As the Buddhas of the three periods of time
In such a manner spoke the Dharma,
So do I likewise now expound
The undiscriminated Dharma.
All Buddhas come into the world
But rarely, and are hard to meet;
And when they appear in the world,
It’s hard for them to speak the Dharma.
Throughout countless ages, too,
It’s difficult to hear this Dharma.
And those who can hear this Dharma–
Such people too, are rare,
Like the udumbara flower,
In which all take delight,
Which the gods and humans prize,
For it blooms but once in a long, long time.
So one who hears this Dharma, gives joyful praise,
With even just a single word,
Has thereby made offerings,
To all the Buddhas of the three periods of time.
Such people are extremely rare.
Rarer than the udumbara flower.
All of you should have no doubts,
For I am the Dharma King;
I declare to the assembly:
I use only the path of One Vehicle,
To teach and transform Bodhisattvas.
There are no Sound Hearer Disciples.
Shariputra, all of you,
the Sound Hearers and Bodhisattvas,
Should know that this wondrous Dharma
Is the secret essence of all Buddhas.

Thich Nhat Hanh places the flower in the context of enlightenment:
To see a fully awakened person, a Buddha, is so rare that it is like seeing an udumbara flower. In the Tu Hieu Monastery in Hue, there is a scroll which says: “The udumbara flower, although fallen from the stem, is still fragrant.” Just as the fragrance of the udumbara flower cannot be destroyed, our capacity for enlightenment is always present. The Buddha taught that everyone is a Buddha, everyone is an udumbara flower.

The first unbelievably deeply shocking things is that I have been experiencing the suffering of samsara numberless times from beginingless rebirths. The second shocking things is that it is, again, endless, if one doesn’t change one’s own mind and become totally detached from samsara.

Then, you look at the numberless sentient beings-numberless hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, human beings, asuras, suras and intermediate state beings-oh,they have been exactly the same: experiencing the general sufferings of samsara and the particular sufferings of the lower realms numberless times from beginingless rebirths. You can’t imagine. It’s not unbearable. Feel that.

Now, if they don’t get help from you, they will experience the suffering of samsara, again, and again, endlessly. it’s most, most unbearable.You can’t stand it for a minute, for second.
However, you don’t have to take refuge the Buddha, so you can’t complete the work for sentient beings. Therefore, with your whole heart, totally rely on Buddha , Dharma and Sangha, not just for oneself, but because you want all sentient beings to be liberated from oceans of samsaric sufferings and their causes.

“I go to refuge to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha”, is the cause refuge-taking refuge in those whose mental continuum is separate from yourself. “Until enlightenment is achieved” shows the result time refuge. Result Dharma is when your mind becomes the cessation of suffering and cessation of defilements, the true path. At that time you become the result Sangha. By developing Dharma, you become the result Buddha. Only then can you do perfect work for sentient beings without any effort, spontaneously.”

“By the collection of merits”, refers to the merits of transcendental wisdom and the merits of vertue.
After sentient beings are born, even in one second go, non-stop, towards death. The other meaning is “transmigrating”. There are 6 realms of sentient beings. Transmigratory beings are under the control of karma and delusions and so, continuously, in one of the realms they suffer. this is what has been happening from beginingless rebirths and, if you don’t help them, they will have to suffer endlessly in samsara.”

Call them “mother” sentient beings, bring in that sublet mother. Thinking “mother” means close to you, close to your heart. At the same time in means being a mother and kind on 4 ways:

1. Your mother gave you a body, especially the human body which allows you practice Dharma,
2. Bore hardships for you,
3. Protected your life from hundreds of dangers each moment,
4. Gave you an education, led you the path of the world, taught you how to talk, how to speak human language, etc.

Not only that, but we should remember this: our parents created so much negative karma, 24 hours a day, for our well-beings. It is important to think that there will be so much suffering as a result of their negative karma, bearing hardships for you. Remember that, include that. That is the real story. Then you can see the mother’s kindness. It becomes most unbearable. You come to the conclusion that you have no choice. You have got to give help to the mother sentient beings. It’s only nice words; it is the reality.

“To benefit” means to liberate them from the bondage of karma and delusions. That way you are able to liberate them from oceans of samsaric sufferings. Not only that, but you also want to bring them to full enlightenment. Therefore, the solution is for oneself to achieve enlightenment. Each time you generate the bodhichitta, “May I achieve enlightenment for the benefit of transmigratory beings”, by putting your palms together, how much merit you collect is amazing.

resource: Lama Zopa Rinpoche

As Buddhist, we try to be keenly aware of our own suffering and the suffering of others. But how do we cultivate a mind of benefiting others and oursevves.

Namo Guru vi
Namo Buddha ya
Namo Dharma ya
Namo Sangha ya

I go to refuge until I am enlightenened to the Buddha, the Dharma and Supreme assembly. By the merits I create, through practicing giving and the rest. May I become a buddha in order to benefit all sentient beings.

The lord Buddha means “eliminated and developed”-eliminated all gross and subtle mistakes of mind, and having completed all the qualities and realization.
The first cause of refuge is one’s own mind qualified by having useful fear of samsara. Then the second cause is having faith towards the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha; understanding that they have the power and qualities to save oneself, liberate oneself, from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and their cause: karma and delusions. Then, with those two causes, completely relying on, totaly trusting in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha; that mental factor is Hinayana refuge. In Mahayana, there are these two causes and the third one, compassion for sentient beings. With these three causes, totaly relying on Buddha, Dharma and Sangha; that mental factor is Mahayana refuge.
The Secret Mantra Vajrayana way is by practicing generation stage to be free from ordinary appearance and ordinary concept, and then to be free from the infunctionability of the chakras, winds and drops; to be free from inpure wind and mind, to cease those.

Resourse: Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Er ni hun udur bolgon hooson chanar, shuten barildlaga, munh busiig sanaj yavbal buyan huraadag gedeg yum.

Hooson gedeg ni ertontsiin buh zuils hoorondoo shuteltseetei baidag, tiimees ter shuteltseetei zuils maani mon chanaraaraa hooson gesen ug.

Munh bus ni- alivaa shutelteestei orshin bui zuils maani ene ertunts deer zovhun ongorson, odoo, ireedui …

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