Monday, April 20, 2009

When will you stop?

Angulimala (literal meaning of this name is garland of fingers) was a bandit who used to cut his victim's pinkie finger and had made a garland for himself. Every one was afraid of him. When Buddha found out, he ventured into Anguliamala's territory by himself. Every one was worried for Buddha's safety. Angulimala saw Buddha moving through his territory and asked Buddha to stop. Buddha kept walking, he showed no trace of fear - Angualimala asked him to stop again and Buddha said - I stopped a long time ago, when will you stop? Angulimala did not understand and asked Buddha what he meant. Buddha said that he cast off violence towards other beings and Angulimala is unrestrained, that's how he has stopped and Angulimala didn't. And the story goes that he became a disciple of Buddha and attained arahatship.

This question - "When will you stop?" has a deep meaning. It is not just in terms of violence towards other beings. It is also our violence towards ourselves. We pushing ourselves to become something, to gain something, to achieve fame, power, money. We push our loved ones to do the same. When will we stop? When will we start teaching our children to be content, happy and aim for peace of mind? When will we stop preparing them for the rat race?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thought without support - Platform Sutra of Sixth Patriarch

**** Text and commentary from Platform Sutra translated by Buddhist Text Translation Society *****

Once a customer bought firewood and ordered it
delivered to his shop. When the delivery had been made,
and Hui Neng had received the money, he went outside
the gate, where he noticed a customer reciting a Sutra.
Upon once hearing the words of this Sutra: “One should
produce that thought which is nowhere supported.” Hui
Neng’s mind immediately opened to enlightenment.

Because the Sixth Patriarch’s family was poor, he received
little formal schooling and could not read. At that time in China
one needed money to go to school. But in spite of his illiteracy,
the Sixth Patriarch’s disposition was extremely sharp; and as
soon as he heard the line of the Sutra which says that one should
have a true mind which is nowhere attached,
he immediately
became enlightened. He understood what he had never
understood before.

Many will hear the sentence; “One should produce that
thought which is nowhere supported.” Are there any who will
open to enlightenment?

Someone exclaims, “Why, I have!”

I ask you, what is the enlightenment you have opened? What
is the enlightenment unopened? Ask yourself.