Informed by wisdom and impelled by compassion,
May I ever heal the sick, nurture the young,
Protect the weak, love the beautiful,
Serve the good, honor the wise, and align with the highest.
Bless me to benefit all beings, spontaneously and constantly!
There is an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned.
If there were no unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned,
no escape would be discerned from what is born, become, made, conditioned.
But because there is an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned,
therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, become, made, conditioned.
— Buddha Shakyamuni
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ … ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ — Matthew, 25:40, 45.
All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill. All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill. — Dhammapada, 10:129-130.
* Mahayana amendment. We understand “the least of these brothers and sisters” to include all sentient beings — seen and unseen, known, unknown, and unknowable.
Hōkyōintō, Yasakaji Temple, Matsuyama, Japan. July 1, 2012. The Hōkyōin Darani Sutra gathers relics of “all the Buddhas of the past, present, and future.”
A timely quotation every Dharma Fool will want to read
— shared from Ven. Tashi Nyima and The Great Middle Way
Ceiling, Iwamotoji, Kochi Prefecture, Japan. February, 2012.
(The ceiling at Iwamotoji features 575 panels by local artists. Click on image to view this section in greater detail.)
The foolish proclaim their qualifications;
the wise keep them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
but a precious gem sinks to the depths.
Those with little learning show great pride.
Grown wise, they are quiet.
Torrents always make much noise,
but the ocean seldom roars.
— Sakya Pandita, A Precious Treasury
Mahaparanirvana, Shōzan-ji, Tokushima. January, 2011.
gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā
Are the Buddhas and great Bodhisattvas “out there” or “in here”? Are they external beings or are they “us” (or we them)? A bit of both — sometimes without and sometimes within? Neither wholly without or within? This is dizzying to contemplate, and it remains a fruitless line of thought until we realize it is a trap concocted by our own minds.
Because language is a function of conventional reality, we speak of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as if they are separate and distinct from ourselves — and so we must speak in order to communicate with a measure of ease and efficiency. With mantra practice, however, we evoke qualities already present in the heart and mind: the True Self of our Buddha Nature. When we align our minds with those of the Buddhas through mantra recitation, subject-object & self-other divisions fall away, at least temporarily. We are not separate from the Buddhas because there is no “out there” out there and there is no “in here” in here.
The Tathāgata is the One thus gone, thus come, and beyond all comings and goings.
Volunteer caretaker, pilgrim rest hut, Kochi. January 31, 2012
If we have been together since beginingless time,
Then we have all been each other’s companions,
Friends, enemies, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and children.
My enemy has been my friend — and my friend, my enemy.
Each of us owes an enormous debt, impossible to repay.
Our happiness is the bequest of a staggering chain of causality, the gift of the known,
But also the legacy of the unknown, the unnamed, and the unnameable.
Our happiness is the result of untold acts of kindness, generosity, sacrifice and care.
If this is so, as we know it is, then we owe everything to every other being,
And there are no enemies.
Pilgrim Welcome Committee, coastal Aki, Shikoku. January 2012.
A fool who knows his foolishness is wise at least to that extent, but a fool who thinks himself wise is a fool indeed.
— The Dhammapada, 5:63
We can only begin from where we stand. Gross ignorance is nothing to boast of, but a sincere fessing up is a start. Humility is not merely a pleasant character trait — it is essential. It is simple honesty.