Short Zen Articles

Namu-Amida-Butsu – Whole hearted reliance upon the Buddha of Infinite Light and Boundless Life

 

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s mind.

 

Everything changes,

Everything appears and disappears,

There is perfect tranquility

When one transcends both life and extinction.

 

Six holes causing loss of wealth

  • Intoxicating drinks and behaving foolishly
  • Staying up late at night and losing mind in frivolity
  • Indulging in musical and theatre entertainments
  • Gambling
  • Associating with evil companions
  • Neglecting one’s duties

 

Six things leading brotherhood to harmony

  • Sincerity of speech
  • Sincerity and kindness of action
  • Sincerity and sympathy of spirit
  • Equal sharing of common property
  • Following same pure precepts
  • Having right views

 

Individual rules

  • Maintain pure spirit and not ask for too many things
  • Maintain integrity and remove all greed
  • Be patient and not argue
  • Keep silent and not talk idly
  • Submit to regulations and not be overbearing
  • Maintain even mind and not follow different teachings
  • Be thrifty and frugal in daily life

 

Three ways of practice to be understood and followed

  • Disciplines for practical behaviour – guard gates of 5 senses
  • Right concentration of mind – get away from greedy and evil desires
  • Wisdom – To understand Fourfold noble truth

 

Four truths in the world

  • All living beings rise from ignorance
  • All objects of desire are impermanent, uncertain and suffering
  • All existing things are impermanent, uncertain and suffering
  • There is nothing that can be called an “ego”, and there is no such thing as “mine” in all the world

 

Five qualities to enlightenment

  • Good health
  • Confidence
  • Diligence
  • Sincerity of purpose
  • Wisdom

 

Four view-points

  • Consider the body impure, seeking to remove all attachments
  • Consider senses as a source of suffering
  • Consider the mind to be in a constant state of flux
  • Consider everything in the world as being a consequence of cause and effect and that nothing remains unchanged forever

 

Five faculties of power

  • Faith to believe
  • Will to make the endeavor
  • Faculty of reliable memory
  • Ability to concentrate one’s mind
  • Ability to maintain clear wisdom

 

Six Practices

  • The Path of offering
  • The path of keeping precepts
  • The path of endurance
  • The path of endeavor
  • The path of concentration of mind
  • The path of wisdom

 

Four unlimited states of mind

  • Compassion
  • Tenderness
  • Gladness
  • Equanimity

 

Eightfold Noble Path

1. Right view is the true understanding of the four noble truths.

2. Right aspiration is the true desire to free oneself from attachment, ignorance, and hatefulness.

These two are referred to as prajña, or wisdom.

3. Right speech involves abstaining from lying, gossiping, or hurtful talk.

4. Right action involves abstaining from hurtful behaviors, such as killing, stealing, and careless sex.

5. Right livelihood means making your living in such a way as to avoid dishonesty and hurting others, including animals.

These three are refered to as shila, or morality.

6. Right effort is a matter of exerting oneself in regards to the content of one’s mind: Bad qualities should be abandoned and prevented from arising again; Good qualities should be enacted and nurtured.

7. Right mindfulness is the focusing of one’s attention on one’s body, feelings, thoughts, and consciousness in such a way as to overcome craving, hatred, and ignorance.

8. Right concentration is meditating in such a way as to progressively realize a true understanding of imperfection, impermanence, and non-separateness.

 

 

Many deities and humans,

yearning after good,

have pondered on Blessings.

Pray, tell me the Supreme Blessings.

 

Not to follow or associate with the foolish,

to associate with the wise,

and honor those who are worthy of honor.

This is the Supreme Blessing.

 

To reside in a suitable locality,

to have done meritorious actions in the past, 

and to have set oneself on the right course 

This is the Supreme Blessing.

 

Vast-learning, perfect handicraft,

a highly trained discipline

and pleasant speech.

This is the Supreme Blessing.

 

The support of mother and father,

the cherishing of spouse and children

and peaceful occupations.

This is the Supreme Blessings.

 

Liberality, righteous conduct,

the helping of relatives

and blameless action.

This is the Supreme Blessing.

 

To cease and abstain from evil,

forbearance with respect to intoxicants

and steadfastness in virtue.

This is the Supreme Blessing.

 

Patience, obedience,

sight of the holy ones

and religious discussions at due season. 

This is the Supreme Blessing.

 

Self-control, pure life,

perception of the Noble Truths

and the realization of Nibbana.

This is the Supreme Blessing.

 

He whose mind does not flutter,

by contact with worldly contingencies,

sorrowless, stainless and secure.

This is the Supreme Blessing.

 

To them, fulfilling matters such as these,

everywhere invincible,

in every way moving happily.

These are the Supreme Blessings.

 

The Five Hindrances (Nivarana) are the major obstacles to concentration.

1.  Sensual desire (abhidya)

2.  Ill will, hatred, or anger (pradosha)

3.  Laziness and sluggishness (styana and middha)

4.  Restlessness and worry (anuddhatya and kaukritya)

5.  Doubt (vichikitsa) — doubt, skepticism, indecisiveness, or vacillation, without the wish to cure it, more like the common idea of cynicism or pessimism than open-mindedness or desire for evidence.

The Ten Fetters (Samyojana) bind us to samsara.

1.  Belief in a separate personality or individuality (drishti)
2.  Doubt that has no desire for satisfaction (vichikitsa)
3.  Uncritical attachment to rules and rituals (silabbata-paramasa)
4.  Sensuous craving (kama-raga)
5.  Ill will, wishing harm on others (vyapada)
6.  Craving for a higher material existence (rupa-raga)
7.  Craving for non-material existence (arupa-raga)
8.  Conceit or egotism (mana)
9.  Restlessness (udhacca)
10.  Ignorance (avidya)

The last three are known as samadhi, or meditation.

The Pancha Shila, or five moral precepts:

1. Avoid killing, or harming any living thing.

2. Avoid stealing — taking what is not yours to take.

3. Avoid sexual irresponsibility, which for monks and nuns means celibacy.

4. Avoid lying, or any hurtful speech.

5. Avoid alcohol and drugs which diminish clarity of consciousness.

To these, monks and nuns add…

6. One simple meal a day, before noon.

7. Avoid frivolous entertainments.

8. Avoid self-adornment.

9. Use a simple bed and seat.

10. Avoid the use of money.

Full monastic life adds over two hundred more rules and regulations!

The Perfections or Virtues — noble qualities that we should all strive to achieve.  Here are two versions:
 

1.  Generosity (P: dana)

2.  Moral discipline (P: sila)

3.  Patience and tolerance (P: khanti) 

4.  Wisdom or (full-) consciousness (P: pañña)

5.  Energy (P: viriya)

6.  Renunciation (P: nekkhamma)

7.  Truthfulness (P: sacca)

8.  Determination (P: adhitthana)

9.  Loving kindness (P: metta)

10.  Equanimity (P: upekkha)

1.  Generosity (dana)

2.  Moral discipline (shila)

3.  Patience and tolerance (kshanti) 

4.  Energy (virya)

5.  Meditation (dhyana)

6. Wisdom or (full-) consciousness (prajña)

7.  Skilled methods (upaya)

8.  Vow or resolution (pranidhana)

9.  The ten powers or special abilities (dashabala)

10.  Knowledge (jñana)

The Brahma Vihara

The Brahma Vihara are the four “sublime states” to which we all should aspire.  They are the great signs of the Bodhisattva, who vows to remain in samsara — this world of pain and sorrow — until all creation can be brought into the state of Nirvana together.

1. Maitri is caring, loving kindness displayed to all you meet.

2. Karuna is compassion or mercy, the kindness shown to those who suffer.

3. Mudita is sympathetic joy, being happy for others, without a trace of envy.

4. Upeksa is equanimity or peacefulness, the ability to accept the ups and downs of life with equal dispassion.

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~ by antinomian on December 22, 2007.

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