The Buddha’s Masterplan

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Beneath the sea of glistening stars,
Between the ethereal evening air,
Lies a forest of glowing dreams,
But as diverse and rich as they are,
None escape the same Moonbeam.

Under the lucent morning glow,
Roll waves of raving emotions,
Turbid fortunes and cruel woes,
The burning craving of billions,
Yet the same Sun illumes them all.

Princes, beggars and pretenders,
All dance their own tango with
Fortune’s jeering taunts and tantrums,
Each gambles to grapple with fate,
But upon the same soil they all tread.

The crown of a grand old oak
Casts a wide and mighty shadow,
Ruffling with a myriad of leaves,
Adorned by blooming blossoms
That sprout in spring and wither in winter,

With branches amber in autumn,
Green in summer, and lean and bare
In Saturn’s season of barren frost.
Yet for all its lush richness, it still rests
Upon one abiding unchanging trunk.

So even as human affairs steer here and there,
And wander and meander like wetland streams,
The timeless source remains the same,
For all ripe fruits return to Buddha’s root.

It is often asked why it is said that there are 84,000 different Dharma-doors (i.e. innumerable forms of Dharma). The answer is simple: Sentient beings are complex and have innumerable biases, different spiritual levels and varying aspirations.  Thus, it is not possible for one fixed form of teaching to suffice by itself. 

Therefore, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have not only spoken a rich collection of different Sutras, but have also manifested as the Sages and founders of different religions in order to teach those who could not yet accept the Buddha-dharma.

According to the Ven. Master Hsuan Hua:

“In Buddhism, he (Guanyin Bodhisattva) appears as a Bodhisattva; in other religions he often appears clad in white robes. In Christianity, he is the Holy Mother; he appears as the Holy Mother to teach and transform a certain category of beings. He appears in white robes and Christians call her Mother Mary, but actually she is Guanshiyin Bodhisattva manifesting in that form to inspire beings to bring forth a resolve that will lead them sooner or later to understand the Buddhadharma. Once they understand the Buddhadharma, they will bring forth the resolve for Bodhi. These are the endless miraculous functions and inconceivable states of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva.”

-Ven Master Hsuan Hua’s 1996 Lecture “Guanyin, Guanyin, Guanshiyin” (Translated by the BTTS).

Despite this rich varied diversity, the purpose is all the same: To promote virtue and eschew vice, which is the key (i.e. the Sila of the Threefold Training of Sila, Samadhi and Prajna) to eventually developing faith in the Buddha-dharma. For a more detailed analysis, please read my following Public Domain essay:

https://archive.org/details/ThePurposeOfMonotheismAndItsFuture

Thus, interfaith harmony is important, and no one should be caught up in conflict or strife over superficial differences, for all roads lead home.

However, even though all roads (religions) lead to the Buddha-dharma, all of the Buddha-dharma and every Sutra are united by Amita Buddha’s Pure Land School, the easiest and most wondrous Dharma door, cultivated by both the brilliant and base. The only practical way to Buddha-hood in our current Dharma-ending age.

For an introduction to Pure Land Buddhism, please read my Free and Public Domain translations of the The Buddha Speaks the Mahayana,Infinite Life, Adornment,Purity, Impartiality, and Enlightenment Sutra, and the Path to Pure Land prayer:

Public Domain PDF version of Prayer: path-to-pure-land

 

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Master Yin Guang, 13th Patriarch of the Pure Land School.

Lastly, as Sila (virtue) is the fertile soil that Samadhi and Wisdom spring from, the Great Master Yin Guang (1861-1940), the 13th Patriarch of the Pure Land School, strongly recommended the Taoist Treatise of the Illustrious Sage on Response and Retribution. It is a short and succinct moral tractate that details the workings of karma, and concurs fully with the Buddha’s teachings on the fruits of virtue and vice. In fact, Master Yin Guang printed more copies of this Treatise than all the Buddhist Sutras he printed combined. Thus, I entreat everyone to heed this Treatise. Daily recitation of it can eradicate evil karma, draw in blessings and create the foundational purity of heart needed to seek Pure Land rebirth.

Free and Public Domain translation available here:

Treatise of the Illustrious Sage on Response and Retribution (English Liturgy Version 2017 Edition)

Poem, all attached texts, and post released into Public Domain

Epic Poem: The Odyssey of Dharmakara

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Calligraphy: Sincerity, Serenity, Fairness, Enlightenment and Benevolence 

This poem was inspired by the opening chapters of the Infinite Life Sutra, which outline Dharmakara’s (Amitabha) creation of the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss.

In a time before time began,
In a distant faraway land,
There reigned a wise sovereign
Most mighty and valiant,
Honored by many as the
World’s Bounty and Mercy.
Upon hearing the Dharma
Of Lokeshvararaja Buddha,
He melted into joyful repose
And cast aside desire’s shadow,
The fetters of the world’s cares,
And vowed to become the heir
Of the True and Utmost Way!
Thus, he abandoned his crown,
Robed himself a humble monk,
And marched forth upon the Way,
Cultivating through night and day
Until he became the renowned
Bodhisattva Dharmakara.
With profound wisdom peerless,
Faith and patience matchless,
He swiftly mastered the Dharma,
Rose far beyond the Samsara
And high above the snares of Mara.
In triumph, he sought the Buddha
And piously vowed and bowed before
Him, revering his great grandeur:

“The Buddha’s august demeanor
Is wondrous without compare,
His halo the ten quarters illume,
Bright beyond the luminous moon
And the lucent beams of high noon,
The World Honored One’s voice
Enlightens all beings to rejoice
Within the Dharma in native speech,
And he appears to all and each
In the body of their honored liege.
I yearn to emulate you and preach
Sermons of Dharma to everyone,
Without bounds like the shining sun,
To teach Sila, Samadhi and Viriya,
The profound and potent Dharma.
Wisdom as vast and deep as the sea,
Heart neither stained nor weary,
Gliding o’er oceans of sin and woe,
To the halcyon shores of Bodhi,
Untainted by gloomy wrath,
Unfettered by lustful avarice,
And blessed with serene Samadhi.
I shall follow the footsteps of the
Infinite Buddhas who precede me
And act as a great guiding light
For the masses, to be their sight,
Uprooting the temporal bequeath
Of birth, old age, illness and death,
Always generous and ever virtuous,
With diligence and eternal patience,
Forever within Samadhi and Prajna,
Faithfully abiding by the Six Paramitas,
Bestowing Bodhi upon the dull and lost,
And lifting Sages into the Buddha host!
As he who rains alms upon the Sangha
Is less than he who becomes a Buddha
Through single-minded faith,
I vow to in diligent Samadhi stay,
And glow brightly with everlasting light,
I shall build a splendrous paradise
Unrivaled across the universe entire,
To serve as a refuge of lasting respite
For those benighted in the Samsara!
With kindness I will shatter every klesha
Of every poor soul tortured by dukkha.
I shall not waver for I am determined
To shoulder every pain and burden,
So let the Buddha be my witness!”

After hearing Dharmakara’s great
And dauntless resolve and praise,
The Buddha arose from his Dais,
Gleaming with utmost admiration
For the one before him who is salvation
To the endless many lost in perdition.
He then declared:

“Your vows are not made in vain,
For even the oceans can be emptied
By but one who bails unceasingly,
And all its hidden pearls revealed,
What is there the sincere cannot attain?
I will show you the path and Way
To your glorious and imperious day!”

And so the Buddha parted the sky and
Revealed to Dharmakara every plane
Of rebirth, each and every Buddha Land,
All the galaxies, worlds and Sagely domains,
Revealing their cities, peaks, gorges and seas,
Their prairies, hills and fertile valleys,
The villas of devas dancing in divine weal,
The nature and condition of their peoples,
Unveiling their barren ghostly ruins, animal
Kingdoms and bleak narakas most infernal.
Uncovering all of their vices and virtues,
So that Dharmakara may with ease build
A pure and gilded land of wondrous bliss,
Free from evil and woe, a supreme harbor
Of every good found across the ten quarters.
The Buddha then said: “Pronounce your vows!”

“For the relief of all sentient beings,
Including those mired in the suffering
Of hellish, ghostly and beastly rebirth,
I have built a Pure Land of true mirth,
Open to all who are willing to share my
Merits and forfeit darkness for light!
I have paved for you fine gilded roads
Of precious stones, purple and gold,
For you I have filled rivers and lakes
With cool azure waters of soft ripples,
Swirling with fragrant flowers most graceful,
With beds of aurulent sand, and laid
Before you villas, pavilions and canopies,
Groves of beryl, emerald and agate trees
That ruffle and sway in the blissful breeze,
Adorned by jade leaves and scented petals,
Berries of Mani-jewels and crystal.
I give you clear skies and peerless paradise,
A glorious afterlife of endless delight,
With singing songbirds perched on amber arbors,
Humming hymns with lyrical harmony
And the most soothing of melodies!
I bless all who arrive in my land with
August, aurulent and ethereal bodies
Untainted by the greed, fear and foul odors
That flesh, desire and delusion harbors,
I bless thee with all the powers of Bodhi,
Its wisdom, eminence, bliss and glory,
Its serene Samadhi and tranquil purity!
Divine provision shall appear on demand
And so too the finery and robes of my land.
Any being who chants my Buddha-name,
Wholeheartedly abandons evil and repents
With faithful resolve, shall enter my domain
And rise to Sagehood upon the Lotus Lagoon.
I am Amitabha and my vows have come to pass!”

Upon hearing Amitabha’s august vows,
The entire assembly before him bowed,
Moved to joyous tears by his great resolve!
They beheld his unsurpassed compassion,
His merciful uprooting of all evil passions,
Granting each the chance to taste the Samadhi
Of the highest, most true and utmost Bodhi!
On this glorious and regal Dharma day,
The Earth shook in the six auspicious ways,
Gleaming gods and goddesses were seen
Gliding over the stars stroking harp-strings,
The ethereal heavens soon resounded with
Gilded notes of splendid divine bliss,
And the courts of the heavenly lords feted,
Raining down golden lilies like confetti!

Poem released into Public Domain

PDF download: the-odyssey-of-dharmakara

Archive.org Interactive Version

 

Ancient Eastern Social Philosophy & Statecraft

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Calligraphy by Master Chin Kung

It is not right for a ruler who has deviated from the
righteous way of leadership to put his officials and subjects
to death. Even though the people are not being taught the
way of filial piety and the proper behavior that goes along
with it, they are being convicted and put into prisons. To
do so amounts to killing the innocent.

Scroll 10: KongZi Jia Yu

The ancients said: “If a farmer refuses to work, some
people will starve. If a woman refuses to weave, some
people will suffer in the cold.” When the growth of all
things is limited by seasons but we consume them as if
they will be available without limitation, the resources
will sooner or later be depleted. The ancients governed
and planned meticulously and they would have had the
foresight to ensure the treasury had enough reserves to
sustain the nation.

                                                            Scroll 14: Han Shu, Vol. 2

Mencius said to Duke Xuan of the state of Qi: “When
a lord treats his subordinates like brothers, they will
pledge allegiance to him in return. When a lord treats his
subordinates like slavish animals, they will regard him as a
stranger on the street. When a lord treats his subordinates
like dirt and weeds, they will regard him as a robber and
an enemy.”

Scroll 37: MengZi

In this post, I would like to bring attention to some profound Ancient Eastern Sagely works and maxims that are particularly relevant today. For instance, the above quotes succinctly  point out the looming calamity that will surely follow our consumerism and miscarriage of justice ridden legal system. All these quotes are from the Qunshu Ziyao, which is a multi-volume work compiled on the orders of the founding sovereign of the Tang Dynasty that includes wisdom accumulated from the times of the predynastic Sage Kings to the Sui Dynasty (over 3,000 years of wisdom). Please read the full texts below:

Volume I:

https://archive.org/details/TheGoverningPrinciplesOfAncientChina360Passages

Volume II:

Volume II: Governing Principles of The Ancient Sage Kings of the Middle Kingdom 

Additional Resources: My free and Public Domain Essays on Eastern Philosophy: 

Translation of a profound article outlining the secret meaning of Confucius’ Great Learning:

https://archive.org/details/TheSecretOfConfuciusGreatLearning

Essay on the profound connection between Buddhism and other religions :

https://archive.org/details/ThePurposeOfMonotheismAndItsFuture

Eight Legged Essay on green living from the perspective of Eastern Philosophy:

https://archive.org/details/EightLeggedEssayFreedomAndVirtueComesFromGreenSimplicity

Moreover, I also wish to recommend my free and Public Domain translations of the Maxims of the Sages (Ming dynasty era compilation of sagely aphorisms) and Upasaka An Shi’s Discourse on the 48 Inquiries of Non Violence (a Qing era sagely work on humane living):