by Chien-chih Seng-ts’anThird Zen Patriarch [d. 606 AD] The Great Way is not difficultfor those who have no preferences.When love and hate are both absenteverything becomes clear and undisguised.Make the smallest distinction, however,and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. …Continue reading →
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” (Helen Keller) “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks …Continue reading →
On a quiet Saturday afternoon in December, my wife, Eva, and I visited Chung Tian Temple in Priestdale, Queensland, Australia. Coincidentally, we met Meng, one of the volunteers at the Temple, whom I had wanted to see, but didn’t expect …Continue reading →
I believe that to make our life purposeful and fruitful, there is an essential and vital underlying factor – strength of mind. Without fortitude of mind, concentration, we are destined not to succeed. A focused and productive life will escape us. …Continue reading →
Realistically, how can we gauge the progress we have made on the spiritual path? I believe that one answer to this question is to meditatively reflect on the answers to key indicator questions that examine the fruits of one’s life. These …Continue reading →
Virtuous actions (positive deeds coming from wholesome intentions) sow seeds of future happiness. On the other hand, non-virtuous actions (negative deeds arising from unwholesome motivations) sow seeds of future suffering. These karmic seeds can remain dormant in our mind until the conditions for them …Continue reading →
Without having enough information through study, there is nothing to contemplate, and then there is nothing to meditate on. Studying without assimilating what is being studied is useless – so the second step of contemplation is needed. Study Forms of study: (1) Reading (2) Listening (3) …Continue reading →
I have tried eating mindfulness – a way to eat with respectful attention to my food and body. I begin by sitting quietly in silence, having placed the food in front of me. At the moment, I am blessed to have two …Continue reading →
What does cessation of suffering mean for me? From personal experience, I identify with cessation as being linked to emptiness. Nagarjuna’s understanding (he was one of the greatest Mahayana Buddhist thinkers), therefore, has great meaning for me – that understanding cessation should be …Continue reading →
I find the third Noble Truth – the truth of the cessation of suffering (dukkha) – a wonderful source of hope that is based on reality! How incredible to be offered the ending (cessation) of suffering in my life, and …Continue reading →
The End of Suffering When people ask about Nirvana, they may have strange ideas about what it is. Often they think everything has completely ceased – not only suffering, but also the person who is trying to gain that state …Continue reading →
In his book, The Four Noble Truths, Theravada teacher Ajahn Sumedho, suggests that we should not think that we are suffering but rather that there is suffering. Does this advice work? In his carefully chosen words, I believe that Sumedho describes an important shift …Continue reading →
In Buddhist perception, the lotus flower has special significance.
The efforts towards spirituality may be compared to the idea of applying fertiliser to a lotus flower which grows out of mud in a swamp, so that emerging from the surrounding muck of worldly passions will spring a beautiful flower of spirituality, blossoming to enlightenment.
Here the ‘muck’ or mud can be compared to our physical body; the emerging lotus flower can be compared to the developing (budding) perceptions of our minds.
The ‘fertilising’ relates to the direct application of exercise to the goal in view.
The fully opened lotus would be the full expression of the Buddha-mind, now visible as a beautiful lotus flower in full bloom.
Source: Davis, John R. The Path to Enlightenment: Introducing Buddhism. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1997.