Tag Archives: compassion

2016-06 June Shinnyo Podcast – The Three-Wheel Dharma Bodies

2016-06 June Shinnyo Podcast – The Three-Wheel Dharma Bodies

  • Why Three (and not 4 or 12?)
  • Intrinsic – The Nirvana Buddha
  • Compassionate – Kannon Boddhisattva
  • Strict – Mahavairochana Achala

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Shinnyo Nirvana Image

http://classconnection.s3.amazonaws.com/897/flashcards/388897/jpg/yumedono_kannon.jpg

http://sixprizes.com/wp-content/uploads/mc-escher-self-reflection.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/26/Okunoin_FudoMyoo.JPG

 

Let’s explore further the realms of the three areas of Intrinsic, Compassionate and Strict styles of the Shinnyo Teaching (the 3-Wheel Turning Bodies of the Buddha, Kannon Bodhisattva and Mahavairochana Achala.) Throughout the volumes of dharma teaching are a seemingly never-ending list of numerically related lists and figures. Some examples:

  • Four Means of Embracement
  • Four Immeasurable Minds
  • Four Noble Truths
  • Four Dependables
  • Four Grave Offenses
  • Four Virtues
  • Four Illusions
  • Four (or Eight – depending on which edition you’re reading) Sufferings
  • Five Cardinal Sins
  • Six Periods of the Buddha’s Life
  • Six Paramitas
  • Seven Levels of Consciousness
  • Eight Tastes
  • Eight-fold Noble Path
  • Ten Realms of Existence

Yea! – Memorize all those, and you probably still haven’t found enlightenment (but people may be very impressed with your mastery of lists.)  Every teacher comes up with their own way to help remember what you’re supposed to learn. Master Shinjo Ito noticed that the Nirvana Sutra (aka the Mahaparinirvana Sutra) kept reinforcing the basis of buddhism being founded on what are known as the Three Jewels – the Buddha, the Sangha (or community), and the Dharma (or teaching).  Alone, each element exists, but only together do they form the basis for what we know as Buddhism.

Relating back to last month’s podcast about Practice, and the story of the three kinds of practitioners, he also thought about the common threads between each of the myriad sub-schools of Buddhism – each of which had a particular focal point of study (quite parallel to the various sub-sects of Christianity and Catholocism focusing on different saints, or missionaries, or how Shinto groups each have their own particular Kami (or god) as reference for their respective focus.) Within the founding of Shinnyo’s goals was the objective to unify and fuse the esoteric practices commonly found under the compassionate wisdom sects with the elements of the exoteric sects promoting determined practice, and disciplined self-regulation. Translating the three essential Buddhist elements into objective examples to study,we get:

  • Buddha => Buddha => Insight/Self
  • Sangha => Kannon (aka Guanyin) => Compassion/Ego
  • Dharma => Achala (aka Acala, Fudo Myo) => Discipline/Super-Ego

Coming from a psychology background, I tend to translate the religious themes into scientific or concrete-reasoning examples for my own consumption, but nonetheless, I think you may start to see how things fit together in this model. Within every person lies the buddha nature inside, and each person also has free-will, and also moral or ethical boundaries.  And it is the process of both self-examination of these values, and the outward expression (or practice) of these values that form the person we know.

The Intrinsic stream is our model or would-like-to-really-be-one-day self.  If everything in the world were perfect, and this were Utopian existence, these are our target elements to existence in a super-happy care-free world.  To really imagine or visualize this stream takes more than imagining a bunch of good luck comes to you; for example, you get a trillion dollars. Is having that being happy?  Or is it the potential to spend it, the happy part?  Or is it obtaining anything you want, the satisfaction you want?  And once you have everything, are you happy yet? Power, money, control, success, respect, admiration, love – what is going to get you to that happy place, and keep you there?  Our example given to us, is to imagine the opposite – never worrying about how much you have or don’t, surrounded by compassion, and being really satisfied with whatever happens to come your way.

As you noticed, compassion is part of our Utopian vision for our self. And it’s a dilemma, that to be cared for by others, you have to care about them, too.  If it’s just a one-way situation, not only does it not sustain over the long-term, but starts to transform into other things – envy, greed, jealousy, and even hatred. You might even see all this one-way caring as false – people are doing it just to get something from you. That’s paranoia, and not part of our happy place at all.

Discipline is not control, nor is it about punishment. Knowing that you have a genuine sense of where you want to be, and that you care that others can help you in creating that reality, now you need to actually pursue it and not just let it fade into the night as a nice dream.  To do that, is the work. But it’s not work if you enjoy what you’re doing. Just like any career formed around something you love to do, it transforms what was mundane, busy and irritating because it just must be done, into something gratifying and even pleasurable. Like building a house you get to live in, you take pride in doing a great job at something when you know what qualities went into creating it.  You don’t do it because you have to, you do it because you want to. Kingdoms are not strong because of the King by themselves. They become transformed because every single member contributes towards making the whole a greater presence of stability, growth, and even respect.  Each person’s discipline to go above and beyond becomes the Sangha, which ultimately satisfies the Self. And since somewhere inside you is a buddha wanting to emerge, the cycle perpetuates itself.

/* That’s it for this session. Thank you for listening. For more information feel free to e-mail me at jlui at jlui dot net, or twitter @jhlui1 With Gassho, James*/

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2013-12 Shinnyo-en Buddhism Podcast – Listening, are You?

2013-12 Shinnyo-en Buddhism Podcast – Listening, are You?

  • What’s Wrong With Everybody Else?
  • Learning to Listen in a Different Way
  • Adjusting Your Vision of the World
  • Looks Like a Duck, But Does It Walk, Talk and Act Like One?

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(Based upon guidance in Resonance, Issue 7, 12/2013)
For buddhist practitioners, and arguably everyone in general, the actions and words of others are our best reflection of who we are, and what we represent to others. Going through life thinking, “Wow, everyone I know is so negative. Why can’t they be more positive?”  Or when service at an establishment is particularly poor or excellent, it isn’t so much a random factor of what solely someone else chose to do. We, as the other 50% of that interaction, are bringing ourselves, and our own actions, speech and thoughts to the very same connection with another person.

We observe that each of those opportunities to connect with another person come with messages, spoken and unspoken. Each of us may hear these voices in every encounter, and find in them lessons for reflection and action. Listen to the words of your mother and father. Listen to your husband or wife. Listen to what everyone around you has to say. Listen to all manner of counsel, and to the groans of the sick and suffering. You will find the voices of the buddhas hidden within them. Listen with sincerity and awaken. This most basic practice is the first step toward a direct experience of the timeless essence of buddhahood.

Think about what you feel when you hear or receive the communications from others. What goes through your mind if someone is uttering a robotic, “Thanks, have a happy holidays…” over and over, versus someone who seems to have genuine appreciation or caring, and simply smiles and says, “Thank you.” You can sense whether someone is genuinely conveying gratitude, or repeating a rehearsed autonomic script designed by a marketing writer.  And did the way you approached the situation, invite the kind of response you received?

When you start to really figure out what it’s like to be in another person’s position, perhaps a fast-food service clerk who meets an endless stream of people who just want to get through an order, and perhaps really would prefer an iPad menu to a human interaction, becoming increasingly numb towards the never-ending line of people waiting for their turn to hear, “Welcome to… may I take your order?” Do you ever start that interaction with gratitude that they’re ready to help? Or do you respond equally automatically, “Yes, I want…” Listen to yourself, and think about if that’s the kind of words you want to receive. Listen to others and discover why they respond that way to you.

Of course, listening without resulting action is equally non-productive and does not lead to actual practice. So, in performing your own personal fitness listening training, you will also develop your skills in conveying compassionate truth. People who ask for opinions and comments are easier to deal with than those refusing to listen, but even then the words chosen must not only be heartfelt and kind, but also be appropriate to the recipient.

Realize first that a person who is taking the time and energy to refute what you’re saying, and arguing, has already demonstrated a basic caring of your opinion, otherwise why not just shrug and walk away? How do you know when the wrong words are in-use? Ever witnessed a conversation that goes, “Oh, you’re so stubborn.” And the reply is, “No, I’m not!” — wrong words, with a defensive response. That person doesn’t want to hear that they’re stubborn. There’s a different path to get through what you’re trying to say. But to know that path, you need to be open and understanding what the person wants. For that person, being stubborn is a negative trait, with which they consider being labeled as unacceptable But their passion, commitment, and perseverance are all alternate ways they express their steadfast determination. So it’s those traits that are yours to learn to appreciate..

Achieving the bodhisattva path is not about simply shaving your head like a monk – at that point, you now have a shaved head. That would be akin to holding a paint brush and palette of enamel paints, and saying you’re a painter. The Shinnyo Path is a lay Buddhist practice based upon what you do, not what you try to appear like, or say you’re going to do.

So, what is a bodhisattva life? …doing what is basically right, such as being honest and making efforts to be in harmony with others, all the while thinking what it means to be an example to others. It’s about trying to become someone that others can count on, be it at home as a good family member, or in the community and society at large. This is what it means to accomplish what bodhisattvas do, and walk the path to becoming a buddha oneself (also known as… enlightenment.)