Tag Archives: self

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

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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*/

2012-October Shinnyo-en Buddhism Monthly Focus Podcast – Building a Trusted Reputation

2012-October Shinnyo-en Buddhism Monthly Focus Podcast – Building a Trusted Reputation

The Importance of Establishing Trust
Consistency Builds a Foundation
Learning to Say, “Yes…”
Choosing the Difficult Path
2012-October Shinnyo-en Buddhism Monthly Focus Podcast – Building a Trusted Reputation


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During an interview recently, Keishu-sama was asked, “What would you most like to be remembered for in this world?” She replied without hesitation, “Not to be formally recognized or rewarded, but to be a person who can be relied upon and trusted – to be a dependable person.”

The timeliness of this idea is quite unmistakable. On TED.com Rachel Botsman spoke this month on how a person’s reputation will become the new perception of an individual’s value, especially out in the virtual internet universe, where we will meet virtual strangers every day and virtual identities are only as genuine as the ratings or comments of others.  In this discussion there is a clear line drawn between one’s Influence (as measured by Likes, Re-Tweets, Follows and Facebook Friends) and one’s Trustworthiness (measured by positive Comments, Recommendations by others, and References by others to your own comments and opinions.)  Botsman points out that the ability to have a positive outcome from a business activity has a direct correlation to your own rather difficult-to-measure Trust factor, and has almost no relation to one’s credit score (FICO), virtual Likes or Influence rating.

So how do you go about building a good reputation?  Trust by others starts with actions towards the benefit of others. It’s easy not to trust someone who is always thinking of themselves first, or doing things in a selfish manner. Even more interesting are those who firmly believe they are making efforts for others, and yet are not sources of inspiration and seem to be beset by troubles and conflicts. The person who always barters is a good negotiator, but seldom trusted. And yet, it’s even simpler to trust someone who always acts by thinking of others first, placing themselves in “the other person’s shoes” and doing things which have no direct correlation with a reward.

Those actions must also have a consistency to them, similar to a river or stream that never dries up.  We think fondly of returning to the cool waters of an ever-present water source to refresh ourselves and cleanse our bodies and minds, but we don’t have that same affinity towards a tributary that only runs randomly, sometimes in great gushes, and other times a mere trickle. We seek every day, to find our own reliable and trustworthy sources of our own sustenance, and that includes those who inspire us and motivate us in life.

If we reflect on the Four Virtues of a Bodhisattva: Permanence (eternity or timelessness), Bliss (happiness), Self (identity or confidence), and Purity (truth)  (Jpn. Jo Raku Ga Jo) each one is attainable only through consistent practice. Each one can be soiled each time someone strays from these invaluable measures. But someone who endeavors to hold true each one of these ideals in their daily life and interactions, becomes by their actions, a trustworthy person because of their consistency and diligence to pursue them.

In a customer service training held by the Telephone Doctor, they introduce verbal phone etiquette choices that enhance communication skills for people dealing with others. The principles are the same in their training – learn to act as you would wish to be treated by putting yourself into the other person’s place before deciding how to react.

Instead of… Try using…
I don’t know. That’s a good question. Let me find out.
I can’t do… Well, what I can do…
You have to… What you need to do…
Just a second… This may take a minute. Can you hold?
No. <…> I can do <something instead>
<silence> (as a response to anything) <say something…>

When you hear the latter responses and imagine a person you’re dealing with responding that way with a smile, can you imagine feeling a little better about the response to your question, even if it happens to be not exactly what you were expecting?

It is very easy it seems to do the opposite of the Four Virtues, much like taking an elevator to the top of a mountain, versus climbing a rocky and steep path along the rocks. You can exhibit impatience, anger or frustration, lack of commitment and lying with as much ease as entering that express lift. Just as taking the stairs once in awhile strengthens our heart and muscles, so does choosing discipline in Life over convenience. We learn more from our difficulties than we ever do from our easy achievements. The interesting change of perspective that transforms the world around you is when you start seeing those challenges in terms of their presented opportunities rather than their burdens. As Life’s hurdles transform into steps, you might find your spiritual strength increasing as you exercise your free will.

2012-September Shinnyo-en Buddhism Month

2012-September Shinnyo-en Buddhism Monthly Focus Podcast – Truth, Self and Goodness http://ow.ly/1mg318

2012-September Shinnyo-en Buddhism Monthly Focus Podcast – Truth, Self and Goodness

2012-September Shinnyo-en Buddhism Monthly Focus Podcast – Truth, Self and Goodness

Learning Oneness With Truth
Selfish Behavior or Why is the World So Cruel (to Me)?
On Being a Good Person

Audio File: 2012-September Shinnyo-en Buddhism Monthly Focus Podcast – Truth, Self and Goodness

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September was the month when the core chant of our sangha was established as “Namu Shinnyo Ichinyo Dai Hatsu-Nehan Kyo.” Namu is an expression of devotion and trust; shinnyo is the truth or purity (Skt. tathata); ichinyo means oneness; and Dai Hatsu-Nehan Kyo is the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, also representing heaven. This mantra expresses the intent to be one with truth through the principles of the Mahaparinirvana (Nirvana) Sutra.  By chanting the Sandai, and ingraining its focus into our daily lives and actions, we come to recognize our true selves as described in the Sacred Principles – the verses that we recite as part of our daily chanting:

Like the full moon is pure, one is essentially without tarnish.
Like the full moon is round and perfect, one lacks nothing.
Like the full moon is clear, one is essentially the untarnished Dharma.

Master Shinjo Ito taught that the Sandai was a distillation of the essence of the Mahaparinirvana Sutra.  The Sandai voices our intention to change our lives and awaken to our true buddha nature by stepping forward with gratitude and joy for the benefit of others. Psychologically, when we incorporate an idea or thought using more than one of our senses, we tend to better remember it. This is a well-known practice of many advanced childhood learning programs, such as Montessori – to impress the idea in the mind, not only by reading it, but by reading it aloud, and preferably accompanying it with a reinforcing action. So, as we chant the words aloud, we also meditate and think about its meaning, and when we put the words into action, we will incorporate it into our lives. In this process, we begin to purify ourselves of the “Three Poisons” of greed, anger, and ignorance.

Almost fifty years ago, Shojushinin said: “I hope that you can become someone whom others point to and say, ‘That’s a really good person!’ When others recognize that you have changed through your practice [of the Shinnyo Teaching] and they want to give it a try themselves, that’s when you’ll know you’ve actually changed.” The core value within Shinnyo-en is to be the example for others through your actions, life and behavior. The human potential movement of the 1970’s and 80’s used to say, “All love flows through your own love for You.” Many people back then interpreted those words to mean an ego-centric interpretation, leading to the “Me” decade. As a student of many years of those same programs, we learned what the larger meaning of self-appreciation and respect embraces. You are part of a greater whole, whether you define that as a society, the human race, or even the universe. Thus as your eyes open wider and can see yourself in those who are around you, and learn to have the same caring and appreciation for others as you would wish for yourself, that same energy and spirit embraces you in return.

The aim of the Sandai is for us to deepen our resolve to walk the Shinnyo Path towards buddhahood—actualizing the full potential of the buddha nature latent within each of us—and helping others to do the same. A first step is to express the warmth and kindness expounded in the Teaching through our words and actions as we work for the good of those around us in our daily lives. Finding true happiness and creating a better world for everyone begins with changing ourselves.

There is one of many interesting anecdotal stories presented in this month’s Nirvana about a situation in dealing with selfish behavior. Our daily lives offer up a wealth of experiences that we
may be tempted to interpret through the lens of the Self, leading us to blame others or recoil at what they say and do. But what if, on every occasion, the message of Truth is actually hidden within? By focusing on grasping the message and learning to gently suppress our instinctual self-centered tendencies, we can feel the silent but sure encouragement extended to us from
the spiritual realm that up to this point may have passed unnoticed.

An office staff member was preparing to depart for another assignment when she overheard someone say, “Oh, she looks like a runaway…” referring to the staff member’s luggage and travel attire. She was angered by the remark throughout her trip, and upon arrival told Shojushinin-sama, our dharma mother, about the incident.

“So how did you deal with it?” asked Shojushinin. The woman responded, “I thought it was so rude to say something like that, and it made me miserable. I tried hard to reflect on what happened, but I just can’t accept it.”

Shojushinin replied, “Well, then, just think of how the word “runaway” is written with the Chinese characters 家出, meaning “home” (家) and “leave” (出). Reverse these characters to read in the opposite order (出家), and you have the word for “entering the priesthood,” which is what you are actually doing. Now then, what is the difference between 家出 (runaway) and 出家 (entering the priesthood)? Running away from home involves all kinds of pain and suffering, while entering the priesthood leads one to the joy of serving the buddha realm. Try to catch the Buddha’s hidden message in what happened to you this morning as you work to become a full-fledged disciple.”

Shojushinin thus gently explained the importance of attempting to interpret daily events in a buddha-centered way. Viewing life’s challenges in a self-centered way leads to frustration and dissatisfaction. The anecdote above illustrates Shojushinin’s teaching of the significance of contemplation outside of a temple environment. At any given time, we should ask ourselves how to see things from a buddha-centered perspective, which is quite similar to Christianity’s “What Would Jesus Do?” principle of action. The philosophy is the same, with both taking a lot of effort to master the practice.

You learn to perceive daily challenges, not with a “why is Life doing this to me?” attitude, but to see each new hurdle or crack-in-the-road as something you are prepared for at that moment in-time, because the world does not change with intent how it deals with you. You are presented with that which you create for yourself. If you are faced with financial difficulty, it may be lack of experience with dealing with money, or stubbornness not to seek out expertise. If people seem challenging personality-wise or emotionally, might you not be inviting and attracting those people through your actions and behavior?  It is your actions that will create the harmony amid diversity around you. Similarly, most philosophers do not believe in Fate, as we are able to change our actions at every moment in time. Choosing a different path, may lead you to the same destination, but the experience gained will be different, and in-turn, so different will be your future decision-making.

Applying the concept of karma to embrace all actions, one negative action will offset a positive one. Only through consistent and continued accumulation of positively-focused actions can one actually change the balance of how you experience Life. Which also means, every time you think to yourself, “Why is Life doing this to me? I have been a very good person,” you basically reset your merit counter back to zero and get to start all over again. Similarly, doing something good, but expecting a return, whether a reward, or even recognition for the act, is simply bartering, and also results in a zero net-gain.

Whomever first coined the phrase, “Get over yourself,” was on the right track. But to complete the thought with accuracy and purpose, the entire concept probably should be, “Get over yourself, and do something for someone else without expectation.”

2012-August Shinnyo-en Buddhism Monthly

2012-August Shinnyo-en Buddhism Monthly Focus Podcast – Attachments & Nature http://ow.ly/1lPBXD

2012-July Shinnyo-en Buddhism Monthly Fo

2012-July Shinnyo-en Buddhism Monthly Focus Podcast – Living Boddhisattvas / Embracement http://ow.ly/1lb9qF