Amitabha Buddha, also called Amitayus Buddha is not the Buddha of our Earth. He is the Buddha of his own world – Sukhavati, the Land of Utmost Happiness also called the Land of Ultimate Bliss. An absolutely stunning world that’s an accelerated training ground to become Buddhas. People who are reborn there progress extremely fast.
Amitayus means infinite life – so one of his Sutras is the Infinite Life Sutra. Amitabha means infinite light – because the light of this Buddha can reach anywhere in the universe – if you recite his name with utmost sincerity.
So you hear stories of when people are calling on Amitabha for help and a light appears.
So why recite the name of Amitabha Buddha? Amitabha Buddha is the teacher of Gwan Yin Bodhisattva. And has made 48 great vows to help people who recite his name.
When reciting his name – Namo Amitofo, it’s best if you can enter the samadhi of recitation, where you become one with the recitation and there is only the recitation of Namo Amitofo or simply Amitofo over and over again – using the chanting of his name to enter into a meditative state where there are no extraneous thoughts. You and the recitation are two, yet not two. So be focused when reciting his name and let go of all your other scattered thoughts.
The repeated chanting of a holy name is a vehicle to calm the mind down – like how an anchor works, to prevent boats from drifting away and taken away by the winds.
In the same way, chanting and repeated recitation of a mantra or a holy name anchors the mind, preventing your mind from drifting away into scattered thoughts. It anchors your attention down into the here and now, rather than drifting away into the past or the future – being one with the recitation.
How should you recite? Not too fast, not to slow. Your mind should be not too tense, not too dull. You’ve got to find your own rhythm.
Anyway, this Amitabha Buddha at Nanjing is one of the most beautiful that I have ever seen. So enjoy. Namo Amitofo!
I’ve just been inspired by reading some Dostoevsky:
Above all, don’t like to yourself.
The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie – comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him or without him.
And so, loses all respect for himself and for others.
And, having no respect, he ceases to love.
If you listen to your own lies – sooner or later, you won’t be able to discern the truth. You will be living according to what’s false instead – so you’ll be getting into all sorts of arguments because you believe in nonsense.
And believing in lies – people will lose respect their for you too. They’ll no longer trust your opinion nor your judgement – because you can’t be convinced of the truth. Because what you will tell them will be wrong – and if they act, based on false information or falsehoods or lies – not only will they be acting based on wrong views – they could be paying the price
Imagine a doctor misdiagnoses something because he based his decision on false or wrong information – the patient will be diagnosed wrong – and consequently, they will be given the wrong treatment! Now obviously, you can go back to that doctor to tell them that the treatment isn’t working – so they can re-assess your signs and symptoms – but if they insist that their wrong diagnosis is correct and it’s all in your head – you will continue to suffer or even have the disease worsen until you are treated correctly.
Falling for propaganda that the news and media feed us everyday can be like this too. People place the value their political ideologies over the truth – so they refuse to acknowledge the truth when presented with objective evidence of it. And so, they end up attacking other people because of the falsehoods and lies that they’ve fallen for – fervently believing those false beliefs and opinions are the truth.
Hence why it’s important to always look for primary sources – to get the truth straight from the source. Get the primary source evidence, the bare bones data within full context – before 2nd hand and 3rd hand opinions that some writer or some reporter or some author or some book or some website has added their 2 cents to it. This way, there’s no debate.
It happens with religions too – people believe the propaganda of their own religion or their own sect of a religion – refusing to acknowledge the objective evidence of the truth.
These days, science is the new religion – so people who think they’re scientific say, “Oh, science says this and this and this…” Ok, which study said this? Let’s have a look at the study in detail to see if it’s legitimate and whether there were any flaws in the study’s design, methods or interpretation of the results. Was it a randomized controlled trial? Was it a double blind study? Or is this just your opinion using the word “science” as a false front? Is it just the currently held “opinion” of mainstream scientists but not of the evidence itself?
You see, people think that science is the be all and end all. But they fail to realize that science is not static – it is dynamic. Science progresses by questioning itself.
Hence why how you are treated now for a certain disease – will be not be the same way a doctor treats you for the same disease in 10, 20 or 30 years time – as new advancements in scientific knowledge and medicines and technology progresses.
That’s why in the precept against false speech – it’s not just “Not lying” – there’s also an element of not uttering what is false – so there’s an element of also trying to find the truth to it too.
When I was starting out trying to learn how to meditate, I was reading all these books about meditation. A lot of them made it more complex than it should be.
One of the wrong ideas that popped up was that you should stop your thoughts in meditation. So I tried it – I tried to suppress my thoughts. It didn’t work. Instead, it made things worse!
It’s like trying to bottle up your emotions!
Cos you try not to think bad thoughts or evil thoughts – so you try to bottle your thoughts and emotions up. Hide them away, thinking that they’re gone.
But the pressure builds up. And the greater the pressure builds up – the more uncomfortable you feel.
As the pressure builds up more and more, the more comfortable you feel because the more force you have to apply toe push those feelings and emotions down out from consciousness.
Until… One day, you explode! And all those bad feelings and emotions and resentment and anger and hostility (any other negative emotions like sadness) comes out anyway!
It’s also like trying to push your emotions under a rug
Trying to sweep your dirt under a rug – but there’s a large lump there. So you try to push it down. But it doesn’t go down fully. So you try to push it to the side – but the lump just moves to the side.
It’s because you didn’t deal with it properly.
It’s also like trying to get rid of that bubble when you put a new screen protector on your phone
So you get this new screen protector for your mobile phone. You put it on and you are really careful not to get dust on it, but a speck of dust falls on it. So when you put your screen protector on, you get a bubble! You try to flatten the bubble – it doesn’t go away. You try to push it to the side but it’s still there!
Your repressed feelings are like this.
They just get pushed down away from consciousness and off to the side – but they are not completely and properly resolved.
So don’t try to suppress your thoughts and feelings when you try to meditate
It only builds up the pressure in them, you only make yourself feel more uncomfortable. And worse, if you let them fester because you didn’t resolve them properly, then the pressure builds up before you can’t keep it down anymore and it explodes out anyway, no matter how hard you try to keep it down.
There is a principle, a simple rule of thumb which I’ve always found very useful in deciding what is true and what is false – if something is false, the closer you look at it the more diffuse, the less clear it becomes. Whereas if something is true, the closer you look, the clearer it becomes.
Today, I’d like to share a story that illustrates what the heart of a Bodhisattva is like. Bodhi means enlightenment. Sattva means being. Bodhisattvas are called Dharma Princes and the Buddhas are called Dharma Kings – so they are on their way to becoming Buddhas.
Now, in current day Buddhism, there are 2 schools of thought:
Save yourself before you save others – Because you have to get good yourself before you can help others. You gotta be able to get yourself out of this mess before you can help get others out. This is the Arhat path – the path of seeking enlightenment for yourself – to escape the suffering of the world. So, for example, you need to study really hard to become a doctor before you can treat patients. If you don’t advance your skills first – your ability to treat patients will be severely limited to the most rudimentary, basic ways of treatment. It will never be on the level of a skilled surgeon with advanced, state of the art equipment and post graduate education from the finest medical schools in the world.
Save others before you save yourself – this is the Bodhisattva path.
So what does the heart of one of these enlightened beings look like?
Ajahn Amaro, an amazing western monk of the Theravadan Buddhist tradition (the Arhat Path), once related a story where he was feeling apathy about being a monk. So he was tired of being a monk and it was getting all boring to him.
But suddenly, he had this extremely vivid dream, where, even though he practices the Arhat path, all of a sudden, all these Bodhisattva-like thoughts started to arise within him!
Check it out!
Theravada Buddhism, for instance, is often taken to represent the Hinayana position, the self-concern of “Quick let me out of here, I’ve had enough of this mess; I want this to be over as quickly as possible.” One can see that that represents a very definite stage in one’s own spiritual development. For example, we start out with just a worldly attitude; basically we’re not interested in spiritual development at all. We just want happiness, however and wherever we can find it. We have a worldly outlook and no real spiritual direction at all. So then our first kind of awakening to spiritual life is when we start to acknowledge suffering. We recognize the need to rescue ourselves, to help ourselves.
So, the Hinayana refers to this initial stepping onto the spiritual path and seeing that there’s something that needs to be done to sort out our own life. It’s a natural self-concern; you don’t set about helping other people or being too concerned about the welfare of others if you yourself are drowning. You have to get yourself to some firm shore to begin with. But then basing your spiritual practice around self-concern, and just trying to make your own life peaceful and happy is obviously of limited worth. We can see that if we do get stuck at that level, there is a certain aridity and barrenness that will set in.
I had an interesting experience concerning this recently. Normally my personality is of a friendly, generous, outgoing type, and I’ve always had quite a fondness for the Mahayana Buddhist teachings. However, I found toward the end of last year that a certain nihilism was creeping in. The abiding tendency was one of “I’ve had enough of this; I want out.” This was really quite unusual for me and it started to come on very … strongly. The idea of living into old age and having to cope with human existence and the trivialities of life and the tedium of a boring monastic routine was … NO FUN. It all started to look incredibly uninviting. It was like being stuck out in the middle of a salt flat with no horizon visible. It was a strong, grinding negativity. I didn’t feel friendly toward anyone, I felt no inspiration toward monastic life. The whole thing was a tedious rigmarole.
Every two weeks we have a recitation of our monastic rules and it takes about 45 minutes to chant. This is the regular refreshment of the spirit of monastic community – renewing our aspiration and our dedication to our discipline and our life-style. And I’m sitting there reciting these rules and my mind is saying, “What a total farce, what a waste of time this is” – and … trying to remember the words I’m supposed to be chanting at the same time. Also, this was at the beginning of the monastic winter retreat that I was supposed to be helping to teach; I thought, “This is really … going to be difficult.” I was supposed to be inspiring these young monks and nuns and my mind was going through this very negative state. I was watching this, but there seemed to be a lot of justification for thinking in this negative way. I thought, “Well, maybe I had it wrong all these years, maybe I was just being an empty-headed, overly optimistic fool and maybe being a bored cynic was actually the right path all along.”
Then one night I had a very vivid dream, in full colour. In this dream I ate my hands, finger by finger. I pulled off my thumb and then each finger and ate them. It was so vivid I could taste them and it was even a bland taste. I ate the whole of my left hand then started on my right hand, and I ate the first three fingers until there was only my index finger and thumb left.
Then something in me said, “Wake up!” I woke up and there was a very, very clear memory of this dream. Instantly I realized what I had been doing. Out of heedlessness I had been destroying those very faculties that were my most helpful friends and assistants. The negative and self-destructive attitudes were covering up and burning away all of the good qualities. The spiritual qualities that were there were being destroyed. It was really a shock to the system, and I realized I had been taking the wrong track.
Then something else happened spontaneously. I had not really been thinking about Mahayana Buddhism or the Bodhisattva ideal, but what happened was that I started to say to myself, “Well, I don’t care whether I feel even one moment of happiness for myself in this life; I don’t care if I have to be reborn ten thousand million times. If I can just do one kind act for one other being in a thousand million lifetimes, then all that time will not have been wasted.”
Thoughts like this began to come up spontaneously in my mind, and I suddenly felt an incredible joy and happiness, and a feeling of relief; which is strange if you think about it rationally: ten thousand million lifetimes of ineffective activity and complete pain and boredom. But the result was a vibrant joy and delight. It was the breaking out of the prison of self-concern.
I’d like to personally thank each and everyone of you for stopping by even once and reading this blog. It has been a labor of love for many years now – being very, very busy with life and posting in my spare time.
The main hope of this blog is that you garner even one tiny piece of information or a tool that I’m sharing that you can apply simply to your life, a story that maybe touches you in some way – making even a tiny fraction of a millimetre of a positive difference in your lives – then no matter how much suffering I would’ve undergone in this life, I will have been glad to have added a tiny hair’s worth of kindness, compassion, joy and wisdom to your life.
So thanks to Lisa for letting us know that our blog is now featured as a Top 20 Global Buddhist Blog here:
If a lady is about to give birth, and you want to one of the greatest Bodhisattvas, Earthstore Bodhisattva, to bring blessings to this baby you can:
Recite the Earthstore Sutra and
Recite the name of Earthstore Bodhisattva (Di Zhang Pu Sa or Namo Zhang Wang Pu Sa) with 7 days before the child is born
Di Zhang (pronounced Di Jang) is Earthstore – or Earth Treasury – this is the name of this great Bodhisattva. Di Jang Wang means Earth Treasury King. Pu Sa means Bodhisattva – an enlightened being. He is known as the Bodhisattva with the weightiest of vows – because he has vowed not to become a Buddha unless the hells are all empty.
He is like Gwan Yin Bodhisattva and Manjushri Bodhisattva, Maitreya, Samantabhadra, Great Strength Bodhisattva – he is one of the great Bodhisattvas with great spiritual power.
I’ll tell you some personal stories about when I’ve recited Earthstore’s name for 10,000 times for the babies of my friends:
One time, I just kept on reciting silently in my mind or in a whisper (so as to not to draw attention from others – otherwise people might be wondering what you’re doing) for the baby whenever I had spare time during the day for the baby, e.g., whenever I went for a walk or whilst I was driving or even walking around normally. I didn’t count – but had a rough idea that I was past it.
Anyway, I was seeing rainbows everyday for several days – maybe 7 to 9 days straight afterwards until I found out the baby was already born. The only other time I was seeing rainbows for several days straight was when I discovered the Mahaparinirvana Sutra and was reading it everyday on nirvanasutra.net.
Another time, a friend of mine told me what happened whilst his baby was being born. Apparently, they put stress monitors on the baby whilst the mother is giving birth – and the nurses told him that it was very strange – because the baby was not very stressed at all.
I told a monk about these incidents and he said something like, “Of course it was Earthstore Bodhisattva helping that baby out! But Bodhisattvas don’t make much fuss – they come in, do what needs to be done and go back to their own business”.
Here’s what the Earthstore Sutra tells you to do for babies who are about to be born:
“Moreover, Universally Expansive, in the future in Jambudvipa when the wives of Kshatriyas, Brahmans, Elders, and Upasakas of the various families and clans are about to give birth to sons or daughters, the family members should recite this inconceivable sutra and the Bodhisattva’s name a full ten thousand times during the seven days before the birth of those children. If those infants, whether male or female, had been destined to undergo a terrible retribution for things done in past lives, they will be liberated from those retributions. They will be peaceful, happy, easily raised, and will have long er lives. If those children were due to receive blessings, then their peace and happiness will increase, as will their lifespans.
“Moreover, Universally Expansive. Shakyamuni Buddha again explained to Universally Expansive that in the future in Jambudvipa…Beings in Northern Uttarakuru of the Four Great Continents are born under trees. Labor is very easy and not at all painful; babies come right out as if chickens laying eggs. Females giving birth do not undergo so much pain like those do in Southern Jambudvipa. Very few births occur in Eastern Purvavideha, and Western Aparagodaniya because beings there have very little sexual desire, so they do not have so many children. Only beings in Southern Jambudvipa believe the more births there are, the better.
Women endure tremendous pain in labor. So now we only talk about Southern Jambudvipa. When the wives of India’s nobility, the Kshatriyas, the noble clan of purity who are the Brahmans, the wealthy Elders, and Upasakas…The elders and upasakas have money but not official posts, while the Brahmans and the Kshatriyas enjoy nobility and affluence too. When the wives of all the various families and clans of different nationalities or race are about to give birth to sons or daughters…Some difficult labor situations include newborns in a horizontal or reverse position. Some newborns have difficulty coming out because it sticks out one of its legs first. Some difficult labor situations involve the baby dragging out the mother’s intestines.
No matter how difficult the labor though, the family members should recite this inconceivable sutra of Earth Store and the Bodhisattva Earth Store’s name a full ten thousand times during the seven days before the birth of those children. If those infants, whether male or female, had been destined to undergo a terrible retribution for things done in past lives, they will be liberated from those retributions. They will be peaceful, happy, easily raised, and will have long er lives. If those children did not commit any offenses and were due to receive blessings, then their peace and happiness will increase, as will their lifespans.
There is nothing certain about people’s suffering and bliss; there is nothing certain about people’s lifespans either. Fortune tellers may tell some people that they will live until thirty but they reach 40 and are still alive. What is the reason for that? The length of people’s lives is flexible rather than rigid. Do good deeds and you will extend your life; do bad deeds and your lifespan will decrease. Nothing is fixed. For instance, one baby is meant to endure a lot of suffering due to his offense karma, but recite the Earth Store Sutra or the name of Earth Store Bodhisattva for him, and his pain disappears. He will be happy, easy to raise, and live longer. You may deduce from this that nothing in life is fixed, it merely depends on how you act.
The Sutra of the Past Vows of Earthstore Bodhisattva. Chapter 6: The Thus Come One’s Praises. ‘
There are different ways to count to make sure that you’ve done at least 10,000 recitations of Earthstore’s name:
108 Recitation beads: Go find mala necklaces with 108 beads. For each recitation, you move your fingers along 1 bead. So 1 revolution is 108 recitations – so roughly say 100. To be able to do 10,000 recitations within 7 days, you need 15 revolutions a day at least. So by the end of 7 days, you will have done 10,000.
Free Phone apps for counting.
Go to your App Store or Google Play and download a free app. I use an app called Counter. For each recitation, you tap on your screen once and it counts for you! You can set your goal of 10,000. So it will automatically count for you each time you tap the screen once. I’ve found this really, really good – as it showed me that it doesn’t take that long to do 100 recitations of Di Zhang Pu Sa. Plus you don’t have to split your attention – into counting whilst reciting – you can purely just focus on reciting Earthstore Bodhisattva’s name. So you can do sets of 100 or 200 throughout the day if you like – which makes it easier. Plus you’ve always got your phone on you.
Now, may you all go out and bless some babies with your Earthstore recitations!
Here, the Buddha is teaching his cousin Ananda about what the Buddha Nature is like – and that it is the perceiver – the One Who Knows (the Buddho). It is NOT objects which you perceive. So perceptions are just perceptions and are not self. Perceptions are not the perceiver – no matter how hard you try to find the perceiver in the world of perceived objects – they remain all perceived objects – not the perceiver.
“Ananda, you have not yet understood that the objects we perceive are unreal and illusory. They are subject to change, appearing here and there and disappearing here and there.
“Yet these illusions, each with its conventional designation, are in fact within the essential, wondrous enlightenment.
“The same is true of the five aggregates, the six faculties, the twelve sites, and the eighteen constituent elements.
“It is an illusion that they come into being when both their causes and their conditions are present, and it is an illusion that they cease to be when either their causes or their conditions are absent.
“You simply have not yet understood that, fundamentally, everything that comes and goes, that comes into being and ceases to be, is within the true nature of the Matrix of the Thus-Come One, which is the wondrous, everlasting understanding — the unmoving, all-pervading, wondrous suchness of reality.
“But, though you may seek within the everlasting reality of the Matrix of the Thus-Come One for what comes and goes, for confusion and awakening, and for coming into being and ceasing to be, you will not find them there.
Commentary by Master Hsuan Hua:
Each and every perceived object looks to you like it actually exists, but in reality it is entirely illusory and transitory….
The coming into being of the objects we perceive is an illusion, and
Their ceasing to be is an illusion….
Nevertheless their nature is in truth the luminous essence of wondrous enlightenment. They come forth from our true mind.
When delusion arises, there is a division into:
What observes and
What is observed.
Both arise from the pure nature and luminous essence of wondrous enlightenment, which is the everlasting true mind. They do not come from elsewhere….
When you do not understand, there is coming and going, there is confusion and enlightenment, there is death and rebirth.
But if you understand the everlasting true mind, if you recognize your own fundamental nature, the pure nature and luminous essence of the everlasting true mind, you put an end to all the illusory coming into being and ceasing to be.
Then if you look for such characteristics as coming and going, confusion and enlightenment, and death and rebirth, you won’t find them. (III, 1– 3)
A New Translation Buddhist Text Translation Society. The Śūraṅgama Sūtra With Excerpts from the Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsüan Hua (Kindle Locations 2037-2054).
What’s this like? It’s like the reflections on a mirror – each and every reflection looks real – but it’s not the real thing – reflections are just illusions. But reflections are just reflections (illusions) and are not the mirror itself (reality).
Remember how the Buddha said that there are 4 types of enemies disguised as friends:
The Empty Talker – are all just talk but don’t come through what they say
The Bad Influence
So you’ve got to be careful with these people and keep them at a distance – otherwise, they’ll ruin your life.
See there are givers and taker in life. This TED talk talks about how just 1 Taker can have a negative influence several times the good influence of givers – thus proving the Buddha’s point.
See in life, in general, in human interactions – you want to give a little bit more than you take.
Because if you imagine it like a bank, you want to deposit into the bank more than you withdraw. This way, the good karma that you deposit in gradually accumulates and you always have a surplus of good karma from which to draw upon – if you ever need it.
You can’t just always give either – so don’t be too attached to that idea. Because sometimes, you’ve got to also receive – so that you can build yourself up – so that you would be in a position to do more later, to be of greater benefit later – to be able to give more later.
So sometimes, you’ve got to take what you need – take what you need such that you can use what you’ve taken to be of the greatest benefit later.
One example of this would be when you’re in high school or university – you take the best lessons you can learn, using the best resources – internet, textbooks, go to the best schools that you can, seek out knowledge from the best teachers, invest in yourself – don’t necessarily go cheap on your education. Soak it all up. Take it all in so that you can learn the best that you can – so that your skills once you’ve graduated can be of the most benefit to the world!
Anyway, this TED talk goes into some research on givers vs takers and also matchers – people who match their give an take equally. It also shows that perhaps the most important people to look out for (because they can easily fall under the radar):
The most undervalued people are the disagreeable givers – the ones who have a gruff exterior but underneath, want the best for you. But they don’t necessarily care about external appearances – so their grumpy exteriors may turn people off them on first impressions.
The agreeable takers – these are the same as the Flatterers that the Buddha was talking about! These people are nice to your face – even charming you to the point of you thinking that they are genuinely wonderful people! They say nice things to you to soften you up unknowingly – and then turn around to stab you in the back when you’re not looking!
Adam Grant’s question to weed out the agreeable takers would be to ask the question: Give me the name of at least 4 people whose careers you have fundamentally improved – and then listen to the answer to see the status of the people they list:
Takers will list people with higher status or more influential than them – because they’re good at kissing up and then kicking down.
Givers are more likely to list people who may not be able to benefit them at all – so these people could be nobodies in the scheme of things and have a lower status. So you can see the character of a person why how they treat the waiter or the cleaner – how they treat nobodies.
So to all you employers out there, this is a good question to have in your toolbox!
His question relates to the corporate working world – but you can probably adapt it to different scenarios – like ask yourself – which 4 people in your life have you made a positive difference to, made a lasting impact on their life.
Weed Takers out
Protect Givers from Burnout:
Make it safe for them to ask for help
To teach them that they don’t just need to keep helping others out all the time but it’s also okay for them to pursue their own goals
Are you a giver or a taker? | Adam Grant - YouTube
1. “Having given a gift with a sense of conviction, he — wherever the result of that gift ripens — is rich, with much wealth, with many possessions. And he is well-built, handsome, extremely inspiring, endowed with a lotus-like complexion.
2. “Having given a gift attentively, he — wherever the result of that gift ripens — is rich, with much wealth, with many possessions. And his children, wives, slaves, servants, and workers listen carefully to him, lend him their ears, and serve him with understanding hearts.
3. “Having given a gift in season, he — wherever the result of that gift ripens — is rich, with much wealth, with many possessions. And his goals are fulfilled in season.
4. “Having given a gift with an empathetic heart, he — wherever the result of that gift ripens — is rich, with much wealth, with many possessions. And his mind inclines to the enjoyment of the five strings of lavish sensuality.
5. “Having given a gift without adversely affecting himself or others, he — wherever the result of that gift ripens — is rich, with much wealth, with many possessions. And not from anywhere does destruction come to his property — whether from fire, from water, from kings, from thieves, or from hateful heirs.
So basically, give with all your heart, with compassion and be attentive to what they may like or need at that time.
The last point – give without adversely affecting himself or others. Here’s an example – if you try and pressure others to contribute to a gift when they don’t want to or it will burden them to – that’s an example of adversely affecting others when giving.
Or maybe your gift will harm others – like giving someone drugs and alcohol, cigarettes – these things are best not given. Or maybe you give something to someone and then they use it for drugs and alcohol and smokes or gambling – not only have you just wasted your money, they’re doing something unwholesome with it.
Or maybe you’ll harm yourself or those around you by giving someone something that you couldn’t afford to give – and so, place yourself or your family in a worse off situation.
So it’s not always wise to always give. Cos you think – Buddhism is about giving – so you might think that you just give and give and give whatever you have. No. Sometimes, it’s better to give, sometimes, it’s better not to give. But when you do give – you give with wisdom.
Here’s an example of a mistake that I made in giving.
Many years ago, I found a copy of the Surangama Sutra with an explanation by a lay practitioner that was different to Master Hsuan Hua’s commentary and Charles Luk’s version. See, when you learn, it’s good to get different perspectives on the same topic so you can look at the same subject from different angles to get a more complete view of it. I remember thinking – hey, this guy explains pretty well!
So during lunch break, a friend of mind saw me reading it and asked me what I was reading. Then, I offered to lend her the book so that she could see for herself. Because at that time, I thought, “A Buddhist always lets others benefit first”.
Fast forward a few weeks later, as she’s borrowed it and I had not received it back yet – so I ask her, “Hey, how did you find that book?” (See, during this time, I thought she had been reading it)
Her response? “What book? You didn’t lend me any book” She had not even recalled that I had lent her that precious book with the deep wisdom of the Buddhas within it! And now, not only has she lost it, but denied that I even lent her anything! So I just told her to try to look for it – but I doubt she looked very hard.
Over the years, I’ve tried to look for that book again – but without success. It was a one of a kind it seems – a rare translation of one person’s perspective in how he used the Surangama Sutra in his own life and how he understood it. I think it was a Chinese uncle.
If I still had that book, maybe I could have shared some of it’s wisdom with all you guys here! And maybe you guys could have benefitted from that book’s wisdom!
But alas, what’s gone is gone.
Hence why, it’s not always good to always give. You need to give with wisdom. And give so that your ability to give in the future will not be adversely affected. Because in this case, I am now, not able to share with the world and with you all, the wisdom that was in that precious, one of a kind book! Such a shame!