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Loving, limits and liberation in this world.

Site-Wide Activity Forums Shrine Room Buddhist Teachings Loving, limits and liberation in this world.

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    • #1282

      I’ve just been in the garden. I was digging up clumps of turf (the wrong sort of grass) from the wildflower patch. I was down on my hands and knees, with my fingers in the dirt getting underneath the roots.

      The soil was damp and rich. It was a dark brown, soft and easily lifted. Some of the wildflowers are already sending up green shoots and leaves. As I worked I thought about how some forms of Buddhism are world denying, and how it’s important to me to be able to appreciate beauty where I find it in this world.

      Dharmavidya has written about this before: extinction Buddhism vs liberation Buddhism. At the far end of the extension spectrum there is a sense of nothing good in this world, so get out of it and get to nirvana. The liberation model is about becoming awake in this midst of this world, and seems to include allowing a love of good things where we find them, as well as a mourning for suffering.

      Pureland Buddhism has some extinction in its roots. Medieval Japan was not a fun place to be, so escaping to a land of love and bliss after death was appealing.

      There’s an important spiritual truth here. This world has limits. The refuges here are limited. We are limited beings: our spiritual powers are not always up to the job.

      A little yellow flower was already in bloom, in the midst of bigger leafed and just bigger plants. The petals were like bright flames, or rays of light, on this grey first day of spring.

      Just because the world is limited, doesn’t mean we should abandon it. There is beauty here. Just because worldly refuges are limited, doesn’t mean that some aren’t better than others. Just because we are limited doesn’t mean we that shouldn’t open our hearts.

      I tend the garden knowing that someday it will be abandoned. I tend to others, knowing that my tending is limited. The limits remind me there is something other than me that can tend. There is something beyond the limits. I fail in my attempts to garden, or to love. But I am loved, and something loves the garden, and loves those I cannot love.

      “Dwelling in this settled faith you may then use your secondary faculties, your knowledge and skills and accumulated experience, as tools for helping all sentient beings. But do not then think that anything of relevance to your own salvation is thereby accomplished, nor that you are making something of yourself.  Whatever merit there may be in your actions of this kind, immediately and totally dedicate it to the benefit  of others, that they may enter the Pure Land and that you yourself may not be encumbered by consciousness of virtue which will only contaminate the practice. As Honen says, “without pedantic airs, fervently recite the Name.”

      From the Summary of Faith and Practice, by Dharmavidya


    • #1283

      Thank you for this teaching.  Namo Amida Bu

    • #1285
      Steve Durham

      Excellent.  Well said.  Thank you!

    • #1288

      Thanks, both.

    • #1290
      Vajrapala Moerman

      Thanks, beautiful talk!


    • #1291
      Johnathan Robertson

      Thank you so much for this talk. Namo Amida Bu.

    • #1302

      ‘allowing a love of good things’ – that feels so important to me. thank you.

    • #1308

      Allowing a love of good things,something I shut the door on for is strange that when we are in need of comfort and love we sometime push away those who would be happy to give with illness can be a lonely thing,I disappeared into a black hole of my own making and burnt the ladders so no one could reach me and I couldn’t climb out.but memories of love and and people who cared gave me the strength to climb out,and feel once again.

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