4. A family is a place where a mind lives with other minds. If
these minds love each other the home will be as beautiful as a flower
garden. But if these minds get out of harmony with each other it
is like a storm that plays havoc with a garden. If discord arises
within one's family, one should not blame others but should examine
his own mind and follow a right path. Once there was a young man
of deep faith. His father died when he was young but he lived happily
with his mother, and then married. At first they lived happily together
and then, because of a little misunderstanding, the wife and her
mother-in-law came to dislike each other. This dislike went from
bad to worse until finally the mother left the young couple and
went off to live by herself. After the mother-in-law left, a son
was born to the young couple. A report reached the mother-in-law
that the young wife had said, "His mother was always nagging
me and as long as she lived with us nothing pleasant ever happened,
but as soon as she went we had this happy event." This angered
the mother-in-law and she exclaimed, "If they chase the husband's
mother from the house and a happy event takes place, then things
have come to a pretty pass. Rightness must have disappeared from
the world." Then she shouted, "Now we must have a funeral
of this 'rightness.'" Then like an insane woman the mother
went to the cemetary to hold a funeral service. The god hearing
of this incident appeared in front of the insane woman and tried
to reason with her, but in vain. Then the god said to her, "Then
I must burn the child and its mother to death to satisfy you. But
will that satisfy you?" Hearing this, the mother-in-law realized
her mistake and apologized for her anger, and begged the god to
save the life of the child. At the same time the young wife and
her husband realized their injustice to the mother-in-law and sought
her in the cemetery. The god reconciled them and thereafter they
lived together a happy family. Rightness is never lost forever unless
one casts it away. Rightness occasionally may seem to disappear
but, in fact, it never quite disappears. When it seems to be disappearing,
it is because one is losing the rightness of his own mind. Two discordant
minds often bring disaster. A trifling misunderstanding may be followed
by great misfortune. This is especially to be feared in family life.
5. In family life the question how the daily expense is to be
met, is always uppermost. Every member must work like ants and be
as diligent as bees. No one must rely upon the industry of others
nor expect their charity. On the other hand, one must not consider
that what he has earned is totally his own. Some of it must be shared
with others, some of it must be saved for an emergency, and some
of it must be set apart for the needs of the community and the nation,
and some of it must be devoted to the needs of the religious teachers.
One should always remember that nothing in the world can strictly
be called "mine." What comes to a person, comes to him
because of a combination of causes; it can be kept by him only temporarily,
therefore, one must not use it selfishly or for unworthy purposes.
When Syamavati, the queen-consort of King Udyana, offered Ananda
five hundred garments, Ananda received them with great satisfaction.
The King, hearing of it, suspected Ananda of dishonesty, so he came
to Ananda and made enquiries as to what he was going to do with
the garments. Ananda replied: "The garments of many of the
brothers are in rags; I am going to distribute the garments among
"What will you do with the old garments?"
"We will make bed-covers out of them."
"What will you do with the old bed-covers?"
"We will make pillow cases."
"What will you do with the old pillow cases?"
"We will make floor-covers out of them."
"What will you do with the old floor-covers?"
"We will use them for wiping cloths."
"What will you do with the old wiping cloths?"
"We will use them for floor mops."
"What will you do with the old mops?"
"Your Highness, we will tear them in pieces and mix them
with mud and use the mud to plaster the house-walls."
Every article entrusted to us must be used with good care in
some useful way, because it is not "ours" but is only
entrusted to us temporarily.
II. IN THE LIFE OF WOMEN
1. There are four different types of women: First, there
are those who become angry for slight causes, who have changeable
minds, who are greedy, jealous of other's happiness, and who have
no sympathy for the needs of others. Second, there are those who
grow angry over ordinary affairs, who are fickle and greedy, but
who do not envy others their happiness and who are sympathetic for
the needs of others. Third, there are those who are more broad-minded
and who do not become angry very often, and who know how to control
a greedy mind, but who are not able to avoid feelings of jealousy
and who are not sympathetic. Fourth, there are those who are broad-minded,
who can restrain feelings of greed and retain a calm mind, who do
not envy others their happiness, and who are sympathetic for the
needs of others.
2. When a young woman marries she should make the following resolutions:
"I must honor the parents of my husband. They have given
us all the advantages we have and are our wise protectors, so I
must serve them with appreciation and be ready to help them whenever
"I must be respectful to my husband's teacher because he
has given my husband a sacred teaching and we could not live as
human beings without the guidance of the sacred teachings."
"I must cultivate my mind so that I will be able to understand
my husband and be able to help him in his work. I must never be
indifferent to my husband's interests, thinking they are his affairs
and not mine."
"I must study the nature, ability and tastes of the family
and of the servants so that I can conserve the income of my husband
and not waste it."
3. The relation of husband and wife was not designed merely for
their convenience. It has a deeper significance that the mere association
of two bodies in one house. A husband and wife should take advantage
of the intimacies of their association to help each other train
their minds in some holy teaching and thus to mutually profit by
their marriage. An old couple, the "ideal couple" as they
were called, once came to Buddha and said, "Lord, we married
after being acquainted from childhood and there has never been a
cloud on our happiness. Please tell us if we can be married in the
next life?" The Buddha gave them this wise answer: "If
you both have exactly the same faith, if you both receive the same
teachinig in exactly the same way, and if you have the same wisdom,
then you will have the same mind in the next birth."
4. The young wife of the eldest son of the rich merchant, Anathapindika,
was proud and arrogant and did not listen to the instruction of
her husband and his parents and consequently there was trouble in
the family. One day the Blessed One came to visit Anathapindika
and noticed it. He called her to him and spoke to her kindly, saying, "There
are seven types of wives, namely, a wife who is like a murderer.
She has an impure mind, does not honor her husband and then loses
her heart to another man. Second, a wife who is like a thief. She
never considers her husband's labor but thinks only of her desire
for luxury. She wastes her husband's income to satisfy her appetite
and by so doing steals from him. Third, a wife is like a master.
She rails at her husband, neglects the housekeeping and thinks only
of her own comfort. Fourth, a wife who is like a mother. She cares
for her husband as though he was a child, she protects her husband
as a mother does her son, and she looks after her income as though
he was incapable of doing so. Fifth, a wife who is like a sister.
She is faithful to her husband and serves him like a sister with
modesty and reserve. Sixth, a wife who is like a friend. She tries
to please her husband like a friend who has just returned from a
long absence. She is modest, behaves nicely and treats her husband
with great respect. Seventh, a wife who is like a maid-servant.
She serves her husband will and with fidelity. She respects him,
obeys his commands, has no wishes of her own, no ill-feeling, no
resentment, and always tries to make him happy."
"My dear lady, which type of wife are you like, or would
you wish to be like?" Hearing the kind words of the Blessed
One she was ashamed of her past conduct and replied that she would
like to be a wife like the maid-servant. She changed her life and
became her husband's helper and together they sought enlightenment.
5. Ambapali was a wealthy and famous courtezan of Vaisali and
many young and beautiful girls lived with her. She called upon the
Blessed One and asked him to give them some good teaching which
he did, speaking as follows:
"Ambapali, the mind of a woman is easily disturbed and is
easily misled. She yields to her desires and gives up to jealousy
more easily than a man does, therefore, it is harder for a woman
to follow the Noble Path. This is especially true for a young and
beautiful woman. But, Ambapali, you must remember that youth and
beauty do not last but are followed by sickness, old age and suffering.
You should decide to follow the Noble Path while you are yet young,
but to do it you must overcome all desire for wealth, affection,
and pleasures. Desire for wealth and love are a woman's besetting
temptation, Ambapali, but they are not the eternal treasures. Enlightenment
is the only treasure that holds its value. Strength is followed
by illness; youth must yield to old age; life gives way to death.
One must go away from a beloved one to live with a hateful one;
one may not follow the path he wishes for very long; it is the law
of life. The only thing that protects one and brings one to lasting
peace is enlightenment. Ambapali, you should seek enlightenment
at once." She listened to him, became his disciple and as an
offering to him she gave the Brotherhood her beautiful pleasure
6. There is no distiction of sex on the path to enlightenment.
If a woman possesses a mind to seek for enlightenment she is a heroine.
Makkika, the daughter of King Prasenajit and the Queen of King Ayodhya,
was such a heroine. She had great faith in the teaching of the Blessed
One and uttered the ten following vows and three wishes, in his
presence: "My Lord, until I gain enlightenment
(1) I will not violate the sacred precepts;
(2) I will not be arrogant before people who are older than myself;
(3) I will not become angry with anyone;
(4) I will not be jealous of others nor envy their possessions;
(5) I will not be selfish either in mind nor property;
(6) I will try to make people happy with the things I receive
and will not hoard them for myself;
(7) I will receive all people courteously, give them what they
need and will speak kindly to them; I will consider their circumstances
and not my convenience; I will try to benefit them without partiality.
(8) If I see others suffering from disease or in prison, I will
try to relieve their sufferings and will try to make them happy
by explaining to the m the reasons and the rules.
(9) If I see others catching living animals and being cruel to
them or violating any other law, I will punish them if they are
to be punished, or teach them if they should be taught, and then
I will try to correct their mistakes.
(10) I will not forget to hear the right teachings, for I knwow
that when one neglects the right teaching he quickly falls away
from the truth that abides everywhere, and will fail to reach the
other shore of enlightenment."
Then she uttered the following three wishes to save poor people:
"First I will try to make every body peaceful. This wish,
I believe, in whatever life I hereafter receive, will be a root
of goodness that will grow into the wisdom of good teaching.
Second, after I have received the wisdom of good teaching, I
will teach all people without tiring.
Third, I will protect the true teaching which I give, with my
body, my property and my life."
The true significance of family life is the opportunity it gives
for mutual encouragement and mutual aid on the path to enlightenment,
and even an ordinary woman, if she has the same mind to seek enlightenment
and utters the same vows, and wishes, may become as great a disciple
as Mallika was.
III. IN SERVICE
1. There are seven teachings which lead a country to prosperity:
First, people should assemble often to discuss conditions and to
provide for the national defence. Second, in the consideration of
national affairs people of all social classes should meet together
in unity. Third, people should respect old customs and not change
them, they should observe rules of ceremony and maintain justice.
Fourth, they should recognize differences of sex and seniority and
family rank, thus maintaining the purity of families and society.
Fifth, cherish loyalty for parents and teachers. Sixth, honor the
ancestral shrines and keep up the annual festivals. Seventh, esteem
public morality, honor virtuous conduct, respect virtuous teachers
and make offerings to them. If a country follows these teachings,
it will prosper and will be held in respect by all other countries.
2. Once there was a King who was notably successful in ruling
his kingdom. Because of his wisdom he was called King Great-Light.
He explained the principles of his administration as follows: The
best method for ruling a country is to first rule oneself. A ruler
should come before his people with a heart of compassion, and should
first teach them and lead them to remove all impurities from their
minds. The happiness that comes from good teachings far exceeds
any enjoyment that the material things of the world can offer, therefore,
give the people good teaching and keep their minds and bodies in
tranquility. When poor people come to me, I open the storehouse
and let them take what they want, and then I take advantage of the
opportunity to teach them the wisdom of getting rid of all greed
and evil. Each man has a different view of things according to the
state of his mind. Some people see this city as fine and beautiful,
others see it as dirty and dilapidated. It all depends on the state
of their minds. Those who hold good teachings in respect see, even
in the common things of trees and stones, all the beautiful lights
and colors of lapis lazuli, while greedy people who do not know
enough to control their own minds are blind even to the splendor
of a golden palace. Everything in the nation's daily life is like
that. The mind is the source of everything, therefore, in my rule
I first seek to have the people train their minds.
3. In wise statecraft the first principle is this principle of
King Great-Light, to lead the people to train their minds. To train
the mind means to seek enlightenment, therefore, the wise ruler
will give his first attention to Buddha's teaching. If a ruler has
faith in Buddha, is devoted to his teachings, appreciates and pays
tribute to virtuous and merciful people, there will be no favoritism
toward either friends or enemies and his country will always remain
prosperous. If a country is prosperous it is neither necessary to
attack any other country nor does it need weapons of attack. When
people are happy and satisfied, class differences disappear, good
deeds are promoted, virtues are increased, and people respect each
other. Then every one becomes prosperous; the weather and temperature
become normal; the sun and moon and stars shine just right; rain
and wind come timely; and all the natural evils disappear.
4. The duty of a ruler is to protect his people. The ruler of
a people is the parent of his people and he protects them by his
laws. He must raise his people like parents raise their children,
giving them a dry cloth when they take away a wet one without waiting
for the child to cry. In like manner he must remove suffering and
bestow happiness without waiting for people to complain. Indeed,
his statecraft is not perfect unless his people abide in peacefulness.
They are his country's treasure. Therefore, a wise ruler is ever
thinking of his people and does not forget them for a moment. He
thinks of their hardships, he plans for their prosperity. To rule
wisely, he must be advised about everything -about the water, about
draught, about storm and rain; he must know about the crops, the
chances of harvest, the health of his people, their comforts and
their sorrows. He must be thoroughly informed as to the guiltiness
of bad men, and as to the merits of good men, thus he is in position
to righ tly award both punishment and praise. A wise ruler gives
to his people when they are in need, as well as collects from them
when they are prosperous. He should exercise good judgement when
collecting taxes and make the levy as light as possible, thus keeping
his people peaceful. A wise ruler will protect his people by his
power and dignity. One who thus rules his people is worthy to be
called a King.
5. The King of Truth is the king of kings. His ancestry is of
the purest and the highest. He not only rules the four quarters
of the world, he is also Lord of Wisdom and Protector of all Virtuous
Teachings. Wherever he goes, fightings cease and ill-will vanishes.
He rules with equity by the power of Truth and by vanquishing evil
he brings peace to all people. The King of Truth never slays nor
steals nor acts lasciviously. He never cheats nor abuses nor lies
nor chatters idly. His mind is free from all greed, anger and foolishness.
He removes these ten evils and in their place establishes the ten
virtues of kindness, generosity, purity, fidelity, appreciation,
honesty, sobriety, charity, tranquility and wisdom. Because his
rule is based upon Truth he is invincible. Wherever Truth appears
violence ceases and ill-will vanishes. There is no dissension among
his people, therefore they dwell in quietness and safety; his mere
presence brings peacefulness and happiness. That is why he is called
the King of Truth, and his Kingdom the Kingdom of Truth. Since the
King of Truth is king of kings, all other rulers praise his excellent
name and rule their lesser kingdoms after his example. Thus the
King of Truth is sovereign over all kings and under his righteous
sway they bring safety to their people and fulfill their duties
with wisdom. 6. A wise judge will temper his verdicts with compassion.
He will try to consider each case with clear wisdom and then make
his verdict accord with five principles: First, he must examine
into the truthfulness of the facts presented. Second, he must be
sure that they fall within his jurisdiction. If he renders a judgement
with full authority it is effective, but if he renders judgement
without authority it only causes complications; he should wait for
a right occasion. Third, he must judge justly, that is, he must
enter into the mind of the defendant and if he finds that the deed
was done without criminal intent, he should discharge the man. Fourth,
he should pronounce his verdict with kindness and not harshness,
that is, he should apply a proper punishment and should not go beyond
that. A good judge will instruct a criminal with kindness and give
him time to reflect upon his mistakes. Fifth, he should judge with
sympathy and not in anger, that is, he should condemn the crime
but not the criminal. He should let his judgement rest upon a foundation
of sympathy, and he should use the occasion to try and make the
criminal realize his mistakes and thus give the man an opportunity
to be reborn under better conditions.
7. If an important minister of a king neglects his duties, works
for his own profit, accepts bribes, it will cause the rapid decay
of public morals. Other people will cheat each other, a strong man
will attack a less powerful one, a noble will mistreat a commoner,
a wealthy man will take advantage of the poor, there will be no
justice for any one, mischief will abound and troubles will multiply.
Under such circumstances faithful ministers will retire from public
service, wise men will keep silent from fear of complications, and
only flatterers will hold government positions, and they will use
their political power to enrich themselves with no thought for the
sufferings of the people. Under such conditions the power of the
government becomes ineffective for good and its righteous policies
fall in ruins. Such unjust officials are thieves of the people's
happiness, and are worse than thieves because they defraud both
ruler and people and are the cause of the nation's troubles. The
king should root out such ministers and punish them severely. But
even in a country which is ruled by a good king and by just laws,
there is another form of disloyalty that is even more to be dreaded,
the disloyalty of sons to their parents. There are sons who give
themselves up to love of wife and children and who forget the grace
of the parents who nursed them and cared for them during many years.
They neglect their parents, rob their parents of their possessions,
and neglect their teaching. Such sons are to be counted among the
worst criminals in a country. And why? Because they are disloyal
to their parents whose love has been very great and has continued
for many years, a love that could not be repaid if the sons honored
them and treated them kindly throughout their life. Those who are
unfaithful to rulers and unfaithful to parents should be punished
as the worst of criminals. And also, in a country which is ruled
by a good king and by just laws, there is another form of disloyalty
that is even worse than these, disloyalty to religious teachers.
There are people in every country who give themselves up to selfish
enjoyments, entirely forgetting the three treasures - Buddha, Dharma
and the Brotherhood. Such people destroy their country's sanctuaries,
burn the sacred scriptures, persecute the teachers of righteousness,
and violate all the sacred teachings of Buddha. Such people are
a country's worst enemies. And why? Because they destroy the spiritual
faith of a nation, which is its foundation and the source of its
virtues and prosperity. Such people by ruining the faith of others
are digging their own graves. All other sins may be counted light
in comparison with these three disloyalties. Those who are thus
disloyal should be punished most severely.
8. It is possible there may be a conspiracy against a good king
who is ruling his country wisely, or bandits may raid the country.
In this case the king should adopt three determinations. He should
say to himself: First, these conspirators and bandits are threatening
the good order and welfare of our country, I must protect the people
and country even to employing its soldiers. Second, I will first
try to find some way of controlling them without resorting to the
use of soldiers. Third, I will try to capture them alive if possible,
and disarm them. By adopting these three determinations the King
will be proceeding most wisely. By this procedure the country and
its soldiers will be encouraged by the king's wisdom and dignity
and will respect both his firmness and his grace. Then if it is
necessary to call upon the soldiers they will fully understand the
reason for the war and what its nature is to be. Then the soldiers
will enter battle with courage and loyalty, grateful for the king's
wise and gracious sovereignty. Such a war will not only bring victory
but will add virtue to a country.
CHAPTER THREE - BUILDING A BUDDHA LAND
I. THE HARMONY OF THE BROTHERHOOD
1. Let us think of a desert country lying in absolute darkness
and many animals moving about in it blindly. Naturally they will
be frightened and as they run into each other during the night there
will be frequent fighting. Such a conception is a pitiable one.
Now let us think that a superior man appears with a great light
and everything becomes bright and clear. We can imagine the relief
of the creatures as they are able to look about, and their happiness
as they recognize each other and renew their companionship. This
is like the field of human life as it lies in the darkness of ignorance.
Those who have no enlightenment wander about in loneliness and fear.
They are born alone and die alone, they do not know how to associate
together in peaceful harmony, and it is natural that, for them,
life would be meaningless and lonely and fearful. Suddenly Buddha
appears in human form and by his wisdom and compassion illumines
the world. In this light people find themselves and find others
and are glad to establish human fellowship and harmonious relations.
Thousands of people may live in the world but we can not call it
a fellowship until they know each other and have sympathy for each
other. A true community is a place where truth and wisdom are its
light, and where the people know each other and trust each other
and have things in common, and where there is a harmonious organization.
In fact, harmony is its life and its happiness and its meaning.
2. There are, however, organizations of three kinds: First, there
are those organized on a basis of power and wealth and the authority
of great leaders. Second, there are those which are organized on
a basis of convenience to the members, and which exist as long as
there are conveniences and they do not quarrel. Third, there are
those which are organized with some good teaching as the center
and with harmony as its very life. Of course the third is the only
true organization, for in that organization they are living in one
spirit from which unity of spirit various kinds of virtue will arise.
In such an organization there is harmony, satisfaction and happiness.
Enlightenment is like rain that falls on a mountain and gathers
into little rivulets, that run into brooks, and then into a river
which increases until it flows into the ocean. The rain of the sacred
teaching falls on all people alike without regard to their conditions
and circumstances. Those who accept it gather into little groups,
then into communities, then into organizations, and finally become
the great Ocean of Enlightenment. Enlightened minds mix like milk
and water and quickly organize into a harmonious Brotherhood. Thus
true teaching is the fundamental requirement of a perfect organization
and, as mentioned above, true teaching is the light which enables
people to recognize each other and to become adjusted to each other
and to smooth out the rough places in their minds. Thus the organization
that gathers about the perfect teachings of Buddha is an ideal organization,
and its chief purpose should be to perpetuate the teachings and
spirit of Buddha. They should try to persuade everybody to observe
these teachings and to train their minds in accordance with them.
Thus Buddha's Brotherhood will theoretically include everybody and
all will have the same religious faith.
3. Buddha's Brotherhood will have two classes of members: there
will be those who are teaching the members and those who are supporting
the teachers, seeing that they have the needed food and clothing.
Together they must try to disseminate and perpetuate the teaching.
Then to make the Brotherhood perfect, there must be perfect harmony
between the members. It is only as the teachers love the members
and the members honor the teachers, that there can be harmony and
meaning and power both to give and rece ive the teaching. Members
of Buddha's Brotherhood should associate together with affectionate
sympathy, giving and receiving the true teaching with humility and
sincerity, seeking to become one in spirit.
4. There are six things that influence the harmony of an organization:
First, sincerity of speech; second, sincerity and kindness of
acts; third, sincerity and sympathy of spirit; fourth, equal sharing
in a common property; fifth, following the same pure precepts; and
sixth, all having right views. Among these six things, all having
right views, is, of course, the main body, all the others are merely
wrappings. Then there are seven methods to be followed if the Brotherhood
is to be a success:
(1) They should gather together frequently to listen to the teachings
and to discuss them.
(2) Members of different socialclasses should mingle freely and
respect each other.
(3) Reverence the teaching and respect the rules and do not change
(4) Elders and younger members are to treat each other with courtesy.
(5) Let sincerity and reverence mark their spirit.
(6) Purify the mind in a quiet place and offer the place to another
before it is taken for oneself.
(7) Be sympathetic with all people, treat visitors cordially,
console sickness with kindness.
An organization that follows these methods will never die. Then
there are another seven rules that are valuable:
(1) Maintain a pure spirit and do not ask for troublesome things.
(2) Maintain integrity and remove all greed.
(3) Be patient and do not argue.
(4) Keep silent and do not chatter idly.
(5) Submit to the regulations and do not be overbearing.
(6) Maintain an even mind and do not follow different teachings.
(7) Be thrifty and saving. If members will follow these rules
the Brotherhood will endure.
5. As mentioned above, a teaching organization should make harmony
its very life; so an organization without harmony can not be a successful
Brotherhood. Each one should be on his guard not to be the cause
of discord. If dicord appears, then it should be removed as early
as possible for discord will soon ruin any organization. Blood stains
can not be removed by more blood; resentment can not be removed
by more resentment; resentment can be removed only by forgetting
it. Once there was a king whose name was Calamity, whose country
was conquered by a neighboring warlike king named Brahmadatta. King
Calamity after hiding for a time was captured together with his
wife, only his son, the prince, escaping. The prince tried to find
some way of saving his father but in vain. When the day of his father's
execution arrived, the prince in disguise made his way to the execution
ground to witness the death of his ill-fated father. The father
noticed him in the croud and called out loudly as though talking
to himself: "Do not search for a long time; do not act in a
short time, resentment can not be calmed by resentment." Afterward
the prince sought for a long time for some method of revenge. At
last he was employed as an attendant in Brahmadatta's palace, and
won the king's favor. One day the king went hunting and the prince
went with him and sought some opportunity for revenge. The prince
was able to lead the king away from his escort into a lonely place,
and the king being weary fell asleep on the lap of the prince, so
fully had he come to trust the prince. The prince drew his dagger
and pointed it at the king's throat but hesitated. The words of
his father flashed into his mind and although he tried again and
again he could not kill the king. Suddenly the king awoke and told
the prince he had a bad dream in which the son of King Calamity
was trying to kill him. The prince hastily grasped the king and
said that the time had come for him to revenge his father; still
he could not do it. Suddenly he threw the dagger away and knelt
in front of the king and confessed all and told him of the final
words of his father. When the king heard the prince's words and
the final words of his father, he was very much impressed and forgave
the prince. Later he restored the family property to the prince
and they continued to live in friendship. "Do not search for
a long time" means, that resentment should not be cherished. "Do
not act in a short time" means that friendship should not be
broken hastily. Resentment can not be satisfied by resentment, it
can only be gotten rid of by forgetting it. In the fellowship of
a brotherhood that is based on the harmony of right teaching, every
member should understand the spirit of this story. But not only
should members of a brotherhood understand its spirit, it is just
as necessary in the daily lif e of everybody.
II. THE BUDDHA'S PURE LAND
1. As has been explained, if a brotherhood does not forget its
duty of spreading the teacings of Buddha's Dharma and of living
in harmony, the organization will steadily become larger and the
preaching will spread more and more widely. This means that more
and more people will be seeking enlightenment, and it also means
that the evil armies of greed, anger and ignorance, which are led
by that devil of ignorance, are beginning to retreat and that wisdom,
light, faith and gladness, are advancing. The devil's dominion is
where there is greed, darkness, struggling, a sword, fighting and
bloodshed, and also, jealousy, prejudice, hatred, cheating, flattering,
fawning, secrecy and abuse. Now suppose the light of wisdom shines
upon that dominion, and the rain of mercy falls upon it, and faith
begins to take root, and blossoms of gladness begin to spread their
fragrance, that devil's domain will turn into Buddha's Pure Land.
2. In a land where the true teaching prevails, every dweller
has a pure and tranquil mind. Indeed, Buddha's compassion never
tires of benefiting all people, and Buddha's shining spirit burns
away all impurities. A pure mind soon becomes a deep mind, a mind
that is commensurate with the Noble Path, a mind that loves to give,
a mind that loves to keep the precepts, an enduring mind, a zealous
mind, a calm mind, a wise mind, a compassionate mind, a mind that
leads people to enlightenment by many and skillful ways. Thus shall
the Buddha's Land be built. A family seeks enlightenment and Buddha's
providence changes its poverty into prosperity; a country that suffers
because of social distinctions, by Buddha's providence is transformed
into a fellowship of kindred spirits. A golden palace that is blood-stained
can not be the abiding place of Buddha. A little shack where the
moonlight filters through cracks in the roof, by Buddha's providence
can be changed into the palace of a king, provided the mind of the
master of theshack is pure. A Buddha Land is founded and built upon
the pure mind of a single man, but the single mind draws other kindred
minds to itself in the fellowship of a brotherhood. Faith in Buddha
spreads from individual to family, from family to village, from
village to towns, to cities, to countries, to the whole world. Indeed,
earnestness and faithfulness in teaching the Dharma is what builds
every Buddha Land.
3. Indeed, when seen from one angle, the world with all its greed
and injustice and bloodshed appears to be a devil's world, but as
people come to believe in Buddha's enlightenment, blood will be
turned into milk, greed will be turned into compassion and charity
and, lo, the devil's land is a Buddha Land of Purity. It seems an
impossible task to empty an ocean with a single spoon, but the determination
to do it even if it takes many, many lives, is the mind with which
one should receive Buddha's enlightenment. Buddha is waiting on
the other shore in his world of Enlightenment wherein there is no
greed, nor anger, nor ignnorance, but where there is the light of
wisdom and the dew of compassion. It is a land of peace, a refuge
for those who suffer, a place of rest for the weary teachers of
the Dharma. In this Pure Land is boundless Light and everlasting
Life. Those who reach its haven will never return to the world of
delusion but will abide in its peaceful bliss of Enlightenment.
Indeed, that Pure Land where the flowers perfume the air with wisdom
and the birds sing the holy Dharma, is the final destination for
4. Though this Pure Land is the place for enjoyment it is not
the place for idleness. Its beds of fragrant flowers are not for
slothful idleness, but are places for refreshment and rest, where
one regains energy and zeal for Buddha's mission of enlightenment.
Buddha's mission is everlasting. As long as men live and creatures
exist, and as long as selfish and defiled minds create their own
world and circumstances, so long the children of Buddha who have
crossed to the Pure Land will be zealous to return to the land from
whence they came. For them it will no longer be a land of delusion,
but it will still be a land of suffering that calls for boundless
compassion and teaching and service. As one little candle lights
another, so the light of Buddha's compassion will pass from one
mind to another mind endlessly. The children of Buddha as they realize
Buddha's spirit of compassion adopt Buddha's task of enlightenment
and purification and thus Buddha's Land is glorified forever.
III. THOSE WHO HAVE RECEIVED GLORY IN BUDDHA'S LAND
1. Symavati, the consort of King Udyana, was deeply devoted to
Buddha. She lived, of course, in the inner courts of the palace
and could not go out, but her main Uttala, a hunchback, who had
an excellent memory, used to go out and attand the Buddha's preaching.
On her return she would repeat to the Queen the teachings of the
Blessed One, and thus the Queen increased in wisdom and purity.
The second wife of the King was jealous of the first wife and sought
to kill her. She slandered her to the King and caused the same stories
to be repeated to the King from other sources until finally the
King heeded them and sought to kill his first wife, Symavati. The
Queen stood in front of the King so calmly that the King had no
heart to kill her and regaining control of himself he apologized
to her for his distrust of her. The jealousy of the second wife
increased and she sent wicked men to set fire to the inner courts
of the palace. Symavati remained calm and quieted and encouraged
the bewildered maids, and then, without fear, died peacefully in
the spirit she had learned from the Blessed One, and Uttala, the
hunchback, died with her. Among the many women disciples of Buddha,
these two are most highly honored: Queen Symavati of merciful spirit
and the hunchback maid the wise Uttala.
2. Prince Mahanama, of the Shakya clan and a cousin of the Buddha,
had great faith in Buddha and was one of his most faithful followers.
At that time a violent king named Virudabha of Kosala made a conquest
of the Shakya clan. Prince Mahanama went to the King and begged
for the lives of the prisoners, but the King would not listen to
him, so he made a proposition asking the King to let as many prisoners
escape as could run away while he was diving in a neighborhood pond.
To this the King assented, thinking that the time would be very
short. The gate of the prison was opened as Mahanama dived into
the water and the prisoners rushed for safety. But Mahanama did
not come out of the water but sacrificed his life for the lives
of his people.
3. Utpalavaruna was a famous nun whose wisdom was compared with
that of Maudgalyayana, the great disciple of Buddha. She was indeed,
a nun of the nuns and was always their leader and never tired of
teaching them. Devadatta was a very wicked and cruel man who poisoned
the mind of King Ajatasatru and persuaded him to murder his own
father and to turn against the teachings of Buddha. But later King
Ajatasatru repented, broke off the friendship with Devadatta and
became a humble disciple of Buddha. At one time Devadatta was repulsed
from the castle gate in an attempt to see the King, he met Utpalavaruna
coming out. It made him very angry and he struck her and seriously
wounded her. She returned to her convent in great pain and when
the other nuns tried to console her she said to them: "Sisters,
human life is very precious, but everything is transient and empty.
Only the world of enlightenment endures and is peaceful. You must
keep on with your training." Then she passed away.
4. Angulimalya, once a terrible bandit, who had killed many people,
was saved by the Blessed One, and he became one of the Brotherhood.
One day he went into a town for begging where a short time before
he had led a raid and caused much hardship and suffering. The villagers
fell upon him and beat him severely, but he went back to the Blessed
One with his body still bleeding and fell at his feet and thanked
him for the opportunity that had come to him to suffer for his former
cruel deeds. He said: "Blessed One, My name originally was
'No-killing', but because of my ignorance I took many precious lives
and from each I collected a finger, because of which I came to be
called Angulimalya, the collector of fingers! Then through your
compassion I learned wisdom and became devoted to the three treasures,
Buddha, Dharma and Brotherhood. When a man drives a horse or cow
he has to use a whip, but you, Blessed One, purified my name without
the use of whip or rope or hood. Today, Blessed One, I have suffered
only what was my due. I do no wish to live, I do not wish to die.
I only wait for my time to come."
5. Maha-Maudgalyayana together with the venerable Sariputra were
the Buddha's greatest disciples. When the teachers of other schools
saw Maudgalyayana distributing the pure water of the Buddha's teachings
and saw the people eagerly drinking it, they became jealous and
applied all sorts of hindrances to his preaching. But none of the
hindrances discouraged him in his teaching nor prevented his teaching
from spreading abroad. The followers of other schools attempted
to kill him. Twice he escaped harm but the third time he was surrounded
by many people and fell under their blows. Sustained by enlightenment
he calmly received their blows while his flesh was torn and his
bones crushed and when he died he died peacefully.
Suggested Further Reading
Source: PUBLISHED BY DWIGHT GODDARD