the true master accepts long & arduous cultivation

rosa louise mccauley parks

 

The

world is full of

half-enlightened masters.

Overly clever, too “sensitive” to live in

the real world, they surround themselves with

selfish pleasures and bestow their grandiose teachings

upon the unwary. Prematurely publicizing themselves,

intent upon reaching some spiritual climax, they

constantly sacrifice the truth and deviate from

the Tao. What they really offer the

world is their own

confusion. 

 

The

true master

understands that enlightenment

is not the end, but the means. Realizing that

virtue is her goal, she accepts the long and often arduous

cultivation that is necessary to attain it. She doesn’t scheme to become

a leader, but quietly shoulders whatever responsibilities fall to her. Unattached

to her accomplishments, taking credit for nothing at all, she guides the whole

world by guiding the individuals who come to her. She shares her divine

energy with her students, encouraging them, creating trials

to strengthen them, scolding them to awaken them,

directing the streams of their lives

toward the infinite ocean

of the Tao. 

 

If you

aspire to this sort

of mastery, then root yourself

in the Tao. Relinquish your negative habits

and attitudes. Strengthen your sincerity. Live in the

real world, and extend your virtue to it without discrimination

in the daily round. Be the truest father or mother, the truest brother

or sister, the truest friend, and the truest disciple. Humbly respect

and serve your teacher, and dedicate your entire being

unwaveringly to self-cultivation. Then you will

surely achieve self-mastery and be able

to help others in doing

the same.

 

from Hua hu Ching, Chapter 80

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our practice is pleasure and celebration

barefoot bare feet walking instagram
 

You

emphasize taking

joy and pleasure in the practice —

the joy of walking on this Earth, the pleasure

of taking an in-breath mindfully. Maybe it’s our puritanical

background, but I think it’s easy for us to look on Buddhist practice

as something that’s supposed to be strict and joyless.

It can almost feel wrong to associate

religion with pleasure and

celebration. 

 

…I think

when people listen to

the teachings of the four noble truths,

they hear the words ill-being and suffering, and they

think that Buddhism is only about suffering. But they don’t

know that the third noble truth is about happiness, the opposite

of suffering. There is suffering, and there’s a path leading

to suffering. But there is also the cessation

of suffering, which means happiness,

and there is a path leading to

happiness.

 

Maybe

it would be good to

put the second two noble truths

first. The first truth would be happiness,

and the second truth would be

the path leading to

happiness. 

 

Thich Nhat Hanh

 

stopping is critical to our liberation

buddha meditation
 

Maybe

intellectually people

know that they should live in

the present moment, but the habit energy

that has been there for a long time is always pushing

them to rush around, so they have lost their capacity to be in

the present moment. That is why the practice is important, and talking

is not enough. You have to practice enough to really stop your running around

so that you can establish yourself in the present moment. That is the very

beginning of the practice: stopping. Stopping, looking deeply,

and finding happiness and liberation in

the present — that is

the Buddhist

path.

 

Thich Nhat Hanh

 

the divine is in every being


 

I

think God is

on Earth, inside every

living being. What we call “the divine,”

is none other than the energy of awakening, of peace,

of understanding, and of love, which is to be found not only

in every human being, but in every species on Earth. In Buddhism,

we say every sentient being has the ability to be awakened, and to understand

deeply. We call this Buddha nature. The deer, the dog, the cat, the squirrel,

and the bird all have Buddha nature. But what about inanimate

species: the pine tree in our front yard, the grass, or

the flowers? As part of our living Mother

Earth, these species also

have Buddha

nature.

 

This is

a very powerful awareness

which can bring us so much joy. Every blade of

grass, every tree, every plant, every creature large or small

are children of the planet Earth and have Buddha nature. The Earth herself

has Buddha nature, therefore all her children must have Buddha nature,

too. As we are all endowed with Buddha nature, everyone

has the capacity to live happily and with a

sense of responsibility toward

our mother, the

Earth.

 

In the

Bible, Jesus said

 “I am in the Father, and

the Father is in me” (John 14:11).

The Buddha also taught that we are all part

of each other. We aren’t separate entities. The father

and son aren’t entirely the same but they aren’t completely

different either. One is in the other. When we look into our own

bodily formation, we see Mother Earth inside us, and so the

whole universe is inside us, too. Once we have this

insight of interbeing, we can have real

communication with the Earth.

This is the highest

possible form of

prayer.

 

To

worship the Earth

is not to deify her or believe she is

any more sacred than ourselves. To worship the

Earth is to love her, to take care of her, and to take refuge in

her. When we suffer, the Earth embraces us, accepts us, and restores

our energy, making us strong and stable again. The relief that we seek

is right under our feet and all around us. Much of our suffering

can be healed if we realize this. If we understand our

deep connection and relationship with the Earth,

we will have enough love, strength,

and awakening so that

we both can

thrive.

 

Thich Nhat Hanh