Bartholomew Klick is the Youth Director and web-master for BIONA (Buddhist Information Of North America). Bart can be reached at you can send e-mail to him at
This slender volume is a wonderful introduction to Buddhist thinking. The topics are discussed in general terms that every reader will understand. If this is your first Dharma Book then relax, you are in very good hands! After finishing this book you should read “Stop Suffering: A Buddhist Guide To Happiness,” and then “Day By Day.” These books from BIONA can usually be downloaded or read on-line free of charge on the BIONA website. Some of the titles are still on sale for a few dollars as e-books. Visit our web site at www.buddhistinformation.com to discover a free on-line Dharma library as well as links to other Buddhist study sights.
“Stop Suffering: A Buddhist Guide To Happiness”
“Day By Day”
“Inside The Lotus Sutra”
“A House On Fire”
Buddhism a Religion, or is it a philosophy?
People who develop within Theistic religious systems argue that
Buddhism is not a religion because
there are no gods in it. I have
never understood this reasoning. To
me religion is clearly about the development of personal morality and proper
ethical conduct. If the belief in
some god is necessary for your human development at this time then by all
means engage in that form of worship.
Buddha never confirmed or denied the existence of gods because this kind of
questioning does not lead to happiness. He
did make it clear that gods (if they literally exist) created nothing and are
merely beings trapped in a different realm of suffering.
When the good fortune created by past behavior is used up these beings
will be thrown back into a lower realm and continue in the endless cycle of
people leave gods out of Buddhism, saying that they are symbolic
representations of natural forces that benefit us when we behave in a correct
fashion. This is my opinion but
the Director feels that Buddhist gods are ‘real’ because you can see the
results of their activity in your life when you follow the guidance of our
Teacher, Nichiren. He refuses to
speculate about the nature of these ‘gods’ because it is not profitable.
In the final analysis, whether the Buddhist gods are forces or little
beings who perch on your shoulder, it is a fact that these forces are engaged
when we practice.
Some people assume that the ten worlds are different physical
locations; to them hell is an underground pit somewhere and Heaven is a place
of celestial happiness. This could
be true. There might
be other plains of existence. Modern
science tells us that there may be many universes, not just the one that we
know about and there are almost certainly more then three dimensions.
Speculation of this sort is pointless, the truth is the same whether
there are physical locations for the ten worlds or not.
worlds of heaven and hell are always with you.
If neither is being manifested, then they are static within you.
They will naturally be produced when the circumstances are correct.
the moment of death the world you resided in most frequently will manifest
itself and that is the state of mind you will experience between lives.
You can think of this as a sort of hell, or heaven, depending on your
your energy is actually confined in some sort hellish physical location.
Scientists have speculated that if someone were to be caught in a Black
Hole the gravity would actually make him travel slower as he got closer to the
center. This would seem to the
traveler like an eternity because escape would be impossible until the black
what difference does it make to the person suffering where he is?
The suffering would be just as ‘real’ in Ku as it would be
in any physical hell realm.
is my custom, I’ve wandered off the point.
What I want to say is that the presence of gods is not very important
when it comes time to define a religion.
The purpose of any religion is to purify the individual, and to help
them become the very best person they can be.
Buddhists practice Buddhism but incorporate Catholic deities into their
worship. The Tibetans have included the gods from the ancient Bon
religion into their practice. Does
this make them any more religious than a forest monk or a lay believer who
thinks that gods are merely superstition?
Surprisingly one of the most common questions I get asked is, “Where
does Jesus Christ fit into Buddhist thought?”
I knew almost nothing about the person they call Jesus so I attempted
to research his life. There is an
appalling lack of hard data; in fact, if so many people did not claim to know
him personally I would now suspect that he never existed at all.
It seems likely that he is an amalgamation of various itinerant
preachers who wandered freely seeking to lead a holy life.
he ever existed or not, the idea of a Bodhisattva-like being preaching love to
the masses is a big improvement over the previous sacrificial methods people
in that era used to worship the forces of nature.
is not, of course, present in Buddhist literature. Some modern scholars are saying that Jesus went to India at
one point and studied with Buddhists. I
have not seen any evidence to support this, except for some bronze statues of
Buddhist monks herding sheep, which could
be a symbolism of sorts. The
problem with all of this is that almost nothing of what the man Jesus taught
has been preserved; everything I’ve seen was added at a later time.
No matter what religion a man or woman practices, the person who does
not engage in evil activities and lives to bring benefit to the people around
him is a true follower of Shakyamuni, whether he knows it or not.
The Buddha never said that only
people who practiced his teachings would be saved from suffering.
He even encouraged and helped people from different religions, offering
them guidance whenever they asked for it.
This is an example we should all follow.
Many people believe that their way of practice is the only
way and that all other beings will suffer for not practicing correctly.
The Buddha taught love and tolerance, not prejudice.
are all practicing the same religion even though we do not seem to be aware of
it. We grasp onto pieces of
truth, and say, “Mine is the prettiest.
Yours is ugly therefore, you should like my piece better.” The more highly realized people among us see that all these
pieces are part of a gigantic Mosaic, and that while each may be pretty by
itself, they are beautiful when combined together into one single, simple
When you reach the right perspective, you will discover this truth for
culture that we know anything about has speculated about the true nature of
death and have also wondered what happens to the individual when death occurs.
This is something all people think about at some point in their
people believe in reincarnation or dependent origination, while others believe
that they would go to some sort of paradise after death if they lived decent
lives. A minority believes that
death is actually permanent and that once you are dead, you simply vanish
According to Buddhist teachings, when you die, you enter a state ‘in-between’
lives called Ku. It can be
described like this: You are running across a very long rope bridge.
While you are running, you are alive.
Then, at regular intervals, you come across a point where several of
the bridge’s planks are missing. It
is too large to simply step over, so you jump.
The jump itself represents death while the time you are in the air
represents the state between lives, called “Ku.”
Then you land at the other side, and continue running until the next
you are well trained and running steadily then this leap will be smooth and
seamless. You will see the
missing planks ahead as you run, prepare for them, and then nimbly leap
across. It will be very quick and
very painless; the time you spend in the air will be exhilarating.
However, if you have not trained you will run erratically and be forced to ‘take things as they come.’ You might see the holes in the bridge and somebody could certainly fall through them but it won’t be you! (“Oh sure, someday I’ll have to fall, but it won’t happen now, not to me!”) When the inevitable happens, you’re not prepared and the time you are in the air is longer and far more terrifying.
Some one who lives a good life will be happy and because he lives in
the higher worlds he will die in the same condition.
Some one who has led a miserable life will have an awful death.
How you live this life sets up the conditions for your death as well as
having a significant impact on your next life.
and death are often thought of as two separate things, but this is not
reality. Birth is directly
connected to death; you cannot stop death, unless you completely eliminate
life. They cannot be separated as
men have always dreamed, because they are ultimately the same thing.
body you now inhabit is like your car. It
may not be a Mercedes Benz, but it is yours.
If this car, your body, gets into a state of disrepair then you go and
have it fixed. If it becomes
ruined beyond recovery, you abandon it for a new one.
You are not really attached to the car very much because once it is
ruined you find a new one.
you were to somehow stay in this body after it died, then it would be like
sitting behind the wheel of a ruined car.
Nothing you do can make it functional again; it is transitory because
it is dependent on causes and conditions, therefore it is destined to die.
ego you have, that you’ve done so much to protect and defend is lost at
death except for your karmic connections and your Buddha Nature.
The ego is tied to your current body.
When you get a new body, you get a new ego.
Therefore, this ego is not you. It
is there because it can be, not because it has to be.
It is very easy to let the ego control the body.
Many people do it, but they seldom find happiness
can sometimes be postponed for incredible amounts of time, but never forever.
You should face death, looking at it as an old friend who always is
there to help you find a new body. If
you have thoroughly trained your mind and practice as our teacher instructed
us then you will face death with confidence.
Any other existence can lead to a death filled with pain, uncertainty,
it not better to come to the moment of death knowing that you did the very
best you could? If you have led a
truly happy life, filled with love and compassion how can your death be any
road to the next life is one you have to travel alone.
Even if you have fifty relatives and a thousand friends at your
deathbed giving you comfort, they will be of no consequence at all when you
die. Any non-violent death can be
good. You do not have to die a
certain way to be successful. However, if you die screaming and writhing in agony your next
life might very well be a grim one.
you live as Nichiren teaches then you will die in the same manner our teacher
died, quietly chanting in a meditative state.
If you manage to follow these simple instructions then you will lead a
good life and experience a good rebirth.
is the fundamental base that Mahayana Buddhism is built upon.
The goal of a Mahayana Buddhist is not just to attain happiness for
himself, because you will never be happy until you work to help all living
things everywhere. As a Mahayana
Buddhist you should love and respect everybody, the way you would your
parents. The Buddha points to
deep compassion over and over again as a vital part of Buddhist practice.
You can see examples of this at our library site by reading “The Mettá
Sutra” and “The Sutra of the Deep Kindness of Parents.”
By compassion the Buddha did not mean that you should throw yourself
into a pit of wild animals because they are hungry and have not been fed.
He meant that when you have the opportunity to help somebody, you
should do it.
You should never be compassionate in the hope of receiving some reward
or recognition. You don’t have
to worry about being rewarded for kind and generous behavior, because the good
things you do will inevitably be returned to you.
This is called karma, and it simply means that the energy you use,
whether good or evil, stays with you, and manifests itself when the
circumstances are right. While
this means that loving behavior is always returned, it also means that the bad
things you do come back to you as well.
compassionate will bring you good things, but you will never purify your
previous negative actions that way. Doing
Buddhist practice purifies negative karma and lessens the amount of suffering
that you have to navigate. You
can also use Buddhist practice to bring out, and enhance, the good effects you
get from your merit (hence the expression “Wish Fulfilling Jewel” which
you inevitably encounter in your studies).
practice also consists of study. You
cannot spread the Dharma if you do not know the dharma. Also, if you practice, but do not study, you will be
imbalanced, and you will not grow or develop.
This is because your development is dependant on the realizations you
have, and you cannot have realizations without an equal combination of both
practice and study. To study
correctly you must read commentaries, receive teachings from Dharma teachers,
and you must study the sutras.
have done many virtuous things in your past lives, or you would not have been
born as a human. Unlike the other
beings on our planet, humans can talk, read, write, and turn our thoughts away
from base desires. Without all of
these capabilities practicing the dharma would be impossible.
waste this precious human birth that is a shame, because there is no guarantee
that you will not come back as a dog, an insect, or an even less significant
life form. Let’s face it; dogs
do not have very much time for inner growth.
An animal’s day is spent eating, sleeping, amusing itself, and
avoiding trouble. Check to make
sure that you do more than this, make certain that you are more than an animal
in a human body.
is always better than evil. It is
more interesting. Do you know why
you get tired of hearing about evil on the news?
It is because evil is boring. There
is so much more joy to be had in a compassionate way of life.
you do something evil, it haunts you. When
you do something good, you feel good about yourself. When you anticipate the result of something evil that you
did, you dread what is going to happen, and you spend time worrying about the
future. When you anticipate the
result of something good that you did, you can hardly wait to find out how
things turned out. One of the
karmic effects a murderer has to deal with is the haunting memory of his
action, and he also has to worry about what will happen if someone finds out
that he is a killer. His actions
will be constantly in his thoughts and his dreams.
It will scar his mind.
a good way to think of it. Evil
actions from your past are scars on your mind.
These scars ache, hurt, and can even be agonizing depending on the
amount of evil involved in inflicting them.
Compassion and Buddhist practice is like a magic healing salve. Applying it to these wounds makes them hurt less, scab over,
and eventually heal. It is not
just a healing salve. Compassion,
or this ‘magic’ medicine makes you feel good.
This salve has a good scent, it does not sting, nor does it taste bad
(for those of us with bad mouth karma).
only will leading a compassionate life make you feel better, it will make the
people around you feel better because everybody has an impact on their
environment. When you walk into a
room where people have been arguing and fighting, you can feel
compassionate way of life as taught by the Buddha is not an impractical dream
that you will never be able to live up to.
If you stay mindful, and continue with daily practice and study, your
compassion will develop and grow naturally.
You have to want to improve your life; you have to want to make the
effort. The Buddha cannot save
you, but he has shown us the path to liberation.
Now, you must help yourself.
is not ‘liking’ some one. It
is not compassion or respect. Love
contains all of these things but is somehow more.
Unfortunately, many people in our present society confuse love with
liking some one, or with hormonal attraction.
They are not the same things.
you’ve ever had the good fortune to be around a stable marriage then you
have seen the face of one kind of love. My
parents have been married about twenty-five years now so I grew up in a house
with that kind of love in it.
grew up with another kind of love as well.
My family is devoted to spreading the Dharma and we spend much of our
time and resources doing that all across North America.
This kind of love is the best kind because it is extended to all people
If you want to become a Buddhist student and follow the path that leads
to the end of suffering then you must learn to practice this same kind of
love. If you manage to open your
heart to all people then you are advancing on the path to nirvana.
Emptiness, in the Buddhist tradition, does not mean nothingness. It does mean that life is like an illusion, in the sense that
everything you see, do, and hear is non-existent from it’s own side.
However, this does not imply that life isn’t real. Your life is not
an illusion. It is easy to prove
that this form of nihilistic thinking is wrong.
Go stub your toe, or bang your arm on a hard corner.
Hurts, doesn’t it? If
that corner, or your toe or arm were truly non-existent, than you would have
felt nothing. It is likely that you would have gone through the
Emptiness, like I said, does not mean that life is an illusion. It means that life is like an illusion.
Big difference. Life is real yet, while being real, life is also dependent on
causes to exist. Nothing ever
comes from itself: a child cannot just spring out of thin air.
If something was born ‘of itself’ like this than it would have no
beginning, it would not die, and it would never change.
same is true of all things, even you. Your
heart has to be healthy, you need working lungs, you need blood, regular
deposits of the right nutrients, and all kinds of other things.
If all of them are not perfectly in place, then we get sick, and
eventually die from it.
Even what you consider to be ‘The Real You’ is subject to
emptiness. Your personality is
made up of the causes you have made in the past and this is called karma. Your birth condition is also subject to this.
If you were greedy you will not have been born rich, if you were filled
with defilement, how could you hope to be born beautiful?
‘You’ are ever changing and eternal and always the result of the
causes you have made in the past.
Now that you know that everything is empty, dependent, and ever
changing you can see it is foolish to become angry when someone attacks your
ego with insults. It is petty
be upset or sad when your possessions, which would disappear at your death
anyway, are taken from you. You
become upset because you do not yet understand emptiness.
Your understanding of emptiness, when complete, will be like a perfect
armor, off of which all your troubles will be repelled.
Nothing will disturb your mind! Instead
of, “That jerk! He called me
fat! Why did he do that?” it
will be more like, “How sad that he damages himself by attacking me!
I hope that nothing is troubling him.”
You also realize that you have made the cause to be treated this way
because if you hadn’t it could never happen.
Since you made the cause it is irrational to blame others because you
don’t like the result of your own past actions.
emptiness will free you from the suffering you presently endure when you
experience something that you label a problem.
Not matter what happens you will remain joyful.
Having realized emptiness you will no longer feed into the endless
cycle of evil that permeates our world, and eventually you will be exempt from
this vicious cycle. This is
because the first thought in your mind, when someone does something to you,
will never be, “How can I get even?”
You will know that ‘getting even’ will just worsen the situation.
You will understand that his actions are only hurting him while at the
same time helping you by burning off negative causes you have made in the
Even if you have no understanding of cause and effect and you don’t
want to be Buddhist, keeping in mind that all things are empty will greatly
reduce your suffering. It is the
greatest psychological tool ever devised and it is soundly based on the way
things really are.
label things and believe that we understand but this is almost never the case.
We label the thing I’m sitting on as ‘chair’ but what does that
mean? By itself the word ‘chair’
means nothing. If we try to
discover the essence of ‘chair’ we will never find it because it’s
something we made up, it is not real. If
we take this ‘chair’ apart looking for the ‘real chair’ we cannot find
it. We end up with a pile of
parts but none of them are the ‘chair’.
This ‘chair’ is dependent on causes to exist, just like everything
else. It is dependent on trees
for the wood, chemicals for the glue that holds it together, and the skill of
a craftsman to build the structure we call ‘chair’.
If any of these causes is removed then we don’t have any ‘chair’.
When this planet came into existence because of causes made in the past
this chair was not present. Somebody
made this chair from parts they collected for that purpose.
This chair is dependent on causes to exist and so is everything else in
the concept of emptiness is one of the mental tools you can develop to
eliminate needless suffering from your life.
If you are a Buddhist student it is one of the most important steps
along the path to enlightenment. It
is so important that some schools have stated that realizing emptiness is enlightenment!
No matter what your view is on what constitutes enlightenment, by
totally understanding emptiness your life will become peaceful and serene.
Buddhist Morality is very simple because it is based on common sense. The Theravada school focuses on the beginning teachings of the Buddha but these concepts are limited to the notion that you should not do bad things or create negative causes so that the individual student can find mental peace.
Mahayana teachings state that you must not only refrain from doing wrong, you must also actively decide to help people. The advanced Buddhist student must decide that he is going to support life because this is the highest form of morality.
To me this means that a Mahayana Buddhist is always ‘Pro-Life.’ I think that most of us have heard the things that they should not do their entire life: Don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t misbehave sexually and so on.
A Mahayana Buddhist, however, has a list of things that he should do. He has to be actively pro-life. You should help people who want to be helped every time an opportunity presents itself. Above all, you must have compassion for every single being on the planet. When we realize that all beings are just like us, that they want happiness and do not want to experience any form of suffering then it becomes much easier to love everyone.
There are several important moral questions being debated in our society right now, and our phone lines have been very busy with people calling and asking what we think about the various issues.
In this section of my book, I would like to address some of these issues. President Bush has been trying to decide, as of the time I am writing this, whether or not it is ethical to use human stem cells for medical research. Buddhism teaches us that life begins when sperm fertilizes the egg. Until the moment of fertilization occurs life is not present so we cannot say that this research will kill anyone but we still need to be very careful!
The Pope stated that we are on a very ‘slippery slope’ when dealing with these issues and I strongly agree. When we begin to feel that it is okay to kill certain elements of our society then we have lost something very precious.
Our laws tell us that it is wrong to kill but then kills with impunity. If I can’t kill my neighbor because he is personally inconvenient to me then why is it all right for a woman to murder an infant for the same reason? We have become confused as a society, we’ve gone from capitol punishment, to abortion, and now people want Doctors to be able to practice euthanasia. Human life is not ‘sacred’ in our current system. I wonder how far away we are from television ‘reality shows’ where people kill each other for money.
Human birth is rare and difficult to obtain. To deprive someone of it before they can ever express themselves is evil. It could be millions of years before this person has another opportunity to be born sentient. This is, without a doubt, one of the coldest kinds of murder you could ever commit.
The Death Penalty is where this country made the first serious misstep away from correct morality. There are too many minority prisoners on death row and far too many of these men have been proven innocent for anyone to seriously put their trust into such a system.
Proponents of the death penalty claim that capitol punishment is not about revenge, the goal, they claim, is to reduce the number of murders by sending a message to criminals that society will not tolerate this vicious crime! The problem with this argument is that states with no death penalty have lower murder rates.
If murder is really a crime in our society then why do we engage in wars? If killing a single individual is wrong then why is mass slaughter okay at certain times? War is the oldest human atrocity and we need to stop supporting the people who advocate and engage in this criminal act. Armies should exist for two things: parades, and the defense of a nation or nations against terrorism or outside invasion.
World government is needed to stop this kind of animal aggression. Political leaders who threaten their neighbors with war are nothing but terrorists. Such people are evil, and should be kept far away from the centers of political power.
As I said, Buddhist Ethics are very simple. There are things you should not do, lying, stealing and killing come readily to mind, but there are also things you should do. You should help people in need. You should tend to the sick and needy, and you should only say positive things, as negativity is the road to disaster. If you follow these very basic principles then you will be a much happier person, and the people around you will better off as well.
Faith is one of the most important aspects of any religion. Faith in Buddhism however, does not mean to blindly believe
in some force or outside power that you cannot see or hear, nor is it any kind
of blind trust. Faith in Buddhism
is like the faith you have in an honest, hard working technician.
You know that when you trust him with your TV he will fix it so that it
is like new. Faith that you place
in such a person is good faith, because it has a basis, a reason for being
faith. Were you to have faith in
a technician who often failed at his work, or was untrustworthy, it would be
mindless, blind faith.
You do not ‘take faith’ in Buddhism.
You have to question everything; you have to doubt everything,
quite the same way that you would check every piece of a car that you buy at a
used car lot. You slowly gain
faith in the salesman when he sells reliable cars.
If you drive off in a car purchased from him and the engine falls out
through the bottom, than you have no faith in him and you likely avoid his
place of business in future, and even tell other people about his bad business
is a gradual process and it should be, especially when you are trusting, not
your car or TV, but your spiritual life, which is the most important thing you
have. When it comes to religion,
kick all the tires, and look under the hood.
I encourage you to test this religion as much as you can, and prove to
yourself that it works. You must
come into Buddhism as doubtful and speculative as you would come into a used
car lot. Test everything, and
then only believe in it if it works. Anyone
who tells you to take blind faith in something is a manipulator who seeks to
harm you, not to help you. Would
you buy a car from a shifty salesman who assures you that it is in
perfect working order, when he will not show you the car?
Not testing your religion is akin to spending $35,000 or even more on a
car that you have never seen. Would
you pay that kind of money to someone who will not even let you look at
the car, let alone drive it?
religion is like anything else on earth, it must pass the tests we give it.
Manufactures make sure that anything they sell works before they box it
and ship it away. If a TV comes off of the conveyor belt with a cracked screen
they throw it out, or fix it, they do not box it up and sell it.
If you bought a TV with a cracked screen you would demand your money
religions today do not seem to get tested by the people who run them, and they
expect everyone else to have blind faith as well.
Not too long ago a group of people committed suicide because someone
told them that if they died as a large meteor passed by our planet an alien
spaceship would carry them off to a heaven-like realm.
They obviously never bothered to test their religion.
Things like this happen because people are often trained not to
test their religion! People treat
religion like it is different than a car or TV, but it isn’t.
If a religion does not work than it should be discarded or fixed, the
same as a car or TV. Driving off
in a car, without ever having looked under the hood is exactly the same as
practicing a religion without testing it.
There are many kinds of ideas in the world.
Most belief systems have some really good ideas in them but for any
system to be considered a ‘Religion’ it must be real. If you cannot see dramatic proof that a ‘Religion’ can
change your life for the better, right now, then it does not deserve the name
People often wonder
what the purpose of life really is. Some
think that it is the accumulation of money or power.
Others seem to believe that they exist for no reason at all. Or they
say that if life does have a purpose, they don’t really want to know
about it because it would just get in the way of their "good time.”
There are also people who believe that the sole purpose of life is to
This last group is
closer to the truth. I would say
that the true purpose of life is to develop your mind and become a happy
adult. The way to become a happy,
mature adult is to develop your wisdom and then benefit as many of the people
around you as possible.
I have come to
realize that the universe itself is alive.
Life is a natural manifestation and we appear in the environment
we have earned because of our own actions.
"purpose" then is for all of us to grow and move forward in positive
directions. Spiritual growth is
absolutely necessary for us to become successful, happy beings.
My purpose in life is to become happy and then to help the people
around me to become happy as well. I
do not mean just locally, I consider all people on this planet to be a member
of ‘society’ and I would like to bring benefit to every single one of
Let’s look closer
at this concept we call happiness. Think
carefully about your past. Have
you ever been truly happy for even a single moment? No doubt you have experienced various states of joy in your
lifetime, there are so many ‘worldly pleasures’ but have any of them ever
made you truly happy? No, they haven’t.
When you are experiencing some worldly pleasure time seems to pass you
by like lightning, you had fun or were distracted but you were not happy.
Too many people in
today’s society seem to think that fun and happiness are interchangeable.
If this were the case, and fun was the same as happiness, then true
happiness—the only true wealth one can possess, would be the most common and
abundant thing in our lives. You would be in a perpetually good mood, and little things,
even big things, would not be able to upset you.
This, however, is not
the case. Small, trifling, things
are capable of ruining your whole day—even two or three days.
This is a direct indication that your environment is in control of your
Living skillfully is
like being the captain of a vessel at sea.
If you are unskilled, then the wind will carry you in pretty much
whatever direction it pleases. Whether
it is into clear skies and white clouds, or right into the eye of a storm, a
skillful captain can sail where he wishes, despite the direction of the wind.
Buddhism is the
training that will enable you to ‘sail’ wherever you wish.
Buddhist Training can give you back control of your life.
If you are not a
skillful Buddhist practitioner you will notice that control of things in your
life often seem to disappear, and the ‘winds of chance’ move you about
from mental state to mental state depending on what occurs in your
environment. This is why ancient
man invented the concept of ‘fate’. They
argued that the hands of men are guided by fate because they had no clear
understanding of cause and effect. But
this is never true, the hands of men are guided by only one thing; and that is
karma. Your karma, created by
your own actions will put you into situations, in some of them you feel
helpless, and things seem to go however they please.
If you learn how to
seize control of your life from these circumstances, then events will begin to
move in the direction you desire. Calm,
collected, mindfulness is the only true road to happiness.
Money cannot buy
happiness. Happiness is a
commodity that cannot be purchased by anyone at any price.
True happiness must be earned and developed through loving, generous
behavior, along with a healthy dose of mindfulness training to develop your
insight and wisdom.
training combined with loving compassion will always move you in positive
directions. However, the overall
happiness of your next life is determined mainly by how skillfully you die.
If you die a horrid death this might very well cause your negative
karma to manifest when you are born again.
This will affect the quality and circumstances of this next life in a
negative way. Therefore it is just as important to die correctly as it is
to live correctly. The good news
is that if we practice and study to develop our human potential then we will
certainly die in very favorable circumstances.
There are many
different kinds of mindfulness training because there are many different kinds
of human minds. There are
meditations that involve standing, walking, sitting, chanting, and watching
the breath, just to give you a brief example.
Almost anything can become mindfulness meditation training, even
mundane things, such as walking the dog. The goal of all of these numerous
practices is to teach us the lesson "live in the present moment"!
Think: "At this
moment I am walking the dog, and nothing else.
I will concentrate on walking the dog, and nothing else.”
You will be surprised at how much trouble you can avoid by just staying
mindful. Walking the dog while
pondering the week’s events can have dire consequences.
More importantly, how can we ever perceive reality if we live in some
fantasy environment that takes place only inside our own head?
You should even turn
your job into mindfulness meditation. While
performing your daily tasks please concentrate on them.
If you are performing your duties with your mind off in ’la-la’
land somewhere, you are more likely to ‘screw up’, even on the simplest
jobs. Being mindful on your job is important, as employers want a mindful
employee, who performs his task to the best of his abilities, not some goof
off who keeps knocking the gears out of his well-oiled machine.
You will find that
the practice of ‘simple’ mindfulness will make your life a lot happier as
well as more efficient. When your
mind begins to wander, just gently guide yourself back to the present.
It is necessary to plan for the future, and it is can be all right to
remember the good things in your past, but dwelling on these things too much
will lead only to suffering. If you spend your time ‘somewhere else’ then you might as
well be dead, because if you do not live in the present moment, for the
present moment then you are as good as dead.
The present moment is all we have.
The present moment is reality.
The Buddha’s first
major realization was that people couldn’t be happy living a life dedicated
to the pursuit of pleasure. His
second major realization was that following extreme forms of asceticism do not
purify you or lead to higher realization.
Starvation, self-mortification, all forms of self imposed torment are
suffering, and will not lead to happiness.
One form of self
torture that is common in our society today is bulimia, where a person ceases
the intake of nutrients by vomiting all of his or her food up, in hopes of not
gaining weight. While this is
considered a medical condition it is also a sign of serious ego problems.
specifically states that people who practice any extreme form of
self-mortification are never going to be happy.
In fact, he even taught a method of not gaining weight, as even in his
day there were people who were nutty on the subject.
This method was to only fill two thirds of your stomach at each meal,
one-third with food, the other with liquid, leaving the rest of the space for
air. If you eat this way you will not grow fat and your stomach will always be
However, most people
in the world today are tragically over indulgent, which the Buddha also said
will never lead to happiness. If
your goal in life is to acquire as many personal items as possible, and to
experience as many bodily pleasures as possible, then you are walking barefoot
on a road paved with razor blades. To
be attached to material objects is not a good thing, since under all
circumstances you will lose these things when you die.
The Buddha taught us
to follow the middle way. This
means that indulgence and asceticism are useful only in moderation.
If taken to extremes this behavior leads only to suffering.
The Buddha tells us that to not get one wants, is suffering.
Well, that isn’t very hard to figure out, but would you have ever
guessed that when you do get what you want that you are suffering also?
It is not as direct a form of suffering, but nonetheless it is
suffering. Eventually, that
object you acquired will become a form of suffering, or lead to new suffering.
In fact, getting something you want can be worse than not getting
something you want!
If you are denied
some object of desire, and you have taken this denial well, then you have just
eliminated some of your bad karma. However,
if you get something you desire, and then form an incorrect attachment to it,
then not only did you burn up some good karma getting that item, you’ve also
created a new form of suffering.
The forms of
suffering in this world are indeed many, and the sources of true happiness
few. It is almost miraculous, that eons and eons ago a mere mortal, just like
us, broke out of this nightmarish chain of suffering and attained
enlightenment, unaided. This
first Buddha, the universal Buddha, is a person that we owe a great debt to,
as he is the one who discovered happiness, and shared it with the rest of the
universe so long ago. This person
still reaps in good causes because he is the direct cause of every good thing
that we have done as Buddhists.
enlightenment without the aid of a Buddha, even indirectly, might be all but
impossible for the average person, rather like an inchworm trying to traverse
the entire planet before his tiny life span is over.
Yet, the universal Buddha, the forefather of all Buddha’s, proved to
us that this is indeed possible. Even
better, to this day he and all the Buddha’s dedicate their time and energy
to helping people escape suffering and achieve happiness.
This is the Teacher I
wish to emulate. I want to help
all beings in the universe end their sufferings.
I will do my best to emulate this behavior, and I will set the
Universal Buddha as my role model. May
all beings benefit from my actions, may all beings live in peace, harmony, and
happiness. May all beings one day
find the path that leads to enlightenment.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
May all beings become happy.
is a crucial element in any relationship.
Children need to respect their parents and parents must learn that
their children are not merely extensions of them. Parents who live vicariously
through their children are badly out of touch with reality.
and teachers must respect each other or learning does not occur.
Employees who do not respect their employers are quickly unemployed.
Employers who do not respect the people they hire create miserable
working conditions and never receive full value for the money they spend
because people are not fully productive in an oppressive environment.
Respect is the lubricant that keeps our social machine functioning and
it is necessary not only in the workplace but in the home as well.
People in modern western society have forgotten the great debt that
they owe to their father and mother. You
should look after your parents and help them, as they grow older. Your parents sacrificed many things for your benefit and it
is downright churlish to dump them in some institution where they are
warehoused until they die.
As difficult as this will be for some of us we must learn to respect
the people who hold public office. It’s
fine to campaign vigorously for the candidate of your choice but the horrible
negativity prevalent in our current system is going to destroy our present way
of life if we do not learn to behave.
The atrocities that occur during Presidential campaigns should be made
unlawful because it is hurtful to everybody involved.
As Americans we must respect whoever holds the office of President and
while his political views are of primary interest his private and family life
should be left strictly alone.
Washington D.C. is full of officeholders who practice situational
ethics. In recent years we have
watched as the President was accused of marital infidelity by men who, it
turned out, were behaving in exactly the same manner.
It can be difficult to respect political figures under these
circumstances but we must respect the office even if we cannot respect the men
who hold them.
Respect for our political intuitions is essential if we are to
survive as a single political unit. Even
the Supreme Court has been the target of a great deal of anger, with people
calling for the impeachment of various justices because of their clearly
unconstitutional behavior in the last presidential election.
As important as respect is for citizens this esteem must be mutual if
it is to endure and this is clearly not the case anymore.
Elected officials are supposed to serve their country but most of them
are insulated from the realities of daily life.
Why should government employees have all the ‘perks’ they currently
enjoy? When you interact with
government officials do they treat you with courtesy and respect?
A system where people can freely abuse the little power they possess
and yet never be fired leads to the situation we currently ‘enjoy.’
Mutual respect is necessary in marriage or any other partnership. The lack of this respect stems directly from the lack of self-respect. If you do not understand who you are how can you respect anyone else? People are very precious because they all have the potential to become Buddhas. It takes time to realize this so I urge you to begin now.
Worlds can be found in all of us. They
are not places, but are rather states of mind.
However, you will find students of the early teachings of the Buddha
who say that these worlds are separate places.
The Tibetan Buddhists for example, believe that hell, heaven,
animality, anger, and hunger exist somewhere apart from our world (humanity).
When they talk of Hell, they are quite literally referring to a pit
somewhere below or apart from the Earth where the ‘spirits’ or essence of
men and women are thrown upon their deaths.
To a Nichiren Buddhist, or any other advanced student of the Buddha,
hell is a mental condition where sorrow and suffering are predominantly
are six lower “Worlds,” which represent the base emotions of all living
beings. They are:
is the state of mind where a person is upset at everything, and always sees
the negative side of a situation. It
is also the state of mind where sorrow resides. Often
times the death of a close friend of family member causes this state. Sometimes the impulses people receive when in this state are
so strong that they go insane, or kill them selves. It is also possible for someone to actually live in hell. This does
not indicate that their physical location is actually in some fiery pit.
It means that their predominant life condition is one of extreme
torment and sorrow.
world of Hunger is a state of greed and desire.
It can be the desire for food, but it is not limited to that.
If a man sees some material object that he likes he makes plans to
acquire it. He will either try to
purchase or trade for the object of his desire, or he might try to obtain it
dishonestly. Often times, someone
is thrown into the world of hunger upon seeing the object of his desire.
He thinks about it, craves it, but then decides against going out of
his way to get it. Apart from
hunger being a state of mind, it can also be a state of life, where a person’s
sole objective is to satiate his or her cravings for various things.
explained in very simple terms. When
a person thinks that someone has affronted him, he becomes angry.
This angry state can be anywhere from mildly upset, to insane raging.
It all depends on the situation. The
state of anger is very dangerous. One
moment of anger can corrupt a millennium’s worth of good causes.
One moment of anger is capable of destroying someone’s life.
People who live in the state of Anger do not necessarily seem angry at
anything this can be quite subtle. A
person can seem quite cheerful and yet still live in the world of anger.
whose only goal is his or her own immediate satisfaction characterizes Animality.
People who are in this state are capable of becoming
uncharacteristically inhospitable or greedy. People who live in this state generally have a mean streak,
but in this state people are capable of showing small amounts of compassion
and loyalty. Most animals live in
this state, and many humans do as well.
are perfect examples of beings that reside in this world.
A dog is capable of growling and barking at you (in a mean way) one
second, then realizing that you have food and suddenly wanting to be your
friend. However, a dog is capable
of loyalty and love.
a person who is in hunger or animality gets one of his desires fulfilled, he
moves into the state of Heaven. Heaven
is a state of bliss that is generally induced by the receiving of gifts, or
the satisfaction of some desire. However,
this bliss is only temporary, and once something else happens, the bliss is
replaced by a more common world, whichever one the person spends most of his
or her time in.
is a state of compassion and contentment.
Someone who lives in humanity has higher goals than to simply entertain
and maintain them self. Someone
in a state of humanity might donate money to a children’s hospital or donate
time to some good cause. He might
also study religious books in hopes of finding “life’s purpose.”
do not have some practice that gives us stability we bounce around these lower
six worlds every day. The state
of hunger drives you into the kitchen to eat breakfast every morning, and then
it drives you to be entertained, so you go read the paper, or watch TV.
Then you remember that you need to go to work or school, and you go
into the world of Anger, Hell, or Heaven, depending on how much or little you
like your job or school and the people who work with you.
hope of yours is lost, you become angry.
When one is fulfilled, you enter the world of Heaven. There is no end to the highs and lows that you experience.
Something very petty can send you bouncing around through the lower six
worlds. If you live in the lower
six worlds your environment is in control and you have ‘good’ and ‘bad’
days. If you live in the four
higher worlds you are always in control of your mind and cannot have a ‘bad’
Four Higher worlds are:
states of Learning and Realization, a person is fulfilling his spiritual
needs, and learning Dharma. In a
state of Learning, a person is hearing or reading the Dharma from a
book or teacher. In the state of Realization,
a person is actually coming to understand a concept through his own
experience. He is not just
learning it, he is realizing it: he comes to understand the concept based on
his own knowledge so that nothing could ever convince him that it is wrong.
in these two worlds is necessary for growth but can be very dangerous if you
remain there. People who live in
these worlds are prone to look down on others who do not have their knowledge.
state of Bodhisattva is exactly the opposite.
It is a state of intense compassion and loving care.
Living in the state of Bodhisattva shows that a person understands that
the secret to being happy lies in a compassionate way of life, and in his or
her ability to assist people in need. Truth
is not to be found merely in highbrow intellectual knowledge.
Buddhahood is a state of complete understanding and infinite compassion. People who live in this state are completely enlightened. They have attained the perfect balance of knowledge and compassion. Buddhahood is a natural state that anyone can experience by sitting in front of the Gohonzon and practicing correctly. Words do not do an adequate job of explaining the state of Buddhahood. It is something that must be experienced to be understood.
ten worlds are contained inside of everyone.
Nobody is outside of these states of mind, not even a Buddha.
With these ten states of mind, a person could be in 3000 possible
combinations of worlds. This is because each of the ten worlds contains the ten worlds, giving us one hundred.
Then these hundred worlds are multiplied by the ten factors1
that make up any human. That gives us 1000 worlds.
These 1000 worlds are each present in the three realms of existence.
These realms of existence are Self, our Society and our Environment.
That gives us 3000 possible life states to be in for every single
moment that we are alive.
nine consciousnesses consist of the five sense organs, a sixth Sense, the ego,
memory, and Buddhahood.
Five Sense Organ Consciousnesses are the eyes, and their ability to
report sight, the ears, and their ability to report sound, the nose,
and it’s ability to report smell, the skin, and its ability to report
feeling, and the tongue, with it’s ability to report taste.
Each of these organ consciousnesses possesses different levels of
ability, depending on the person owning them.
A Blind man has sight consciousness, but does not use it.
However, his smell consciousness and his sound consciousness will be
more alert because of this lack.
has now identified what Buddhism teaches as the sixth sense.
It is an area in the brain that reports to you what information is
important and what information is not. If
you are looking for your keys, and you know
that they are not on the table than, even though your eyes see the keys, this
part of your brain will not report it. It
has a preconceived notion as to what is already on the table.
You can leave the room and fill your mind with different sense
impressions, then return to the room and search again, or you can ask somebody
else to look for you.
Mano consciousness is the home of your ego; many people identify
themselves as this level of consciousness because they do not understand that
they are really composed of their aggregates and totally dependent on causes
they have made in the past.
The levels of consciousness we have examined so far are dependent on
the karma you produced in previous lives.
The type of body and the efficiency of your sense organs depend on the
kind of life you have led in the past.
final two levels are eternally with us and do not change.
The “storehouse” consciousness is the place where positive and
negative energy are stored. Every
action creates some form of energy, good, or bad and it is stored in this
level, called “Alaya.”
ninth level is called the “Amala” consciousness.
This is your Buddha nature and everybody can access this level with the
proper technique no matter what state your life condition is in.
Even mass murderers can attain enlightenment if they change their
lives; this path is truly open to anyone.
is the factor that is used the least by untrained people.
It is the part of you that always can see what the best thing to do
would be, that can reason out any question, and that will never hesitate to do
the right thing. This quality is
the same in everyone, but untrained minds have a limited ability to draw on
have developed ways to make their senses work better.
Speed-readers are an excellent example of people who have trained their
sight consciousness to a level that exceeds the accepted ‘norm.’
Just as there are exercises one can employ to make one’s memory or
sight better, there is also a training that allows one to have extended access
to his Buddha nature.
Enlightened Being is a person who has trained himself so thoroughly in this
manner that he now uses Buddhahood instead of ego to solve problems presented
by his environment. This is how
we become happy. We must train
ourselves to react to things in our environment with our innate enlightenment.
We already have enlightenment we just need to learn a method that will
enable us to live in this highest human state.
all have the potential for good or evil.
With Buddhist practice we can focus our lives into the higher four
worlds, and escape from the miseries of cyclical existence.
By this I do not mean that we will leave the Saha World, never to
return, I mean that we shall live here in peace, and without suffering.
While we strive to end our suffering, and to reside in the upper four
worlds, we must also help the people around us do the same.
It is not necessary to wait until you are enlightened. The only way to eliminate suffering for your self, and to
escape from the lower worlds, is to lead people towards enlightenment.
It is not an act of compassion to ignore the world’s troubles until
you think you are ready to teach people how to leave them behind.
The time for waiting is past; the time to take action is now.
myth-filled tale was developed over a period of several hundred years after
the death of our wonderful Teacher, Shakyamuni Buddha.
Please do not take this story literally; it was created to
demonstrate the greatness of the Buddha.
For a historical look at the life of Shakyamuni please see “Stop
Suffering: A Buddhist Guide To Happiness” from BIONA.
For a longer version of this story please read “Buddha: The Gospel,”
available free on the BIONA website.
the middle of the first Millennia, BCE (Before Common Era, this corresponds
to the Christian A.D.) in the land called India, there was a Queen named Mahamaya,
who was wed to King Shuddhodana. Their
country was small, and surrounded by large hostile neighbors.
These neighbors had, in the past threatened to invade, but King
Shuddhodana was politically astute, and had, so far, kept them at bay.
day, during the mid-summer festival, Mahamaya had a dream that she was
elevated to a great height, well above the clouds, where a Great Celestial
Elephant with six tusks entered her womb from the right side.
she awoke with a feeling of immense and boundless happiness, and knew
immediately that she was pregnant.
in the year, when Mahamaya felt that the time for birth was near, she
requested to be taken to her fathers garden grove, where she wished to have
the child. When the moment of
birth was at hand, Mahamaya grabbed hold of a tree-limb, and much to the
surprise of all present, the child mystically exited the womb from her right
side, never traveling through the birth canal.
The child immediately took seven firm and stable steps, looked towards
each of the cardinal directions, and said, “I am the leader of the world,
and I am the guide of the world. This
is my final birth.”
King summoned an astrologer to explain these strange happenings.
The astrologer examined the signs, the stars, the planets, the moon and
sun, and said, “You are very fortunate to have such a child.
He will be successful in all that he does, and will either become a
great wheel rolling king, who will unite the world under a single flag, or a
Fully Enlightened Buddha, a honored teacher who will lead the people to
spiritual happiness”. They
named the boy Siddhartha.
days after the birth, Mahamaya passed away.
It was then that King Shuddhodana, reminded of his own mortality, made
plans for the future of his kingdom. These
plans naturally included the young prince.
Siddhartha began his education young, he learned all about philosophy, the art
of war, painting, and all the things that were expected of a young prince.
events proved the astrologer to be correct.
Siddhartha mastered all of his various subjects with ease, and always
won physical competitions with the other princes.
He was physically astute, as well as mentally brilliant.
None of the young princes could best him in debate, and only the wisest
men in the land could keep up with him when philosophic matters were
Kings sole objective became to attach his son to worldly life so that he would
some day become a king who could rescue his endangered people.
He knew that it would not be long before their neighboring countries
decided to invade his land. If
Siddhartha became a Great Conqueror, however, they would never get the chance
to invade. The King wanted to
save his people and without the help of the prince he could see only certain
disaster ahead for them.
King became convinced that his goal was achieved when Siddhartha took a wife.
That would surely attach him to the worldly life enough that he would
never consider leaving and living the homeless life of the spiritual
woman he married was a beautiful princess named Yashodhara and the
young couple led an idyllic life. It
was not long before Yashodhara was with child
Siddhartha had already begun contemplating the various sufferings of the
world, and was becoming depressed because, although he had every pleasure
imaginable in that day and age, he was not happy.
began to become restless because his father kept him confined to whatever
property they were living on. His
father, concerned about Siddhartha’s condition ordered that the roads be
cleared of unsightly things, and then suggested that the prince take a drive
through the city.
agreed, and was soon awaiting his Charioteer, who would drive him through the
city. When they departed,
Siddhartha, reveling in his new freedom, expressed a desire to see another
part of the city, which would leave the predetermined route that his father
had created. The Charioteer had
little choice but to comply.
they traveled, Siddhartha saw a man whose skin sagged, whose body was covered
with blotches, whose hair was thin and gray, who could barely support his own
weight without the aid of a walking stick.
Siddhartha asked his charioteer, “Channa, who is this man?
Why is he so frail looking?”
charioteer, understanding that his prince had never before seen an old man,
explained to Siddhartha with these words, “This man is frail looking because
he is old, my prince. He has
lived a long life, and was at one time as fit and healthy as you or I.”
Prince merely nodded his assent, his question answered.
His mind began to fill with questions.
He said, “Am I, also going to become like this as well?
Or is he one of a few old men in the world?”
replied grimly, “So it is that all men begin life as infants, grow to
adulthood, and finally become old, my prince.”
was a long silence until the prince saw another man whose complexion was
somehow wrong, whose skin appeared to have been marred with fire, and who
could walk even less nimbly than the aged man.
Curious, the prince said to his charioteer, “Now who is this man?
He looks as if he has fallen into a pool of acid.”
knowing in his mind that his beloved prince had been protected from such
horrid things as disease, responded thus, “This man has surely been smitten
by some ghastly disease! It would
be best if we turn back, or perhaps we might catch it from him, and suffer the
I too, am susceptible to such a thing as this thing you call ‘disease’?
Or is this man one of a mere handful to suffer such a horrid fate?”
Charioteer said to his beloved prince, “Alas, we are all susceptible to
disease. It is only through great
care, and extended love from your father, god-mother, and followers, that you
have never been stricken by a disease.”
is truly a horror! How can we
live in such a merciless world! What
did this poor man do to deserve such a fate?”
do not know, my prince,” said the charioteer bleakly.
traveled on for a time, and then their way was blocked by a procession of men,
women, and children, who though dressed for a celebration, were weeping and
behaving strangely as they followed the body of a man who lay quiet and still
on the top of a litter.
asked his charioteer, “Why are these people looking so sad, they are dressed
in bright colors for a festival but they are not happy.
are on their way to a funeral, my prince.
Worry not, it is no one you were close to.”
do you mean?” asked the prince.
do I-” Then Channa realized that Siddhartha had never heard of death.”
are taking the body of a man who, through either old age or disease, has had
his life ended, to be burned away to ashes, or buried.
His essence has fled the stricken body, and now all that remains is a
I too, share his fate?” The
my prince, no man, woman, or child can escape deaths scythe.
Though you may live to be a thousand years old, you will eventually
this is ghastly! How can men
live, knowing that some day, everything they care for and love, will vanish
from their sight? What is the
purpose of this existence, if everything we strive to acquire is to be taken
drove on for a short distance but then the Prince spotted a man with no hair,
who carried nothing but a walking stick and a bowl, and whose robes were rags
that should have been discarded long ago.
who was that man? He carried only
a bowl with him, and wears clothes that no decent man would be seen wearing.”
my prince, was a monk or a holy man. They
get their nourishment by begging for it. They wear discarded clothing or nothing at all, and they are
dedicated to finding an escape from the sufferings of the world.”
prince remained lost in thought so the two men did not speak again.
It was getting late, and they returned to the Palace where the prince
retired to his quarters.
a very short time Siddhartha’s first child was born, a son named Rahula.
Since he now had produced a male child who could assume the throne
Siddhartha had fulfilled his family obligations. He
loved his wife and family but the problems of aging, sickness and death were
spurring him to seek for answers.
determined to leave worldly life and become a seeker of truth.
With the help of his loyal Charioteer, he left the Palace and traveled
alone determined to find enlightenment. He
shaved his head, dressed as he saw the monk dress with discarded old clothing,
and took nothing with him but an ordinary bowl, which he would use to gather
decided that he needed a teacher so he became to student of two renowned
teachers, one after the other. He
quickly master both of their techniques and doctrines in turn but he was still
dissatisfied. The teachings of
these famous men were good but they did not lead to enlightenment!
he realized that he had gone as far as he could with teachers so he decided to
leave and practice on his own. He
became a wandering ascetic, with the reasoning that if total pleasure and
luxury made him unhappy, then total self-control and severity would make him
happy. Siddhartha moved to an
area where other ascetics lived, in the open air but with a beautiful view.
He eventually began to practice with five other ascetics, and was soon
considered their leader because his personal regimen was far more severe.
After almost seven years of ascetic practice Siddhartha came to realize
that he was gaining nothing for all of his effort; starvation did not lead to
purification it led only to sickness and death.
A young woman who lived nearby offered him a meal of rice-milk and he
five associates said nothing when he ate the rice-milk because he had been
fainting from hunger a lot that week but later Siddhartha ate another meal and
the five men began to openly sneer at him.
Siddhartha was saddened by the lack of trust exhibited by his friends
but he felt no anger at their betrayal.
left them and sat in the shade of a pipal (or Bodhi) tree determined not to
move until he had attained enlightenment.
The great demon king, Mara (the inner darkness present in all beings)
seeing that Siddhartha was close to attaining enlightenment, approached him
(appeared in his mind) and said to him that his quest for truth would
certainly end in failure, and that the true course of wisdom would be to
return to the palace and his family.
this did not work Mara summoned his great army of demons; they were many, and
varied in shape and size. Some of
these demons were tall; with many arms while others were squat and smelled
bad. Some had no recognizable
form, and were covered with oozing protrusions.
Others had eyes on their bellies, or had horns and tusks, and all of
them brandished tools of destruction. They
attacked Siddhartha, but their weapons proved futile and simply bounced off of
him because his mind remained focused in his meditation.
the infuriated Mara made the demons vanish, and assaulted Siddhartha with a
fierce hurricane, but it failed to even move the edges of his robe.
He summoned a great fire, but it did not burn him.
He caused beautiful women to appear before Siddhartha in an effort to
entice him but this did not work either.
Furious, the demon challenged the prince, saying, “By what right do
you take the seat of enlightenment?”
have the right through my practice of the ten virtues in this life and in the
past. If you claim to have a
right to the seat of enlightenment, then what witnesses do you have to say that you have practiced the ten virtues?”
witnesses do you have?”
Mara roared back at him.
have the earth as my witness” and as if in reply the grounds trembled and
shook in six different ways (his six senses were purified). Mara slunk away, defeated and Siddhartha became Shakyamuni,
the sage (wise man) of the Shaka tribe.
story records how Shakyamuni, or Siddhartha Gotama attained enlightenment.
There are some people who believe this account to be literal truth but
people are becoming more sophisticated because of better educational
opportunities and most people realize that this story is symbolic.
The Buddhas struggle with Mara was an internal battle against the same
kind of negative forces we all possess, like anger, greed, and lust.
story of the chariot ride is a clever way of telling us that as he grew up, he
discovered all the pain and suffering in the world. Since his mother died when he was young, there is no way he
could not have known about death. The
symbolism is this: The chariot drive represents him growing up, and the four
times they stop, seeing old age, sickness, death, and a monk, are ways of
saying that he saw mankind’s suffering, was horrified by it and sought
through the holy life to ascertain the truth.
might have had to sneak away from
the palace, but it is most unlikely. In
Indian society it was perfectly common for a man to retire from worldly life
and become a wandering monk. His
father may not have totally approved, but he would not have tried to stop him
Siddhartha had sat under the pipal tree but it was Shakyamuni that
arose in the early morning light. He
went out in search of the Five Ascetics to teach them what he had learned.
he walked along the road he encountered several merchants, who recognized that
he was someone special. They
asked him if he was an enlightened being and he told them he was.
It was to these men that he gave his first teaching and this was
because most of the practicing Buddhists in the world would be lay people.
first teaching stated that the world is filled with suffering.
Ignorance is the cause of suffering and the cessation of suffering is
the elimination of ignorance. The
elimination of ignorance could be achieved by practicing right view, right
intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right
mindfulness, and right concentration. The
merchants heard this and understood. These
laymen became his first followers.
When he arrived at the Dear Park in Varanasi he saw the five ascetics
from a distance, and began to approach them.
They saw the Blessed One approach, and said to each other, “Here
comes Siddhartha, he has given up the holy life.
Let us not rise to greet him and let us also address him simply as
As the Buddha neared they saw in him a gigantic change, and in spite of
their plan they rose to greet him, but when they spoke it was to say “Hail,
The Buddha said to them, “Monks, do not address me by name or as
‘friend.’ Such a one
as myself has become fully enlightened. Listen
to me, oh monks. The Unborn, The
Deathless has been attained, and it is I who will instruct you in the true
Dharma. Practice in accord with
what I teach, and you shall be able to realize this Dharma through your own
direct knowledge. You will have
achieved that which every clansman and householder who sets out on the holy
life aspires to.”
The five ascetics exchanged looks with one another.
They had never known their old friend to speak in such a manner, nor
had he ever been known to tell a lie. “Very
well, master, we will hear what it is you have to teach.”
“Oh Monks, there are two extremes that are to be refrained from, and
never cherished. What are these two extremes?
The first is the total devotion to the pursuit of pleasure in sensual
desires, which is coarse, ignoble, vulgar, low, and harmful; and there is a
second, and that is the total devotion to self-mortification, which is
painful, low, ignoble, and harmful. I
have discovered a way of life that follows neither of these extremes, and that
Oh Monks, is the middle way.
Middle Way gives vision, gives knowledge, and leads to peace, to direct
knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nirvana.
And what is this middle way? It
is the noble eightfold path. This
path consists of right view, right intention, right speech, right action,
right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
The former ascetics were wise enough to recognize Dharma when they
encountered it so they again became the followers of Shakyamuni and this time
they were loyal until death. From
that moment on, they called him Shakyamuni and when referring to him they
would add such titles as “World
After a time Shakyamuni found himself preaching to larger and
larger audiences, as more people proclaimed that they were lay followers of
the Buddha. The monastic order
grew as well and after a few years women entered as nuns.
more followers began to understand his early teachings the Buddha began to
teach the doctrine of non-ego, or emptiness. This teaching simply states that
all people are empty because everyone and everything is dependent on causes
and conditions to exist.
teachings take years to fully realize so don’t worry that you do not
entirely understand now. You must
do more then grasp these teachings intellectually, you must live them and take
them into your heart. This
requires practice and study.
When the Buddhas students had reached a sufficient level of
understanding he preached “The Lotus Sutra” which he took great pains to
repeatedly point out contained his highest teaching.
The last eight years of his life were devoted to teaching only this “Lotus
life ended the way all good teachers hope to conclude their careers, by
teaching others. On the day he
died Shakyamuni addressed his monks, “Gather around. Does any one here have a question to ask me, before I depart
from the world?” There was
silence. “Do not, out of
respect for me, neglect to ask your final questions, for later you will not
know the answer. This will cause
you to not be at ease knowing that when we were face to face for the very last
time you did not ask your question, and so obtain peace of mind.”
Still, no one said anything. “If
you are embarrassed to ask me a question at such a time, whisper to a friend
and have him ask for you, and thus retain you anonymity.”
Still silence pervaded the grounds.
spoke “So be it! Let it be
known to all that in the future men will claim to have secret teaching only
revealed to a few select students. I
tell you, I do not leave this world having left any hidden teachings.
I am an open handed teacher and have fully revealed the path to all of
“My final words to you are, all things that exist because of causes
and conditions are transitory. Be
your own refuge, only you can save yourself, therefore, be diligent.
these words, the Lord Buddha perished.
Lotus Sutra” is difficult material and should not be approached lightly.
You should have some experience of daily practice and also have read
and understood many of the introductory sutras.
There are two different versions of “The Lotus Sutra” in the BIONA
library; I highly recommend the twenty-eight-chapter version translated by the
greatest Buddhist translator who ever lived, Kumarajiva.
The other translation is also of tremendous interest and should be read
you go on to read the rest of the BIONA books “Stop Suffering: A Buddhist
Guide To Happiness,” and “Day By Day,” then you will be ready to visit
“The Lotus Sutra Study Center” and read the sutras and a commentary from
BIONA “Inside The Lotus Sutra,” as well as the other books and lectures
included. These books have been
written to prepare you for this study.
came to be considered the Buddha of the Middle period of the Law.
His teaching and writings had a profound impact on Buddhism.
When he entered the monastic life, he became the student of Fa-hsü,
and then later the monk Hui-Kˇuang tutored him.
several years of study, Chih-i journeyed to Mount Ta-hsien, located in
Heng-Choü province, there, he devoted his studies to the Mahayana Sutras,
specifically, “The Sutra of Innumerable Meanings”, “The Lotus Sutra”,
and “The Sutra of Meditation on the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue”. These three Sutras together are referred to as “The
Threefold Lotus Sutra.”
became convinced that “The Threefold Lotus Sutra” was the highest teaching
of the Buddha, and assigned it a position of supreme importance amongst all
other Sutras. He was well aware that this was not a popular opinion to
When he was twenty-three years old, he traveled to the dwelling place
of Hui-ssu, a famous teacher who he knew to hold that same opinion.
Chih-i arrived to discover that Hui-ssu had left.
Hui-ssu had fled his home because people persisted in trying to
assassinate him. Chih-i
followed Hui-ssu’s path across a war torn China to the Buddhist Center at
Mount Ta-su. Travel was very
dangerous at the best of times but this journey could be considered almost
When he finally arrived at Mount Ta-su, Hui-ssu greeted him thus: “Long
ago we were together on [Eagle Peak], and [we] listened to “The Lotus Sutra”.
Now, pursuing those old bonds of karma you have come [to me] again.”
Hui-ssu immediately introduced Chih-i to the various practices of “The
Lotus Sutra” that he had learned from his teacher.
Chih-i carried out these practices for two weeks, making rapid
progress. At the end of the second week he had attained enlightenment.
Chih-i lived at Mount Ta-su for seven years, studying his teachers’
doctrines and making sure that he had learned all that he could from Hui-ssu.
Later, he took leave of the mountain and traveled to present day
Nanking, which then served as a headquarters for the Ch’en Dynasty.
He remained there for eight years, residing at a temple called
Wa-kuan-ssu. It was here that he
gave a series of lecture on “The Lotus Sutra” that would eventually be
compiled into “The Profound Meaning of The Lotus Sutra”, one of his three
Chih-i made many enemies amongst his fellow Buddhists.
They considered his viewpoint ludicrous.
Fortunately, these ‘enemies’ were not as hostile to him as they
were to Hui-ssu, and instead of avoiding an assassins blade, Chih-i found
himself engaged in hundreds of debates (all of which he won.)
In spite of his seeming successes, Chih-i felt that most of his
followers were unable to grasp the true meaning of “The Lotus Sutra.”
In the Fall of 573 CE, when he was thirty-eight years old, Chih-i
traveled to the T’ien T’ai Mountain Range, which was noted as being a
center of both Buddhist and Taoist activities.
It was here that he took up a permanent residence.
After living in a cave on the Mountain Range’s highest peak for a few
years, Chih-i decided that the wisest course of action he could take would be
to propagate “The Lotus Sutra.” (As
opposed to simply hiding in the mountains and enjoying his enlightenment
few years after this, Chih-i and his band of followers were granted financial
support from the government. He
used some of this money to buy the fishing rights for the seacoast at the foot
of the Mountain, and stopped the people from fishing there.
To many of us, such an action would be considered foolish and
pointless. Some even go so far as
to say that Chih-i was more concerned about the fish than the people.
This is not true. Chih-i
halted the fishing at the foot of the mountain not out of compassion for the
fish, but for the men: He knew that they were making violent causes that would
trouble them in some future life. In
addition, it must have seemed strange to have men killing fish in front of a
Temple that preaches total non-violence.
In 585 Chih-i went to the capitol at the Emperor’s request and gave
several discourses. These were later compiled into a work called “Words and
Phrases of The Lotus Sutra.” This
is the second of his Major ‘Writings’.
It was here that Kuan-ting, who eventually compiled the major writings
of Chih-i, became his disciple. Later,
before returning to the T’ien T’ai Mountains, Chih-i returned to the land
of his birth, where he gave the lectures that constituted his third major
writing, “Great Concentration and Insight.”
Upon his return to the mountain range the Emperor granted to Chih-i the
title ‘Chih-Che’, or “Wise One.”
He died in 597. He was
posthumously given the title ‘T’ien T’ai Ta-shih’, which means “The
Great Teacher of the T’ien T’ai Mountains.”
Later people simply called him “T’ien T’ai.”
His three major writings, which were all compiled by his disciple
Kuan-ting, had a huge impact on Mahayana Buddhism.
Eventually his followers were recognized as belonging to a separate
sect, which came to be called ‘The T’ien T’ai School of Buddhism.’
All of the ‘new’ schools of Japanese Buddhism came from the T’ien T’ai
School, which is called ‘Tendai’ in that country.
T’ien T’ai changed the way people saw Buddhism: he categorized the
Buddha’s teachings, making the intention and meaning clear.
His lectures on “The Lotus Sutra” are still read and studied to
this day, by people of many different sects.
His teachings on the ten worlds have helped numerous Buddhist students
develop the wisdom that has led to higher realizations.
(For more information on the life and teachings of Chih-i please read
“Stop Suffering: A Buddhist Guide To Happiness.”)
Bartholomew M Klick
was born in Medieval Japan in the 1200’s.
He was the son of a manager, who was in charge of the administration of
fishing rights for a private fishery. He
began to receive his advanced education at age twelve when he was sent to a
temple to learn to write in Chinese as well as Japanese.
He became quite proficient with both languages.
priests at the temple also taught him some of basic Buddhist concepts.
He became very interested in Buddhism, and when he turned 16, he became
was a good student and absorbed the contents of the local library quickly.
He then set out to find more books.
When he reached the capital where many of the Buddhist centers of
learning were located he discovered that he could not attend lectures given by
any of the teachers because of his ‘inferior’ social standing.
other students had social connections, wealth, and access to powerful men,
which could help these teachers advance their careers while Nichiren could
offer them nothing but the robes he lived in and an accent that clearly
proclaimed that he was from the provinces.
if he wanted to learn he could only study the sutras and famous commentaries.
After a time he came to realize that the doctrines being taught at the
temples was not what he was reading in the Buddhas teachings.
From his years of intense study Nichiren learned that the Buddha had
clearly stated that “The Lotus Sutra” was his highest teaching, but this
was not what the various sects of Buddhism in Japan were teaching.
began to openly preach his direct realizations on “The Lotus Sutra” and at
first he was merely criticized. Later,
however, when he started to acquire followers, he began to be openly
was eventually exiled because of his teachings, to a small island off of the
coast of Japan. He began to
preach his doctrine to the locals on the island, and gained a significant
following there. A few years
later he was pardoned from exile, and returned to Japan.
went right back to preaching and his movement grew dramatically, which had an
adverse effect on other temples income. Soon
rival priests were plotting to have him killed.
They pulled some official strings, and his execution was set up.
However, there was some kind of problem and the execution did not take
place. The best they could do was
to have him exiled again. This
time, the conditions of the island were so harsh, that he was sure to die. However, thanks to the great care given to him by his
followers and people on the island he not only survived he also wrote some of
his most important works, which are still read and treasured to this day.
Later he was pardoned again. He
retired to an area where he had loyal supporters and he spent the rest of his
life training his students and writing letters to his followers.
The practice he taught was a form of meditation based on chanting the
mantra Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. He
also told his students that they should recite chapter two and sixteen of “The
Lotus Sutra” every day (See “Inside The Lotus Sutra”) as well as learn
the eighty thousand doctrines of the Buddha.
We have many of these letters that Nichiren wrote today, and you can
get translations of a few of them at our website (http://www.buddhistinformation.com).
You can find more translations by following the links on the same site.
more information about Nichiren and the practice he taught see “Day by Day,”
and for information and study material on “The Lotus Sutra” visit out
Lotus Sutra Study Center.
started practicing Buddhism when I was eight years old. I didn’t understand much about it, nor did I particularly
want to at that time. I figured
that Buddhism was the same as my old religion, and that it wouldn’t make any
sense. I never studied at first,
and I didn’t practice much until I started getting things that I prayed for.
They were small things at first, a new game, or a cool piece of
computer hardware, and then when my life condition started to improve-- not
just the quality of my material possessions.
I began to develop a small amount of faith.
was in the sixth grade, right before I turned twelve, I actually got the one
thing that I was convinced would make me happy; I got out of school.
My parents put me into a home schooling program and I graduated at age
fourteen. It was not that I hated
learning; it was the environment that I had to learn in that I so detested.
In home schooling, I learned twice as much in half the time, and as of
November 2 of this year, I will be eligible for collage.
when I started home schooling that I began to develop serious faith in
Buddhism. I also began studying
everyday. Some sutras and
teachings were easy for me, while others were not.
It took me almost 5 years to understand “The Lotus Sutra”! It was not until I read “Inside The lotus Sutra”
(available in our library section) that I really began to understand this
profound teaching of the Buddha.
life condition of my entire family became better, so did our surroundings.
Just recently we moved into a much better neighborhood.
Today I run the website for Buddhist Information, give speeches, answer
the phone, and I also write the occasional lecture.
past two “Compassion Days” I went to the Country Club Plaza and gave
speeches representing our school of Buddhism.
“Compassion Day” is sponsored by “Tricycle Magazine” and brings
all the various Buddhist Groups in the city together to talk to anyone who is
interested in learning more about the Buddhist faith.
since my family started practicing Buddhism, we have not lacked anything
material, and everything we want comes our way.
When we started this practice, my father was in a wheel chair, and my
mother was constantly ill. Today,
my dad gets around with a cane, and mom is in much better health.
We run Buddhist Information of North America, and send information on
Buddhism all over the North American continent, including Hawaii, Canada, The
USA, The Bahamas, and Alaska. We
also maintain a vast online Library, which is freely accessible to anyone.
My father now writes Buddhist Books.
He has finished three of them, “Stop Suffering: A Buddhist Guide To
Happiness,” “Day by Day,”
and “Inside The Lotus Sutra.” “Stop
Suffering” is available from “zeus-publications.com,” the other two can be
read by anyone who is interested in the free on-line library at www.
buddhistinformation.com. He also
writes lectures and has made numerous audiotapes for the people who study
I started this practice with no faith, but despite this the practice
still worked for me. If it hadn’t,
then the Buddhist Law would not be a universal law.
If you leap off of a cliff, and say “I don’t believe in gravity.
I have no faith in gravity” all the way down, and even if you really
don’t have any belief or faith in gravity, you will still be hurt, possibly
killed when you hit the ground. The
Buddhist Law is also like this, it works regardless who believes or does not
believe in it.
all circumstances, this practice works. You
do not have to have faith in it for it to work.
You do not have to make your mind believe anything to receive value
from this practice. Eventually,
because it does work, you will develop faith.
Whatever religion you practice should be the same way or you are
cheating yourself. If a religion
is real, you can see it, prove it, and demonstrate this truth for the entire
world to see.
Of Dharma Teachers
There is no one more important to your growth and
spiritual development than the person who teaches you Dharma. People who have a present connection to the Dharma often
times fail to appreciate what it is they have.
They do not understand how rare it is to encounter these teachings, let
alone have some one to instruct them. You
owe your teacher in the Dharma a debt that is similar in magnitude to that of
your present parents.
The person who first introduces you to the Dharma has saved you from
endless suffering. It is not easy to encounter the Dharma many people live, die,
and never even hear the word. Therefore
you should treat your instructor in the Dharma as if he were a Buddha.
You should offer him the highest honors, make sure that he is never in
need of anything, and always respect his teaching.
Your Dharma teacher is like a kind and experienced sailor.
He saw you, from his safe and sturdy ship, flailing about in the ocean,
so he threw you a rope, and pulled you to safety.
Your natural response to a person who rescues you from drowning should
be gratitude. You should feel
that same way towards some one who pulls you from the ocean of suffering.
This world we live in is like a great ocean in many ways.
There are dangers at every turn, things lurking in the murky depths,
hoping to catch you off guard so that they can devour you.
We, who live in this world, are akin to some one who is swimming in
this ocean water. Such a person
is oblivious to the predators and numerous other dangers, which could quickly
kill you. There is evidence all
around you that such things exist in the water, but you do not look and so you
do not see, instead you swim on. A
Dharma teacher has long ago realized the dangers of the ocean, and has
constructed a boat for himself. He
still remains with us in the ocean, but is unaffected by the presence of
sharks, jellyfish, and the other dangers of the sea.
Dharma teacher calls to you from the safety of his ship, saying, “ Swimming
in the middle of the ocean is dangerous.
My ship is warm and safe from sharks, jellyfish, and sharp coral reefs.
It is also stocked with food and fresh, clean water.
Please save yourself and come aboard!”
You now become alerted to the dangers of the ocean so you exercise your
limited judgment and climb aboard his ship, and he begins to teach you about a
land area called ‘shore’ where you will be happy.
shore is Nirvana. The Ocean is
the way we view our world before we develop the wisdom to see things clearly.
A person who studies Dharma could easily remain static in the happy
state he acquires at the shore, and not go out sailing, looking to save people
from their own suffering. Sailing
is a lot of effort and yet they always return to the rough areas of the ocean
seeking to help as many people as possible.
This Dharma teacher selflessly gives his time, his entire life
really, to teach people who want to be free from the poison of mental
suffering. A real Dharma Teacher
is available to you twenty-four hours every day of the year.
This teacher will give you guidance soundly based on the Dharma and
will never charge a fee or accept money from you!
Not being respectful to your Dharma teacher would be foolish!
Without him you would still be in the ocean, swimming around, oblivious
to all the danger. He sails in
visible range of the people in his environment and frees himself from the
chains of suffering he was voluntarily born with, to show others that they
could do the same! Yet, many pay
no attention, pretend not to see him or worse, make light of his efforts.
have the karma to notice his ship and enough wisdom to grab the line he throws
so you quickly scramble aboard.
Once you are on the ship, he begins to teach you how to sail it.
He shows you how to start the engines, how to steer, and he charts a
course for you that leads to the shore of Nirvana.
He tells you how to avoid reefs, what to do in a storm, how to get food
when supplies are low, where you can get fresh water, all of the knowledge you
need to become a seasoned captain. Once
you have learned these skills, you have the ability to end your personal
suffering and the burning desire to free as many other people as possible from
the sea of suffering.
This ship is the Dharma. It
will inevitably carry you to the shore of Nirvana and as you learn to sail you
will become more skillful.
clumsy at first you will soon be able to steer with ease. Please notice that a genuine Dharma teacher wants his
students to equal or exceed anything he manages to accomplish. A true teacher does not want to make you dependent on him nor
does he want you to support him financially.
My Dharma teacher is also my father.
He has taught me the Dharma since I was seven years old.
He rescued me from suffering, and has shown me the way to Nirvana.
The only way I can repay the debt I owe him for this is to take the
knowledge he has given me, and reach out to assist as many people as possible.
To be Buddhist means that we teach others.
To correctly practice Mahayana Buddhism we must teach the Dharma freely
to anyone who wants to learn. There
is no separation of these two things. If
you practice Buddhism, but fail to teach the Dharma, you will never attain
enlightenment. If you say to
yourself, “I will wait until I am fully enlightened to teach the Dharma,”
and you follow through with this policy and do not teach others then you will
never attain enlightenment. You
learn more in a year of teaching then you will in decades of private studying.
There are insights that you will never gain if you do not teach.
I know that many people never get to hear Dharma, let alone
have a teacher to guide their footsteps.
I have the great good fortune to live with my Dharma teacher.
He is constantly at work, always studying or writing or chanting.
is like an immovable force! Sometimes
he works so hard that he collapses in bed at the end of the day having done
nothing else but Dharma activities! He
has produced three books on Buddhism back-to-back in less that a full year,
and is working on another one. His
goal is to teach somebody every day until the day he dies
Teacher has always been self-sacrificing and noble, especially on my behalf.
He has always gone out of his way to make sure that my education, both
Buddhist and worldly, was lacking nothing.
Thanks to him, I have given numerous lectures on Buddhism and I am
close to finishing my first book
again I would like to thank my teacher and father, for all of the hard work
that he has done on my behalf, and I only hope to some day be as kind and
loving a person. My goal at the
moment is to become as tolerant of others as he is.
that I know has been directly transmitted to me from my father and teacher
Stephen Klick. I would like to
dedicate the merit accrued from this writing to him.
I would not have had the opportunity to practice the Dharma without his
help, and I therefore think that any merit I receive should really be his.
word in this book is sincere but please believe none of it!
Buddhists do not blindly trust, they find out for themselves through
direct experience. I urge you to
read the rest of the books in the BIONA series and test the practice they
teach. If this practice is real
you will see that it directly improves your mind and life.
If it can’t prove itself to you in a reasonable amount of time then
why would you continue to practice it?
If you try
this practice for three months I promise you that your life will dramatically
improve no matter what your life is like when you start.
make this unconditional promise because these teachings are based on the one
great Law that runs the entire universe.
Remember, to really do this practice you must chant “Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo”
for a few minutes several times a day as well as study the teachings of the
Buddha. It is also important to
make a start learning the Gongyo ceremony (sutra recitation of chapter two and
sixteen of “The Lotus Sutra”)
you are new to the practice you will not need to chant for more then ten or
fifteen minutes per day but if you can do more you will certainly benefit from
it. Daily study is important but
since this is an experiment you don’t want to spend much (or any) money if
possible. As long as you have
access to the Internet you can use the library at the BIONA website.
You can study for a year or two just with the material you find
provided and the links to our ‘sister’ sites will last even longer.
phone lines at BIONA are also answered twenty-four hours every day so before
you try this practice make certain that you know how to pronounce “Nam
Myoho-Renge-Kyo” properly. If
you do this practice without guidance you will probably just waste your time.
Thank you for reading this book. Spiritual growth and personal morality are critical for proper human development. These subjects are the most important issues that face us as individual human beings as well as collectively as a society. I personally encourage you to decide to work for the benefit of all beings everywhere.
recently read a teaching that said a good thing to do when you are, say riding
in a car, is to imagine your love as sonic waves, and to further imagine that
they extending from you into everyone and everything on earth.
It is a very peaceful way to calm yourself and it’s also a good
practice to use when training your mind.
you really could extend your love to everyone on earth, to just ‘make’
every one happy, I am sure that my teacher would have done so long ago.
I would like to thank all of my teachers, and all of the Buddha’s for
making this book possible. I
would especially like to thank my father and teacher Stephen Klick, for
suggesting that I write a book, and for giving me the wisdom and knowledge to
write it with.
all beings in the universe be affected by my love, may all beings attain true
and perfect enlightenment. May
all beings come to know the true meaning of love.
Myoho Renge Kyo, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, may all beings