Seeking Dharma Cultivators

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Seeking Dharma Cultivators

Postby thornbush » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:39 am

This story is close to my heart...
http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Thus ... nd_Stories
Once upon a time there was a Zen monk who practiced in a deserted mountain area.

"Lonely and isolated, he had a deluded thought, wishing to have some fellow monks practicing along with him to make life more bearable. Immediately, an old woman appeared from nowhere, leading two beautiful young girls by the hand, who, she said, lived in the village down in the valley. They had come to seek guidance in the Way. The monk, unsuspicious, immediately gave a Dharma talk to the group. One day, after many such visits over a period of time, the old woman respectfully requested that the two girls be allowed to become attendants to the monk and relieve him of his daily chores. The monk, hearing this, became suspicious. He reprimanded the old woman severely and refused the offer. The three women left, looking angry and ashamed.

The monk, intrigued, followed them discreetly until they disappeared around a bend in the road. When he reached the spot, he found it was a dead end with no habitation or anything else around, except for three very old trees, one big tree and two smaller ones. He thought it over and realized that he had been 'tested.' A fleeting thought occurred to him, that he should cut down the trees, start a bonfire, and burn them to the ground. At that moment, the three women reappeared, repentant, begging him to forgive them and spare their lives.

Therefore, the cultivator should remember: when the mind is still, all realms are calm; when delusion arises, demons are born."

For many years, I was like this line: "Lonely and isolated, he had a deluded thought, wishing to have some fellow monks practicing along with him to make life more bearable."
Although I live in the city, but years of encountering the usual human politics and strife in many temples, Monasteries and Dharma Centres, those days when I was active, have put me off that I went into a self imposed 'exile' for many years to gather back my own senses and unwind from all that bitterness.
Only last year, did I 'make a come back' online, that too with caution...
What's your experience? :thanks:
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Re: Seeking Dharma Cultivators

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:25 am

Hi Thornbush,

Sometimes the monks in these Zen stories seem so eccentric!

thornbush wrote:For many years, I was like this line: "Lonely and isolated, he had a deluded thought, wishing to have some fellow monks practicing along with him to make life more bearable."


There is benefit in having kalyanamitras (spiritual friends), the Buddha spoke highly of this. As for the case of the Zen monk, it's hard to comment without knowing more about the nature of his intentions.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Live in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes

Dhamma Wheel (Theravada forum) * Here Comes Trouble
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Re: Seeking Dharma Cultivators

Postby dumb bonbu » Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:30 pm

hi thorny,
it is unfortunate that you encountered so much strife inside the temples but i guess that's just illustrative of the nature of human suffering to pervade any environment. still, it must have been difficult and i admire your dedication in staying on the path, even when that meant self isolation.

i agree with what retro says about the importance of spiritual friends - this is something i am currently learning, they are invaluable! i remember the time i thought i had found a Dharma centre i could settle down in - after even as little as 1/2 a year or so struggling by myself it felt like such a relief! and then the dissapointment in realising in this centre i did not feel comfortable or at home. but often i believe, when the conditions are right then (to sound perhaps corny and cliched) the temple or centre finds you - several years later Three Wheels Temple came across me and though i have to travel further and can attend less frequently than i was able to at the aforementioned centre in my own town, it just makes me treasure those occasions when i do all the more.

also, perhaps its worth remembering....though the illustration you provide is (perhaps) just a story, the reality of many hermits and monks that practised in isolation away from the 'dust of the world' is that they more often than not found themselves at most a day or half-day's walk away from a temple or other hermitages where they could share in others company. again illustrative of the importance of spiritual friends whatever route along the path one is walking be it in the village, in the city or among white clouds.

well, enough rambling from me lol :coffee:
Although I too am within Amida's grasp,
Passions obstruct my eyes and I cannot see him;
Nevertheless, great compassion is untiring and
illumines me always.
- Shinran


Namu Amida Butsu
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Re: Seeking Dharma Cultivators

Postby thornbush » Wed Jun 17, 2009 4:24 pm

Today I found this in the "The Awakening of Faith Treatise" on a Pure Land site:
http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhi ... swers.html
If sentient beings in the age of the End of the Dharma are to practice this Dharma, there is the fear they will not always encounter an enlightened being [to instruct them].
The Tathagata, the World Honored One, had a different method [for them]: he taught them to be mindful of the Buddha by reciting the Buddha-name and to seek birth in the Pure Land.
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Re: Seeking Dharma Cultivators

Postby sraddha » Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:04 am

thornbush wrote:Today I found this in the "The Awakening of Faith Treatise" on a Pure Land site:
http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhi ... swers.html
If sentient beings in the age of the End of the Dharma are to practice this Dharma, there is the fear they will not always encounter an enlightened being [to instruct them].
The Tathagata, the World Honored One, had a different method [for them]: he taught them to be mindful of the Buddha by reciting the Buddha-name and to seek birth in the Pure Land.


I completely agree with "Pure Land" interpretations -- you can recite any Buddha name that you choose (remember there is only 1 Buddha -the Dharmakaya)- for me I chanted "Bhaisajya guru" the whole night when I was in pain -- there were times I used to have so much trouble breathing at night ! One night while chanting, this cool breath entered my chest -- I could breath without trouble.

Amitabha as well -- No mantra -- just the name! The trick is to be completely mindful of only the name.

It works, they really do rescue you - if you practice!

Of course, don't believe me --do it yourself and find out! :smile:

:anjali:
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