What is this thing with making offerings of merit we then give away as we move closer to our authentic presence? Where is it that “living in wisdom and thoughts of Zen” i.e., mindfulness, take us without ego clouding our vision?

As how we live matures as our authentic presence as our authentic presence then becomes the path to how we begin to live within the answers to such questions. To where tradition becomes our experience – as “moments” have a way of finding us.

It is like capturing within ourselves a benchmark, from where to begin our thoughts and actions. It is where meditation, and what was referred to earlier as zazen takes us. We soon learn that it is free of the stumbling blocks of physical boundaries and language to universal acceptance, joy, love, and understanding. Just where does our self-expression lie apparent for all to see?

Views inside the Shaolin Temple (famous for kung fu) on Songshan Mountain south of Luoyang that has played a vital role in the development of Chan Buddhism in China prior to moving to Japan and the development of Zen.

Why many people say Buddhism is not as much a religion, but a practice as to how we live our lives. How we can be a better Christian or another religion and follow a meditation practice based on Buddhism. This sense of equanimity, of oneness and loving-kindness, of coming to understand the terms of suchness, encapsulates our role in the universe when we begin to look for it. It becomes our own personal journey through time – and epochs. It has never been a matter of believing, or not believing, only rather we accept our own role and following the path, or Way, that has been laid out before us to follow. Its like going to school to learn who we are meant to be, and staying until we become the right answer.

Why I liked the heading of my previous entry, “We always seem to be waiting for patience, creativity, and even divergent thinking to arrive. When it is something we have always had or known as blessings, but simply paid little attention to or forgotten”. Just where did these eternal vibrations and blessings come from? It is why and how the Bodhisattva vow and thoughts of becoming a sage are to become embedded in our nature and why looking back to the beginning always points the way.

How taking the next step from within is what brings us to our greatest joy as patience, or the lack thereof, seems the attribute most needed for the journey ahead. Another is looking to openness to experience. Openness is seen in the breadth, depth, and permeability of consciousness, and in the ongoing quest for new experiences and ideas. Although distinct from intelligence, it is related to divergent thinking and to creativity discussed in the previous entry.

At some point, you begin speaking of only those things you feel qualified to speak about. With the release of ego bringing the ultimate freedom that defines the journey ahead. Always looking to the flow of what others have written for inspiration to not settle for where we currently reside. The conundrum or paradox to be present but not here just the same. The answers taking us to our own inner reality that only we can define – to where tradition becomes our experience as we awaken with mindful awareness. Why spending our time in reflection of the King of Meditation Sutra and the Tao becomes a corner post or stone to our thinking and actions that point the way to our basis of freedom. 

In the footsteps of Bodhisattvas – 6B / I am blessed in samadhi… continued

Key thought: I am blessed in samadhi – meditation and mindfulness take me there. Universal in my thoughts… one with universal love. The benefit of “no I or ego”, is to be free of fear, hypocrisy, and negative emotions.

  1. The way forward continues as we learn the dharma, sutras, and tantras that serve to pull us away from needless attachments and clinging. The dharma teaches us to refrain from worldly objects and to embrace spiritual growth. It is with this we learn to focus solely on wisdom and compassion, our merit and discipline, and the proper offerings that guide our way.
  2. Much can be said about the benefits of what may be known as guarding our actions and getting our heart and minds in accord with what we bring to the path. Coming into alignment with our highest aspirations can best be done by using our wealth wisely to accumulate merit, move closer to awakening, and investing in our future enfoldment. Identifying with a particular Buddha or Bodhisattva with our aspiration, can be focused on three kinds of offerings.

1) The first offering has to do with cleaning the alter, beautifying and expressing reverence as the place of our enfoldment, adding flowers, etc. The physical place of our practice.

2) The second kind of offering is benefiting others. When we are of service to others, it is the same as offering service to the Buddha himself. To sentient beings we offer material objects to protect their bodies, we offer words and physical support to protect them from fear, and we offer them the dharma to bring them to awakening.

3) The third offering is to engage in virtue without attachment. Free from the eight worldly concerns. We practice with mindfulness, gentleness, skill, and kindness.  This is the ultimate meaning of offering.

Lao Tzu depicted with I Ching at the Taoist Cave adjacent to the Leshan Giant Buddha south of Chengdu. What is important to note is how Lao Tzu and the symbols are interwoven with the yin/yang of I Ching in the background.

  1. We are reminded again of the tathagatas and those who have come before us, especially our role in observing the roots of all things, to the attainment of samadhi, and think only of the Dharma. The Dharma is our essential character and virtue that connects us to the cosmos and to the stars and connects with who we have always been and will be again. Why the tathagatas are so important to emulate in order that we accept our ultimate role as we look to discipline and abstaining from delusion.
  2. To embrace the Tao is know the Way of Heaven, to become constant in virtue so that our qi becomes harmonious. With this we can once again align and illuminate our inner nature, thereby protecting our life-destiny. While Buddhists talk of the meaning of the Tathagata, Taoist follow a similar track geared to refraining from offending celestial order and their place amidst the dragons and the stars.
  3. Recognizing, praising, and paying respect to our peers is essential to building confidence in our own abilities. Mirroring their attributes as our own gives character and strength to our endeavors. Watt and Suzuki bringing Zen forward comes to mind as a connecting point between Maitreya and Mañjuśrī in Buddhism, and Lao and Chuang Tzu in Taoism. Always bringing the thoughts of the ancients forward as our ultimate aspiration so that we too may mirror them.
  4. Continuing with the King of Meditation Sutra, it is knowing how to give properly of our wealth and not fearing to take our own next step that lights our way and the way of others that is key. We need to know how to best give of our intentions, talents, and wisdom, that help others as we expand the meaning of what generosity means. Whatever merit we gain is for the purpose of achieving enlightenment and to attain the mind of the Dharma.

A good way to follow our intentions is to make both mental and physical offerings in keeping with our endeavors as the bodhicitta of aspiration (the state of mind of a Bodhisattva), while carrying out enlightened intent through the bodhicitta of application (our actions, as we need to know how to give that will bring about physical benefit to those around us).

  1. Taoism often talks about how people of the mundane world do not comprehend the way of the sage. People of the ordinary world are only attached to what they see, like the illusions described in Buddhism, as if the illumination of fireflies only momentarily making appearances… but present just the same.

While the sage attends to the cosmos as yin and yang transform and heaven and earth find complimentary opposites, as all follow the way of virtue, zen, and the Tao.

  1. It is as if ascendancy is tied to wisdom. Which brings us back to the true essence of the meaning of an offering without clinging. To a sense of not requiring karmic reward and to be free of expectations. To follow “the mind of the Dharma” by offering merit without characteristics, personality, or temperament. It is in this place we meet the ultimate Buddha, also known as Dharmakaya Buddha.
  2. Often the first step is to broaden our own horizons going where the outcome cannot be known beforehand. Before departing, we must first open ourselves to an offering that will get our heart/mind on the proper footing or plane before departing on the path free of these pre-conceived traits. Free of clinging to any concept.

Instructions from the Buddha says that 1) the proper method of offering is to be free from seeing the Tathagata, the Buddha; 2) to abandon hope of any karmic return; and 3) to be without the view that “someone” is making the offering. This is called a “pure threefold feast”.  All that can be practice. And if we see that all as Dharma, then every function and every thought become the path.

  1. This view is extremely important in that we follow the Buddha and zen through our meditation and practice. To want nothing in return while we dedicate merit to all beings is central to the path we follow. By doing this, the Buddha conveys we will gain authentic enlightenment by developing the three-fold emptiness of the Buddha (the object of offering), the self (the subject who makes the offering), and the action (the offering itself). 
  2. That our practice becomes our authentic presence as our authentic presence then becomes our practice. Words to live by with Mañjuśrī in Mahayana Buddhism, the Bodhisattva (“Buddha-to-be”) personifying supreme wisdom and Lao Tzu always nearby. When we offer our merit to the universe, we create eternal virtue that never fades as it becomes us, as we in turn awaken to our enfoldment.
  3. Our merit is never lost. In focusing on defining and increasing our merit, we become free. Little steps taken each day manifest into big steps that become you/us. Do only that which contributes to enlightenment as you begin to wear the countenance of the Buddha and Lao Tzu.


By 1dandecarlo

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