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The Daily Enlightenment
 Quote: Freedom From Intoxication

As craving addictive intoxicants
for ‘relaxation’ causes tension,
which is the opposite of relaxation,
the cause of true relaxation
is freedom from intoxicants.

- Stonepeace

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 Realisation: From The Fiscal Cliff To The Spiritual Cliff

As death can occur at any moment,
this is the moment to get ready.

- Stonepeace

The Fiscal Cliff was a point in time (end of 2012) for the American economy, when certain tax policies expire, and if there is no implementation of a balanced approach for governmental spending and taxing to reduce the existing financial woes, this could lead the nation off the edge, falling into the valley of another recession. Due to the country’s huge debt problem, there is a proposal is for less big spending on that deemed less necessary and more taxing of the wealthier, who have more than necessary. However, excess reduction of expenditures and excess raising of taxes could hurt jobs, purchasing power and thus the economy as well. The tricky part is agreeing upon what is the ideal balancing point. Being the cause of the mess, cutting unsustainable selfish greed would be crucial.

Somewhat inspired by this very material problem, let us look at a parallel – what I shall call the Spiritual Cliff – that possible point ahead, when there is a deep plunge into the abyss of existential crisis for the individual. While the steepness of the Fiscal Cliff, how near the edge is, and effects of falling off it can be approximated with knowledge of policies and changing economical conditions, the Spiritual Cliff’s proximity and impact are difficult to calculate, at the mercy of sudden change of karmic fortune, often accelerated by unchecked wayward ways, and pressure under fire. This recurring cliff, in this life and in life after life, symbolises climaxing points of life’s mountainous hurdles, the final being the pivotal moment of facing death and its uncertainties for those not ready.

While the Fiscal Cliff is avoidable, the cliff of death cannot be escaped, unless one is enlightened in time in this life. Given that this is a tall order for most, there is another approach – by practising sincere mindfulness of [Amita(bha)] Buddha (Amituofo) with the right Faith and Aspiration so well, that instead of falling off the deadly cliff, back into the sea of Samsara, it is used as a runway and springboard to take off towards Pure Land, where there will be no more cyclical bobbing up and down in the ocean of life and death, where enlightenment will be in good time. The challenge for now, before life expires, is to increase and balance our compassion (based on Bodhicitta to benefit all beings) and wisdom (to know how) as skilfully as we can to facilitate reaching Pure Land.

Aware of the uncertainty of our rebirths,
the Buddhas encourage us with certainty
to seek birth in Pure Land.

- Stonepeace

Related Article:
Small Is Beautiful

Related Course:
Understanding Amituofo Via The Amitabha Sutra (11th Run)

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 Excerpt: The Pure Land Path Is For Everyone

Of the two Dharma schools,
Samsara is the most challenging,
and Pure Lands the most skilful.

- Stonepeace

The Dharma of Pure Land [path] can assist people of three different potentials [high, average and low roots; everyone] to attain liberation, and may be accepted and upheld by practitioners independent of their mental capacities. However, the Pure Land practice is [especially] more relevant to the laity. Lay people have to make a living or take care of their families and it is not easy for them to find the time needed for the study of sutras or for the practice of Ch’an [Zen]; only the method of reciting ‘Buddha’ can harmonize both with the theory and with the potential. Those reciting “Amituofo [Amita(bha) Buddha]” sincerely and single-mindedly until their obstacles and [negative] karma have come to a halt will see their original face the way it was before they were born, and the true nature of Tathagata Garbha [Buddha-nature]. Between now and the end of this life, the superior class must be attained in the Pure Land in the West. Perhaps the practitioner cannot bring his/her karma to a halt and cannot abandon attachment because of some inferior root. Assisted by the Buddha and supported by true faith and a sincere vow, the adept can elicit the way to enlightenment and obtain rebirth in Pure Land regardless of his/her karma. The wonderful Dharma of Pure Land is like this.

A Ch’an adept who studies the teachings but does not understand the meaning and has not relinquished the obstacles of ignorance and karma must be reborn in the cycle of birth and death and cannot leave samsara. One should not be presumptuous, lest one be pitied by those countless worldings who were reborn in the Western Pure Land in spite of their karma. How unfortunate that those who benefit the most are usually average. The clever ones most often quit [Pure Land practice] because they prefer to be self-reliant rather than surrender to Buddha['s compassion]. That view costs them their liberation; unable to leave the Saha world, they repeatedly return to transmigration. What a pity.

Many sages of antiquity who have followed in the footsteps of the compassionate Buddha advocated Pure Land practice and wrote commentaries to that effect… The Dharma of Pure Land is the Dharma Ocean to which all the other Dharmas return. Those who believe in this teaching and practice accordingly can attain rebirth in Pure Land in this life: They will enlighten themselves and others, thereby attaining perfect enlightenment. Should anyone have a problem with this statement, that is not my responsibility; it is the responsibility of Shakyamuni Buddha and of Amita Buddha.

Related Course:
Understanding Amituofo Via The Amitabha Sutra (11th Run)

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The Surangama Sutra
Buddhist Text Translation Society



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Alternative Sayings (1) & (2)

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