Story of enlightenment.

The best religion – A dialog between Dalai Lama and Leonardo Boff

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This is a transcription of the following article from the blog Just for Sharing Ideas. I found enlightenment in the message in this article.

The Brazilian theologist Leonardo Boff wrote:

In a round table discussion about religion and freedom in which Dalai Lama and myself were participating at recess, I maliciously and also with interest, asked him: “Your holiness, what is the best religion?”

I thought he would say: “The Tibetan Buddhism” or “The oriental religions, much older than Christianity.” The Dalai Lama paused, smiled and looked me in the eyes…which surprised me because I knew of the malice contained in my question.


He answered: “The best religion is the one that gets you closest to God. It is the one that makes you a better person.”

To relieve my embarrassment with such a wise answer, I asked: “What is it that makes me better?”

He responded:
“Whatever makes you
more compassionate,
more sensible,
more detached,
more loving,
more humanitarian,
more responsible,
more ethical.
The religion that will do that for you is the best religion.”

I was silent for a moment, marveling and even today thinking of his wise and irrefutable response:

“I am not interested, my friend, about your religion or if you are religious or not.
What really is important to me is your behavior in front of your peers, family, work, community, and in front of the world.
Remember, the universe is the echo of our actions and our thoughts.
The law of action and reaction is not exclusively for physics. It is also of human relations. If I act with goodness, I will receive goodness. If I act with evil, I will get evil.
What our grandparents told us is the pure truth. You will always have what you desire for others. Being happy is not a matter of destiny. It is a matter of options.”

Finally he said:
“Take care of your Thoughts because they become Words.
Take care of your Words because they will become Actions.
Take care of your Actions because they will become Habits.
Take care of your Habits because they will form your Character.
Take care of your Character because it will form your Destiny,
and your Destiny will be your Life
…and…
There is no religion higher than the Truth.”

Bring Happiness to Others

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A disciple asked Bodhidharma:
How can I become a happy person and bring happiness to others?

Bodhidharma said:
There are four states that you need to be in to do this.
Start by thinking of yourself as someone else, and this will make you “selfless.”
Next, think of others instead of yourself, this will make you “compassionate.”
Then, treat others as separate people, this will make you “wise.”
Finally, think of yourself as yourself, and this will make you “at ease.”

Image result for 達摩祖師相片
Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th or 6th century. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Chan Buddhism to China, and regarded as its first Chinese patriarch.
According to Chinese legend, he also began the physical training of the monks of Shaolin Monastery that led to the creation of Shaolin kungfu. In Japan, he is known as Daruma.

Bodhidharma’s teachings and practice centered on meditation and the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra. The Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall (952) identifies Bodhidharma as the 28th Patriarch of Buddhism in an uninterrupted line that extends all the way back to the Gautama Buddha himself.[16] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhidharma)

The following is Bodhidharma’s teaching in Chinese:

弟子問達摩祖師:
如何才能變成一個自己愉快,也帶給別人快樂的人?
達摩祖師笑答:
四種境界,你可領會其中的妙趣
首先把自己當成別人,此是”無我”:再之,要把別人當成自己,這是”慈悲”;而後,要把別人當成別人,此是”智慧”;最後,要把自己當成自己,這是”自在”。”selfless.”
Next, think of others instead of yourself, this will make you “compassionate.”
Then, treat others as separate people, this will make you “wise.”
Finally, think of yourself as yourself, and this will make you “at ease.”

The Trilogy of Life in the Eyes of the Famous

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The German poet Goethe wrote a poem summarizing the experience of life toward maturity and perfection: “The young, I love your beauty; the middle age, I love your speech; the old age, I love your virtue.”

Goethe (Stieler 1828).jpg

The image is fromhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Wolfgang_von_Goethe.

The Chinese poet Liu Dabai once wrote a poetry praising the trilogy of life: “Young people are artists and create piece by piece; middle-aged people are engineers, and build one building at a time; the elderly are historians, and you can read their works page by page. ”

Image result for image of 中国诗人刘大白
Image of Liu Dabai from中国梦文学网.

The poetry veteran Zang Kejia posted a poem to reflect the poor and tragic lives of the old farmers: “Son, bathe in the soil; Father, sweat in the soil; Grandpa, buried in the earth.”

The image of Zang kejia from https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E8%87%A7%E5%85%8B%E5%AE%B6/152684?fr=aladdin.

Female writer You Jin writes that the drink preferences of different generations of people reflect modern life: “My son likes soft drinks, he only tastes sweet; my father loves coffee, which is bitter but also sweet; my grandfather drinks boiled water because it is very light. ”

Image of You Jin from http://www.baike.com/wiki/%E5%B0%A4%E4%BB%8A.

Wang Dingjun, a scholar, has a special understanding of the Trilogy of Life: “God gives us, the small and young to our parents, the strong and energic to the national society. Only by old age, He returns us to ourselves.”

The image of Wang Dingjun is from http://www.baike.com/wiki/%E7%8E%8B%E9%BC%8E%E9%92%A7.

 

Note:

For the Chines text, please click the link

人生三部曲/The Trilogy of Life

 

Unconditional Love

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My daughter was out with her family on a ski trip, so I was trying to help her out. Whenever she needed something or needed me to do anything, I would just put down everything and do it for her. Then she texted me and said, “You are the best, mom, you give me unconditional love.” As I was sitting there looking at the words, I suddenly burst into tears. I started to question, where is my unconditional love?

Where is it? Because my parents are no longer with me – they passed away many years ago. And I guessed that I did not get unconditional love anymore. For me, unconditional love was from parents to children. It was a one-way street. I understood that, but that was what made me even sadder.

I sat there and started to talk to myself, “Who can help me find this unconditional love? Help me find it and receive it. Please, please, please. I always wanted to give unconditional love, but I hardly receive it. I beg you; please let me have it. Please let me receive it.”Image result for image of unconditional love

I started to immerse myself into this understanding of “unconditional love.” The person who gives this unconditional love must be in a higher position, in the spiritual sense. They must be selfless and able to sacrifice. They must be able to give without any thought of getting back anything.

It is so hard to find people who can give someone unconditional love, to find someone who has the character of divinity to be able to do all of this.

I shook my head, thinking, “Oh well, this is not possible. I don’t think I will ever receive unconditional love anymore.” Exhausted and tired, I started to fall asleep.

While I was sleeping, I heard a voice:
“You do have unconditional love.
The sun shines forth light, and so does the moon. They give light to the world freely, unconditionally.
Look at the Earth; trees grow on it, producing flowers. The fruit trees bear fruit and never ask for anything in return.
Look at the river, the ocean, and the beach. They supply you with water and enjoyment. Do they ever ask for anything in return? They do not.
Look at God: how He sacrificed His son. He did not ask for anything in return.
You don’t need to look at human beings for unconditional love; you need to look at your surroundings, as unconditional love is everywhere.”

Unconditional love is not just limited to interaction between humans. It is unlimited and unrestricted. It is applied to the whole universe.

Now I understand why I am moved to bow my head to the heaven and earth, the to the sun and moon before I pray every time. Indeed we need to be grateful for their supplying what we need unconditionally.

Wait to Take Action

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Related image

Picture from Wallpoop – The Wallpaper Site 

Most of my colleagues were very excited because a new manager transferred to our department. We had heard that he was capable, and he had come to reorganize the business, but after a few days, the new director had done nothing. He showed up at the office politely every day, but just stayed in his room and hardly came out. Seeing that he did nothing, those with bad motives who were initially nervous about his coming became bold and more rampant.

“He is not that capable, just a nice guy. It is easier to fool him than the former manager!”

Four months later, as people continued to feel disappointed towards the new manager, he suddenly took action – he fired all the bad employees, but he promoted the diligent personnel. After taking such a quick and precise action, he seemed to be an entirely different person.

At the year-end dinner party, the new manager gave a speech after everyone had filled and emptied their glasses three times:

“I believe that you were confused by my subdued action when I first came here, and then when I made sudden decisions for the office. I would like to tell you a story so that you will understand why I did so. I have a friend who bought a house with a huge yard. After moving in, he immediately cleared the whole yard. Then he planted new flowers throughout. One day, the original owner came to visit him, and he was shocked to see the yard, asking, “Where are the expensive peonies?”

Image result for image of yard in mess

Picture from Kujo Yardwear

Then my friend realized that he had thought the peonies were weeds and had removed all of them.

Later he bought another house, and although the yard was messy, he did not take action right away. And sure enough, the plants he thought were weeds blossomed in the spring. Likewise, the plants that flowered in the summer were what he thought were weeds in the spring. The small trees stood there quietly for half of a year and then began growing beautiful foliage in the autumn.

He waited until late autumn to make sure that he had seen all the plants and recognized the useless weeds and removed them. That way, he could preserve all of the flowers and trees.”

The manager raised his cup and continued:
“Let me toast to everyone here. The office is like a garden; you are all precious flowers. And flowers can not blossom throughout the year. Therefore we can only recognize it after long-term observation!”

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