Did a loved one pass away between July 2019 and today?
Please submit names to Rev. Anita no later than JULY 12 and we will remember them with gratitude at our special Obon Service.
Please check future Buddha Posts and the Cleveland Buddhist Temple web page for additional information as plans are finalized. We look forward to sharing the Buddha Dharma together as a Sangha again.
Dhammapada, a collection of verses of Shakyamuni Buddha
Maitreya - c. AD 200s – Pakistan, Gandhara, Kushan Period - Cleveland Museum of Art
Heedful among the heedless, wakeful among those asleep, just as a fast horse advances, leaving the weak behind: so the wise.
An ice cold glass of lemonade with a little paper umbrella; the sound of a gentle surf; a hammock under the shade of trees, a good book to read. Island time living…
When was the last time you spent 24 hours blissfully and joyfully living your life? A 24 hour day without stress, anxiety, fear, anger, agitation, irritation or our self-imposed “to do” list?
Isn’t it odd? For something as precious as this very life we have, we rarely live a day of being content. Judging from the bombardment of social, television and internet media it isn’t just you and me, but most everyone we know.
In our seemingly over-committed lives we can’t even imagine living a life of Island Time. Even when we retire from a job, we think every day will be like a ‘Saturday,’ but will it? Won’t we bring the same mindset – a mindset that demands to occupy our time with stuff to do and then feeling guilty for not completing our daily “to do list?”
Siddhartha Gautama lived his early years in numbing luxury. He then lived years as an ascetic, with deprivations so severe he nearly died. When he awakened to the realities of this life, he taught us the Middle Path. I think of this Middle Path as both Island Time and Amida Buddha Time.
Warren Buffet, a financially successful person said “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything." Saying ‘no’ is something our frenetic culture abhors. We each need to decide what we say ‘no’ to. We each need to decide what, for us, defines success.
Is it getting caught in the acquisition of material objects, being an “important person” or trying to change the world? Can we become so busy, that as Thomas Merton said over 50 years ago that “our activism neutralizes our work for peace?”
“There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”
This short poem in the Seattle Times (1/29/61) speaks to what we lose sight of when we live this way:
“Sometimes I pompously question life
And ask what its problems mean.
While hundreds of exquisite little joys
Lie under my eyes unseen.”
Hundreds of exquisite little joys lie under my eyes unseen… This, to me, is where Amida Buddha Time and Island Time are one. When we entrust, accept or acknowledge that we are embraced by life, by Amida Buddha, never to be let go of regardless of our bonbuness we can begin to live life with wisdom and compassion, a life of Island Time.
We can relax into this awareness of life, an awareness that puts all the messy problems of living life as a human into perspective. This awareness frees us from our ego self. The ego self that demands to create even more mountains that we then needlessly have to struggle to tear down.
Life is not easy. We suffer birth, illness, old age and death. We know this truth. We know causes and conditions, some we have control over and others not, make each one of us unique in our experience of this life.
Amida Buddha and the concept of being embraced liberate us from a bondage we impose on ourselves. This does not mean the realities of this life disappear. They never will. What it does mean is we can live life unburdened with our ego-self controlling us. We can find wisdom and compassion not only for others, but more importantly, for our own self.
We can begin to live life in Island Time, the Middle Path way, now.
Excerpts of Buddhist voices across teachings, across contients, across time.
KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM
Once upon a time lived four men in a country far away. Three of the men were knowledgeable, but somehow lacked wisdom. The fourth man had no formal education and so lacked the knowledge of the other three, but he was especially wise.
One day, the foreman or walking through the forest when they happened upon the bones of a lion. One of the learned men, after carefully examining the bones, skillfully connected them and thereby re-created the lion’s skeleton. He pointed to his work was pride.
Seeing this, the second man quickly set to work gathering forest materials. From these materials he made for and flesh. He then reassembled the lion’s frame by carefully placing before and flesh onto the skeleton. He, too, pointed to his work was pride.
The third man, not wanting to be outdone by his peers, stepped forward and announced, “gentlemen, I shall now attempt to breathe LIFE into this lion.”
Upon hearing these words, the wise man tried to stop him, but to no avail. Not only would the others not listen to him, one even remarked that the wise man “held a rather simple and unscientific view of the world of nature and all its creatures.”
Giving up, the wise man quickly climbed the nearest tree and hid among the thick leaves.
Only minutes later, just as the third man predicted, life returns to the lion would allow an thunder like ROAR!
The three scholarly men cheered in unison and patted each other on the back. They even congratulated one another. Almost instantly, the lion killed the three men.
It was only the fourth man, the wise one who hid in the tree, who survived that day.
Excerpt from: Stories for Wisdom, by Shojo Honda (Stories shared with children in the Dharma School at Ekoji Buddhist Temple in Virginia). BDK America Inc., 2013