Doubting Our Buddha Nature

‘I was in the middle of a weeklong meditation retreat when our teacher posed a simple and profound question: “Do you really trust you are a Buddha?” My inner response was “Absolutely… sometimes.” Countless times I had perceived my heart and mind awakening into freedom. In those moments, trust arose from a full-body realization that my original nature is pure awareness. When I was resting in the truth, I felt fully real and at home. Yet I knew that I also spend huge swaths of time each day believing I was a small self who was falling short and needed to be different in order to be okay.

Wishing to become more mindful of this persistent illusion of a small self, during the remainder of the retreat I periodically asked myself, “Who am I taking myself to be?” I was a meditator carried away by obsessive thinking and not trying hard enough. I was a woman wearing clothes that were too sexy and immodest for a Buddhist retreat. I was a judgmental person, running a constant commentary in my mind about how others appeared and behaved. I was a self-conscious yogi, wanting to impress my teacher during our interview. The question proved to be a very useful tool in revealing how fully and how often I slipped into the trance. I could see that wherever I took myself to be some version of a small self, I wasn’t recognizing or trusting the wakeful presence that is my deepest nature. While not always intense, some feeling of fear and separation was always present.’

- Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance, Awakening the Love that Heals Fear and Shame Within Us.

Tan Butsu Ge, “The Song in Praise of The Buddha, Song of The Life of No Regret.

As morning sun lights mountain peaks, so your face shines:

Such awesome brightness and nobility

Is without equal and beyond compare,

Obscuring sun and moon and mani gems.

The presence of Tathagata transcends

The world, defies comparison; the sound of Buddha’s right enlightenment vibrates

And flows thought the universe.

In precepts, listening, endeavor, depth of meditation, wisdoms height —you are

Especially superior and rare.

This understanding plumbs the inner depths

Of all the many Buddhas’ Dharma seas,

And anger, greed, and ignorance are brief

In you, World-honored One, oh, Man of Men!

Such noble virtues transcends measuring, you’re wisdom deep, your prowess great and wise,

The bright light from the Buddha’s countenance

Reflects in every corner of the World.

I will become a Buddha Dharma King,

Transcending life and death, enlighten  all.

The Paramitas fortify my mind;

Samadhi and deep wisdom are their crown.

Becoming Buddha is my life’s true wish:

Completely will I strive to fill this vow

Creating peace for all who doubt and fear.

To offer all Buddhas, numberless

As Ganges sands, for me does not compare to seeking my own way straight, strong, and sure.

If there are likewise countless Buddha lands,

Then my bright light will surely shine throughout

Endeavor such as this is hard to weigh.

When I become a Buddha, I will make my country first; its being will appear

As exquisite and rare; that pace will be unparalleled, just like Nirvnana there.

Compassion fills me to enlighten all.

Into my country to be born they come

From ten directions with minds glad and pure,

And those who have already reached my land

Are pleasant, at ease, peaceful, and secure.

Oh please, dear teacher, clearly trust this proof

Of my sincerity. My gan is now

Established here, and here I pledge my life.

And always let my mind and heart be known

To wise unhindered Buddhas everywhere.

Although my very body may be placed

In poison, notwithstanding suffering

I, seeking, will endure with no regret.

(Translated by the Venerable Gyomay M. Kubose)

anonymous asked:

Can you talk more about the wrongful dogma of Catholicism you mentioned it in your previous anon and I didn't really understamd

I wouldn’t call it “wrongful dogma”, just unhelpful dogma. Believing that we are inherently guilty of our ancestor’s mistakes and that we need an external source, like a saviour God or grace, in order to become fully human again only serves to perpetuate the conditions we see so prevalent in western, Christian cultures that create self-hatred and low self esteem. 

I believe that humans are fundamentally “good”. No one wakes up in the morning and thinks, “Hmm, how can I cause the most suffering today?” Even the most terrible of people act so because they feel like it’s the best thing to do, even if they know it’s not right. E.g. Susan talked behind my back? I’m going to make up rumors about Susan to get back at her because that will relieve the injustice I feel done to me. Even people who start genocides because of racist ideologies feel like it’s the “good thing to do”, even if their actions cause horrible amounts of suffering. 

That is the innate goodness of human nature, but because of hatred, attachments, and ignorance, we act in unbeneficial ways that create conditions for suffering.

It’s not helpful to believe that we are inherently unworthy and deserving of a hell- an eternal place of suffering. It’s no wonder that those who cling so strongly to such myths and are inseparably attached to dogma are the ones who act in seriously prejudiced ways. The only way out of the cycle of guilt that many Christians feel trapped in is to simply realize that we are layer upon layer of years of conditioned behaviours and identities. There really is nothing to change about us, only to unlearn.

Beginning the ‘Tan Butsu Ge’

I’m going to start a small series of posts on the ‘Tan Butsu Ge’ AKA “The Song in Praise of The Buddha, Song of The Life of No Regret”

I know for some the word “Praise” can seem quite scary or too reminiscent of a Judo-Christian system of thought, but in this context, praise is said in the same way Veneration would be used, and not as Worship. The passage is in great thanks and veneration of the Buddha’s accomplishments.

The Tan Bustu Ge is a very short section of the Great Eternal Life Sutra from the Jodo Sin Shu sect of Mahayana Buddhism.

As Sensei Gyomay Kubose says, “Although the Tan Butsu Ge is very short when compared with the entire sutra, it expresses the essence of the entire Sutra, it expresses the Essence of the whole Sutra of Eternal Life. In fact, it contains the essence of Buddhism.”

Just this. Just this, this room where we are. Pay attention to that. Pay attention to who’s there. Pay attention to what isn’t known there. Pay attention to what is known there. Pay attention to what everyone is thinking or feeling; what you’re doing there. Pay attention. Pay attention.
—  W.S. Merwin on Nirvana and the Buddha’s revelation