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Kindness in Action
I encountered a mother and her young son in my local grocery store recently. The mother, who looked a little frazzled, had sent her son in my direction (he may have been 4 or 5) to pick up an item for their shopping cart. As the little boy approached me he quietly said, "Excuse me sir." I remembered how good it felt when friends and strangers would tell me my own daughter's acts of politeness, so I approached the mother and told her of her son's gesture toward me. Her face lightened up with a big smile and she thanked me for telling. She then hugged her son and thanked him for being so polite. Both the mother and I left that store happier than when we entered.
- Anonymous from Willow Spring, NC, USA
Giving My Time To A Co-Worker
A co-worker got into a car accident and was seriously injured. His sick leave and vacation ran out while still in recovery. I donated eight work hours to him so that his compensation can continue. While typing this, another worker told me that she also donated some time to him. I was so happy to hear that. There are no words to describe the joy of giving but to hear others being generous is even more joyful. Thank you Guan Yin Bodhisattva for teaching how to give.
- CS from Oakland, U.S.A.
Words To Live By
I Did Not Write This But These Are Words I Live By. The Bodhisattva’s Vow: As I Develop The Awakening Mind I Praise The Buddhas As They Shine. I Bow Before You As I Travel My Path To Join Your Ranks. I Make My Full Time Task For The Sake Of All Beings I Seek The Enlightened Mind That I Know Will Reap Respect. To Shantideva And To All The Others Who Brought Us The Dharma, For Sisters And Brothers I Give Thanks For This World As A Place To Learn. And For This Human Body That I Know I've Earned, My Deepest Thanks To All Sentient Beings For Without Them There Would Be No Place To Learn. What I'm Seeing There’s Nothing Here That’s Not Been Said Before. But I Put It Down Now So I'll Be Sure To Solidify My Own Views And I’ll Be Glad If It Helps Anyone Else Out Too . If Others Disrespect Me Or Give Me Flack I'll Stop And Think Before I React Knowing That They Are Going Through Insecure Stages. I'll Take The Opportunity To Exercise Patience. I'll See It As A Chance To Help The Other Person Nip Anger In The Bud Before It Can Worsen. A Chance For Me To Be Strong And Sure As I Think On The Buddhas Who Have Come Before As I Praise And Respect The Good They've Done, Knowing Only Love Can Conquer In Every Situation. We Need Other People In Order To Create The Circumstances For The Learning. That We're Here To Generate Situations, That Bring Up Our Deepest Fears So We Can Work To Release Them. Until They Are Cleared Therefore It Only Makes Sense To Thank Our Enemies Despite Their Intent. The Bodhisattva Path Is One Of Power And Strength, A Strength From Within To Go The Length, Seeing Others As Important As Myself. I Strive For A Happiness Of Mental Wealth With The Interconnectedness That We Share As One. Every Action That We Take Affects Everyone, So In Deciding For What A Situation Calls There Is A Path For The Good Of All. I Try To Make My Every Action For That Highest Good With The Altruistic Wish To Achieve Buddhahood. So I Pledge Here Before Everyone Listening To Try To Make My Every Action For The Good Of All Beings For The Rest Of My Lifetimes And Even Beyond. I Vow To Do My Best To Do No Harm And In Times Of Doubt I Can Think On The Harm And The Enlightened Ones Who've Graduated Samara.
- JB from Vallejo, CA, USA
Buddhist Society In My School
What spurred me to have a Buddhist society in my school was the lack of discipline amongst the Chinese students. I thought that if only I can have a Buddhist society I can share with the students the many Dharma lectures that I have heard from Dharma Masters at Tze Yun Tung and they would know about cause and effect and would not be so naughty. So, putting my thoughts into action, I tested the waters. My previous principal did not allow for reasons unaccepted. Maybe the causes and conditions have not matured. Then, last year a new principal came. I prayed to Amitabha Buddha to help me and also dedicated merit and virtue to this principal before I approached him. He is not only a firm and staunch follower of his own religion but is also an expert in his field. And guess what, he approved of it without much fuss! Thanks to the compassion of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas! Now, my society is running. Although it started off with only five students, the number has increased. I am very happy. With the help of other Buddhist teachers, the society is meeting every Friday for an hour after school. Some of the students, from 13 - 17 years, have good roots because they can understand what is spoken and are waiting for me in the class even before I enter. They even borrowed the Earth Store Sutra home to read. One girl even asked me for a copy of the sutra because her dad wanted to read it! Last Friday, I invited five university students, who are at the moment in my school (they are from China) to join us. One of them is filled with Dharma bliss. She asked me if she can come again next week. AMITABHA! I told her that she is most welcome. May Buddha dharma continue to flourish and lead us all out of the cycle of birth and death.
- K from Kajang, Malaysia
Ride For Strangers
I went to Spirit Rock last weekend. I saw on the discussion board that a car pooling was being initiated. The lady who initiated it lives in the East Bay and I live in the City. Figuring out that picking her up then going to SR together is more efficient (in terms of mileage driven) than we both drive and meet half way, I offered to do do that. We were joined by another man on the East Bay. I was happy that I performed the act.
- C from Emeryville, USA
Bringing Dhamma to Parents
I've written something before to download this CD for my friend in India, now I'm writing something so I can get it for my parents in Hawaii. My parents have been extremely supportive of my during my monk's life. They've been getting more interested in Dhamma practice and meditation, and they just built a new house so I brought them a housewarming gift - a brand new copy of the Majjhima Nikaya. We've been doing readings from the teachings of the Buddha and they have a lot of faith.
- N B from Captain Cook, Hawaii, USA
Whenever my friends encounter problems in their schoolwork regardless of what subject it is, I try to help them as best as I can. I hope that when I encounter problems, there would be someone to teach me and guide me through it. What goes around comes around, as they say. May everyone sincerely help others who are in trouble. Amitabha.
- An Inconspicuous Act from KL, Malaysia
How Inconceivable Is the Power of Earth Store Bodhisattva
Mother’s Day is celebrated with flowers, gifts and treats at restaurants for most mothers. Last year, my 20 year-old son woke up very early in the morning, came to my room and wished me “Happy Mother’s Day”, with a beautifully wrapped gift, waiting anxiously for my response as I opened the box. Nestled in the box was a small and beautiful statuette of Earth Store Bodhisattva. The gift gave me a poignant feeling, as my children had reminded me about filiality and gratitude to this Great Bodhisattva who had in the past displayed inconceivable power and kindness during times of grave illness. Back in 1995-1997 I was weak and tired due to my illness and had constant dreams of demonic attacks. Prior to my illness I was from the Southern school but my husband, who had taken refuge with Master Hua, persuaded me to attend a full seven-day recitation of Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra at Tze Yun Tung Temple in Salak South, Malaysia. I was reluctant as I do not understand Chinese and felt that the chanting would not be effective for someone who does not understand. My husband being undeterred by my excuses, would however send me to the gates of Tze Yun Tung everyday. Everyday I would reluctantly go and everyday without fail he would make sure I was right in front of Tze Yun Tung’s gate. Due to my karmic retribution, attending the assembly was a torture as I felt my whole body being pierced by thousands of needles. However towards dawn on the last day of the assembly I had a strange dream. As if in between my sleeping and waking states, I heard strange resonance of chanting reverberating around me. A group of monks in a rather rough-clothed kind of robes were sitting around me and chanting. I could not understand what they were chanting, it did not sound like Chinese, it wasn’t English, and the sound was strangely powerful. As the mantra-like chanting was reverberating, I broke into cold sweat and I suddenly woke up and vomited. Since that incident I was on my way to recovery. Physically I slowly became stronger and the visions of visiting demonic beings started to disappear. As weeks went by, I soon forgot about my dream until I heard the same mantra being chanted while shopping in a Buddhist bookstore. The same mantra that I heard in my dream resonated. I was flooded with excitement and wanted to know what the mantra was. Upon asking the shop assistant, he presented me with a CD and I was filled with awe because the mantra was actually the Mantra of Earth Store Bodhisattva - but it is in Sanskrit! Though I chanted Earth Store Sutra in Chinese at Tze Yun Tung temple but in my dream I heard the Earth Store Mantra in Sanskrit! How inconceivable is the power and kindness of Earth Store Bodhisattva!
- A from Nilai, Malaysia
I prayed for a man wanting to go home that he would get there.
- P from Vantaa, Finland
A Next Journey
To show gratitude to an old mentor, I wrote a small poem to him a few weeks before he passed away this month. He was Director of the Council of Churches' civil rights organization based in Mississippi, where we met. He remained a Presbyterian minister while I became a lay-Buddhist but our commonality connected when we began sharing ideas of our spirituality. A Next Journey--- It is okay for me to be afraid. To fear the inevitable, to wander off into my past and torture myself for experiences I wish I'd had not had; to wander then to deep moving moments in my lifetime that I will forever cherish. All those moving experiences that have transformed me in so many minute and profound ways, shaping me to who I am now. It is okay for me to continue shaping myself even to the last moment like tiny sands of clay that molds and shapes a being inside and out; from loving hands and loving minds, from forgiving hands and forgiving minds. It is also okay for me to be alone and not fear how what it is like to look at the stillness and be so alone that finally fear flitters away. I flip it off with a flick of my fingers in my mind, letting it go, disengaging, saying “bye,” but saying hello when it is revisited. For life is a continuous journey, after all, it does not really end we travel on to seek and to fulfill, to live again for compassion, wisdom and joy. It is okay. I am transferring merit to you, Bob, as I think of you everyday.
- M K from San Francisco, CA and Taos, NM., USA