Making Effort

and Pureland Buddhism in the Philippines


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Nothing is Unfair

You have probably heard about the Law of Cause and Effect or the Law of Karma, if not, you can read this article: The Law of Cause and Effect for a longer explanation on what it is. To simplify, the Law states that our actions will always give us a result that could manifest in an instant or could take years or even different lifetimes to show.  The Law’s 3 principles are:

  • Good cause (action or deed) brings Good effects (results)
  • Bad cause (action or deed) brings Bad effects (results)
  • Own cause (action or deed) brings Own effects (results)

Going by the definition of the Law and it’s principles we can say that we deserve what is coming our way. This is because all our actions have repercussions and it’s up to us to if we want it to be good or bad. Again:

  • Good cause (action or deed) brings Good effects (results)
  • Bad cause (action or deed) brings Bad effects (results)
  • Own cause (action or deed) brings Own effects (results)

Also from this we can say that the Law is a way of balancing the world. It makes it fair. As much as we detest how “unfair” life in this world is, it is actually fair because of the Law of Cause and Effect. When good things happen to us, it’s easy for us to claim that this is because of something good that we did. We deserved it. However, when bad things happen it becomes difficult to accept. We find reasons why and the reason is always something else but us. You may be shaking your head now in disbelief and thinking, “Are you trying to say that we should just accept everything that happens to us?” Actually, yes and no.  Yes, because when things already happen, is there really something we can do to change it? We can only avoid it from getting worse and it from happening again. And no, because do we really want to accept that our fate is set to receive the same results over and over? We still have control on the results we will receive in the future and that is by being conscious of the things we do in the present. If we do Good deeds now, we get Good results in the future. Bad results for Bad deeds and regardless of the nature of the deed it will always be our Own deed brings our Own results.

So, because of the Law everything is fair. Of course, there will be times when we would feel things are unfair. We should ask ourselves then, of all the beings in the world why were we placed in that specific situation? Which is easier to accept? Something that we have done in the past gave the result of placing us in that specific situation or we are just randomly there, placed at the wrong place at the wrong time? Isn’t it better that we have control on things that will happen to us rather than just accepting that things happen and we have no influence on it?

Thinking of “unfairness” breeds hate, envy and anger and these are not good or healthy emotions to have. If we continue thinking this way then we will be trapped in its cycle of negativity. If we live by the Law of Cause and Effect, we can accept that life is fair. It will not be an easy task (and it will prod many sensitive situations) but it can give us the chance to develop a calmer and more positive outlook than if we think life is unfair.

Len
18 May 2017

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The deLight in Buddhism

The very first memory I have of Buddhism was as a kid. My cousin told me that monks turn the soil carefully when burying their dead so they won’t disturb the earthworms. Fast forward into my adulthood, I saw the movie “Shaolin.” My admiration for the portrayal of the monks’ discipline and compassion in that movie led me to my first real commitment with Buddhism.

I started reading online articles regarding Buddhism and I was fine with it. Buddhism has a way of making one feel good while learning it and it made me feel that way. However, I was aimless despite the vast resources I found online. Then I met my Buddhist teacher Frank, and later on teacher Sumie.

This is when I discovered that having someone to guide you through your learning magnifies the feeling of goodness and turns it to happiness. The feeling felt surreal at first and I was quite taken aback because of its intensity. I began to wonder, “Why am I this happy?”, “Is it normal to be this happy?” At that time nothing has really changed in me, the things that make me mad, sad, or insecure are still there, and I was aware of that, only that they seemed to be put in the background. They seem to feel less, they seem to feel distant. And it hit me, I have just started listening to Buddhism and I already feel this good? What if I listen more? What if more people were to hear this? These were my thoughts at the start that I still have up to this moment.

Buddhism simply marveled me with its sensibility. How the teachings give us the authority to our actions. No concept of fear, judgment, or punishment only owning up to our deeds and the consequences it will make. It made me feel a relevant aspect of my existence. It is a practical philosophy to follow to give more meaning to our lives and to make living less problematic. The Law of Cause and Effect and the Six Good Deeds alone are good habits to start and keep in our lives, even to those who do not wish to pursue Buddhism. If we all have these as guiding principles in our lives, we would all be living in harmony and life struggles will be more bearable. Buddhism also gifted us the purpose of life, an age old question that we, and all the other humans before us, ask ourselves. It brings peace to know that we don’t live just to survive and then die. We all want purpose and I think even sceptics will agree to that.

I have only been listening to the teachings for a few months and I know that there are still a lot of lessons that I will discover but despite that I have already realized the unselfish promise of Master Shinran and Sakyamuni Buddha to share the wisdom of Amida Buddha. I intend to follow and keep that promise too.

Len
March 2017

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The 7 Charities

A broomThe Japanese character for “person” (below) has the meaning that one person supports another to live.
Japanese Character for Person
Indeed we cannot live without other people. We all depend on one another, for business, relationships, family, and just living in general.
No man is an island, goes the saying.
For this reason, in Buddhism, the attitude of harmony is highly regarded. Without harmony there is conflict and it becomes difficult to accomplish a task.
With solidarity or harmony in our homes, work and social, greater happiness can be achieved.

How can we practice harmony? By doing the 7 Charities, for instance. They are:
1. Warm eyes
2. A smile
3. Kind words
4. Sincere gratitude
5. Physical labor/ volunteering
6. Yielding way
7. Share a meal and shelter

They are part of the 6 Good Deeds taught by Buddha to bring happiness to the giver and receiver.

Learn more about this topic and others in our meetings at Meetup
https://www.meetup.com/The-purpose-of-life/