Living Simply in the Dharma-Ending Age pt. 2

Living simply in the Dharma-Ending age means making our only attachment , the Nembutsu. All other things, all other practices become secondary to our chanting of Amitabha’s name. This is developing a True Entrusting in the Primal Vows of Amitabha.

 If we can become assured of our rebirth in the Pure Land, we can also be assured that in that Pure Land, the most splendid of things we can think of, delicious food, beautiful clothing and sensuous perfumes, will appear instantaneously before us. This being the case, why worry about our external appearance, chasing luxuries and vanities around in this world of dust? Instead of suffering because we chase carelessly our inherent and ignorant desires, we should learn the bliss that can be awarded simply by developing a True Faith in vowing to be reborn into the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. 

Living simply in  the Dharma-Ending age, means we are beings who are bound to the 6 realms of suffering. This being the case, our interactions in this world of dust must follow this simplicity. If we must buy clothes, buy used clothing, for their karmic weight is much less then that of new clothing, which often is made in poor conditions, under much suffering. This is what is meant by living simply in the Dharma-Ending age, not coveting appearance, but faith. When we make offerings to the Buddha, such as flowers and incense, do not be fooled that the quality or the quantity of these offerings creates merit, rather it is our genuine effort in making an offering that generates merit. Knowing this, one need not the most expensive bouquets of exotic rare flowers or the most luxurious of incense or even an extravagant statue of the Buddha to make offerings to, in fact, a pile of rocks is perfectly fine and a bouquet of fresh picked seasonal wildflowers and dried up herbs to use as incense is enough when one has developed a True Entrusting in Amitabha. 

With a mind focused

On the western land of Amitabha

Cherish not this body with its wants

Nor your karma, your riches nor your wealth

Give up your idea of possession and self

Your sword now unsheathed, Let ego know

What  effort looks like with a slash,

A simple Cut;

Give up on this world of dust.

 Go pick fresh wildflowers and fragrant herbs

 And drink from dewdrops on the moon

The most simple path, is the most accessible path, yet it is our effort on that path, and not the quality of it nor the quantity of time spent on it. Effort surpasses both quality and quanity. Emperor Wu asked Bodhidharma what kind of merit he could expect for building many grand Buddhist temples and pagodas, Bodhidharma simply replied “No merit”. Though the Buddhist halls and shrines that Emperor Wu built might have been extravagant in their quality and quantity, Bodhidharma only saw effort. Therefore only when we generate a True Effort in our Buddha name chanting, can we start to live simply in the Dharma-Ending Age. We can do this because we have no more doubts about our rebirth in the Pure Land, we are assured because of our effort  and True Entrusting in Amitabha.

Emperor Wu

With all his palaces and pagodas

Had less merit then he thought

If only he had known

The name of Amitabha,

He’d have given up his kingdom 

To the thinnest horse-hair

Floating in the realm

Of oblivion

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