A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

The Buddha, but which one?

First let me apologize, I need to learn all the alt codes, so until then all Pali or Sanskrit words, do not have any accent marks.

Many westerners do not know there has been more than one Buddha.  In the Jataka Atthakatha, we find a list of 25 Buddhas.

1. Dipankara

2. Kondanna

3. Mangala

4. Sumana

5. Revata

6. Sobhita

7. Anomdassi

8. Paduma

9. Narada

10. Uttara

11. Sumedha

12. Sujata

13. Piyadassi

14. Atthadassi

15. Dhammadassi

16. Siddhatha also spelled Sidhartha

17. Tissa

18. Phussa

19. Vipassi

20. Sikhi

21. Vessabhu

22. Kakusandha

23. Kongamana also spelled Kanakamuni

24. Kassapa also spelled Kasyapa

25. Gotama also spelled Gautama

There is also the future Buddha known as Metteya in Pali, or Maitreya in Sanskrit.

Also some traditions have 3 Buddhas who preceded Dipankara: Tanhankara, Medankara and Sarankara.

So you now think, great I only have about 30 Buddha’s to learn about, well that depends on the tradition you follow. The Lalitavistara gives another 54. The Mahavastu has over 100 more. Some of the Singhalese schhols list 9 future Buddhas in addition to Metteya.

Now that I have you totally confused, confounded, and perplexed, I did this to remind you that Buddha means fully enlightened one, and that we all have the nature within us to achieve Buddhahood. The Buddha himself told us there were many before him, and many more would follow. This is to remind all of us that The Buddha, just as all those that preceded him, and those that follow him were men, not Gods. Also a reminder that when we say the Buddha, we refer to the historical Buddha: Gautama Buddha or Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.

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Doing good anonymously

 

Here at Christmas time a lot of companies, groups and individuals will perform a ritual called Secret Santa. Where you give someone a gift, without them knowing it’s from you. What about if we gave someone a gift like that everyday. No I’m not talking about buying a lot of stuff. Even a gift of service where the person would know who did it, could count, if you let them find out about it themselves, not saying oh by the way I did this task for you.

Imagine you are at a friend or relatives place and they need a chore done, tat they may have a problem doing. It could be raking the yard, cleaning the bathroom, or even just helping them haul away some junk. At home do you share the chores, with each person responsible for certain ones. If so perhaps you could do one of their chores, such as the dishes or taking out the garbage when it’s not your turn. Gather up and sort all the laundry, and guys if this is a new one for you, here’s a hint, most clothes have little tags that help you sort them.

In public hold a door for someone, and yes ladies in this age of equality you can hold a door for a guy, he might even say thanks. If you see a homeless person begging, instead of giving them a few coins that might be collected till they can afford to feed an addiction, perhaps once you can buy them some food. Either from a street vendor, or prepacked food from a store, or fresh fruit.

Place a bowl out for animals to drink water from if it is hot. If you decide to put out food realize that after a short while they will come to expect it, so are you prepared to continue, unless something makes it impossible.

There are an infinite number of ways we can bring happiness to others through wholesome actions everyday, so what will you do today? As for karma it is when we give with out expecting anything back, that we truly give from the heart. We give without attaching expectations to the act.

This is our home!

A View of Earth from Saturn

A View of Earth from Saturn (Photo credit: alpoma)

I was having a discussion with someone I know. He mad a statement about the environmental movement, and it is similar to one I heard a few years ago from a pastor. “Heaven is our real home, here we only need to worry about doing the Lord’s work to save souls.” Yet in in the Bible in the book of Genesis, man is placed in dominion over the earth. So mankind is responsible for the earth, so why are so many trying to make the place we live hell. Destroying the world around us, regardless of your religious beliefs is wrong. The earth sustains us, gives us food, medicine, and everything else we need for life.

There are people who profess to follow Christ, Allah, Buddha, or another teacher, yet in their daily life it is all about greed. I can have this and you can’t, or I want this and don’t care about the consequences. Endangered species around the world, that are protected by laws to try and save them from extinction. Yet there are poachers who stalk and kill these beings to satisfy the demand for products made from parts of these beings. It does not matter if it is the last snow leopard, it will make a perfect fur collar for a coat. Or a Rhino’s horn used to make an aphrodisiac, so someone can have their few minutes of  physical pleasure, which won’t bring lasting happiness.

Regardless of your religion or beliefs, this is our home, we should respect it as such. You don’t burn your house to the ground, because it is a bit shabby looking. Also unlike our houses, our planet does not have an insurance policy in case of disaster. There is no restore it so you won’t notice a difference clause. Unlike the movie The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Universe, there is no race out there to rebuild it all just like before the destruction of the planet. Also we share this home with countless other beings, who have the same desire for happiness that we do. We can not keep killing off species the way we have. Some reputable scientists are already saying we may be at the tipping point or past it for biological diversity. Also the transferring of species from one part of the world to another, where there is no natural predator is wrecking havoc on environmental systems.

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