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A Reflection on the First Noble Truth

I sincerely hope and wish everyone o Google Plus the very best life in the Chinese New Year of Snake.

Speaking of snakes, when I was a young boy, I had no fear of garter snakes. Out in the fields at my uncle's place I would hunt them, grab one and examine it. Then after my curiosity was satiated, I would let the snake go.

Today, there are less snakes than in my childhood days, thanks to farmland being turned into property to build housing. Just for the sake of profit, mankind is destroying habitat for snakes, birds and other living beings.

Humanity justifies its voracious appetite for land by saying "Where am I to live?" Even when new apartments and condominiums are built, we have people in little boxes who, after securing their residence, complain, "My enjoyment of my home is ruined by those pigeons' excrement on my windows!"

Thus, the First Noble Truth is confirmed: "All life is filled with suffering."

Yet the life of a Buddhist, who suffers like everyone else, is one of joy!

What is the reason for joy? Even though the Buddhist suffers like you or I, she realizes that by just uttering ten recitations of the Buddha's name daily, she is assured of rebirth in the Wester Pure Land due to the working of the Primal Vow.

Even evil people and those fools who insult the Buddha will be assured rebirth once they repent of their trespasses, and practice Buddhism.

To the atheists and humanists who abhor religion, all of what I have said sounds like a wretched existence.

"How could you act that way, so full of joy, even though you suffer due to your emotional consciousness' subtle effect on your mind?"

For me, it is easy: I practice Buddha Recitation ten times a day. Each time I could recite the Buddha's name once. However, it is much more expedient to recite ten times in one go, so as not to waste the benefit of good karma.

Though, I think of Nembutsu practice as creating good karma, and burning away of evil karma.

Just by saying the Name-that-calls while fervently believing it is Amida Buddha calling to me, evil karma is burned away with every utterance of the Nembutsu.

Since I have dedicated my life to Amida Buddha with my vow to help all sentient being, it cannot hurt to meditate on friends, enemies, and loved ones, imagining burning away their evil karma, even though they cannot believe in such things.

True, this is like doing a good dead without thinking of reward. For it is true that a Buddhist wouldn't try to engage atheists and humanists, because of the risk of having a row over the Pure Land sect, which would remind the more spiritually ignorant of these intelligent people that their aptitude in science fuels their ignorance of spirituality.

When I feel tired, and a feeling of awfulness shivers over me, I sit and breathe while uttering ten times the name of the Buddha. Then I go on in my meditation to calm myself down.

When I contemplate the prison system, I consider the criminals languishing there, "How could you sit in jail, and not even think of the harm you cause others?"

For the diet of prison inmates is bland and rarely varied, lacking fresh fruit and adequate nutrients. Often prison warden lie to the prison system inspectors. It makes me wonder if all prisons are good for are to manufacture tomorrow's harden criminals.

As a Buddhist, I cannot view a prison as a good thing, due to the lack of Buddhist preachers helping the few prisoners who either were born Buddhists as Asians or had given up on monotheism in its main three flavors, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Of these three faiths, only Christianity is open to all comers. The other two are like mirror images of each other.

It would be satisfying to see the statistics on prison inmates who are Buddhists, as it's all about just sitting and meditating. Anyone can practice that without the usual hubris of Buddhism. Though the main tenets of Buddhism could be taught.

May all people in prison be happy.
May they stop using violence, and cross over.
May all people in the world be happy.
May the children of the world be happy and free from abuse and neglect.
May world leaders be enlightened, and always proselyte for Peace.

Namo Omito Fu.

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