A Life-time ago
I promised to tell you how I became a Buddhist.
Promising something is easy.
Telling something is easy too.
But telling from a remembrance is quiet a different story.
I took refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha almost 19 years ago.
It didn't just happen, I was searching and it came to me.
You see, I was an alcoholic, I used to drink my self to sleep every night.
Every night from age 21 till 23.
Because my grandfather came to haunt me even after he died when I was 18.
He sexually abused me.
From age 2 till 12.
I used to suppress that memory until I became aware of it much much later.
I drank enough Beer to sedate me through the night and through the day I was numb enough to survive that for more then 11 years.
I stopped drinking in 1989. That wasn't easy.
It took a lot of soul-searching and the stamina to stay true to myself.
The first year I went to a self-help-group for addicts.
I am glad I did that because it showed me that I wasn't alone on the world and there were lots of people in far more serious cases.
Not everyone in “my” group had the same success.
But I did succeed.
Not on my own, though.
I needed a partner.
I needed someone to help me.
I went to seek the “light”.
You hear that all around you if you find your self in a very difficult stage of life.
People get “re-born”, or they found the “light”.
I wanted that too.
I needed it, it very badly.
So I turned to the bible, as I am a European woman.
I read the bible, both testaments, from the first to the last letter, but without finding the much needed light.
A friend recommended the Bhagavad Gita.
So I read Krishna's very enriching wisdom.
But that was not enough for me.
I took the Holy Qor'an to mind and read that too.
But still I was not “fulfilled”.
By that time I was working for Fair Trade and managed a “World Shop”as the are called in the Netherlands.
We got new items every day from all over the world, books, cards, clothings, jewelry, food, wine, art-work, candles and fragrance, you name it, we had it.
One day I friend of mine burned some new fragrance in a little soapstone Buddha-sculpture, we use to tell our clients exactly what kind of fragrance they would buy, how it smelled and how we experienced it.
Because fragrance, like herbs and minerals have a healing power.
The little Buddha who was holding the fragrance stick in it's tiny hands caught my special attention. I remember thinking it would burn it's hands at the end of the fragrance stick. My friend laughed and told me that the good lord Buddha would suit me fine because of the compassion I felt for the little chap.
I must have given her a crazy look because she stood up, walked to the book-case and brought a book about Buddha and Buddhism with her.
Being the greedy reader and learner I immediately started reading.
And what would you know...
It spoke to me, it enlightened me, I felt at home right away.
For years I kept on reading.
I never knew there were so many different ways to Buddhism.
At first I was tempted to find a Buddhist Temple here in Holland, but that was not that easy. There is a big wheel of motion and a small way of motion and I didn't want to chose.
I had to chose sides all my life, chose my mothers side or my fathers side, chose my sisters side or the neighbors. And like in all religions Holland has many side in Christianity too.
And don't get me starting about the many Hindu deities as well!
So I chose for myself.
I would learn everything about following the path of Buddha on my own way.
That's so typical Lizzy. Always try out herself before asking any one else.
But this time I was right.
I took refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha in a meditation and asked for Guidance.
That never stopped.
I am being guided through everything during my whole life.
As long as I stay in my own truth, nothing can touch me.
You're warm, safe and enlightened all the time.
And that was exactly what I was looking for, because that was denied to me the first half of my life.
Padmapani56 aka Lotus StGeorge. 2009
Purity comes by Guarding the 3 Doors of Action:
Friends, there are these three purities:
Purity of Mental Action!
Purity of Verbal Action!
Purity of Bodily Action!
Herein, what is purity of bodily action?
It is the complete abstention from killing any breathing being, avoidance of taking
whatever is not freely given, & refraining from any misbehaviour in sensual desires...
Herein, what is purity of verbal action?
It is abstention from any false lies, avoidance of all aggressive speech, abstention
from divisive slandering speech, & refraining from all idle & empty hear-say gossip...
Herein, what is purity of mental action?
It is non-envious non-greediness, kind & gentle non-ill-will, and noble right view...
These 3 behavioural purities are:
Like the earth are they in properties; a firm footing to those, who desire Freedom..
Like water are they, for they wash away all the spots of the mental defilement..
Like fire are they, for they burn the whole forest of the mental obstructions..
Like wind are they, for they blow away all the dust of mental obscuration..
Like a ship are they, for they ferry those, who desire Peace across this Samsara..
Like a shelter, for they restore Faith in those, who are frightened by Ageing & Death..
Like a guide are they, leading any, who wish Ease out of the jungle of wrong views..
Like a mirror are they, making any who want Bliss to see the Clusters of Clinging..
Like an umbrella, warding off the incessant scorching of Greed, Hate & Ignorance..
Like the sun are they, for they dispel the darkness & gloom of Deluded Confusion..
Who fully guards his speech, is well controlled in mind,
Who does nothing disadvantageous through the body's door,
Who purifies this simple triple course of any acted behaviour,
Will win both the path & the fruit, all the Seers have enjoyed!
Attraction to the Expanse of Objects can never be Satiated!
The Blessed Buddha once said:
The eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue, the body & the mind, Bhikkhus,
is an ocean of attractive stimuli for any uninstructed ordinary person...
It's stream of water consists of forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touches,
and mental states, that all are seductive, gorgeous, alluring, agreeable,
pleasing, enticing, tempting and tantalizing.... Here this entire world and
it's devas, it's maras, and brahmas, this generation with it's recluses &
priests, it's kings and normal people, almost all are submerged, being like
an entangled & knotted coil of thread, like intertwined weeds, who all are
unable to pass beyond this dimension of misery, these painful destinations,
these lower worlds, this ocean of Suffering by death again, this Samsara...!
One who withstands that mighty and strapping current consisting of forms,
sounds, smells, tastes, touches, and mental states is said to have crossed
this sensual ocean of the eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue, the body and
the mind, with it's great waves, whirlpools, terrifying sharks, and demons!
Crossed over, gone all beyond, such a Hero now stands safe on high ground...
Having extinguished all attraction, aversion & blind ignorance, one has crossed
this ocean so hard to cross with dangers of terrifying sharks, scary whirlpools,
waves & creepy demons... Such a chain-breaker and death-forsaker, elevated
without accumulations, has eliminated all Suffering by leaving all behind any
renewed existence... Transcended, he cannot ever be measured or recognized!!!
I tell you, Bhikkhus: He has confused even the King of Death...
The Ocean of Sense Stimuli overcomes and drowns any sentient being!
Safire has gone
She had so much
That she just had to get done
The fire in her mind
It just kept raging on.
Safire had a child
With brown curls and blue eyes
With so much desire
For tenderness and love
And she had all of it inside her
Safire loved life
She left all that behind
To start with a new set of wires
All over again
And live life as much as she can.
She had so much knowledge inside
So much compassion and stride
Never too scared of all life's charms
Never too proud for warm huggings arms.
Safire had to know
If the new life she's just stepped in
Could carry all of her yesterday's sin
That everything would just let her go
No longer fighting life's flow.
Safire's departure is sweet
She left with this child inside her
Took up the Sangha to abide her
Stepped into Buddha's wise feet
To ensure our's is a happier meet.
In love and light, Lizz StGeorge.
- Current Mood: creative
The Event of Awakening:
At that time a girl named Sujata Senani lived in Uruvela. When adult,
she prayed before a certain Banyan tree, that she might get a husband
equal to herself in caste and that her firstborn may be a son. Her prayer
was successful, since so indeed did it happen. At the full moon day of the
Vesak month, she rose at early dawn & milked the cows. As soon as new
buckets were placed under the cows, their milk poured forth in streams
spontaneously all by itself. Seeing this miracle, she knew something special
was going on.
A mandala is a sacred diagram of the universe, and encompasses an area in which divine forces are present. A mandala also aids the devotees in meditation when he or she seeks to focus on divinities and to gain access to divine forces. While the Dharma wheel, which symbolizes the first teaching of the Buddha Shakyamuni, helps beings overcome from all obstacles and illusions. Moreover it brings a positive spiritual change in the minds of sentient beings.
The Gau box (Charm box) is in wide use in Tibet, Mongolia, China, and Nepal and throughout the Himalayan area mainly by the Buddhists. The Gau boxes are supposed to possessed talismanic properties. They are meant to ensure auspiciousness, to promote the fulfillment of aspirations, and to protect from harm. Most amulets offer general protection against common, recognized evils: malevolent spirits, witches and ghosts, the jealous eye, black magic, disease, death, infertility and general misfortunate. A Gau can consist of cloth fragments from a lama or saint, soil from a hallowed site, or any material upon which sacred prayers are inscribed. An amulet also contains the image of deity, grains of rice charged with sacred power in a tantric ritual.
The iconography on Gau boxes is consistent with the aims of the amulets contained within, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, the personification of compassion assumes an auspicious one hundred and eight forms to respond to the needs of his devotees. His form Simhanada Lokeshvara is considered particularly effective curing diseases. The five Dhyani Buddhas represent the celestial aspects of the historical Buddha and his various powers. Together they form a sacred assembly, powerful and profoundly auspicious.
The front of the present Gau box depicts a mandala, and the central part of which portrays Shakyamuni Buddha in preaching pose. The image of the Buddha is made of copper. The border of his aureole and halo is made of mm sized red coral balls. The eight spokes of the wheel is made of faceted turquoise. The rim of the Wheel is made of thirty-one coral tubes.
The wheel in general is an ancient Indian symbol of creation, sovereignty, protection, and the sun. In Buddhism the wheel is the symbol of the Buddha’s teachings and emblem of the ‘chakravartin’ or ‘wheel turner’ identifying the wheel as the Dharmachakra or ‘wheel of law’. The Tibetan term for Dharmachakra literally means ‘the wheel of transformation’ or spiritual change. The wheel’s swift motion symbolizes the rapid spiritual transformation revealed in the Buddha’s teachings, and as a weapon of change, it represents the overcoming of all samsaric obstacles and illusions. Buddha’s first discourse at the Deer Park in Sarnath is known as the first turning of the Wheel of Dharma of the Four Noble Truths – the truth of suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the truth of the Noble Eight Fold Path, which leads to the cessation of suffering.
The hub of the wheel symbolizes moral discipline, the eight spokes symbolizes analytical insight, and the rim, meditative concentration. The eight spokes point to the eight directions and symbolize the Buddha’s Noble Eight Fold Path.
The space between the spokes of the Dharma wheel of this Gau box is decorated with repouse-work. The area outside the rim of the wheel is also decorated with similar design. The mandala has four gateways in four cardinal directions. A set of three turquoise balls are set in each four gateways and four corners of the square. Four half vajra are depicted in four corners, outside the building. The walls of the square are exquisitely decorated with sixty-seven red coral tubes and thirty-five turquoise rectangles. The Gau box can be suspended by a chain from the reel ornamented tube at the top. Twin large turquoise and an oval lapis lazuli are set on the front of the reel. At the bottom, a similar a reel ornamented tube appears capped with conical ends of turquoise, and below that is a ring for suspending other ornaments or tassel. The outer walls of the box are decorated with zig zag design of wire work with twenty-two triangular red corals.
The Coming Buddha
I am Maitreya, the buddha of the sun
I shine with equal love upon all
I am called the coming Buddha not because I will manifest in physical form
But because I come to those at advanced stages of the spiritual path
and say: "Be blessed friends, and give blessings". **
I am called the buddha of friendship
For I take all beings as equals
And do not accept the hierarchies of institutions.
** NOTE: This statement goes against buddhist doctrine in the Vajrayana and Mahayana traditions which holds that Maitreya will incarnate on earth as a bodhisattva at some future time, and become an enlightened buddha during that incarnation.
My love shines equally upon persons, groups, cultures, and worlds
I call them to live in universal love and compassion
I am white and golden, harmonious and full of richness
Like a symphony, I unite the competing themes in the universe.
I am found in optimism, in hope, and in faith
And in those who look for a better tomorrow
I bless the discouraged and the lonely
The fearful and the mournful
I give them a way out of the prisons of their hearts
I liberate beings from confinement
And show a brilliant and infinite future.
There are many forms of liberation within the universe
In the vast galaxy of changing forms
Each moment of insight, each movement of growth
Each turning away from the past
Is a kind of liberation.
To turn away from identity entirely is a rare blessing
Those who do this do not look to me.
Those who seek me need strength and determination, in life and in meditation
They need hope and encouragement, and this I give them.
Knowing that there is a more perfect world
Allows them to improve this one
Knowing that there are buddhas and bodhisattvas
Allows them to strive for more perfect awareness
Knowing that there is something to look forward to
Allows the bondage of the past to fall away.
I am the buddha of hope, and of striving
So that transient beings may improve the world for other transients
Though the universe grows and disintegrates and comes back again in glory
I shall stay to bless the crowds who strive towards truth.
Eight Auspicious Symbols
The Symbolism of the eight auspicious signs reveal our progress along the Buddhist spiritual path.
symbolizes the umbrella of the Buddhist community and
teaches us that first we should enter the Buddhist family.
symbolize harmony indicating that under this umbrella
we should always live in harmony and peace.
symbolizes wealth and teaches us that we should enjoy the inner wealth of our faith, moral discipline, our study and practice of Dharma,
benefiting others, sense of shame, consideration for others, and wisdom.
symbolizes purity which indicates that we should always strive
to become a pure being by practising the Bodhisattva's way of life.
The Conch Shell
symbolizes the Dharma Jewel and teaches us that we should
accomplish the Dharma Jewel, the realizations
of the stages of the path, within our own mind.
The Knot of Eternity
symbolizes an uncommon quality of Buddha's realizations,
namely his realization of omniscient wisdom.
The Victory Banner
symbolizes an uncommon quality of Buddha's abandonment, his abandonment of the delusions and mistaken appearance.
These last two signs together indicate that through gaining the Dharma Jewel, the realizations of the stages of the path to enlightenment,
we shall attain these two uncommon qualities of Buddha.
The Dharma Wheel
indicates that, having attained these two uncommon qualities of Buddha, we are able to lead all living beings to permanent liberation from suffering, principally by turning the wheel of Dharma, that is by giving Dharma Teachings. This is our final goal.