AUSTIN GARDENS BUDDHIST CENTER OF CHICAGO
A Buddhist Church Centered On The Buddha - Dharma Teachings
The Dharma refers to the Buddha’s Teaching. It comes along with the Three Treasures: The Buddha, The Dharma, and the Sangha; the Sangha being the students and followers of the Buddha-Dharma.
There are many kinds of dharma’s (worldly truths) in the world. These are given by wise people and sages, and by those who engage in relative wisdom’s that apply to some people and not to others, and so they are limited as to their perspectives and opinions. But the Buddha-Dharma is universal in that it is applying to all people, without any exception.
The Buddha’s Journey of Awakening
Roger Adams 8/7/2017
After taking six steps (or stages), the Buddha bathed in a nearby river, and sat under the Bodhi tree and meditated deeply. This was to be his seventh and last step. Gazing up into the heavens he saw a morning star brightly shining and identified with it, and according to his biographers came up with his birth shout of total independence.
Below the heavens
and above the earth,
alone, I am noble.
THE SHINING LIGHT DHARMA
R. Adams 1/24/2018
The Buddha focused on the self since it was the self that we must examine in order to determine who we really are in actuality. In wanting to know the self is why we come to Buddhism to learn what we are as individuals, not merely to think we know, but to go much deeper to find out who and what we are in reality, and to flow along with the continuous change [the Tathagata] that occurs within all of life. All of our ignorance, delusions, and vanities (i. e., self-promotion) are seen as blockages to that freedom that we wish to experience. With this freedom comes true peace and happiness which is so essential to our life. Through one’s awakening – shinjin – transforming the relative self by way of the enlightened mind into a shout of total freedom and emancipation. One who listens to all others and so are expedient means towards his own enlightenment.
How interesting and primary are these teachings that open our mind to the wondrous world that is taking place all around us. We may be unaware to see it this way according to so much of the news we see on TV. But as we live in our own mind, so will we see the world. The world was born when I was born and will end when I pass on. So the world is not aside from the living essence of who I am; feeling of at one with the world that comes with being truly myself, I as I.
- The Tathagata’s light
Penetrates the darkness
And burns up all evils.
Shinjin – awakening to this light is as being born into the Pure Land of Nirvana, an awakening into the true spirit of life, absent the shell-of-self. How amazing it is! The struggle of seeking, the difficulty of understanding; the difficulty we have with others, and particularly within ourselves. It gives, on the positive side, an incentive that pushes me further into the unknown and unknowable truth that goes beyond reading, writing, education, and study…. Going beyond samsara, the cyclic round of birth-and-death, and reaching the other shore of freedom and bliss. From the two-dimensional ego-centered perspective to a fourth-dimensional free life. This person is freed of the confining self.
From this shore of the secular world we try to imagine what the other shore is like from this shore. Across the turbulent river of fire and water, representing water as one’s greed, and fire the anger for not getting what our greed desires, and the ignorance or blindness for not seeing it. With utmost courage one must cross over to get to the other shore of Nirvana, one’s birth in the Pure Land. The most positive life is to be found here, as is a well-settled mind of true happiness, peace, and independence, going the way of the Buddha forward with one’s honestly lived life. How fulfilling it is, being so rewarded. The oneness of all things will engaged him in returning to the world as a true Bodhisattva, carrying the other shore with him, going forth in helping and awakening all the lonely people of the world. Seeing this poem I thought of it as a kind of boat or bridge to get to the other shore of recompense. “Come to me”, as Buddha beckons: “Hurry, don’t waste your time on nonsense. Come to the spacious world of freedom”.
As one’s mind grows purer,
The Buddha-Land grows purer.
[Trans. N. H.]
- Vimalakirti Sutra
The Buddha’s Teaching:
Make unto yourself your own light.
Depend on no one else for your brightness.
Seek no external entity, but follow the Dharma
and listen to it carefully – then you shall be free.
- Buddha Shakyamuni