In the Sutra of Forty-Two Sections, the Buddha asked his disciples, “How long is one’s life?” One of the monks replied, “A few years.” The next one answered, “A few days!” Another one said, “Less than one day!” Another responded, “Between meals!” Finally, the Buddha said, “Life lasts for the duration of one breath.” Life…
In the practice of meditation, once you have developed meditative concentration it does not matter if you are walking, standing, sitting, lying down, carrying firewood, or bringing water—every single action can suddenly lead to enlightenment and seeing intrinsic nature. For true Chan practitioners meditation is whatever they see in their daily lives; it is everywhere.
Observing the precepts is the concrete manifestation of compassion and the bodhisattva path.
Meditation is not about sitting quietly with your eyes closed—this is just one method for developing meditative concentration. What matters in meditation is being able to contemplate and focus the mind.
Offering lamps at Buddhist temples and stupas is a common practice. The Flower Adornment Sutra says, “The lamp of wisdom can break through all forms of darkness.”
As such, lamps represent the light of wisdom that pierces through the darkness of ignorance. This empowers sentient beings encumbered by confusion.
The Buddhist practice of offering lamps originates from the
actions of a poor girl named Nanda. Her story can be read in The Prophecy of King Ajatasatru Becoming a Buddha Sutra, which tells us that the merit for offering a lamp can ever lead one to become a Buddha.
Why should people create Buddha images? Did the Buddha really want everyone to make images of him and worship his body? In truth, the purpose of creating the Buddha images is not to create symbols for worship. Buddha images are reminders that “the mind is the Buddha,” and that everyone has Buddha nature. Buddha images…