Friday, December 5, 2014

The King of Prayers

 
 
I bow down to the youthful Arya Manjushri.
You lions among humans,
Gone to freedom in the present, past and future
In the worlds of ten directions,
To all of you, with body, speech and sincere mind I bow down.
With the energy of aspiration for the bodhisattva way,
With a sense of deep respect,
And with as many bodies as atoms of the world,
To all you Buddhas visualized as real, I bow down.
On every atom are Buddhas numberless as atoms,
Each amidst a host of bodhisattvas,
And I am confident the sphere of all phenomena
Is entirely filled with Buddhas in this way.
With infinite oceans of praise for you,
And oceans of sound from the aspects of my voice,
I sing the breathtaking excellence of Buddhas,
And celebrate all of you Gone to Bliss.
Beautiful flowers and regal garlands,
Sweet music, scented oils and parasols,
Sparkling lights and sublime incense,
I offer to you Victorious Ones.
Fine dress and fragrant perfumes,
Sandalwood powder heaped high as Mount Meru,
All wondrous offerings in spectacular array,
I offer to you Victorious Ones.
With transcendent offerings peerless and vast,
With profound admiration for all the Buddhas,
With strength of conviction in the bodhisattva way,
I offer and bow down to all Victorious Ones.
Every harmful action I have done
With my body, speech and mind
Overwhelmed by attachment, anger and confusion,
All these I openly lay bare before you.
I lift up my heart and rejoice in all positive potential
Of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas in ten directions,
Of solitary realizers, hearers still training and those beyond,
And of all ordinary beings.
You who are the bright lights of worlds in ten directions,
Who have attained a Buddha’s omniscience through the stages of awakening,
All you who are my guides,
Please turn the supreme wheel of Dharma.
With palms together I earnestly request:
You who may actualize parinirvana,
Please stay with us for eons numberless as atoms of the world,
For the happiness and well-being of all wanderers in samsara.
Whatever slight positive potential I may have created,
By paying homage, offering, and acknowledging my faults,
Rejoicing, and requesting that the Buddhas stay and teach,
I now dedicate all this for full awakening.
May you Buddhas now living in the worlds of ten directions,
And all you gone to freedom in the past, accept my offerings.
May those not yet arisen quickly perfect their minds,
Awakening as fully enlightened ones.
May all worlds in ten directions,
Be entirely pure and vast.
May they be filled with bodhisattvas
Surrounding Buddhas gathered beneath a bodhi tree.
May as many beings as exist in ten directions
Be always well and happy.
May all samsaric beings live in accord with the Dharma,
And may their every Dharma wish be fulfilled.
Remembering my past lives in all varieties of existence,
May I practice the bodhisattva way,
And thus, in each cycle of death, migration and birth,
May I always abandon the householder’s life.
Then, following in the footsteps of all the Buddhas,
And perfecting the practice of a bodhisattva,
May I always act without error or compromise,
With ethical discipline faultless and pure.
May I teach the Dharma in the language of gods,
In every language of spirits and nagas,
Of humans and of demons,
And in the voice of every form of being.
May I be gentle-minded, cultivating the six paramitas,
And never forget bodhicitta.
May I completely cleanse without omission
Every negativity and all that obscures this awakening mind.
May I traverse all my lives in the world,
Free of karma, afflictions and interfering forces,
Just as the lotus blossom is undisturbed by the water’s wave,
Just as the sun and moon move unhindered through the sky.
May I ease the suffering in the lower realms
And in the many directions and dimensions of the universe.
May I guide all wanderers in samsara to the pure bliss of awakening
And be of worldly benefit to them as well.
May I practice constantly for eons to come,
Perfecting the activities of awakening,
Acting in harmony with the various dispositions of beings,
Showing the ways of a bodhisattva.
May I always have the friendship
Of those whose path is like mine,
And with body, words and also mind,
May we practice together the same aspirations and activities.
May I always meet a spiritual mentor
And never displease that excellent friend,
Who deeply wishes to help me
And expertly teaches the bodhisattva way.
May I always directly see the Buddhas,
Masters encircled by bodhisattvas,
And without pause or discouragement for eons to come,
May I make extensive offerings to them.
May I hold within me the Buddha’s genuine Dharma,
Illuminate everywhere the teachings that awaken,
Embody the realizations of a bodhisattva,
And practice ardently in all future eons.
While circling through all states of existence,
May I become an endless treasure of good qualities—
Skillful means, wisdom, samadhi and liberating stabilizations—
Gathering limitless pristine wisdom and positive potential.
On one atom I shall see
Buddha fields numberless as atoms,
Inconceivable Buddhas among bodhisattvas in every field,
Practicing the activities of awakening.
Perceiving this in all directions,
I dive into an ocean of Buddha fields,
Each an ocean of three times Buddhas in the space of a wisp of hair.
So I, too, will practice for an ocean of eons.
Thus I am continually immersed in the speech of the Buddhas,
Expression that reveals an ocean of qualities in one word,
The completely pure eloquence of all the Buddhas,
Communication suited to the varied tendencies of beings.
With strength of understanding I plunge
Into the infinite enlightened speech of the Dharma
Of all Buddhas in three times gone to freedom,
Who continually turn the wheel of Dharma methods.
I shall experience in one moment
Such vast activity of all future eons,
And I will enter into all eons of the three times,
In but a fraction of a second.
In one instant I shall see all those awakened beings,
Past, present and future lions among humans,
And with the power of the illusion-like stabilization
I will constantly engage in their inconceivable activity.
I shall manifest upon one single atom
The array of pure lands present, past and future.
Likewise, I shall enter the array of pure Buddha fields
In every direction without exception.
I shall enter the very presence of all my guides,
Those lights of this world who are yet to appear,
Those sequentially turning the wheels of complete awakening,
Those who reveal nirvana – final, perfect peace.
May I achieve the power of swift, magical emanation,
The power to lead to the great vehicle through every approach,
The power of always beneficial activity,
The power of love pervading all realms,
The power of all surpassing positive potential,
The power of supreme knowledge unobstructed by discrimination,
And through the powers of wisdom, skillful means and samadhi,
May I achieve the perfect power of awakening.
Purifying the power of all contaminated actions,
Crushing the power of disturbing emotions at their root,
Defusing the power of interfering forces,
I shall perfect the power of the bodhisattva practice.
May I purify an ocean of worlds,
May I free an ocean of beings,
May I clearly see an ocean of Dharma,
May I realize an ocean of pristine wisdom.
May I purify an ocean of activities,
May I fulfill an ocean of aspirations,
May I make offerings to an ocean of Buddhas,
May I practice without discouragement for an ocean of eons.
To awaken fully through this bodhisattva way,
I shall fulfill without exception
All the diverse aspirations of the awakening practice
Of all Buddhas gone to freedom in the three times everywhere.
In order to practice exactly as the wise one
Called Samantabhadra, ‘All Embracing Good’,
The elder brother of the sons and daughters of the Buddhas,
I completely dedicate all this goodness.
Likewise may I dedicate
Just as the skillful Samantabhadra,
With pure body, speech and mind,
Pure actions and pure Buddha fields.
I shall give rise to the aspirations of Manjushri
For this bodhisattva practice of all embracing good,
To perfect these practices
Without discouragement or pause in all future eons.
May my pure activities be endless,
My good qualities boundless,
And through abiding in immeasurable activity,
May I actualize infinite emanations.
Limitless is the end of space,
Likewise, limitless are living beings,
Thus, limitless are karma and afflictions.
May my aspiration’s reach be limitless as well.
One may offer to the Buddhas
All wealth and adornments of infinite worlds in ten directions,
And one may offer during eons numberless as atoms of the world
Even the greatest happiness of gods and humans;
But whoever hears this extraordinary aspiration,
And longing for highest awakening
Gives rise to faith just once,
Creates far more precious positive potential.
Those who make this heartfelt aspiration for the bodhisattva way
Will be free of all lower rebirths,
Free of harmful companions,
And will quickly see Amitabha, Infinite Light.
And even in this very human life,
They will be nourished by happiness and have all conducive circumstances.
Without waiting long,
They will become like Samantabhadra himself.
Those who give voice to this extraordinary aspiration
Will quickly and completely purify
The five boundless harmful actions
Created under the power of ignorance.
Blessed with supreme knowledge,
Excellent body, family, attributes, and appearance,
They will be invincible to vast interfering forces and misleading teachers,
And all the three worlds will make offerings.
Going quickly to the noble bodhi tree,
And sitting there to benefit sentient beings,
Subduing all interfering forces,
They will fully awaken and turn the great wheel of Dharma
Have no doubt that complete awakening
Is the fully ripened result—comprehended only by a Buddha—
Of holding in mind by teaching, reading or reciting
This aspiration of the bodhisattva practice.
In order to train just like
The hero Manjushri who knows reality as it is
And just like Samantabhadra as well,
I completely dedicate all this goodness, just as they did.
With that dedication which is praised as greatest
By all the Buddhas gone to freedom in the three times,
I, too, dedicate all my roots of goodness
For the attainments of the bodhisattva practice.
When the moment of my death arrives,
By eliminating all obscurations
And directly perceiving Amitabha,
May I go immediately to Sukhavati, Pure Land of Great Joy.
Having gone to Sukhavati,
May I actualize the meaning of these aspirations,
Fulfilling them all without exception,
For the benefit of beings for as long as this world endures.
Born from an extremely beautiful, superlative lotus
In this joyful land, the Buddha’s magnificent mandala,
May I receive a prediction of my awakening
Directly from the Buddha Amitabha.
Having received a prediction there,
May I create vast benefit
For beings throughout the ten directions,
With a billion emanations by the power of wisdom.
Through even the small virtue I have accumulated
By offering this prayer of the bodhisattva practice,
May all the positive aspirations of beings
Be fulfilled in an instant.
Through creating limitless positive potential
By dedicating this prayer of Samantabhadra’s deeds,
May all beings drowning in this torrent of suffering,
Enter the presence of Amitabha.
Through this king of aspirations, which is the greatest of the sublime,
Helping infinite wanderers in samsara,
Through the accomplishment of this scripture dazzling with Samantabhadra’s practice,
May suffering realms be utterly emptied of all beings.
 
Thus, The Extraordinary Aspiration of the Practice of Samantabhadra, also known as The King of Prayers, from the Gandavyuha chapter of the Avatamsaka sutra (translated by Jinamitra, Surendrabodhi and Yeshes-sde circa 900c.e.), is complete.
 
 
Hail Amitabha, supreme being of infinite light,
This creature twisted with self-clinging, fails to unbind herself,
I beseech you, pretending to crave the end of suffering for all beings,
In reality, I crave it for myself!
Please purify me!
Please turn my self-clinging into your pure light of limitless compassion. 
Turn my delusions into a buddha field of endless joy, disrobe me of my ego, lay it flat, make of it a pure land for all beings.
Rage upon me, tear me assunder for I can not abide an instant more the self-delusions which separate me from your infinite light.
 
 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Message for the Moment

“A liberated spirit never needs to hold onto anything because every moment provides what is needed, because the moment is perfect… your daily purpose makes up for your greater purpose on Earth. Do not waste time searching for the grand purpose of your life. Be present and embrace the purpose of the moment. Every moment has a purpose, which is why you are in it.”
 
-- From Master Kuthumi (through Michelle Eloff)
 
 


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Love Story

In Love, I am the mountain,
Broody, insurmountable,
surrounded by the sea.
A mystery, everyone says, what fortunate soul might conquer her?
Who would dare?
Truth be told, dying to be overwhelmed, I softened my edges, allowed pride to crumble.
I became vulnerable, ready, willing to be worn down by the sea, as is right.
Alas, exposed, below me, my conqueror did not rise.
My Sea, my lover, remained unstirred –
Uniformly void of spume, of thunderous roar - of obsession.
Like a glass eye viewing a masterpiece, he was equally oblivious to me.
Behold, how even my shadow lays listless upon him, could he not, at the very least, stir that!
I ask, O Lover, where is your passion?
Where is your desire to drag me beneath you!
Curse your tranquillity!
If still waters run deep, then I declare you fathomless!
Sailors call you traitor!
The wind grows tired of you!
And so do I!
O how you have brought the lofty low.
Made miserable with the longing to be wanted.
Why do you stay if you have no desire to take?
What storms have forgotten you in my wake?
Abandoned you to my shores!
I, the Mountain, it seems, must crumble down into your depths and carry you away!
Why is it that I must hammer against you!
Its not fair!
Its shameful!
O Sea, why don't you beat against me, consume me, drag me beneath you.
Like the other waters do, to the other mountains.
Leave me dry!
Leave me be!
But do not leave me to beat myself to sand.
Do not have me reduce myself to sparkles on a distant shore.
Its your duty done, yes, well executed to be sure, but far from the bard's pretty telling.
That is too cruel,
even for you.
Salty, demon!
Made of my tears.
Why don't you want me?
O where is your passion?
I ask and I ask again, but you never answer!
Questions with no answers become riddles!
In love, I am the mountain,
Unwanted! Abandoned! Tormented!
A curse upon you! To heck with it!
I shall ask instead: Why do you stay?
True and steady as a clear blue sky, as close to me as the wind on my face,
holding my shadow.
Embracing me, where I touch you.
Because you love me?
Because you hate me?
Or is it a sad mistake that leaves you lapping eternally at my stones.

By Jaymee Bennett


 
 



Friday, November 14, 2014

A Rose by Any Other Name

Be watchful of the naming of things.
Word has power.
To take away, or make.
Like love!
The nameless manifested it, yet we dared name it.
Context lost!
Love! Here it is! Found!
Struck off its branch; an apple ripe for its first bite.
Yet, what we hold in our hand, is no longer that which grew on the tree.
No longer that which God knew.
Become now, a mystery to all.
Only we don't see it!
Blissfully ignorant to the facsimile made.
We turn it over, feel it in the palm – apple, apple, apple, we say – understood, catalogued, yet failure to see, that the fruit is now limited.
Blinded in understanding, the mystery is lost to the sweetness of the taste of apple.
Become sweetness and crunch, it can no longer grow beyond our comprehension.
Woe to you! Better that you had left it as presented! As offered!
How bold, how presumptuous! To declare the name of another’s offspring?
When meeting for the first time, is the finger pointed and one stranger declared by the other as to who he is?
Would it not, that we had waited for the stranger to reveal their own name! Would we not know him better then?
If we have named everything, and nothing named by itself, or its creator, how can it be, that we can claim knowledge of it?
A universe of mysteries transformed, lost, in becoming known.
God!
We have named him too, but ask, has he named himself?
He did not name his creations, created in his image. We named them!
That which another meticulously dreamt up, purposely fashioned, placed, yet, belovedly, limitlessly, left unnamed.
We named.
An artist's craftsmanship mistaken for indifference, an oversight, an omission, or at best the gift of freewill.
Such is the faith we place in the institution of naming and and being named.
Of claiming.
Listen! Take care if you would behold the truth!
Unname that which you have labelled!
Renounce your titles!
Seek no longer its name, rather, seek its entirety, its fluidity, the context of your first experience with it.
And for heaven's sake, ask yourself, what is apple?
Or better yet, what is Love?
 
By Jaymee Bennett


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Something out of Nothing

With ink which is not ink,
My heart speaks.
My thoughts lay themselves down with the help of my fingers.
How can it be, that something appears from nothing?
How can you read words never written?

There is no ink here.
No page to write upon.
No place in existence where this message is.

But yet?

Here it is, beneath your eyes.
In your brain.
Creation works the same.

It does not need blocks.
It does not need space.
Just YOU.



Monday, November 10, 2014

The Hammer – A Poem for The Light



O, Let the sparks fly!

Set ablaze, that’s how I can best describe it.

with faith,

with trust,

with grace,

As the Hand of Saint Michael – Five Pointed Star, raises me up and strikes me down, forcing form, striking sparks.

From what? I do not know.

To what end? I do not know.

How does it begin? Now, that I know.



It begins with faith.

It beings with trust.

It begins with grace.

Oh, and with sincerity!

As bright as sunlight and deep as shadows.

That’s how it begins.

 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Oak Tree


A mighty wind blew night and day.
It stole the oak tree's leaves away,
Then snapped its bark
until the oak was tired and stark.
But still the oak tree held its ground
while other trees feel all around....
The weary wind gave up and spoke,
"How can you still be standing, Oak?"
The oak tree said, "I know that you
can break each branch of mine in two,
carry every leaf away,
shake my limbs, and make me sway.
But I have roots stretched in the earth,
growing stronger since my birth.
You'll never touch them, for you see,
they are the deepest part of me.
Until today, I wasn't sure
of just how much I could endure.
But now I've found, with thanks to you,
I"m stronger that I ever knew.