Sunday, November 14, 2004

My e-mail reply to JP on Nov. 13

>Okay, we can leave it at that then. If I somehow bump

>into an ancient text
that the buddha did mention about
>the existance or the permanence of
the mind, then maybe
>I can refer it to you. But until then, maybe we can

>leave it at this state at the moment, since words coming
>from ancient text
are the most credible to you, more than
>my attempted logical reasoning.

Correction: I did not say ancient text. I said what the
Buddha said, because I consider him the authority of the
Buddha Dharma.

>Following ur new topic. I really don't know about northern
>and southern
chinese buddhist sutras. I know the name
>of some chinese sutras but I
don't know which falls into
>what category.

Not sutras; lineage, schools.

Northern lineage: Buddhist schools in Tibetan, Chinese,
Japanese, Korean, etc.; schools that refer to themselves
as belonging to the Mahayana or the “greater vehicle.”
Southern lineage: Buddhists schools in Thailand, Burma,
Laos, etc.; primarily following Theravada Buddhism; or
what the Mahayana schools like to refer to as the
“Hinayana” or “lesser vehicle” schools.

>But I do know that if you want ancient buddhist schools,
>then I think the
oldest and earliest schools that
>branched out after the Buddha taught
were maybe the
>four indian schools of: 1.) Abhidharma 2.) Sautantrika

>(sutrist school) 3.) cittamatra (mind-only school)
>3.) madhyamika (middle
way school - which is further
>divided into the madhyamika svatantrika and
>prasangika)....I think u know these...then are u telling
that you are only interested in these older schools?
>or did u mean...the older schools in chinese buddhism?

Correction: Not older schools; ancient Buddhism.

By “ancient Buddhism,” I was referring to the first
school, where the practitioners of the Buddha Dharma
belonged - when the Tathagata was still alive. Ancient
Buddhism may also include the Sangha school that existed
shortly after Gotama the Buddha died.

>On another us as a buddhist want to reach
>buddhahood ASAP?

I wouldn’t know what every Buddhist is thinking.
Theoretically, a Buddhist aspires to be a Buddha; however,
this may not be true with every practitioner. In my case,
for instance, I do not aspire to become a Buddha. For
many years, my vow has always been “to become an
enlightened person, so I can help others become

I want to be enlightened, so I can be competent enough to
help other practitioners “graduate” sooner; sooner as
meaning in the present lifetime, or at least, for them to
know the right path leading to enlightenment even if
they are unable to practice in their present lifetime.
I am not trying to be a martyr in thinking this way. I
just don’t want other sincere practitioners to be like
me before or to waddle forever in mud in search of the
magga (Way).

Sometimes, certain “funny” feelings or thoughts cross my
mind when I am contemplating. For instance, I wonder if
I really want to stop rebirth – if I could, as an arhat,
for instance – and stop becoming a human again. I check
myself and find no serious dilemma, but I can detect
someone small within me wanting to be human again. I tell
myself, good thing I don’t want to stop rebirth, because
my vow requires me to keep coming back. My only regret,
as mentioned in my previous e-mail, is I have to begin
learning from scratch every time I start a new life as
a human (if I get a ticket to the human realm next time).

In connection with the “graduation” topic… This is why
I told my friend William that I do not agree with the
so-called “authorities” preaching the Buddha Dharma
unless they are already “enlightened beings.” Of course,
I wouldn’t be surprised if most of them would, in their
own way, claim to be “enlightened” or “authorized by
[fill in the blank]” when challenged. Before, I wouldn’t
know how to distinguish them from charlatans or wishful
thinkers, now I have gauges: the basic principles of the
Buddha Dharma and the doctrine/law of dependent

>what's ur plan of action to achieve it? just curious...
>in another words...u
said that your understanding of
>emptiness and impermanence was the
basis of ur
>practice.... so how do u practice with it........?

Understanding emptiness and impermanence is the basis of
my practice? Uh…

Let me put it this way. This is how I understand it. The
right way is to comprehend/perceive the doctrine/law of
dependent origination and to apply it with continuing

In this sense, for my practice, there are two things I
have to achieve: cultivation through knowledge and
cultivation through actual practice. I feel I’ve never
had any problem with the former. Information always seems
to pop up whenever I need it, especially when it is
relevant to spirituality. I guess I have this stronger
“synchronicity” with information? Perhaps, I am only
fooling myself, because the mind sees what the person
believes. Anyway, thanks to the volume of information
available to me, I feel my intellectual cultivation of
the Dharma has always “improved” in time (by stages of
exposure, as I look back at my past). Improving in the
sense that if I learned A before and I learn B now, B
can help me better comprehend/perceive A. When I get
to C, C helps me better comprehend/perceive B; but by
then, I realize I can already explain A in my own words.

My problem is with actual practice or the application of
the relevant knowledge. People have different opinions
about the application. William insisted on the importance
of virtue or “teh” (in Chinese); lots of Buddhists prefer
the “kong teh” (in Chinese) in relation to their actual
practice. I didn’t have any better ideas, but I do now.
To me, it’s about having continuing mindfulness. I am
sure that, if William were asleep now, he would be
turning in his bed. If he were awake and were to hear
this, he would just shake his head and think that I am
back to the old loop. Well, I don’t care, because I have
never felt this sure of the magga; never, as measured
by in-all-my-life.

Sad to say, I am still struggling with the part on actual
practice. Sometimes, I am beginning to feel that,
although I seem to have full access to certain resources,
my role or mission in this life may not concern becoming
an enlightened being… More like a librarian or scholar
whose primary job is to provide information on the Dharma
or magga.

Thinking in this line, I’ll appreciate it if the Buddha
tells me or left word to inform me that I am still part
of a Greater Campaign. Hah! But that’s being imaginative;
or even experiencing self-delusion, which is typical of
victims of cult culture. 8^b