10000 dharma return to 1

10000 dharma return to 1

    It was the sixth patriach Huineng who first came out with this wonderful statement. When we have cultivated our mind to the point where, in a moment of penetrating awareness all dharmas become one – the dharma of peace. Similarly in a moment of delusion the one dharma become 10000. The chinese use 10000 for infinite or something that is so large that no number can represent it.

    Kalu rinpoche used the mountain to demonstrate what practising dharma means. He had said that all those who follow spiritual paths are like people climbing up a mountain. Everyone can only see how good their own path is. Other paths are considered as inferior. As we climb higher up the path we can see glimpses of what the other paths are but are still attached to one’s own path. The merit of other spiritual paths is still not seen or acknowledged. When one has reached the top of the mountain one can see in an instant the value and validity of all spiritual paths.

     God too come under much criticism in budhist circles. the christian(which include the catholics) community and muslim circles other religion are also not spared. The godless people of the world and the worshipper of false gods are spoken of with derison. They are the infidels that will go to hell. Even within religions that share the same holy book such as Islam, christianity and Judaism deep seated hatred and division exist. The hindus will find all manner of execuses to deride buddhism as unfounded. Their emptiness of self is self-contradictory. Our "self" is pre-dominant and the truth. One very famous hindu priest who resided in california for many years even blamed the buddhists non-violent stand for the fall of india from the invaders from the north. Buddhists on the other hand will claim that their teachings come from a buddha who is supreme and is above brahma.

     It is when the heart and mind is weak that one need superficial validation of one’s believes and practices. We feel that our believes are validated when other people’s believes are derided, suppressed or negated. Our deluded dualistic mind always foolishly believe that as long as we can point out the darkness around us then we live in the light or are truly the people of the light. Such foolishness is very subtle and are often supported by very clever reasoning. When teachers such as huineng, Kalu rinpoche or lama yeshe(This article is motivated by his talks found in "The peaceful stillness of the silent mind") came along our foolishness is seen for what it is. In the buddhist tradition that which is good or bad is also negative as it is an impediment to our goal of achieving abiding peace. When we are attached to the goodness of our own practices we become trapped in an illusion of our own making.

     All religion have 2 aspects ; the philosophical basis and the rituals and practices. The philosophical basis is necessary to support our practice as an uncultivated mind always need something concrete to attach to. We see and navigate the "spiritual world" based on the philosophical model that comes with our religion. This is really no different from a scientist understanding and navigating the physical world through his scientific model. The thinking process that one goes through and use are the same. What all these religion have been argueing over for centuries is the philosophical differences. Such exercises are not only futile but doom to fail. It’s like an orange saying how beautiful and succulent it is compared to the apple. The apple in turn replied that its crunchiness and sweetness is unmatched. Even 2 different apples are argueing over who is sweeter or who is more crunchy.

    Like Lama Yeshe said it doesn’t matter how good you think your religion is compared with others what is more important is what this "goodness" has done for you. If you have a need to put other religion down then this "goodness" is of no use. It is not the fault of the religion but the failure on our part to integrate the practices into our daily lives.

     If our spiritual practice do not make us kinder, gentler, more understanding and more loving and if it doesn’t reduce our greed, our hatred and our ego-fixated notions,  it is not a spiritual practice. It may be a religous practice but certainly not a spiritual practice.  We are only deluding ourselves in a vain attempt at deceiving others of our own spirituality.


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