145 - Living This Moment in Purity

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The Consciousness of Great

Bliss and Luminosity


Recently, the Buddha has repeatedly prompted my heart with three simple, yet profound statements:

All happenings will become the past.”

Every individual’s life will extinguish.”

All existence,in a flash, will no longer exist.”

I have often meditated on these three statements, knowing that all forms of affliction in this samsaric world, whether physical or emotional, will eventually pass.

Every person who is born eventually dies. Throughout the ages, many heroic people have walked this earth. But where are they now? Indeed, each and every life will be extinguished.

The material objects we think we own are merely passed from hand to hand. Some will disappear; others will be given away. Why waste one’s heart and mind on the accumulation of money and material things? In a flash, all will be transmuted into emptiness.

Every time I ponder these three statements, a tremor travels through my heart. Yet, at the same moment, I experience an exhilarating sense of liberation.

I have often recounted examples from China’s history, enumerating the successive dynasties from Xia, Shang, Zhou to Qin, Han, the Three Kingdoms, Jin, the Northern and Southern Dynasties, Sui, Tang, the Five Dynasties, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing.I cite these to illustrate the transience of all worldly phenomena.

As one dynasty succeeds and replaces the last,

One emperor replaces another;

One palace is replaced by the next,

As each ruling party replaces its predecessor.

Regardless of the event, it soon becomes the past. All will vanish like mist and smoke. All existence becomes non-existent. One may feel sad over such happenings but, after all, mourning brings no practical benefits amidst the torrents of time!

This brings to mind the following Zen tale:

One day, as a solitary traveler was walking through the woods, he encountered a bear. The animal began to chase him and, as the man fled in terror, he fell over the edge of a cliff. Luckily, before falling to his death, he was able to grab onto a large tree branch. When he looked down, however, he saw a hungry tiger encircling the base of the tree, waiting for him to descend. In the midst of his predicament, he noticed a plant of luscious strawberries growing near his branch. Above him lurked the bear, while the tiger awaited below.

Zen lineage gurus have taught us that this traveler, paying no attention to the bear above or the tiger below, need only reach out to eat the strawberries and enjoy their sweetness.

As the teaching goes, “The bear above is the past. The tiger below is the future, which is subject to change. Why not live in the present and enjoy the present moment of freedom?”

This story makes a great deal of sense to me. To really live, one must stop dwelling on the past or the future. The future is just a probability! It is premature to worry about events that have not yet occurred. Who can say whether an occurrence will ultimately be a blessing or a disaster? After all, a good person will be taken care of by the heavens. Why not just enjoy the strawberries now?

With a deep understanding of the Buddha’s supreme wisdom, I live totally in the moment, “the present moment of purity and liberation.”

The most valuable thing in life is prajna, supreme wisdom. While living in the present moment, we only need remember:

At this moment, do not commit any non-virtuous transgressions.

At this moment, be aware of karmic causes and consequences.

At this moment, be unbound by the cycles of transmigration.

In this way, one will definitely attain “the present moment of liberation.”


Living Buddha Lian-sheng Sheng-Yen Lu:

17102 NE 40th Court

Redmond, WA98052

U. S. A.


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