Awakening into the Vastness of the Buddha Dharma - Ananda

Awakening into the Vastness of the Buddha Dharma

“Life flies by, faster than an arrow. What are we to do?” ~ Buddha

Traditionally Buddhists spend a considerable amount of time thinking about death and its inevitability. There are many contemplations and reflections that help drive home the point that we, special as we think we are, must die.  The body will age and cease, or disease will wreak destruction, or some calamitous event, or accident, will destroy the body. Death is certain but the time of death is unknown.

As a longtime Buddhist practitioner I have contemplated these things. Additionally, I was exposed to death, in various painful forms, at young age.  As an adult I spent five years as a hospice volunteer sitting with those near death.  I have also come close to death several times in my own life.

However, what I have been encountering in the last year or so seems to be the piling on of the suffering and death of those loved ones who are near and dear. I have found this bitter taste of reality unsettling.  It feels as though with each illness and death a little bit of myself dies.  The world that I occupy, the self that I have built up, becomes a bit more porous.  Allowing death and impermanence to flow more freely around the edges of my awareness. This awareness brings with it a deep sadness that gives life, which in my mind is mostly about our relationships with others, a sharp preciousness.

No one can save us from death and the many sufferings of this world, neither gods nor Buddhas.

I am a person of deep faith.  The closer death and disease come, the more I see the importance of the long-view.  The view of the Buddhas who describe awakening as a process involving incomprehensibly vast time spans.  Victories, when they come in this life, are nice, but they are not the point.  A life of striving to live the Buddha Dharma is the point. Living an ethical life, practicing love and compassion, following the wisdom and insight of the Buddha Dharma is the Way.

The Nembutsu is one gate to awaken into the vastness of the Buddha Dharma. The recitation of, Namo Amida Bu, the continual contemplation of measureless awakening (Amida Bu) is a way to glimpse the vastness of the universe of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

To grab onto the Buddha by reciting Namo Amida Bu is to set aside one’s little goals and work for an end of suffering for all beings. It is to add one’s small acts of love and compassion to that of all the Buddha’s and Bodhisattvas.  Namo Amida Bu is about surrendering one’s little life and one’s little goals to the measureless path of awakening and compassion lived and preached by the Buddhas.
Namo Amida Bu!
Peace, Ananda