Continuing the commentary on Summary of Faith and Practice...
If you can perform the practice in this simple minded way,
Of course, the simple mind may seem to be not so simple to arrive at. Modern life especially militates against it. We are slaves to deadlines, chased about by all kinds of threatening implications of what may happen if we do not do this or that. However, it is possible to simplify one's life and there can be times when there is only oneself and the Buddha.
I remember meeting a woman in Chicago who had been a successful business woman but had developed various psychological problems. She was Thai. She said to me that if she had been American she would have gone to a therapist, but as she was Thai she decided to go and see the monk. She told him her troubles and he said, “Simplify your life.” So she did. She handed over all her businesses to other members of her family, moved into a smaller house, got rid of most of her stuff, and even wore the same style clothes day in day out so that she did not have to choose - just take the next blouse off the pile. Now she felt happy and sane again and spent much of her time helping at the temple. It was an inspiring story.
I myself have greatly simplified my life by living in my hermitage in France. Each day has a similar pattern without any particular regimentation. It varies with the weather and the season. I remember reading a Chinese poem when I was young written by a Taoist. The poem talked about one’s heart being in tune with the seasons. That is how I feel living here. When it is wet I stay in. when it is dry I go out. When it is cold I make a fire. When it is hot I work in the shade. This is to follow the practice in a simple minded way. Everywhere the nembutsu goes with me. There is never a shortage of things to do, but things are rarely pressing.
Over the past year, health problems have forced an even greater simplification upon me and this has been wonderful. Ill health can simplify the mind greatly. As I am getting old I know that death is not so far away and this is also simplifying. Why should I worry or make a fuss about things if I shall be going soon? What a waste that would be! Of course, none of us knows when death will come and many of my spiritual heroes were long dead by the time they were my age.
People sometimes ask me if I am lonely, but I never feel so. I enjoy my simple life. Actually I am surrounded by the most immense complexity, which is nature. Even a tiny flower is so intricate! and I have billions of them here all around. Thus it is very easy for me to stand in awe. The sky ceaselessly changes colour and the clouds roll by. Namo Amida Bu. Namo Amida Bu.
The wood pigeon sings coo-oo-coo over and over and the ring dove sits on the roof top. A little bird flits from twig to twig in the cherry tree amid the blossom. I watch. I listen. I am steeped in holy influences. What more could I ask?
To live one’s life in a simple minded way does not necessarily mean to renounce all complexity of thought, intelligence, sophistication and education. It means, rather, to have an attitude of simple faith that stays in touch with the bigger picture - with the wholeness or holiness of existence. We are only here for a short time in this life, but we can see that time sparkle if we let in an energy much greater than ourselves.
Wonderful, thank you.
Namo Amida bu
Thank you Dharmavidya
I agree with Mat.I also think this is wonderful.
I feel that especially through simple things and details we can "see" Life as it is...And Life goes hand in hand with Death. Our culture teach us to deny death in many ways, so once and again we stop "seeing" Life and waste time.
That is why I appreciate a lot and feel grateful for your beautiful sharing today
Namo Amida Bu