In a previous talk I talked about how our lives are dominated by rupas, by powerful objects, powerful appearances; and a rupa that has come in all ours lives and become very powerful for all of us just recently is the corona virus. The image of the virus is in all our newspapers, our magazines, on TV and so on. This image of a crown-shaped virus, mysterious, powerful, threatening, dangerous, has come into our lives and is becoming quite dominant. All the news broadcasts, all the magazine articles - corona virus is everywhere. So, this is a powerful rupa.
So, if you're a Buddhist practitioner, you look at your life and you think: “Oh, what's happening here? Is this rupa becoming more important to me than Buddha and Dharma?“ And, of course, if that's so, then having that insight “Oh, look, that's what's happening to me“ can give you some leverage, it can help you to re-order your life somewhat and think again: “What's really powerful? What really matters here?” and get your life back centred on refuge, on the Buddha and the Dharma and the Sangha.
Of course, we can also ask, why and how has this new appearance suddenly come in and dominated us and the reason has to be that we're attached to our life. We don't want to die - particularly we don't want to die at what you might call the wrong time. We want to be in control of that and death is frightening.
Of course, if you are a true Dharma practitioner with great faith in the Buddha and the Dharma, then death isn't frightening, because you're going to die with the Buddha and the Dharma and it doesn't really matter when it happens because the Buddha and the Dharma will always be there; and if you can die with the Buddha and the Dharma, then that faith, that mindfulness, that centrality of the mind upon what is most true, most beautiful, most profound, that would take you straight to the Pure Land! You won't go to Hades, you won't go to hell, you won't go to... – death is not so horrible, because you're going to go somewhere fine.
So, faith in the Buddha and the Dharma - true refuge - these take away the fear of dying; and then, of course, this generalizes. If in dying you have some sense of safety, some sense of security, some sense that this is part of a bigger, more benign order of things, then that safety and security generalizes to other aspects of your life. So, on the one hand, Buddhism prepares you for your death, but if you're prepared for your death, then that helps with all the rest of your life. All the other anxieties that you have from the most mundane, paying the gas bill and so on, up to things like the corona virus, corona virus like a sort of threatening bogey that might get you any time... this is put into perspective. It loses its power to frighten you and dominate you. In Buddhist terms we say: “Mara can no longer get you. You're no longer in the realm of Mara.”
At the time a person realizes true refuge, they escape from Mara's domain, they escape from the domain of the lord of death, and this makes them into a liberated and free being who's capable of living a life of wisdom and compassion because they're not haunted by Mara.
Namo Amida Bu
Thank you very much
Yesterday, my neighbor passed away and his wife who is a friend to me asked me to come to bliss the spirit being with the light. So I was there and chanted 'Namo Amida Bu' for 30 min in expecting Amida to take his spirit into Pure Land. Namo Amida Bu.