Embraced By Amida

My Journey to the True Pure Land Way
淨  土  真 宗  行

cherry-blossomsfaa-cropped

Under the cherry blossoms,
With a mind in utter confusion.
Yet, being embraced and not forsaken,
By The Light of Boundless Compassion.

Transporting active memories through my mind’s eye
Pensively, I witness the unfolding of nature.
In this fleeting, impermanent but wonderfully miraculous life,
Exhibiting clearly both suffering and pain, joy and pleasure.

There is really no difference between myself and others,
And for everyone regardless of status, gender, race or age.
Endless struggle for achievements and gains is what matters,
While we carelessly act on life’s transient stage.

Even good religious persons are struck by misfortunes,
Suffering from traumatic accidents, diseases and calamities.
While many non-religious evil persons enjoy good fortunes,
Through cheating, manipulation, theft, and immoral activities.

Greatly intrigued by the inequalities most have endured,
I often thought about the character of the Creator.
Why some are made healthy, rich, talented and well-endowed,
While others are born sickly, deformed, stupid and poor.

The usual answer is that God’s activities are incomprehensible,
So be thankful for what you have and just praise Him.
Even learned people have agreed that He is not answerable,
Therefore, stop asking questions lest you may upset Him.

Seeking for truth, I turned to the Bible with fervour,
Strongly encouraged by a warm-hearted sincere friend.
The fraternity was wonderful with a nice church atmosphere,
But not favoured by God my 2 year study soon came to an end.

If One preaches Love and displays a praiseworthy intention,
But eternally condemns to hell those who failed to please.
His conditional love is egoistic and surely lacks compassion,
So, He is not different from the common man or beast.

Again, I pondered my fragile existence deeply,
The common dilemma shared by everyone far and near.
Through tainted perceptions each one views differently,
Only a few could see vaguely, others totally unclear.

These thoughts constantly invaded an insecure, curious mind,
Asking why we are born in this world to live, suffer and die.
But keenly aware that our high intelligence is hard to find,
I should not let this rare human existence just slip by.

By chance I stumbled clumsily into a Buddhist lecture,
And was caught listening to a Sri-Lankan speaker.
The monk’s speech on Rebirth was forceful and sure,
Arousing the curious imagination of a pathetic thinker.

Condescendingly, I hurled at him many smart queries,
Egoistically expecting no satisfactory answers in reply.
But the monk was on his toes returning the volleys,
Tearing me mentally to shreds, my ideas went dry.

I was shocked and amazed to discover a new dimension,
Hidden in what I thought was legendary folklore.
A so-called religion I considered mere superstition,
Fragments of which I heard my mother mentioned before.

A lifetime study may help to understand the basic tenets,
Like impermanence, interdependence, cause and effect.
Buddhism covers everything in this world and all the planets,
Encompassing all our scientific knowledge within a speck.

I also learned that the imaginative God is merely a factor,
In an inconceivable cyclical series without beginning or end.
Great ego and pride however, marked the created Creator,
Whose past good deeds had propelled Him to His heaven.

Buddhism is an analytical and sublime education,
For eradicating the ego that caused our suffering.
It certainly demands a humble attitude and concentration,
Qualities often spoken about but usually lacking.

The intellectual aspect of the Dharma is indeed appealing,
But it also feeds the knowledge ego with no benefit.
As this is the same habitual ego that I am eradicating,
Discovering a practical method for me is no easy feat.

Habitual tendencies from countless lives shaped this existence,
Naturally creating that powerful demon from infinite time.
Only the skillful methods from the Buddha have relevance,
To awaken this foolish and stubborn being in this lifetime.

Like a wise physician, The Buddha prescribed suitable cures,
Out of compassion for the boundless suffering multitude.
Skilfully peeling off the strong impediments that obscures,
The root of our sicknesses, that craving egocentric attitude.

For fifteen years, I followed the path for monks and sages,
Who left their homes in search of enlightenment.
The practices prescribed were arduous and effective in stages,
As methods of meditation are coupled with non-attachment.

Realizing I had been following unsuitable, difficult practices,
I switched to those that are meant for the householder.
But doing meritorious deeds and emulating past masters,
Were still beyond my evil mind and hypocritical nature.

During those years I wondered aimlessly without any direction,
Contented with feeding the ego with tainted merit gathering.
While pretending to be well-versed without a solid foundation,
I treated Buddhism as an interesting subject good for debating.

Serving the temple and monks without attachment or conditions,
Is indeed an excellent practice taught for the laity.
However, when results were seen not up to my expectations,
My evil mind was again disturbed and poisoned with anxiety.

The sutras described the great sacrifices of Bodhisattvas,
Accomplished practicers returning to this world to help beings.
Delaying their enlightenment to alleviate the suffering of others,
They showed me a selfless path amongst material things.

Outwardly, I appeared able to perform good deeds and actions,
And follow the Bodhisattvas’ path towards Buddhahood.
But inwardly my mind was badly poisoned with reservations,
And honestly incapable to carry out the smallest good.

Then a marvelous Tibetan Lama appeared at this juncture,
And imparted to me wonderful teachings from his vast treasury.
As head of an unbroken lineage, he was an accomplished teacher,
Whose moral conduct, wisdom and compassion were exemplary.

I stayed at the foothills of the Himalayas with great enthusiasm,
Receiving from my guru secret teachings for emancipation.
Fathoming for the first time the sublime wonders of Buddhism,
Since I heard my maiden Buddhist lecture on transmigration.

Devoting much time committed to practices and meditations,
I thought it was easy to awaken that spiritual eye.
Unaware that those were hard practices taught to superior persons,
I made no real progress while another twelve years had gone by.

However, the fascinating stories of holy sages who gained liberation,
Through the same mysterious practices that I had received.
Kept me struggling for many years without the slightest realisation,
That only those with superior circumstances had achieved.

The pride of building a Tibetan styled temple with a thousand audience,
Badly crushed by the agony of disappointments and loss of confidence.
It was unthinkable to leave my beloved Guru and Dharma friends,
With immense guilt in my mind, burning in pain and utter confusion.

For a period, I was badly besieged with traumatic failures,
Shattering my hardened ego and I was painfully disillusioned.
My unsettled mind was raging uncontrolled like wild fires,
I was completely lost and ironically hoped that God had beckoned.

Like an extremely sick man who had taken the wrong medicine,
My suffering was indeed severe and facially quite apparent.
Finding a solution to remain sane and realistic was my only concern,
I could not accept the advice that I should be repentant.

The sub-conscious ego-centric nature so deeply embedded in me,
Persistently searched for exciting means beyond my circumstance.
And totally blind to this, I certainly failed to see,
The wisdom of the Enlightened Ones and their presence.

Such was the confused fate of a pretentious practitioner,
Who had for countless lifetimes hardened that evil passion.
And whose proper place will naturally be Hell for sure,
Unless an Enlightened One grasps him out of compassion.

I may waste this precious and unrepeatable human life,
Hanging on precariously before it comes to the unavoidable end.
With impure thoughts driving that chronic strife,
My self-power efforts and contrivance will surely be in vain.

Recalling a past great Master’s advice on excellent gateways,
For beings in this Dharma Ending Age seeking ultimate salvation.
Those who aspire to be permanently freed from suffering always,
Should practice in accord with their capacities for emancipation.

With a confused unsettled mind, disillusioned, lost and uneasy,
After thirty years trying strenuously to find the Light of Dharma.
Then in 1994, I abandoned all practices seeking solace in Kyoto City,
Under the cherry blossoms, past causes ripened my good karma.

While reflecting deeply on the Buddha’s compassionate intention,
I recalled the wonderful Pure Land teachings of Venerable Shinran.
Written in Classical Chinese on the work of Boundless Compassion,
As I prostrate saying NamoAmituoFo at the Temple of Hongwan.

Inconceivable Gift of Entrusting Faith, True and Real,

Mysteriously ignited this blind and foolish being with joyful insight.
Knowing that Amida Buddha’s Great Vow was wonderfully fulfilled,
With the warm and exhilarating embrace of Unhindered Light.

This one-thought moment of Joyful Entrusting in His Primal Vow,
Is the Shinjin of Amida Buddha bestowed on me, a hopeless person.
And though it is the easy Path of Salvation obtainable here and now,
It is the most difficult of all difficulties to have true settlement.

Completing the cause of birth in the Land of Serene Sustenance,
I am unconcerned about my heavy defilements and evil karma.
Discarding completely all sundry practices and disciplines,
Single-mindedly, I take refuge in The Primal Vow of Amida Buddha.

I still remained an ordinary foolish person with evil passions,
Yet constantly protected by the Light of Boundless Compassion.
Basking in Amida’s Universal Vow and His untiring presence, 
And saying NamoAmituoFo with any unfolding of karmic conditions.

Inconceivable is my acceptance of Amida’s precious gift of Shinjin,
Yet, I clearly know that this is my last deluded life in samsara.
I am grateful to The Compassionate Ones and their skillful means,
For leading me out of difficult self-power into the arms of Amida.

I am greatly indebted to my compassionate teacher Master Shinran,
For teaching and transmitting the pristine Amida Dharma.
His wonderful writings on Teaching, Practice, Faith and Realisation,
Elucidate the true purpose of the appearance of Shakyamuni Buddha.

Words cannot express my profound gratitude for his benevolence,
In leading me to entrust in the Absolute Confidence of Amida Buddha.
All I can do now is to share his excellent, incomparable teachings,
With anyone interested in the wonderful True Pure Land Dharma.

NAMO AMIDA BUTSU               阿  彌  陀  佛
NAMO AMIDA BUTSU               阿  彌  陀  佛
NAMO AMIDA BUTSU              阿  彌  陀  佛

>>>

Completed in Singapore on 13th August 2013 …..by Heng Ng

>>>

HOME PAGE – The Call Of Boundless Compassion

page 2 – The Primal Vow

page 3 – Shoshinge – Beautiful teaching in Poetry