The practice of morality is not as exhaustive for laypeople as it is for monks. The purposes of laypeople are served by either the five precepts or the eight precepts topped with right livelihood (ājīvaṭṭhamakasīla). One may wonder how these two forms of morality can serve equally well when some of their precepts differ. It is because their “Dos and Don’ts” are fundamentally the same.
“Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him.”
“You mean it controls your actions?”
“Partially. But it also obeys your commands.”
—OBI-WAN KENOBI AND LUKE SKYWALKER IN A NEW HOPE
In the centuries after the Buddha’s death, his followers created rifts and various Buddhist schools—Theravada and Mahayana being just two of the biggest divisions—each claiming to be the authentic one. The Zen tradition (or Chan as it is known in China) officially formed when one school traveled, via the South Indian monk named Bodhidharma, to China around the fourth or fifth century ce.
Meditation is called the Great Teacher. It is the cleansing crucible fire that works slowly but surely, through understanding. The greater your understanding, the more flexible and tolerant, the more compassionate you can be. You become like a perfect parent or an ideal teacher. You are ready to forgive and forget.
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Jesus proclaimed: “To believe in me, is not to believe in me but in him who sent me; to see me, is to see him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that no one who has faith in me should remain in darkness. But if anyone hears my words and disregards them, I am not his judge; I have not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for anyone who rejects me and does not accept my words; the word I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.
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After we purchased the land for our monastery in we were broke. We were in debt. There were no buildings on the land, not even a shed. Those first few weeks we slept not on beds but on old doors we had bought cheaply from the salvage yard; we raised them on bricks at each corner to lift them off the ground. (There were no mattresses, of course—we were forest monks.)