ZEN OF SHAOLIN
You are born. Your eyes aren't even open
yet. The world changes temperatures. you are aware of your skin. You notice
brightness through your closed eyelids. A mother's warmth enshrouds you.
A nipple in your mouth. The pleasure of nourishment is all encompassing.
You have brothers and sisters. You play with them. You grow bigger and
stronger. You learn to communicate.
You invent games to play and learn the games
of others. You have friends and relationships and a mother and a father.
A hand reaches into your world from the sky
above. you've seen this before. This time it seizes your body. The hand
carries you away and places you in a whole new world.
You still don't realize that this is your
purpose in life. Every day you have lived has been leading to this day.
The food you've eaten and air you've breathed has nurtured you to this
Before you were born you picked your parents.
Perhaps not by name or face, but you had a list of desires:"I
want brothers and sisters, a loving mother, a place to play, and I don't
want to have to fight or struggle for food and daily survival."
You got your wish: you are a baby mouse in
a pet store, now in the snake terrarium, about to be eaten.
How is this different from joining the army?
At least this little mouse gave its' life for someone without killing
SANGHA = BUDDHIST FAMILY
Historically, Buddhist monks were effective
by teaching groups of people, wherever they chose to gather together;
a home, a park, a restaurant, a donated building... These gatherings of
Buddhists, rarely in a Temple, were a Sangha.
Like any other group of people, gathering
to share their common interest, the Sangha became a second family. With
its' basic roots in love and compassion, a Sangha was the Buddhist school
of how to be a family.
A Sangha is much different than a church.
Instead of a Preacher reciting or dictating to an assembly, a Sangha was
a discussion group where each person would help each other to apply the
Dharma to the problems or interests in their life.
As the members of the Sangha "prescribed"
different Dharma prescriptions to each other, they also became a support
group of each member's life, with an interest in seeing the results of
applying the Dharma. This cause and effect research teaches each member
of the Sangha to become a teacher and accordingly a better parent.
By learning to skillfully apply the Dharma
(teachings and scriptures of Buddhism) to each other, they also learned
how to apply it to their own self. From this feedback and research, the
depth and wisdom of Buddhism has been proven for thousands of years. The
weakness of Buddhism is that Buddhists must WORK for results. There are
no miracle healings or divine interventions in Buddhism. A Buddhist must
take full responsibility for the events of their life. This responsibility
and hard work require time and effort.
At Shaolin Zen we use the following translation
for the Chinese words Gongfu (Kung Fu in Cantonese); "Time and Effort."
Since Shaolin Gongfu is one of the most difficult and challenging hobbies
a person can pursue; by mastering Gongfu-all the rest of your life becomes
Write a list of your immediate family (include
yourself). Write a list of your closest friends.
Make a check mark next to each name if the
person works hard and efficiently at whatever their jobs or hobbies are.
Next, make a checkmark next to each name
who strives to make the world a better place on a daily basis.
Lastly, make a checkmark next to each name
that you think has freed their mind of their past, understands the present,
and has a spiritual view of the future.
Even if they've never heard of Buddha , those
with THREE CHECKMARKS are Bodhisattvas (living Buddhas). Those with TWO
CHECKMARKS are Buddhist Beginners. The people with only one checkmark,
or none at all, need serious help and reflect your bad choice of friends
or your inability to help those you love.
We can't each take responsibility for the
well-being of the entire planet, but we can each take responsibility for
our family and friends. So, judge your life by the lives of your family
and friends. Do not say, "that's none of my business." Wherever
your life takes you is your business. What you do and who you know is
your business. your little world of family and friends is your business.
have a successful business, they are your life. Take responsibility for
everything you possibly can.
Be a Buddhist.
Love your family.
Help your friends.
Have a Sangha.