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 readiness.
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 anyone.
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
Be a Buddhist.
Love your family.
Help your friends.
Have a Sangha.