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Volume 7 no 2

From The Editor

Re-discovering our Own-nature and Pure Land

Picture yourself minus your ego, attachments, discriminations, ignorance, … etc; in short those attributes that you think make you. You would have returned to your "own-nature". That nature is the same as the Buddha's.

Next, picture yourself in a land, a country where there is no greed, no hatred or anger, no stress, no worries, no anxieties, no fear, no mental anguish … etc; in short nothing of the sort that brings the slightest tinge of "dissatisfaction". Instead there is joy, peace, happiness and bliss. You would have been in a pure land, a paradise.

The truth is that we all have our own-nature which is the same as the Enlightened One - Buddha, and a pure land within us. It does not matter what race you are, what language you speak or what your religious beliefs are. These are the characteristics of a human being. Ultimately learning and practising Buddhism is about returning to, or re-discovering our own-nature. We are "not in our own-nature" because of the many illusions that we have about ourselves, the people around us and the events that take place around us. As a result we bury our wisdom, awareness, brightness. If we strip away our illusions, ignorance, ego, self-centredness, attachments, discriminations and self-serving habits, and open ourselves to the world with compassion, spirit of giving, loving-kindness, then naturally our wisdom, awareness and brightness will prevail. Life is a pure land, a paradise!

And therefore, it is said that the purpose of learning and practising Buddhism is to distance from suffering and attain happiness. Surely that is true when we have discovered our own-nature and pure land. But, can a person distance himself from suffering and be happy if he cannot let go of the mind of the past, present and future, and he cannot detach himself from his ego-form, the human-form in the people whom he sees around him, the sentient-being form that arises in his mind and the passage of time that gives rise to the time-form? That would not be possible.

All these talks about meditation, cultivation and so on, are means to an end, to help us to re-discover our own-nature. They are not an end in themselves. Eventually we have to eliminate the 3 Minds [1] and shatter the 4 Forms [2]. This brings us to the subject of the Bliss Compass for this issue: Amitabha Buddha
- what does it mean? Once again Venerable Shen-Kai directs us towards bliss, expounding on how to return to our Own-nature and the Pure Land in us, and attain infinite brightness, infinite life and infinite merits.

Be with Buddha.

[1] The Three Minds: (i) the past is gone and cannot be grasped. (ii) After this moment, the present becomes past and also cannot be grasped. (iii) The future is not here yet and therefore cannot be grasped too.

[2] The four forms: Form - Characteristics; (i) Everybody has an ego, this is the ego- form. (ii) When we see another person, we perceive the human-form. (iii) When thoughts arise in our mind, we perceive the sentient-form. (iv) The continuity of these thoughts through time gives rise to the time-form.

Copyright 2002.Jen Chen Buddhism Centre