PRAISE OF MASTER SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA (623 B.C. – 543 B.C.)
Two thousand and five hundred years ago,
He descended in a cloud from heaven,
To be born in the Palace of King Sudhodana, India,
On the eighth day of the fourth lunar month.
Many auspicious signs greeted Prince Siddhartha.
(Siddhartha means one who can accomplish many great things.)
Fragrant flowers and rainbows appeared in the sky.
Animals were at peace.
And, there was great happiness throughout the land.
Nine dragons splashed water to bathe the blessed Prince.
As a newborn infant,
Prince Siddhartha looked around and took seven steps,
Pointing to heaven and earth,
He declared himself as the honored one,
And, this was his last rebirth.
The Prince was a man of strong will,
Authoritative and proud,
But of gentle manner and speech.
He had a good sense of humor.
He was more patient and considerate than any one.
He wished to return good for evil, love for hate;
And, remained silent under misunderstanding.
The Prince was prohibited by his father from
Venturing beyond the palace gate.
He married, had a child and enjoyed the royal life.
He was also interested in how people lived.
Without his father’s knowing,
He left the palace with his charioteer.
He came across unexpected sights.
The charioteer explained to the shocked Prince that
Sickness, aging and death come to everyone without choice;
And, the penniless holy man was seeking true understanding of life,
And liberation from its difficulties.
At the age of twenty-nine,
The Prince decided to dedicate his life to spiritual pursuits.
He renounced the delights of his royal life.
He tried many traditional approaches,
But, he didn’t find the causes of suffering.
Then, for six agonizing years,
He sought realizations through asceticism.
He discontinued the practice
Because torturing the body didn’t purify the mind.
Sitting under a bodhi tree,
Siddhartha vowed not to arise
Until he had attained full enlightenment.
Many forces tried to distract him from his meditation.
But at dawn of the full moon in the fourth lunar month,
Siddhartha succeeded in freeing his mind from all obscurations.
He realized the truth of the universe
And full insight into the way of life.
He attained perfect Enlightenment
By snowy mountain peaks.
He was called Shakyamuni Buddha .
After attaining Enlightenment,
The Buddha taught for forty-five years
Until passing away
And entering Nirvana
At the age of eighty
On the fifteenth day of the second lunar month,
Under a pair of Sala trees.
“All things decay.
The worldly life is transitory.
You must detach yourselves from them.
Be mindful, be righteous and be vigilant!”
These were the Buddha’s last words to his followers.
The Buddha’s teachings spread and flourish.
Associations of Sangha are formed in white lotus fragrance.
Doctrines are established with practical
And open-minded approaches
Leading all the way to enlightenment.
The Buddha tells us that there is a path that
Leads a life of darkness to a life of light.
He wants us to arise from a life of dreams into
A higher life where man loves and does not hate;
Where man helps and does not hurt.
He wants us to watch and be awake;
To seek and to find.
It is us who must make the efforts.
The Law of Karma,
Actions and their results,
Manifests in a series of lifetimes.
Believing in the Law of Karma,
Just like the “gravity,”
That is simply the way things naturally functioning.
The fundamental teachings of Buddha is clear and simple,
And in harmony with modern ideas.
His teachings are to enlighten all sentient beings.
It explains the truth about life and the universe.
It is a teaching of love and wisdom.
The message of the Buddha is a message of joy.
His achievement is one of the most penetrating intelligences.
His boundless love and infinite benevolence go out to all sentient beings.
His life and his teachings have influenced the world ever since.
May all sentient beings eliminate the negative attitudes,
Open up innate wisdom,
Cultivate purity and virtues,
And be on the path to enlightenment.
In this assembly
When the Buddha’s teachings are preached,
We wish to meet
The great teacher of mankind,
Whose teachings fulfill the hopes of all sentient beings,
Whose mind perceives all that is to be known.
To the Master Shakyamuni Buddha,
We pay deep homage.
SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA’S CORE TEACHINGS
The Four Noble Truths
Face and be aware of the suffering.
Find and understand the causes of the suffering.
Transform and heal the suffering.
Path of transformation and healing.
The Three Dharma Seals
All phenomena are impermanent. Nothing stays the same forever.
All phenomena do not have a substantial existence,
And, emptiness is the ultimate nature of all phenomena.
Nirvana is the cessation of suffering,
And freedom from cyclic existence.
To reach Nirvana involves the development of
Morality, meditation and wisdom —
The very essence of Buddhism.
The Noble Eightfold Path of Transformation and Healing
Proper understanding of life and the universe.
Let go of all worries and attachments.
Practice loving speech and have purity of mind.
Behave responsibly; treat others with true sincerity; and
Believe in the Law of Karma.
Cherish life in every form; value ourselves and others equally; and
Practice healthy way of being.
Practice mindfulness and concentration to bring about
Compassion, love and joy.
See through to the truth of Impermanence, Emptiness and Non-self.
Nothing exists as an isolated self
Because it is dependent upon and connected to everything else.
Attain freedom of mind and spirit; and
Serve all sentient beings with a joyful heart.
The Noble Eightfold Path, which is the Middle Path,
Leads to tranquility, realization, and enlightenment.
Everyone has a true mind.
This mind is also called “The Master,”
“The original self,” “The Dharma Body,” and “Buddha Nature.”
No matter what we do, where we go,
Or what we think, the Master is always with us.
Open our eyes, and it is there.
Close our eyes, and it is still there.
Mind is formless.
It has no size, shape, sound, nor smell.
It cannot be touched nor held.
When it responds to the environment, it will appear.
The mind neither comes nor goes.
It has neither direction nor location.
It is not inside, nor is it outside.
It is not in between, and it leaves no trace anywhere.
But, when we need it, we can see it everywhere.
When the mind faces a situation and does not cling to it,
It is pure and carefree.
This is the true mind, also known as the Buddha Mind.
“The Diamond Sutra ” says:
“The past mind cannot be found.
The present mind cannot be found.
The future mind cannot be found.”
“What appears as form is really emptiness,
but that emptiness also has form.”
The Diamond Sutra stresses that
Everyday reality is an illusion.
“Form is no other than emptiness;
Emptiness no other than form.”
The Lotus Sutra , which states that
The many paths to enlightenment are all “skillful means”
That lead people on the one great way.
(Spring Liao, 11/10/08)