Monday, September 9, 2013

Having Unwavering Faith without Attachment

A lay Buddhist remarked to me that more people are attracted to Tibetan Buddhism due to the Sangha/Lamas giving blessings via giving empowerments and conducting Pujas of various kinds. On the other hand, in Zen, there is less of such things. You mostly have to do it yourself, like chanting and meditating yourself. She pointed out to me there is this contrast between this two traditions. My respond to that is you need both elements. Helping others through all these means and at the same time, they must practice themselves. You can't depend on receiving blessings all the time. Some day you will run out of blessings and you better be able to handle it when it happens. Tibetan Buddhist teachers must emphasize more on "self-help", and many teachers actually do. It's just lay students can't help themselves but end up chasing after merits, blessings and collecting empowerments. It's so much easier for most people to just hitch ourselves to a deity or God and you only need to put your one hundred percent faith on it for your liberation. It's called 'salvation' in others. So much easier than not having anyone to depend on, other than a clear mind, right? That's why Zen disappeared in China and Japan, and in danger of disappearing in Korea too. Many Koreans have converted to Christianity and it's not difficult to see the reason. Everything is about going the easier and faster way now. On the other hand it is said that without blessings, no attainments is possible. Indeed, life itself can be very miserable without blessings. So definitely we need to have oceans of blessings, only we should not do something good with attachment to its merits. We just do it. So it's good to pray to external deities such as Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, protectors, etc, but we must also develop some inner strength to remain steadfast and calm should something bad happens to us. We should not start blaming or questioning the deity. This was what I meant by people becoming dependent on external entities. Develop strong faith without any attachment. We should, in particular, use prayers, offerings and rituals to help others. Invoke the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Protectors, etc for this purpose. This is also in line with compassion. Does this make any sense to you?

No comments: