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Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Sojong (Wyl. gso sbyong; Skt. poṣadha; Pal. uposatha) 'Healing and Purification' — the bimonthly practice of confession observed by members of the monastic community. On sojong days the observance of the eight vows of sojong or the practice of Narak Kong Shak are recommended.
from the Rigpa Shedra Wiki
I'm not a monastic, and while I feel the effects of my actions sooner than I'd sometimes like, I have to confess that I killed another being. Sure, it was an accident, but if we are to be genuinely aware of our actions and their ramifications, in small things as well as great, perhaps an acknowledgement to be more aware is in order
Thus, I offer this by way of purification and as a genuine wish that if there is a continuity of consciousness that emerges cyclically through form after form, then may the mouse being - whose lesson in care I take to heart - re-emerges soon in enlightenment and supreme well-being. I extend this wish to all beings, but when you are the gateway out of this life, it's best, I think, if you assume responsibility, however "accidental" the action may appear.
What follows is a kind of summing up of the event surrounding the main action and both a confession and a prayer. It can be enlarged to reflect on the numerous instances where we participate unwittingly in catastrophe, of the innumerable moments of sleep that we think are wakefulness, and the lack of compassion we hold for others in the world (well, I don't know about you, but I fall short of the mark more often than I'd care to admit.)
I explained to my colleagues that you and your family and others of your species only want to be happy.
My colleagues found that humorous. All they could see was a small, wretched carrier of disease.

From a child, I was taught a reverence for all life, from the smallest to the greatest. Microbe to whale, all sentient beings only want happiness.
Do you people really believe that just because a paramecium or a cockroach (or a mouse, for that matter) doesn't have a nervous system like a human's that they are incapable of wanting to find happiness? Of wanting to fulfill their nature?
They told me they caught you and trapped you! I said I would take you and free you back into the wild (well, at least the fens.)
WAH! ཝ་(1)
You were under a trash can, a recycling bin
more accurately. I slid the cardboard between the bin and the floor and felt your body sandwich between them. I felt the "something wrong" of your body-self departing.
While it might be true ultimately that there is no arising and no cessation, appearances are to the contrary. Like the Old Fox Monk(2), while recognizing that, I am not blind to cause and effect.
Am I an agent for your ripening karma? Or is this a seed that will come to fruition in my continuum?
For my self - a construct, a fiction - I do not care. All that matters is your liberation, little mouse friend; may you be liberated. May you awaken in Amitabha's Pure Land.

1. Wah. It's a pun, of sorts. A cry of "alas", but also, ཝ་ is pronounced "wa" or "wah", I suppose.
2. This refers to the second case in the Wumenguan/Mumonkan/Gateless Gate of Chan/Zen Buddhism.
Case 2 Hyakujõ's Fox 二 百丈野狐
When Hyakujõ Oshõ delivered a certain series of sermons, an old man always followed the monks to the main hall and listened to him.
When the monks left the hall, the old man would also leave.
One day, however, he remained behind, and Hyakujõ asked him, "Who are you, standing here before me?"
The old man replied.
"I am not a human being.
In the old days of Kashyapa Buddha, I was a head monk, living here on this mountain.
One day a student asked me, 'Does a man of enlightenment fall under the yoke of causation or not?'
I answered, 'No, he does not.'
Since then I have been doomed to undergo five hundred rebirths as a fox.
I beg you now to give the turning word to release me from my life as a fox.
Tell me, does a man of enlightenment fall under the yoke of causation or not?"
Hyakujõ answered, "He does not ignore causation."
No sooner had the old man heard these words than he was enlightened.
Making his bows, he said, "I am emancipated from my life as a fox. I shall remain on this mountain.
敢告和尚。 乞、依亡僧事例。
I have a favor to ask of you: would you please bury my body as that of a dead monk."
Hyakujõ had the director of the monks strike with the gavel and inform everyone that after the midday meal there would be a funeral service for a dead monk.
The monks wondered at this, saying, "Everyone is in good health; nobody is in the sick ward. What does this mean?"
After the meal Hyakujõ led the monks to the foot of a rock on the far side of the mountain and with his staff poked out the dead body of a fox and performed the ceremony of cremation.
That evening he ascended the rostrum and told the monks the whole story.
Õbaku thereupon asked him, "The old man gave the wrong answer and was doomed to be a fox for five hundred rebirths. Now, suppose he had given the right answer, what would have happened then?"
Hyakujõ said, "You come here to me, and I will tell you."
Õbaku went up to Hyakujõ and boxed his ears.
師拍手笑云、將謂、胡鬚赤。 更有赤鬚胡。
Hyakujõ clapped his hands with a laugh and exclaimed, "I was thinking that the barbarian had a red beard, but now I see before me the red-bearded barbarian himself."
Mumon's Comment
Not falling under causation: how could this make the monk a fox?
Not ignoring causation: how could this make the old man emancipated?
If you come to understand this, you will realize how old Hyakujõ would have enjoyed five hundred rebirths as a fox.
Mumon's Verse 頌曰
不落不昧 Not falling, not ignoring:
兩采一賽 Two faces of one die.
不昧不落 Not ignoring, not falling:
千錯萬錯 A thousand errors, a million mistakes.

The last picture is Buddha Amitabha, the Buddha of Infinite Light who resides in the Pure Realm of Sukhavati (Tibetan, Dewachen.) The facing page is the Prayer for Rebirth in Sukhavati which uses the description of that realm from the Sukhavati sutras for the visualization. See below for the prayer transcribed and translated.
ཡོཾ་ཡ་མི་དྷེ་ཝ་ཧྲིཿ is Buddha Amitabha's mantra. Om-ah-mi-deh-wa-rhi, more or less.
Short Sukhavati Prayer
No-tsar sang-gyä nang-wa ta-yä dangyä-su jo-wo tug-je chen-po dangyön-du sem-pa tug-chen tob-nam-lasang-gyä chang-sem pag-me kor-gi-kor.De-kyi no-tsar pag-du me-pa-yide-wa-chen-she-cha-wä shin-kam-derdag-ni di-nä tse-pö-jur-ma-tagkye-wa shen-kyi bar-ma chö-pa-ru.De-ru kye-nä nang-tä shäl-tong shogde-kä dag-ki mön-lam tab-pa-dichog-chu’i sang-gyä chang-sem tam-chä-kyigeg-me trub-par chin-ji-lab-tu-sol.
EMAHO The wondrous Buddha of Infinite Light. To his right is the Lord of Great Compassion (Chenrezig), and to his left stands the Bodhisattva of Great Power (Vajrapani). All are surrounded by countless Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. There is miraculous, immeasurable happiness and joy in the Buddha field called Dewachen. Instantly, when I pass from this life, without taking another birth, may I be reborn in Dewachen and see Amitabha’s face. Having made this aspiration prayer, by all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions, may I be blessed with unhindered accomplishment.
This and other prayers and texts can be found at Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche's website:

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