17 November 2014

Contemplation: The Five Doctrines

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
To discuss the five doctrines.

The first: although the lion is a dharma produced through dependent-arising, it undergoes generation and destruction in each and every moment. Since nothing in the phenomenal world endures, no form of the lion can ever be found. This is called the teaching for the Śrāvakas.

The second: all things, being the product of dependent-arising, are devoid of Selfhood [Svabhāva], and in the final analysis, are nothing but Emptiness. This is called the preliminary teaching of Mahāyāna.

The third: although all things are Emptiness through and through, this does not impede the vivid appearance of the Māyā/becoming. All that which is of dependent-arising is fictitiously existent and therefore it is truly void. This co-existence of both being and non-being is called the final teaching of Mahāyāna.

The fourth: inasmuch as these two characters [that of Emptiness and that of form] mutually annul each other, they are both abolished. Here, no imaginings or false presuppositions exist; neither the concept of Emptiness nor the idea of existence retains any influence. This is the sphere in which the ideas of both being and non-being vanish. It is a realm that names and speech cannot reach. Here the mind rests without any attachment. This is called the instantaneous teaching of Mahāyāna.

The fifth: when all false feelings and wrong ideas are eliminated, and the true substance is revealed, everything becomes merged into one great mass. Great functions then arise in abundance, and whatever arises is absolutely true. The myriad manifestations, despite their variety, interpenetrate without confusion or disarray. The all is the one, for both are empty in substance. The one is the all, for cause and effect clearly manifest themselves [without fail]. In their power and functions [the one and the all] embrace each other. They spread out and roll up in utter freedom. This is called the Round Doctrine of the One Vehicle.
Adapted from Fazang's Treatise of the Golden Lion.

10 November 2014

Contemplation: The Truth of The Unborn


After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
To explain the truth of the unborn: This means that at the very moment when we see the lion come into existence, it is actually the gold that comes into existence. There is nothing apart from the gold. Although the lion may come into and go out of existence, the substance of gold in fact never increases or decreases. This is called the truth of the unborn.
From Fazang's Treatise of the Golden Lion (punctuation altered).

03 November 2014

Contemplation: Reveal the non-existence of forms

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
To reveal the non-existence of forms. This is to say that when the gold completely takes in the lion, there is no form of lion to be found. This is called the non-existence of forms.
 from Fazang's Treatise on the Golden Lion

27 October 2014

Contemplation: The Three Characters

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
3. To summarize the three characters. Because of humanity's delusory perceptions, the lion seems to exist in a concrete manner; this is called the character of universal imagination [parikalpita]. The manifestation of the lion appears to be existing, this is called the character of dependency on others [paratantra]. The nature of gold never changes, this is called the character of perfect reality [parinispanna].
From Fazang's Treatise on the Golden Lion (minor adaptations made)

20 October 2014

Contemplation: To Distinguish Form and Emptiness

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
To distinguish form and emptiness. This means that the form of the lion is unreal; what is real is the gold. Because the lion is not existent, and the body of the gold is not non-existent, they are called form/emptiness. Furthermore, Emptiness does not have any mark of its own; it is through forms that [emptiness] is revealed. This fact that emptiness does not impede the illusory existence of forms is called form/emptiness.
From Fazang's Treatise on the Golden Lion

13 October 2014

Contemplation: To Understand the Principle of Dependent Arising


After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
To understand the principle of dependent-arising. This is to say that gold has no inherent nature of its own [i.e., no Svabhāva]. It is owing to the artistry of the skillful craftsman that the form of the lion arises. This arising is the result solely of the cause-conditioning; therefore it is called the arising through dependent-arising.
From Fazang's Treatise on the Golden Lion

06 October 2014

Contemplation: Now or Never

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
The Pure Land is now or never
a famous calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh