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Meditation Note from Alaska



Who is Buddha?
편집장  2016-02-28 22:42:27, 조회 : 4,310, 추천 : 1817
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Who is Buddha?

As a Buddhism instructor, I occasionally receive a question; what is Buddhism? This seems a very basic question, but it may be the most important thing we have to know. Nevertheless, it is not an easy question to answer.

Buddhism means literally Buddha’s teaching. Buddha means a person who attains enlightenment. The word of Buddha comes originally from India. It has two meanings: the truth itself of universe and a person who attains the truth.

Buddha is also called tathagata. Tathagata is a combination of tathata and gata. Tathata means suchness or true suchness. Gata means going or coming. Tathagata in Sanskrit means "Thus(ness)-gone One," or "Thus(ness)-come One," One who proceeds always in consciousness of the ultimate reality, or "that-ness" of all things, transcendental One. Thus, coming and going are the same thing to Buddha, which implies Buddha exists in the universe always without exception.

Suchness is the Dharma nature. In suchness, there is neither coming nor going, neither becoming nor cessation. Dharma nature is equal to everything. Therefore, we have to live the full right now without any attachment to something special. That’s why Buddha is a great being.

On the first page of Diamond Sutra, there is a simple description; the Buddha clothed himself, and along with his disciples took up his alms bowl and entered the city to beg for food door to door, as was his custom. After he had returned and eaten, he put away his bowl and cloak, bathed his feet, and then sat with his legs crossed and body upright upon the seat arranged for him.

Eating, washing and teaching have the equal value to Buddha. This is a very important message. That’s why it was written on the first page of Diamond sutra.

Everything has equal value, so right and wrong, or Buddha and unenlightened common people are inseparable. If you have this kind of view, you may not ignore even an ordinary thing. Ordinary daily activities can be practicing the path of enlightenment. However, common people think that enlightenment requires something extraordinary or something holy and it seems to stand aloof from worldly things with always serious attitude.
Gandhi’s spinning wheel is an actually ordinary activity. However, these days, people see it as something extraordinary because we don’t need to spin a wheel any more. This kind of thing always happens. More and more people buy kimchi or soy been paste instead of making them. Making your own kimchi or soy bean paste becomes uncommon.

Buddha’s mind is not different from the everyday mind. However, our mind always tends to pursue something special, and forget the value of ordinary life because of attachment and discrimination. That is why many people think Buddhism is difficult because they don’t know that their mind is the same as Buddha’s mind.


(by Daesong Yim)


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