This gatha from the "Diamond Sutra"—All created things are like a dream, an illusion, a bubble, a shadow, like a dew, or like lightning. View all things like this—doesn't mean things don't exist or that reality has no substance. These words remind us all things are impermanent. Our dreams end when we awake. Illusion disappear quickly when known. Look at a bubble, it appears and then its gone. Dew evaporates in the warming of the morning sun. Lightning is large and powerful and brilliant, but suddenly gone. So with everything. The sun has a limited existence as does the Milky Way. Nothing lasts, even myself.
There is nothing that does not grow light through habit and familiarity. Putting up with little cares, I'll train myself to bear them. I'll look at how I respond to situations—the words I use, my tone of voice, the look on my face; how I carry myself, all of the little things I do from moment to moment that reflect my emotions and mental state. I'll pay attention to my thoughts, words, and deeds. Whatever I'm doing, I'll maintain awareness and mindfulness.
Buddhist doctrines and practices are a "raft." Even the idea of Nirvana as "elsewhere" or "elsewhen" is just a raft. These doctrines are true not as descriptions about what is so, but only as useful tools to attain something we have decided to try to do.
Buddhist doctrines and ethics are not descriptions of truths, they are not categorical obligations. They are available methods. The question of "truth" enters only in the sense of this sort of question: does the raft work? Will it hold? Will it get us to the other side? And is the other side really any better than over here.
Buddhism, perhaps especially Indian Buddhism, was closely associated with the goal of "supreme awakening," and therefore with a kind of wisdom, especially a kind of wisdom in which doctrines and teachings are most important. Even the term for Buddhism in Chinese and Japanese means "Buddhist teaching."
With the development of Kwan-yin devotion, while wisdom remained important, compassion came to play a larger role in the relative status of Buddhist virtues, especially among illiterate common people. Thus, there was a slight shift in the meaning of the "bodhisattva way." From being primarily a way toward an enlightened mind, it became primarily the way of compassionate action to save others.
---Gene Reeves, in The Stories of the Lotus Sutra---
For the Realized mind at one with the Way
all self-centered striving ceases.
Doubts and irresolutions vanish
and the Truth is confirmed in you.
With a single stroke you are freed from bondage;
nothing clings to you and you hold to nothing.
The Great Way is embracing and spacious—
to live in it is neither easy nor difficult.
Those who rely on limited views are fearful and irresolute:
the faster they hurry, the slower they go.
To have a narrow mind,
and to be attached to getting enlightenment
is to lose one's center and go astray.
When one is free from attachment,
all things are as they are,
and there is neither coming nor going.
Dhaniya the cattleman:
"The rice is cooked, my milking done. I live with my people along the banks of the Mahi; my hut is roofed, my fire lit: so if you want, rain-god, go ahead and rain."
"Free from anger, my stubbornness gone, I live for one night along the banks of the Mahi; my hut's roof is open, my fire out: so if you want, rain-god, go ahead and rain."
"No mosquitoes or gadflies are to be found. The cows range in the marshy meadow where the grasses flourish. They could stand the rain if it came: so if you want, rain-god, go ahead and rain."
"A raft, well-made, has been lashed together. Having crossed over, gone to the far shore, I've subdued the flood. No need for a raft is to be found: so if you want, rain-god, go ahead and rain."
"My wife is compliant, not careless, is charming, has lived with me long. I hear no evil about her at all: so if you want, rain-god, go ahead and rain."
"My mind is compliant, released, has long been nurtured, well tamed. No evil is to be found in me: so if you want, rain-god, go ahead and rain."
"I support myself on my earnings. My sons live in harmony, free from disease. I hear no evil about them at all: so if you want, rain-god, go ahead and rain."
"I'm in no one's employ, I wander the whole world on the reward [of my Awakening]. No need for earnings is to be found: so if you want, rain-god, go ahead and rain."
"There are cows, young bulls, cows in calf, and breeding cows, and a great bull, the leader of the herd: so if you want, rain-god, go ahead and rain."
"There are no cows, no young bulls, no cows in calf or breeding cows, no great bull, the leader of the herd: so if you want, rain-god, go ahead and rain."
"The stakes are dug-in, immovable. The new muñja-grass halters, well-woven, not even young bulls could break: so if you want, rain-god, go ahead and rain."
"Having broken my bonds like a great bull, like a great elephant tearing a rotting vine, I never again will lie in the womb: so if you want, rain-god, go ahead and rain."
The great cloud rained down straightaway, filling the lowlands and high. Hearing the rain-god pour down,"
"How great our gain that we've gazed on the Blessed One! We go to him, the One with vision, for refuge. May you be our teacher, Great Sage. My wife and I are compliant. Let's follow the holy life under the One Well-gone. Gone to the far shore of aging and death, let's put an end to suffering and stress."
"Those with children delight because of their children. Those with cattle delight because of their cows. A person's delight comes from acquisitions, since a person with no acquisitions doesn't delight."
"Those with children grieve because of their children. Those with cattle grieve because of their cows. A person's grief comes from acquisitions, since a person with no acquisitions doesn't grieve." ---Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu---
It's said a toad in your garden brings great and long-lasting luck.
I've never seen a scientific experiment confirming or contradicting this belief.
I do know, a toad in your garden is an indication you have a healthy garden. Toads don't survive with pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, or any of the other noxious stuff hurried and thoughtless people dump on their gardens and lawns.
In a land for antiquities greatly renowned
A traveler had dug wide and deep under ground,
A temple, for ages entombed, to disclose,—
When, lo! he disturbed, in its secret repose,
A toad, from whose journal it plainly appears
It had lodged in that mansion some thousands of years.
Compared with his rival, the frog, the toad reacts more promptly and learns more readily. Toads can figure out a maze far more quickly than frogs can. They discover after eight or nine trials that a glass barrier cannot be passed, whereas frogs keep bumping their noses against it. When set on a high table, toads will peer cautiously over the edge, appearing to estimate the drop, and then refuse to jump. Frogs will fling themselves off anything . . . another indication of the toad's mental capacities is that he is easily tamed. Toads in captivity learn to come out of hiding when called and to feed from the hand. They seem to enjoy being petted and stroked.