Don’t Just Disbelieve; Just Try It

In Mahavaipulya-mahasanni-pata Sutra, a verse says:

In the Dharma Ending Age [which we’re about 10% into now],
when 100 million [times] of 100 million people practise the Dharma,
it is rare that one will realise the way [at least Arahatship];
Only depending on mindfulness of Buddha [a Pureland practice],
is there be liberation from life and death.

末法亿亿人修行, 罕一得道; 唯依念佛, 得度生死。

Some doubt the above with a tinge of biasness and scepticism – without further investigation. (What happened to the practice of ‘Ehipassiko’ (Don’t just believe; come and see/try)? Whether the Sutra is to be taken seriously or not requires exercise of the Kalama spirit of free and active enquiry with experimentation. Unless we exercise this, who are we to dismiss anything based on our limited wisdom? Isn’t it ironic if we dismiss something as dogmatic hearsay, while we ourselves contribute to perpetuation of genuine hearsay by spreading our unfounded biasness?

Excerpt from Kalama Sutta (The criterion for acceptance of any teaching):

“Come, Kalamas,
1. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing;
2. nor upon tradition;
3. nor upon rumor;
4. nor upon what is in a scripture;
5. nor upon surmise;
6. nor upon an axiom;
7. nor upon specious reasoning;
8. nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over;
9. nor upon another’s seeming ability;
10. nor upon the consideration, ‘The monk is our teacher.’

Kalamas, when you yourselves know:
‘These things are good; these things are not blameable;
these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed,
these things lead to benefit and happiness,’
enter on and abide in them.

If we are to be biased towards a notion before we investigate whether it is good or not blameable, true or false, we certainly compound the problem of uncertainty – even if this is mistaken as genuine certainty!

Personally, I have exercised the Kalama spirit. I’d tried many Dharma methods and I know for sure that I’m not the ‘rare’ one (as in the opening quote), out of so many millions, who will realise the way through any other methods. ‘Only depending on mindfulness of Buddha, is there liberation from life and death’ for me. (Though birth in Pureland is not immediate Nirvana, it guarantees it.) While I also keep hearing many inspiring contemporary accounts of successful practice of the Pureland method. Unless one did likewise try this method, I beseech all to please refrain from being dubiously presumptuous or self-righteous.

I will be unfeignedly keen if I ever chance upon rare ones. I will not hesitate to ask for teachings, for we truly lack enlightened ones in our time to teach us Right Understanding. May all advance towards and gain enlightenment swiftly! ^_^

1 thought on “Don’t Just Disbelieve; Just Try It

  1. Personally, I am investigating the various interpretations of the above quoted verse from Mahavaipulya-mahasanni-pata Sutra or《大集經》.

    I am also applying the guiding principles of discernment of true Dharma from the Kalama Sutta.

    Indeed, we truly lack enlightened ones in out time to teach us the Right Understanding. However, it can be said that they could be around us and yet we could carelessly or wilfully ignorant of their presence.

    In many sutras, the Buddha has exhorted, instructed many enlightened beings to guide us to achieve quick liberation from countless rebirths. One of them is Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva.

    In the Sutra of the Original Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, it is mentioned that the Buddha personally instructed and appealed to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva to take on the tremendously important but difficult task of guiding all sentient beings in the Dharma-Ending Age to achieving true freedom from all suffering until the next Buddha, Maitreya Buddha appears on Earth.

    So even though many, Buddhists or not, think that Ksitigarbha Bodhisattvas help only those in the 3 evil realms (hell, hungry ghosts and animals), he is actually very concerned and active in helping humans to be free from all kinds of suffering and delusions, especially in the Dharma-Ending Age.

    We can in fact regard Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva as the acting Buddha before Maitreya Buddha comes. We are not without guidance, we are not abandoned.

    Whatever Buddhist school you come from, be it Tibetan or Chinese, Pureland or Zen, one can always have faith in the great compassion and wisdom of this Bodhisattva, who willingly accepted the task of guiding all beings in Dharma-Ending Age.

    And most importantly, all Bodhisattvas will manifest in one way or another to help humans who have affinities with them, even in this Dharma-Ending Age.

    May all meet the right person, the right teacher and friend to help them with their problems and pain. =)

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