temple diaries

by 伊凌 yi ling

Today I’ve been feeling under the (very rainy) weather on the first day of moon time. The precious rainfall of heavy clouds rolling off the mountains reminds me of standing rock, and the special time that we were told our bodies were a ceremony unto ourselves, thus to stay away from the morning rites. My roomie has been caring and reminding me to drink congee and an auntie monk is telling me to drink 黑糖熱水♨️ I’ve been listening to the dharma talks of the monk and learning the method and xin to chant 南無阿彌陀佛 from examining a sage’s poem. The 道理 from self examination, not the 感應 that gives a confidence as an outside guarantee. I’ve told many of the senior monks that I won’t chant it to go to some mythic heaven as this chant has been treated by many self-soothing practitioners, monks and lay people alike. It’s that memory of this chanting as an empty artifact that repels me. For example, we praise Weito Bodhisattva each morning, yet how often does his spirit enter our daily xin as we go about acting in ways that don’t protect the dharma? I see more and more how distracted I am by the foolish vageries of an unsubstantial nature. I’m grateful to have relations to dialogue with and learn from. After all, my friends and I are in hell of individual and collective delusions and ignorant bliss seems to be a shallow hell masked as heaven. neither seem liberatory. What I’m learning is that focal point allows for examination of faith. My questions remain: why this 佛號? why not any other blessed chant? As it prepares us for a place beyond death, how does it shape our ethics to our current world?