Meaning, Purpose, Goal - Livingdying
Vol. XLVIII, No. 5



I have been attending inter- religious conferences and meetings for the past 33 years where the meaning, purpose, and goals of life have been endlessly discussed.. In studying and trying to understand Buddhism all this time, a curious thing has happened. As I begin to appreciate Buddhism more and more, I become less and less concerned about the meaning and purpose of life as well as goals in life. What is the meaning of small children delighting in the wind blowing through their hair? What is the purpose in struggling to gain and maintain wealth and power at all costs? What else is a goal but simply something you want to do, and having done it, finding a new thing to do? Buddhism, especially Jodoshinshu, has helped me see just how much I am made up of simply yatta-yatta this and yatta-yatta that in everything I do - and that in spite of this ongoing karmic juggernaut called me, I am made or enabled to see a deeper connection to lifedeath. In other words, Buddhism is not so much about meaning, purpose, and goals in life as waking up to being connected to and being vibrantly alive. And that this aliveness is profoundly different from just existing because it is a livingdying aliveness. And that aliveness is poetically expressed by a hundred thousand million ghosts, goblins, devas, angels, yakshas, jinn, kachinas, gods, demi-gods, animal spirits, demons, gaki, ashura, bodhisattvas and buddhas that comprise me, not disembodied spirits outside of me.

It is like suddenly being awake and not having time to understand why or how - the whys and hows arise after the fact, as we vainly try to recapture the past. And in trying to recapture the past, we unwittingly close the door on our future. The past is not real because it no longer is, the future is not real because it is not here yet, and the present is real only for an instant, the time it takes to say Anow@. And in that instant the 10,000 things (everything) livedies, in that instant vibrantly livedies. Breathing air in and breathing air out, whether for the first time, continually, or for the last time is where the Pure Land lies - in the western direction of beauty, calm and rest. Not separate, but real; not the same, but real; not a thing; but real; not is time; but real; not even conceivable, but real. Namoamidabutsu, Namoamidabutsu, Namoamidabutsu.


Gassho,
Rev. Mas



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