maarmie's musings

Monday, May 29, 2006

A new frame of mind

Because I am far from perfect, but I am trying.

From the Amida Trust Web site:

Just As You Are

Those who are spiritually awakened accept and love others just as they are. Unconditionality is the mark of enlightenment. Ordinary people do not love in this way. Our attitude to one another is always coloured by conditions of many kinds. Some of these conditions are current and some only exist in memory. Even those skilled in understanding these conditions can never exhaust them nor free themselves of them completely.

This difference between the awakened and the ordinary is the basis of our understanding of spirituality. The first thing to understand about Amidism, therefore, is that the awakened love each of us just as we are.

This love is a grace or gift. It is not dependent upon our being male or female, rich or poor, old or young, or even good or bad. The Awakened loves the wicked in exactly the same way as the virtuous. He or she does not demand anything in return or as precondition. For this reason, we say that Amidism is a religion of absolute grace.


Whatever one does, it should contribute to the greatest good. One should have a long-term perspective and persevere in goodness irrespective of whatever obstacles stand in the way. Furthermore, the immediate means used should also be honourable and true and the example they provide should be both consistent with the ends, proximate and ultimate, that are intended, and should inspire faith and goodness in others.

As Amidists, we should be particularly adept since we have awakened at least a little and we hear the Name and know that we have a strength that transcends ordinary comprehension always beside us. And, furthermore, we have the irreproachable precepts of all the Awakened Ones of all the religions of the world to guide us.

Alas! We have received much, given little and done much harm along the way, often ignorantly. Surveying all this, let our hearts soften toward all those caught up in misdeeds. Let us resolve to live our lives in peace and tenderness together.

No Judgment Save Our Own

Good and evil are not independent forces roaming in the world. They are judgments we pass in our own heart. We cause pain and pleasure, harmony and strife, beauty and spoilation. In the existential world, there are no acts that are not two-sided. Even the good act does some harm. The person who feeds the sick harms the plant. This world is full of natural irony. Thus the Awakened have half a smile.

Though we cannot see the ultimate end of things, we can have the faith that enables the Spirit to work in us. We can call upon Ametros when we are lost and there draw the strength to act in an innocent way, doing whatever seems kind or good to the best of our ability, while yet not knowing.

Whether we create heaven or hell or other realms is not always a matter of personal choice. We are the taught, not the teachers. The knives of hell are made by one's own mind for those who see the ultimate see that therein no judgment is to be found, but only boundless love.

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