you have freely declared your will regarding one another, tradition has it that
you should now be given advice to help you during your marriage. There are many places to draw on for this advice.
St. Paul wrote that ‘All scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching,
reproving, and for setting things straight.’
Throughout your lives, you should not despise any teaching you hear, but
rather weigh it carefully upon the scales of truth. We are all seekers. In
our search for truth we may take many different paths, but we can all benefit
from the realizations of the sages of the past and present.
They who have attained enlightenment have the key to happiness.
Their message is for all; take what you can from their words.
Believe teachings that are true, disregard teachings that are false,
wonder about the things you cannot prove or cannot know, and do not be easily
influenced by the opinions of others. Observe
carefully the things revealed to you, and remember them in your times of need.
simplest teachings are often truest, and teachings with stories are best, so
I’ll tell you a very simple story.
is a Buddhist story, but you will find the parallel truth in Second Corinthians
5, 1, which says, ‘For we know that if our earthly house should be dissolved,
we are to have a building from God, a house not made with hands.’
Buddhist story goes like this: Wan Sung said, ‘Once, as the Buddha was walking
along with a group, he pointed to the ground and said, “This place is suitable
for building a sanctuary.” Shakra,
Emperor of Angels, stuck a blade of grass in the ground and declared, “The
building of the sanctuary is done.” Buddha
is a story with only three sentences, but its teaching is very profound.
We can follow its meaning in the context of many other great teachers and
teachings. It has three main
and for that matter, Jesus, and Mohammed, and other notable expressions of the
word – traveled in the company of all beings.
The most famous teachings of these beings did not occur in temples,
synagogues or churches. Instead
they occurred wherever they unfolded. Thus
we hear most famously about the Sermon on the Mount, or of teachings by the sea.
So, when Buddha points to the ground, it is any ground.
Emperor of Angels, who conveniently just happens to be nearby, puts a blade of
grass in the ground – which quickly gets lost among the other blades of grass
and doesn’t change a thing – and declares the building of the sanctuary to
be done. In some ways, Shakra
performs a powerful miracle, for, as Walt Whitman wrote, ‘I believe a blade of
grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.’; but in other ways
Shakra did nothing. The teaching he
provides however, is the core element of Buddhism – which is that things are
as they are; or, that even commonplace things can be the building blocks for the
miraculous and the magical.
Buddha did not speak, rather he smiled, thus showing his innate understanding
and conveying more than words alone. It
is interesting to note that the shortest teaching in Buddhism is, ‘Buddha
smiled.’, and the shortest teaching in Christianity is, ‘Jesus wept.’
In some ways these silent teachings are the most powerful.
Both teachings are expressions of each man’s individual humanity while
also expressing their higher nature. If
you transpose the scriptures so that Jesus smiled and Buddha wept, this teaching
does not change.
truth is truth, even though it may be contrary to what you have popularly heard
or what you have always believed. You
will hear much advice for your married life, but think carefully about the
advice you receive, because often the converse is true. Often advice sounds
good, but you must look deeper and realize there is work to be done in your
relationship that only you can do. Tend
to yourselves and each other in such a way that your bond is suitable for the
building of a sanctuary; a building not made with hands.
are you going to do this? By being
mindful of your mortality, mindful of your vitality, mindful of your humanity,
and by thinking for yourselves.
instance, it is often said that the key to a good marriage is communication, but
I say to you that it is even more important to know how to sit in sacred silence
with one another, both to smile and to weep. Your words and actions all have effect, but sometimes the
greatest effect is achieved by being still.
say that going to church together is the way to keep a family together.
But I say to you, do not dwell only in churches or temples. Should anyone
ask you about your church, you should go outside and say, ‘The ground is my
only altar, and the sky is my only cathedral.’ For it is the essence of the
belief and the spirituality of the moment which benefits us, not the place.
Remember that any place is suitable for building a sanctuary.
say ‘the family that prays together stays together’, but I say to you that
you cannot inform the all knowing mind of anything at all; rather let your every
thought and action be your prayer as you work for the benefit of all beings.
will say that the reading of many scriptures will be beneficial, but I say to
you that reading scripture is not enough; you must also understand the revealed
truths. Things that reveal clear
wisdom are also a kind of scripture and should not be overlooked.
The Fifth Patriarch, when asked why he did not read scripture, said,
‘When I breathe in, I inhale with my whole being. When I breathe out, I exhale
with my whole being. Things are as they are and nothing more.
My very breath is my scripture and I recite this scripture every day –
hundreds, thousands, millions of scrolls.’
He was aware of the divine nature of everyday activities.
will say that you need God – or Jesus, or Allah, or The Lady, or Buddha - in
your life and in your marriage. They
will say that you need to be saved. But
you must remember to act for yourself rather than to wait for rescue.
Moslems use a saying that we find humorous when they say, ‘Trust in
ALLAH!, but tie up your camel.’ The
parallel truth in Buddhism is found when the great teacher Joshu fell down in
the snow. He called out, ‘Help me
up! Help me up!’
A monk heard him and came and lay down in the snow with him.
Joshu got up and went inside. Why
didn’t the monk help Joshu? The
monk responded to Joshu, not on the physical level, but on the spiritual level.
The monk was illustrating that many times we cannot help other people in
things that really matter. Often we
can only look on and have compassion. The
Buddha cannot enlighten us, nor can Jesus take us to paradise.
They may point the way and open the door, but we have to go in by our own
power. This is our humanity.
you will hear that you must embrace the Kingdom of God, but Jesus said,
‘The Kingdom of God is within you.’
Others sometimes translate this as ‘The Kingdom of God is in your
midst.’ In either case the
meaning is little different. Remember
the Tibetan teaching ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’,
‘The Jewel is in the Lotus”. You must make your own spiritual inventory and find the Truth
is often declared as the most essential thing for a successful marriage, but I
say to you that compassion is more important even than love.
Even if your love should decline or not be returned to you, compassion
will keep you moving on the path.
“You have often heard the words of Jesus, when asked
about the greatest commandment he said; ‘You must love god entirely, and love
your neighbor as yourself.’, but most people take this for granted and do not
grasp the deeper meaning. Jesus
went on to say, ‘On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the
Prophets.’ What did he mean by
this? Jesus was saying, ‘The
principle doctrine of my Church is Love.’
It is illuminating to hear the parallel teaching, recently given by the
Great Fourteenth Dalai Lama when he said, ‘…we can reject everything else:
religion, ideology, all received wisdom. But
we cannot escape the necessity of love and compassion.
This, then, is my true religion, my simple faith. In
this sense, there is no need for temple or church, for mosque or synagogue, no
need for complicated philosophy, doctrine, or dogma.
Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple.
The doctrine is compassion. Love
for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter who or what they
are: ultimately these are all we need. So
long as we practice these in our daily lives, then no matter if we are learned
or unlearned, whether we believe in Buddha or God, or follow some other religion
or none at all, as long as we have compassion for others and conduct ourselves
with restraint our of a sense of responsibility, there is no doubt we will be
happy.’ I think that Jesus would
also said to be like children, for suchlike ones will inherit the Kingdom of
God. I also I say to you, have a
sense of humor; be like children and look upon all things with honest
wonderment, thinking clearly for yourselves.
If you do this, you will see things as they are.
After all, it was a child that declared, “But the Emperor hasn’t any
clothes on at all!”
will hear many words from many great teachers, but keep in mind Musashi, who
said, ‘I have lived without following any particular way.
Thus with the virtue of strategy I practice many arts and abilities –
all things with no teacher.’
If you think about the things I have told you today, you will see that
there is no evil in them. Even so,
you must make your own decisions about all things.
the end the only wisdom you have is the wisdom you take with you, and at the end
it is the journey that matters the most. As
Basho said, ‘Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old, but
rather seek what they sought.’ You
should do so not out of selfish interest, but for the sake of one another, and
of all beings.”
so admonish you now.”
SOUNDS BELLS 1, 2, 3, & 4>
Ethics for the New
Millennium, His Holiness The Dalai Lama