A lesson In Japan

In Buddhism, the various masters taught us that being reborn in one of the havens is not the best option if one aspire to become enlightened. This is because life in havens are finite. There is an expiry date to it.

They explained that if we are being reborn in haven, the luxury and comfort there would distract us from continuing our pursuit for enlightenment. Therefore after enjoying an extremely long life, we will still be reborn in one of the 6 realms of existence. So we keep on tumbling from one existence to another. A never ending cycle of opportunities for suffering to manifest.

Having said that, the future Buddha (Maitreya) is currently residing in Tushita haven. In this haven, there is also immense pleasure and enjoyment. However, there are a group of devout practicing angels who are not distracted by haven’s fineries and continue to cultivate enlightenment there.

When I first heard this at 16 years old, I told myself;

“Yeap, I will be like that group of diligent angels!” Luxuries and fineries will not distract me. I will directly seek out Maitreya Bodhisattva (future Buddha) and study under him if I ever had a chance to be reborn there.


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Years later, I had a chance to visit Japan for vacation in spring. A country in full bloom. Sakura flowers looks like they are floating in the air, flowers of various colours decorated the side walks. Streets are clean and everything so neat.

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I visited the famous temple, Senso-ji (dedicated to Kannon) at Asakusa. Lo and behold! the stalls and vendors lining the streets towards Senso-ji. Curios and trinkets, teas and cakes, fine buddhist rosary beads. So many things to offer a first time visitor. I was lost amongst the beautiful sights and friendly faces of happy tourist and smiling vendors. I tried different cakes and sweets. Fiddled with curios and trinkets. Taking photos at different angles etc.

Finally, I reached Sensoji after hours of shopping, eating and photo taking. A typical first time tourist. Then I discovered, there was only an hour left before the closing time.

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At that moment, what I told myself years ago in class hit me hard. “Bam!”

If this was really a trip to haven, I would be exactly like what my Buddhist teacher described. Completely distracted by the enjoyment!

Therefore, in Buddhism; a life that is completely carefree may not be the best environment for spiritual pursuit. Whenever, we encounter any problem in life, we can console ourselves that such problems are a good reminder that will help spur us in our spiritual practice.

Nonetheless, may all beings be free from sufferings.

 

 

 

 

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