Mahāyāna vs. Hīnayāna (Discipline is so hard!)

Once upon a time an old lady had supported a monk by providing foods and a place to live for twenty years. One day she wondered if he had progressed and already gotten enlightenment, she tested him. She sent the most beautiful young woman to his cottage, saw what he would behave. At that time he was meditating but the young woman leaned against him and said “How do you feel?” He had never changed his face and answered “It seems as if the dead tree reached a cold rock.” The young woman suddenly returned to the old woman and reported the scene. Unexpectedly the old woman got extremely angry on him, she had kicked out him from her cottage mumbling “I was wrong, I misunderstood about him”. This story is called “婆子焼庵” written in the Zen book “五燈会元”.

What do you think? Why did the old woman get so angry against him? What’s wrong with him? As my understanding, he did right thing, didn’t he? This “koan” is related with idea of 大乗思想 (A large vehicle (Mahāyāna Buddhism). 小乗仏教 (Hīnayāna) is a lesser vehicle Buddhism that seeks an individual enlightenment trying to attain arhat state of mind. It is more like original type of traditional Buddhism that mainly has spread throughout the South Asia. Contrary Mahāyāna Buddhism is a Buddhism that aim to save all the people by Buddha’s teachings and has spread throughout China, Korea, ended up in Japan.

The monk’s attitude was not like a human. It was just test but if it was the real situation, the young woman would be so disappointed, the worst case she would kill herself. Even with the same way of refusing, he could do smiling innocently while saying to the woman “Even if you love me, how can I love you, I cannot receive your love because I am a servant of the Buddha. Why don’t you go home” removing quietly her hand hung on his shoulder. After twenty years of practicing, he could not afford such an affair. There was still somewhere weak in his heart that he must work hard so that he could not defeat the temptation, That’s the old woman thought. What do you think?


The Great Ocean Meditation

There are so many types of meditations. This great ocean meditation combines some of these types of meditation. The first stage is that you are floating up ten feet above the surface of the center of the great Pacific Ocean. Now you can see the sun is setting on the horizon. You will so relax from the busy and complex daily life in this stage. No one bothers you in the middle of the Pacific Ocean so you will release your stress from your heart by watching sunset. After a little while you will be surrounded by darkness but stars are twinkling in the sky. Now you are flying up to the sky. You see a moon shining. So now you are going to approach to the moon. Then you sit on the surface of the moon. You can see the blue planet that is our planet, earth. You feel extraordinary feeling beyond earth sitting on the moon. It is absolutely out of our dimension so that it reminds us our essential figure that is a spiritual being. After you see the earth for a while then coming back to earth again. Now you can see the high mountain. So you will approach the top of the mountain. Sitting in lotus style then you become a golden statue of Buddha while you see people below you. You see tiny people there. As a Buddha during you are watching people below you, you feel your mission that you have to save them. So many people are in the middle of suffering, you feel their pains and distress so you will save them. That is true and essential figure of you.