Reverend's Message

Buddhism for Beginners

Rev. William Masuda

This month, March, I will conduct the first of a series of three classes - March 27, April 24 and May 29 - on the basics of Buddhism. These classes are offered to any person, members or non-members, who are interested in exploring the basic teachings of Buddhism. The classes will also include experiential practices of chanting and meditation. The classes are being offered because of the number of requests for introductory classes on BUddhism by new and established temple members as well as visitors to our temple. The classes will be held in the hondo, the main temple hall, from 7 - 8:30 P.M.

The introductory classes on the basics of Buddhism will cover the historical profile of the founder, Gautama Buddha, and the development and influence of the Buddha's teachings (dharma) throughout the Asian landscape and in our contemporary world, East and West. We will explore the basic teachings such as the three signs of existence, the four noble truths, the five skandhas, notion of karma, the six realms of existence, the six paramitas, the goal of Buddhism, and others. We will also explore our existential life concerns in the light of Buddhism. Your inquiries are welcome throughout the classes.

The experiential practice of chanting and meditation will be structured. The wooden pews are available for Western style sitting, but you may bring sitting pillows (zafu) if you wish to sit on the carpeted floor. Please dress comfortably, but not so casually as to be offensive to others. Your mature judgment regarding this matter will be appreciated.

Finally, please inform the temple office if you will be attending the classes. I am looking forward to meeting you.

Attitudes Manifesting Basic Buddhist Teachings

1. If a man should conquer in battle a thousand and a thousand more, and another should conquer himself, his would be the greater victory, because the greatest of victories is the victory over oneself, - Buddha

2. Anger is the destroyer of our good human qualities; an enemy with a weapon cannot destroy these qualities, but anger can. Anger is our real enemy. - Dalai Lama

3. Don't cling to your own understanding. Even if you do understand something, you should ask yourself if might be something that you have not fully resolved, or there may be some higher meaning yet. - Dogen

4. How could it be permissible to form a cult, gather followers and cronies, dash off writings, and toil in pursuit of objects for love of honor and advantage? - Tung-shan

5. It is the enemy who can truly teach us to practice the virtues of compassion and tolerance. - Dalai Lama

6. Compassion is characterized as promoting the allaying of suffering. Its function lies in not (enduring) others' suffering. It is manifested as non-cruelty. Its proximate cause is to see helplessness in those overwhelmed by suffering. It succeeds when it make cruelty subside, and it fails when it produces sorrow. - Buddhaghosa

7. From blind passions arise sorrow and from blind passions arise fear. If a man is free from blind passions, he is free from sorrow and fear. - Buddha

8. Develop the mind of equilibrium. You will always be getting praise and blame, but do not let either affect the poise of the mind: follow the calmness, the absence of pride. - Sutta Nipata

9. Hidden in the mystery of consciousness, the mind, incorporeal, flies alone far away. Those who set their mind on harmony become free from the bonds of death. - Buddha