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Lions Roar : May 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2011 64 land, where people live happily and peacefully. dear Thay, please be kind and tell us about that land. how can the people in that land live so happily and peacefully, and how can we get there? Thay smiled, invited her to sit down, and answered gently: There is indeed a place like that, called the Pure land of the Present Moment. That land is not limited in space or time. speaking in buddhist terminology, that land is outside of space and time. speaking in terminology of quantum physics, it is nonlocal and nontemporal. anyone who carries the passport of mindfulness, concentration, and insight can enter that land. dear friends, why is that place called the Pure land of the Pres- ent Moment? it is because the people who live there have the op- portunity to practice living happily right in the present moment. in that land, there are pine trees singing and flowers rich in colors and forms. The moon and the stars shine brightly, and there are myriads of other wonders, which the people who live there have the capacity to be in touch with and enjoy at every moment of their daily lives. They know how to keep their minds free and calm and to establish their bodies and minds in the present moment. Not only wonders such as the moon and the stars, the pine trees, and the flowers belong to the Pure land—the people themselves belong to the Pure land. The Pure land is always available to them, and they practice to be present for the Pure land twenty-four hours a day. That is why it is called the Pure land of the Present Moment. Furthermore, dear friends, each morning the people in that land wake up smiling, aware that they have twenty-four brand new hours to practice living fully and cultivating compassion for all living be- ings. They take their first steps in mindfulness and freedom, aware of the living creatures underneath their feet, so that they may walk with love and the commitment to protect life. The people who live there gather flowers of mindfulness with every action of mind, body, and speech. whether they are doing walking meditation, sit- ting meditation, cooking, washing, or gardening, they enjoy peace and happiness. The people there do not need to travel by air out of their land, and yet they can make offerings to the buddhas of count- less other lands with the flowers of mindfulness they collect. in the Pure land of the Present Moment, dear friends, the people know how to listen to many different kinds of bells—the great temple bell, the meditation bell, the church bell, the clock chimes, and the telephone rings—in order to return to their in- breath and out-breath. with mindful breathing, they become calm, and they can be in touch with the wonders of life available in the present moment. The people in that land are aware that their true presence is the most valuable gift they can offer to those they love and appreci- ate. all day long, they know how to raise the quality of their fresh and loving presence, whether they are shopping, working, using the toilet, washing, or eating. dear friends, the people in that land know how to be present for themselves and for others. what is more, dear friends, you can see in the Pure land of the Present Moment different species of birds, such as blue jays, hum- mingbirds, sparrows, and orioles. These birds sing with harmo- nious, sweet sounds throughout six periods of the day, and their songs are also bells of mindfulness. when the people of this land hear these joyous and clear sounds, they know to come back to their breathing and to practice the mindfulness of buddha, dharma, and sangha that is present within themselves and all around them. dear friends, do not think that the birds in the Pure land of the Present Moment have been born as the result of past negative actions. why? because when the conditions are sufficient, they manifest. safe from harm and free to soar, these birds also be- long to the Pure land, and their songs are skillful means to bring the hearers back to the present moment. because the people of this land have right mindfulness and right concentration, when- ever they hear the birds singing or the light breeze fluttering the leaves of the trees, they also hear teachings on different dharma doors, such as the four noble truths, the noble eightfold path, the five faculties, the five powers, interbeing, impermanence, non- self, signlessness, and aimlessness. dear friends, do not think that the people of the Pure land of the Present Moment do not know what suffering is about. if they did not know about suffering, how could they cultivate understanding and love in order to build the foundation of their true happiness? Many among the people of the Pure land have had the experience of living in the world of money and fame, competing ruthlessly and causing suffering to themselves and many others. however, since they came in contact with the practice of mindfulness, concentra- tion, and insight, they have been able to change their lifestyle and find the Pure land of the Present Moment. They know how to live more simply and to consume less. aware that their environment af- fects their mind, body, and speech, leading them to either happiness or suffering, the people of that land come together to build com- munities of mindful living based on the five mindfulness trainings. in the Pure land of the Present Moment, people know how to use the appropriate dosage of suffering—just enough to cultivate their understanding and love.