SLO BUDDHIST TEMPLE
6996 Ontario Rd.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Ph. 805 595-2625
“Great King, according to the Vedic scriptures, since the beginning of this cosmic period, there has been eighteen thousand wicked kings who have killed their fathers out of their desire to usurp the throne…never heard of anyone who has committed the outrage of killing his mother…you will bring disgrace upon the class…we cannot bear to hear what people will say…would be the act of an outcaste…could not remain here.”
Ajasatru looks to his cousin for support, yet there was none. The cousin replies by saying, “Your Majesty, please restrain yourself and do not kill your mother.” Hearing this message, Ajasatru repents and begs those present for their forgiveness. Having stopped short of killing his mother, Ajasatru throws the sword away and orders the court officials to lock up the Queen in the inner chamber and not allow her to leave.
Queen Vaidehi, growing emaciated with grief and despair, looks out the window facing Vulture Peak and wor-ships the Buddha from afar. With tears of sorrow streaming from her face, the Queen says,” O Tathagata , you used to send Ananda to comfort me, now I am in deep sorrow and distress.” She bowed towards the Buddha and before she raised her head, the Buddha, Ananda and with another great disciple appears in the inner cham-ber of the Queen.
After worshipping the Buddha, the Queen raised her head and saw the Buddha. He appeared as the color purple-gold and was seated on a lotus flower of a hundred jewels, attended by Ananda and his other disciple along with numerous guardian gods of the world and devas. They scattered heavenly blossoms like rain and they paid homage to the Buddha.
The Queen, seeing the Buddha, sheds her ornaments and prostrates herself on the ground. She asks the Buddha what bad karma (actions) did she commit in former lives to have such an evil son. She asks to reveal to her a land that has no sorrow and no afflictions. She does not want to live in this defiled and evil world where there are hells, realms of hungry spirits, animals and many vile beings. She wished not to hear evil words or see evil people.
From between the Buddha’s eyebrows, a flood of gold color shines showing the innumerable worlds in the 10 directions. The light returning to the Buddha settles on his head and transforms itself into a golden plat-form and appearing on this platform is the pure and resplendent lands of all the Buddhas in the 10 directions. After hearing a fuller description of the lands, Queen Vaidehi asked the Buddha to be born in the Land of Ut-most Bliss of Amitayus.
The Queen wished to learn to contemplate on that land and attain the mental state of concentration and focus of thought (Samadhi-repeated practice of concentration). The Buddha smiled and from his mouth emit-ted a five-colored ray that showed the head of the Queen’s husband. Although this King was confined at one time, with his unhindered mind’s eye, the King envisioned the Buddha in the far distance. He knelt in gratitude to the Buddha and effortlessly made a spiritual progress until his passing.
Queen Vaidehi was given instructions of the stages of visualization and accomplished each stage. With her awakening to the Dharma and her aspiration for the highest, perfect Enlightenment, the Buddha assured Queen Vaidehi that when her time came she would be born in this land. The Queen rejoiced in her heart.
This is a condensed version and the many stages are not as easy as it may be. I am not the type that is patient and my concentration comes in the form of putting my palms together in Namu Amida Butsu. It is my gratitude and thankfulness to the Buddha but also to the many members that made a promise and ful-filled it. I sit in the church/temple and entrust in what I see, hear, touch, taste and smell. However, it is the Buddha and Shinran Shonin who have given me the freedom to think on the teachings and to examine within my true heart and mind.
Gassho Rev. Seijo Naomi Nakano
1 Inagaki, Hisao and Stewart, Harold. The Three Pure Land Sutras, Dobosha Printing, Kyoko Japan, 1995.
2 Tathagata – another name for the Buddha.
3 Ananda- a cousin of the Buddha and one of the Buddha’s ten great disciples.
4 Devas – “heavenly beings who are still unenlight-ened and bound to Samsara. Many converted to Bud-dhism and become its protector.
8/18: 10:00am Intro to Buddhism
SLO OBON: AUGUST 5, 2017
ST. PATRICK'S SCHOOL IN
This month’s article is a continuum of April’s article. A short synopsis of the article focused on The Contemplation Sutra (one of the main teachings of Jodo Shinshu). The article continues where the minister and cousin stops Ajasatru from killing the Queen Vaidehi,