Seek Refuge in Amitabha

“Seek refuge in the Almighty Spirit. By the divine might of His promise, by the Infinite One was Paradise created; yea, and the Souls of men that dwell therein. And there is nought that may compare with them.” (Buddhist Psalms 1:25)

There is none other in which our refuge should be taken except Amitabha.

It was by His power that the Kingdom of Light and the paradise worlds were created, as well as the souls of humans. In the same manner, it is only by the same power that we can be saved from this world and brought to the Other Shore, and not by that of our own.

(Bikkhu Dorje)

Light of a Star

Monijiao and Shin Buddhism (Pure Land Buddhism) share many similarities not only in practice but also many beliefs. We both speak of Amitabha Buddha and taking refuge in the Infinite Light. For Monijiao we speak of Buddha Moni – the Buddha of Light, an emanation of Amitabha.

Namo Amitabha Buddhaya.

Ten Qualities Leading to Awakening

Monijiao photo copyright Mark Baker, used with permission.

The term used for the ten qualities leading to awakening, or “Buddhahood”, is “Parami” (Paramita), which means “perfection.” These include:

  • Perfection in giving
  • Perfection in morality
  • Perfection in renunciation
  • Perfection in wisdom
  • Perfection in energy
  • Perfection in patience (forbearance)
  • Perfection in truthfulness
  • Perfection in resolution
  • Perfection in loving-kindness
  • Perfection in equanimity

These qualities were developed and brought to maturity by the Bodhisatta in his past existences, and his way of practicing them is illustrated in many of the Birth Stories (Jataka), of which only the verses that are regarded as canonical.

It is said that through developing the Four Sublime States (Loving-Kindness, Compassion, Altruistic Joy, Equanimity), one may reach these Ten Perfections, namely:
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Ten Ways to Cultivate Kindness

There are many ways to help others whenever the opportunity presents itself. These can be simplified into the following ten important categories.

1) Supporting the practice of kindness
2) Harboring love and respect
3) Helping others succeed in practicing goodness
4) Persuading others to practice kindness
5) Helping those in desperate need
6) Developing public projects for the greater benefit of the people
7) Practice merits by giving through donation
8) Protecting and maintaining proper teaching
9) Respecting our elders
10) Love and cherishing all living beings
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The Deep Ocean of the World

Mara has caused so much corruption in the world among religious leaders, political leaders and others that would normally be trusted, that the world has lost faith and developed a great deal of disappointment, dissatisfaction and overall non-trust in just about everything. What people used to believe or hold dear now seems, at least in their eyes, no longer authentic and a waste of time, so they develop what we might refer to as the “mind monkey”, meaning an uncontrollable confusion and never being settled.

People have a basic need to believe something and hold on to something to at least be a little more comfortable with their existence in the world, so they will adopt all sorts of fanciful ideas and mental concoctions thereby taking comfort in their own delusional fantasies.
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The Eight Auspicious Symbols

Ask Bhikkhu

Dear Venerable Tenzin Bhikkhu, what is the significance of the Ashtamangala in the Monijiao and Zhangzhung Shenpo traditions?

In Buddhism, including the school of Monijiao and the Tibetan Zhangzhung Shenpo (Chinese and Tibetan Manichaeism), we have what we refer to as the Ashtamangala or the Eight Auspicious Symbols. Every culture, from India to China has its own symbols and signs that have religious and spiritual significance.

It is often very difficult to establish the origin or dates of such symbols, but here I will explain the significance of the Ashtamangala according to Monijiao, which is shared by Zhangzhung Shenpo.
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Our Ego and our Relinquishment of Desires

Is our ego stronger than our suppression of desires? The ego can cause personal suffering, including hurt feelings and problems for others around us. If we can not learn to remove our harmful desires and become liberated from our ego we can suffer from many emotional problems and may have trouble dealing with others in any social environment. It may also result in evidence that we have personal problems with authority, spiritual or civil.

What are some signs that our ego is higher than our wish to relinquish harmful desires?
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Are We Willing to Abandon Preconceptions?

When one approaches Buddhism with an unwillingness to abandon preconceptions, disappointment is sure to follow. Monijiao, or as it is translated “Religion of Light”, is ancient and adheres to divinely revealed teachings and practices. If one reads about Monijiao and what it teaches, believes or practices from a source other than authorized teachers of the religion, one will arrive at nothing more than false claims, conjecture and wrong ideas.
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Do Buddhists Believe in God?

Many people in the West have a mistaken idea that Buddhists do not believe in God. They often say that Buddhists are atheists. While some Buddhists are atheists, just like many Jews in Israel today are atheists, there are many Buddhists in Asia who do in fact profess faith in a Higher Source (God). Recent surveys have shown that the majority of American Buddhists believe in God, but what about Asian Buddhists? Surveys indicate that 83.9% in Taiwan believe in God; 56.7% in Japan; and 86.3% in Singapore. The same survey* indicated that many in Sri Lanka are not atheists as some have wrongfully claimed.
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