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The Postmodern Catholic

The Buddha Land

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Buddha's Land

This story has been told in numerous religious traditions.  For example, the "Buddha's land" can be referred to as heaven in the Christian tradition.

A person had a dream of going to hell and going to the Buddha’s land. In hell, there is delicious looking food in the middle, but no one can reach it, because the food was of the middle amidst a deep valley. There were also long chopsticks which were of sufficient length to reach the food. All the people in hell tried to eat the food with the long chopsticks. They fought to get the chopsticks. Though one could get the chopsticks and was able to reach the food, it was almost impossible to eat the food, because the chopsticks were too long. Meanwhile, other people tried to catch the food from the chopsticks, but did not want to give the food to the other people. So, nobody could eat it and people fought each other for it. They all look furious and unhappy.

Then the person visited the Buddha’s land in his dream. The scene was the same. There is food in the middle with long chopsticks. This time, though, everyone looked happy and well. In the Buddha Land, one picks up chopsticks and feeds another. The person received them gratefully and uses the chopsticks to pick up food and give the food to another.

 

-adapted from Learning the Buddha’s Great Compassion by Rev. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki

In a few sentences (for each), answer the following questions:
  1. What does this story teach about the nature of hell?
  2. What does this story teach about the root of frustration, anger, or unhappiness?
  3. What does this story teach about the nature of compassion?
  4. What does this story teach about the nature of heaven?

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D. “The more I am able to affirm others, to say ‘yes” to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone” Thomas Merton