Practice beyond the words

July 2022 edition

Practice beyond the words

Article summary

Let me share a wonderful story named “Angry Buddha” from the book of "Being Peace" published in 1987 by Ven. Thitch Nhat Hahn. I thought this Zen story shares a wonderful message for the practitioners. Let me share the story first.

A woman who practices reciting Buddha Amitabha's name, is very tough and recites "NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA" three times daily. Although she is doing this practice for over 10 years, she is still quite mean, shouting at people all the time. She starts her practice lighting incense and hitting a little bell.

A friend wanted to teach her a lesson, and just as she began her recitation, he came to her door and called out: "miss Nuyen, miss Nuyen!". As this was the time for her practice, she got annoyed, but she said to herself: "I have to struggle against my anger, so I will just ignore it." And she continued: "NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA, NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA..."  But the man continued to shout her name, and she became more and more oppressive.

She struggled against it and wondered if she should stop the recitation to give the man a piece of her mind, but she continued reciting: "NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA, NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA..." The man outside heard it and continued: "Miss Nuyen, miss Nuyen..." Then she could not stand it anymore, jumped up, slammed the door and went to the gate and shouted: "Why do you have to behave like that? I am doing my practice, and you keep on shouting my name over and over!"

The gentleman smiled at her and said: "I just called your name for ten minutes, and you are so angry. You have been calling Amitabha Buddha's name for more than ten years now; just imagine how angry he must be by now!"

Hope you understood the moral of the story.  Most of the time we practice compassion meditation, Buddhanussati meditation by reciting some words.  But most of the time they are becoming just words… recitation… just a daily practice… and we fail to focus on to the idea of why we are doing it so.  The above Zen story wonderfully shared the message of how one should be focus in to the purpose of what they are practicing of. 

So, my dear friends, look deep in to what you are practicing right now.  And look how successfully they are applied to your life & your daily behaviors.  If they have become just a practice, and you are the same angry being who have loads of opinions to every single thing you come across in your life, then there must be a chance of that you have misunderstood what you are practicing! 

Have a blessed time, dear ones! 

Rajitha Viduransi | Kelaniya, Sri Lanka