On Tuesday, June 20 kahtychen wrote:

[kahtychen...]Ok, I've got the jist of the Three Treasures, the Four Noble
the Five Aggregates, and the Eightfold path, ... now, please, what
The Two Vehicles?
The Three Realms and their Nine Grounds?
The Three or more Domains?
The Three Natures, Modes of Knowledge, and States?
The Five (or 51?) Universally Interactive Dharmas?
The Five, Eight and/or Ten Precepts?
The Eight Consciousnesses?

Kahty (or Kathy?),

I hope someone will answer you specifically and in detail describing each
one of these categories and listing all the referred items explaining how
the knowledge and application of each and every one of these will enrich
your spiritual life.  But, to borrow a phrase from Bob Dylan, 'That ain't
me, babe'.

I think of all of these are analogous to a paint-by-numbers paint set that
comes with a pre-set amount of colors numbered (like 1 - 10); and has
painting templates for you to paint with the shapes all drawn in and the
white spaces numbered.  All you have to do to is to apply the paint
carefully inside the pre-drawn lines while religiously matching the numbers
in the shapes with the numbers on the paints - and voila!, you'll have a
pretty good painting - one of which you can be justly proud.  But it's never
going to be a masterpiece.

Bottom line is these are all someone else's ideas and beliefs about what
life is all about and how best to live it.  This 'someone else' may be a
very impressive person - like Siddhartha Buddha or at least one of his very
close associates - and their ideas and beliefs may seem to have a very sound
foundation and be very good advice, and may have reportedly worked very well
for them and many others for a long, long time - but in the end they are
someone else's template on how to live.

These kinds of things are for people who have not discovered the source of
the true guide of how to live life.  That source is within you, not in a
sutra.  That source is called by many names: Buddha, Buddha Nature, Original
Face, Shit-On-A-Stick, etc...  The name doesn't matter, but the discovery of
this source matters immensely.  

So, if you want to live your life well you can memorize all these Buddhist
terms and follow all these Buddhist precepts, and you'll realize a pretty
good life - one of which you can be justly proud.  But it's never going to
be a masterpiece.  

If you really want to live your life as a masterpiece you should consider
not taking this 'paint-by-numbers' approach.  You should seek the source.
The only way, or at least most effective way, I know to do discover that
source is zazen.  Just sit.  The source is there.  It's always been there,
it's there now and it always will be there.  It's waiting for you. Just sit.


P.S.  'Someday everything is going to be as smooth as a rhapsody, when I
paint my masterpiece.'  - Bob Dylan

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