What are differences between ordinary Buddhism and Tao Sangha teachings?
Well, there are many differences, from interpretations of Buddhist words, a way of thinking etc. The difference between ordinary Buddhism and Tao Sangha teachings is almost like a difference between Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism.
Let me start with one example about the uniqueness of Tao Sangha Buddhism.
When people hear “Buddhist practice” they usually don’t expect it to be about changing your life.
They think about changing the state of the heart by practice but maybe not changing life physically.
But actually, we are practicing not only to change the state of the heart but change existence itself, life itself, not only our mind, also change other people’s lives in a better way and change the world.
How would that be possible?
…..But before talking about that, let’s discuss something else.
A traditional way of thinking religion in general, people think, “Someone who goes into spiritual practice will give-up happiness of physical life”, this is the image many people have.
Isn’t it? And this makes people hesitate to get into the path of spiritual practice.
Actually, nobody needs to the give-up happiness of physical life because the universe is not material and the spiritual effect of the phenomenon.
This means that,
We can change the situation,
We can change the future,
We can change the world
by our heart, our Ki, our conscious and our spirit.
Actually, this fact has been taught since 2000 years ago in Mahayana Buddhism as one of the subjects of Mahayana Buddhism called “Only Conscious Study”.
“Only Conscious Study” teaches that all the phenomenon appears by our “conscious”(not ego conscious) the “conscious” means subconscious and that’s why if you imprint the image of the future in your subconscious, it will be realized.
Let’s look. If the universe is based on material, we are trapped in the physical world. We are powerless. We can not escape from physical “cause and effect” as a law of the universe.
By the way, actually many people misinterpreting the real meaning of cause and effect.
Many people simply think as “Because there is a cause and there is the effect”, that’s all. Understanding that “cause and effect” is only one way.
But the structure of the universe is not created in that way. Then how? A cause is effect and effect is a cause.
Every single one, each individual existence is a cause of the whole universe, and at the same time, each individual existence is a result of the whole universe. Every single one us, each individual’s existence is a cause of each individual’s existence at the same time. So the cause is result and result is the cause.
Understand? May I say again?
Each individual’s existence affects the whole universe, and at the same time, each individual existence is a cause of the whole universe.
Each one is affecting the whole universe as a cause.
But at the same time, each one is the result of the whole universe as well.
For example….when I move one finger like this, it’s affecting the whole universe. But actually, this movement is a result of the whole universe too.
Every single individual movement of the universe are affecting each other as cause and at the same time, it’s a result of the who universe and this is the real meaning of cause and effect.
Why does the universe exist this way?
Because nothing is stable in the universe, it is always changing.
Nothing exists without every moment of the movement and changes.
Every moment is changing in the universe and every moment are the cause and effect.
Every moment of the universe is spiritual development and spiritual development means the appearance of potential.
This is the how the universe exists.
Every existence is cause and effect of everything each other and every moment spiritually developing, potential are appearing infinitely because Universe is infinitive.
Actually, this is the real meaning of emptiness.
So, if one mind you have, one word you say, one movement you do, it’s affecting the whole universe.
There are 10 different dimensions of the world in the universe from hell to Pure Land.
And in every world (except human world) results appear as a phenomenon at the same time by the cause.
But only in the human world, there is a time lag in between mind and phenomenon.
It takes some time to appears as a phenomenon.
Also, it depends on how many karma seeds (by words, mind, and action) you planted in your subconsciousness.
But soon or later it will appear as a phenomenon and what you wish for others is what you wish for yourself.
Any words you put in your mind either about yourself or others, it will affect your future because your future is a result of the whole universe.
What effect you have on the universe will be soon or later it will be next moment of what you get from the universe.
So, why not decide to change your future with your mind, words, and action!
Because with your conscious(subconscious), with your image, with your words, with your mind, you can change the whole universe and you can change whole your future!
Sadly, so many people are not conscious about this.
So many people are not facing this reality.
Many people are trapped in the very narrow physical world and don’t realize this.
Because… you know why?
It so difficult for people to be in the state of spiritually infinitive development, infinitive potential appearance.
Actually, infinitive potential appearance is the real the state of the universe itself.
The universe is spirit itself, and the name of universal spirit is called Amida Buddha.
Many people have an illusion, about enlightenment.
People think this way…. you practice a lot and a lot, then reach an enlightenment state and after that no need to put any effort.
Once you reach the enlightenment you can keep it, you can relax forever after.
To reach enlightenment and then no need to do anything anymore.
People usually think this way about enlightenment, no?
But actually, it’s not like this.
Because you can be in the state of enlightenment in a very short moment.
This is the truth as what Dogen Zen Master or Saint Honen, Japanese founder of Pure land etc, old masters were teaching. They said one chant of Nembutsu opens Pure Land and let you be in enlightenment state. Or In a one moment of sitting Zazen, you will be in enlightenment state.
So it’s totally different concept from way thinking of like “after many years of practice and finally gets enlightenment and you can take a break, right?” But that’s not right.
Because at this moment you can be enlightened!
Please look. Tao Sangha teaches the method to experience being in an enlightenment state in one moment from the beginning, right?
This is true that you can be in enlightenment state in a moment, but you need not be in that state all the time and increase the depth moment to moment as in daily life.
And actually, you need to put yourself into this state of infinite heart because if you don’t increase the depth, the spirit of enlightenment will die in the next moment.
So you need to keep increasing depth every moment, every moment every moment… and you constantly constantly constantly… and every moment constantly, constantly, constantly… be in the state of infinitive development.
Then infinitive potential appearance because that is the real state of the universe and that is the real meaning of “infinite with the universe”.
If you follow Tao Sangha Nembutsu method, you will be into enlightenment state.
It’s not a difficult job, it’s only a ‘one-moment’ job.
But you need to continue and increase the depth of the enlightenment state.
You just have to work to increase the depth every moment.
It’s not after many years of practice and you can take rest later,
It’s completely different concept and attitude in a practice, isn’t it?
What should this state be called?
It’s ‘Infinitive development’ but it means infinitive potential appearance.
Why does potential appear infinitely? It’s because the universe is infinite.
For ego, to be in the state of infinitive development is not easy, because you need constant effort to increase the depth of it.
Why does ego not like the infinitive development?
Why do people’s ego not like to be in the state of infinitive development.?
It because on the way to develop yourself you have to look (inside) and confront yourself.
But ego wants you to be satisfied with your state, what you are in “Now”, and don’t want to think about the development of the spirit.
Your ego always wants to keep yourself as you “were”, which means that your ego wants to keep you to live in the “Past”.
If you are satisfied with yourself now, do you think you want to break through it and develop either spiritually or physically? No, right?
Only when you are not satisfied with yourself and your world, will you think about breaking through and try to let your potential appear more, right?
By the way, what people usually think “Now(present)” is between “Past” and “Future”.
But actually, it’s not the real ‘present’.
Because there are two kinds of the present; “Present which belongs to the Future”, and “Present which belongs to the Past”.
What’s the difference?
“Present which belongs to Past” is what you can recognize as present physically.
The ‘physical present’ that you can recognize is actually your past.
And the real present is what you can only recognize spiritually and it’s the “Present which belongs to Future”, which you *cannot* even recognize with your consciousness.
What you can conscious as the present belongs to the physical world and actually, it’s past.
When people usually talk about “Be here now” is this.
A present which belongs to the future is the “real present”, which people usually don’t think about it.
And it seems people afraid about the future.
When they think about the future they think like “need to prepare because something wrong could happen” Many people have this image about future.
Where this fear comes from? It’s from “fear of the death”.
Fortunately, if you have faith in Lord Amida, if you trust to your intuition, you can feel there is a Pure Land (paradise in Buddhism), that exists as the source of the universe.
If you can have an expectation of a bright future, you could be open to the existence of the world which has infinite happiness, an infinite richness that increases every moment.
If you can have expectations of such a bright future even after death, then you can have a much better image about your future, and much, much less fear about it.
If you can expect your future like this, you compare your present/past and the bright future in the pure land and then you will never be satisfied with how you are now. You can never be satisfied with your present/past
(If I explain once again about present /past”, it means the present something you recognize objectively).
This is the condition to be in the state of the heart for infinite spiritual development (potential appearance) every moment.
Every present/past for you will not be something to be satisfied with.
So every moment you create a much better heart, life etc.
Then you’ll be ready to create a much better future.
You will expect and feel excited about your future.
And this is the happiness of your child’s heart (called Yushin).
Be living in this state all the time as happiness with a heart of a child, or bring your heart forward from “Present / Past” to “Present/future”.
Be careful, once you attached to “Present /Past”, you have to live as a boring adult, you will be trapped in the physical world, jail of your ego.
(So not to be trapped to the present which belongs to the past but to live in the present belongs to future!)
It is to live more spiritually than physically, with high expectations and excitement for a bright future.
As a result of that, your physical life will be much richer, you will be much happier.
And your potential will be much, more open.
You can live peacefully, happily, joyfully, and freely.
This is the way of living as Tao Sangha.
This is the way of Tao Sangha life.
Tao Sangha is not a dogma, it is the way of living to open up the potential, and to live freely and create your bright future.
What is the real meaning (teaching) of the Pure Land?
Many people have misinterpretations about the Pure Land. Even with people who practice Pure Land Buddhism, they misunderstand it.
Many people believe the essence of Pure Land Buddhism means you cannot be enlightened in this world.
It’s hopeless, so give up yourself and just have faith to Amida Buddha’s vow (rescue all beings).
They say after death, you can be rebirthed to Pure Land and get enlightened in the “future”.
Unfortunately, this is the traditional interpretation in Pure Land Buddhism.
But actually, the real essence of Pure Land Buddhism is not like that.
Rebirth to Pure Land “after death” means after the death of the ego.
To “give up” means to throw away your past self-image every moment and kick them all out your mind.
When they say “future”, is to create whatever image you have a for bright future.
Because existence is the creation of your image, creation of your world, and creation of your heart.
You can create your future, you can create your world, whatever you wish by the state of unification with Amida Buddha.
And to be in this state you practice Nembutsu which produces the positive mind, good wish for others / good for yourself and this way of living is real essence of Pure Land Buddhism.
Unfortunately, only the Tao Sangha interpret this way, about the essence of Pure Land.
But in this way, you can really relieve from your past karma and create a better future for yourself and others and the world.
This is one of the differences between Tao Sangha Buddhism and ordinary Buddhism.