The majestic light of the Buddha Amitayus is the most exalted. No other Buddha’s light can match his. The light of some Buddhas illuminates a hundred Buddha-lands, and that of others, a thousand Buddha-lands.
Once one has encountered Amitabha’s light, suddenly one views society with new eyes. The clouds part and the perspective clears. Suddenly one sees the nature of the human condition in not-so-glorious technicolor. The news, the subject matter of the television programming, observations in the shopping mall – all of these things will no longer escape your attention like they may have escaped it before. And everywhere you look you will witness the craving, anger and ignorance of a human race caught in the endless round of Samsara.
The system, it is clear, is fundamentally flawed because it is itself constructed of the projections of billions of egos. So we see the news pumping out torrents of fear, or feeding the craving for gossip about the celebrity idols whom it is implied we should be blindly following , and on to whose every word many do hang a huge significance. Everyone, it seems, wants to live someone else’s life, aspires to dress in someone else’s kind of fashion, and the media machine both stimulates and taps into this desire. The tendrils of this covetousness reach far and wide and haul the unwary into their clutches where they are tempted with the latest ‘must-haves’ to the extent that the craving becomes as much an addiction as heroin or crack cocaine. So satisfaction is only ever temporary and the hungry soul is left even more famished than before once the initial buzz has died.
Craving leads inevitably to anger. Frustration grows in the heart of the dissatisfied. Relationships suffer because the focus is on the baggage rather than than the journey. Social cohesion becomes unstuck as communities level resentment towards those who might be perceived as getting what others could not. People scream about their rights with not one thought about their responsibilities toward their fellow man. And all this because what is deemed to be real has been wrongly interpreted through the lenses of prejudice and the fevered craving of the addict. It is the perennial fruit of a heart wandering in ignorance.
So one is awake and all of this is in your line of sight, every which way you look. You can’t avoid it. You can’t close your eyes again and unsee it. It’s there. What do you do? It would be tempting to withdraw to a mountaintop somewhere and spend the rest of one’s life in glorious isolation away from the madness. But this too would be an egotistical response. The motivation would be born of fear and loathing. The trick is to remain just where you are but unmoved. A tough call, but it is possible because this is what faith in Amitabha is all about. We have awakened to the way things are and we have boarded the nianfo vehicle, and hope to gather others as passengers on our journey.
This is not in the zealous missionary sense, going out in rabid fashion to proselytise and convert others to our thinking. Again, that is the ego’s way. Rather it is to live a life by example, demonstrating that in the midst of a world gone mad we can, with Amitabha’s help, remain mindful, compassionate, speaking, acting, thinking and living in a considered and responsible way towards our own species and the world as a whole. Loving for its own sake irrespective of reward or reputation, and having no other agenda than the needs of others.