Author Topic: Building a House in mid-Air  (Read 4213 times)

Jessie Fong

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Building a House in mid-Air
« on: July 02, 2012, 01:04:15 AM »
BUILDING A HOUSE IN MID-AIR - A Story from the Buddhist Sutra



The Buddha loved to tell stories when he was giving a sermon. Here is one from the Sutra of Hundred Parables.

Once upon a time there were two very rich merchants living in the same town, both loved to show off their wealth. Let us call them A and B.

One day merchant A went to visit merchant B, he observed that B had a big house three storeys high. (NOTE: 2,500 year ago, a three storeys high house was a very impressive project!!) He also noticed that everyone in town was very impressed with B's house and said how great it was!

On returning home, merchant A was not happy that B got all the attention. So he also hired the same architect to build another house three storeys high. The architect accepted the job and started the project.

A few days later, merchant A went to visit the construction site. When he saw workers digging the land to prepare for the foundation, he went to see the architect and asked what was happening.

"I am constructing a three storeys high house as per our contract." replied the architect. "But first, I have to prepare a solid foundation, then build the first floor, second floor and finally third floor."

"I do not want anything else, I just want the third floor right away, as high as B's house." demand merchant A. "Never mind the foundation or the other floors."

"That cannot be done." replied the architect.

"OK, then I hire some else to do it."

Nobody in town was able to build a house with no foundation, and so the project was never done.



With modern technology, is it possible?
How does the above story apply in your life?

biggyboy

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Re: Building a House in mid-Air
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2012, 07:08:30 AM »
With modern technology it may be possible to build a house with no foundation, that is if the house is build floating on the water. But then again it will not be stable, drifting here, there and everywhere. There is no anchor. Do you want life to be like that? I guess not.

Like everything else, a stable life requires a solid foundation. Solid foundation is build from a young age, with proper training, guidance, knowledge and education. A successful stable life is one built on solid foundation. Life without foundation is like house built on water, drifting here, there, everywhere and aimless. There is no direction and no purpose in life.

Do not build anything just for show or to show off without real substance or stability, something so flimsy is bound to collapse at anytime.

Therefore in life it is important to have substance over form. It is more reliable and would last longer.

bambi

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Re: Building a House in mid-Air
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2012, 07:57:01 AM »
I doubt with modern technology we can build a house in mid air. Its the same as us not having the foundation in life for everything. We can't expect a young child to go to high school and expect him to graduate with flying colors right?Also applies to when a child is born, they have to fall a few times to learn how to walk properly. So without a foundation of Dharma knowledge, how can we practice and preach about what we are doing? With the knowledge, we are able to share the knowledge and help them. If the architect would've just explain the need for the foundation, then merchant A would've learn and instead of a house mid air, what about a house which is 10 floors high?  ;D

Jessie Fong

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Re: Building a House in mid-Air
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2012, 08:17:54 AM »
"I do not want anything else, I just want the third floor right away, as high as B's house." demand merchant A. "Never mind the foundation or the other floors."


When merchant A demanded that he wanted the 3rd floor right away

- he did not consult the architect whether it would be possible
- he was being unrealistic, not taking into consideration that he could not build other higher floors if he did not start with the very basic i.e. the foundation
- he was too consumed with rivalry, just wanting to be better than The Joneses
- he was haughty to think that someone else would be able to build it for him

ratanasutra

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Re: Building a House in mid-Air
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2012, 06:42:52 PM »
Quote
"I do not want anything else, I just want the third floor right away, as high as B's house." demand merchant A. "Never mind the foundation or the other floors."

For me, the merchant A sound like people who just want the quick result without put any effort in. For example just start to recite mantra but want all problems to be cleared. Everything in this world do not just happen without action, effort, patience etc which accumulate by time to time till have a result.

How can we just start do meditation and gain some attain? We need to have a foundation of how to sit, think, visualise ect to build up the foundation and then progress step by step until the final step with is attainment.

Just because of merchant A want to win merchant B so he demand to do thing that impossible. Just for face and ego people can really do anything. Sad isn't.

 

Klein

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Re: Building a House in mid-Air
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2012, 07:07:28 PM »
I guess the moral of the story is in life, if we want to accomplish anything, we need to build a strong foundation. Without a foundation, it is not possible to achieve something that's "sky high". Coming back to the practice of Buddhism, it is also very important to build a foundation. Without a strong foundation, the practitioner will not be able to achieve any form of attainments.

A solid foundation would be to study and practise the Lam Rim (Pabongka Rinpoche's Liberation in the Palm of your Hand) and do the guru yoga daily along with Dorje Shugden's prayers. If possible, do meditation retreats to stabilize the mind and contemplate on the teachings.

The following is a summary of the structure of the Lam Rim as stated in wikipedia:

"the greatness of the author of the lamrim, to establish the authenticity of the teaching
the greatness of the lamrim itself, to gain respect for it
the way the instructions are to be received and given
the way the students are to be guided through the subjects

this fourth subject has two divisions:
the way to rely on a spiritual guide
the way to train your mind on the basis of the correct way to rely on the spiritual guide

This last heading contains the rest of the instructions under the headings:
the way to encourage yourself to take the essence of this precious human rebirth
the way to take the essence of this precious human rebirth (that is: training your mind in the paths of the three scopes included within the lamrim)

The path shared with persons who have the modest scope motivation (striving for a rebirth in the upper realms)
the reality that this life will end and that you will die
the suffering in a rebirth in the lower realms (a rebirth as hell being, hungry ghost or animal, which you want to avoid)
(so you) take refuge in the three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
(and adjust your behaviour of body, speech and mind according to the) law of cause and effect/ karma
which will lead you to a favourable rebirth within cyclic existence in the human-, demigod-, or god realm.

The path shared with persons who have the medium scope motivation (striving for liberation of cyclic existence)
The truth of suffering (in cyclic existence in general, including the favourable rebirths)
The truth of the causes of suffering (the afflictive emotions, especially ignorance)
The truth of cessation (there is a state that is free of suffering and its origins)
The truth of paths (the way to attain this state free of suffering and its causes by practising ethics, concentration and wisdom)

Another presentation of the middle scope subjects is the presentation of the 12 links of dependent arising
The training in the medium scope path will lead to the development of the wish to be liberated from all un-free rebirths in cyclic existence through the power of afflictive emotions.

The path of persons who have the high scope motivation (striving for complete buddhahood)
the advantages of the mind of enlightenment (the wish to become a buddha for the welfare of all sentient beings)
the way to develop the mind of enlightenment
the 7-point instruction in seeing all sentient beings as your mothers (from previous lives and contemplating their kindness towards you)
the instruction on how to exchange your self-interest for others' interest (by looking at the drawbacks of self-cherishing and the advantages of cherishing others)
the way to train your mind after developing the mind of enlightenment
training in the perfection of generosity
training in the perfection of ethics
training in the perfection of patience
training in the perfection of joyful effort
training in the perfection of concentration
training in the perfection of wisdom"

Poonlarp

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Re: Building a House in mid-Air
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2012, 07:37:08 PM »
Thanks Jessie Fong for sharing a good story!

I like that part Merchant A says that he just want to have the 3rd floor right away, this is so real and familiar as some people in real life demand like this.

If the purpose we want to have something that's to show off and ignore the real reason or function behind things, then the efforts that put in is always wasted as no matter how good you want to show off, there will be another person or thing better than this, and the competition never end.

A strong foundation makes thing goes far and strong. Just like to light up a room using matches, one can immediate take a match stick and make fire, the fire goes off very fast too; if you have time to make a candle, you can light up the room for longer time and serve the purpose of a light.

We should have a strong foundation in our mind that anything happen in the world, there's always be good side and there's always solution for problems, and there's always room for us to practice to be better. With this mindset, we are strong enough to raise again and again no matter how many time we fall. Let the Dharma be the butter in us, and we become a butter lamp to light up other people's life!