Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

markatex
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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by markatex » Tue May 08, 2018 8:16 pm

re: forgiveness

The current definition that is popular in psychotherapy circles is not what forgiveness actually is. Forgiveness is a two-way street. The offender has to ask for forgiveness, and offer sincere remorse. Otherwise, the offendee can let go of anger, try to understand, and find a way to feel some kind of compassion, but there can't be forgiveness in any meaningful way. I understand that my definition is not the popular one.

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by emaho » Tue May 08, 2018 8:23 pm

That's more what I'd refer to as "reconciliation". I'm using the word forgiveness exactly in the meaning I've specified above. Of course, if a person is completely uninsightful reconciliation is never going to happen. My mother for instance has not only severely abused me and my brother, she has also on several occasions tried to kill my father. And yet she has never ever shown even the faintest sign of remorse. Reconciliation (edit: in the sense you described above as forgiveness) is never going to happen. And sometimes it's better to forgive (edit: in the sense in which I'm using the word) from a safe distance.
"I struggled with some demons, They were middle class and tame..." L. Cohen

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by Queequeg » Tue May 08, 2018 8:47 pm

emaho wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:00 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:13 pm
Forgiveness is not a feature of Buddhist practice as far as I know. I've never heard of forgiveness as a practice.

Compassion definitely is.
Hmmm, maybe the word "forgiveness" isn't typically used in Buddhism and is traditionally more associated with Christianity, but de re I'd say even if the Buddha spoke more about patience and compassion, his teachings do imply forgiveness. Just take a look at the wikipedia definition of forgiveness:
wikipedia.com wrote:Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.
(source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forgiveness)

This is exactly what as a Buddhist you're supposed to do: let go of your negative feelings and instead of responding with hatred, react with compassion and wish the offender well.
wikipedia.com wrote:Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness), excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action), forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness), pardoning (granted for an acknowledged offense by a representative of society, such as a judge), and reconciliation (restoration of a relationship).[1]
Just take a look at this passage:
“Monks, even if bandits were to sever you savagely limb by limb with a two-handled saw, he who gave rise to a mind of hate toward them would not be carrying out my teaching. Herein, monks, you should train thus: ‘Our minds will remain unaffected, and we shall utter no evil words; we shall abide compassionate for their welfare, with a mind of loving-kindness, without inner hate. We shall abide pervading them with a mind imbued with loving-kindness; and starting with them, we shall abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will.’ That is how you should train, monks.”
(from MN 21, MLDB 221)
(quoted from Bikkhu Bodhi's book "The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony")
Forgiveness has a connotation of letting someone off the hook. As you reference, it can't be divorced from its Christian context which, rightly or wrongly, implies absolution - excuse from the retribution, a break in the cause and effect process (Christ died for our sins, ie. he sacrificed himself to disrupt the effects of Original Sin... pardon my theology its quite spotty).

In cause and effect, there is no relief from causes. Forgiveness is hollow - its a conscious gesture but little more, it does not efface the cause, and the effect will still play out.

Maybe its a difference without real effect.

The thing with all encompassing metta is that its supposed to radiate to all beings without distinction. The difficulty is not with strangers who we can theoretically think about as perfect beings who are perfectly easy to love; its with the people who hurt us and for whom it is difficult to arouse loving kindness. That's why we have to go out of our way to generate loving kindness for our enemies.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by Queequeg » Tue May 08, 2018 8:53 pm

markatex wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:11 pm
On an emotional level, I feel like I have to stick up for the OP, otherwise he'll get trampled by a mob of "But she's your mother," "You'll miss her when she's gone," "You have to forgive her or you'll never find peace," platitudes from people who came from relatively functional families and can't understand those of us who didn't.
Yes. This is an incredibly sensitive topic for a lot of us, so I hope we can step gently in discussing it.

This is a place where my feelings/intuition/experience don't line up with Buddhism. I wish they did, and maybe they will someday, but right now, they don't. Yes, the alternative to being born is nothingness and oblivion. For me, my life has been mostly a Sisyphean struggle with occasional glimmers of happiness that evaporated entirely too soon. I have not experienced anything that comes remotely close to balancing out the near-constant stress and unhappiness. Now, staring down the barrel of 40, I don't have a lot of hope that I will, to be quite frank.
:hug:

I got nothing that won't come across as trite in this context. I can just offer fellowship.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by emaho » Tue May 08, 2018 10:28 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:47 pm
Forgiveness has a connotation of letting someone off the hook. As you reference, it can't be divorced from its Christian context which, rightly or wrongly, implies absolution - excuse from the retribution, a break in the cause and effect process (Christ died for our sins, ie. he sacrificed himself to disrupt the effects of Original Sin... pardon my theology its quite spotty).
Well, I have no difficulties to understand the word forgiveness in a meaning independent of Christian culture, as I explained above, if you can't, too bad for you, but honestly I'm starting to ask myself what do I have got to do with it? :shrug:
"I struggled with some demons, They were middle class and tame..." L. Cohen

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by The Cicada » Wed May 09, 2018 12:38 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 12:29 pm
A quote-on-quote "traditional" Buddhist answer would be: yes absolutely. How much moreso should an emotionally neglectful mother be honoured than an emotionally attentive one?

I don't think that's good advice, but IMO its "Buddhist" advice.
It is, though it is also a prominent teaching that family life in general can present obstacles to practice and that practicing Buddhadharma is the utmost filial behavior—even against the wishes of family. Nichiren repeats these teachings in his writings.

My concern here isn't about the past but about opening oneself up to new abuse in the present. For some of us, interacing with their mother or some other matriarch may just mean having to deal with the equivalent of Anne Ramsey in the 1987 movie Throw Mama From The Train. For some it can mean a full-force psychological assault, getting reeled in with a sob story and the hope of warm reconciliation only to have their money taken to send to some prison boyfriend while progenitrix plays on their guilt like the "demon of compassion" itself and sportfully tries to finish off (after all these years, finally,) their dignity like the runt hamster in a crowded cage.

Since we don't know the OPs exact circumstances, I'm offering what I see as a "common sense" answer taking into account the importance of filial conduct to one's mother and assuming that the OP is well aware of this importance. Sometimes we have to pick our battles. This is an important one, the though, for sure.

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by muni » Wed May 09, 2018 8:11 am

bcol01 wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 5:45 pm
So my mother has just never really been there for me throughout my life in the way that I needed her to be. She has always been indifferent and distant and also abusive and/or allowed my step father to abuse me. Yet, she wonders why I haven't seen her in over 15 years. She doesn't want to talk about the past and because of that we cannot be close. Should I reach out to her on Mother's Day? I feel guilty if I don't but I also feel like she doesn't deserve it. If anyone sees this question, please, I would really like your advice. Thank you.
Nice sharing and nice advices, since after all dharma is not apart of interaction with parents.

Your dear mom had not the fortune to show love. This is what I call poverty.
I would not be friendly in a forced way but poor mom deserves kindness. Say something short perhaps?
Show that you do not forget the day, without too much show. :smile:

Not particular Nichiren but at least general advice:
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. H H Dalai Lama.
:meditate:

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by markatex » Wed May 09, 2018 1:54 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 8:53 pm
:hug:

I got nothing that won't come across as trite in this context. I can just offer fellowship.
Thanks, I really appreciate that.

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by Ayu » Wed May 09, 2018 2:21 pm

bcol01 wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 5:45 pm
So my mother has just never really been there for me throughout my life in the way that I needed her to be. She has always been indifferent and distant and also abusive and/or allowed my step father to abuse me. Yet, she wonders why I haven't seen her in over 15 years. She doesn't want to talk about the past and because of that we cannot be close. Should I reach out to her on Mother's Day? I feel guilty if I don't but I also feel like she doesn't deserve it. If anyone sees this question, please, I would really like your advice. Thank you.
I am a mother who did many things wrongly. My first son calls every six years maybe, but he says it's not my fault. I'm not so sure about that. ;) Even Freud taught 'It's always the mother's fault'.
Maybe I'm not toxic for my son, rather he is toxic for himself, but he should have had a better childhood. I'm very sorry, I couldn't provide it.
Anyhow, I can only state, it is very difficult to raise a child when you're young and depressive. Surely I wasn't that proper mother he wanted, needed or should have had. I'm sorry for that, this is Samsara and it hurts me as well.

Those who are the perfect father or mother and who are able to raise their children in a way they could never complain - those should throw the first stone, please.

But honestly, I do not care about mother's day at all. I don't want anybody to pretend anything to me. Some flowers given with a wrong smile, and a big sigh after leaving my house ... there's no benefit in that. If a mother can't be respected or tolerated all through the whole year, she does not need any weird efforts at mother's day. Only IMO.
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by Minobu » Wed May 09, 2018 7:13 pm

Ayu wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 2:21 pm
bcol01 wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 5:45 pm
So my mother has just never really been there for me throughout my life in the way that I needed her to be. She has always been indifferent and distant and also abusive and/or allowed my step father to abuse me. Yet, she wonders why I haven't seen her in over 15 years. She doesn't want to talk about the past and because of that we cannot be close. Should I reach out to her on Mother's Day? I feel guilty if I don't but I also feel like she doesn't deserve it. If anyone sees this question, please, I would really like your advice. Thank you.
I am a mother who did many things wrongly. My first son calls every six years maybe, but he says it's not my fault. I'm not so sure about that. ;) Even Freud taught 'It's always the mother's fault'.
Maybe I'm not toxic for my son, rather he is toxic for himself, but he should have had a better childhood. I'm very sorry, I couldn't provide it.
Anyhow, I can only state, it is very difficult to raise a child when you're young and depressive. Surely I wasn't that proper mother he wanted, needed or should have had. I'm sorry for that, this is Samsara and it hurts me as well.

Those who are the perfect father or mother and who are able to raise their children in a way they could never complain - those should throw the first stone, please.

But honestly, I do not care about mother's day at all. I don't want anybody to pretend anything to me. Some flowers given with a wrong smile, and a big sigh after leaving my house ... there's no benefit in that. If a mother can't be respected or tolerated all through the whole year, she does not need any weird efforts at mother's day. Only IMO.
i tackle everything from a Buddhist perspective as taught by Nichiren shonin.
He taught us that it all comes down to you and your Karma here in samsara.

yeah we can talk psych and self grasping and the rest of it..

but unless one comes to terms with the fact everything that happens to you is do to your karma...

nothing gets purified...

it's a hard lesson to swallow...but trying to think of what one did right and what they did wrong due to depression and worldly matters such as financial woes....is just retying the knot over and over again...

call forth the ultimate reality....purify yourself with gongyo and gohonzon ...and attain buddhahood which is the only way to stop being born in one of the samsaric realms here without choice...

we chose buddhism to liberate ourselves not Freud.

yes there is a time and place for psych treatment...such as total clinical depression...even that though i have seen eradicated through this Lotus Buddhism as it is revealed in the degenerative age of Mappo..

i knew a guy...total schizophrenic ...his head was filled with voices and something telling him to do this and that....he held together the profits of many a pharmaceutical company...he met with Gohonzon and really tried it...it did not help but he stuck it out and heard of this treatment in Chicago where they starve...or fast you for a month and then the first day it's like a grape to break the fast...and you have to go about a daily routine of walking and exercises the whole time on an empty tummy......he continued his practice...did the whole fast thing as laid out....

came back with a clear head...no more constant voices in his head to ignore...i know the guy...he was a good friend...

so yeah he needed a proper treatment and Gohonzon led him to it...

meh..shoot me ....but people have to suck some stuff up my little buttercups and take responsibility for your karma..

i do and still i go to bed like this.lol.but i know it will cease and it is all down to me..


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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by emaho » Wed May 09, 2018 7:38 pm

Ayu, this is an incredibly good posting, thank you very much :good:
"I struggled with some demons, They were middle class and tame..." L. Cohen

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri May 11, 2018 11:50 am

Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 3:15 pm
Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 12:29 pm
A quote-on-quote "traditional" Buddhist answer would be: yes absolutely. How much moreso should an emotionally neglectful mother be honoured than an emotionally attentive one?
Could you elaborate on that? I can guess the explanation but curious how you approach and come to that conclusion.
You won't like my answer. :stirthepot: :spy:
如無為、如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by Matylda » Fri May 11, 2018 3:50 pm

bcol01 wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 5:45 pm
So my mother has just never really been there for me throughout my life in the way that I needed her to be. She has always been indifferent and distant and also abusive and/or allowed my step father to abuse me. Yet, she wonders why I haven't seen her in over 15 years. She doesn't want to talk about the past and because of that we cannot be close. Should I reach out to her on Mother's Day? I feel guilty if I don't but I also feel like she doesn't deserve it. If anyone sees this question, please, I would really like your advice. Thank you.
Yes it is very sad situation and I have sympathy for you. owever.. when we hoor mother it is for the very fact that she is our mother, not for what she is... the neglectful, indifferent, hateful, abusive mother is just what she suffers from, kind of illness. It is same with insane mother or disturbed in any other way just like people sometimes are.. we do not neglect them just for what happened to them.. they are sick, deeply sick.
But it does not exclude our sadness, or feeling of being hurt. It is natural, that we feel bad about our abused emotions. However we should view such parents as sick, sick to the bone. What could we do for sick people? often nothing, nothing at all. But it does not mean that we should not tale care of our feelings and well being. whatever helps us we should do it for ourselves.

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by Minobu » Fri May 11, 2018 4:58 pm

Matylda wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 3:50 pm
bcol01 wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 5:45 pm
So my mother has just never really been there for me throughout my life in the way that I needed her to be. She has always been indifferent and distant and also abusive and/or allowed my step father to abuse me. Yet, she wonders why I haven't seen her in over 15 years. She doesn't want to talk about the past and because of that we cannot be close. Should I reach out to her on Mother's Day? I feel guilty if I don't but I also feel like she doesn't deserve it. If anyone sees this question, please, I would really like your advice. Thank you.
What could we do for sick people? often nothing, nothing at all. But it does not mean that we should not tale care of our feelings and well being. whatever helps us we should do it for ourselves.
actually because of the close relationship as we develop ourselves through Lotus Practice we also develop those close to us...
our practice ,even without it being offered up as such,
aids those around us, our family and all sentient beings.

at this juncture in eternity we share a karma with our family and it too needs work.

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue May 15, 2018 12:26 pm

Minobu wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 4:58 pm
at this juncture in eternity we share a karma with our family and it too needs work.
Does Venerable Nichiren ever quote the Five Bonds?

The ruler to the ruled, the father to the son, the husband to the wife, the elder brother to the younger brother, the friend to the friend, etc.?
如無為、如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by Minobu » Tue May 15, 2018 4:50 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 12:26 pm
Minobu wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 4:58 pm
at this juncture in eternity we share a karma with our family and it too needs work.
Does Venerable Nichiren ever quote the Five Bonds?

The ruler to the ruled, the father to the son, the husband to the wife, the elder brother to the younger brother, the friend to the friend, etc.?
i don't know.
but when i was taking a medicine buddha initiation, did so a couple of times, never was as effective as this practice...never saw results anywhere...
when taking a medicine Buddha initiation it was stated it depended on the karmic relationship one had with the person you were trying to heal.

i took that from a Lotus Buddhist perspective which for me is all about Karma and collective karma and family karma..

as for the Medicine Buddha thing..i think the degenerative age affects this aspect of Gohonzon and other sects as well.

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by Queequeg » Tue May 15, 2018 8:04 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 12:26 pm
Minobu wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 4:58 pm
at this juncture in eternity we share a karma with our family and it too needs work.
Does Venerable Nichiren ever quote the Five Bonds?

The ruler to the ruled, the father to the son, the husband to the wife, the elder brother to the younger brother, the friend to the friend, etc.?
:shrug:

Why do you ask?
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed May 16, 2018 12:13 am

Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 8:04 pm
Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 12:26 pm
Minobu wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 4:58 pm
at this juncture in eternity we share a karma with our family and it too needs work.
Does Venerable Nichiren ever quote the Five Bonds?

The ruler to the ruled, the father to the son, the husband to the wife, the elder brother to the younger brother, the friend to the friend, etc.?
:shrug:

Why do you ask?
It sort of relates to the question that I jokingly said you would like the answer to earlier ( :stirthepot: :spy: ).

The 5 bonds are associated with Confucius but are somewhat ubiquitous cross-culturally when looking at older societies in general. Regimented family obeisance is the norm.

Even when it isn't totally coherent with the religion itself. Compare Luke 14:26 with "Family Values" style conservative rhetoric.

When it comes to familial answers, and how one "should" act towards one's family, it seems, one can substitute out "Buddhism's answer" and substitute in essentially any other world-historical religions stance, because it will essentially be the same answer.

So, in relation to that first question way back in the thread, it wasn't actually a "Buddhist" answer. It was the answer of a different religion. In fact, it doesn't even have to be that particular unnamed religion's answer. The unnamed religion could be Hinduism, Judaism, what have you. It wasn't actually a "Buddhist" answer. But I bet it totally was.

:spy: :alien: :shrug:

I guess what I'm saying is religions tend to be conservative. Regardless of whether religions are conservative.
如無為、如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

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Re: Should a mother who is emotionally neglectful and indifferent be honored on Mother's day?

Post by Queequeg » Wed May 16, 2018 1:38 am

The Sangha starts with leaving home. It's why it was persecuted in East Asia with each Confucian renewal. Nichiren certainly did not put Confucian ideals ahead of the path of Dharma.

I'm not sure what you are arguing...
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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