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A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin and asked: “Is there really a paradise and a hell?” “Who are you?” inquired Hakuin. “I am a samurai”, the warrior replied. “You, a soldier!” sneered Hakuin, “What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? You look like a beggar”. Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword. Hakuin continued: “So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably too dull to cut off my head.”  Nobushige drew his sword. Hakuin remarked: “Here open the gates of hell!” At these words the samurai, perceiving the master’s discipline, put away his sword and bowed. “Here open the gates of paradise”, said Hakuin.     Paul Reps from Zen Flesh Zen Bones What triggers you in life?  A snide comment? A driver cutting you off in traffic?  Relatives?  Each of us have our own favorites in life that takes us off of our balance, our center.  A comment is said, an action happens and we are off on our anger, bitterness and frustration trip.   Life is WAY too short for these moments in life.    We are not our thoughts, or our feelings.  At our source we are much deeper and connected than this.  These are our superficial reaction points in this body, this mind of ours.  When we understand this, truly understand this and put all of these thoughts and emotions aside and continually get that we are ONE with all living beings then we enter the Gates of Paradise that Hakuin mentioned.  We realize we are a stand for something bigger on this planet, something bigger than ourselves.  Here is the reality.  The mind is a powerful force and these moments of unbalance will come up.  When you are triggered ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is it more important to be right than give love?
  • What do I have to give up in order to give love and find balance?  (Maybe this is being right, or being angry).
  • What am I committed to in this relationship or in life?  This is the root question.  When you take responsibility for who you are and what you are committed to in life then trivial moments like being angry dissipate into minutiae.

This life you have is too short and too important to waste on unbalance and unhappiness.  Your gift, your purpose is to give back and make this planet a better place than before you arrived.  Find this commitment.  All of this comes from a space of love, from a root of peace.  Here in lay the Gates of Paradise. Call to Action:

  • Get connected to your commitment in this life.  Find your purpose and what you stand for in life.  I am a stand for unconditional love for all living beings.  This is my commitment.  This is far more important than being angry, or any other unbalanced way of being.
  • What do you have to give up to get back to a place of peace, a place of love? Be present to your commitment in life when you take this on as your mind will want to hold onto this one.  Your mind will hold onto this way that you are being as there is a payoff for you.  Example:  If you have to give up being right, your payoff is getting to be right all the time.  This sounds great but imagine being in a relationship with you where you are right all the time.  Give this up.
  • BE LOVE.  This is the root of who you are.  This is the foundation for your happiness.  Give UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.  This is your ticket to the Gates of Paradise.

Thomas D. Craig Author A Cup of Buddha Writer.Seeker.Adventurer.Warrior