Kanji for Muryoko

'Infinite Light'

Journal of Shin Buddhism

Harold Stewart

The Gift of Tears

From the moment when we are brought face to face with our whole uncensored past and are forced to admit and to take full responsibility for all our faults and failures in thought, word, and deed, with a willing acceptance of their consequent purgation by suffering, our release from spiritual aridity can begin. Only when we realize that self-will and its futile efforts are completely powerless to effect our deliverance can we finally abandon them and throw ourselves solely on the Compassion of the Other Power, which at last can respond to our plea and replace our impotence. Then we may be granted that most precious of confirmatory signs, the gift of tears, which spring forth from the eyes in spontaneous gratitude. Such cleansing tears are tears both of joy and of grief, of remorse for one's hard-hearted pride and perversity, and of purification from all egoistic defilements, but most of all of thanksgiving for the gift of Faith. Only tears such as these can break the drought of self-sufficiency, can water and refresh the barren anger and hatred that have gripped the heart and deprived it of tenderness, and can set free again the living waters of the spirit.

In this heavenly generosity that bestows the fertilizing influence of Compassion and the promise of Rebirth in the Western Paradise, where tears are no more and the only rain is of lotus-petals, can be seen the true inner significance of rain-making ceremonies. In the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha likened his Dharma to the bountiful rain, pouring down to the thirsty earth, stimulating the withered plants and shrubs to grow, blossom, and bear fruit according to the disposition and capacity of each of them, in spite of the water being of one essence. Shakyamuni says: 'In the same way, Kashyapa, the Buddha comes into this world like a rain-cloud and, once born, he, the World's Lord, speaks and shows the real course of life. I shall refresh all beings whose bodies are withered, who are chained to the Triple World. I shall bring to felicity those who are pining away with toil, give them pleasure and final rest.'

Reflections on the Dharma - Harold Stewart

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