A Buddhist Journal

August 15, 2006

When We See Alms Bowl – 若見空缽

Monk with alms bowl
” /> Photo Courtesy By Photographer Doug Janson.
More great photos can be found here:




If we see an empty bowl,
we should wish that all beings be pure of heart,
and empty of afflictions.

If we see a full bowl,
we should wish that
all beings completely fulfill all virtuous ways.

(Pure conduct, Flower adornment Sutra)
English Text Translated by Thomas Cleary

Reflection: 「空」之一義,在佛法中並不完全等同於「無」。

The “Emptiness” in Dharma does not really mean “Nothing is there”.
Because of emptiness, it can content million things.
Because of emptiness, All Dharma can be demonstrated.
Only because of Empty nature,
we can realize all Dharmas are
dependent and conditioned.Therefore,
Empty Alms Bowl does not mean “Nothing is there at all”,
instead, it means all things be contained within.


Verse For Opening A Sutra – 開經偈

Ancient Image of Purland (Ultimate Bliss World)





Verse For Opening A Sutra

The incomparable and profoundly exquisite Dharma,

It is rare that it can be encountered with,
even in hundreds of thousands of millions of ages.

We are now permitted to see it.
We are now permitted to hear it.
We are now permitted to accept it.
We are now permitted to hold it.

May we truly understand the meaning of these words
of the Tathagata

Listen to the rain – 虞美人

Photo Courtesy by
Photographer: Ian Britton

虞 美 人 




Listen to the rain

Listening to the rain in teenage at a penthouse,
where I was in a silky curtained bed
with a dim light of red candle next to it.

Listening to the rain in middle age on a boat,
I was on a journey sailing over a wide river
in low cloudy weather with west wind,
and I heard a lost wild goose crying.

Listening to the rain now-a-day
in a monastic retreat cottage,
my hairs already turned grey.
Happiness or Grief,
Gathering or parting,
all be changed relentlessly.

Let my tears dropping down the floor
till dawn at front door.

–Chinese ancient Zen poem by Chian-Jay (Sun Dynasty) —

Zen poem study
The poem links three different moods at different ages through
a simple action of “Listening to the rain”. One day in the same
midst rainy weather, his live has gone through many searches
and chases, lost and grief. And finally he realized it is a rough

At teenage, he spent time chasing for the pleasure of lust life.
The rain was a good excuse to stay out overnight without going
home. The penthouse is where the money can buy the sensual
pleasure of alcoholic drinks and sex. It was a young life of wildness
and extremely frivolous.

The life at middle age, he chases the wealth and fame. He has to
travel a lot to many places and was unable to go home often. One
day in winter, the weather was bad with dark low cloud and west
wind. He was alone by him selves sailing on a small boat in the big
river. Suddenly he felt very lonely. After hearing the cry of a lost wild
goose, he felt him selves likewise being lost in the big river. He
became extremely sad and very homesick.

As time goes by so fast, he became aged. He temporarily resided
in a monastic retreat for a short rest. One rainy night, he stood by the
window watching rain drops.

The sad rain noise recalled his memory of the past. All the past
happiness, grief, sorrow, gatherings and partings gradually become
far away from him now. The live has gone like a dream yesterday.
He realized the live is an illusion and is impermanent although the
raining noise is sensed so real in front of him. He let his tears fall as
the rain does till dawn. He feels his live being sort of empty and what
he can do is just letting go into the universe.


When listening to the rain, our mind changes from time to time.
Our feeling also changes in different ages, from teenage till we
get aged.

How many times have we experienced the raining days in our live?
How often have we ever examined our selves with full-mindfulness
in the same raining days?

Our mind shall be carefully examined inward. If our mind searches
and chases for the outward wealth and sensational pleasure, we will
make our live illusive, meaningless and totally wasted.

Live is so precious. We should make this very live useful and

Let’s listen to the honest messages from our mind.

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