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A Chinese Image of Hotei - the Laughing Buddha
(believed to be an incarnation of Maitreya)

The Lost Sadhanas Project: Maitreya
Practice: The Third Step - The Banner of Love

Maitreya is a child on the beach, holding a yellow banner that says "LOVE". The waves of the ocean splash in happiness. The banner flies high into the air, and white birds sing, and circle around it, and the clouds are peach and gold in a bright blue sky.

He says,

Follow the banner of love as your ideal and your highest goal. The lower realms have black armies of hatred that roam and attack. They are the forces of destruction and suffering that disguise themselves as righteous. Do not be tempted by their provocations.

We return to the stairway to my paradise. One image on the third step helps explain the response to suffering, and the understanding of its causes.

The enemy has ravaged a country, leaving death and atrocity. There are many possible responses.

One is to become just as evil in order to fight evil, to fight fire with fire. The more evil you understand the enemy to be, the more evil you will become to fight it. In evil, there is strength, and some will choose that strength over knowledge and compassion. Stories of the evil of enemies create an army of the damned to fight evil that think their cause is just and themselves blessed. This is strategic evil, and its story tellers [whose stories promote hate and division] will not escape the hell worlds.

Another image on the third step is also of war, a battlefield where the dead bodies are stripped of valuables by those who survived. This is the pragmatic response to evil, to get what you can out of it. It is not concentrated evil, the desire to corrupt other with stories, but it is hard-hearted. It brings a rebirth of hard luck and struggle to survive.

Then there are those who seek to help one's wounded, and drag them away from the killing fields and to shelter. One's allies do not deserve to die in the dirt of war, and they are fed, washed, and buried. Here we have a rebirth where others will care for the person.

Another approach is where the issue is not friend or enemy, but the view that all are suffering beings who deserve compassion, and life is a cycle of pain and suffering which echoes down the generations, with children from all sides taught to hate and condemn. All of them are caught in the snares of ignorance and passion. From this perspective, criminals and war heroes are made from the same mold, and most people fight on in ignorance for ideas that they do not understand.

Here the response is to care for all those who suffer, even if their words or deeds are harmful. Only with the realization that suffering is universal and endless, and that compassion is the way to overcome its power can liberation occur.

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Introduction | Methodology - Participant/Observer | The Bodhi Tree Sadhanas | Vajra Dakini Discussion | Vajra Dakini Commentary | Vajra Dakini Sadhanas | Vajra Yogini Commentary | Maitreya Sadhanas | Vajradhara Speaks About Yidams | Lost Sadhanas Conclusion


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