Nurturing the Environment and the Life of the Spirit
- Publisher : Lantern Books
- Published : 2004
- Cover : Paperback
- Pages : 164
- Size : 216 x 140mm
- Category :
- Catalogue No : 12396
- ISBN 13 : 9781590560587
- ISBN 10 : 1590560582
By the same author
According to Chinese master Hsing Yun, when we perceive that human society is nothing other than a web of human relationships, we will understand just how crucial our relationships are.
In Living Affinity, Hsing Yun describes the foundations of that web - in community relationships, love and affection, the environment, wealth and the material world, time and space, and in terms of spiritual development. Through a close examination of some of the key sutras and stories of Buddhist doctrine, the master from Taiwan provides us with wisdom rooted in the knowledge of centuries and yet still vibrantly relevant to today.
Read an extract of this title
FOR MANY OF US, relationships are the primary concern and focus of our lives. When our relationships are in balance and running smoothly, we experience a sense of well-being and happiness. When our relationships are fraught with disconnection and distance, we feel lonely and out of sorts. While we would be extremely happy if someone offered us a solution that immediately created complete and everlasting harmony in our relationships, the truth is that we ourselves already contain this potential-our very being is already the absolute fruition of this unimaginable potential for intimacy. In Living Affinity, Master Hsing Yun invites us to experience relationships that extend far beyond what we typically consider close relationships and helps us to develop relationships not only with other people, but with everything in our experience of reality. He helps us to understand that it is only the illusive constructs of our mind and our perpetual insistence on viewing ourselves as separate and distinct from everything around us that inhibit us from having living affinity every moment, with all things. Inherent in every person, Master Hsing Yun argues, is the unblemished and unrestricted ability to awaken affinity in every aspect of our lives.
In Buddhism, the concept of "affinity" transcends our common definition of the term, which is typically understood as a sympathy or liking for someone or something. As it is discussed in this book, "affinity" (the Chinese term is yuan) means a profound spiritual relationship that prevails and deepens over many lifetimes. Affinity is not fleeting; it does not come and go. Affinity is the natural state of existence, it is the beginningless and endless hum of the universe; it is the very essence of our being.
Key to understanding our true capacity for affinity is realizing the truth of interdependence. The Buddha taught us that nothing can exist independently- everything is linked through interdependence and nothing can arise outside of relationship. It then follows that by the mere fact of existence, we are in a natural state of affinity with all things. It is both comforting and encouraging that we do not have to struggle or devise a complex plan in order to experience affinity. We only need to reorient our angles of thought and perception that blind us to our true nature in order to reveal the living affinity that always was and always will be. Within this book, we encounter specific practices, wise suggestions, and inspiring examples that can help us in this endeavor.
While the following pages explore affinity in love relationships, friendships, and communities, Master Hsing Yun also encourages and instructs us to cultivate the heart and mind of affinity with the environment, the material world, money, space, time, and, most fundamentally, our spiritual journey. In one comedic, yet entirely sincere, moment we are even inspired to nurture affinity with our dishtowels!
The expanse of Master Hsing Yun's vision and the strength of his leadership have yielded- and continue to yield -extraordinary results. With his tireless energy and remarkable affinity he has established temples, universities, schools, and other organizations all over the world. His travels have taken him around the globe, where he has developed relationships with countless people from diverse backgrounds and different religious affiliations. His life admirably embodies the saying, "With affinity people will meet even if they are a thousand miles apart."
Living Affinity is a wonderful gift and a heartfelt guidebook for all who wish to explore the vast range and unlimited potential of relationship. Deep and abiding connections are simmering just below the surface of a flimsy and illusory disguise of our own creation. May you experience peace and joy as you develop a rich spiritual life, and may you delight in becoming the truth of living affinity.
The Claremont Courier