Pu'uhonua o Honaunau

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I can't post a video today ... but I had the privilege of sitting a little Zazen this morning at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, an old Hawaiian religious site and place of refuge, now a U.S. National Park ...

Puuhonua o Honaunau is one of Hawaii's most sacred historic places. The center piece of the park is the Hale O Keawe Heiau which once housed the bones of important chiefs. A heiau is a Hawaiian temple, usually dedicated to treating the sick, making offerings of first fruits or the first catch, offerings to start or stop rain, even offerings of human sacrifice. Often offerings were made seeking success in war.

All week I have had with me a recent translation of the Lotus Sutra by Gene Reeves, very well done. It contains this many words by the Buddha such as the following which, if we stretch them just a little, might just contain all religions in some way. Perhaps all religions, in the end, have that same kernel of Truth at heart ...

Knowing that living beings have various desires and things to which they are attached, I have taught the Dharma according to their basic natures, using a variety of causal explanations, parables, other kinds of expression, and the power of skillful means. Shariputra, this is so that they may obtain the complete wisdom of the One Buddha-Vehicle.

Okay, well, granted, the practice of human sacrifice and such may be a bit hard for the modern mind to wrap itself around. It certainly does not represent a Buddhist value, and I am very, very glad that it is not a part of Buddhism! I would rather have a religion that emphasizes respect for all life, and non-violence. So, that is certainly a form of practice I can do without! I can also do without using religions practices as a means to obtain success in war (although that still goes on in our modern world). I can do without that too.

But, even so, I sat today with the human religious heart ... which I think is common to most of us, though with many difference expressions and voices.  Each seeking in its own way to be at one and in peace with the world. 

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