Monthly Archives: November 2012

as we think, so we become

The thought manifests as the word;

The word manifests as the deed;

The deed develops into habit;

And habit hardens into character;

So watch the thought and its ways with care,

And let it spring from love

Born out of concern for all beings.

As the shadow follows the body,

As we think, so we become.

As we think, so we become.  ~ The Buddha

 

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the end of suffering

May I see

May I find the will

May I speak

May I chose

May I live

May I engage

May I be

May I diligence -

 

Journey of transformation is propelled by suffering that will no longer be denied and that refuses to abate through external objects.

It is precisely at that point, with all escape routes blocked, that we are ready to seek a way to bring our disquietude to an end. No longer can we continue to drift complacently through life, driven blindly by our hunger for sense pleasures and by the pressure of prevailing social norms. A deeper reality beckons us; we have heard the call of a more stable, more authentic happiness, and until we arrive at our destination we cannot rest content.

When we browse through the shelves of humanity’s spiritual heritage, both ancient and contemporary, we do not find a single tidy volume but a veritable bazaar of spiritual systems and disciplines each offering themselves to us as the highest, the fastest, the most powerful, or the most profound solution to our quest for the Ultimate. Confronted with this melange, we fall into confusion trying to size them up — to decide which is truly liberative, a real solution to our needs, and which is a sidetrack beset with hidden flaws.

With all that is available – various spiritual systems and disciplines How are we to find such a path — a path which has the capacity to lead us to the full and final end of suffering? Until we actually follow a path to its goal we cannot know with certainty where it leads, and in order to follow a path to its goal we must place complete trust in the efficacy of the path. The pursuit of a spiritual path is not like selecting a new suit of clothes. To select a new suit one need only try on a number of suits, inspect oneself in the mirror, and select the suit in which one appears most attractive. The choice of a spiritual path is closer to marriage: one wants a partner for life, one whose companionship will prove as trustworthy and durable as the pole star in the night sky.

The Noble Eightfold Path

The Way to the End of Suffering

by
Bhikkhu Bodhi

Source: The Wheel Publication No. 308/311 
(Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1984), second edition (revised) 1994.
Transcribed from a file provided by the BPS Copyright © 1998 Buddhist Publication Society to Insight edition © 1999
For free distribution. This work may be republished, reformatted, reprinted, and redistributed in any medium. It is the author’s wish, however, that any such republication and redistribution be made available to the public on a free and unrestricted basis and that translations and other derivative works be clearly marked as such.
 

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seeing that which breaks the heart

A life well lived is a life in which there are multiple incidents in which one pauses for a moment or two, and through tears and words, releases the suffering intrinsic to the little deaths of our ordinary life; a lost toy, a friend moves away, childhood fantasies fade into adolescent angst.    Yet, when the death of a loved one or a betrayal of esteemed trust meets us at our doorstep, tears alone will not release us from the fountain’s stream of confusion, rage, and anguish.

Therefore, when the deepest aspect of ourselves encounters loss through betrayal, it may be beneficial to inquire as to when we first felt disillusionment through deceit or injustice – that is when our young souls were naive, unscarred, and thus vulnerable.  To ask, “How old do I feel I am at this moment?” may assist with the realization that unresolved losses do not fade away in the morning’s light.

Wounds multiply as they slumber deep within our souls, waiting to be released through the gift of a voice heard and an enlightened understanding.  Yet, when life touches our wounds and hope encourages them to speak, there is a struggle between the ability to find words that truly convey the meaning of our suffering and a fear that our story will only drive others away and thus we will be abandoned in awakened despair.

Betrayal is a double-edged sword, in that to be betrayed by another may reflect one’s naivety, anxieties, ignorance, powerlessness or how one deceived self within the relationship through the negation of innate wisdom, relinquished self for alternative desires, or clung to an illusive fantasy.  Therefore, the long and arduous path towards healing begins with the courage to step out of the dark emptiness of disillusionment and to acquaint oneself with a deeper consciousness and mature love that waits in the arms of tranquil wisdom and compassionate loving-kindness.

The eyes will not see that which breaks the heart

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a shell of a thing

the storm came one night, you see

the thunder came and fell the tree

falling, falling became the tree

and a shell of a thing came to be

A small shell of a thing you, you see

flying high above the sea.

there is no alighting upon the sea, you see

for a shell of a thing above the sea

searching, searching for her tree

that fell the night she came to be

weary, tired … flying, flying above the sea

wishing for all to see.

“oh, how brave! how marvelous she is to be!

as she flies so high above the sea!”

blind to their eyes, she is to be

wings flying, trying so hard to be

above the torment of the sea

for there is no rest above the sea

only the falling, falling tree, you see.

 

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the nature of scorpions and frogs

As I sit quietly focused upon the in and out flow of the breath, my attention shifts to the sounds of children playing. I acknowledge the sounds and gently return to the breath.  Then I find my attention has been drawn to a tightness between my shoulder blades. I note the physical sensation and return to the flow of the breath.  I awaken inside a memory.  I label this “remembering” and return to the breath. I find myself adjusting the monthly budget.  I internally say, “worrying” and with acceptance return to the breath. Within the space where thoughts settle before arising again, I encounter what I identify as a fleeting moment of clarity.  Then I come to an awareness that I have embarked upon yet another stream of consciousness, I label the moment, “thinking, thinking”, and return to the breath. For a passing second, I touch upon an idea of single-pointed tranquil absorption.  It fades. I again return to the in-and-out flow of the breath. My vision clears and I comprehend a path free of attachment, aversion, and closed heartedness and mindedness.

Rapture surprises me, and as it fades my mind undertakes a search to identify what were the preceding thoughts, images, techniques, and conditions that came together in such a manner that opened the door to this wonderful feeling.  Desire intensifies into greed, which transforms into craving which stirs clinging.  A greedy nature awakens an angry nature.

The still center of being . . . whispers, “Realize Me.”

No sooner is it glimpsed then it is gone. ~ Guigo

A Fable

Once upon a time, a scorpion asked a frog to ferry him across a river.  The frog replied that his fear of being stung by the scorpion prevented him from granting the request. The scorpion, in reply, eased the frog’s anxieties with the notation that if he were to sting him then both of them would surely drown.  With this seemingly safe guarantee, the frog agreed. About half way in their crossing, the scorpion stung the frog.  As the frog was dying, he implored the scorpion to tell him why he doomed both of them to their deaths.  The scorpion simply noted, “I’m a scorpion; it’s my nature.”

It is my understanding that Buddhist psychology notes that our mental formations shape how we view the world; they give us a frame of reference and eventually through their repetitive appearance they formulate our intrinsic nature, our temperament.  It is suggested that these habitual patterns that are ephemeral but are kammically potent can be classified into seven major categories: greed, hate, ignorance, faithful, intelligent, ruminating, and speculative. The combination of these natures (with the exception of speculative) with one another formulates 63 different nature types.  The speculative type brings the total to 64 temperaments.

The majority of people will find that their temperaments include the variables of greed and hatred.  There are others whose nature is ignorance and thus confusion and delusional thinking impact their lives.  Akin to this nature are those whose minds oscillate; they are unable to focus their attention deliberately on one thing. Some people are exceptionally devoted, while others are exceptionally intelligent. Our personalities generally consist of a combination of 2 to 3 of these 64 types.  We can begin to acquaint ourselves with our primary nature through an exploration of our usual day-to-day behavior patterns, thoughts, and moods as well as labeling the thoughts that arise during meditation.

The mountain lake is fed

not only by the outside rains,

but alsog

from within its own depths. Nyanaponika Thera

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