lazyyogi: Four Noble Truths

  1. Life on planet Earth will always have an element of unsatisfactoriness. This may range from full-blown hellish suffering to simply wanting more despite having so much already. There is no creature on this Earth that is without some form of suffering.
  2. The cause of the unsatisfactoriness is existential confusion. Because we don’t know what we are, we take ourselves to be what we are not: a body, a mind, an agenda, a history with an intended future, a personality. All creatures seek happiness and avoid suffering. But what we think will bring us happiness and what we think will cause us suffering both depend on who we think we are. If we do not know who and what we actually are, we will never know how to really be happy and how to truly be free from suffering.
  3. Existential confusion is not permanent and can be ended. Over the millennia, there have been humans who have realized enlightenment and became free. There is nothing preventing you from doing the same.
  4. There is a path available that features deliberate practice to end existential confusion: the Dharma. Dharma is the no-nonsense, just-the-facts approach to finding insight into your existential condition and enjoying freedom from its limitations. More information and guidance is available today than any other time in history.

Some people suffer too much and it makes it almost impossible to practice the path. If you are one such person, do not give up. There are adjustments you can make to support you. And it is our job to find ways to help reduce your suffering so that you can practice.

Other people suffer too little. Due to their privilege and/or immense good fortune, they have not suffered enough in this life to allow them to realize something is wrong. They haven’t noticed this sense of unsatisfactoriness even though it drives much of their daily activity.

However, the majority of humans fall in-between those extremes. So why are they not on the path?

Either they haven’t encountered clear and true teachings, they were never told freedom is possible, they have yet to see clearly their own suffering, or they have yet to clearly discern the cause of their own suffering.

These Four Noble Truths of the Buddha are The Good News that buddhists offer the world. Contemplate each for yourself:

  1. Are you suffering? Are you unsatisfied? Do you feel a lack of wholeness? What elements of your daily life trouble you? Why?
  2. Regarding your answers to #1, ask yourself how your identity plays a role. How might your sense of self, your sense of being an individual, be a cause behind your suffering?
  3. Have you ever tasted freedom from your sense of self? Or tasted a freedom that is beyond this human world and its unsatisfactoriness? Think about what that was like and how it differs from your ordinary feeling of pleasure or happiness from daily life.
  4. Ask yourself what you are doing to free yourself. Is it working? Does it make sense in light of the contemplations of #1-#3? Are you feeling enthusiastic about your path and practice? If you lack energy or motivation, it can help to return to these contemplations.

The Noble Truths were the first teaching of the Buddha and you can see why. It establishes the reasons to practice the path in earnest. 🙂

May all beings be free.

LY

Meditation Practice

zenmister:

The most important part of a meditation practice is sitting down to meditate. Doing it right is not so important. It is only practice. The practice is watching your mind. As you watch your mind in meditation, you open yourself to possibilities. You don’t know what you will get out of it, but you sit anyway.

Meditation is good anytime of day or night. It is good to find a time in your routine to practice meditation, because if you don’t practice regularly, you rarely will decide spontaneously to meditate. If you practice regularly, you will often spontaneously meditate. You might find yourself sitting on a bus, or in a waiting room, or at your desk, or in a meeting, and you will follow your breath and practice being aware of your awareness. You may consciously focus on listening to what somebody is saying. You may focus on a spot on the floor. You may focus on your phone and act like you are getting sucked into technology, when, really you are doing the opposite. That kind of spontaneous meditation grows out of a regular practice.

Mornings and evenings are good times to practice meditation. In the morning, meditation will help you wake up. At night, it will help you go to sleep. It is convenient to attach your meditation routine to your sleeping routine, because that is the time you already dedicate to resting and letting your mind sort itself out. It is especially convenient to add meditation to your sleep routine if you experience problems sleeping. If you have an active mind, that may keep you from falling asleep, or it may wake your from your sleep. If you have problems falling asleep, meditate before bed. If you wake in the middle of the night, get up and meditate then. If you wake up early in the morning, meditate then. Try any or all of those.

Finding a regular time to sit for a set amount of time is the basis of a meditation practice. What you do when you sit, is to practice paying attention to your attention. Then, when you are not meditating, you will find yourself using the skills that you practiced.

Michio Kaku & Nirvana

Michio Kaku & Nirvana

“Stephen Hawking said that he didn’t believe in God because the big bang happened instantly and there was no time for God to create a universe, therefore God couldn’t exist. I have a different point of view. My parents were Buddhists and in Buddhism there is Nirvana, timelessness, no beginning and no end. But my parents put me in a Presbyterian church, so I went to Sunday school every week and learned about Genesis and how the universe was created in seven days. Now with the multiverse idea we can meld these two diametrically opposed paradigms together. According to string theory, big bangs are happening all the time. Even as we speak, Genesis is taking place somewhere in the cosmos. And what is the universe expanding into? Nirvana. Eleven-dimensional hyperspace is Nirvana. So you can have Buddhism and Judeo-Christian philosophy in one theory.”

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/apr/03/string-theory-michio-kaku-aliens-god-equation-large-hadron-collider

From “Living Buddha, Living Christ” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“Mindfulness of breathing is your island, where you can be safe and happy, knowing that whatever happens, you are doing your best thing. This is the way to take refuge in the Buddha, not as mere devotion but as a transformational practice. You do not have to abandon this world. You do not have to go to heaven or wait for the future to take refuge. You can take refuge here and now. You only need to dwell deeply in the present moment.”

— Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha, Living Christ

Vajrapani

Vajrapani is a Bodhisattva who represents the energy of the enlightened mind and his mantra also symbolizes that quality. He is pictured dancing wildly within a halo of flames, which represents transformation. He holds vajra (thunderbolt) in his right hand, which emphasizes the power to cut through the darkness of delusion. He looks wrathful, but as a representation of the enlightenment mind, he’s completely free from hatred.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu – Putting an End to Suffering

“You’ve probably heard the rumor that ‘Life is suffering’ is Buddhism’s first principle, the Buddha’s first noble truth. It’s a rumor with good credentials, spread by well-respected academics and Dharma teachers alike, but a rumor nonetheless.

“The truth about the noble truths is far more interesting. The Buddha taught four truths — not one — about life: 1. There is suffering. 2. There is a cause for suffering. 3. There is an end of suffering. 4. There is a path of practice that puts an end to suffering.

“These truths, taken as a whole, are far from pessimistic. They’re a practical, problem-solving approach — the way a doctor approaches an illness, or a mechanic a faulty engine. You identify a problem and look for its cause. You then put an end to the problem by eliminating the cause.”

via Rob Brezsny

from Tumblr https://seekingstars.tumblr.com/post/629340975624601600