Sunday, January 27, 2008

Life heads to death


As a potter's clay vessels large & small fired & unfired
All end up broken, so too life heads to death
Young & old
Wise & foolish

Friday, January 25, 2008

Become your own therapist



Buddhism teaches you to become your own therapist. It give you the tools to how to deal with life's difficult situations we all face with from time to time. The core teachings Buddhism is centered around mindfulness meditation. The practice of meditation helps one to abandon the defilements of the mind*. The abandoning of defilements in the mind makes us more skillful individuals and will enable us to deal with difficult situations in life with wisdom.



*Defilements of the mind (1) Covetousness and unrighteous greed (2) ill will (3) anger (4) hostility (5) denigration(6) domineering (7) envy (8) miserly(9) hypocrisy(10) fraud (11) obstinacy (12) presumption (13) conceit (14) arrogance (15) vanity (16) negligence


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cunning as a crow


Life's easy to live
for someone unscrupulous,
cunning as a crow,
corrupt, back-biting,
forward, & brash;
but for someone who's constantly
scrupulous, cautious,
observant, sincere,
pure in his livelihood,
clean in his pursuits,
it's hard.
-Dhammapada

Think like a scientist



“The motivation of all religious practices is similar. The basic goal is the benefit of human kind, each type of system seeking in its own unique ways to improve human beings”- Dali Lama

The idea of a religion to most people in the Western world is associated with a God. Buddhists are trained to look for contentment within oneself rather than looking for help externally. The basic moral principle in Buddhism is “whatever you do (mind, body or speech) it should not harm you or any other living being.” As far as I know this principle applies or should apply to all the major religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) as this is one of the basic moral principles in life.

One way you can reconcile all these religions or philosophies is to train people of all religions to examine your own heart (mind) and find the truth or if you want to call the “God” within yourself. There is only one truth in this world, and if you are honest to yourself and ask a lot of questions you will find it. It is important for us to think like scientists and investigate ourselves, using our minds as the lab without having a bias on what we have seen, read, or heard previously. I believe this investigative approach will lead to the right path that will lead to the ultimate happiness which we are all seeking for, irrespective of our religious beliefs.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How to dye a cloth pure in color?"


"Monks, suppose a cloth were stained and dirty, and a dyer dipped it in some dye or other, whether blue or yellow or red or pink, it would take the dye badly and be impure in color. And why is that? Because the cloth was not clean. So too, monks, when the mind is defiled*, an unhappy destination [in a future existence] may be expected."

"Monks, suppose a cloth were clean and bright, and a dyer dipped it in some dye or other, whether blue or yellow or red or pink, it would take the dye well and be pure in color. And why is that? Because the cloth was clean. So too, monks, when the mind is undefiled, a happy destination [in a future existence] may be expected."


*Defilements of the mind (1) Covetousness and unrighteous greed (2) ill will (3) anger (4) hostility (5) denigration(6) domineering (7) envy (8) miserly(9) hypocrisy(10) fraud (11) obstinacy (12) presumption (13) conceit (14) arrogance (15) vanity (16) negligence

Vatthupama Sutta -The Simile of the Cloth

Monday, January 21, 2008

Just as playing with little sand castles...


"Just as when boys or girls are playing with little sand castles: as long as they are not free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for those little sand castles, that's how long they have fun with those sand castles, enjoy them, treasure them, feel possessive of them. But when they become free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for those little sand castles, then they smash them, scatter them, demolish them with their hands or feet and make them unfit for play.


"In the same way, Radha, you too should smash, scatter, & demolish form*, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for form.
"You should smash, scatter, & demolish feeling*, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for feeling.
"You should smash, scatter, & demolish perception*, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for perception.
"You should smash, scatter, & demolish fabrications*, and make them unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for fabrications.
"You should smash, scatter, & demolish consciousness* and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for consciousness — for the ending of craving, Radha, is Unbinding."

*The five aggregates (see lables below)
-Satta Sutta -A Being

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The body (rupa [ruupa])* is like a "glob of foam"


On one occasion the Blessed One was staying among the Ayojjhans on the banks of the Ganges River. There he addressed the monks: "Monks, suppose that a large glob of foam were floating down this Ganges River, and a man with good eyesight were to see it, observe it, & appropriately examine it. To him ... seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it ... it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in a glob of foam? In the same way, a monk sees, observes, & appropriately examines any form that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near. To him ... seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it ... it would appear empty, void, without
substance: for what substance would there be in form (Body orRupa*)?-Phena Sutta -Foam


rupa [ruupa]:Body; physical phenomenon; sense datum. The basic meaning of this word is "appearance" or "form." It is used, however, in a number of different contexts, taking on different shades of meaning in each. In lists of the objects of the senses, it is given as the object of the sense of sight. As one of the khandha, it refers to physical phenomena or sensations (visible appearance or form being the defining characteristics of what is physical). This is also the meaning it carries when opposed to nama, or mental phenomena.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Consciousness (Viññana)* is just like an illusion



"Now suppose that a magician or magician's apprentice were to display a magic trick at a major intersection, and a man with good eyesight were to see it, observe it, & appropriately examine it. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in a magic trick? In the same way, a monk sees, observes, & appropriately examines any consciousness that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in consciousness?-Phena Sutta -Foam


*Viññana [vi~n~naa.na]:
Consciousness; cognizance; the act of taking note of sense data and ideas as they occur. There is also a type of consciousness that lies outside of thekhandhas — called consciousness without feature (viññanam anidassanam) — which is not related to the six senses at all. See khandha.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Building a "house of wisdom"


Recently I have been observing a building site close to my home. The builder first cut down the trees and cleared stumps and the rocks off the ground and piled them up in a large mountain of debris (see the photo). Then they leveled the ground laid some large pipes for the sewer and water supply to the site. Today when I was driving by the site I saw new roads being laid out. Now the site is ready to build a new community of brand new homes.

This is similar to what we do in order to progress in this spiritual path. It is important for us to develop a good moral conduct (mind, body, and speech) as the foundation of learning Dhamma. It can be compared to the builder cutting down the trees, clearing the stumps and the rocks before the start of construction of the houses. With the development of morality as solid foundation, we can then build the other five qualities* such as faith, effort, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom as you progress in this path. This is your "house of wisdom."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Perception (sañña [sa~n~naa)* is just like a "mirage""


"Now suppose that in the last month of the hot season a mirage were shimmering, and a man with good eyesight were to see it, observe it, & appropriately examine it. To him ... seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it ... it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in a mirage? In the same way, a monk sees, observes, & appropriately examines any perception that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near. To him ... seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it ... it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in perception?-Phena Sutta -Foam




sañña [sa~n~naa]*:
Label; perception; allusion; act of memory or recognition; interpretation.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Feeling (Vedana [vedanaa])* is like a "bubble of water"


"Now suppose that in the autumn ... when it's raining in fat, heavy drops ... a water bubble were to appear & disappear on the water, and a man with good eyesight were to see it, observe it, & appropriately examine it. To him ... seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it ... it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in a water bubble? In the same way, a monk sees, observes, & appropriately examines any feeling that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near. To him ... seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it ... it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in feeling? -Phena Sutta -Foam


v *Vedana [vedanaa]:
Feeling — pleasure (ease), pain (stress), or neither pleasure nor pain. See

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Is there an "I" in the center?


Have you ever peeled an onion? If you look inside after peeling all the layers, you will find there is nothing in the center. The layers of the onion are some what similar to "our world" (sensory world) around us. This is similar to how we construct everything around us, layer by layer. We believe the body, feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness (the five aggregates), belongs to us and there is an 'I' in the middle of all of this. Just as the onion has no center, practice of The Noble Eightfold Path will lead us to the realization that there is no real "I' in the middle (non-self).

At a superficial level when we first study Dhamma to accumulate knowledge, we may understand this as a concept (Anatta-lakkhana Sutta). At a deeper level, with the practice of mindfulness meditation, it will enable us to realize this within us as our own wisdom. This realization is beyond comprehension and has to be experienced by oneself. This leads us to "let go" with ease, and to the final liberation from clinging to these aggregates, which are essentially the end of suffering (Dukka).

Related posts:

Saturday, January 12, 2008

There is only one universal language... the language of "loving kindness."


There is only one universal language in this world. That is the language of "loving kindness." The language of "loving kindness" is understood by all beings, irrespective of species, race, or religion.



Related Posts:
What is the matter with my grass? (Post on Loving Kindness)




Please note:
This picture was recently e-mail to me by my friend, EK. This amazing story was originally sent by a person named Debby Cantlon. The dog mother fed the young squirrel along with the rest of her young puppies. Debby, plans to release, the squirrel back into the wild soon.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The correct path will produce results, irrespective of the wish




"Suppose a man in need of milk, looking for milk, wandering in search of milk, would twist the horn of a newly-calved cow. If he were to twist the horn of a newly-calved cow even when having made a wish [for results]... having made no wish... both having made a wish and having made no wish... neither having made a wish nor having made no wish, he would be incapable of obtaining results. Why is that? Because it is an inappropriate way of obtaining results.

"Suppose a man in need of milk, looking for milk, wandering in search of milk, would twist the teat of a newly-calved cow. If he were to twist the teat of a newly-calved cow even when having made a wish [for results]... having made no wish... both having made a wish and having made no wish... neither having made a wish nor having made no wish, he would be capable of obtaining results. Why is that? Because it is an appropriate way of obtaining results.

"In the same way, any priests or contemplatives endowed with right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, & right concentration: If they follow the holy life even when having made a wish [for results]... having made no wish... both having made a wish and having made no wish... neither having made a wish nor having made no wish, they are capable of obtaining results. Why is that? Because it is an appropriate way of obtaining results.
- Bhumija Sutta -To Bhumija


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The city of "ultimate happiness"

The remains of an ancient city in Sri Lanka (Sigiriya)



Dhamma is the true existence of nature. It is always there whether we see it or not. We cannot see it clearly as our minds are already conditioned (delusion). Buddha just showed us the path which was already there. Arahants and the great forest masters have traveled the same path, and discovered this same “city.” If we follow the same path diligently, using the right technique, we should be able to arrive at the “city” ourselves, in this very life time. This is the city of "ultimate happiness."

Related Sutta:
Nagara Sutta -The City

In this post please note that:
The path is The Noble Eightfold Path -The Way to the End of Suffering
City of "ultimate happiness " the Nirvana

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The fish that had swallowed the fisherman's hook


" Monk, just as if a fisherman were to cast a baited hook into a deep lake and a fish with its eye out for food would swallow it — so that the fish that had thus swallowed the fisherman's hook would fall into misfortune & disaster, and the fisherman could do with it as he will — in the same way, there are these six hooks in the world for the misfortune of beings, for the slaughter of those that breathe. Which six?

"There are forms, monks, cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. If a monk relishes them, welcomes them, & remains fastened to them, he is said to be a monk who has swallowed Mara's hook, who has fallen into misfortune & disaster. The Evil One can do with him as he will.

"There are sounds cognizable via the ear...

"There are aromas cognizable via the nose...

"There are flavors cognizable via the tongue...

"There are tactile sensations cognizable via the body...

"There are ideas cognizable via the intellect — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. If a monk relishes them, welcomes them, & remains fastened to them, he is said to be a monk who has swallowed Mara's hook, who has fallen into misfortune & disaster. The Evil One can do with him as he will.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Train this monkey !"



"Imagine a room with five windows. There is a monkey in the middle of this room. This monkey is constantly jumping form one window to another, in order to communicate with the world outside. Train this monkey !"




Note:
This simile was originally taken from a Theragatha.
In this simile, the monkey is the mind (internal sense) and the five windows are the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, and the body (external senses). Training the monkey is the practice of meditation.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The taste of the soup



Even if for a lifetime
the fool stays with the wise,
he knows nothing of the Dhamma —
as the spoon,
the taste of the soup.



Even if for a moment,
the perceptive person stays with the wise,
he immediately knows the Dhamma —
as the tongue,
the taste of the soup.
-Dhammapada

Tuesday, January 1, 2008