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Creation itself is Holy

All Life is Sacred

electric rainbow yin yang

Human beings can awaken into enlightenment


Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha,
gave his dharma to mankind.


To awaken one must only pay attention to daily life,
the middle way. Continually feeling gratitude and awe
in one's present existence brings enlightenment.




"While I sat there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being." - Black Elk



Now at that time a certain priest had been killed by the bite of a snake, and when they announced the matter to The Blessed One, he said:

"Surely now, 0 priests, that priest never suffused the four royal families of the snakes with his friendliness. For if, 0 priests, that priest had suffused the four royal families of the snakes with his friendliness, that priest, 0 priests, would not have been killed by the bite of a snake. And what are the four royal families of the snakes?


The Virilpakkhas are a royal family of snakes;
the Erapathas are a royal family of snakes;
the Chabyaputtas are a royal family of snakes;
the Kanhagotamakas are a royal family of snakes.


Surely, now, 0 priests, that priest did not suffuse the four royal families of the snakes with his friendliness. For surely, 0 priests, if that priest had suffused the four royal families of the snakes with his friendliness, that priest, 0 priests, would not have been killed by the bite of a snake. I enjoin, 0 priests, that ye suffuse these four royal families of the snakes with your friendliness; and that ye sing a song of defense for your protection and safeguard. After this manner, 0 priests, shall ye sing:"


'Creatures without feet have my compassion,
And likewise those that have two feet,
And those that have four feet I care about,
And those, too, that have many feet.

'May those without feet harm me not,
And those with two feet cause no hurt;
May those with four feet harm me not,
Nor those who possess many feet.

'Let creatures all, all things that live,
All beings of whatever category,
See nothing that will bode them ill!
May naught of evil come to them!"


"Give ear, 0 priests ! The Eternal Life has been gained !"

"I will instruct you, and teach you the Doctrine. If you will live according to my instructions, in no long time, and in this present life, you shall learn to live for yourselves, and shall realize and live in the possession of that highest bliss to which the holy life conducts."

"Let The Blessed One teach the Doctrine. There are some human beings having but little moral defilement, and through not hearing the Doctrine they perish.

Some will be found to understand the Doctrine and they will not perish."

-from the CullaVagga, Buddhist sacred text



buddhist quotes

Three Marks of Existence

(three basic truths about the condition of life)

Anicca (Sanskrit anitya) defined as "impermanence".

Dukkha (Sanskrit duhkha) defined as "suffering".

Anatta (Sanskrit anatman) defined as "egolessness".



impermanence

"If you suffer, it is not because things are impermanent. It is because you believe things are permanent. Remaining aware of impermanence you become compassionate and wise.

Impermanence is an instrument for True Liberation.

It is safe to enjoy what is around you and within you as long as you are aware of its nature of impermanence.

When you are thirsty, there is nothing wrong in enjoying a glass of water.

In fact, to truly enjoy it, you have to dwell in the present moment.

When a flower dies, we don't cry. We know it is impermanent.

If we practice awareness of the nature of impermanence, we will suffer less and enjoy life more.

If we know things are impermanent, we will cherish them in the present moment. We know that our loved ones are of an impermanent nature, so we do our best to make them happy right now." - Thich Nhat Hanh


The first mark of existence, impermanence, points to the fact that everything, every thought, emotion, relationship, or situation, everything that has a beginning, also has an ending.

Typically, in our search for happiness we do not live as if impermanence were true.

"When we attracted to something we tend to exaggerate qualities." - Dalai Lama

If we examine our motivation we find that we are always
attempting to hold onto what we adore and get rid of what we abhor.

If our situation is basically acceptable to us we feel secure and good.

We feel betrayed by our relationships or life itself when our situation changes in a way we didn't want or expect it to.

We feel that circumstances are preventing us from being happy.

Every moment brings arising thoughts and feelings and then they fall away.

The simple truth is that the only certainty following gain is eventual loss.

The happiness or joy we expect to experience in life cannot depend on holding onto gain if it is to be a true sustainable gain.

True sustainable gain we need to find within.



awakened heart

suffering

"Heaven is made of the smoke of hearts that burn away." - Rumi

"To undertake the journey to God the heart must be burned with the fire of divine compassion." - Juan de Yepes Alvarez

We age, we become sick, we die. Pain is unavoidable.

When we refuse to embrace emotional pain, we unwittingly screen out a large portion of the range of emotional experiences that occur in the process of living.

A person who is alive and sensitive will feel sorrow.

This is so, not only because of the amount of unnecessary suffering produced by the imperfection of our social arrangements but because of the reality of human existence.

As living sentient beings we are aware of the gap between our aspirations and what can be achieved. In this light we understand that emotional pain is inevitable.

We have been conditioned to believe that the opposite of feeling good is not feeling bad.

To keep ourselves from not feeling bad we condition ourselves to not feel at all.

The emotional pain we experience in everyday life, the open wound in our hearts, is where compassion is born.

When compassion awakens in Sanskrit it is called Boddhicitta or Awakened Heart.



walk a sacred path

egolessness

"When we take a step on the green earth,
we are aware that we are made of air, sunshine,
minerals, and water, that we are a child of earth and sky,
linked to all other beings." - Thich Nhat Hanh


You have endured many terrible griefs

but you're still under a veil -

because dying to yourself

is the fundamental principle

and you haven't adhered to it.

Your suffering cannot end

before this death is complete:

You cannot reach the roof

before climbing up the whole ladder.

How could you ever experience

your boat's total shipwreck

before you've loaded it

with the final weight?

This final weight's essential;

it's a star that summons night

and it shipwrecks the boat of error.

When your boat of self-centeredness

is finally broken and sunk,

reality becomes like a sun

flooding a cloudless sky with light.

- Rumi


There is a moment to moment recognition of ego caused by the struggle to stay happy by holding onto what we adore and attempting to prevent what we abhor.

We perpetuate our emotional suffering by believing that we are a fixed entity who needs to be saved, protected, and freed from emotional suffering.

Emotional suffering will persist as long as we avoid at all costs the fear that is the heart of it - that we may not be saved or protected and may suffer emotionally.

Rather than experience the fear directly, we attempt to dismantle the fear by con-vincing ourselves that the fear is unjustified - that we will be saved, protected, and freed from emotional suffering.

People are terrified that they may be unable to tolerate a reality that they have so very little control over - the social culture, nature and the course of events.
.



egolessness

There are two stages of egolessness

"The one to whom is unveiled the mystery of compassion exists no longer but is annihilated in compassion." - Rumi

"No man shall attain the shores of the ocean of true understanding except he be detached from all that is in heaven and on earth. Not until thou consumest with the flame of utter detachment those veils of idle learning, that are current amongst men, canst thou behold the resplendent sunrise of true knowledge." - Bahá'u'lláh


The first stage of egolessness is characterized by recognition of "the Observer". This is signified by a sense of emotional detachment from passing thoughts and feelings.

In the second stage of egolessness the notion of "the Observer" is dropped as well and there is no longer any effort to detach from the reality of our impotence in the face of the awesome power of what is.

Here is where the quality of being undone or "burned up" by the fire emerges - the moment of redemption and renewal.

We experience life "vividly" by direct immersion in the process of living.

We cultivate a practice of living based on direct and immediate feeling.

We can tolerate a tremendous range of emotion, and ultimately we must.

This understanding marks the transition from using spiritual knowledge as a remedy or cure for emotional suffering to developing the courage to experience life as it is.


"The experience of psychospiritual death and rebirth reallows the conscious connection with positive memories of living life which reduces irrational drives and ambitions. Psychospiritual death and rebirth causes a shift of focus from the past and future to the present moment thus enhancing élan vital and joi de vivre – the ability to enjoy and draw satisfaction from simple circumstances of life, such as everyday activities, food, love-making, nature, music while supporting the emergence of authentic spirituality of a universal and mystical nature based on the deeply personal experience of living life fully in the present." - adapted from Stanislav Grof

"There is a magnet in your heart that will attract true friends. That magnet is unselfishness. When you learn to live for others, they will live for you." - Paramahansa Yogananda

"The way the Eternal Soul goes forth from itself is comparable to what happens when a fire is burning and flaming as it becomes a forceful blaze. The flame shoots very high in this divine union." - Teresa Sanchez de Cepeda y Ahumada


light of compassion and understanding

"When we think about what real silence is, we have to look at it from two angles; the first is to see silence through human eyes and the second is to see silence through Buddha's eyes or the universal eye. The opportunity to experience real silence occurs when we have been driven into a corner and simply cannot move an inch. This seems like a situation of complete despair, but this silence is quite different from despair, because in the area of despair, the conscious flame of human desire is still burning. But real silence is the state of human existence that passes through this despair. How can we experience this silence? Without everyday life it is impossible to experience this silence." - Katagiri Roshi

When we imagine what spiritual awakening must be like we tend to imagine a dramatically relieving experience.

Sometimes this occurs but more often what usually occurs is a humbling, a wearing down of the ego.

When we acknowledge that we are in emotional pain and simultaneously acknowledge that we are whole, we become available to others and are able to meet them compassionately.

Great emotional pain creates great tenderness that leaves our ego peeled raw and reminds us to let go of an attempt to control things which are beyond our control.

Great emotional pain is not punishment for being bad.

It is an extremely potent opportunity to have our hearts break open and burn with fire.

Finding that we can tolerate more emotional pain than we imagined possible we find a previously unrealized depth and breadth of being.



Siddartha Guatama

"When compassion beckons to you follow him,

Though his ways are hard and steep.

And when his wings enfold you yield to him,

Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.

And when he speaks to you believe in him,

Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as compassion crowns you so shall he crucify you.

Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of millet he gathers you unto himself.

He threshes you to make you naked.

He sifts you to free you from your husks.

He grinds you to whiteness.

He kneads you until you are pliant;

And then he assigns you to his Sacred Fire,

that you may become sacred bread for the Creator and Sustainer's sacred feast.

All these things shall compassion do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart,

and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's Heart." - Khalil Gibran



suffer

four noble truths of suffering

"Now this ... is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering."

"Now this ... is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to renewed existence, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there, that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination."

"Now this ... is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, nonreliance on it."

"Now this ... is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: it is the Noble Eightfold Path; that is, conscientious opinion, altruistic intention, proper speech, correct action, honest livelihood, virtuous effort, laudable mindfulness, meritorious concentration."

Eightfold Path

Right understanding: Understanding that the Four Noble Truths are noble and true.

Right thought: Determining and resolving to practice Buddhist faith.

Right speech: Avoiding slander, gossip, lying, and all forms of untrue and abusive speech.

Right conduct: Adherence to nonviolence (ahimsa), refraining from any form of theft or sexual impropriety.

Right livelihood: Not engaging in sustenance activity that forces you to violate life.

Right mental attitude: Avoiding negative thoughts and emotions, such as anger and jealousy.

Right mindfulness: Having a clear sense of one's mental state and bodily health and feelings.

Right concentration: Using meditation to reach the highest level of enlightenment.



Buddha's Zen

"I consider the positions of kings and rulers as that of dust motes.

I observe treasures of gold and gems as so many bricks and pebbles.

I look upon the finest silken robes as tattered rags.

I see myriad worlds of the universe as small seeds of fruit, and the greatest lake in India as a drop of oil on my foot.

I perceive the teachings of the world to be the illusion of magicians.

I discern the highest conception of emancipation as a golden brocade in a dream, and view the holy path of the illuminated ones as flowers appearing in one's eyes.

I see meditation as a pillar of a mountain, Nirvana as a nightmare of daytime.

I look upon the judgement of right and wrong as the serpentine dance of a dragon, and the rise and fall of beliefs as but traces left by the four seasons." - Siddhartha Gautama


bodhisattva

According to many traditions within Mahāyāna Buddhism, on the way to becoming a Buddha, a bodhisattva proceeds through ten grounds or bhūmis. Below is the list of the ten bhūmis and their descriptions according to the Avataṃsaka Sūtra and The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, a treatise by Gampopa, an influential teacher of the Tibetan Kagyu school.

Before a bodhisattva arrives at the first ground, he or she first must travel the first two of the five paths:

the path of accumulation

the path of preparation

The ten grounds of the bodhisattva then can be grouped into the next three paths

bhūmi 1 the path of insight

bhūmis 2-7 the path of meditation

bhūmis 8-10 the path of no more learning

The chapter of ten grounds in the Avataṃsaka Sūtra refers to 52 stages. The 10 grounds are:

Great Joy: It is said that being close to enlightenment and seeing the benefit for all sentient beings, one achieves great joy, hence the name. In this bhūmi the bodhisattvas practice all perfections (pāramitās), but especially emphasizing generosity (dāna).

Stainless: In accomplishing the second bhūmi, the bodhisattva is free from the stains of immorality, therefore, this bhūmi is named "stainless". The emphasized perfection is moral discipline (śīla).

Luminous: The third bhūmi is named "luminous", because, for a bodhisattva who accomplishes this bhūmi, the light of Dharma is said to radiate for others from the bodhisattva. The emphasized perfection is patience (kṣānti).

Radiant: This bhūmi is called "radiant", because it is said to be like a radiating light that fully burns that which opposes enlightenment. The emphasized perfection is vigor (vīrya).

Incorrigible: Bodhisattvas who attain this bhūmi strive to help sentient beings attain maturity, and do not become emotionally involved when such beings respond negatively, both of which are difficult to do. The emphasized perfection is meditative concentration (dhyāna).

Obviously Transcendent: By depending on the perfection of wisdom, [the bodhisattva] does not abide in either saṃsāra or nirvāṇa, so this state is "obviously transcendent". The emphasized perfection is wisdom (prajñā).

Gone afar: Particular emphasis is on the perfection of skillful means (upāya), to help others.

Immovable: The emphasized virtue is aspiration. This, the "immovable" bhūmi, is the bhūmi at which one becomes able to choose his place of rebirth.

Discernment: self-focused material grasping is transmuted into clear-sighted compassion.

Cloud of Dharma: The emphasized virtue is the practice of primordial wisdom.

After the ten bhūmis, according to Mahāyāna Buddhism, one attains complete enlightenment and becomes a Buddha.
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