To awaken one must only pay attention
to daily life,
the middle way.
Continually feeling gratitude and
in one's present existence
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
"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
The Virilpakkhas are a royal
family of snakes;
the Erapathas are a royal family of snakes;
Chabyaputtas are a royal family of snakes;
the Kanhagotamakas are a royal
family of snakes.
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
'Creatures without feet have
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
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,
beings of whatever category,
See nothing that will bode them ill!
naught of evil come to them!"
"Give ear, 0 priests ! The Eternal
Life has been gained !"
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
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
Three Marks of
(three basic truths about the condition of
Anicca (Sanskrit anitya) defined as "impermanence".
Dukkha (Sanskrit duhkha) defined as "suffering".
Anatta (Sanskrit anatman) defined as "egolessness".
"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
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
When a flower dies, we don't cry. We know it is
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
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 much of our motivation
we find that we are always
attempting to hold onto what we
adore and get rid of what we
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
gain we need to find within.
We age, we become sick, we die. Pain is
When we refuse to
emotional pain, we
unwittingly screen out a large portion of the range of
emotional experiences that occur in the process of
A person who is alive and sensitive will feel
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.
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.
emotional pain we
experience in everyday life, the open wound in our
hearts, is where
compassion is born.
Sanskrit it is called
Boddhicitta or awakened heart.
take a step on the green
we are aware that we
are made of air, sunshine,
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
is the fundamental principle
and you haven't
adhered to it.
Your suffering cannot end
You cannot reach the roof
before climbing up the whole
How could you ever experience
your boat's total
before you've loaded it
with the final
This final weight's essential;
it's a star that summons
and it shipwrecks the
boat of error.
When your boat of self-centeredness
broken and sunk,
like a sun
flooding a cloudless sky with light.
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.
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.
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
There are two stages of
"The one to whom is
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."
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.
a practice of living based on direct and
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
"The experience of
death and rebirth reallows the conscious connection with positive memories
of living life which reduces irrational drives and ambitions.
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
"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." -
"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.
this occurs but more often what usually occurs is a humbling, a wearing down of
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.
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
Great emotional pain is not
punishment for being bad.
It is an extremely potent opportunity to have our
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
"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.
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
He threshes you to make you naked.
you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his Sacred
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
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
"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
"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."
Right understanding: Understanding that the Four Noble Truths are
noble and true.
Right thought: Determining and resolving to practice
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.
concentration: Using meditation to reach the highest level of
"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
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.
the teachings of the world to be the
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.
meditation as a pillar of a mountain,
Nirvana as a nightmare of daytime.
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." -
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
the path of preparation
The ten grounds of the
bodhisattva then can be grouped into the next three paths
the path of insight
bhūmis 2-7 the path of
bhūmis 8-10 the path of no more learning
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
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
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
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
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
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.
ten bhūmis, according to Mahāyāna Buddhism, one attains complete
enlightenment and becomes a Buddha.
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