Being A Buddhist

Dicussions on Buddism

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Resources – more

Paritta

Sinhala resources

A Truth

There’s a truth we do not like anyone to remind us of or remembered by ourselves. But still something we all will be facing sooner or later, the eternal truth of death. How matter death may sound strange, it is a truth about our being, once born have to face death. One we all have inherited without being treated differently.

With birth one brings death into life and  carries it everywhere with him, even though, how much he completely ignores it  or treats it as a totally unusual subject to bring up to discussion. But let’s face the fact that we all have to face death. Facing something is a better way to handle it than running away from it, and is a well  known wisdom .

In Buddhism “thinking of death in connection with Dhamma” is a type of well praised meditation (Maranānussati: ‘recollection of death’). One of the four meditations that are recommended as a Buddhist’s general meditation. An easy way to reduce and get rid of the fear of facing death. More importantly a method to stop idling in life and move oneself enthusiastically for success in both, life and enlightenment path.

Only concepts, not a person.

I felt this as useful post to share with you.

A method to escape from suffering

OK this is not smart but I’ve edited my last post. I couldn’t make myself read it again to see what I’ve written there, so I split it in to two and edited. If you’ve found that it’s dull to read the same post, sorry for bothering you. Anyway I felt this as better.

In ( the beginning of last week’s) my last post, I discussed that the way feelings occur, improve and disappear could be used to deal with sufferings. But it’s not the final solution or the reason for  sufferings that is taught in Buddhism. Because this method may not help to vanish them forever, but suppress , and they may rise to surface again, later. But we’ll have the ability to easily make our lives better, by freeing mind from unpleasant conditions.

But, how could we release our mind from an unpleasant condition?

Majority of Lord Buddha’s teachings are concerned with, ending sufferings in this life and in the round of rebirth, and also on developing mind and on achieving a comfortable and contented life. So there are many sections in Dhamma, on how to end or escape from sufferings. ” Vitakkasanthana Sutta ” in Majjhima Nikaya of Dhamma can be used for us even you are a Buddhist or not, or have knowledge of Dhamma or not. If you think intellectually, it could be used in daily life to find relief from sufferings that play in your mind

This sutta says, one can  use, one or more of the following five, to escape from an unwanted thought ( a feeling or an emotion in our case ) or avoid occurring more thoughts (developing the feeling ) on it.

In such a situation you only have to,

  1.  Give attention to something else that change the condition of your mind (use the opposite thought ),
  2. Think about the dangers and bad effects that could result from your thoughts ( consider the resulting damages ),
  3. Avoid from recalling that thought in to your mind and  avoid from thinking in the same way on it repeatedly (Avoid recalling that thought ),
  4. Find out how that thought have started in your mind (find the origin ),
  5. And If any of above does not work with it , you  have to just suppress that feeling  by dictating your mind to get rid of it (When doing this, do not react to what’s going on inside mind ), ( try this by pressing tongue on the palate, that’s said to be most effective).( Firm determination ).

These instructions, in the sutta, are on how to deal with a negative or evil feelings in the mind and how to purify mind by clearing demerit thoughts and replacing with merits, to move on the path to enlightenment. So a Buddhist, who practices Dhamma, could use the knowledge of Buddha’s teachings, when trying specially on  1, 2,and 4  of above.

When talking about them generally, I think the fourth one may deliver more benefits. If we take the situation you’ve been angry, how did you start to feel angry? Did it exist before? When we take the example from last post, anger has started, most probably from what you’ve seen or heard  about that person. and remembering that reason, is the fourth of above:- the  origin of the thought . It may lead us to see how we behave in such situations and re-think about our decisions and the steps. We may realize that before that reason occurred,  we had no aversion (dislike) towards her in your mind. Not just hearing it but agreeing with your next thought ( probably about her being bad to you)  had started that anger that developed in to a hatred. In such occasions developing metta or loving kindness would relieve your mind.( this the first one :- (use the opposite thought )

Aversion is one of three ( Aversion, desire and delusion ), that would start a living being suffer. When you give them the opportunity to stay longer in mind, it develops more and more and make you suffer. Every time you involve with the object that was the reason for your hatred or longing, more it develops making it unbearable to stay away from reacting to it. More you play with your thoughts on that idea more they grow. So best way is to not let that thought enter in to your mind, never think further with it. If you can avoid from things that recall it until you can handle it in your mind. Just avoid from giving it a place in your mind, when a thought is ignored it becomes lessen. (Third one:- Avoid recalling that thought ).

Until we free our mind from such a negative feeling it could make us restless, Lose peace within mind. If you react with such feeling in your working place it might deliver you bad reputation. Some co-workers might start to see and treat you  differently from  the way they have used to and you may feel its oddness. A promotion that was due to come might be reconsidered affecting your career, and so on. So it’s always smart to think of the results that may badly affect you after your reaction or of the disharmony occurred in your mind  by having that feeling, then it may start to lose its impact on you.  (Second one:- consider the resulting damages ).

Enjoyments and Sufferings

So everybody taste enjoyments in lives, we saw that earlier.

So why do we suffer in this life, generally we do suffer don’t we?

When talking about sufferings, someone could have a job but then feel it’s not the greatest one to have. So he suffers not having a better one. When he long for a better job, there are some who wish like ” Oh if I  had a some kind of job, then I’d be so grateful to have it “. So they suffer from not having any kind of job don’t they? . Both  suffer by same thing, a job, but differently,  Something to think…

Don’t we also wish like that  “oh if I had something better and then I would have been so much happy”.  But don’t we sometime get those things as we wished, and then do we feel so much happy or don’t we ? Well, If you asked me, yes I would feel so much happy, because I finally have what I wanted so much. So I’ll enjoy it’s comfort with a relaxed mind.

Isn’t happiness a great enjoyment in this life? 

It can relax our minds and cure our bodies. So good to have it for ever. But would it last for ever? If we take me, first week definitely ” I’ll be  so much happy ” and then next or two  ‘ much’ may be get lost  leaving only “I’ll be so happy”, with me. I think in about a month  gradually I’ll get accustomed to that feeling of happiness and It may affect lesser and lesser afterwards and then  occasionally it may come into mind and then remind me  slightly of the happiness I’ve experienced. As I remember, this is  same with everything, not only with happiness or comfort but also with other feelings. This is what happens in the life, with every feeling what ever it is, an enjoyment or a suffering. we feel something so heavily or considerably at one time and then there are times even it is hard to be remembered.

So what happens to those feelings with the time. (Do they diminish because, time feed on our feelings ? ). Doesn’t this show the effect of a feeling at one time is not the same at another time. If it is same, then it should affect us the same way at every-time. Can we keep how we feel towards something  unchanged forever ? To feel the same way about it in whole life time.  Have you ever tried to watch that the way we think, changes? I think one should try that, watching thoughts is a game with better competition than any other. You would learn how much dedication you would need to keep track of the straying mind.

If you watch, you’d notice that like some emotions  fade with time,  some others do  sharpen with time. Sometime it happens so, with the same emotion. Why is this so? Think of a situation that you have become angry with someone ( say a colleague). You might have not liked to talk with her and resented her for some days and then may be with some time flown, some of her nice ways had come into your memory and earlier emotions might have been lessen. But what if,  again in a short time, you’ve heard of her another action that affects your life badly. Then again those lessened anger and other emotions may arise won’t they? Each time you’ve come across a new fault with her those emotions will be increased.  The more she comes in to your memory, the  more your hatred for her grows. This is what happens with all emotions. The more they are refreshed in memory, then more they are brighten. If  other feelings that supports or connect to them occur the more they are developed, making them grow like a jungle. But if you don’t let your emotions grow in that way, distracting your mind from thoughts on them, eventually they will fade away.

We can use this to escape from sufferings in our lives.

Contd.

Is life all about sufferring?

Have you heard anyone say, life is all about sufferings. Well, I have. I’ve heard some Buddhists say and even read, on some sites and books,  such expressions that say, that is what Buddhism teaches. Is this true or not?

Well as to my knowledge, it should be another myth spread as Buddhism. However our great teacher  has taught, that the life has enjoyments. I was reminded of this ,as I recently read in a book. It included details  of a sutta called ” Nochedang ” which  is on this matter , but sadly I was unable to find it in Tipitaka (may be, due to misspelling  or a printing  error ) and the book  has not mentioned how to find it .( If anybody happens to  know  about this sutta, please be kind to tell me. Thanks. )

We have six doors of senses : eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin and mind. They help us to  recognize this world we live. Say any of them never existed  and then there’s no possibility for our existence either. We do not only sense this world through them, but sometimes we long for those experiences  to feel again in future.

Why do we long for things?. Isn’t it because we have identified them as comforts?

Lord Buddha has shown, that the reason, for a living being to long for any experiences,  is that they have tasted enjoyment in them and If no enjoyment, no one would have long for anything.  His holiness had emphasized that there is enjoyments to living beings in this world.

We can analyze if this is true, if we haven’t realized it yet. Just  think of any of bellow situations or such you have gone through.

  •  The first interview being a success,
  • The day, you got the first job, haven’t it given happiness ,
  • The day you earned first income,
  • Time you bought the vehicle you dreamed always to own,
  • After you accomplished the dream of your life.

But all these seems as big events, so what about

  • Just spending some time with someone you are interested in or a dear friend or family member,
  • Playing with your kids,
  • Eating something delicious  for dinner,
  • playing  games
  • relax of being free of some difficulty
  • having a leave from work

or any such happenings in the daily life

So, anybody’s life must have felt at least a small bit of happiness even that life is so poor and miserable . So saying life is all about sufferings , can’t be proved to be true in this world.

So why is there such a saying?

as I see it may be, who says so, just like to ignore the truth, being biased. Whoever be biased to something ( who attach themselves to  ditthis ) are  always blocking themselves from seeing the truth of it, as it is.

Worthy Friends

Yesterday I have listened to ” Dhamma (nava) sutta ” in Sutta Nipatha  on radio, describing that having  associations, with worthy men, advance our movement to the enlightenment.

His holiness Buddha has said, that a Buddhist should have talent for the path and whoever have an association with such talented worthy men, himself becomes talented and such an association would never deliver bad effects.

We all have associates, but have we ever considered  if they are helpful in our liberation? There’s such iinstructions on how to identify a fruitful  association to a Buddhist. it includes four facts, and needs all of them to be satisfied. They are, we should check whether,

by an association with a certain person

  • have we  engaged in ( deeds that deliver ) merits we’ve never had done before
  • have the merits we already have improved
  • have we never engage in  (deeds that deliver ) demerits we’ve never had done before
  • have the demerits we already have are suppressed or vanished

If we have, then we have come across a worthy friend . But still it says how to identify a worthy man. He should have these three characteristics.

  • Be a virtuous person who has control on his actions, words and thoughts and follow percepts
  • should have a good knowledge on Dhamma and should usually analyze Dhamma and understand it well.
  • should be wise and intellectual, knowing truth about world ( living ). Most probably some one who has lessened desire for senses.

If we haven’t been lucky so far

  • we can recognize worthy men from above and
  • then become associated with them
  • and receive directions

As worthy men never approve demerits, they would always try prevent their associates from doing wrong and take to the right track. So we will have the opportunity to receive right advice. If we ever open up about our hidden weakness, they would help us to correct them. So such a worthy man also becomes a good noble friend ( kalyana mittha ) to anyone associated with him.

As Buddhists can be at different stages on their path, one person can have better values than another person. So the most intelligent thing is, making friends with worthy men as many as we could find, and then we’ll be able to get more and more advises.

As his holiness Buddha has advised us on our path, that we should individually discover it from our own intelligence ( posts:  Buddhism and the difference from other paths and Basics: How to know your path ), we could analyze and work out our way to enlightenment,  with the guidance of these noble, worthy friends.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: