Suffering

Decay... fade away... what remains.... what binds us?

Decay… fade away… what remains…. what binds us?

When my heart and mind feel suffering, I always try to steer my mind back to the 4 Noble Truths. Sometimes I don’t want to, as part of me doesn’t want to accept their validity, my clinging ego-mind.

But, in the end, no matter how I try to tear these Truths apart, I can’t honestly disagree with them.

First, all that is, is dukkha. This means that all that exists is subject to anguish, suffering, unsatisfactoriness. This is the bummer Truth. Is it really true? Well, no matter the mental games and tricks and logic I apply, I cannot disagree with this Noble Truth. Superficially, it is easy to discount the Truth, but when studied deeply, its meaning crystallizes and understanding pours forth. Bummer. But it is important to note, or keep in mind, that dukkha also means the opposite of anguish and suffering, it can, and does include, satisfaction and pain relief. Why are those things bad? Well, without getting into the details, superficial satisfaction will always lead to a state of dis-satisfaction.

Second, the reason dukkha exists, its birth, comes from craving… So our desire-minds… when we have desires… whether minor like a chocolate bar or major like a love-interest., this gives rise to Dukkha.

Third Truth is that the ending of dukkha comes from the ending of craving, ending our desire-minds.

The last Truth, is that there is a way to end Dukkha. We are not bound by Dukkha. The Way consists of the 8-fold path. This path basically means if one approaches the following 8 things with a true heart, a ‘correct’ heart, then we are on the Path towards Enlightenment: vision, emotion, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness and meditation.

So, when i feel my own mind in turmoil, my heart becoming heavy, I think deeply about these Truths. I can then see clearly that my suffering has been born from my desires, my wants, my clinging to external circumstances, and I realize that I am not bound by this suffering. I may still suffer, but its grip, its actual power, has been striped bare.

Vision

Earth Mother

Earth Mother

Laying on our Earth Mother, together our spirits swirl. Head to foot, foot to head, the white Buffalo girl tramples around us, circling us like the moth to the fire. Drawn in, the pounding of dirt and grass covers us in dust and only the sound remains. Louder and louder, yet no fear pervades. The pounding merges our heart beats, together with the bison and our Mother.

The Strength overcomes our emotions, the strength of deep love. Tears stream down as Love pours up into us, and out again so the whole world shines.

How many times has this magic happened before these lives we have, our lives? How many times will it happen again?

Coming to, dust has settled and sounds disappeared. The bright Moon shines down as the Buffalo lies between us and our heartbeats flow together through her white pure being and the rocks below.

 

Thank you my ancestors for this teaching you have shown me.

Bad Buddhist?

 

I like Christmas Trees... Not very Buddhist! (My son likes Christmas Trees too!)

I like Christmas Trees… Not very Buddhist! (My son likes Christmas Trees too!)

Sometimes I feel like I am a bad Buddhist. I don’t meditate as often as I feel I should and I sometimes let thoughts and feelings feed my ego. Then I realize that it is my own thinking that creates these thoughts, and then I am not so hard on myself. I let it fade away and let my practice to be fully attentive of this moment, as projections of ‘shoulds’ and ‘ought-to’s’ take my mind on a journey away from Riding the Ox back home.

In the news recently, I read about a mob of Buddhists killing Muslims. My heart sank. Now, these are bad Buddhists… so bad, one could argue that they are so far removed from the Buddha’s teachings, they should not even be called Buddhists. I am sure this is how many Muslims feel about Islamic extremists. You hear about their religion being hijacked.

Now, a Buddhist doesn’t mean standing by and not reacting to protect themselves or others… they wouldn’t just let someone murder a little kid in front of them, they would try to stop that violence. But revenge, retribution is not the Buddhist way. At least this is my understanding.

The Bodhisattva Vow means trying to save all beings from suffering, and this includes ‘bodhisattvas’ themselves. The hateful buddhist, the Islamic terrorist, the peaceful Dali Lama, the peaceful muslim, they all are not separate… harming one harms yourself, harms all. Love thy neighbor… Harm none…. Whether you label that one-ness as God or Mother Earth or Emptiness dancing with Form, the message is clear. You already know in your heart the answer, let it out already and let it shine. Let your love-light shine!

Mokugyo

My son and I looking at fish a while back. Fish do not close their eyes.. photons always entering into their awareness even whilst asleep.

My son and I looking at fish a while back. Fish do not close their eyes.. photons always entering into their awareness even whilst asleep.

A fish drum beats in tune with our heart and reminds us of the awareness that is ever-present.

Even a cloudy sky feels the moon beyond. Don’t let our cloud minds trick us… just being aware of the clouds is all that’s required.

In our confusion, enlightenment dwells, seek it nowhere else, and this is all there is.

In our clarity, enlightenment dwells, seek it nowhere else, and this is all there is.

Acceptance of ‘this is all there is’ makes us drop the seeking, and Enlightenment’s dwelling burns to the ground and its ashes nourish all beings.

Who is in that mirror?

Mirror on the floor, guess who reflects back throughout the Universe? and my bathroom.

Mirror on the floor, guess who reflects back throughout the Universe? and my bathroom.

The other morning, I was brushing my teeth as usual and my gaze was downward in the sink as I brushed away. I found myself then shifting my sight to the mirror to look at my face. When I looked up, the mirror wasnt there! (The string holding it on its hook had snapped earlier in the day and my wife placed it to the side.) So, it was very interesting, as I saw in my vision, for a split second, my own face! I was so prepared, mentally, to expect my reflection that my brain already completed a picture for me! of me! How much of our vision is our own? Our own invention? Preconceptions are rampant in our minds, and that can be just fine… afterall, we are meant to be that way, but so long as these preconceptions are used properly. What is their proper use? Their correct function? Perhaps some of our preconceptions are just plain false and should be discarded. Perhaps some provide a useful tool for decision-making. In the end, they are always there… what do we do? Well, one thing is to trace the origins of these conceptions, these pre-conceptions. Another thing to do is to simply acknowledge them for what they are and let them go. If they are worthwhile, they will come back to us… if not, overtime, the letting go with make them dissolve away.