Friday, 30 December 2011

CHRISTMAS. WHAT DID JESUS ACTUALLY SAY?

COMMENT:
 

What did Jesus say? Not his followers. Not the Cardinals. Not the popes. Not the Archbishops and bishops. Not the Patriarchs. Not Moses or David or Solomon. Not Paul. Not the priests. Not the biblical scholars. Not the historians. Not Augustine or Thomas a Kempis or Origen or Aquinas. Not your grandmother. 
Christianity grew out of what Jesus said and did. What he did was to heal all manner of diseases (including death) and cast out devils. What he said could be reduced to just three things (if you really had to choose only three things).

Love the Lord your God.
Love your neighbour as yourself.
Do unto others as you would be done to. 

Out of these seeds has grown the enormous jungle which is Christianity today. Full of the fighting of wars against Moslems, the killing of Christians by Christians. The burning of "heretics" and "witches" by the "Holy" Inquisition. The mental and physical enslavement of South American Indians. The sexual abuse of children by priests. The accumulation of wealth.

The accumulation of unprecedented wealth and "treasures upon earth" in the Vatican.

What did Jesus say? Jesus said unto him, If you will be perfect, go and sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
Matthew 19: 21

Every year, the Pope urges the rich to give to the poor. If he followed Jesus' advice and put it all up for auction with Christies, he could go a long way towards wiping out the Third World Debt!

He would no longer need a bullet-proof pope-mobile.


COMMENT TWO: (From Michael)

    "From what I've seen, Christmas has now turned into:
    1. Love thyself.
    2. Eat as many of thy neighbours as much as possible.
    3. Unto thine own self be sufficient."

If what is said is true, does it matter who said it? (Even your grandmother.)


NEW PROJECT: A CHAIN IS ONLY AS STRONG AS ITS WEAKEST LINK

Sunday, 4 December 2011

RUNAWAY TRAIN

COMMENT: 

Your country is a runaway train, steaming along without a driver, while the passengers struggle with each other for the better seats or fight the staff for entry into the driver's cabin or argue about where it is going or should be going.

No-one is in control. No-one can stop it with the brakes. No-one can operate the run-off points and re-route it to somewhere safe. It takes courage to get off!

Your world is an even bigger runaway train.

But the most significant runaway trains are in the brains of the passengers and the staff: thought trains. Associative, compulsive, remembering, regretting, fearful, hungry, dissatisfied, uncontrollable thought trains.

Can you decide "Stop!" and it stops?

Can you re-route it onto happy, creative, positive, contributive, affectionate thought trains?

Can you "get off" altogether?


COMMENT:
The Runaway Train, which is your country, has no driver. The last driver sold himself. To a Group of men in First Class. There he now sits. With his back to the engine.

The Group stripped the driver's cabin of all  instruments, dead man's handle, electronic equipment etc. including a  SIGN, which reads KEEP OUT! DRIVER AND AUTHORISED PERSONNEL ONLY. They also sold the door linking  the cabin to the  rest of the train. They replaced it with a steel plate which has a small window. Through this can be seen the back of a life-sized puppet. In driver's uniform. Strapped to the driver's seat.

The Group sold the assets to another group in Third Class. This group has reassembled the assets in the guards van, which now resembles a driver's cabin put together by a gang of  ergo-gnomists called  lunatics. It also has the SIGN.

The group is now systematically working its way through Third Class, telling passengers that the value of their tickets has fallen below the cost of the journey. They are worth nothing and therefore invalid. They actually have a minus value. But this can be set as a discount on new tickets. These they must now buy or risk being thrown off the train.

When this reorganisation of Third Class has been effected, the group will move on to First Class. They will explain to the Group that their tickets too are invalid and that their minus value is greater than that of the Third Class tickets because the initial purchase price was higher.

Trapped between the steel door and the group, the Group will use up all the money they got from the sale of assets to bribe the group to go away. When all the money has gone, there will be a battle between the Group and the group which the group will win. The last surviving Leader of the Group will be dragged out from under his seat, dismembered and thrown out on both side of the tracks. He will then be formally tried and convicted.

The group will then start fighting the rest of the passengers who will by then have formed groups of their own. When the survivors are too weak to fight any more, they will then slouch in their seats, moaning and complaining, until the train hits the wherever it is going.

This, they will discover, is not, after all, HEAVEN.

In the Brain Train, the driver - You - sold out to Desire longer ago than you can remember. You continue to sit in the front seat looking backwards at whatever it is that Desire wants you to see. This, you have discovered, is not, after all, Heaven.


COMMENT:
The runaway train which is your country (and your world) can be stopped or re-routed if a man with 100% Ethics were to take the wheel.

100% Ethics is: Don't do Evil. Cultivate Good. Purify the Mind.

Where Evil is anything which harms another being (including oneself).
          Good is anything which is for the benefit of other beings (including oneself).
          Purifying the Mind is getting rid of every kind of unwholesome, dishonest and mischievous mental impulse, thought and feeling.
           Harming another being is doing something to another which another does not want and one would not want done to oneself.
Is there a single Head of Government anywhere on this planet who has 100% Ethics? Answers, please.
            
The runaway trains in the brain need 100% Ethics, too. But the thoughts and impulses have to be brought under control. It is beneficial if the driver of your car is a good man. But that's not enough if he can't control the car.


NEW PROJECT: CHRISTMAS. 
WHAT DID JESUS ACTUALLY SAY ?
Not followers, priests, academics, enthusiasts.
The man himself.
The most reliable historical record is in the Four Gospels. In the King James' version Jesus' words are in red. Taken together they provide a historical link with the man. There are also words in red in the Book of Revelation but these are not Jesus' words. This book is the work of a visionary, John, full of poetry and prophesies which might or might not happen. The man himself is historical. The contents of his book are not.



Wednesday, 23 November 2011

WHY HOPE FOR WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE?



COMMENT:

    It is in the Present that everything is done. From the point of view of the mind, it is in the Future that the consequences occur. The mind invents a Future in which to perceive these consequences and moves towards them. If these consequences are seen to be both essential and realisable, the state of the perceiving mind is Hope. If they are seen to be essential but unrealisable, it is Despair.

    Action is in the Present. The power to do things exists in the Present, too. Not only that, it exists
inside you. Everything that has ever come into existence (including you) comes from that source. Everything that will come into existence (including future you), will come from that source.

    It is the Centre. Locate it. Investigate it.
Learn how to use it.


NEW PROJECT: RUNAWAY TRAIN




Monday, 14 November 2011

NO HOPE; NO DESPAIR

COMMENT:

Do they not realise that building is for gods?  

Cannot even the wise think it odd
that a man must slave
for what he cannot have?
Is it left to be the knowledge of the few
that life is only something to be got through?


You needn’t wilt
or tire,
nothing need be built
any higher.

NEW PROJECT: WHY HOPE FOR WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE?



Monday, 7 November 2011

THE POLITICS OF DESPAIR

COMMENT:

The great gates hang
on broken hinges,
the temples blaze,
the walls are breached;
the palaces have all been looted
the end of a dynasty has been reached.
Those still living
have all been taken,
women and children have been sold;
the last king hangs
from the palace lintel,
the images burn to give up their gold.
Think,
when you dream of country houses,
of shattered rafters and sudden fear;
and, as you climb the social ladder,
remember the last king
hanging here.
                    (Blondin)




Look on my works, ye Mighty, and Despair!  (Ozymandias)

NEW PROJECT: NO HOPE; NO DESPAIR


Monday, 31 October 2011

IF NOT NOW THEN WHEN?

COMMENT: 

Doing is only possible Now. If it's an intention for tomorrow, the intention is done now. The action may be done tomorrow. But, among other possibilities, tomorrow may not come and you may not be alive.

NOW 
Now.
Sit down.
Let go.
Tomorrow’s now will be no more than this
- another was.

Nothing is enough
to distract
your present thought.

And your present thought
is only a movement between two points,
a wave that leaves the water behind,
plotted by an electrical mind.

So take your nothing.
Now.


Old Dhong says "if you have noodles, eat them Now!"


NEW PROJECT: THE POLITICS OF DESPAIR

Monday, 24 October 2011

SINNER MAN

COMMENT:

There is nowhere outside where Sinner Man can hide. The karmic results of one's sins are within and you take within with you wherever you go. Medieval Christians were taught that the only things you can take with you at death that will be of any assistance to you are your Good Deeds.  In the Tibetan rituals, which attempt to guide the dying man over the bridge of death, he is constantly reminded "Remember your Good Deeds."

But you can't remember your good deeds if you haven't done any.

Undoubtedly you have done not-good deeds.

When are you going to stop the not-good and start seriously doing good deeds?

It will certainly be too late if you wait until "that day".

And they need to be genuine.  Nowadays the emphasis is increasingly on packaging and labelling which hide and disguise what the product actually is.

In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, it is described how the dead man's heart is weighed on the scale of Maat against the feather of truth.  If his heart is lighter than the feather, he is allowed to pass into the afterlife.

Maat = Truth, law, morality, justice.
Book of the Dead: better translated as "Book of emerging forth into the Light".

NEW PROJECT: IF NOT NOW, THEN WHEN?

Monday, 17 October 2011

THE JUNGLE OF SPEECH

COMMENT:

AFTERNOON TEA AT THE WARNEFORD*

Speech
reaches out
to whisper and shout,
praise and curse,
across a silent universe;
making of molecular vibration
a means of human communication.

It wasn’t always quite like this;
the groans
and moans,
the hiss
and howls
in the warm pre-Cambrian mud
were eloquent enough avowals
of love and hatred, fear and blood.

Even now,
it isn’t always quite the same;
the grunts and lowing
of pig and cow
in farmyard barn and shed
make no poetic claim
but express the cosmic suffering
of the living and the dead.

When fragile humankind
comes here to peer,
through spiralling downwards mind,
into thorny jungles of raw sensation,
it loses its clear articulation;
the fine distinction
of the human word
is dislocated and blurred
into jabbering of animal and bird.



* Warneford Hospital, formerly Warneford Lunatic Asylum, two and a half miles east of Oxford city centre where the professional and middle classes, including senior and junior members of the University, came (come) when they could no longer cope with the lives they had created for themselves.


NEW PROJECT:
"Hey Sinner Man,
Where you gonna run to?
Hey there Sinner Man
Where you gonna run to?
Hey Sinner Man
Where you gonna run to
All on that Day?"

Monday, 10 October 2011

ECONOMY OF SPEECH TWO

COMMENT:

Are you married?

"Yes."

There's economy of speech, for you! But wait a minute. Listen again.

"Yes," she said drily /sadly/ thoughtfully/ explosively / miserably / happily / dully / laughingly /tearfully / defensively / aggressively / quizzically / triumphantly / humbly / proudly/ coldly / cheerfully / hopelessly /regretfully / confidently / doubtfully / angrily / stubbornly / sexily / hopefully / lugubriously / manically / suicidally /dreamily / shyly / breathlessly / untruthfully / arrogantly / gratefully /discretely /painfully / mournfully.

The fact is that the word is a neutral statement of the case. But it is often accompanied by feelings or emotions. A piece of speech not only indicates something but also reflects and reveals the speaker's mental (or physical) state. It is a mental footprint. Even when the mind attempts to use speech to hide something, it becomes a footprint of the mind attempting to hide something.


NEW PROJECT: THE JUNGLE OF SPEECH

Monday, 3 October 2011

ECONOMY OF SPEECH

COMMENT:


Everything that can be said, can be said clearly. What one cannot speak of one should be silent about.

Question: If one is asked for a bunch of carrots from the garden, why does one struggle in with an overflowing wheel barrow? (To be sure there may also be carrots in there somewhere.)

Answer: Either the mind is confused (garden garden must bring something from the garden).
Or it is deceived (it doesn't really know what carrots are). Why doesn't it admit this and ask?
Or it is deceiving (if I can ramble on long enough, I can bury the answer and he won't notice that I don't answer the question or he might even forget altogether).

Question: What is the aim of this project?

Answer: To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle.


NEW PROJECT: ECONOMY OF SPEECH TWO

Monday, 26 September 2011

MAKE SOMEONE ELSE REALLY HAPPY THIS WEEK

COMMENT:
Since the natural state of beings is happiness and they become unhappy by choosing to think, say and do things which lead to unhappiness, it is hard to imagine what one might do to help them out.

If one were seen to fill one's watering can and walk to an already full pond and empty it carefully in it and, on being asked what one was doing, one replied, "helping to make the fish wet"; it might be thought that one was wet oneself or at least in need of help.

If there were fish flapping around on the dry land next to the pond, it might seem sensible to throw them back in. But if they had spent a lot of time and effort in struggling to jump out of the pond in order to further their careers, like oneself, on dry land, one's efforts might go unappreciated.

No. The answer is that, since their natural state is happiness and they leave it of their own freewill, the really helpful thing to do is to avoid doing anything which might cause them inconvenience or nudge them out of their natural state. That is the half of it.

The other half is, without any kind of ostentation, to generate from one's heart, wherever one is, indiscriminate goodwill towards all beings, without any expectation of appreciation.

The role model is the radiator in the hall; maintained, fully functioning and full on, it warms the house whether we are aware of the source of heat or not. And it is quite oblivious of being appreciated or not.

Like that other radiator in the sky. The sun shines on the good and the bad, the deserving and the undeserving. The rich and the poor.

In a world which has become very cold indeed everywhere with the coldness of misery and poverty and war and disease caused by beings wilfully turning their backs on their natural state - happiness.


NEW PROJECT: ECONOMY OF SPEECH

Monday, 19 September 2011

HERE IS NOW

COMMENT:

You can say The Girl IS Jill. You can't say The Girl IS a Boy. Not unless you mean that you had always thought Jill was a girl but now discover that she has been a boy all along. That is, you are saying that the boy is a boy, which makes sense. Boys are boys and girls are girls.

Here IS Now follows the same rule. It must mean that they are not different. You thought that Here referred to the dimension of Space, and Now referred to the dimension of Time, and that they were different dimensions. But now, you are being told that they are the same, that they must, in some way refer to the same dimension.

The mystery is solved when one realises that Time does not exist.

When we look for Time, all that we see are movements through Space: hands turning on a clock; sand trickling through an hour glass; heavenly bodies moving through space; molecules coming together as things come into existence and grow; falling apart as things "decay" and "die".

For millions of years we lived in the present and had no knowledge of or need for "Time". We did not anticipate a tomorrow and our experience was that "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." We "laboured not neither did we spin", "Yet I say unto you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these" (lilies).

Now we cannot do without our invention of Time. The servant has become the master. We work harder and harder to keep up with first the hour hand; then the minute hand; then the second hand. We are like lemmings; like Wildebeest breathless in our haste to meet the crocodiles of Serengeti as soon as possible, yet terrified of the inevitability of meeting them.

When we stop movement and sit completely STILL, mind and body, Time, which never existed and which we have invented, completely disappears.

    STILLNESS is
    the space between movements
    the crack in the universe
    the gloved hand
    with the art
    to pull apart
    two thin life stitches
    and let a stab of nothing in.

This is Eternity, in which there is no "Time" and even "Now" becomes irrelevant.



NEW PROJECT: MAKE SOMEONE ELSE REALLY HAPPY THIS WEEK

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

NEW WINE IN NEW BOTTLES

COMMENT:

And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.
— Luke 5:36-39, Authorised King James' Version.

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”
— New International Version (NIV)

The established Christian Churches are Old Wine.  As is Tibetan Buddhism.  And Anythingyoulikeism.


NEW PROJECT: HERE IS NOW

Monday, 5 September 2011

JUMPING FROM THE GIRLS' BEDROOM WINDOW

COMMENT:

JUMPING IS THROUGH THOUGHTS,WORDS AND ACTIONS.
If you jump, the only way is downwards.
You cannot unjump. Just as you cannot unbreak a window
Where to?
The courtyard below with its slate slabs. Bone breakers.
And then?
A lot depends on what you take with you as memory.
Did you jump? You are responsible.
Were you pushed or thrown out? Or is that just your self justification?
What next?
You travel onwards and away, experiencing the consequences of your action.
Where and when do "onwards and outwards" end?
Nowhere. Never. Everything has to be answered for, one way or another. Karma is perfect.


NEW PROJECT: NEW WINE IN NEW BOTTLES

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

WHERE ARE YOU NOW?

COMMENT:

NOW runs like a crack
through the universe.
Through it
beings escape. 

Between each step
Between each movement
Between each breath
Between each heartbeat
Between each living cell
Between each thought
Between each impulse
light shines.

Through the crack
that runs through
the universe now.

No-one who grasps after
even a speck of dust
can squeeze through this crack.



NEW PROJECT: JUMPING FROM THE GIRLS' BEDROOM WINDOW

  


Monday, 22 August 2011

ARE YOU A PIANO OR A PIANO PLAYER?

COMMENT:


GREATS AND MODS

The Professor of Philosophy
is Al Capone
who can practise Piscatology
all on his own.

His Doctoral Thesis
divides mankind into two,
“Pianos and Piano Players”;
he enquires, “Which are you?”

He smiles at the students
his reputation brings
and, gently, but firmly,
plucks their strings.




NEW PROJECT: WHERE ARE YOU NOW?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

RED HOT POKER

COMMENT:

"A world in trouble?

War in the Far East and the Middle East. Suicide bombers. Riots on the streets. Gaols and Psychiatric hospitals full. Soaring crime. Racial hatred. Violence in the schools and in the home. Economic Meltdown.
Yes. A world in trouble.

Everywhere man is striving for Freedom. But he understands freedom as freedom to do what he wants. But a man who does what he wants is often not free at all. He is the slave of his desires. Real freedom is not freedom to but freedom from.

Freedom from suffering.

Here is the answer. Simple, straightforward. Open to any man whatever his background."


(Introduction to Basic Buddhism for a World in Trouble

ISBN 978-1-4092-8224-2  Published 2006).



NEW PROJECT: ARE YOU A PIANO OR A PIANO PLAYER?

Monday, 1 August 2011

DOING

COMMENT:


Every doing
you send out
comes back to you
(make it good).

Every doing
that comes back to you
is a debt
(pay it)
or an opportunity
(be grateful).


NEW PROJECT: RED HOT POKER

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

OH YE INHERITORS OF IMMORTAL BLISS!

COMMENT:


Oh ye Inheritors of Immortal Bliss
what
are You
doing
with This?


Oh ye winners of lottery first prizes
what are your doings
with the winnings?

(Oh ye sinners of unexpected surprises
 what are you trawling up
 with your sinnings?)



NEW PROJECT: DOING

Monday, 18 July 2011

CHOOSING TO MUST

COMMENTS:

Choosing to must
choosing to can't
choosing to shall
choosing to shan't
choosing to lose
choosing to find
choosing to cruel
choosing to kind
choosing to wise
choosing to fool
choosing to see
choosing to blind
choosing to truth
choosing to lie
choosing to believe
choosing to why?
choosing to live
choosing to die
No!
choosing to die
NO!
choosing to born, choosing to die
choosing to born, choosing to die
choosing to born is choosing to die
choosing to born IS choosing to die
choosing to born IS choosing to die
YES



NEW PROJECT:

Oh ye Inheritors of Immortal Bliss
What
are You
doing
with This?

Monday, 11 July 2011

CHOOSING TO CAN'T

COMMENT:

A man is led by two others into a cell. They leave him there and lock the door, taking the key with them.

A man goes into a room, carrying a book. He locks the door behind him and puts the key on the table. Then he sits down, facing the open window, and starts reading.

The first man's mobile phone rings. "Yes, I realise that it is important." He looks at the door. "But I can't come."

The second man's phone rings. "Yes, I realise that it is important." He looks at his book. " But, I'm sorry, I can't come."

The operative word is "choose". If there is choice there is freedom to choose.

Can and can't have nothing to do with it.

If there is freedom to choose, you choose what you want. (Even if you choose to do your duty, it is because that is what you want to do).

If you choose to can't, it is because you don't want to can. So why not say, "I don't want to"?

In order to avoid accepting responsibility. It is part of the psychological culture of blame.



NEW PROJECT: CHOOSING TO MUST.

Monday, 4 July 2011

STRAIGHT STICK, CROOKED STICK

COMMENT:

It may be obvious if a stick is crooked or it may not.  It is most obvious if it is set alongside a straight stick. In the physical world there are standard measurements (straight sticks) such as the standard lengths on the wall of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, with which potentially crooked sticks (shopkeepers' measures?) can be compared.

These straight sticks exist in the mental world too.  Variants in English spelling can be referred to the Oxford English Dictionary.

In ethics involving morality and right behaviour, for some people the equivalent of the wall of the Royal Observatory might be Moses' Stone Tablets of the Law.  The equivalent of the O.E.D. might be the Bible.

Or the Koran.  Or the Vedas.  Or the Avesta.  Or Das Kapital.

There lies the problem.  If there is more than one stick claiming to be straight and they are not identical, the adherents of each will view each of the others as crooked.  The result can only be trouble.  Today, now, look at the world.  You will see the kind of trouble it leads to.

This is a universally applicable straight stick:

Avoid Bad. Cultivate Good. Purify your mind.

Where
Bad is doing to other beings what you not like them to do to you.
Good is being helpful, kind and considerate.
Purify your mind is understood in the sense of purifying water; where all adulterants are removed, leaving pure water.


NEW PROJECT: CHOOSING TO CAN'T

Monday, 27 June 2011

LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE

COMMENT:

When the fires are raging, one doesn't add fuel and the two worlds (the inner and the outer) return to the natural state.

When the dogs of dissension and desire are sleeping, one doesn't stir things up and the world is already cool and quiet.



NEW PROJECT: STRAIGHT STICK, CROOKED STICK.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

DON'T PUT FUEL ON THE FIRE

Project:

'DON'T PUT FUEL ON THE FIRE'
(If you want the fire to go out.)


Comment:

IF IT'S NOT DYING OUT, SOMEBODY MUST BE!  COULD IT BE YOU?



New Project: 'LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE'

Monday, 23 May 2011

LIFT THE PAINTED VEIL AND SEE THE WORLD!

COMMENT:

THIS COMPLETES A CYCLE OF PROJECTS.  LIFT THE PAINTED VEIL (THE MENTAL FILM OF IDEAS AND POINTS OF VIEWS) AND SEE WHAT THE WORLD REALLY LOOKS LIKE.

THE WORLD IS NEUTRAL. WE DECIDE THAT WE LIKE THIS, WE DON’T LIKE THAT.
WE LIKE THE GOOD TIMES, THE GOOD EXPERIENCES.
WE DON’T LIKE THE BAD TIMES, THE BAD EXPERIENCES: BIRTH, PAIN, ILLNESS, OLD AGE, DEATH.
WE CAN’T ESCAPE BIRTH, PAIN, ILLNESS, OLD AGE, AND DEATH.
IF WE DECIDE “THE GAIN IS WORTH THE PAIN”, WE CARRY ON GETTING BORN i.e. ACQUIRING A BODY SO THAT WE CAN EXPERIENCE THESE THINGS.
IF WE DECIDE THE GAIN IS NOT WORTH THE PAIN, WE GO ABOUT NOT GETTING ANY MORE BODIES, NOT BEING BORN AGAIN.
IF WE CAN’T MAKE UP OUR MINDS, WE GO ON GETTING BORN AND EXPERIENCING THE GOOD AND THE BAD UNTIL WE DO.

IT’S FOREVER EITHER WAY.

Lift not the painted veil which those who live
Call Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there,
And it but mimic all we would believe
With colours idly spread,--behind, lurk Fear
And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave
Their shadows, o'er the chasm, sightless and drear.
I knew one who had lifted it--he sought,
For his lost heart was tender, things to love,
But found them not, alas! nor was there aught
The world contains, the which he could approve.
Through the unheeding many he did move,
A splendour among shadows, a bright blot
Upon this gloomy scene, a Spirit that strove
For truth, and like the Preacher found it not.
                                                          —Shelley

SHELLEY’S POEM IS A “YOUNG MAN’S POEM”.

NEW PROJECT: WRITE AN “OLD MAN’S POEM” TO HONOUR THIS YOUNG MAN’S POEM.

Monday, 16 May 2011

WAX FRUIT or REAL FRUIT?

COMMENT:

Coffee or Tea? and Wax Fruit or Real Fruit? are not the same. Coffee or Tea? is offering you a choice.  Wax Fruit or Real Fruit? is not offering you a choice.  It is asking whether what you are looking at now is real fruit or a fake.  There is no choice.  If what you are looking at is a fake, there is no reason why there should be any real fruit somewhere else, for you to choose.  If there seems to be, you would have to examine it.  It may also be a fake.  It may be that all the fruit everywhere, including Heaven, is a fake.  In that case there is no choice.

The "fruit" is the fruit of life, of being born.  Body and Mind.

The body and mind that you are looking at and which you call your own (or maybe yours on loan) is it real?  Or is it a mass of inconvenience and suffering; painful birth, difficult early years when you are wholly dependent on others, ill health, old age (if it lasts that long), and unwanted death (or if wanted, only because the suffering becomes great enough).

Real or fake?  Desirable or undesirable.

What did Buddha say about mind and body (= nama-rupa = the five groups of existence)?

"Whatever there is of material shape, feeling, perception, the habitual (latent) tendencies, consciousness - he (the wise man) considers these things as impermanent, as suffering, as a disease, as an imposthume, as a dart, as a misfortune, as an affliction, as alien, as decay, empty, not-self."

And having seen this, what should he do?

"He turns his mind from these things; and when he has turned his mind from these things he focuses his mind on the deathless element, thinking: ‘This is the real, this the excellent, that is to say the tranquillising of all the activities, the casting out of all clinging, the destruction of craving, dispassion, stopping, Nibbāna."

Source: Mahāmālunkyasutta of Majjhima Nikāya.



New Project: LIFT THE PAINTED VEIL AND SEE THE WORLD!

Monday, 9 May 2011

AM I A MANGY DOG?

COMMENT:

Whichever way you look at it, mange is suffering. From a simple point of view, the dog suffers because it has a body. If it didn't, it wouldn't.

We suffer physically because we have a body. We suffer mentally because we have a mind.

No mind, no body - no suffering.

So why do we have a body and a mind? Because we want a mind and a body.

Why do we want them?

Because we have a viewpoint which sees them as wantable.

So what's the answer. Examine them afresh and see what the reality is. Desirable or undesirable?

The next time you have a headache, consider that it might be because you have a head.


NEW PROJECT: WAX FRUIT OR REAL FRUIT?

Monday, 2 May 2011

THE DOG WITH MANGE

COMMENT:

If I'm irritated, the people I meet irritate me. If I'm greedy, my attention is continually caught by voluptuous sense objects. My point of view is that it is the people who irritate me and the sense objects that attract me.

(And yet that dog with mange
is still oblivious to change;
continues ill at ease
in shade, hot sun or breeze.)

The sense objects make up the world. They are all quite neutral. It is we who project our states of mind onto them. Ultimately, we don't have total control of the outside world. But we can have control over inside world - our minds. If I am never irritable, no-one can ever irritate me.

It all comes down to the struggle to survive,
the endlessly obstructed urge just to stay alive.
All (including dog) use just one rule as measure;
avoidance of pain and pursuit of pleasure.
Pain leaves an imprint which says, “Leave it be!”
The sirens of pleasure leave a note, “Follow me!”

Withdrawal from the world of pain and pleasure is the answer. Not trying to shape that world to fit our desires.


NEW PROJECT: AM I A MANGY DOG?

Monday, 25 April 2011

MĀRA'S DAUGHTERS

COMMENT ON MĀRA'S DAUGHTERS:

Māra comes from the root mr which means die or dying. So Māra is the god (deva) of Death or the Dying God (or both).  His heaven world is the highest of those devoted to sensual pleasures.  Like all other gods, he is not immortal, though his lifespan is inconceivably long compared to that of a man.  His heaven world is filled with those who have devoted their lives to sensual pleasures (see the sutta about Māra's Net).  But those who pursue indulgence in sense pleasures (including Māra himself), have to be born into a world (heavenly or otherwise) where sense objects are available in order to enjoy them.  Being born, they will have to die.

This is the flaw in Māra's world, his followers and his own being.  He devotes himself to activities which everywhere and always result in death.  Escape from death is only to be found by rejecting the pursuit of sense pleasures and therefore not being born.

When Māra realised that the Buddha was attempting to find this escape route from birth and death into the deathless (amara = a + māra), he tried to prevent him.  He saw that, if beings responded to the Buddha's teaching, they would escape from his net and he would lose his power both here and. in his heaven world.

So he sent his daughters, Tanhā, Arati and Rāga, to tempt the Buddha back into the plane of being where the pursuit of sense pleasures is the goal.

Tanhā means compulsive thirst, like that of an alcoholic for alcohol; and therefore craving.  There is sensual craving, craving for existence and craving for non-existence.  Sensual craving is craving for the six sense objects.  Craving for existence is craving for the world of the senses or the world of form or the formless world.  Craving for non-existence is craving for extermination.

Rāga means sensual desire.

Arati (a + rati) is the opposite of Rāga and therefore means aversion. Rati [Classic Sk. rati, fr. ram] means love, attachment, pleasure. As a proper name, Rati is the goddess of lust and pleasure.

RATI

Māra's daughters, therefore, represent those things which stand between us and the goal of amara.

How did the Buddha overcome them?


NEW PROJECT: THE DOG WITH MANGE

Note: "During the years when the Lord Buddha was alive, he told a story of a dog with mange. When it stayed in a cave it thought that the cave was uncomfortable and the dog itched all over. It moved to a forest and still it itched and was uncomfortable. It was never comfortable no matter where it went. This is because what was causing the itching was its skin condition, not the place it stayed."

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

THE FIRE SERMON

COMMENT:

Āditta is adjectival and means burning. There are two Fire Sermons. In one the Sense Bases are said to be burning. In the other it is the Khandhas. It comes to the same thing.

At any point at which the senses contact the sense objects (i.e. the world), fire blazes up. This fire is said to be the fire of raga, dosa and moha. In some translations, raga is wrongly translated as "passion". Passion is a strong feeling but it can also be used to describe dosa (hatred) so it is clear that the Buddha had something else in mind. Raga means "strong desire".

Greed (lobha) is strong desire also. So we can see that the fires that ignite at sense contact are in fact the first three kilesas. This is the link with last week's project. Kilesas 4 to 10 can all be derived from the first three. If the first three are completely eradicated, the others disappear also.

The Buddha goes on to explain that these three are the fires of suffering (birth, old age etc.). When things are seen like this rather than as sense objects with desirable characteristics, there is a turning away from the sense objects (nibbindati, literally "withdrawing seeing from"). A turning away from the world. At this point, desire ceases (viraga) and release is obtained. This is the extinction of the asavas.


NEW PROJECT: MĀRA'S DAUGHTERS.



Monday, 11 April 2011

KILESA SPOTTING IN CONVERSATION

COMMENT:

KILESAS, like actors and criminals, appear in disguise, sometimes with masks depicting virtues:

GREED as NEED or entitlement to my share.

HATE as the perception of someone else's faults and a humanitarian impulse to make him aware of them and firmly help him change for the better or in the name of justice get rid of him altogether. (He deserves it).

DELUSION as VISION of how much better things could be if people listened to me. Or how much better they actually are if they looked at them from my point of view.

CONCEIT as HUMILITY (in contrast to the pride of others) or justified pride in genuine achievement (in contrast to the sniping of those who would if they could but don't appreciate all the hard work that has gone into this).

VIEWPOINTS as TRUTH. The way I see it is how it is. The way it is is how I see it. (It is I who can see things as they are. Others have viewpoints).

DOUBT as DESIRE for CERTAINTY and TRUTH. It would be silly to commit myself before I am sure.

MENTAL TORPOR as THE NEED for a rest or as a SUBLIME STATE - Samadhi, Nirodha.

RESTLESSNESS as INVESTIGATION, CURIOSITY, the need to move on, energy, the Life Force.

SHAMELESSNESS as my right to FREEDOM to be as I am, to be the way I was made, (to do what I am strong enough to get away with).

MORAL RECKLESSNESS as my right to FREEDOM to follow my desires and do what I want.




New Project: THE FIRE SERMON

Sunday, 3 April 2011

KILESA SPOTTING CONTINUED

COMMENT:

Kilesas can be found in thoughts, speech and deeds.

The mind is so volatile that it is difficult to spot them in thinking. By the time they appear in deeds, something has already been done and a karmic chain is underway.

That leaves speech. One can listen to others speaking and, more difficult, one can listen to oneself speaking and try and spot them there.


New Project: KILESA SPOTTING IN CONVERSATION

The aim in all this is to become an expert kilesa spotter so that one can get on with the job of ridding oneself of them forever.  Once the impurities have been removed from the water, it is already pure.

Monday, 28 March 2011

AN INTENSIVE COURSE IN KILESA SPOTTING

COMMENT:

Interestingly, the kilesas, although they may appear to come singly, work interdependently.  Some degree of moha (i.e. avijja) is present with all except perhaps uddhacca.  Conceit and viewpoints sustain greed, hatred, shamelessness and moral recklessness.  Restlessness and torpor seem to work alternately - either the mind is too busy or it's like a block of wood.  While doubt is rooted in delusion (i.e. avijja) and fuelled by restlessness (the inability of the mind to concentrate sufficiently to investigate).

Kilesas are "defilements".  So what do they defile?  Me! No, not you.  There is no permanent self to be defiled.  It's the mind that is defiled.  Like contaminated water, once the contaminants are removed, the water is completely pure.  So with mind, once the kilesas are removed there is complete purity.  So, what is pure? Me! No, that's a kilesa ,too.  The mind is pure.  Mind without kilesas is completely pure.

Two ways of achieving this:

1. Practising Dhamma continuously, moment to moment.  Then no kilesas can alight.  This is like the very healthy man.  Diseases can't get a grip'

2. Every time a kilesa is spotted, apply the specific Dhamma cure.  This is like the man who is not completely healthy or perhaps run down.