Awareness of impermanence and disgust with samsara
are the external preliminaries on the Noble Path.
They thoroughly dispel the preoccupation with ordinary life.
Compassion and ethical conduct are the special preliminaries.
They make advancement possible on the Great Vehicle of the Mahayana.
Therefore, at the beginning, cultivate these preliminaries.
Music to ease the suffering:
To my other dear friend E.
The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other. We “go inside” their body, feelings, and mental formations, and witness for ourselves their suffering.
Shallow observation as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering. We must become one with the subject of our observation. When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means, literally, “to suffer with. So if we love someone, we should train in being able to listen. By listening with calm and understanding, we can ease the suffering of another person.
Training is needed in order to love properly; and to be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice DEEP LOOKING directed toward the other person you love. Because if you do not understand this person, you cannot love properly.
Understanding is the essence of love. If you cannot understand, you cannot love. That is the message of the Buddha.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~
To my dear friend B.
Slowly, though, our minds steady and we begin to experience some space of inner calm and peace. This environment of inner stillness makes possible a deeper investigation of our thoughts and emotions. What is a thought— that strange, ephemeral phenomenon that can so dominate our lives? When we look directly at a thought, we see that it is little more than nothing. Yet when it is unnoticed, it wields tremendous power.
Notice the difference between being lost in a thought and being mindful that we’re thinking. Becoming aware of the thought is like waking up from a dream or coming out of a movie theater after being absorbed in the story. Through mindfulness, we gradually awaken from the movies of our minds.”
~ Joseph Goldstein ~