The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step

Impermanence

Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeup

“This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies All manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginningless time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.”

🌷 Thich Nhat Hanh, No Death, No Fear


Because suffering is impermanent…

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Thich Nhat Hanh Philosophy & Practice


3 Universal Truths that Buddha Taught

Source link

sameoldzen.blogspot.ca

December 16, 2017

 
Philosophers have wrestled with the concept of universal truth for centuries. But no one has been able to figure out exactly what it is, or even if it truly exists.
In fact, the existentialist philosopher, Nietzsche famously threw up his hands and stated, “God is dead,” while contemplating the question.
Of course, he wasn’t claiming that a literal super natural deity had died. Rather, he was expressing the fact that human conceptual thought around things like happiness, goodness, truth, etc. is inherently flawed. As a result, universal truth as represented by God cannot exist.
In Nietzsche’s view, the best we can hope for is to live as individuals, constantly striving against one another to impose our will to power upon the world.
The Buddhist view, however, is different. While Buddha would agree that humanity’s conceptual view of the world is limited, he observed three experiences that all living beings share. These are often referred to as The Three Marks of Existence in Buddhist literature.
As these experiences are shared universally by all living things, one could argue that they represent the universal truth that Nietzsche claims doesn’t exist. Furthermore, since they represent a shared experience, the Three Marks of Existence create a common ground between people, encouraging them to live in unity.
Based on this universal truth, Buddha built a philosophy in the 4 Noble Truths and the 8-Fold path which allows individuals to both understand the source of their suffering and successfully work to end it.
However, to truly grasp this philosophy one must first understand the The Three Marks of Existence. They are as follows:

Impermanence

To put it simply, the first mark of existence states that everything changes. On the surface, this may seem incredibly obvious; but is it? Do we live our lives like everything changes? Or do we quietly believe that while everything else in the world changes, the things we enjoy should remain the same?
In the end, stars explode, rivers run dry, and mountains crumble to dust. Everything in the universe changes, and the teaching of impermanence reminds us that human life is no exception.
Buddha witnessed this for himself when he left his father’s palace, and saw aging, sickness, and death for the first time. In fact, he was so shocked by the experience that he renounced the life of a house-holder, and spent the rest of his days as a wandering monastic.
Of course, we don’t have to live as renunciants to fully appreciate this teaching. But we must understand that change is an irrevocable part of our lives. To think otherwise is to invite unnecessary suffering.

Non-Self

The second mark of existence is probably the most misleading. It states that there is no permanent, unchanging self. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that we don’t exist. Rather, Buddha is telling us that the “I” that we think of as the self is only a very small part of a much larger, constantly changing whole.
To demonstrate, I’ll use myself as an example. My name is Alex and I have a physical body. However, both my name and my body came from my parents. I have a job and earn income, but ideas like ‘job’ and ‘income’ fall squarely into the realm of limited human concepts that we discussed earlier. Their useful tools, but they aren’t real in the same way a rock is real when it trips you on the side walk. So it would be a mistake to say those things are me.
Furthermore, I’m writing this article in a language that was created by other people before I was born, and I’m practicing a religion that is also not of my own making. In short, my name, body, faith, language, and job (e.g. the things that people usually associate with the self) aren’t truly mine.
In truth, it would be more accurate to call them gifts that I’ve received from the universe. I’ll hold them for a time, but they’ll eventually fade away like everything does.
Again, this doesn’t mean that I don’t exist. It simply means that my life is the result of an infinite number of karmic inputs from the world around me, most of which I’ll never understand or appreciate. It’s impossible to figure out where “I” stop and the rest of the world begins. The line is incredibly blurred; thus the teaching of non-self.

Suffering

The third mark of existence is the most straight-forward. It states that the world is filled with suffering. This sounds very pessimistic on the surface, so it’s important to put the remark into context. Buddha stated, “The world is filled with suffering,” in the same way that we might say, “It’s raining outside today.”
It’s not a good thing. It’s not a bad thing. It’s simply a fact of life. Our goal as practitioners is to accept this fact, and then find a skillful way to deal with it.
This is important because one major cause of suffering is believing that it shouldn’t exist (e.g. we shouldn’t get sick, relatives should never be inconsiderate, traffic jams shouldn’t occur, etc.)

The paradox of suffering is that the more we accept is as a natural part of life, the more peaceful our lives become.

It should also be noted that the word suffering is used in a very broad context in Buddhism. The death of a loved one is a form of suffering, but so is the neighborhood kid who knocks over your trash can. Thus the teaching is not meant to imply that existence is a long torture-fest.
Rather, it reminds us that life is filled with experiences, both large and small, that don’t meet with our expectations. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that we’re doing something wrong, That’s just how the system works.
But there’s still hope. Because if we have a clear understanding of Buddha’s core teachings: The Three Marks of Existence, The 4 Noble Truths, and The 8-Fold Path, then we can liberate both ourselves and other from suffering.
In Buddhism, the teachings of impermanence, non-self, and suffering provide a universal road map that anyone can follow. They speak to experiences that all living beings share, and provide a pathway for us to live happier, more peaceful lives.
We don’t need to search for universal truth. We live it everyday.

 My photo

Alex Chong Do Thompson is former Marine who’s been practicing the Way since 2013. He’s training to become a Lay Minister in the Bright Dawn Center of Oneness Buddhism. And he spends his free time reading, cycling, and playing with his cat, Ensō.

Once you understand the nature of suffering, it can no longer bind you

Image may contain: 1 person

The Buddha taught the four Noble Truths : the existence of suffering, the causes of suffering. The cessation of suffering, and the path that leads to the cessation of suffering. He said, “In addition to the sufferings of birth, old age, sickness, and death, human beings endure other sufferings which they themselves create. Out of ignorance and false views, people say and do things that create suffering for themselves and others. Anger, hatred, suspicion, jealousy, and frustration cause suffering. All these arise from lack of awareness. People are caught in their suffering as if they were caught in a house on fire, and most of our suffering we create ourselves. You cannot find freedom by praying to some god. You must look deeply into your own mind and situation in order to uproot the false views which are the root of suffering. You must find the source of your suffering in order to understand the nature of suffering. Once you understand the nature of suffering, it can no longer bind you.

“If someone is angry with you, you can get angry back at him, but that only creates more suffering. If you follow the Way of Awareness, you will not react with anger. Instead, you will quiet your mind in order to discover why that person is angry at you. By looking deeply, you can uncover the causes that led to the person’s anger. If you see that you bear responsibility for angering the person, you will not become angry, but you will accept that your own misconduct has contributed towards creating his anger. If you are without blame, you can try to see why the person has misunderstood you. Then you can find the way to help him understand your true intentions. In this way, you will avoid causing more suffering to both yourself and other person.”

“Your majesty and honored guests! All suffering can be overcome by looking deeply into things. On the path of Awareness, we learn to follow our breath to maintain mindfulness. We follow the precepts in order to build concentration and attain understanding. The precepts are principles of living which foster peace and joy. Practicing the precepts, our ability to concentrate develops, and we are able to live with greater awareness and mindfulness. Mindfulness nurtures the capacity to illuminate the true nature of our mind and our environment. With that illumination comes understanding.

“Only with understanding can we love. All suffering is overcome when we attain understanding. The path of true liberation is the path of understanding. Understanding is prajna. Such understanding can only come from looking deeply into the true nature of things. The path of precepts, concentration, and understanding is the path which leads to liberation.”

The Buddha paused for a moment and then smiled before continuing to speak. “But suffering is only one face of life. Life has another face, the face of wonder. If we can see that face of life, we will have happiness, peace, and joy. When our heart are unfettered, we can make direct contact with the wonders of life. When we have truly grasped the truth of impermanence, emptiness of self, and dependent co-arising, we see how wondrous our own hearts and minds are. We see how wonderful our bodies, the branches of violet bamboo, the golden chrysanthemums, the clear stream, and the radiant moon are.

“Because we imprison ourselves in our suffering, we lose the the ability to experience the wonders of life. When we can break through ignorance, we discover the vast realm of peace, joy, liberation, and nirvana. Nirvana is the uprooting of ignorance, greed, and anger. It is the appearance of peace, joy and freedom. Honored guests, take time to look at a clear stream or a ray of early morning sunshine. Can you experience peace, joy and freedom? If you are still locked in the prison of sorrow and anxiety, you will be unable to experience the wonders of the universe which include your own breath, body, and mind. The path I have discovered leads to transcending sorrow and anxiety by looking deeply into their true nature. I have shared this path with many others and they, too, have succeeded in discovering it for themselves.”

– from ‘Old Path White Clouds’ by Thich Naht Hanh


Image

Good news, bad news

Image may contain: text


Be aware of your potential for change

Image may contain: 1 person

“For a few moments, be aware of your potential for change. Whatever your present situation is, evolution and transformation are always possible. At the least, you can change your way of seeing things and then, gradually, your way of being as well.”

~ Matthieu Ricard

ॐ Buddha Island ॐ

* Medicine Buddha


Empty yourself of everything

Image may contain: shoes, outdoor, nature and water

 Empty yourself of everything.
Let the mind become still.
The ten thousand things rise and fall
while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish
and then return to the Source.
Returning to the Source is stillness,
which is the way of Nature.
~Lao Tsu
Tao Te Ching, Verse 16

Limitless opportunities

 

Why do we need to contemplate impermanence? The fact that things change does not mean we lose something. Rather, it is a sign that we have new opportunities and new options. We meditate on impermanence in order to see that the change that takes place moment to moment represents moment after moment of opportunity. The opportunities available to us are inexhaustible and limitless, and are arising continuously. We meditate on impermanence so that we can make full use of these opportunities and make good choices.

– 17th Karmapa

Nurturing Compassion: Teachings from the First Visit to Europe


We usually appreciate only half of the cycle of impermanence

We usually appreciate only half of the cycle of impermanence. We can accept birth but not death, accept gain but not loss, or the end of exams but not the beginning. True liberation comes from appreciating the whole cycle and not grasping onto those things that we find agreeable. By remembering the changeability and impermanence of causes and conditions, both positive and negative, we can use them to our advantage. Wealth, health, peace, and fame are just as temporary as their opposites.

– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

from the book “What Makes You Not a Buddhist”
ISBN: 978-1590305706 – http://amzn.to/19Myf5j


Because it is impermanent

Therefore, the very impermanency of grass and tree, thicket and forest is the Buddha nature. The very impermanency of men and things, body and mind, is the Buddha nature. Nature and lands, mountains and rivers, are impermanent because they are the Buddha nature. Supreme and complete enlightenment, because it is impermanent, is the Buddha nature.

– Dogen Zenji

quoted in the book “Zen Buddhism: A History – Japan”
ISBN: 978-0941532907 – http://amzn.to/1Fde4cb


All phenomena are like a dream

Image may contain: text, outdoor and nature

Tao & Zen


Acceptance of what we have

Image may contain: 1 person

Young people think their lives will last a long time; old people think life will end soon. But we can’t assume these things. Our life comes with a built-in expiration date. There are many strong and healthy people who die young, while many of the old and sick and feeble live on and on. Not knowing when we’ll die, we need to develop an appreciation for and acceptance of what we have, while we have it, rather than continuing to find fault with our experience and seeking, incessantly, to fulfill our
desires.

If we find ourselves worrying whether our nose is too big or too small, we should think, “What if I had no head – now that would be a problem!” As long as we have life, we should rejoice. If everything doesn’t go exactly as we’d like, we can accept it. If we contemplate impermanence deeply, patience and compassion will arise. We will hold less to the apparent truth of our experience, and the mind will become more flexible. Realizing that one day this body will be buried or burned, we will rejoice in every moment we have rather than make ourselves or others unhappy.

– Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

from the book “Gates to Buddhist Practice: Essential Teachings of a Tibetan Master”
ISBN: 978-1881847311 – http://amzn.to/2eEFsO0


Nothing remains the same for two consecutive moments

Image may contain: plant, flower, nature and outdoor

“Nothing remains the same for two consecutive moments. Heraclitus said we can never bathe twice in the same river. Confucius, while looking at a stream, said, “It is always flowing, day and night.” The Buddha implored us not just to talk about impermanence, but to use it as an instrument to help us penetrate deeply into reality and obtain liberating insight. We may be tempted to say that because things are impermanent, there is suffering. But the Buddha encouraged us to look again. Without impermanence, life is not possible. How can we transform our suffering if things are not impermanent? How can our daughter grow up into a beautiful young lady? How can the situation in the world improve? We need impermanence for social justice and for hope.
If you suffer, it is not because things are impermanent. It is because you believe things are permanent. When a flower dies, you don’t suffer much, because you understand that flowers are impermanent. But you cannot accept the impermanence of your beloved one, and you suffer deeply when she passes away.
If you look deeply into impermanence, you will do your best to make her happy right now. Aware of impermanence, you become positive, loving and wise. Impermanence is good news. Without impermanence, nothing would be possible. With impermanence, every door is open for change. Impermanence is an instrument for our liberation.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

The storm is only a storm

 

You suffer not because things are impermanent. You suffer because things are impermanent and you don’t know that they are impermanent. This is very important. Without impermanence, nothing can be possible. Don’t complain about impermanence. If things were not impermanent, how could a grain of corn become a corn plant? How could your child grow up? Impermanence is the ground of life.

Remind yourself, “I have passed through many storms. Every storm has to pass, there is no storm that will stay there forever. Everything is impermanent. The storm is only a storm. We are not only a storm. We can find safety in the storm. We will not let the storm create harm in us.” When you see it like that, when you remember it like that, you already begin to be your own boss, and you’re no longer the victim of an emotional storm.

– THICH NHAT HANH


The Wind of Impermanence

Source: The Wind of Impermanence | Great Middle Way

by

Sept 11, 2017

rennyoWill I die first, or will my neighbor? Will it be today or tomorrow? We do not know.

Those we leave behind and those who go before us are more numerous than the dew drops that rest briefly beneath the trees and on their leaf tips.

We may have radiant faces in the morning, but in the evening be no more than white bones.

With the coming of the wind of  impermanence, both eyes are instantly closed, and when a single breath is forever stilled, the radiant face is drained of life, and its vibrant glow is lost.

Although family and relatives may gather and grieve broken-heartedly, it is to no avail. As there is nothing else to be done, the once-familiar form is taken to an outlying field, and when it has vanished with the midnight smoke, nothing is left but white bones.

This is indeed indescribably sad.

—Rennyo Shonin


Treat every moment as your last

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting and indoor

“Treat every moment
as your last.
It is not preparation
for something else.

Where ever you are,
you are one with the clouds
and one with the sun
and the stars you see.
You are one with everything.
That is more true than I can say,
and more true than you can hear.”~Shunryu Suzuki
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind


The Winds of Impermanence

Source: The Winds of Impermanence | Great Middle Way

greatmiddleway.wordpress.com

by

June 12, 2017

5bc2ec8bc05e151d8e68c7c20cae579fWill I die first, or will my neighbor?

Will it be today or tomorrow? We do not know.

Those we leave behind and those who go before us

are more numerous than the dewdrops

that rest briefly beneath the trees and on their leaf tips.

 

We may have radiant faces in the morning,

but in the evening be no more than white bones.

 

With the coming of the winds of impermanence,

both eyes are instantly closed,

and when a single breath is forever stilled,

the radiant face is drained of life,

and its vibrant glow is lost.

 

Although family and relatives may gather

and grieve broken-heartedly, it is to no avail.

As there is nothing else to be done,

the once-familiar form is taken to an outlying field,

and when it has vanished with the midnight smoke,

nothing is left but white bones.

 

This is indeed indescribably sad.

—Rennyo Shonin


This is How the World Will End, According to Buddha

Source: This is How the World Will End, According to Buddha | Humans Are Free

With permission from

humansarefree.com

June 12, 2017

The end time (also called end times, end of time, end of days, last days, final days, or eschaton) is a future time-period described variously in the eschatologies of several world religions which believe that world events will achieve a final climax. 

The Abrahamic faiths maintain a linear cosmology, with end-time scenarios containing themes of transformation and redemption.

In Judaism, the term “end of days” makes reference to the Messianic Age, and includes an in-gathering of the exiled Jewish diaspora, the coming of the Messiah, the resurrection of the righteous and the world to come.

Some sects of Christianity depict the world will come to an end through a series of cataclysmic events followed by resurrection of departed souls and judgment day.

According to Vedic tradition, Aditi is mother of eight Adityas or solar deities (suns). At the end of creation these eight suns will shine together in the skies.

In the following sermon, the Buddha speaks of how seven suns will appear in the sky and how the planet earth will eventually be destroyed, after many hundreds and thousands of years, through a series of cataclysmic events which are described below.

  • The earth will suffer from a severe drought due to lack of rains. All vegetation and life forms will disappear and vanish from the planet.
  • A second sun will appear in the horizon, resulting in the evaporation of many streams and ponds.
  • A third sun will appear resulting in the evaporation of many great rivers like the Ganges.
  • After a long lapse of time, a fourth sun will appear in the sky resulting in the evaporation of great lakes.
  • After another long lapse of time, a fifth sun will appear and the oceans will dry up slowly till they will become a finger deep.
  • After another long lapse of time, a sixth sun will appear. The earth crust and core will heat up to intense temperatures resulting in many volcanic explosions, scorched earth and smoke filled skies.
  • After another vast interval, a seventh sun will appear. The earth will become a fiery ball of flame and expand. Its flames will spread far and wide. Finally it will explode and disappear altogether.

The manner in which the Buddha predicted the end of the earth sounds very much like a modern scientific theory on the destruction of planets and the entire solar system.

The Buddha also clearly mentions that all life forms will vanish before the appearance of the second sun. Thereafter the earth will be a dead planet ready for its eventual destruction.

The seven suns mentioned in the discourse probably are various planets of the solar system that would become hot and shine like stars due to some changes in the activity of the sun or its gravitational force.

The manner in which the drying up of the planet earth is described reminds one of the greenhouse effect and the events that might have happened on planets like Mars which had once oceans and rivers and probably life forms.

The Buddha delivered this sermon to remind his disciples of the impermanent nature of the world and of our existence, which is subject to decay and renewal and from which even a god like Brahma is not free unless he overcomes it by practicing Dhamma and following the eight-fold path.

Sources: Simple Capacity, Wikipedia, BBN, The Wisdom Awakened 


Rhythms in life as natural events

 
“There are times to cultivate and create, when you nurture your world and give birth to new ideas and ventures. There are times of flourishing and abundance, when life feels in full bloom, energized and expanding. And there are times of fruition, when things come to an end. They have reached their climax and must be harvested before they begin to fade. And finally of course, there are times that are cold, and cutting and empty, times when the spring of new beginnings seems like a distant dream. Those rhythms in life are natural events. They weave into one another as day follows night, bringing, not messages of hope and fear, but messages of how things are.”
Chögyam Trungpa

Source: Chögyam Trungpa Quotes (Author of Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism)


The world is its own magic

Image may contain: plant, flower, sky, nature and outdoor

“The world is its own magic.”

― Shunryu Suzuki

Tao & Zen

 


3 Min Meditation: Slow Life


We’ll See

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit.

“Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“We’ll see,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.

“How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“We’ll see,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“We’ll see,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“We’ll see” said the farmer.

Tao & Zen


Remember always that you are just a visitor here

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, mountain, sky, outdoor and nature

 Remember always that you are just a visitor here, a traveler passing through. your stay is but short and the moment of your departure unknown.

None can live without toil and a craft that provides your needs is a blessing indeed. But if you toil without rest, fatigue and wearness will overtake you, and you will denied the joy that comes from labour’s end.

Speak quietly and kindly and be not forward with either opinions or advice. If you talk much, this will make you deaf to what others say, and you should know that there are few so wise that they cannot learn from others.

Be near when help is needed, but far when praise and thanks are being offered.

Take small account of might, wealth and fame, for they soon pass and are forgotten. Instead, nurture love within you and strive to be a friend to all. Truly, compassion is a balm for many wounds.

Treasure silence when you find it, and while being mindful of your duties, set time aside, to be alone with yourself.

Cast off pretense and self-deception and see yourself as you really are.

Despite all appearances, no one is really evil. They are led astray by ignorance. If you ponder this truth always you will offer more light, rather then blame and condemnation.

You, no less than all beings have Buddha Nature within. Your essential Mind is pure. Therefore, when defilements cause you to stumble and fall, let not remose nor dark foreboding cast you down. Be of good cheer and with this understanding, summon strength and walk on.

Faith is like a lamp and wisdom makes the flame burn bright. Carry this lamp always and in good time the darkness will yield and you will abide in the Light.

~ Dhammavadaka ~


Treat every moment as your last

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and indoor

 

“Treat every moment
as your last.
It is not preparation
for something else.

Where ever you are,
you are one with the clouds
and one with the sun
and the stars you see.

You are one with everything.
That is more true than I can say,
and more true than you can hear.”

~Shunryu Suzuki
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind