Monday, November 4, 2013
let's start the discussion (post for comment)
by oneself evil is done; by oneself one suffers; by oneself evil is left undone; by oneself one is purified. Purity and impurity belong to oneself, no one can purify another.
finally we're reading from the dhammapada. there are several things right off the bat:
1- the insistence of the causal connection of evil & life. in the twin verses of 1:1."we become what we think." then, 1:5: "hatred can never put an end to hatred". this is a novel way of looking at ethics. wrong actions carry moral (causal) consequences = you reap what you sow is not a metaphor, it's cause & effect! of course, 9:119: "the evil doers may be happy as long as he does not reap what he has sown, but when he does sorrow overcomes him." yeah, there's no way out of paticca samuppada.
2- the control of the mind: "hard is to train the mind, which goes where it likes..." 3: 35
the importance of self-governance of the mind. ..."those who can direct thoughts are freed from the bond of mara" (3:37).
and this one: "make your mind a fortress to conquer maya with the weapon of wisdom".
i doubt something this deep has been said with this simplicity.
the beautiful chapter 4, "on flowers". this stands out: "do not give your attention to what others do or fail to do, give it to what you do or fail to do" 4:50.
3- a central lesson in the dhammapada is that good is objective, it can be perceived: "the fragrance of the good spread everywhere..." 4:54. good is an essence.
4- the importance of self-governance. the self is a refuge, not a place to waste. so, we must keep our house in order. these three are key:
"do not give your attention to what others do or fail to do; give it to what you do or fail to do." 4:50
"if you find no one to support you on the spiritual path, walk alone". 5:61
"a solid rock cannot be moved by the wind, the wise are not shaken by praise or blame." 6:81
(that doesn't mean we don't try to build our own sangha):
"make friends with those who are good and true, not with those that are bad ans false." 6:78
5- we always come back to food (it's my fault). the point i was trying to make is that food is food, it's neutral = maya.
i'm the one liking or disliking. how come? it's the "I" (the ego) that likes or dislikes.
but isn't this still too much of the self as impediment to dharma? according to the dhammapada once the self is erased, what remains is the cosmic principle, i.e, THE ONE.
what is selflessness? nothing out of this world, just the right expansion to include all other living creatures. so yes, when it comes to taste the self can learn from the expansion of the self. that's why i brought the example of the person that cooks a not-so-tasty dish (but with lots of love) vs. the cook that is an ace and just did the food as mere routine.
which brings me to the prodigal son.
last minute addenda after tuesday's reading:
jose's suspicion of the idea of "detachment" (i.e., if one is detached how can one really truly interact with others and one's own projects?).
counter: it reminds us of arjuna's confusion just before fighting the battle in the bhagavad gita. life is filled with contradictions: are they real or apparent? he/she who knows is wise.
irvin's reservation towards buddhism as a form of social engineering.
counter: the buddhist as no problem biting the bullet. do you have anything against good engineering? par example: morals in homo sapiens, or democracy, or school learning.
repetition is part of the enlightenment recipe. moksha means something as simple as living in contentment. "what is enlightenment? asks the disciple. do the dishes, responds the master." or "the problem is not tweeter, the problem is what people do with it" (a 12 year old honor student from cologne, germany in der spiegel).
veronica's point about "fear."
fear is wired, but so is the ego. what to do about it? use it to your advantage (advantage means spiritual growth).