Wednesday, November 9, 2016

your turn #7 (the dhammapada)


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.

didn't want to leave the dhammapada without a proper comment session. please, participate.
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just to refresh some themes:

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 and false." 6:78

18 comments:

felipe rios said...

For the last 2000 years mankind has been stagnant at development of ideas. Technical advance alone is not a connotation of civilization advancement. There have been numerous ancient civilizations that lacked the technological know-how of contemporary humans, yet these civilizations were the more advanced in the terms that really maters; things like the humanities and the arts. The offspring of the forward thinking brought by the arts and humanities is science, and with science comes technical knowledge. It would seem that science advancement and technological achievements would be a reliable marker of human advance. It is not, while one scientific idea can be squeezed to generate a tenfold of scientific facts, a philosophical idea can be squeezed to create 100 times or more scientific ideas. Mankind has been milking ideas that are 2000 years old without bringing new groundbreaking philosophical thinking in while at it. The philosophy of dhammapada might as well be amongst the most advanced thinking ever done by mankind. In the 1960’s mankind was able to go to the moon. Behind these moon odysseys were ancient ideas of philosophers turned into modern scientific facts, which allowed the development of rockets and machines to travel the cosmos. A more “global” implementation of hinduism and its teachings, would allow for the creation of new scientific facts that perhaps would allow the full fledged conquering of space, through the conquering of the human soul. There are also newer extreme “avangarde” philosophies that are yet to be explored, these other ideas known by some as the fourth way, could be the key to the next step in human advance. A way in which mankind would reach a new level of awareness that would seem more like an awakening from the established old schools. Philosophical thoughts usually end up destroying limitations that hinder human development. A fourth way would defeat the boundaries that hate and fear, have for long hindered human advance.

Anonymous said...

Chapter 9 of the Dhammapada discusses the differences between good actions and evil ones. It starts off by saying that we should be quick to act virtuously because doing so guards us from the potential evil that accompanies hesitation. Humans ought not take delight in our wrongdoings. Repetitiously behaving in such a manner will only sow the seeds of dukkha. The Dhammapada suggests that we, “Think not lightly of good, saying, "It will not come to me." Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good”. By acting quickly and virtuously we can protect ourselves from evil and eventually achieve perfect happiness.
Ian Deck

Anonymous said...

131:
To harm live beings
Who, like us, seek contentment,
Is to bring harm to ourselves.

I guess it was early in the course, that Professor talked about not harming animals like ants or roaches. I didn’t realize that it was in the Dhammapada. My first instinct so far, was to kill a roach, as soon as I see one. I’m afraid of them, and I find them disgusting. I am not afraid of ants, but I used to harm them, if they were “bothering” me. But, since that day, even though, my first instinct is still to harm them, all what I hear in my head is professor’s voice: “DON’T KILL THEM! It’s so difficult to step back, and see “them” with this different approach. It is amazing how something so simple is so full of logic.

Cindy Matheus said...

Non-attachment to worldly bonds is a theme found in both hinduism and buddhism that fascinates me. In the dhammapada there is a chapter on pleasure that discusses selfish desires and cravings and how they bring anxiety, pain, suffering, grief, and fear. It's ironic that detachment is a major component in reaching nirvana or moksha because as humans our attachment to this world be it in literature, poeple, or in a career is a part of recognizing our collective humanity. A lot of people live in pleasure and only act on their selfish pleasures as opposed to selflessness pleasure. Pleasure must be temporary just as this life is temporary.

Awntonio Rolle said...

the importance of self-governance. the self is a refuge, not a place to waste. so, we must keep our house in order.
"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


these quotes are very deep to me because people always worried about stuff other people didn't do and tend to judge more than they should. people need worry about what they can do to improve in their lives and try to learn from the mistakes made by themselves daily. To not keep doing the same thing over and over again. People also care too much what people think of them. Instead of trying to find themselves. You don't need people approval to stand for something you believe in because you know what the purpose for it. no one will ever understand you like you do yourself.

Diego Vieira said...

The verses on control of the mind are great. It is sometimes overlooked how powerful the mind can be and the effect it can have on your everyday life. The mind is always wondering about the unknown, or perhaps reminiscing on the past. It can be a tool that can help those who can control and dominate it get ahead and be he best version of themselves, but it can also be a burden on those who are unable to master and tame it. I believe one must find the perfect balance of letting it wonder into the unknown, but also keep it concentrated on what is ahead.

Daniel Montes said...

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

this is definitely the verse that hits me the most, this is definitely advice that his country could use today. We spend so much time wondering what others are doing and focusing so much on other peoples life that we forget to focus on our own and this leads to our house being dirty. You see it everywhere especially with this reality tv culture where we have to know how the other person is living. It takes out of our life’s, makes us focus on someone other than us. The three keys are so true and it almost feels like a big part of the population cant be bothered to take a look at them self’s. It’s sad but in a world where 40% of the population gets their news from facebook its not bound to change anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

"As irrigators guide water to their fields, as archers aim arrows, as carpenters carve wood, the wise shape their lives"

We waste so much time worrying about when the right time will come, when the right people will show up, when the right mindset will settle in. We fail to realize it is here, it is now. As we wait, our mind slowly drifts farther and farther away. The beauty of this is that one can never not reconnect with their higher self. Meditation is the most powerful door you will ever open, leading you to an inner world filled with love, pain, curiosity, and self understanding. Our outer world is so fast and chaotic that it is easy to lose ourselves in the things we enjoy doing, in the people we enjoying being with. But, as the dhammapada suggests, do not wait for the right moment to know yourself, to love yourself, to be one with yourself!!!! The world will keep going, and you will keep existing, might as well do it with a little bit of enlightenment.

Gayle Budow

Ever Valladares said...

It is easy to let the winds of life carry you around, it is hard to control your path through thought. It is easy to erupt in a fit of anger when things do not go your way, but the one how can guide their selves through the heat and avoid falling off the horse is the true warrior. When I read the teachings, I truly agree with the self regulation that the dhammapada calls for. It is a beautiful method of conflict resolution and emotional management. When we think about the harm we bring and choose not to do it, we are inching closer to a heaven. If we all attempt to empathize with one another, the heaven we dream about becomes within reach. It is a lack of empathy that allows for division lines to be drawn. It is a lack of self governance that allows for situations to erupt into needless violence affairs. If we allow our emotions to get the best of us, we will never evolve. It is a difficult thing to step back and examine our behaviors but we must do so, not to bring ourselves joy but to relieve pressure from an already violent reality.

Carlota Sanchez said...

The control of the mind is something i never was able to fully understand. I do agree with that it is hard to train the mind as to what you want to think about, and what not. I do believe that ones mind is their biggest enemy and that is shown clearly when you are over thinking. I don’t not believe that the mind can be train as to what to think. I have tried meditation but i was not able to clear my mind and have nothing or just one thing in my thoughts. I know that it is capable because people are able to do it, but i am very aware of how my mind works and i know it would be truly hard for me. The mind is such a powerful weapon and if used correctly it can be amazing. With all that said i still believe that the mind will always be our worst enemy.
Carlota Sanchez

Carlota Sanchez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hubbie Johnson said...

Michael:

"If you find no to support you on your spiritual path, walk alone." 5:61 and make friends with those who are good and true, not bad or false." These two quotes stuck out to me because sometimes you do need to walk completely alone to find yourself, instead of any and every one distracting and hindering you. And when you do have friends, test them out to see if they are friends that are going to be there for you in a long run.

Alec Rodriguez said...

"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. This is a key passage within the Dhammapada because it stresses the importance of the self. The lessons within the Dhammapada focus on an internal transformation mixed with external action and this passage reminds us that concerning ourselves over the success or failure of others rather than focusing on our own goals will get us nowhere. This is not to say that we should not learn from others but once you begin to obsess over the achievements of others it will mean the end of your own evolution. We need to be analytical of our own behavior in order to make true progress on our path.

Anonymous said...

"As irrigators guide water to their fields, as archers aim arrows, as carpenters carve wood, the wise shape their lives"

"if you find no one to support you on the spiritual path, walk alone"

The Dhammapada structure is beautiful. The way each sentence is broken to address the statement from both ends is incredible, it seems as if the writer fully understood that the mind of each reader is different and expresses each thought two fold. The two fold structure also helps express not just how to achieve an action but also how not to let an action be achieved which in my mind is often the more important of the two.

Daniel O'Brien

Anonymous said...

The dhammapada has a lot themes that expresses different beliefs that I personally think is a great way of thinking for one would be “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 this quote expresses how we all go through failure and paying attention to how other people take their failure shouldn’t be important to us or our live because worrying about what’s important as this will stop us from recognizing ourselves and the wrongs we come with and for many years this is what the Dhammapada expresses and I think this gives them and myself a reason to know the differences of what’s right and wrong.

Mario Louissaint

Daiana Oppecini said...

The verse "we become what we think" has somehow shaped and influenced the way I think and how my mind has developed since I was very young. I was exposed to this verse when I read a metaphysics's text i happened to find at home. I became self aware of the kind of thoughts I had, and having in consideration the principle of cause and effect, I tried to control the harmful thoughts. A few years later my older sister, after a very stressful stage in her life, became a spiritual person who practiced yoga and read Buddhist texts. I helped her choose the tattoo she carries on her back, spelled in Sanskrit: "What you think, you become."
From all the religions and spiritual doctrines I've studied, on and off this class, the one that always has made more sense to me is Buddhism. This is because its principles resonate with mine, and even though I do not consider myself a Buddhist I do believe that by applying its main teachings to my life I have made it happier and more relaxed.

Anonymous said...

I think Buddhism and Hinduism is very very similar. There is very similar terminology. For example: 1:1 "we become what we think" is similar to "karma." Paticca samupadda=karma. I think one of the most important concepts is to understand that we must be self-disciplined, self-governed. Often times our mind goes wherever it wants and we must learn to stay focused and not let maya fool us. This is another example of something similar to that of Hinduism. In chapter 4, the dhammapada teaches us that we must focus on our own life rather than that of others. Often times, we worry about calling other people names or making fun of them or even talking about something positive, it isn't right in the eyes of the dhammapada. We matter more than anyone else, to us. Lasltly, we learn that good is more important and weighs more than bad. We must make sure to be good as much as possible. Good will always prevail and it's important as stay focused on that but for ourselves, not for anyone else.

Sebastian Lorenzo

Nis Ngambanjong said...

Tasks are easily said than done.. That's what you have to keep in mind when absorbing this kind of ideology.

Michael Jordan, the greatest to ever play, stunned and shook the world of basketball with every single time he stepped in a court. He has something that your eyes cannot look away once you heard his name. Even now, his legacy is worldwide and thus became a solidified legend. Well, you can say the same for the Buddha, and it happened 2,000 something years ago.

It is crazy to me to know that as I was reading the Dhammapada with you all, legend was realized. The holy of a man known to be Buddha. It is like the feeling when I watch MJ's clip on Youtube, I have never seen him play live but the divine burns deep within. I am sure everyone realize it too, simple and profound, nothing complicated about it. Simple words that guarantee life victories.

But yet as Mara has stated to the Buddha "You have awakened to nirvana.. escaped from my realm, plumbed the depths of consciousness and known a joy not given even to the gods. But you know well how difficult it has been. You sought nirvana with your eyes clear and found it almost impossible to achieve; other's eyes are covered with dust from the beginning, seeking only to their own satisfaction... If you try to teach them what you have found, who do you think will listen? Who will strive as you have?"

...So it seems when Mara ask his stupid question,.. never knew the full power of will & clearly underestimated Sanghas with Jumpman logo on their sneakers.