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Friday, October 08, 2004

Starting Along The Path

A correspondent wrote:

"Yoga and Buddhism are not just academic subjects - they go to the heart of our suffering. Definitely - and they encompass every breath we take. I find the sharing of 'real life examples' as you suggested helpful. Though also difficult and perplexing."

This is wonderful! If I had any "hope" for what these "notes" might provide, it is just this: that this be a place where we all could learn from each other through life experiences. Yoga (and I mean Buddhism included) is not academic. It is about just this: Knowing that this body and mind dies, how do I live? Who or What am I, really?

Someone else wrote:

"But just because the rainbow is transient doesn't mean that we can control its coming into or out of existence, move it a little to the left or re-design its colour scheme. In the same way, so much suffering in my life comes both from wanting things to remain the same that are always changing, and wanting things/people/myself to change (to fit my expectations or wishes). Both these things cause me pain. What I find incredibly challenging is the notion that, as you wrote:
'we come to see that there is nothing to attain and that all views are wrong views.' Wow! I am looking forward to hearing more about this."

You couldn't have been more concise in describing the function of ig-norance (the root cause of duhkha) as you wrote above. Everything changes. We know this. But we ignore what that really means for how we "should" live our lives, and thus we suffer. And we do this because we think we are separate from all that is. But honestly, how could we be? When we simply see that we are not separate we also see that we lack nothing. What could there be to attain?

Finally, someone asked:
"Frank, can you explain this a little further?

'So, the first limb of the Noble Eightfold Path, Right View (also known as Right Understanding) requires that we have at least "relative right view" in order to even start the journey. This is the understanding that there are people who have been able to transform thier suffering, as well as the awareness and ability to distinguish wholesome roots from unwholesome roots.' What is meant by wholesome and unwholesome roots? Is that identifying the causes of our suffering as was discussed in earlier posts?

In this case, yes. Everyone of us, for instance, is said to have the "seeds" of mindfulness and compassion, as well as the "seeds" of anger and greed. What leads to further suffering for us and others (in fact no difference) is considered "unwholesome," while what leads to greater ease (sukha) is "wholesome." I could have just as well used the word "skillful." As the Buddha is reputed to have said to the Kalama people, who confessed confusion in the face of so many different teachings from so many different teachers, "See for yourself what actions lead to the reduction of suffering, and commit to cultivating such action. See for yourself what causes distress, and refrain from such action." Thus "Right View" is not an ideological stand, but the skillfull or wholesome response to things as they are -- the present situation at any given time.

May all beings be peaceful,
pobsa frank jude

.: posted by Poep Sa Frank Jude 4:30 PM


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