Core Fundamental Teachings of Buddha
Core Fundamental Teachings of Buddha#
The middle way - freedom from strong feelings
To no longer be concerned
- Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are
- Do not try to become anything.
- Do not make yourself into anything.
- Do not be a meditator.
- Do not become enlightened.
- When you sit, let it be.
- When you walk, let it be.
Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing.
Ajahn Chah: A Still Forest Pool
If we cut a log of wood and throw it into a river, it floats downstream. If that log doesn’t rot or get stuck on one of the banks of the river, it will finally reach the ocean. Likewise the mind that practises the Middle Way and doesn’t attach to either extreme of sensual indulgence or self-mortification will inevitably attain true peace.
- Ajahn Chah: A tree in the Forest
If you clearly see the truth through meditation, then suffering will become unwound, just like a screw. When you unwind a screw, it withdraws. It’s not tightly fixed as when you screw it, clockwise. e mind withdraws like this. It lets go, it relin- quishes. It’s not tightly bound within good and evil, within possessions, praise and blame, happiness or suffering. If we don’t know the truth, it’s like tightening the screw all the time. You screw it down until it crushes you and you suffer over eve- rything. When you unwind out of all that, you become free and at peace.
- Ajahn Chah A tree in the Forest - Screw
Likewise happiness and unhappiness, pleasure and sadness, arise from the same snake: wanting. When we get the things we like, such as wealth, prestige, praise or happiness, we become pleased, but the mind remains uneasy for fear of losing them.
- Ajahn Chah A tree in the Forest - Snake
All things are just as they are. They don’t cause suffering to any- body. It’s just like a thorn, a really sharp thorn. Does it make you suffer? No, it’s just a thorn. It doesn’t bother anybody. But if you go and stand on it, you’ll suffer.
Form, feeling, perception, volition, consciousness… all the things in this world are simply as they are. It’s We who pick fights with them. And if we hit them, they hit us back. If they’re left alone, they won’t bother any- body
- Ajahn Chah A tree in the Forest - Thorn
Everything that one loves and that is dear to one will become separated - Ajahn Jayasara - How to Deal with Distressing Situations
Don’t think either that your happiness depends upon whether you’re living alone or with others. - Ajahn Chah Red Hot Coal
Rules and conventions are established to make things more convenient, that’s all. Let’s take money, for example. In olden times, people used materials and goods to barter as money. But they were difficult to keep, so they started to use coins and notes. Perhaps in the future we’ll have a new royal decree say- ing only lumps of wax can be used as money throughout the country, or chicken dung. en people would start fighting and killing each other over wax or chicken dung. is is just the way it is. What we use for money is simply a convention that we have set up. It is money because we have decided it to be so, but in reality what is money? Nobody can say. When there is a popular agreement about something, then a convention comes about to fulfill the need. e world is just conventions. But it is difficult to get ordinary people to understand this. Our money, house, family, our children and relatives are simply conventions that we have invented, and we really believe they are all ours, but seen in the light of Dhamma, they don’t belong to us. It’s when we think that they do that we suffer.
- Ajahn Chah Money is Convention
No matter how much you like something you should reflect that it’s uncertain.
People think that doing this and memorizing that, studying such-and-such, will cause suffering to end. But it’s just like a person who wants a lot of things. He tries to amass as much as possible, thinking if he gets enough his suffering will get less. It’s like trying to lighten your load by putting on more things on your back. is is how people think, but their thinking is astray of the true path, just like one person going northward and another going southward, and yet believing that they are going in the same direction.
- Ajahn Chah Going Astray
An enlightened person still thinks, however he knows that the thinking process is impermanent, unsatisfactory, and empty.
Feelings are just feelings. Thoughts are just thoughts. The body is just the body. The mind is just the mind.
The Dharma of the Buddha is not found in books. If you want to really see for yourself what the Buddha was talking about, you don’t need to bother with books. Watch your own mind. Examine to see how feelings and thoughts come and go. Don’t be attached to anything, just be mindful of whatever there is to see. This is the way to the truths of the Buddha. Be natural. Everything you do in your life here is a chance to practice. It is all Dharma. When you do your chores, try to be mindful. If you are emptying a spittoon or cleaning a toilet, don’t feel you are doing it as a favor for anyone else. There is Dharma in emptying spittoons. Don’t feel you are practicing only when sitting still, cross-legged. Some of you have complained that there is not enough time to meditate. Is there enough time to breathe? This is your meditation: mindfulness, naturalness, in whatever you do. - Ajahn Chah: A Still Forest Pool
There’s one essential point that all good practice must eventually come to-not clinging - Ajahn Chah: A Still Forest Pool
You may wish to travel, to visit other teachers and try other systems. Some of you have already done so. This is a natural desire. You will find out that a thousand questions asked and knowledge of many systems will not bring you to the truth. Eventually you will get bored. You will see that only by stopping and examining your own heart can you find out what the Buddha talked about. No need to go searching outside yourself. Eventually, you must return to face your own true nature. Right where you are is where you can understand the Dharma.- Ajahn Chah: A Still Forest Pool
The answer is not out there - it is in you. Stop the frantic mind running and chasing and let go.
Don’t make comparisons. Don’t discriminate.
Q: Then what is your advice to new practitioners? A: The same as for old practitioners! Keep at it. - Ajahn Chah
Even peace must be seen as impermanent. If you are attached to peaceful states of mind, you will suffer when you do not have them. Give up everything, even peace.
You cannot find peace on a mountain or in a cave; you can travel to the site of Buddha’s enlightenment without coming any closer to the truth.
Lots of people come here with a high position in society and views about things: about themselves, about the practice of meditation, about the Buddha’s teachings. Some of them are wealthy merchants, some have degrees, some are teachers or government officials. Their brains are full of views about all kinds of things. They’re too clever to listen to other people. It’s like water in a cup. If the cup is full of dirty water, it can’t be used for anything. Only when you pour out the water can the cup be put to use. You have to empty your mind of views before you can learn. - Ajahn Chah. “In Simple Terms.” A dirty cup.
To cut a path through the forest, you need not cut down all the trees - you don’t need to read all the dharma
The mind is the thing doing the liking, disliking, judging and discriminating. It is a sense - one of the 6 senses. It is not you.
Cures For Restlessness:
- Take very little food.
- Do not talk with anyone.
- After the meal, return to your hut, close the doors and windows, wrap yourself up in a lot of robes, and sit, no matter how you feel. In this way, you can face the restlessness directly. When feelings arise, question them and realize that they are only feelings.
Exercising the body to strengthen it and exercising the mind to strengthen it are the same sort of thing, but the methods are different. In exercising the body, you have to move the different parts, but in exercising the mind you make it stop and rest, as when you do concentration. Try to get the mind to let go of everything. - Ajahn Chah. “In Simple Terms.” Knife
- good in the beginning as virtue
- good in the middle as concentration
good in the end as wisdom
The history of buddhism and the buddha himself isn’t essential
- The esoteric, extensive detail, rites, rituals and the number of things are inconsequential
- The worshipping and blind belief as buddha as a god is also false. He was a human and we are humans.
- Do not blindly believe. Independently verify through observation.
- This is not a religion - with rites, rituals, ceremony and worship
- The mind is not the brain - it is intangible
- The problem is craving, desire and attachment. The longing with strong eagerness (craving) - causes the mind to be discontent: sadness, anger, frustration, irritation, annoyance, guilt, shame, fear, boredom, loneliness, shyness, jealousy, resentment, stress, anxiety and many others.
- To attain a mind that resides permanently peaceful, calm, serene and content with joy - you need to establish a life practice
- Meditation along with teachers and guides.
- Dedicated to improving our own wisdom, moral conduct, and mental discipline that we will improve the world
- Gradual training and gradual practice to experience gradual progress
- We can choose to be peaceful, kind, loving and warm. We can choose to have wholesome interactions with all people. We can develop healthy qualities of the mind with loving-kindness, compassion, generosity along with other qualities that will produce a peaceful and content mind.
There are no rites, rituals, ceremonies, and worship required to attain Enlightenment. If someone explains certain chants that need to be repeated, certain postures the body needs to be trained to acquire, or sells/provides you any external devices that includes bells, strings, clothing, beads, music, statues, special drinks or food, etc. then this person has not attained Enlightenment.
Buddha advised focusing only on questions dealing with the power of human action. Questions such as: Is the universe finite or infinite? Is it eternal or not? Is everything One? Or is it a plurality of things? What is a person? Do we have a self or do we not? - were left alone as unhelpful - Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu. “The Buddha’s Teachings: An Introduction.”
Without some measure of freedom of choice to shape the present, the idea of a path of practice would make no sense, because you wouldn’t be free to decide whether to follow it or not - Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu. “The Buddha’s Teachings: An Introduction.”
You have several competing desires at any one time, they will lead you to experience competing inner worlds and competing senses of who you are. This is why you can feel divided against yourself and unsure of your place in the world. This is one of the most common ways in which becoming leads to suffering.
as soon as our “self” gets involved, we suffer immediately
Right view: Look at the mind objectively - the craving and wanting causing your own discontentment. Blaming other people is not fixing the true problem.
Right Intention: Renunciation letting go, non-ill will interest in other being well, harmlessness - not interesting in causing harm to others.
Learn and Implement:
- The Three Universal Truths
- The Four Noble Truths
- The Eight Fold Path
- The Five Precepts
- The Brahmā-vihāras (4 Healthy mental states)
- The Ten Fetters
- The Seven Factors of Enlightenment
- Extensive Meditation Training
- The Three Wholesome/Unwholesome Roots
- The Natural Law of Kamma
- The Cycle of Rebirth
The Three Universal Truths (Characteristics)#
- Impermanence (Pāli: anicca)
- Discontentedness (Pāli: dukkha)
- Non-Self (Pāli: anattā)
Oftentimes, the mind wants everyone to understand you and attempts to convince others of something. This is not accomplishable as not everyone is going to understand you because that would be permanence.
Not everyone is going to agree with your opinions and views. There are going to be some people who agree with you and others who disagree.
Happiness is impermanent
The unenlightened mind has feelings based on impermanent conditions - leading to discontentedness and suffering.
The teachings allow you to find a mental state in the middle.
Discontentedness describes the mental state when the mind is unsatisfied, displeased, uncalm or unpeaceful. The mind is shaken up, unsteady or unstable.
There is no permanent self. Train the mind to become a nobody. The mind wants to be somebody. We are taught all our life: “You’ve got to be somebody”, “You’ve got to leave your mark on the world”, “You’ve got to accomplish these things” and “You’ve got to be a productive person” - if we don’t do those things we feel like we are less of a person. You must train to detach from your label, detach from your body and detach from yourself. Detach from being an intellectual, being smart and being wise. Do not allow the mind to project itself - its craving - in a certain situation.
Eliminating and eradicating the fetter of personal existence view will allow the mind to peacefully and calmly exist without the constant need to protect and defend “the self”.
The misunderstanding that the mind has thinking there is a permanent self leads to the mind continuously wanting to protect the self image and self identity being unable to remain peaceful and calm when there is a disagreeable experience related to the self image or self identity.
For example, if someone comments about the self image or self identity in a way that the mind agrees with, the mind can experience pleasant feelings. But, if someone comments about the self image or self identity in a way that the mind disagrees with, the mind can experience painful feelings.
When the mind holds on to a permanent self, one can oftentimes become very selfish, self centered, self absorbed, and pursue its own selfish desires. This inhibits a person from being able to observe the life changing wisdom that we are all interconnected and need to improve the way we function in the world through giving and sharing living harmoniously with each other.
Your given name is just a label.
Tools of virtue, concentration, and discernment.
There is no need to mentally protect yourself from anyone when there is “no self”
The mind functions much like an animal being uncomfortable unless it knows exactly where it is in the “pecking order” of the herd or pack of like species
The mind is searching and yearning to discover a self but it can never find one though it continues its pursuit seeking to know and find a self because the mind does not realize there isn’t one.
The path, however, does not cause the deathless. After all, if anything caused the deathless, it wouldn’t be unconditioned. Instead, the path leads to the deathless
Some people have misinterpreted the teaching on not-self to mean that there is no self, but the Buddha identified both the view, “I have a self,” and the view, “I have no self,” as wrong views. Instead, “not-self” is a value judgment, saying simply that the object you perceive as not-self isn’t worth claiming as “me,” “my self,” or “what I am,” because such a claim automatically entails suffering. - Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu. “The Buddha’s Teachings: An Introduction.”
The Four Noble truths#
Impermanence: Everything is constantly changing and there is no permanent state. Material objects/possessions, relationships, thoughts, ideas, states of mind, everything in the world is constantly changing. All conditioned feelings will cease to exist. All that arises will cease to exist. There is no steady, constant, or fixed mental state other than Enlightenment.
- First Noble Truth: Everyone that is unenlightened will experience discontentedness.
- Second Noble Truth: Discontentedness is caused by our own cravings/desires/attachments because the mind wants everything to be permanent when everything in the world is impermanent.
- Third Noble Truth: The elimination of discontentedness is possible by eliminating cravings/desires/attachments.
- Fourth Noble Truth: The path to eliminating discontentedness is The Eight Fold Path.
The goal in life is not to be happy, as that is an impermanent feeling. When the mind is not happy, it will move to sadness, anger, or worse.
The goal in life is to develop a peaceful, calm, serene, and content mind with joy free of cravings/desires/attachments that is “satisfied with what is… - the Enlightened Mind.
In life we are told “Never give up”, “Never quit” always strive to achieve. This is clinging - with a string eagerness. Instead - give up. Get rid of the self.
You need to accept responsibility for your own discontent mind and the emotions you experience. Rather than blaming pleasant feelings, painful feelings, and feelings that are neither painful-nor-pleasant on someone or something external, see the truth that you cause your own discontent mind.
the mind is deeply trained to no longer base its inner feelings on some impermanent condition.
You can resolve the discontentedness in your own mind but you cannot resolve the discontentedness of someone else’s mind, only they can do that.
The unEnlightened mind will constantly blame others for the difficulties and struggles it faces rather than accepting responsibility for its own decisions that are leading it to discontentedness. This is “wrong view”
Clinging to form and consciousness is equivalent to personal existence view
Anapannasatti (Breathing Mindfulness Meditation)#
You will always have thoughts, ideas, wisdom, even memories of past events or goals in the future you’d like to achieve. But when you are attached to these things, then it causes the mind to be discontent.
The mind becomes an expert at “cutting off” unwholesome mental activity and then eventually, these destructive thoughts, ideas, emotions, and feelings will not even arise.
Allow the breath, and the sound of the breath entering the body through the nose, to become the anchor that brings the mind into the present moment.
The breath is the present moment.
As any thought enters the mind, you should not observe the thought, attempt to figure it out, evaluate it in any way, or why it’s coming to the mind.
Bring the mind back to the breath even if the mind wanders for some time, catch the mind and bring it back to the anchor of the breath.
We cause our own discontentedness. We eliminate it by not craving.
3 Universal Teachings#
- Universal Love for all Beings
- Do not harm
- Be a good moral person
Gotama Buddha’s goal was to provide Teachings that gave the mind a place where it could be permanently peaceful, calm, serene, and content with joy.
Everything in this practice is obtained through personal choice.
unaffected by everyday challenges that produce sadness, worry, anger, stress, anxiety, and other discontent feelings
Happiness is impermanent - craving happiness is the reason we are not achieving lasting happiness
Eight Fold Path#
- right view - no self and the 4 noble truths - discontent arises from within not externally
- right intention - non-illwill and harmlessness - kind, positive and wholesome thoughts and intentions
moral conduct (virtue):
- right speech - refrain from lying, slander, harsh or frivolous speech
- right action - refrain from killing, theft and misconduct
- right livelihood
mental discipline (concentration):
- right effort - stir up will and energy
- right mindfulness - having set aside craving and worry - aware and mindful
- right concentration - tranquility of the mind - serene and calm
- Renunciation - Actively letting go
- Non-ill-will - Loving kindness, wanting all beings to be well - even yourself
- Harmlessness - Thinking and implementing only good things - any harm you do will be returned to you through kamma.
The five factors of well spoken speech:
- Spoken at the proper time
- What is said is True
- Spoken gently
- It is beneficial
- With a Mind of Loving-kindness
If you make people work hard to understand what you are attempting to share, people will be less and less interested in communicating with you
While on the surface sarcasm may seem humorous and harmless, but in reality the true intention behind sarcasm is oftentimes malicious and with ill intent
No one enjoys being blamed for anything or made to feel as if they are at fault.
If you don’t have anything nice to say - say nothing at all
Is your daily activities wholesome and helpful.
In some cases, a person may choose to pursue personal interests and skills rather than financial goals or a career. A stay at home parent is still a livelihood as this is a contribution to society and humanity.
For those who do generate income through their livelihood, focus on finding something you enjoy that happens to also provide financial support. This will ensure the best outcome and enthusiasm for your daily life. If you select a livelihood solely on the bases of making money, acquiring wealth, power, prestige, or a specific title, then you will find the mind will struggle to perform your duties and responsibilities on an ongoing consistent basis perhaps even becoming bored or disinterested.
Finding a livelihood where you can acquire an income, help others, and you enjoy the activities required on a daily basis, will ensure that you never “work” one day in your life.
- scheming - corruption / deception
- flattery - excessive insincere praise
- Hinting - Suggest using subterfuge - manipulate
- Belittling - Talking down to others - diminishing the achievements of other
- Pursuing gain-with-gain - doing work just for profit and greed - no help to humanity
- Prevent unwholesome mental states arising
- Abandon unwholesome mental states arising in the mind
- Produce un-arisen wholesome mental states - practice generousity and compassion
- Maintain wholesome mental states
There is a common misunderstanding that the Buddha identified all forms of desire as causes of suffering, but that is not the case. Right effort is motivated by desires that bring an end to clinging, which is why they are part of the path to the end of suffering. - Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu. “The Buddha’s Teachings: An Introduction.
- Aware of the mind at the present moment - not dwelling on future or past moments.
- To develop awareness of mind, you should not allow the mind to be lost in daydreams, anticipation, indulgences, worry, or dwell in other discontent feelings.
right mindfulness means keeping in mind the need to abandon unskillful qualities and to develop skillful qualities - Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu. “The Buddha’s Teachings: An Introduction.”
- Then, in daily life one should train the mind to only focus on one thing at a time to develop higher degrees of concentration or “singleness of mind
- Focusing on the breath is singleness of mind
Nothing lasts forever, all “things” will cease to exist including all of humanity.
Seven Factors of Enlightenment#
- Investigation - Research, study
- Energy - Effort, motivation, Ambition, Willingness
- Joy - unconditioned gladness
- Tranquility - Relaxed, Peacefulness, Steadiness
- Concentration - singleness of mind, keep attention on one thing
- Equanimity - Mental calmness, composure, treating everyone impartially
The Five Precepts#
The first step on the path is to improve Moral conduct - you limit damage you do externally and kamma will see you receive less damage
- Refrain from intentional killing or taking of life
- compassion for all living beings
- prevent situation where you are in harms way - by following the 8 fold path and kamma
- rare situations self-defence can be used
- accept all food given to you and not show a preference (regarding being vegan)- choose not to if you have the choice
- Abandon taking what is not given, accepting what is given, living purely
- Stealing is born from craving and desire. It does harm and that harm will be returned to you.
- Do not ask for things - that is craving, desire and attachment. Remove expectations.
- Abandon unchastity and sexual misconduct
- Sexual misconduct
- There must be a committed and loyal relationship for sex
- Multiple sexual partners leads to lying - stress and anxiety
- Sexual activity is a pleasurable and natural part of life. It is not wrong and does not need to be avoided - sexual misconduct must be avoided.
- Excessive masturbation is rooted in desire and craving
- pornography - harms one’s own mind and causes unwholesome secretive actions - this affects natural human connections. A downward spiral of craving, desire and attachment.
- Abandoning False Speech, truth-speaker and one to be relied upon
- Do not lie
- be dependable
- do not gossip, slander, lie or talk with deceit
- no sarcasm, no lying as part of a joke
- Refrain from strong drink and sloth producing drugs
- Do not take intoxicants
- heedlessness - not mindful
- cannabis, cigarettes, caffeine - craving
The mind thinks that it is the next new shining object around the corner that is going to bring it permanent and lasting fulfillment, but the mind is never satisfied and keeps chasing after the objects of its affection never being permanently satisfied because the mind keeps craving, and craving, and craving
The 10 Precepts#
I undertake the precept to refrain from killing living creatures. I undertake the precept to refrain from stealing. I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual activity. I undertake the precept to refrain from lying. I undertake the precept to refrain from taking alcoholic drinks that cause negligence. I undertake the precept to refrain from food at the wrong time. I undertake the precept to refrain from dancing, singing, music, and seeing shows. I undertake the precept to refrain from beautifying and adorning myself with garlands, perfumes, and makeup. I undertake the precept to refrain from high and luxurious beds. I undertake the precept to refrain from receiving gold and money.
5 Piles (Aggregates)#
- Form - body and objects fed on
- Feeling - painful feeling of hunger, pleasant feeling after filling the gap
- Perception - ability to identify the type of hunger, what is food?
- Fabrication - shaping the experience - finding food, cooking food etc.
- Consciousness - being aware of these activities
Clinging to them makes discontentedness
- Craving for Sensuality
- Craving for Becoming
- Craving for not becoming
Aspects to be eliminated
- Personal existence view - realisation of the non-self
- Doubt - have confidence in the buddha, the teachings, yourself
- Wrong behaviour and observances - the eightfold path - not rites and rituals
- Sensual desire - desire from the senses
- Ill Will - hostility, anger and aggression
- Desire for form - elimination of fear of death
- Desire for the formless - elimation of desire or fear of formless realms - heaven or hell
- Conceit - arrogance, pride, judging, comparing and measuring as superior or inferior. Ego dissolved.
- Restlessness - elimination of confusion, distraction, anxiousness (singleness of mind)
- Ignorance - Learning, Reflection and Wisdom
Causing harm to others - is really causing harm to yourself with the natural law of Kamma
The Middle way#
When the mind holds onto things too tightly, the mind is muddled and unconcentrated. The mind does not perform optimally. When the mind is too loose, the mind is muddled and unconcentrated as complacency and laziness will arise.
A Practitioner will need to find the middle where it can pursue goals and objectives but also find time for rest and relaxation.
the goal is not to be happy. The goal is to be peaceful, calm, serene, and content with joy or to be “satisfied with what is”, “satisfied the way things are”
It simply means that when we feel those emotions, we need to recognize them as being impermanent and train the mind to come back to the middle where it can reside peaceful, calm, serene, and content with joy.
Apply effort to bring the mind to the middle.
If energy is aroused too forcefully this leads to restlessness, and if energy is too soft this leads to complacency.
The Three Unwholesome Roots (Three Poisons / Three Fires)#
- Greed - Desire
- Hatred - Ill will
- Delusion - Confusion
The Elimination through:
- Non-craving - generosity and breathing-mindfulness meditation
- Non-anger - loving-kindness, compassion, patience, forgiveness (to external and internal anger). Letting go of loneliness, hurt, doubt, fear, insecurity, inadequacy and depression - this is habitual defence that does not serve us. Treating all beings polite, kind, friendly, and respectful without any interest in anything in return.
- Non-ignorance - wisdom, right view, learning - removing self centered desires.
The poison of craving creates an inner hunger so that we always seem to be chasing an unattainable goal. We mistakenly believe our contentedness is dependent upon that goal.
The Natural Law of Kamma#
Each person has 100% ability to make decisions in their life, these are personal choices.
While laws of society are defined and enforced by human beings, which means errors are introduced.
Rebirth occurs when craving from an existence has not yet been extinguished.
There is no such thing as a wholesome craving/desire/attachment as all cravings will produce discontentedness
- Discontendness is the warning light for craving - cut off the feeling
- One needs to have awareness - to recognise these unwholesome qualities - reflect on it
- Develop a plan to eliminate the craving/wanting - meditation trains the mind to be able to let go
Brahma-viharas (Healthy Mental States)#
- Loving kindness - good-will, interest in being well for all beings
- remedy for anger, hatred, ill will, hostility, aggression, and other harsh intentions, speech, and actions. Arrogance, conceit.
- Compassion - concern for misfortunes
- remedy for lack of care and indifference
- Sympathetic joy - joy for other’s success
- remedy for envy, jealousy, and pride
- Equanimity - mental calmness and composure, eveness of temper in all situations - treating everyone impartially
- remedy for overactive mind that has restlessness and worry. Eliminate measuring and comparing.
- True love is to have care for another person not needing or wanting anything specific from the relationship other than to see that person be well and peaceful.
- Love rooted in expectation and obligation is not true love.
- Love yourself. Love others.
- If we judge ourself, we often judge others as well, causing the mind to be discontent.
- Love as it is or as they are - not unrealistic expectations
Note on parents: Our parents are rarely going to meet the expectations we have of a “perfect parent”. If we eliminate the expectations (i.e. the cravings/desires/attachments), and understand we have the parents we have and then be thankful for the life that they have given us and guided and cared for us, then perhaps we can eliminate whatever expectations we have and provide them unconditional “true love” that guides them in virtuous behavior, generosity, and wisdom.
Note on life partner: You will most likely not find perfection or the person of your dreams because that person only exists in the mind.
- It is the mental attachments to the past experiences that is causing the mind to be discontent and fearful
- Put the mind in situation that it is fearful of in order to remove the fear
Conformity does not lead to Enlightenment
Buddha taught us to be humble, peaceful, calm, polite, kind, friendly, and respectful.
We have such a strong craving to exist that we continue to exist on this planet and oftentimes search for meaning or purpose in life. This outward searching and seeking importance is just the human ego seeking significance. The ego wants the purpose.
There is no purpose. Dissolve the ego.
An Enlightened mind is liberated from the outward seeking and searching for satisfaction based on impermanent conditions and is inwardly peaceful, calm, serene, and content with joy - permanently.
Inside You is Nothing, Nothing at All#
In my third year as a monk, I had doubts about the nature of samadhi and wisdom. Really desiring to experience samadhi, I strove ceaselessly in my practice. As I sat in meditation, I would try to figure out the process, and therefore my mind was especially distracted. When I did nothing in particular and was not meditating, I was fine. But when I determined to concentrate my mind, it would become extremely agitated.
“What’s going on?” I wondered. “Why should it be like this?” After a while, I realized that concentration is like breathing. If you determine to force your breaths to be deep or shallow, fast or slow, breathing becomes difficult. But when you are just walking along, not aware of your inhalation and exhalation, breathing is natural and smooth. In the same way, any attempt to force yourself to become tranquil is just an expression of attachment and desire and will prevent your attention from settling down.
We are constantly trying to reaffirm self. Which already shows that this “self” is a very fragile and rather wispy sort of affair, because if it weren’t why would we constantly have to reaffirm it? Why are we constantly afraid of the “self” being threatened of its being insecure, of its not getting what it needs for survival? If it were such a solid entity as we believe it to be, we would not feel threatened so often.
Buddha compared listeners to four different kinds of clay vessels. The first clay vessel is one that has holes at the bottom. If you pour water into it, it runs right out. In other words, whatever you teach that person is useless. The second clay vessel he compared to one that had cracks in it. If you pour water into it, the water seeps out. These people cannot remember. Cannot put two and two together. Cracks in the understanding. The third listener he compared to a vessel that was completely full. Water cannot be poured in for it’s full to the brim. Such a person, so full of views he can’t learn anything new! But hopefully, we are the fourth kind. The empty vessels without any holes or cracks. Completely empty.