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Denis Wallez
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«Intentions do matter.»
«Intentions do matter.»

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Feelings are a mirror of our thoughts… thus, if our thoughts are distorted, our feelings are unreliable.
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No mud, no lotus

Practice 'patience'… Then catch yourself in a moment of impatience, and investigate!
You might discover e.g. that your patience is conditioned by freshness and energy, e.g. that being tired makes you a lot less likely to manifest patience.
Then, you have at least two directions to work on:
• how to cultivate circumstances that support freshness and energy?
• how to strengthen patience (i.e. ground it in complementary aspects) so it may be manifested even when tired?

"Insight" is found through enquiry, not only into Dhamma concepts and theories, but also into practical experiences.


"It's the way things are" or "That's who I am" perpetuate blindness and ignorance. Enquiry offers no warranty of 'solution', of 'insight', of anything… but without enquiry, change is merely manifesting usual tendencies (which, as it happens, do not lead to a satisfactory life, for most people: "that's who I am, perpetually dissatisfied, complaining, blaming, finger-pointing, and longing for more (fill-in-blank)" ?).

#Buddhism #mindfulness
image: gilt-bronze figure of Buddha (15th c.)
Buddhism has no specific guideline on supporting teachers, it simply asks for you to consider causality: if you want this living tradition to survive, how are you participating, in practical terms, to make this happen? Nice words, exposure or social media ‘+1’ might feel good, but they do not actually help with the basic necessities: koan.mu/donate.htm
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Why grasping at oneself creates suffering

The suffering comes from projections / expectations based on how you 'define' ('grasp') yourself. The 'issue' is that reality constantly challenges whatever definition you give of yourself, which may trigger disappointment, fear/defensiveness, confusion/anguish (we feel reassured/secured when we 'know', i.e. when we feel we can 'predict', and anxious when 'out of control'… we'd rather lie to ourselves than admit that the contingent life is out of control, but lying doesn't prevent you from hitting a wall).

For example, people might think "I'm meritorious" and expect that, thanks to their 'merit', this-or-that should happen (or not happen), so one day you'll hear "I'm meritorious, so why the hell is this happening to me? it's not fair… bla bla bla".
Or people might think "I'm strong/clever, I should be able to do this" and then they meet some disappointment, and suffer from having to shatter the illusion of strength… "I'm such a weakling, it's hopeless…"
The moment you identify with a characteristic, you'll have associated expectations, and some will not be met. You might then blame the characteristic (e.g. for not being developed enough) or your grasping of it (e.g. for lying to yourself about the reliability of said characteristic)… but overall you'll have to experience a loss, and renewed confusion about who you are, what you might count on, what you can or cannot do (incl. to end your stress, incl. not to grasp erroneously again [at the next trait which shall capture your attention]), etc.

The problem with grasping at the self is that it keeps biasing your response to life, and biases create subsequent difficulties.
Whatever your definition of yourself, you'll end up asking "why is this happening to me?" and the moment you "take things personally", you will favour sub-optimal responses to the circumstances at hand, sub-optimal because you'll become blind to the bigger picture by focusing too much on a small part of it: 'you'.
Sammādiṭṭhi is usually translated "right view" for historical reasons, but "complete view" would be a better translation (as in "the big picture", beyond the self, inclusive of the self but also of all other perspectives… thus beyond the self without suppressing the self).
Only by perceiving all the information available can you provide one of the most constructive responses (there might be several, equivalently 'good', responses, to choose from… and equivalence means it's somehow irrelevant which one you choose, but choosing is necessary not to stay stuck). Sub-optimal responses will naturally prove (slightly or majorly) disappointing in the long run, by definition. Disappointing or… "unsatisfactory" (dukkha).


#Buddhism #Dharma
Illustration: "Kate Moss" gold statue by Marc Quinn
Buddhism has no specific guideline on supporting teachers, it simply asks for you to consider causality: if you want this living tradition to survive, how are you participating, in practical terms, to make this happen? Nice words, exposure or social media ‘+1’ might feel good, but they do not actually help with the basic necessities: koan.mu/donate.htm
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You're not your own; yet you're your own refuge?

"I have sons, I have wealth"; with this (feeling of attachment) the fool is afflicted. Indeed, he himself is not his own, how can sons and wealth be his?
— Dhp 62

The lack of ownership over oneself ( atta hi attano natthi ) can be understood in the same way as one doesn't truly own wealth: you might delude yourself about ownership, but your wealth might all disappear overnight (by a wide variety of circumstances, from theft or betrayal to natural disaster…). Sons may die before their parents (contrarily to the supposed 'natural order of things'), or rebel against their education, cut ties, even betray and kill their parents! In the same way, you might delude yourself about controlling your body or your mind or your perceptions, but any of these might be unexpectedly affected by a wide variety of circumstances (and first and foremost: you don't know when you'll die) beyond your choosing.
Clinging to your body creates suffering e.g. as you age (i.e. as you get lost in measuring your loss by comparison to what you could do at a younger age, or how attractive you could be at a younger age), just like those clinging to wealth spend an inordinate amount of time lamenting after any substantial loss of wealth. Appreciating what you have requires letting go of whatever you thought you had under control (this is particularly obvious since such a thought has been proven wrong by subsequent events!).

This seems clear enough… until one continues reading the Dhammapada and reaches verse 160:
One indeed is one's own refuge; how can others be a refuge to one? With oneself thoroughly tamed, one can attain a refuge [the fruit of arahatship], which is so difficult to attain.
— Dhp 160

Hmmm…
So, one cannot rely on oneself, because whatever one calls 'me' (be it body, experience, 'values'/views, or consciousness) is not really under one's control… and yet one should rely only on oneself?
The plot thickens.

It's not just an issue of translations; even if the verb 'to be' (atthi) is implied (which is extremely common in pāḷi, so nothing special to be noted here), atta hi attano natho [atthi] in verse 160 clearly is the same sentence structure as in verse 62.


Fortunately, Kappa asked for clarifications ( Kappa māṇava pucchā, the questions of Kappa (Sn 5.11)) on the same topic: For those standing in the midst of the stream, when a perilous flood has arisen, for those oppressed by old age and death, declare an island, dear sir. Explain to me the island…

So the Buddha explained:
Owning nothing, taking nothing: this is the island with nothing further. I call this 'nibbāna', the extinction of old age and death. Having understood this, those mindful ones are quenched in this very life. They do not come under Māra's control, nor are they Māra's footmen.
— Sn 5.11

One indeed is one's own refuge, then, but this is not via ownership of some refuge or another, ownership which allows for some control; it is not via controlling and forcing specific mental states… The refuge is found in releasing the grasp, in letting go of delusions of control, of power to make reality comply with one's wishes: "nibbāna is peace" and humility, the end of an attempt to be God, the end of fighting to impose onto reality to do whatever I like and avoid whatever I dislike. As the Buddha states in the puppha sutta (SN 22.94): "I do not dispute with the world."
Nibbāna is found in understanding that some form of 'ownership' might be conventionally true at a given moment, but it is hardly inherent or unconditional; on the contrary, it is circumstantial, contingent upon an undecipherable web of interdependent conditions, and any attempt to make it permanent is a losing battle, a cause of stress, a fear vis-à-vis the inevitable and certain loss which is to come in due time.
Once you realise causality (e.g. in the form of "dependent origination", but there are many other causal chains), you stop fretting over the inevitable… which doesn't imply that you become indifferent, that you stop caring — you finally engage with whatever situation you're in with clarity over what's possible, what can be done, what can be brought about… and what amounts to mere delusional fantasies. You see how "wishful thinking" never was true 'care'.
A 'refuge' is what one can rely on, to avoid dangers: you will rely on letting go of 'ignorance', not on reaching a particular place/time. You're your own refuge precisely because there's nothing else and nowhere else you need to 'get', to 'own', to 'control'… yet you're not your own refuge by clinging to yourself, or to who you think you are, either; you're your own refuge because you are the one who can let go, no one else can let go in your stead.


#Buddhism #Dharma
Background stories of the Dhammapada verses:
http://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=062
http://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=160
Mentioned suttas:
https://suttacentral.net/sn22.94/en/bodhi
https://suttacentral.net/snp5.11/en/anandajoti (although I use bhikkhu Bodhi's translation above —the difference is worth studying!)
Buddhism has no specific guideline on supporting teachers, it simply asks for you to consider causality: if you want this living tradition to survive, how are you participating, in practical terms, to make this happen? Nice words, exposure or social media ‘+1’ might feel good, but they do not actually help with the basic necessities: http://koan.mu/donate.htm
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The rain dragon neither obscures nor fights the sun.
With it, the sun nurtures; without it, the sun burns;
each performs its function, and both support life.

A cloudy sky doesn't make a night,
a clear sky doesn't imply day time.

The sky lets dragon and sun play their parts.

#Zen #poetry
Buddhism has no specific guideline on supporting teachers, it simply asks for you to consider causality: if you want this living tradition to survive, how are you participating, in practical terms, to make this happen? Nice words, exposure or social media ‘+1’ might feel good, but they do not actually help with the basic necessities: koan.mu/donate.htm
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