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Denis Wallez
373,427 followers -
«Intentions do matter.»
«Intentions do matter.»

373,427 followers
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How to stop polluting our lives?
July 22nd–23rd, 2017

The theory of kamma primarily describes how our present acts will pollute our future. How did the Buddha introduce it?

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Comment arrêter de se polluer la vie ?
24–25 juin 2017

La théorie du kamma décrit avant tout comment nos actes présents vont polluer notre avenir. Comment le Bouddha l'a-t-il présentée ?

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In today’s video I share some practical wisdom I learned from the Buddhist teacher, Ajahn Brahm, which has helped me numerous times in my life when I have had to go through difficult or challenging situations.

I mean, let’s face it, our lives are full of constant challenges; we are always having to do things that we don’t enjoy. Whether it’s going to a job we’re not passionate about, or anything that brings up a lot of resistance in our mind.

So in this video I share with you this wonderful wisdom that we can apply to our life to help us find some peace and happiness, even when our days are filled with seemingly unpleasant experiences.


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« Life is uncertain. We never know what happens next. And yet, despite uncertainty, we continue to search for a place to rest. Trying to find security in a fluid and changing world defines our struggle as human beings — our predicament. »
— Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel, "The Power of An Open Question"

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Watch your "ordinary" mind, now, in your "ordinary" life, with all its unnecessary drama, not just when you're "practising"!

To know just how WILD a mind can get, even the most perfectly "ordinary" mind, all you have to do is to set your own mind free… and watch!

You may not recognise yourself! That's part of setting your mind free… free from yourself, from your past, from your well-planned future on its well-identified track, from your bourgeois / comfortable / predictable life…

You might grow, or you might crash, but you will for sure learn… learn a lot more than by clinging to prejudices and certainties about how life 'should' be: there's no learning while knowledge is fixed!

But since you cannot read the mind of anyone else, how else would you learn about the mind's functioning?

How else would you learn about freedom, about yourself, about engaging with the ineffable richness of experience, or about taking responsibility in a complicated world (which stubbornly refuses to comply to your wishes)?

And how useful would it be, anyway, to know how another mind functions, but not your own? Can you really assume all minds work in the exact same way?

So watching your own mind go wild, when freed from its 'little boxes' and preconceptions, is a path of learning. Going wild without paying attention to the show would most likely be pointless, but going wild 'mindfully' might be the fastest way to learn… Scary as hell, but fast ;P

This is the basis of Buddhist tantra: watching your mind while letting it function 'naturally'… without judging its craziness or imperfections.

In order to lead an 'awakened' life, the politically-correct, society-adjusted, orthodox teacher would suggest that you discipline your mind, make it pliant, cleanse it from all impurities in a systematic fashion, meditate, cultivate wholesome qualities like generosity… but can you really 'fix' your mind without understanding it first? If you work systematically, in fact, yes, you can! But it might take a long time; how long have you got? Do you know when you'll die? No? So… watch your "ordinary" mind, now, in your "ordinary" life, with all its unnecessary drama, not just when you're "practising"!


[ Note: watching your mind go wild doesn't necessarily imply acting it out, neither in speech nor in bodily action… At times, it may imply so, or benefit from doing so, in order to explore the 'unfolding', but be warned: that's a hard path to walk, because the feedback from the world might be pretty violent, and you cannot complain or close down, as you asked for feedback when you set this wheel in motion! ]

———

Zen Master Nan-yueh Huai-jang, Abbot of the Po-je Temple, noticed a young man meditating in the main shrine every afternoon. Huai-jang asked him kindly, "My friend, what are you doing here?"

The young man obviously did not like being disturbed and reluctantly answered, "Sitting in meditation."

"Why are you sitting in meditation?" asked Huai-jang again.

Quite perturbed, he nevertheless replied, "To become a Buddha!"

The Master continued to pursue his questioning in a kind manner, "How can you become a Buddha by sitting in meditation?"

This time, the bound man ignored the question to show his disdain for the talkative old monk.

Since Huai-jang could not attract the young man's attention by talking, he found a brick and began to rub it on the floor while sitting nearly. In the days that followed, whenever the young man came to meditate. Master Nan-yueh would return to his task of rubbing the brick. Finally, the young man could no longer suppress his curiosity and inquired, "What are you doing here every day, if I may ask?"

"Polishing the brick." Huai-jang declared.

"Why?" he queried.

"To make it into a mirror," replied Huai-jang.

"How can you turn the brick into a mirror?" the young man asked.

"If the brick can't become a mirror by being polished, how can you become a Buddha by meditating?"


#Buddhism #Tantra #Zen
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Not the most friendly of terms in these conversations, by modern day standards, not politically-correct, looking very harsh when taken out of context (not knowing the different characters, not knowing their relationships, not knowing what was exchanged previously)… and yet… 7 women awakened on that day?

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On how Vipassana meditation might help you get free from narratives, thus see history differently…

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Should we always use the 12 nidānas backward?

The 12 nidānas (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Nid%C4%81nas) can be seen as pretty depressing, since they go from "ignorance" to "suffering", and stop there. It looks pretty much one-way… and down-hill !

The classic use of that chain is to reverse it : If you want to avoid suffering, regress the causes and 'fix' (any) one of the links !
Classically (and in relation to the 2nd of the "4 noble truths"), one might try to fix e.g. the "clinging" step… or, in order to prevent any future / new clinging, one might try to fix "ignorance" itself.

This participates in presenting Buddhism as a "restraint only" approach: avoid this, refrain from doing that… This will echo most of the classic "precepts" or "rules of training".

But causality in Buddhism is never one-to-one but many-to-many. The Buddha might well mention a prerequisite or a condition, it never means it's the only one, because the context plays a part! Idem with consequences.
Thus I previously wrote about two versions of "dependent origination" from the Mahā-nidāna sutta (DN 15): one being the classic, though partial, chain —from "name-and-form" to "ageing and death" — and one being more social / societal —from "feeling" to "various evil, unskillful phenomena (the taking up of sticks and knives; conflicts, quarrels, and disputes; accusations, divisive speech, and lies)". Cf. plus.google.com/+DenisWallez/posts/gyr4iNrYS58, the 2 chains share a transition but differ regarding cause and consequence.

Many times one can find shortened versions of the 12 links in the suttas… but the Upanisā sutta (SN 12.23) also mentions an extended version (www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.023.bodh.html):
ignorance ⟹ kamma / fabrications ⟹ consciousness ⟹ name&form ⟹ six sense bases ⟹ contact ⟹ feeling ⟹ craving ⟹ clinging ⟹ becoming / existence ⟹ birth ⟹ unsatisfactoriness and then ⟹ conviction / faith (in the Dharma) ⟹ joy ⟹ rapture ⟹ serenity / tranquility ⟹ pleasure / happiness ⟹ concentration ⟹ knowledge & vision of things as they are ⟹ disenchantment ⟹ dispassion ⟹ liberation / release / emancipation ⟹ knowledge of destruction of the cankers (arahantship).

Hence, there's more than one way to use the classic, exemplary 12 links of dependent origination (pratītyasamutpāda,
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da), it's not always about reversing it…

"Suffering ⟹ lessons learnt ⟹ behavioural change / purification / progress ⟹ prevention of suffering" works too…

It might sound a bit more like "embracing life"… a bit less "avoiding" / "refraining" / "restraining". It might sound, in a way, like the premises of Mahāyāna (and its numberless Dharma gates)… if this helps !


#Buddhism
image: a large gilt-lacquered bronze figure of Buddha (16th c.)
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An abundance of "expedient means"

Once a butcher came to the Buddha, as he wanted to practice the Dharma… but he had family obligations, and his profession was in direct contradiction with what's usually defined as "right livelihood"… Even for a lay practitioner, this seemed pretty problematic!

And the Buddha said « No problem: simply start with a vow not to kill between sundown and sunrise… »
Now, that might seem as a less-than-demanding vow —"do not kill while you're asleep at night"?— but one has to start somewhere (www.koan.mu/gplus/Bz6MsUssDAG). And maybe it's not so obvious anyway, if some beasts regularly come near your house and you already have to overcome defensiveness not to automatically react with violence… Overcoming fear and violent defensiveness are big steps on the path!

There's an abundance of "expedient means", and it's better to seek how to integrate people into the sangha than to reject them based on righteous divisive views. This is the opposite of falling into "there is only one path to nirvāṇa" (www.koan.mu/gplus/AMTiDhCZeAa) or, worse, "my way is the only way".

Splitting the sangha is a major offence in Buddhism, and this takes a wider meaning that splitting a monastic community…
If life is your teacher (www.koan.mu/gplus/YA1HbEx27F7), if your enemy is your teacher (www.koan.mu/gplus/8aLL8FjQUs9), if bumping into hard stones teaches you something about your expectations —that life should comply to your wishes (www.koan.mu/gplus/K6NZcWtzScK) — then the sangha is everything and everyone… and "not splitting the sangha" then comes down to actually realising inter-dependence, and supporting all sentient beings around you…


Now, on paper, most people reading this might 'agree'… And yet how do they manifest it, when it comes to listening to Republicans in the US or to voters for the Front National in France? In the example above, the Buddha did not cling to his 'usual' advice (fit for most lay people, but not necessarily a one-size-fits-all answer!), he listened to the constraints and circumstances the butcher was describing. First, he just listened (www.koan.mu/gplus/64vMXWdHx2R). Then, and only then, he could creatively engage and propose a well-informed way forward. He didn't say "you should follow the Dharma appropriate for others", but he proposed a Dharma appropriate for this butcher, in his present situation!

Now, this is tough to do, and we're not perfect buddhas… but the attitude matters, intentions matter, so this is our opportunity, and a practice: to seek how to constructively interact with all, not just with those who agree with us or share dear views. And even if, at times, we might have to acknowledge we don't see a way to do so, then the practice of looking for ways, again and again, moment after moment (because conditions keep changing, and maybe there was no way one second ago but now there is!) will help us relinquish some views, some prejudices, some biases. The Buddha didn't say to the butcher « as long as you don't fit into this little box of requirements, I won't care about you. »


#Buddhism
photo: a bronze Buddha from Korea.
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