Saturday, January 24, 2009

Loving Kindness

Loving Kindness

Thus have I heard:

On one occasion the Blessed One was living near Savatthi at Jetavana at Anathapindika's monastery. Then he addressed the monks saying, "Monks." — "Venerable Sir," said the monks, by way of reply. The Blessed One then spoke as follows:

"Monks, eleven advantages are to be expected from
the release (deliverance) of heart by familiarizing oneself with thoughts of loving-kindness (metta), by the cultivation of loving-kindness, by constantly increasing these thoughts, by regarding loving-kindness as a vehicle (of expression), and also as something to be treasured, by living in conformity with these thoughts, by putting these ideas into practice, and by establishing them. What are the eleven?

1. He sleeps in comfort.
2. He awakes in comfort.
3. He sees no evil dreams.

4. He is dear to human beings.
5. He is dear to non-human beings.
6. Devas (gods) protect him.
7. Fire, poison, and sword cannot touch him.
8. His mind can concentrate quickly.
9. His countenance is serene.
10. He dies without being confused in mind.
11. If he fails to attain arahantship (the highest sanctity)
and now, he will be reborn in the brahma-world.

"These eleven advantages, monks, are to be expected from the release of heart by familiarizing oneself with thoughts of loving-kindness, by cultivation of loving-kindness, by constantly increasing these thoughts, by regarding loving-kindness as a vehicle (of expression), and also as something to be treasured, by living in conformity with these thoughts, by putting these ideas into practice and by establishing them."

So, said the Blessed One. Those monks rejoiced at the words of the Blessed One.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

From a Distance (God is Watching Us)



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The Heart of Prajnaparamita Sutra -- "The Heart Sutra" on the Perfection of Wisdom


The Heart Sutra

Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, meditating deeply on Perfection of Wisdom, saw clearly that the five aspects of human existence [Skandhas] are empty*, and so released himself from suffering. Answering the monk Sariputra, he said this:

Body [form] is nothing more than emptiness,
emptiness is nothing more than body
[form].
The body
[form] is exactly empty,
and emptiness is exactly body
[form].

The other four aspects of human existence --
feeling, thought, will, and consciousness --
are likewise nothing more than emptiness,
and emptiness nothing more than they.

All things are empty:
Nothing is born, nothing dies,
nothing is pure, nothing is stained,
nothing increases and nothing decreases.

So, in emptiness, there is no body
[form],
no feeling, no thought,
no will, no consciousness.
There are no eyes, no ears,
no nose, no tongue,
no body, no mind.
There is no seeing, no hearing,
no smelling, no tasting,
no touching, no imagining.
There is nothing seen, nor heard,
nor smelled, nor tasted,
nor touched, nor imagined.

There is no ignorance,
and no end to ignorance.
There is no old age and death,
and no end to old age and death.
There is no suffering, no cause of suffering,
no end to suffering, no path to follow.
There is no attainment of wisdom,
and no wisdom to attain.

The Bodhisattvas rely on the Perfection of Wisdom,
and so with no delusions,
they feel no fear,
and have Nirvana here and now.

All the Buddhas,
past, present, and future,
rely on the Perfection of Wisdom,
and live in full enlightenment.

The Perfection of Wisdom is the greatest mantra.
It is the clearest mantra,
the highest mantra,
the mantra that removes all suffering.

This is truth that cannot be doubted.
Say it so:

Gaté,
gaté,
paragaté,
parasamgaté.
Bodhi!
Svaha!

Which means...

Gone,
gone,
gone over,
gone fully over.
Awakened!
So be it!

In the Arms of the Angel

This piece by Sarah McLachlan is a most compassionate and enlightened treatment of the existential suffering that so many, many of us have sought to relieve through drugs and alcohol; but we were eventually betrayed by addiction in that path.

Suffering is universal.
Some of us seem to suffer more than others. Perhaps our spirits are given to a level of sensitivity that seeks a spiritual experience with such unrelenting yearning that we become vulnerable to betrayal by empty promises, not realizing that the goal itself had become the obstacle.

There are other solutions, more drastic, more permanent -- "permanent solutions to temporary problems." But these too result from our cravings and from the insatiable appetites of the hungry ghosts we have become by dent of a demanding temperament and our longing for relief.


ANGEL

Spend all your time waiting

for that second chance,

for a break that would make it okay.


There's always some reason

to feel not good enough,

and it's hard, at the end of the day.


I need some distraction,

Oh, beautiful release.

Memories seep from my veins.


Let me be empty,

Oh, and weightless,

And maybe I'll find some peace tonight.


CHORUS:

In the arms of the angel,

fly away from here,

from this dark, cold hotel room,
and the endlessness that you feel.


You are pulled from the wreckage,

Of your silent reverie.

You're in the arms of the angel,

may you find some comfort here.


So tired of the straight line,

and everywhere you turn,

there's vultures and thieves at your back.


The storm keeps on twisting.

Keep on building the lies

that you make up for all that you lack.


Don't make no difference,

escape one last time.

It's easier to believe in this sweet madness,

Oh, this glorious sadness,

that brings me to my knees.


REPEAT CHORUS:

You're
in the arms of the angel,
fly away from here,

from this dark, cold hotel room,
and the endlessness that you feel.


You are pulled from the wreckage,

Of your silent reverie.

You're in the arms of the angel,

may you find some comfort here.

Pali and Chinese canon text

  1. The Nature of Suffering (Dukkha):
    "This is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering."[9][10]
  2. Suffering's Origin (Samudaya):
    "This is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to renewed existence, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there, that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination."[9][10]
  3. Suffering's Cessation (Nirodha):
    "This is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, nonreliance on it."[9][10]
  4. The Way (Mārga) Leading to the Cessation of Suffering:
    "This is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: it is the Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration."[11][12]