In training the mind, perspective is of crucial importance. We cannot expect to transform our minds in a few minutes or even a few weeks, thinking, perhaps, that the blessings of an enlightened individual will enable us to obtain immediate results. Such an attitude is not realistic. It takes a long time, sometimes years or even decades; but if we persevere, there is no doubt we will make progress. ~ His Holiness. The 14th Dalai Lama
When we look around us, we can see that nothing exists in isolation, which is another way of saying that everything is interdependent. Everything depends upon an infinite number of causes and conditions to come into being, arise, and fall away moment by moment. Because they are interdependent, things don’t possess a true existence of their own. For instance, how could we separate a flower from the many causes and conditions that produce it —water, soil, sun, air, seed, and so forth? Can we find a flower that exists independently from these causes and conditions? Everything is so intricately connected, it is hard to point to where one thing starts and another ends. This is what is meant by the illusory or empty nature of phenomena.
Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche, “The Theater of Reflection”
‘We’re in This Together
People need to see that if you hurt another person, you hurt yourself, and if you hurt yourself, you’re hurting another person. And then to begin to see that we are not in this alone. We are in this together. For me, that’s where the true morality comes from. ~ Pema Chödrön, “No Right, No Wrong”
Learning to care for ourselves and understanding that we are really in this together will help not only us but our world. It is my heart-felt wish that the worlds have peace. And this can only happen when we recognize that we are ALL in this together…Pema does such a great job in this article…please read it ..you will be happy you did!
May all sentient beings have happiness …always. _/!_
As I have just finished reading a translation of ‘The Bodhicaryavatara’ by Santideva (Shantideva), I wondered, ‘how will I retain all this great wisdom?’ . For me, re-reading a book will give me more insight…for invariably I will have pass over some of this and some of that….but also…at times my mind is not ready to understand the full depth of a verse or a passage…and then the next time I read it …a light goes off…’Ah! Now I see better’.
From the back cover of this edition:
‘Written in India in the early eighth century AD, Santideva’s Bodhicaryavatara became one of the more popular accounts of the Buddhist spiritual path.’ One could ask ‘why this writing is so popular?’
Here my dear reader is an example: Perfection of Meditative Absorption, verse 135 – ‘If one does not let go of self one cannot let go of suffering, as one who does no let go of fire cannot let go of burning.’ With this single verse…if our mindstream is ready…we can make a direct connection between burning and suffering. but if you are me….it will take many more readings and many meditations to fully release.
So do I suggest this book to read? Yes. Make that a large caps Yes. 🙂 I had borrowed the book from our Monastery library…loved it so much bought my own copy from a used book store.
A last bit from the back cover: ‘Important as a manual of training among Mahayana Buddhists, especially in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the Bodhicaryavatara is still used by modern Buddhist teachers.’ I agree. This book is a manual and that is how I read it. It is not always pleasant to read …some verses are grisly…’meat from skeleton’ …yet it is meant to be an awakening…to how reality is…not how we perceive it.
Enjoy! ~ Debra Saturday
Praise of Awakening Mind, verse 1 (24 seconds long)
I am testing a new type of post (for TBLC): an Audio post. This idea has been tumbling around in my mind for a few weeks.
‘The Bodhicaryavatara’ by Santideva (Shantideva) is a most wonderful jewel. I hope to write a review in the next few weeks, but for now….I can only hope my voice does some justice to this treasure.
Om Mani Padme Hum
What else needs to be said about a classic? This book literally changed my life. When I first read the book I was in a really bad spot in my life and need to “change my perspective” and sure enough this book taught me how.
The 10th chapter of the book is entitled “Shifting Perspective”. His Holiness explains his philosophy on perspective as such “The ability to look at events from different perspectives can be very helpful. Then, practicing this, one can use certain experiences, certain tragedies to develop a calmness of mind. One must realize that every phenomena, every event, has different aspects. Everything is of a relative nature.” He goes on to explain that allowing our perspective to be so narrow and self-center just furthers our problems and doesn’t allow us to see solutions.
The book, in my opinion, is required reading for anyone. It isn’t a Buddhist book, it’s a wonderful self discovery book written by a psychiatrist and a monk. The discussions are incredibly relevant to our busy, over-loaded society where issues of anxiety, depression, anger far outweigh those instances of true sublime happiness. We all need to learn this Art of Happiness. ~ Digging_the _Dharma
‘Ending The Pursuit Of Happiness’ by Barry Magid
How many times in your Buddhist studies have you heard, “May you be happy ” or countless variations. How many of us have struggled attempting to be happy all the time like the the literature and some teachers seem to suggest?
Well relax. You don’t need to be happy every minute of the day. As stated in the quote above, you need to be free; then happiness will pass through your life freely along with sorrow, pain, anger and all the complex emotions that make up being human. To cling to happiness is as much an error as clinging to unhappiness. Neither has any permanence. They come and go.
Using a well known story to illustrate the point.: A husband asked a Zen master to intercede on his behalf with his wife. She had a very uncharitable nature. The Zen master went before her and put his fist under her nose and said “If your hand was always like this what would you call it?” “Deformed.”, she said He then held his hand wide open and again asked the same question. She answered the same, “Deformed” He then said, “If you know that much you are a good wife” and walked away.
It may be that there is a tendency in the teaching of Buddhism to assume that we are all so enmeshed in the First Noble Truth of suffering that we need to be firmly directed to a happier place. This is not without merit as long as we eventually realize that there is no escape from suffering. Life is suffering. We just learn, eventually, not to cling to it just as we learn not to cling to happiness.
Happiness is a byproduct of not clinging. It is not a goal. It cannot be forced by an act of will. Clinging less allows more space in our lives for happiness to enter naturally.