restless peasant: life, changing :

Mara, The Evil One

Enlightenment, or simply clear vision and freedom from, or at least deep knowledge and understanding of the force of the duality in everyone of us can bring about a mind state that just can’t be bothered by anything or anyone, regardless of their deviousness and trickery.

Such a person, probably a regular meditator will immediately recognise the tempters, the demons, darks skies or booming oceans, all of which of course are within rather than out-with us.

All of these distractions are the Ego, the Resistance, the Monkey mind trying to outwit our instinct for what is right and true and loving. It’s all the stories we’ve ever been told. It’s Adam and Eve and their banishment from Eden, the Yin and the Yang. It’s the wicked witch, the ugly sisters and all wrapped up in our little divided heads. Sit under a tree for a while and find your true self…Fuck It!

 

So here we are at Mara, The Evil One, purportedly from ancient texts known as the Gospel of Buddha:

******************************************

Mara, The Evil One

THE Holy One directed his steps to that blessed Bodhitree beneath whose shade he was to accomplish his search. As he walked, the earth shook and a brilliant light transfigured the world. When he sat down the heavens resounded with joy and all living beings were filled with good cheer. Mara alone, lord of the five desires, bringer of death and enemy of truth, was grieved and rejoiced not. With his three daughters, Tanha, Raga and Arati, the tempters, and with his host of evil demons, he went to the place where the great samana sat. But Sakyamuni heeded him not. Mara uttered fear-inspiring threats and raised a whirlwind so that the skies were darkened and the ocean roared and trembled.

Oh no it’s the midnight hour
Don’t open the door
Don’t go to the edge of rainbows
Don’t sleep any more
You’ll dream evil

Dream Evil, Dio

But the Blessed One under the Bodhi-tree remained calm and feared not. The Enlightened One knew that no harm could befall him.

The three daughters of Mara tempted the Bodhisattva, but he paid no attention to them, and when Mara saw that he could kindle no desire in the heart of the victorious samana, he ordered all the evil spirits at his command to attack him and overawe the great muni. But the Blessed One watched them as one would watch the harmless games of children. All the fierce hatred of the evil spirits was of no avail. The flames of hell became wholesome breezes of perfume, and the angry thunderbolts were changed into lotus-blossoms.

When Mara saw this, he fled away with his army from the Bodhi-tree, whilst from above a rain of heavenly flowers fell, and voices of good spirits were heard: “Behold the great muni! his heart unmoved by hatred. The wicked Mara’s host ‘gainst him did not prevail. Pure is he and wise, loving and full of mercy. As the rays of the sun drown the darkness of the world, so he who perseveres in his search will find the truth and the truth will enlighten him.”


See all posts »

King Bimbisara 2…this time it’s personal

In King Bimbisara 2, we come up against the problem with desire. In too many ways in our modern society are we worried about the doing rather than the wanting to do!

At least once before on this blog I’ve begged the question, “what’s worse; the love of your life leaving you for another, or her/his desire to do so?”

Doesn’t matter in the end does it? The desire is as damaging as the doing. Something’s gone awry for the desire to take hold. The doing is simply a matter of will power or the lack of it. And that is sometimes out of our control.

Increasingly, brain scan images are being used in courts to prove or disprove culpability for crimes, whatever they are. Experiments on Impulse Control based on studies of the Anterior Cingulate Cortex have proved that some criminals know they’re doing wrong, but their brain won’t let them stop. Isn’t this a reason not to bang them up?

In the latest of our stories from the supposed gospel of the Buddha, King Bimbisara recognises the potential of this Buddha geezer for his kingdom. With these skills he could mesmerise (and ultimately exert more control) over his subjects.

Having got a knock-back from said Buddha whose powers he seems convinced of, he goes on to tell him that if he finds what he’s looking for, to come back and he’ll join his team. Not quite ready to give up the concubines and the comforts yet then…?

So here we are at King Bimbisara 2, purportedly from ancient texts known as the Gospel of Buddha:

******************************************

King Bimbisara

SIDDHATTHA had cut his waving hair and had exchanged his royal robe for a mean dress of the color of the ground. Having sent home Channa, the charioteer, together with the noble steed Kanthaka, to King Suddhodana to bear him the message that the prince had left the world, the Bodhisattva walked along on the highroad with a beggar’s bowl in his hand.

Yet the majesty of his mind was ill-concealed under the poverty of his appearance. His erect gait betrayed his royal birth and his eyes beamed with a fervid zeal for truth. The beauty of his youth was transfigured by holiness and surrounded his head like a halo. All the people who saw this unusual sight gazed at him in wonder. Those who were in haste arrested their steps and looked back; and there was no one who did not pay him homage.

Having entered the city of Rajagaha, the prince went from house to house silently waiting till the people offered him food. Wherever the Blessed One came, the people gave him what they had; they bowed before him in humility and were filled with gratitude because he condescended to approach their homes. Old and young people were moved and said: “This is a noble muni! His approach is bliss. What a great joy for us!”

Everybody’s got a hunger, a hunger they can’t resist,
There’s so much that you want, you deserve much more than this,
But if dreams came true, oh, wouldn’t that be nice,
But this ain’t no dream we’re living through tonight,
Girl, you want it, you take it, you pay the price. Prove it All Night, Bruce Springsteen

And King Bimbisara, noticing the commotion in the city, inquired the cause of it, and when he learned the news sent one of his attendants to observe the stranger. Having heard that the muni must be a Sakya and of noble family, and that he had retired to the bank of a flowing river in the woods to eat the food in his bowl, the king was moved in his heart; he donned his royal robe, placed his golden crown upon his head and went out in the company of aged and wise counselors to meet his mysterious guest.

The king found the muni of the Sakya race seated under a tree. Contemplating the composure of his face and the gentleness of his deportment, Bimbisara greeted him reverently and said: “O samana, thy hands are fit to grasp the reins of an empire and should not hold a beggar’s bowl. I am sorry to see thee wasting thy youth. Believing that thou art of royal descent, I invite thee to join me in the government of my country and share my royal power. Desire for power is becoming to the noble-minded, and wealth should not be despised. To grow rich and lose religion is not true gain. But he who possesses all three, power, wealth, and religion, enjoying them in discretion and with wisdom, him I call a great master.”

The great Sakyamuni lifted his eyes and replied: “Thou art known, O king, to be liberal and religious, and thy words are prudent. A kind man who makes good use of wealth is rightly said to possess a great treasure; but the miser who hoards up his riches will have no profit. Charity is rich in returns; charity is the greatest wealth, for though it scatters, it brings no repentance.

“I have severed all ties because I seek deliverance. How is it possible for me to return to the world? He who seeks religious truth, which is the highest treasure of all, must leave behind all that can concern him or draw away his attention, and must be bent upon that one goal alone. He must free his soul from covetousness and lust, and also from the desire for power.

“Indulge in lust but a little, and lust like a child will grow. Wield worldly power and you will be burdened with cares. Better than sovereignty over the earth, better than living in heaven, better than lordship over all the worlds, is the fruit of holiness. The Bodhisattva has recognized the illusory nature of wealth and will not take poison as food. Will a fish that has been baited still covet the hook, or an escaped bird love the net? Would a rabbit rescued from the serpent’s mouth go back to be devoured? Would a man who has burnt his hand with a torch take up the torch after he had dropped it to the earth? Would a blind man who has recovered his sight desire to spoil his eyes again?

“The sick man suffering from fever seeks for a cooling medicine. Shall we advise him to drink that which will increase the fever? Shall we quench a fire by heaping fuel upon it?

“I pray thee, pity me not. Rather pity those who are burdened with the cares of royalty and the worry of great riches. They enjoy them in fear and trembling, for they are constantly threatened with a loss of those boons on whose possession their hearts are set, and when they die they cannot take along either their gold or the kingly diadem.

“My heart hankers after no vulgar profit, so I have put away my royal inheritance and prefer to be free from the burdens of life. Therefore, try not to entangle me in new relationships and duties, nor hinder me from completing the work I have begun. I regret to leave thee. But I will go to the sages who can teach me religion and so find the path on which we can escape evil.

“May thy country enjoy peace and prosperity, and may wisdom be shed upon thy rule like the brightness of the noon-day sun. May thy royal power be strong and may righteousness be the scepter in thine hand.”

The king, clasping his hands with reverence, bowed down before Sakyamuni and said: “Mayest thou obtain that which thou seekest, and when thou hast obtained it, come back, I pray thee, and receive me as thy disciple.” The Bodhisattva parted from the king in friendship and goodwill, and purposed in his heart to grant his request.

 

 


See all posts »

Asalah Puja

Saturday marked the Buddhist Festival of Asalah Puja. Dr. Serena Nimityongskul joined us to talk about it this morning. Here’s a look at our conversation.

Guest: Asalha Puja day marks the completion of the Triple Gem in Buddhism, which consists of the Buddha himself, his teachings or the dharma, and the sangha or monastic community that spreads his teachings. Asalha Puja day is the ‘Dharma Day.’ On this day the Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining Enlightenment to the 5 ascetics with whom he once trained. One of them ordained…Read More

http://wkrg.com/2017/07/09/faith-time-asalah-puja-day/


See all posts »

King Bimbisara and the Purposeful Idle Life

The story of King Bimbisara underlines what a bugger it is when you’re down to your last faithful charioteer, but Siddartha is committed to this path. Don’t know what my wife and kids would think if I left here to go off with James the chauffeur, but as this is the supposed Gospel of Buddha, we can cut the guy some slack.

The charioteer thing is perhaps just a way of illustrating how high falutin’ this Buddha guy was and to emphasise the contrast with the life he is now entering. A life surrounded by real people with their worries, poverty, illness and daily pressures. The Orrrdnry People.

So called Gospels are always written way after the event and always by someone who has an ulterior motive for writing it in the first place.

The written words of those who come later and gospels in particular are to be taken with a pinch of cynicism.

Take William Wallace, Scotland’s greatest hero (nasty Irn Bru swilling separatist if you’re that pretend Scot David Cameron) in the medieval (early late 13th/early 14th centuries) wars of independence.

Did you know that the version of the life of William Wallace that spawned the film Braveheart, originates in a poem told by a geezer called Blind Harry written in the late 15th Century…quite a lot of water under the bridge by then and plenty of time for the Chinese whisper effect of continual passing on and of course revising and editing.

Contrast that with what we know about Vincent Van Gogh. Vincent was a painter as you know. However, he famously failed to make even a meagre living from painting during his short and troubled life. If you didn’t know the back story, would his paintings even raise an eyebrow these days? I’m not so sure, but his story is compelling and we know because of the hundreds of letters he and his brother exchanged, all of them preserved for posterity…first hand reports.

The reality of this story is that Siddartha appears to have sacrificed his own happiness in order to further the cause of the man in the street. By leaving behind his worldly riches and the comfort and safety of the Palace, he was putting his future well-being in the hands of the universe. It must have worked out well for him or we wouldn’t still be so fascinated by his every move and word 2500 years later if he had crashed and burned.

But of course, he hadn’t sacrificed his happiness. He’d already found enlightenment. The knowledge that there’s no birth and no death and that everything is interconnected and interdependent was his. All he now had to do was help others to see it too.

I think he was very well aligned with the noble life of the idler and good for him.

And so we come to the first part of the story called King Bimbisara

**************************************

King Bimbisara

“IT was night. The prince found no rest on his soft pillow; he arose and went out into the garden. “Alas!” he cried “all the world is full of darkness and ignorance; there is no one who knows how to cure the ills of existence.” And he groaned with pain.

Siddhattha sat down beneath the great jambu-tree and gave himself to thought, pondering on life and death and the evils of decay. Concentrating his mind he became free from confusion. All low desires vanished from his heart and perfect tranquility came over him.

In this state of ecstasy he saw with his mental eye all the misery and sorrow of the world; he saw the pains of pleasure and the inevitable certainty of death that hovers over every being; yet men are not awakened to the truth. And a deep compassion seized his heart.

While the prince was pondering on the problem of evil, he beheld with his mind’s eye under the jambu tree a lofty figure endowed with majesty, calm and dignified. “Whence comest thou, and who mayst thou be asked the prince.

In reply the vision said: “I am a samana. Troubled at the thought of old age, disease, and death I have left my home to seek the path of salvation. All things hasten to decay; only the truth abideth forever. Everything changes, and there is no permanency; yet the words of the Buddhas are immutable. I long for the happiness that does not decay; the treasure that will never perish; the life that knows of no beginning and no end. Therefore, I have destroyed all worldly thought. I have retired into an unfrequented dell to live in solitude; and, begging for food, I devote myself to the one thing needful.

Siddhattha asked: “Can peace be gained in this world of unrest? I am struck with the emptiness of pleasure and have become disgusted with lust. All oppresses me, and existence itself seems intolerable.”

The samana replied: “Where heat is, there is also a possibility of cold; creatures subject to pain possess the faculty of pleasure; the origin of evil indicates that good can be developed. For these things are correlatives. Thus where there is much suffering, there will be much bliss, if thou but open thine eyes to behold it. Just as a man who has fallen into a heap of filth ought to seek the great pond of water covered with lotuses, which is near by: even so seek thou for the great deathless lake of Nirvana to wash off the defilement of wrong. If the lake is not sought, it is not the fault of the lake. Even so when there is a blessed road leading the man held fast by wrong to the salvation of Nirvana, if the road is not walked upon, it is not the fault of the road, but of the person. And when a man who is oppressed with sickness, there being a physician who can heal him, does not avail himself of the physician’s help, that is not the fault of the physician. Even so when a man oppressed by the malady of wrong-doing does not seek the spiritual guide of enlightenment, that is no fault of the evil-destroying guide.”

The prince listened to the noble words of his visitor and said: “Thou bringest good tidings, for now I know that my purpose will be accomplished. My father advises me to enjoy life and to undertake worldly duties, such as will bring honor to me and to our house. He tells me that I am too young still, that my pulse beats too full to lead a religious life.”

The venerable figure shook his head and replied: “Thou shouldst know that for seeking a religious life no time can be inopportune.”

A thrill of joy passed through Siddhattha’s heart. “Now is the time to seek religion,” he said; “now is the time to sever all ties that would prevent me from attaining perfect enlightenment; now is the time to wander into homelessness and, leading a mendicant’s life, to find the path of deliverance.”

The celestial messenger heard the resolution of Siddhattha with approval. “Now, indeed he added, is the time to seek religion. Go, Siddhattha, and accomplish thy purpose. For thou art Bodhisatta, the Buddha-elect; thou art destined to enlighten the world. Thou art the Tathagata, the great master, for thou wilt fulfill all righteousness and be Dharmaraja, the king of truth. Thou art Bhagavat, the Blessed One, for thou art called upon to become the savior and redeemer of the world. Fulfill thou the perfection of truth. Though the thunderbolt descend upon thy head, yield thou never to the allurements that beguile men from the path of truth. As the sun at all seasons pursues his own course, nor ever goes on another, even so if thou forsake not the straight path of righteousness, thou shalt become a Buddha. Persevere in thy quest and thou shalt find what thou seekest. Pursue thy aim unswervingly and thou shalt gain the prize. Struggle earnestly and thou shalt conquer. The benediction of all deities, of all saints of all that seek light is upon thee, and heavenly wisdom guides thy steps. Thou shalt be the Buddha, our Master, and our Lord; thou shalt enlighten the world and save mankind from perdition.

“And yet this should not be. Idleness so called, which does not consist in doing nothing, but in doing a great deal not recognized in the dogmatic formularies of the ruling class, has as good a right to state its position as industry itself. It is admitted that the presence of people who refuse to enter in the great handicap race for sixpenny pieces, is at once an insult and a disenchantment for those who do.” An Apology for Idlers, Robert Louis Stevenson

Having thus spoken, the vision vanished, and Siddhattha’s heart was filled with peace. He said to himself: “I have awakened to the truth and I am resolved to accomplish my purpose. I will sever all the ties that bind me to the world, and I will go out from my home to seek the way of salvation. The Buddhas are beings whose words cannot fail: there is no departure from truth in their speech. For as the fall of a stone thrown into the air, as the death of a mortal, as the sunrise at dawn, as the lion’s roar when he leaves his lair, as the delivery of a woman with child, as all these things are sure and certain-even so the word of the Buddhas is sure and cannot fail. Verily I shall become a Buddha.”

The prince returned to the bedroom of his wife to take a last farewell glance at those whom he dearly loved above all the treasures of the earth. He longed to take the infant once more into his arms and kiss him with a parting kiss. But the child lay in the arms of his mother, and the prince could not lift him without awakening both. There Siddhattha stood gazing at his beautiful wife and his beloved son, and his heart grieved. The pain of parting overcame him powerfully. Although his mind was determined, so that nothing, be it good or evil, could shake his resolution, the tears flowed freely from his eyes, and it was beyond his power to check their stream. But the prince tore himself away with a manly heart, suppressing his feelings but not extinguishing his memory.

The Bodhisattva mounted his noble steed Kanthaka, and when he left the palace, Mara stood in the gate and stopped him: “Depart not, O my Lord,” exclaimed Mara. “In seven days from now the wheel of empire will appear, and will make thee sovereign over the four continents and the two thousand adjacent islands. Therefore, stay, my Lord.”

The Bodhisattva replied: “Well do I know that the wheel of empire will appear to me; but it is not sovereignty that I desire. I will become a Buddha and make all the world shout for joy.”

Thus Siddhattha, the prince, renounced power and worldly pleasures, gave up his kingdom, severed all ties, and went into homelessness. He rode out into the silent night, accompanied only by his faithful charioteer Channa. Darkness lay upon the earth, but the stars shone brightly in the heavens.”

**************************************

Some reading:

How to be Idle

How to be Free

An Apology for Idlers

 


See all posts »

The Three Woes

In The Three Woes we experience the very essence, the root of Buddhism, supposedly the catalyst for the Buddha’s quest for Nirvana as the story suggests. Previously insulated from the suffering of real life, after this day, Siddartha is said to have sat down under the Bhodi Tree for a very long time until he had gained enlightenment. This is the source of all Buddhist Meditation and the first of many Buddhism by Numbers stories. If you go on to seek more information about Buddhism, then you’ll find a lot of numbered lists like this: the 3 woes, the 8 fold path, the 4 noble truths etc etc.

At first it might seem futile to sit under a tree, meditating in order to overcome these 3 woes. To our minds looking through the lens of western modernity, it seems daft to think you could sit under a tree and somehow overcome what is after all, inevitable. Many of us will get sick, most of us get old and all of us die.

So what’s the point of this, it’s insurmountable surely?

From my own experience I can tell you this:

For many years, I wanted to kill myself from time to time. First when I was 21 and felt lonely, I couldn’t see a way forward in life and I had a big depressive episode that troubled me greatly, scared me even. I actually sat down and thought seriously about ending it all. That term, it all, is at the very heart of this, so bear that in mind.

I got over that spell, and, still alive I set about the rest of my life, sometimes happy enough, but a lot of times completely out of it with doubt, worry, loneliness etc.

Further suicidal episodes occurred, and with each one I got closer and closer to actually doing it. In my late 40’s by this time, I happened upon a very small ad in my local newspaper  that said something like Learn Meditation at Local Buddhist Group.

Well out of my comfort zone I went along and continued to go long for 5 years to a meditation session one night each week. I met a lot of people who either wanted to kill themselves or had actually tried to and failed, along with many others who all had issues. I soon realised that everyone has issues.

Our group is now disbanded, I don’t want to kill myself anymore and I’m content with my life. If you feel like killing yourself, please seek help and learn to meditate.

Of course I learned to meditate. We mostly used a simple mindfulness of breathing technique. Simply put this means that you focus your attention on the mechanism of breathing. When your mind wanders, you bring it back to the breathing.

There are some deep lessons you subconsciously learn from doing this:

I know this sounds airy fairy, but language is our worst enemy in much of this. The terms we use reinforce the myth of the self. It’s a human trait, linked to language and it is exploited by the capitalist, consumerist society we live in. If you feel bad, you’ll buy more stuff. And you’ll feel bad if you believe that you can improve your “self”. Accepting that you are already as perfect as you’ll ever need to be is the key to letting go of ego.

“Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace”; Imagine, John Lennon

Additionally, language and religion gives us ideas like coming into and leaving the world. To use a coarse, Scottish term, this is pish. Every atom and sub atomic particle of your body has been here, in the world, forever as we think of it. You were born from the world, not into it and when you die, you ain’t going anywhere, just staying here and your component atoms will become parts of millions of different organisms. I reckon that this is where the idea of reincarnation comes from.

When you see and accept this, there is no it all to end anymore, so stick with it!

I could write a million words about my experience with this, but then I’d just be writing about me me, me…it’s all about ME!!!  🙂 Enjoy the tale of The Three Woes.

************************************

So here we are at The Three Woes, purportedly from ancient texts known as the Gospel of Buddha:

The Three Woes

“THE palace which the king had given to the prince was resplendent with all the luxuries of India; for the king was anxious to see his son happy. All sorrowful sights, all misery, and all knowledge of misery were kept away from Siddhattha, for the king desired that no troubles should come nigh him; he should not know that there was evil in the world.

But as the chained elephant longs for the wilds of the jungles, so the prince was eager to see the world, and he asked his father, the king, for permission to do so. And Suddhodana ordered a jewel-fronted chariot with four stately horses to be held ready, and commanded the roads to be adorned where his son would pass.

The houses of the city were decorated with curtains and banners, and spectators arranged themselves on either side, eagerly gazing at the heir to the throne. Thus Siddhattha rode with Channa, his charioteer, through the streets of the city, and into a country watered by rivulets and covered with pleasant trees.

There by the wayside they met an old man with bent frame, wrinkled face and sorrowful brow, and the prince asked the charioteer: “Who is this? His head is white, his eyes are bleared, and his body is withered. He can barely support himself on his staff.”

The charioteer, much embarrassed, hardly dared speak the truth. He said: “These are the symptoms of old age. This same man was once a suckling child, and as a youth full of sportive life; but now, as years have passed away, his beauty is gone and the strength of his life is wasted.”

Siddhattha was greatly affected by the words of the charioteer, and he sighed because of the pain of old age. “What joy or pleasure can men take,” he thought to himself, when they know they must soon wither and pine away!”

And lo! while they were passing on, a sick man appeared on the way-side, gasping for breath, his body disfigured, convulsed and groaning with pain. The prince asked his charioteer: “What kind of man is this?” And the charioteer replied and said: “This man is sick. The four elements of his body are confused and out of order. We are all subject to such conditions: the poor and the rich, the ignorant and the wise, all creatures that have bodies are liable to the same calamity.”

And Siddhattha was still more moved. All pleasures appeared stale to him, and he loathed the joys of life.

The charioteer sped the horses on to escape the dreary sight, when suddenly they were stopped in their fiery course. Four persons passed by, carrying a corpse; and the prince, shuddering at the sight of a lifeless body, asked the charioteer: “What is this they carry? There are streamers and flower garlands; but the men that follow are overwhelmed with grief!”

The charioteer replied: “This is a dead man: his body is stark; his life is gone; his thoughts are still; his family and the friends who loved him now carry the corpse to the grave.” And the prince was full of awe and terror: “Is this the only dead man, he asked, or does the world contain other instances?”

With a heavy heart the charioteer replied: “All over the world it is the same. He who begins life must end it. There is no escape from death.”

With bated breath and stammering accents the prince exclaimed: “O worldly men! How fatal is your delusion! Inevitably your body will crumble to dust, yet carelessly, unheedingly, ye live on.” The charioteer observing the deep impression these sad sights had made on the prince, turned his horses and drove back to the city.

When they passed by the palace of the nobility, Kisa Gotami, a young princess and niece of the king, saw Siddhattha in his manliness and beauty, and, observing the thoughtfulness of his countenance, said: “Happy the father that begot thee, happy the mother that nursed thee, happy the wife that calls husband this lord so glorious.”

The prince hearing this greeting, said: “Happy are they that have found deliverance. Longing for peace of mind, I shall seek the bliss of Nirvana.”

Then asked Kisa Gotami: “How is Nirvana attained?” The prince paused, and to him whose mind was estranged from wrong the answer came: “When the fire of lust is gone out, then Nirvana is gained; when the fires of hatred and delusion are gone out, then Nirvana is gained; when the troubles of mind, arising from blind credulity, and all other evils have ceased, then Nirvana is gained!”

Siddhattha handed her his precious pearl necklace as a reward for the wisdom she had inspired in him, and having returned home looked with disdain upon the treasures of his palace.

His wife welcomed him and entreated him to tell her the cause of his grief. He said: “I see everywhere the impression of change; therefore, my heart is heavy. Men grow old, sicken, and die. That is enough to take away the zest of life.”

The king, his father, hearing that the prince had become estranged from pleasure, was greatly overcome with sorrow and like a sword it pierced his heart.”

************************************

Books that might help:

Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill

The Miracle of Mindfulness

Practicing the Power of Now


See all posts »

The Ties of Life

Breaking News: Peaceful Couple Have a Baby

Well, when do we ever see stories like this in our little drama filled lives these days? Can you imagine the Daily Mail running this on the front page?

A good news story, yes. But one with deeper meaning than the event itself. OK there’s a bit of spin as you’d expect. This guy Siddhattha sounds too good to be true. I bet he swatted a few mosquitoes in his time, got a bit pissed off when the gardeners disturbed his meditation, had a pollen allergy?

If someone else is telling the story, you can bet it’s been spun somewhat to fit their own agenda. What can that agenda be here? It’s possible to just knuckle down and be happy Peasants, you don’t have to cause trouble for your overlords. Just accept your simple life and don’t be too ambitious or covetous of what we have!

Maybe I’m being too cynical, it isn’t after all a story to make us aware of the need to worship the new baby as in Christianity. Maybe the Ties of Life is just to show us that even the Buddha has to do normal everyday stuff and that he does it without question.

Even though he’s stronger in will, mind and body than everyone else, he’s just a geezer like you and me. His peace, however, comes from a special place…inside.

In life, every day, we can choose our locus of control. Is it going to be external…the drama and repeats of television and the media where we say “I was robbed, lied to, abused, under privileged, therefore I failed at my task and I’m unhappy” ?

or

“You sit and wonder just who’s gonna stop the rain
Who’ll ease the sadness, who’s gonna quiet the pain
It’s a long dark highway and a thin white line
Connecting baby, your heart to mine
We’re runnin’ now but darlin’ we will stand in time
To face the ties that bind
The ties that bind
Now you can’t break the ties that bind
You can’t forsake the ties that bind” Bruce Springsteen; The Ties That Bind

Can we choose to have an Internal locus of control:

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong choice of clothes”…Billy Connolly

And of course there’s the metaphor of the child as the earth with the Buddha as the loving father.

It won’t catch on of course, tomorrow someone will have eaten someone’s hamster and we’ll be back to our normal little melodramatic “selves”, if we choose to.

And Importance?…what of Importance, Priorities? The Buddha seems to know that the importance of our attention should be on those Ties that Bind…family, peace, the environment that nourishes us and of course the inner peace that comes with the ability to direct one’s attention to one thing at a time.

Bringing me back to the very essence of why Restless Peasant even exists…we can choose to be free and happy…

Meditation helps of course

************************************

The Ties Of Life

From the so called Gospel of Buddha

“WHEN Siddhattha had grown to youth, his father desired to see him married, and he sent to all his kinsfolk, commanding them to bring their princesses that the prince might select one of them as his wife.

But the kinsfolk replied and said: “The prince is young and delicate; nor has he learned any of the sciences. He would not be able to maintain our daughter, and should there be war he would be unable to cope with the enemy.”

The prince was not boisterous, but pensive in his nature. He loved to stay under the great jambu-tree in the garden of his father, and, observing the ways of the world, gave himself up to meditation. And the prince said to his father: “Invite our kinsfolk that they may see me and put my strength to the test.” And his father did as his son bade him.

When the kinsfolk came, and the people of the city Kapilavatthu had assembled to test the prowess and scholarship of the prince, he proved himself manly in all the exercises both of the body and of the mind, and there was no rival among the youths and men of India who could surpass him in any test, bodily or mental. He replied to all the questions of the sages; but when he questioned them, even the wisest among them were silenced.

Then Siddhattha chose himself a wife. He selected his cousin Yasodhara, the gentle daughter of the king of Koli. In their wedlock was born a son whom they named Rahula which means “fetter” or “tie,” and King Suddhodana, glad that an heir was born to his son, said: “The prince having begotten a son, will love him as I love the prince. This will be a strong tie to bind Siddhattha’s heart to the interests of the world, and the kingdom of the Sakyas will remain under the scepter of my descendants.”

With no selfish aim, but regarding his child and the people at large, Siddhattha, the prince, attended to his religious duties, bathing his body in the holy Ganges and cleansing his heart in the waters of the law. Even as men desire to give happiness to their children, so did he long to give peace to the world.”

************************************

Books to read:

Life with Full Attention

The Journey and the Guide

 


See all posts »

Subscribe: rss | email | twitter | +