Let me tell you about the middle path. Dressing
in rough and dirty garments, letting your hair grow matted, abstaining
from eating any meat or fish, does not cleanse the one who is
deluded. Mortifying the flesh through excessive hardship does
not lead to a triumph over the senses. All self-inflicted suffering
is useless as long as the feeling of self is dominent.
You should lose your involvement with yourself and then eat and
drink naturally, according to the needs of your body. Attachment
to your appetites - whether you deprive or indulge them - can
lead to slavery, but satisfying the needs of daily life is not
wrong. Indeed, to keep a body in good health is a duty, for otherwise
the mind will not stay strong and clear."
'I've got children', 'I've got wealth.' This is the way a fool brings
He does not even own himself, so how can he have children or wealth?
Surely, the path that leads to wordly gain in one, and the path that leads to Nibbana is another; understanding this, the Bhikkhu, the disciple of the Buddha, should not rejoice in worldly favours, but cultivate detachment.
Dhammapada v. 75
A man who gives way to pleasure will be swept away by craving and his thoughts will make him suffer, like waves.
Dhammapada v. 339
Just consider...Suppose we came to possess a very expensive object. The
minute that thing comes into our possession our mind changes...'Now, where can
I keep it? If I leave it there somebody might steal it'...We worry ourselves
into a state, trying to find a place to keep it. And when did the mind change?
It changed the minute we obtained that object -- suffering arose right then.
No matter where we leave that object we can't relax, so we're left with trouble.
Whether sitting, walking, or lying down, we are lost in worry.
Question: Wouldn't life be boring without attachment?
Answer: No. In fact it's attachment that makes us restless and prevents us from enjoying
things. For example, suppose we're attached to chocolate cake. Even while we're
eating it, we're not tasting it and enjoying it completely. We're usually either
criticizing ourselves for eating something fattening, comparing the taste of
this chocolate cake to other cakes we've eaten in the past, or planning how
to get another piece. In any case, we're not really experiencing the chocolate
cake in the present.
On the other hand, without attachment, we can think clearly about whether we
want to eat the cake, and if we decide to, we can eat it peacefully, tasting
and enjoying every bite without craving for more or being dissatisfied because
it isn't as good as we expected. As we diminish our attachment, life becomes
more interesting because we're able to open up to what's happening in each moment.
Thubten Chodron, Buddhism for Beginners
Hundreds of stupid flies gather
On a piece of rotten meat,
Enjoying, they think, a delicious feast.
This image fits with the song
Of the myriads of foolish living beings
Who seek happiness in superficial pleasures;
In countless ways they try,
Yet I have never seen them satisfied.
7th Dalai Lama from 'Songs
of spiritual change' translated by Glenn Mullin
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
We must attempt the impossible. I am convinced that if we continue to follow a social model that is entirely conditioned by money and power, and that takes so little account of true values such as love and altruism, future generations may have to face far worse problems and endure even more terrible forms of suffering.
...Each one of us lacks one thing or another. I am not exactly sure what we lack, but I can feel we lack something. In the West, even if at the moment you are going through a crisis, you actually have everything, or at least you think you do; all kinds of material goods are there, and are no doubt distributed better than they were in the past. But it seems to me that you are living in a constant state of tension, in an atmosphere of never-ending competitiveness and fear. And those who are brought up in such an atmosphere will find themselves lacking all their lives: they will not know that wonderful quality of depth and intimacy that is the richness of life. They will stay on the surface of the troubled sea, without ever knowing the calm that lies beneath.
The Dalai Lama's Little Book of Inner Peace: The Essential Life and Teachings
We should be contented in material areas, for those are bound by limitation, but not with regard to the spiritual, which can be extended limitlessly. Though it is true that a discontented person who owned the whole world might want to own a tourist center on the moon, that person's life is limited, and even the amount that can be owned is limited. It is better right from the beginning to be contented.
How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life
Despite all our chatter about being practical, to be practical in the West means to be ignorantly, and often selfishly, short-sighted. Our myopic focus on this life, and this life only, is the great deception, the source of the modern world’s bleak and destructive materialism. No one talks about death and no one talks about the afterlife, because people are made to believe that such talk will only thwart our so-called progress in the world.
If our deepest desire is truly to live and go on living, why do we blindly insist that death is the end? Why not at least try to explore the possibility that there may be a life after? Why, if we are as pragmatic as we claim, don’t we begin to ask ourselves seriously: Where does our real future lie? After all, very few of us live longer than a hundred years. And after that there stretches the whole of eternity, unaccounted for.
Sacrifice of precious things without
is not the ultimate sacrifice.
Sacrifice of useless defilements within
is the ultimate sacrifice.
Craving physical wealth oils the rounds of Samsara.
Accumulating spiritual wealth ends the rounds of Samsara.
April 22, 2011