“ I thought: ‘Suppose I take very little food, say a handful each time, whether it is bean soup or lentil soup or pea soup?’ I did so. And as I did so my body reached a state of extreme emaciation; my limbs became like the jointed segments of vine stems or bamboo stems, because of eating so little.…my ribs jutted out as gaunt as the crazy rafters of an old roofless barn; the gleam of my eyes sunk far down in their sockets looked like the gleam of water far down in a deep well.…If I made water or evacuated my bowels, I fell over on my face there. If I tried to ease my body by rubbing my limbs with my hands, the hair, rotted at its roots, fell away from my body as I rubbed, because of eating so little.”
&quot;Up, up, O noble prince!&quot; he [Mara, the Evil One] ordered, with a voice of divine authority. &quot;Recall the duties of your caste and abandon this dissolute quest for disengagement. The mendicant life is ill suited for anyone born of a noble house; but rather, by devotion to the duties of your caste, you are to serve the order the good society, maintain the laws of the revealed religion, combat wickedness in the world, and merit thereby a residence in the highest heaven as a god.&quot;
Problem solving method: What is the problem? What is the root of the problem? Is there a solution? How do you put the solution into effect?
Sanskrit term is duhkha , refers to the unsatisfying quality of experience; covers everything from vague feelings of unease to extreme physical and emotional agony. Suffering, as it is used in the First Noble Truth, refers to any sense of discomfort. The First Noble Truth is basically an injunction to to ignore or dismiss what we experience . Suffering arises in three ways: from pain, from change, and from experience. The first kind of suffering is the suffering of physical or emotional pain . When we encounter physical pain, we reactively try to avoid, control, or get rid of it.…| The second kind of suffering is the suffering of change . When change takes place in our lives, internal and external structures are dismantled, either by choice or by force of circumstances.…Even when we welcome change because it creates new possibilities, we still fell discomfort as the old structures come down.…The discomfort we feel in the face of change is the suffering of change. The third kind of suffering is the suffering of existence itself . We believe that we exist, yet if we ask, &quot;What am I?&quot; we find no answer beyond the roles and functions that we fill in life. We feel empty inside or separate from what we experiende, and we react with fear and doubt.… The First Noble Truth invites us not to ignore or avoid suffering, but to look at it, know what it is, and understand how it arises [84-85]
The Wheel of Life, a detailed representation of the Tibetan belief in the transmigratory nature of existence, explains the theory of rebirth. The form in which beings are reborn into the universe depends upon their yearnings, prayers, and the among of merit and demerit (Karma) they have stored up in their past lives. This suffering of rebirth affects the whole living universe. The wheel is held in the embrace of Sneje, ruler of the dead, showing all beings must eventually meet death. Shenje, who is again represented in the sphere of hell, is a ferocious god with fangs. He is said to symbolize the fearfulness of death and the hideousness of clinging to life. Outside the wheel is a figure of the Lord Buddha (upper right), who is free from the moral and mental obstructions that can prevent living beings from achieving enlightenment. His presence outside the wheel implies his escape from the cycle of life. The Axle: The purpose of Mahayana Buddhist teachings is to relieve all living beings from suffering. To achieve this end, we must be aware of the three evils that cause our sufferings: ignorance, lust and hatred. These three vices, which rule the universe and keep it in continuous revolution, are symbolized by the pig (ignorance), the cock (lust), and the snake (hatred). By abstaining from these three v9ces, we may further our progress on the path to Nirvana (upper left). The outer axle shows the manifestations of a bright heaven and a dark black hell. The spokes of the wheel divide our universe into six sensual realms; gods, demigods or titans, human beings, animals, yidags or ghosts, and hell. Meritorious Karma causes rebirth in the realms of the gods and the demigods and humans, Demeritorious Karma causes rebirth in the lower realms of animals, yigads, and hell. But the beings of all six realms can not escape the suffering of the universe; in each of the realms, suffering exists. Also, in each realm, the compassion of Lord Buddha is all-pervading. This compassion, rising from every direction, helps beings toward the path to enlightenment and release from the suffering of the universe.
The gods dwell in heavenly bliss. Sweet strains of music are to be heard everywhere, and whenever they wish, they may eat of the Tree of Life, whose branches instantly yield any food they wish for. The gods enjoy bliss for an almost incalculable length of time, but their long life is the source of their suffering. When the gods ’ merit is exhausted, they can no longer hear the strains of music, and the power of the wish-granting Tree is lost to them. Their bodies, no longed bathed by the nectar of the tree, sweat like mortals’ bodies, and their loathsome persons are detested by their companions. They die miserably.
The demigods ’ leading trait is pride, and their realm is reserved for those who, in an earlier life, boasted of their being more pious then their neighbor. The duration of their life is greater than that of the human, and they have greater luxury and enjoyment. But their suffering is extreme, for, in their pride, they envy the greater bliss of the gods. The die, fighting vainly for the fruits of the Heavenly Tree.
The Buddhists ’ hell is a true inferno, situated in the bowels of the universe. It is presided over by Shenje, who also holds the entire universe in his embrace. It is the world of the Lord of Death. Senje is the judge of the dead. The Great Judgment is determined solely by a beings’ own actions. Good deeds (white pebbles) are weighed against bad deeds (black pebbles_, and the judge holds up a mirror, which reveals the being’s soul in all its nakedness. Hell is divided into numerous compartments, each with a special torture devised to suit the sins to be expiated. Eight hot hells are depicted on the left, eight cold hells on the right, and in between are several additional hells. In the six realms of the universe depicted on the wheel, Lord Buddha tries to help the six beings eliminate their miseries.
These wretched beings are condemned to suffer the torment of hunger and thirst. Their mouths are no bigger than the eye of a needle, their gullets are no thicker than a hair, and they can never take in enough food to fill their huge bellies. Their thirst is expressed by flames that issue from the poor yidags (tantalized ghosts) mouths.
The state of beasts is one of greater misery than that of human beings. Some beings of this realm have to bear the suffering of bondage and slavery. Their greatest suffering lies in their inability to express themselves.
Contrary to popular belief, the realm of human beings is the most desirable, for it is only from this life that one may attain enlightenment. Only in the realm of humans may one combine reason and faith and earn the privilege to leave the transient life and dwell forever in Nirvana, the end of all Buddhist hopes and prayers. Even so, humans experience four great sufferings: birth, illness, old age, and death.
Suffering comes from emotional reactivity.|All experience is pleasant, unpleasant or neutral; three fundamental emotional reactions to experience are attraction, aversion, and dullness or indifference. Attraction is the emotional reaction to what is pleasant. Aversion is the reaction to what is unpleasant. Indifference is the reaction to what is neutral. The three reactions are called the three poisons because they poison our life experience.… Emotional reaction separates us from what we are actually experiencing (company, nourishment, peace), and interprets the experience as negative. The negativity is not in the experience itself, but in the way we react to it. Experience of suffering, has two components : pain and emotional reaction to the pain. The experience is simply what happens. Reactions are patterns of emotions and behaviors, formed by conditioning, run automatically; pre-established by conditioning; triggered by external and internal events; run only according to conditioning; may appear to be aware or responsive, but they are no more responsive than a computer program.… The patterns may (as a belief, a myth, a metaphor, or a teaching method) be personified as Mara , or demons, or some other conscious entity, but for our purposes, they are mechanisms. The Second Noble Truth tells us that the origin of suffering is emotional reactivity. What do we do to end this suffering? We dismantle the patterns of emotional reactivity.
Shakyamuni saw that the sense of self, of &quot;I,&quot; is the basis of emotional reactions, and that &quot;I&quot; as a real entity doesn't exist. In other words, when the conditioning that underlies the sense of separation, the false duality of subject and object, is dismantled, suffering ceases. We cannot and do not end pain, but we can end suffering by ceasing to identify|with what we are not: a pattern that interprets experience as separate and other and they strives to justify its own imagined existence. Attention is the ability to experience what arises without falling into the conditioned reactions that cause suffering. Attention is always present in potential but is unable to function because of conditioning. Most of us have experience spontaneous attention.… [gives examples from contemporary life and life of the Buddha] In pristine awareness, awareness and experience are not separate. Gone is the sense of separation, of internal emptiness, or of not being quite present. We are awake and present. We may not be able to say exactly what we are or what the experience is—hence, the mystery of being—but in the moment of presence, questions about origin, meaning, value, and purpose do not arise. We know, and that's it.| … The reactive patterns that maintain the feelings of separateness, incompleteness, and lack of presence all arise from the fear of non-existence.
Our intuition is correct: we don't exist in the way that we habitually think, feel, and perceive we do. For most of us, the experience of non -existing as a separate entity is terrifying. Our attention is too weak for us to stay present in the experience. Reactive patterns form to keep us from experiencing it. These conditioned reactions maintain a world of illusion, a world of subject and object, which prevents the direct experience of being. Layer upon layer of reactive patterns form to maintain the illusion that each of us is a separate entity. Suffering is the subjective experience of all this emotional reactivity.
Meditation on Emptiness (60f) from BQ5612.M32 1984 McDonald, Kathleen. 1990. How to Meditate: A Practical Guide in the Mahayana Buddhist Tradition . Boston: Wisdom Publications.
Buddha Shakyamuni could say unequivocally that there is an end to suffering because he developed such a high level of attention, diamond-like attention, that he could rest in the mystery of being, the experience of not existing as a separate entity, with no fear and in complete clarity. At that level of attention, the experience of not existing as a separate entity is known for what it is and ceases to be a basis for fear and emotional reactivity. The key effort in the Third Noble Truth is to come to this understanding ourselves. Suffering end when we have sufficient ability in attention to be present in all experience—even the experience of not being a separate entity [87-89]
Mudras are a non-verbal mode of communication and self-expression, consisting of hand gestures and finger-postures. They are symbolic sign based finger patterns taking the place, but retaining the efficacy of the spoken word, and are used to evoke in the mind ideas symbolizing divine powers or the deities themselves. The composition of a mudra is based on certain movements of the fingers; in other words, they constitute a highly stylized form of gestureal communication. It is an external expression of 'inner resolve', suggesting that such non-verbal communications are more powerful than the spoken word.
Introduction to Buddhism Dr. Mary Ann Clark 1
Life of the BuddhaBorn to the Sakya clan, warrior casteSage predicted he would be either agreat king or a great holy manFather attempted to prevent himleaving the palace and kingshipMarried and had an infant son
Life of the Buddha (cont)Saw an old person, a sick person, acorpseDecided to follow path of asceticrenunciationFasted to the point of emaciation
Fasting Buddha Pushed limits of his endurance Refused least possible nurishment Pushed himself to brink of self- eradication
Temptation "Up, up, O noble prince! Recall the duties of your caste and abandon this dissolute quest for disengagement.”
EnlightenmentThe cause of suffering in this world,and endless reincarnations, is selfishcraving!A teaching ministry begins, first withhis 5 friends, then throughout Asia
The Middle WayHigh way asceticism, mortification, complete renunciation of ALL things worldlyLow way eat, drink, be merry, if it feels good, DO IT!Middle Way takes the best of both ways
Four Noble TruthsWhat is suffering?How does it arise?Can it be ended?How do we end it?
What is Suffering?Sanskrit term duhkha, unsatisfyingquality of experienceSuffering arises from Physical or emotional pain Change Existence itself
Wheel of Life Held by Shenje, the Lord of the Dead Buddha outside the wheel, escaped obstructions to Nirvana Center: cock (lust), snake (hatred/fear), pig (ignorance/illusion)
What is the Origin of Suffering? Suffering arises from emotional reactivity: Attraction/Lust Aversion/Fear Illusion/Ignorance
Can We End Suffering?How can we disengage from reactivity?Sense of self “I” basis of emotionalreactions“I” doesn’t existThere is a false duality between subjectand object
End of SufferingWhen we cease identifying with whatwe are not, with the non-existent “I”When we cease falling into theconditioned reactions that causesuffering
Who am “I”?We don’t exist in the way we habituallythink, feel and perceive we doReactive patterns keep us fromexperiencing the presentConditioned responses maintain theworld of illusion (maya)
How to End SufferingDevelop high level of attentionRest in the mystery of beingExperience not existing without fearand with clarity
Buddhist EthicsA skilled mind a mind that is skilful avoids actions that are likely to cause suffering or remorse Moral conduct for Buddhists differs according to whether it applies to the laity or to the clergy (Sangha)Avoiding any actions which are likelyto be harmful