Saturday, May 28, 2011

From ‘A Heart as wide as the world. Stories on the path of lovingkindness’ by Sharon Salzberg

A Tibetan text puts it like this: “Beneath the pauper’s house there are inexhaustible treasures, but the pauper never realizes this, and the treasures never say, ‘I am here.’ Likewise, the treasure of our original nature, which is naturally pure, is trapped in ordinary mind, and beings suffer in poverty.”

The first meditation instruction I was ever given was to be aware of my breath. The simplicity was shocking. …. The breath is natural and uncontrived. When I first began practicing, I would become anxious about the next breath, as though I had to create it. …. Being aware of the natural breath, we bring forth ease of mind and body.

Sometimes in learning meditation the instruction is, “Sit like a mountain. Sit with a sense of strength and dignity. Be steadfast, be majestic, be natural and at ease in awareness. No matter how many winds are blowing, no matter how many clouds are swirling, no matter how many lions are prowling, be intimate with everything and sit like a mountain.”

……… meditative vision ……. as the Sufis say, with “eyes unclouded by longing.”

An interesting distinction is made in Buddhist psychology between the state of remorse and the state of guilt. Remorse is considered a wholesome or skillful state of mind. We recognize that we have said something or done something that has created harm in some way, and we experience the pain of that. But because we essentially forgive ourselves, we can let go, and thus we have the energy, the inspiration, not to go on repeating the same mistakes. Guilt, on the other hand, is considered unwholesome or unskillful because of the component of self-hatred in it. We go over and over the harmful thing we have done, continually blaming ourselves, until we are drained. The result is that we are not left with the energy to transform our actions. Our minds then remain restless.

….. one of the principle teachings of the Buddha. Dukkha means suffering, discontent, unsatisfactoriness, hollowness, change.

The Buddha said, “I teach one thing and one thing only: suffering and the end of suffering.”

As classically defined in Pali, our compassion is “the trembling or the quivering of the heart.”

As the haiku poet Issa wrote,

The world of dew
is only the world of dew -
and yet

Someone once asked Munindra why he practiced meditation. His students gathered around, expecting to hear an exalted, lofty answer. Munindra replied, “I practice meditation to notice the small purple flowers growing by the roadside, which I otherwise might miss.”

The dancer Isadora Duncan once said: “If I could tell you what it meant, there would be no point in dancing it.”

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