Saturday, March 8, 2014

Suffering and Addiction

Stuffs RedTurtle
What do you think the most important teaching of the Buddha is?
For me, it's the Truth of Suffering
Even in light of all other scriptures, still the most important.
Like · · February 18 at 3:30am

    Michael Zaurov, Dannon Flynn and Chad Gullett like this.
    Chad Gullett I don't know enough to make much of a comment, but that teaching opened a new way of life.
    February 18 at 3:56am · Like · 1
    Stuffs RedTurtle This is one of the reasons I love buddhism so much
    Although I wasn't raised religious, I know suffering because I've experienced a lot of it.
    Even with the anatta, to me, every living thing has the same essence of life, even if we don't have individual souls. Everything living suffers and everything wants happiness
    Really understanding what Buddha is saying, in my opinion, is understanding in experience the four noble truths
    If we understand that there is no reason to self aggrandize or be arrogant. You can tell the practitioners who know sufferring and those who don't a mile apart by thier attitude towards others
    February 18 at 4:01am · Edited · Like · 2
    Stuffs RedTurtle Think it's important to revisit the dire meaning behind these even for more realised people
    February 18 at 4:04am · Like
    Chad Gullett I found the four noble truths while in a used book store, searching for something to keep my mind occupied. As a recovering addict atheist I was working the steps, but realizing there was something more, but what? The steps had given me freedom from the suffering of drug use, but yet I still suffered. How could I go on in my recovery if I continued to suffer so badly on a daily basis. Once I began the reading, I began to understand, and I have not looked back since.
    February 18 at 4:12am · Unlike · 4
    Stuffs RedTurtle Awesome me too! Before I really took it seriously I picked up a Theravada book and used the methods to kick my addiction.
    I should of stayed with it lol
    But the fact that it worked blew me away!! So much amazing stuff has happened since. Really awesome
    February 18 at 4:14am · Unlike · 2
    Chad Gullett Same here, so many amazing things!
    February 18 at 4:38am · Like
    Soh Speaking of addictions I just read this article recently:

    Quitting smoking makes you happier

    POSTED: 14 Feb 2014 08:08

    PARIS: Moderate or heavy smokers who quit tobacco get a boost in mental wellbeing that, for people who are anxious or stressed, is equivalent to taking anti-depressants, a study said on Thursday.

    British researchers examined 26 published investigations into the mental health of smokers.

    They looked at standardised scorecards for symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress and quality of life, derived from questionnaires completed by volunteers.

    The smokers were 44 years old on average and smoked between 10 and 40 cigarettes a day. They were questioned before they tried to give up smoking and again after their attempt -- an average of six months later.

    Those who succeeded in quitting reported reduced depression, anxiety and stress and had a more positive outlook on life compared with those who continued smoking.

    "The effect sizes are equal or larger than those of anti-depressant treatment for mood and anxiety disorders," said the study, published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

    Quitters who had been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders enjoyed a similar improvement.

    Lead investigator Gemma Taylor of the University of Birmingham's School of Health and Population Sciences said she hoped the findings would dispel a widespread misconception about smoking.

    "It's a common myth that smoking actually is good for your mental health -- 'smoking relieves stress,' 'smoking helps you relax,' 'smoking helps you enjoy things' -- and that common myth is really hard to overcome," Taylor told AFP in a phone interview.

    But actually, the study showed that "when you stop smoking and you break the nicotine withdrawal cycle, your mental health improves."

    Taylor pointed to a mainstream theory in tobacco addiction research: that a smoker's psychological state fluctuates throughout the day as a result of exposure to nicotine.

    The sense of calm or wellbeing from a cigarette is followed immediately afterwards by classic withdrawal signs of a depressed mood, anxiety or agitation.

    Smokers, though, tend to misattribute these symptoms and blame them on stress or other factors.

    And because nicotine has a calming effect, they perceive that cigarettes improve their mental health.

    Smoking is already blamed for a wide range of physical diseases and disorders, ranging from cancer, blindness and cardiac problems to diabetes, gum disease and impotence.

    The UN's World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated last July that tobacco kills almost six million people each year, a toll that will rise to eight million annually in 2030.

    About four out of every five deaths will occur in low- and middle-income nations, it said.

    Despite a decline in smoking prevalence in some nations, in overall terms the number of people smoking today is greater than in 1980, due to population growth, according to a paper published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    - AFP/rw
    Quitting smoking makes you happier - Channel NewsAsia
    Moderate or heavy smokers who quit tobacco get a boost in mental wellbeing that,...See More
    February 18 at 4:40am · Like · 3 · Remove Preview
    Stuffs RedTurtle Wow!! Thanks Soh!!! That's good inspiration!!! I've been hanging on to it for exactly the reasons that are myth!! Wow ! Cool
    February 18 at 4:42am · Unlike · 1
    Dannon Flynn I recently quit smoking and I feel great! We are conditioned to think that it is hard to quit and that the withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable. But in fact, we can also condition ourselves to enjoy the withdrawal symptoms. Whenever the desire to smoke would geet strong, or stress, anxiety, irritability, restlessness would get too strong, I would do some very deep strong breathing and really enjoy the feeling of breathing deeply, it would actually make me high. My life has improved so much from not smoking.
    February 18 at 5:45am · Unlike · 4
    Stuffs RedTurtle Cool!!!
    February 18 at 5:47am · Like · 1
    Stuffs RedTurtle They say the relaxing high you get from smoking is actually the breathing! The cigs are a stimulant. Makes total sense!!
    February 18 at 5:51am · Like · 1
    Dannon Flynn I find that the 'relaxation' is actually getting your vital energy robbed from you. the relaxation is actually a 'depression'. The feeling of anxious restlessness when not having a cigarette is actually the nervous system not being comfortable with normal level of energy that non smokers are comfortable with. This lower level of vitality energy leads depression and premature health problems.
    February 18 at 5:56am · Like · 2
    Dannon Flynn The Buddha's teaching to not clinging to pleasure and not avoid pain is what helped me to quit. I think that is one of my favorite teachings.
    February 18 at 5:57am · Like · 2
    Goose Saver Suffering, not clinging, etc. doesn't give me goosebumps. The best Dharma practice, the most perfect, most substantial, is without doubt the practice of bodhicitta!
    February 18 at 8:40am · Like · 3
    Viorica Doina Neacsu @OP - For me the most important teaching of the Buddha is emptiness teaching.
    February 18 at 4:40pm · Like · 3
    Dannon Flynn I agree with all of you! Haha... The whole enchilada.
    February 18 at 5:59pm · Like · 3

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Two Absorptions


The Two Absorptions
I was in the airport today, looking around at people’s faces. What I saw were faces of minds filled with stories. Each person’s mind filled up with their activity and spinning with their happiness and difficulties. I looked at my own mind. I thought to myself, could I wait for the plane and have a still mind? Could I just be exactly what I’m doing now? Could I drop all my worries, just for this moment and be? When I’m intentionally thinking about this, I can usually do it. Just be still and just be “this”.

Then I began to knit and I thought, “Can I just be knitting with a quiet mind? I remembered rakusu sewing and decided to say “Namu kie butsu” with each stitch. Could I just be doing what I’m doing?

There is so much “delusion of control” that must be dropped if you are just doing what you’re doing. If you are not worrying about the future, or trying to “fix” your life, there is so little to do really. Just surrendering to each moment and deeply knowing that “zenki” “total dynamic working” is functioning and will support your life. Cause and effect is happening simultaneously. That is not to say that we are passive, but sitting in the airport, waiting, there is really not much “to do” and when you are knitting, you are just knitting. When you are doing the business emails, you are just doing one email response at a time. Perhaps all the emails together can be constructed into a story, but what you are actually doing is one email at a time. The instruction to not get attached to the results of our actions is a very powerful admonition.

The Platform sutra of Huineng has illuminated for me the practice that happens in so-called formal situations like zazen and the practice that happens in activity. What in our ordinary view we keep separate, are actually two different expressions of the same concentration.
Huineng points out that there are two absorptions or concentrations:
1. Absorption in oneness
2. Absorption in unified activity

Absorption in oneness is the non-thinking concentration of zazen. We let everything go, all our perceptions, all our responses and just sit in oneness, not even noticing twoness. But Zen doesn’t stop there. Even a little harder than zazen samadhi is absorption in unified activity. This is the instruction for being out in the world, in our ordinary activity. Subject (the “I”) and “doing” become one unified activity. Kaz Tanahashi translates that as “undivided mind”. We are totally absorbed in what we are doing with a quiet mind. The mind is active when it needs to be but when it doesn’t, it just rests, and the whole body and mind does the activity at hand. Katagiri Roshi emphasized, “subject and object merged.” Sometimes, the mind is very active like being in a conversation with someone and then we are simply totally involved in listening, responding and speaking.

Both of these absorptions are the site of enlightenment.


Good friends, absorption in one practice means always acting with a unified, direct mind in all situation, no matter what you are doing. The direct mind is the site of enlightenment.
Posted by Judith Ragir at 5:26 AM
Byakuren's Zen Practice Blog
Like · · Share · March 4 at 11:09pm near Brisbane

    Albert Hong, Sigurður Jónas Eysteinsson, Viorica Doina Neacsu and 14 others like this.
    Stian Gudmundsen Høiland Very good.
    March 4 at 11:12pm · Like · 2
    John Ahn Ime though the moment I think about dropping the grasping has already happened...heh the mind is a trickster alright
    March 5 at 1:36am · Like · 1

A Drop of Water Placed in an Ocean

When a drop of water is placed in an ocean, what is it like? Ocean walking, what is it like?

Like · · March 6 at 9:57am

    Laya Jakubowicz, Viorica Doina Neacsu, John Tan and 7 others like this.
    Tan Jui Horng This is the part where I splash you with a bucket of water right?
    March 6 at 10:39am · Like · 1
    Soh This is the part where ocean splashes ocean.. lol
    March 6 at 10:41am · Like · 2
    Viorica Doina Neacsu It is like a non-arising ocean in a drop of water which is non-arising too! hahahaha!
    March 6 at 11:45am · Unlike · 3
    Tan Jui Horng Seriously though, how should one answer? "The water never left the ocean to begin with. When the ocean walks even the stars follow"?
    March 6 at 8:40pm · Like
    Din Robinson as soon as i open my mouth to speak... big mistake!
    Yesterday at 1:19am · Like
    Albert Hong They never truly meet. Yet all appearances flirt and caress just enough to make believe.
    Yesterday at 2:38am · Like
    Barry Ryder Right whatever is said is a mistake so let's let Rumi, the Persian poet, make all the mistakes.
    " When you eventually see
    through the veils to how things really are,
    you will keep saying again
    and again,
    “This is certainly not like
    we thought it was!”
    Yesterday at 3:12am · Like · 2
    Barry Ryder
    MOSES AND THE SHEPHERD by Rumi, Persian poet, Sufi mystic, lived 1207-1273
    Moses heard a shepherd on the road praying,  “God,  where are you? I want to hel...See More
    By: Awakening People
    Yesterday at 3:12am · Like · 1 · Remove Preview
    Gabriel Rocha Ramirez
    23 hours ago · Like