I took a week off – there was a wedding that I was a videographer for, and several other pressing concerns that I could not shake.
Anyways – on to the Fourth Noble Truth: The Eight-fold Path.
In summary, the Eight Fold path is:
1. Wisdom (panna)
Right Understanding (samma ditthi)
Right Aspiration (samma sankappa)
2. Morality (sila)
Right Speech (samma vaca)
Right Action (samma kammanta)
Right Livelihood (samma ajiva)
3. Concentration (samadhi)
Right Effort (samma vayama)
Right Mindfulness (samma sati)
Right Concentration (samma samadhi)
As we spoke about last time, suffering and pain is a very real part of the world that we find ourselves in. By understanding that desire and wanting is the root of all suffering, we can start to elevate ourselves above it. We are still part of the world. However we see, and act differently when we understand that everything suffers, that everything is impermeant, and that desire fuels our suffering.
When we put our desire on something – be it physical (I want this new car), spiritual (I want to be a better person) or personal (I hope s/he loves me) we attach energy to that object. When that object is not as we wish it, or when it fails us (as everything will, due to nothing being permeant) we feel suffering due to the loss of that energy. We give it power over our feelings and our lives.
One way to conceptualize this, is that everything; feelings, physical objects, interpersonal relationships, exist in a sort of hyper-space. This Hyper-space exists out side our universe, but in our timestream. It intersects with our space in that these objects in Hyper-space ‘exist’ in our space. We can attach ourselves to these ‘hyper-space objects’ with filaments of our being, if we so choose.
When these objects try and follow their destiny and we are attached, one of two things happen – either the line snaps, or we engage in a struggle, trying to pull the object back to us. One way is fast, hard pain and the other is long drawn out suffering.
Making a choice to be unconnected from these ‘hyper-space objects’ we do not have to suffer when they change or leave.
Please note, being unconnected does not mean that we are ascetics. It does not mean that we are indifferent about our fellow life forms suffering. Instead, it means that we follow the Middle Way. We are engaged in the world, but we also see it for what it really is. We do not self-indulge too much, neither do we practice self-mortification. We follow the Middle Way. We walk the path between the cliffs and the mountains.
How does this tie into the Eight Fold Path? The path is the way. It is the path between the cliffs and the mountains. It teaches us how to live in harmony with the universe, and how to really see. It’s not a path of eight steps however. You do not graduate from step one to step two. Each step is to be practiced with each of your breaths, as well as you can.
Of course, we cannot do everything all at once – so I suggest breaking it into smaller chunks. When meditating, practice samma samadhi. When talking practice samma vaca.
I want to leave you this week with one thought from the Buddha:
On one occasion, while Venerable Sariputta was sitting, listening respectfully at his feet as the Buddha expounded the Dhamma, the Buddha turned to him and asked,
“Sariputta, do you believe this teaching?”
Venerable Sariputta replied, “No, I don’t yet believe it.”
Now this is a good illustration. Venerable Sariputta listened, and he took note. When he said he didn’t yet believe he wasn’t being careless, he was speaking the truth. He simply took note of that teaching, because he had not yet developed his own understanding of it, so he told the Buddha that he didn’t yet believe-because he really didn’t believe. These words almost sound as if Venerable Sariputta was being rude, but actually he wasn’t. He spoke the truth, and the Buddha praised him for it.
“Good, good, Sariputta. A wise person doesn’t readily believe, he should consider first before believing.”