Where Science and Enlightenment Collide

Archive for October, 2014

Ego monsters rise again!

egoserpentOnce again the ego monster has reared it’s head on the net. People who have not trained under a master, who rely on their own egos corrupt the teachings of the Buddha, to put down or belittle people they feel do not agree with what their egos are telling them. I do not view this as condemnation or judgement, because I feel everyone has their own personal truths, I do however think we all (including myself) need a refresher of some of the Basic tenants of Buddhism.

Zen Teachings & Beliefs

  1. All sentient beings have Buddha-nature.
  2. Knowledge can be acquired from all aspects of life.
  3. Such knowledge helps to achieve enlightenment.
  4. The six paramitas (perfections) are the six principles of enlightened living. They are:
    • Dana paramita: unattached generosity, boundless openness. Open heart, mind and hand.
    • Sila paramita: virtue, morality.
    • Shanti paramita: patience, tolerance, acceptance, endurance.
    • Virya paramita: energy, diligence, courage, enthusiasm, effort.
    • Dhyana paramita: meditation, absorption, concentration, contemplation.
    • Prajna: transcendental wisdom.
  5. Meditation and mindfulness help in achieving new insights which leads to enlightenment.
  6. The experiencing of mu (or ‘wu’, the lack of presence, emptiness) leads to satori (spiritual awakening

“Well so ‘n so believes in stuff that I think is new age hippie BS and not Buddhism, because they are talking about coming from a place of spiritual love and compassion.”

Well, to be honest one of the basic teachings of Buddhism is the act of Altruism (the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.)

‘Is this what you have in mind,’ I asked the Dalai Lama, ‘when you say in teachings that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the world are the most selfish beings of all, that by cultivating altruism they actually achieve ultimate happiness for themselves?’

Yes. That’s wise selfish,’ he replied. ‘Helping others not means we do this at our own expense. Not like this. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, these people very wise. All their lives they only want one thing: to achieve ultimate happiness. How to do this? By cultivating compassion, by cultivating altruism.
The root of happiness is altruism — the wish to be of service to others. -Dalai Lama

As for the confusion of Spiritualism, often people still mistake the No-Self or No-Soul means there is not room for spirituality in Buddhism. If Buddhism does not believe in an immortal soul, then what and who will be reborn in the cycle of samsāra?

This is an interesting question. Buddhism definitely does not accept the belief that there is an immortal and perpetual soul. As mentioned in the teaching of non-self, no permanent self or soul entity exists permanently and invariably—only the current of karmic consciousness of sentient beings flowing constantly like the running of a river. If there were an immortal and invariable soul, an animal would not be able—after cultivating wholesome karmas through multiple lives—to become a human and a human would not be able to become a Bodhisattva or even a Buddha (See Jataka Tales for more information). Here, it is the very karmic current of consciousness that continually operates and transforms itself from this life to the next life in the cycle of samsāra in which the mind of each individual is the only foundation for this operation. Consequently, Buddhism does not accept the existence of an immortal soul, although it does accept that a transformation of the mind occurs throughout the journey of birth and rebirth. Until a practitioner—after a long term of spiritual training—attains sainted fruits such as Arhat, Buddha, or Bodhisattva in the eighth stage, he or she will break the cycle of samsāra. At this point of the spiritual journey, the motivation of birth and rebirth belongs to the devotional vow of each Bodhisattva; it is no longer pushed by the karmic force. Speaking of problems of rebirth or samsāra, you should note that Buddhism does not use the term soul, but rather mind.


The Sound of Silence

the-sound-of-silenceThe sound of being silent, or knowing when to be silent!

As a rule, I generally only post what I practice, or at least what I strive to practice. I know I am not a perfect individual and I still struggle with the ego mind that acts as my own worst critic. Often, however, I have to “kill the Buddha I see in the mirror” as it were because I have turned my practice into an extension of my own ego. When ever it goes too far to the opposite tangent I tend to step back and pull away from sharing what I learn when I start to feel that I need to lead others, especially when I am lacking in my own practice. Namaste my friends!

A disciple once asked, “Master, what is the value of silence?” The master told the disciple, “ So long as the bee is outside the petals of the lotus, and has not tasted its honey, it hovers around the flower, emitting its buzzing sound; but when it is inside the flower, it drinks its nectar silently. If a man quarrels and disputes about doctrines and dogmas, he has not tasted the nectar of the Tao; when he has tasted it he becomes still.”