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  • This web site explores spirituality based on Buddhist perspectives.
  • Four websites have been created with an aspiration to match each website – in a tangential manner only – with one of the Four Noble Truths. The tagline for each website reflects this aspiration. In reality, the four websites each present the Four Noble Truths and Buddhist teachings in a comprehensive way.
  • Over a dozen areas of Buddhist spirituality are covered in this section.
  • The Four Noble Truths are one of the world's greatest teachings—the very foundation of all Buddhist practice.
  • The First Noble Truth describes the nature of life and our personal experience of this impermanent, ever-changing world.
  • The Second Noble Truth refers to the arising, origin, and cause of our dissatisfaction and suffering.
  • The Third Noble Truth tells us there is an end to our dissatisfaction and suffering when we let go of, abandon, and liberate ourselves from the craving and attachment that causes it.
  • The Fourth Noble Truth is the Way, the Path leading to the end of dissatisfaction and suffering.
  • Three benefits of studying the Four Noble Truths: a minimum benefit, a medium benefit, and the highest benefit.
  • Many scholars prefer to keep the original Sanskrit word, dukkha, because they feel the English does not carry the whole meaning of the Sanskrit - some translators try to use 'unsatisfactoriness' or 'dissatisfaction' instead because it has a wider and deeper meaning than suffering.
  • A table presenting the four characteristics of suffering.
  • A description of three types of suffering: (1) suffering of suffering, (2) suffering of change, and (3) pervasive suffering.
  • In his book, The Four Noble Truths, Theravada teacher Ajahn Sumedho, suggests that we should not think that "we are suffering" but rather that "there is suffering" - this short article touches on pervasive suffering.
  • To understand how to deal with afflictive emotions, we need to understand the relationship between (1) ignorance, (2) afflictive emotions, and (3) karmic actions.
  • When people ask about Nirvana, they may have strange ideas about what it is, and often they think everything has completely ceased – not only suffering, but also the person who is trying to gain that state as well. Nirvana is just the experience of being completely free from suffering..
  • Addresses the question: What does cessation of suffering mean for me - from personal experience, I identify with cessation as being linked to emptiness.
  • The third Noble Truth – the truth of the cessation of suffering (dukkha) – is a wonderful source of hope that is based on reality! How incredible to be offered the ending (cessation) of suffering in life, and most importantly, the causes of that suffering.
  • A table presenting an overview of the 12 Links of Dependent Origination.
  • The Noble Eightfold Path is the Way to the end of suffering - it is the Middle Way that leads to peace, discernment, supreme happiness, perfect wisdom, enlightenment, and Nirvana.
  • Right Understanding (or Right View) is the ability to understand the nature of things exactly as they are, without delusion or distortion.
  • Right Thought (or Right Intention) means our thoughts, feelings, desires, and intentions are in complete harmony with the wisdom of life, in accordance with the way reality works.
  • Right Speech is the ability to speak truthfully and harmlessly.
  • Right Action means that our behavior is ethical, honorable, and responsible.
  • Right Livelihood suggests that we earn our living in an honorable and life-affirming way, free from deceit or dishonesty.
  • Right Effort is the wholehearted, diligent, and energetic endeavor to train our mind and heart.
  • Right Mindfulness (or Right Attention) means being attentive, mindful, and aware of our bodily actions, sensations and feelings, and the activity of our mind.
  • Right Concentration is the means for training and centering the mind - through Right Concentration we bring our ordinarily restless, unconcentrated mind into a state of tranquility, one-pointedness, and unbroken attentiveness.
  • The four thoughts that turn the mind toward the Dharma: Precious human birth, impermanence and mortality, karma, and disadvantages of the worldly life (samsara).
  • The first of the four thoughts that turn the mind toward Dharma is our precious human birth.
  • The second of the four thoughts that turn the mind toward Dharma is impermanence and mortality.
  • The third of the four thoughts that turn the mind toward the Dharma is karma - the law of cause and effect.
  • The fourth of the four thoughts that turn the mind toward the Dharma is considering the disadvantages of the worldly life (samsara).
  • Comprehending karma is part of the Right Understanding of Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path - with right understanding, we realize the wholesome, life-affirming actions that bring benefit and happiness to all beings, as well the unwholesome, negative actions which bring unhappiness and suffering.
  • The Sanskrit word karma means action - this refers to intentional physical, verbal, or mental actions; karma is directly related to our intention or motivation while doing an action.
  • There are four laws of karma: (1) Results are similar to the cause; (2) no results come without a cause; (3) once an action is done, the result is never lost; and (3) karma expands.
  • Changing our karma is not difficult - however, this change does require a very sober realization: that our situation in life is the result of our own actions.
  • To purify past negative karma, we can apply the Four Powers of Purification: (1) Power of the object; (2) power of regret; (3) power of promise (remedy); and (4) power of practice.
  • Insights into Karma: This 315-page book is about the timeless and universal law of cause and effect, expressed in the words "what we sow, we reap".
  • This article describes karma from the perspective of four harvest laws: We reap what we sow; we reap far more than we sow; we won't reap if we don't sow; and we reap even though there may be a delay from when we sow.
  • The Four Immeasurables—Loving-kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity—are the sublime expressions of love: the essential nature and radiance of the enlightened heart.
  • The immeasurable quality of Loving-kindness is boundless, open, and pure—an all-embracing love, dedicated to serving the highest welfare of all beings.
  • The immeasurable quality of Compassion (Mercy) is a wise heartfelt motivation to relieve the pain, sorrow, and suffering of others.
  • The immeasurable quality of Sympathetic Joy is our genuine ability to rejoice and delight in the happiness, success, and good fortune of others.
  • The immeasurable quality of Equanimity is an imperturbable composure of heart—a love that embraces all living beings and circumstances with equality, wisdom, and serenity.
  • The brahma-viharas, or "sublime attitudes", are the Buddha's primary heart teachings — the ones that connect most directly with our desire for true happiness. However, the Buddha taught the brahma-viharas in a context of head teachings: the principle of causality as it plays out in (1) karma and (2) the process of fabrication that shapes emotions within the body and mind.
  • The Sanskrit word paramita means "to cross over to the other shore" - it may also be translated as "perfection", "perfect realization", or "reaching beyond limitation".
  • This paramita is the enlightened quality of generosity, charity, giving, and offering - its essence is unconditional love, a boundless openness of heart and mind, a selfless generosity and giving which is completely free from attachment and expectation.
  • This paramita is the enlightened quality of virtuous and ethical behavior, morality, self-discipline, impeccability, personal integrity, honor, and harmlessness.
  • This paramita is the enlightened quality of patience, tolerance, forbearance, and acceptance.
  • This paramita is the enlightened quality of energy, vigor, vitality, endurance, diligence, enthusiasm, continuous and persistent effort.
  • This paramita is the enlightened quality of concentration, meditation, contemplation, samadhi, mindfulness, mental stability.
  • This paramita is the enlightened quality of transcendental wisdom, insight, and the perfection of understanding.
  • In Buddhist teachings, greed, hatred, and delusion are known as the three poisons, the three unwholesome roots, and the three fires - these metaphors suggest how dangerous afflictive thoughts and emotions can be if they are not understood and transformed.
  • Our greed is a burning desire; an unquenchable thirst, craving, and lust - we want the objects of our desire to provide us with lasting satisfaction so we feel fulfilled, whole, and complete.
  • The symptoms of hatred can show up as anger, hostility, dislike, aversion, or ill-will; wishing harm or suffering upon another person - and with aversion, we habitually resist, deny, and avoid unpleasant feelings, circumstances, and people we do not like.
  • Delusion is our wrong understanding or wrong views of reality - it is our misperception of the way the world works; our inability to understand the nature of things exactly as they are, free of perceptual distortions.
  • The poisons of greed, hatred, and delusion, which cause so much suffering, can be purified and transformed - we can break the chain of suffering and negative karma and live a happy, fulfilling life.
  • In addition to meditation practice, there are the antidotes or alternatives to the three poisons: the three wholesome roots of non-greed, non-hatred, and non-delusion.
  • Composed by the Buddhist Master Langri Tangpa (1054-1123 A.D.), Eight Verses for Training the Mind is a highly-revered text from the Mahayana Lojong (mind training) tradition - these instructions offer essential practices for cultivating the awakening mind of compassion, wisdom, and love.
  • Verse 1: "With the heartfelt desire and determination to attain enlightenment for the welfare of all living beings, who are more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel for accomplishing the supreme goal, may I always cherish them and hold them dear."
  • Verse 2: "Whenever I am with others may I think of myself as the lowest of all and from the very depths of my heart may I respectfully hold others as supreme."
  • Verse 3: "In all actions, may I closely examine my state of mind, and the moment a disturbing emotion or negative attitude arises, since this may cause harm to myself and others, may I firmly face and avert it."
  • Verse 4: "Whenever I meet people of unpleasant character or those overwhelmed by negativity, pain or suffering, may I cherish and care for them as if I had found a rare and precious treasure difficult to find."
  • Verse 5: "Whenever others, because of their jealousy, treat me badly with abuse, insult, slander, or in other unjust ways, may I accept this defeat myself and offer the victory to others."
  • Verse 6: "When someone whom I have benefited or in whom I have placed great trust and hope, harms me or treats me in hurtful ways without reason, May I see that person as my precious teacher."
  • Verse 7: "In brief, may I offer both directly and indirectly all help, happiness and benefit to all beings, my mothers, and may I secretly take upon myself all of their harmful actions, pain and suffering."
  • Verse 8: "May I keep all of these practices undefiled by stains of the eight worldly concerns (gain/loss, pleasure/pain, praise/blame, fame/dishonor), and by recognizing the emptiness and illusory nature of all existing things, may I be liberated from the bondage of attachment and mistaken views of reality."
  • "Twenty-Seven Verses on Training the Mind" was composed by Lama Je Tsongkhapa (1357-1419 A.D.).
  • Verses 1-3 of "Twenty-Seven Verses on Mind Training" by Je Tsongkhapa, Great Dharma King of the Three Realms.
  • Verses 4-6 of "Twenty-Seven Verses on Mind Training" by Je Tsongkhapa, Great Dharma King of the Three Realms.
  • Verses 7-9 of "Twenty-Seven Verses on Mind Training" by Je Tsongkhapa, Great Dharma King of the Three Realms.
  • Verses 10-12 of "Twenty-Seven Verses on Mind Training" by Je Tsongkhapa, Great Dharma King of the Three Realms.
  • Verses 13-15 of "Twenty-Seven Verses on Mind Training" by Je Tsongkhapa, Great Dharma King of the Three Realms.
  • Verses 16-18 of "Twenty-Seven Verses on Mind Training" by Je Tsongkhapa, Great Dharma King of the Three Realms.
  • Verses 19-21 of "Twenty-Seven Verses on Mind Training" by Je Tsongkhapa, Great Dharma King of the Three Realms.
  • Verses 22-24 of "Twenty-Seven Verses on Mind Training" by Je Tsongkhapa, Great Dharma King of the Three Realms.
  • Verses 25-27 of "Twenty-Seven Verses on Mind Training" by Je Tsongkhapa, Great Dharma King of the Three Realms.
  • A bodhisattva is one who is dedicated to serving the highest welfare of all living beings with the awakened heart of unconditional love, skillful wisdom, and all-embracing compassion.
  • After one explores the expressions of the different spiritual traditions and their meditative methods, even within the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana systems of the Buddha Dharma, we find their essence is the same - there is one essential practice or philosophy which is Bodhicitta (the awakened heart-mind of wisdom and compassion).
  • Bodhicitta love never excludes or rejects anybody (ego has the tendency to reject and exclude certain people) - the Bodhicitta mind can include all other beings without reference point, including ourselves (this is because within this Bodhicitta mind, there is no idea of a self to construct barriers, to establish boundaries that keep others out of our hearts, and to prevent us from entering into theirs).
  • An exploration of the nature of suffering - in our mind, for example, we have the entrenched belief system that suffering truly exists in the form of outer circumstances, such as loss and sickness; this belief, in turn, creates the false idea that there is also happiness (which is the opposite of suffering) that can be acquired through favorable circumstances, such as being powerful or having lots of money.
  • Buddhist practice is always based on view, meditation, and action.
  • The essential method of Mahayana Buddhism is transformation: the Bodhisattva transforms what is negative into positive, what is bad luck into good luck, the unfavorable into favorable.
  • We are unconditionally Buddhas, without need of meditation or Dharma practice; at the same time, we are trapped by afflicted emotions and limited dualistic perceptions - so we need to ask, “What is the main hindrance that prevents us from unfolding our primordial essence?” - it is the sense of “I” that prevents us from actualizing who we are in this moment, who we are as the mind of love and wisdom.
  • Happiness has nothing to do with anything external - we can be in the most dreadful situation, but with pure perception, everything is the pure land; within the state of rigpa (pristine, non-dual awareness), everything is pure; there is fearlessness of quietude because our minds are purified, and this is liberation, enlightenment.
  • The essence of Dharma is personal change; transformation of habitual tendencies into wisdom qualities - however, we are not changing who we are, but rather we are letting go of that which obscures our true nature; in fact, this moment holds everything we need and is the perfect opportunity to uphold and maintain our commitment to unfolding this inherent love and compassion.
  • Each of us has a different life, different ways of being human and experiencing our life - whatever is happening is your life; it is not past or future; it is the present; whatever you are experiencing right now is your life.
  • Ego consists of various misconceptions, attachment to name, body, possessions, and our life stories - yet it is all hallucination, a dark phantom; it seems so concrete to us because we have habitually believed in this sense of “I.”
  • Liberation is not a future achievement - it is the experience of being awakened to reality, being liberated from attachment to suffering, hope and fear; it is the experience of great bliss and ultimate freedom that we find the moment that we let go of the grasping to ego’s identity.
  • The path of the Bodhisattva is known as the immeasurable path - meaning that on the journey everything is immeasurable: the number of sentient beings is immeasurable, so is the love and compassion of the Bodhisattva and the altruistic activity, and so is the freedom and liberation of the Bodhisattva.
  • This is a beautiful and profound sutta (sutra) from Buddha Shakyamuni regarding the very heart of Dharma: loving-kindness.
  • Spiritual development and ultimate awakening are based upon the firm foundation of loving-kindness for all beings - to help establish this essential foundation, practice this meditation daily for at least 15 to 20 minutes, or longer.
  • The words of the Discourse on Loving-Kindness (Karaniya Metta Sutta).
  • The Pali word metta is a multi-significant term meaning loving-kindness, friendliness, goodwill, benevolence, fellowship, amity, concord, inoffensiveness and non-violence.
  • To break the spell of dualistic perception, to dissolve the barriers in our hearts that keep us feeling separate from others, and to cultivate a deep compassion for all living beings, including ourselves, we need to meet and embrace reality in a radically new way - to accomplish this, we can use the precious heart-practice of Tonglen.
  • Tonglen practice goes against our habitual tendency of always wanting things to be pleasant, of wanting life on our own terms, of wanting everything to work out for ourselves no matter what happens to others - this practice dissolves and transforms the armor of our self-protection; the psychological strategies and defenses we create to keep ourselves separate from our own suffering, and the suffering we encounter in the world.
  • Breathing in, we allow ourselves to feel the inevitable suffering that occurs in this life; our heart’s natural response to this suffering, while breathing out, is compassion.
  • In Tonglen practice, through our compassion, we take on (embrace without resistance) the various sufferings of all beings: their fear, hurt, frustration, pain, anger, guilt, bitterness, loneliness, doubt, rage, and so forth; in return, we give them our loving-kindness, happiness, peace of mind, well-being, healing, and fulfillment.
  • Personal use of tonglen: Breathe in your pain and the blame, and breathe out the undoing of harm; breathe in taking full responsibility, breathe out the compassionate radiance of healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
  • Traditionally, we begin by doing Tonglen for someone we care about; however, we can use this practice at any time, either for ourselves or others.
  • The SourcePoint Practice is a simple effective method for reducing stress, creating optimal health, and empowering the heart.
  • The SourcePoint Practice yields numerous benefits, including reducing stress, creating optimal health, and empowering the heart.
  • The steps involved in the SourcePoint Practice - a simple, effective method for reducing stress, creating optimal health, and empowering the heart.
  • The SourcePoint Practice is one of the most effective methods one can use to create positive changes in one's health, relationships, and all aspects of life.
  • Three quotations dealing with the heart - from Helen Keller, Carl Jung, and The Secret of the Golden Flower: The Classic Chinese Book of Life.
  • Comments from the author of the SourcePoint Practice, Neil Steven Cohen, which show the value found in the Practice
  • A general area on the website for sharing various insights broadly relating to Buddhist spirituality.
  • A table contrasting ten non-virtuous actions with ten virtuous actions.
  • Realistically, how can we gauge the progress we have made on the spiritual path - one answer to this question is to meditatively reflect on the answers to key indicator questions that examine the fruits of one's life.
  • Describing an experience of eating mindfulness – a way to eat with respectful attention to food and body, beginning by sitting quietly in silence and placing the food in front of one.
  • Strength of mind - without fortitude of mind (concentration), we are destined not to succeed.
  • Without having enough information through study, there is nothing to contemplate, and then there is nothing to meditate on.
  • To have this perfect jewel of the Dhamma in our hearts, we need to be awake and aware - then we can prove by our own watchfulness that "the Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded."
  • The mind creates suffering (dukkha), and that's why we must watch and guard our minds.
  • Reflections on the special significance of the lotus flower in Buddhist perception: stages of growth, the mud, rebirth, faith and purification, the lotus and the Buddha, and colours of the lotus flower.
  • The following pages feature verses from The Dhammapada which may be downloaded in their PDF format.
  • The Dhammapada, Verse 1 - Life is the creation of the mind. .
  • The Dhammapada, Verse3 and 5 - Avoid imaginary reality through habitual mental talk.
  • The Dhammapada, Verses 15-20 - A Dhammapada contemplation
  • The Dhammapada, Verses 21-22 - Mindfulness is the path to the Deathless.
  • The Dhammapada, Verse 42 - How much we can harm ourselves through our own mind!
  • The Dhammapada, Verses 58-59 - The Lotus Flower
  • Photo galleries offered as a place to come to – even briefly – in order to help settle the mind prior to a time of meditation - all photos feature the natural environment and include landscapes, flowers, lakes, and Australian bush settings.
  • A selection of photos featuring peaceful lake scenes in Australian bush settings.
  • A selection of photos featuring a peaceful pond filled with pink lotus flowers in an Australian bush setting.
  • Resources that may be of interest for those desiring to know more about the Buddhist vision for enlightenment.
  • A glossary of Buddhist terms that will assist in clarifying and deepening one's understanding of Buddhist teachings and terminology - it offers Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Japanese, and Chinese Buddhist terms from the Hinayana (Theravada), Tibetan, Zen, and Shin Buddhist traditions.
  • A list of websites which present the Buddha's teachings.
  • The website www.vipassana.com offers a number of quality resources including a meditation course, texts (based on the Pali Canon), meditation teachings, and a newsletter.
  • Sirimangalo International is a non-profit organization located in Manitoba, Canada, dedicated to supporting the practice, study and teaching of Buddhist Insight (Vipassana) Meditation, in the tradition of Ajaan Tong Sirimangalo.
  • A program entitled Discovering Buddhism is offered by the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), found on their website at http://www.fpmt.org/; the cost is most reasonable for what is offered, and some modules are offered as a complimentary gift.
  • The Foundation of Buddhist Thought is a two-year course in Buddhist studies created by Geshe Tashi Tsering of Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London and it covers the following topics: The Four Noble Truths, Relative Truth and Ultimate Truth, Buddhist Psychology, The Awakening Mind, Emptiness, and Tantra. .
  • Email contact details for the author of this website - Alexander Peck
  • The privacy of all visitors' personal information and comments are held in highest regard and not shared.
  • Brief personal background of the author of this website - Alexander Peck - and acknowledgment of the work of Neil Steven Cohen and the SourcePoint Global Outreach (Neil graciously and generously allowed use of his information on this website).
  • Buddhist spirituality: embracing a vision of transformation and enlightenment

 

Embracing a vision of enlightenment and transformation 

 Lotus Flower

THE LOTUS FLOWER

In Buddhist perception the lotus flower has special significance. The efforts towards spirituality may be compared to the idea of applying fertiliser to a lotus flower which grows out of mud in a swamp, so that emerging from the surrounding muck of worldly passions will spring a beautiful flower of spirituality, blossoming to enlightenment. Here the 'muck' or mud can be compared to our physical body; the emerging lotus flower can be compared to the developing (budding) perceptions of our minds. The 'fertilising' relates to the direct application of exercise to the goal in view. The fully opened lotus would be the full expression of the Buddha-mind now visible as a beautiful lotus flower in full bloom. 

Davis, John R. The Path to Enlightenment: Introducing Buddhism. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1997. 

 

 

 

 Making sense of life and reality 

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Enlightenment is seeing reality as it is seeing and accepting people, places, and things as they are