Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Seven Pretensions  七慢

Seven Pretensions / Arrogance 七慢

These are great hindrances to the Path of Enlightenment, as Buddhist practitioners, we make sure we are not falling into any of those categories of pretentiousness.

( 1 ) Self-superior: seeing someone with lower capacity, one exhibit as highly superior. (Most people more or less have such attitude, it is a serious hindrance to Dharma practice, therefore must correct it.)

(2) Self-Superior to Equal: Seeing someone with equal capacity, one thinks oneself is somewhat superior.

(3) Self-Superior to Superior: Seeing someone with higher capacity, one believe that one is somewhat superior.

(4) “I” Superior:  Internally, Misunderstanding the five Skandhas as true self -the ” I “, ( The composition of delusionary Form, Feeling, Mind, Action, Consciousness.) externally, Misunderstanding that everything ” I ” do is superior.

(5) Self-Superior on Knowledge: With small knowledge of Dharma, and little experience of meditation, with misunderstanding, one thinks oneself as very knowledgeable and superior.

(6) Self-Superior on Capacity: When seeing some one that is very capable, one thinks “So what! no big deal!”, showing no respect, Even when one knows other’s superior capacity, still don’t want to learn from the other person, in fear of showing inferiority.

(7) Self-Superior on Virtue: One without characteristics of virtue, pretend to be, and seeking praise and respect from others.

 

* Antidote for these pretentions is constantly reminding ourselves that all sentient beings are precious and equal with Buddha nature, we practice to be humble and respectful of everyone, being aware of our own body, speech and mind, make sure we are not falling into any of those categories of pretentious, Do self inquiries, and correct ourselves, and remind ourselves not to make the same mistakes, and a fool of our selves.

 

             

  

 

Six Paramitas 六波羅蜜

Six Paramitas六波羅蜜         (This is the Bodhisattva Path)

Generosity ( Dana ): the attitude of giving; giving assistance of monetary, time, comfort etc. without the thoughts of “I” give, without the thought of  I give “such, such”, and without the thought of “whom” received what I give. This is practice of “Emptiness / Detachment of giving”. This is a practice of open heart, or big heart.

Discipline / Precepts (Sila): virtue, morality, , proper conduct; is  practice of “Discipline” in the Eight-Fold-Path. Refrain from false speech, frivolous speech, divisive speech, idle chatting, harmful actions such as stealing, killing, sexual misconduct, intoxicants. These practices are foundation of calming the “Wild horse like” mind.

Tolerance ( Ksanti /kshanti ): patience, forbearance, acceptance, inclusiveness, endurance; Recognize that in the human realm, there are many, many different levels of intelligence of minds,  each project their views based on their own perceptions, to themselves, they are perfectly “right”, even though they might be very wrong. For us as Buddhist practitioners, it is an opportunity to incorporate all situations into the Path of practice; by transforming any negative situations as an opportunity to overcome it, and better yet, into a positive one. For example; in a group setting, can you extend your friendship to someone no one likes? Or to love the “un-loveable”?

Diligence (Virya ): energy, , vigor, effort; here means put great effort towards achieve state of Enlightenment, including diligent in hearing, studding, understanding, and practicing the Buddhist path, taking time to do meditation .

Meditation (Dhyana): one-pointed concentration, contemplation, insight meditation.

The mind is in the state of stability and calmness, is none attachment of external phenomena, or internal disturbance. This is development of calm abiding mind.

Wisdom (Prajna): Superior insight, correct views and understanding of all people and things. Have the ability to see the true nature of reality, without any trace of delusion. This is an enlightened mind.

Note: It is Wisdom that one has the ability to solve all problems, and help others.

 

The Eight-Fold Path  八正道        

                                                          The Eight-Fold Path          

Threefold division:

The Noble Eightfold Path is sometimes divided into three basic divisions, as follows:

This presentation is called the “Three Higher Trainings” in Mahayana Buddhism: higher moral discipline, higher concentration and higher wisdom. “Higher” here refers to the fact that these trainings that lead to liberation and enlightenment, are engaged in with the motivation of renunciation or bodhichitta

Division :                        Eightfold Path factors

Ethical Conducts …………….Right Action

Right Speech

Right Livelihood

Concentration ………………..Right Effort

Right Mindfulness

Right Concentration

Wisdom ……………………….. Right View

Right Intention

Eight Fold Paths:

Right Act: Refrain from actions that harms others, abstaining from, taking life, from stilling, and from illicit sex [or sexual misconduct]. This is called right action.

Right Speech: Abandoning false speech… He speaks the truth, holds to the truth, is firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world. Abandoning divisive speech… do not repeat or say things that cause animosity between two parties, Abandoning abusive speech… He speaks words that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are polite, appealing and pleasing to people at large. Abandoning idle chatter… He speaks in season, speaks what is factual, speaks words that meaningful.

Right Livelihood: This means that practitioners ought not to engage in trades or occupations which, either directly or indirectly, result in harm for other living beings. In the Chinese and Pali Canon, it is explained thus:

And what is right livelihood? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, having abandoned dishonest livelihood, keeps his life going with right livelihood: This is called right livelihood.

The five types of businesses that should not be undertaken:

  1. Business in weapons: trading any kind of weapons, and instruments for killing.
  2. Business in human beings: slave trading, prostitution, or the buying and selling of children or adults.
  3. Business in meat: “meat” refers to the bodies of beings after they are killed. This includes breeding animals for slaughter.
  4. Business in intoxicants: manufacturing or selling intoxicating drinks, or addictive drugs.
  5. Business in poison: producing or trading in any kind of poison, or a toxic product designed to kill.

Right Effort: Right effort , can also be translated as “right endeavor” or “right diligence”. In this factor, the practitioners should make a persisting effort to abandon all the wrong and harmful thoughts, words, and deeds. The practitioner should instead be persisting in giving rise to what would be good and useful to themselves and others in their thoughts, words, and deeds, without a thought for the difficulty or weariness involved. Right effort for a Buddhist, also meant diligent in study and practicing Buddha’s teachings.

Right Awareness: Right mindfulness, also translated as “right memory”, “right awareness” or “right attention”. Here, practitioners should constantly keep their minds alert to phenomena that affect the body and mind. They should be mindful and deliberate, making sure not to act or speak due to inattention or forgetfulness. This practice is a very effective method to achieve purification of body, speech and mind.

Right Concentration or Right meditation (samadhi), is the practice of concentration (Samadhi ). As such, the practitioner concentrates on an object of attention until reaching full concentration and a state of meditative absorption (jhana). Traditionally, the practice of samadhi can be developed through mindfulness of breathing through visual objects and through repetition of phrases (mantra). Samadhi is used to suppress the five hindrances in order to enter into jhana. Jhana is an instrument used for developing wisdom by cultivating insight and using it to examine true nature of phenomena with direct cognition. This leads to cutting off the defilements, realizing the dharma and, finally, self-awakening. During the practice of right concentration, the practitioner will need to investigate and verify their right view. In the process right knowledge will arise, followed by right liberation.

Right View: Right view , can also be translated as “right perspective”, “right outlook” or right understanding”. And what is right view? Right understanding of the Four Noble Truth; knowledge with reference to suffering, knowledge with reference to the origination of suffering, knowledge with reference to the cessation of suffering, knowledge with reference to the way of practice leading to the cessation of suffering: This is called ” Right ”

It is the right way of looking at life, nature, and the world as they really are. It is to understand how reality works. It acts as the reasoning for someone to start practicing the path. It explains the reasons for human existence, suffering, sickness, aging, death, the existence of greed, hatred, and delusion. It gives direction and efficacy to the other seven path factors. Right view begins with concepts and propositional knowledge, but through the practice of right concentration, it gradually becomes transmuted into wisdom, which can eradicate the fetters of the mind. Understanding of right view will inspire the person to lead a virtuous life in line with right view.

Right Wisdom or Right intention ,can also be known as “right thought”, “right resolve”, “right conception”, “right aspiration” or “the exertion of our own will to change”. In this factor, the practitioner should constantly aspire to rid themselves of whatever qualities they know to be wrong and immoral. Correct understanding of right view will help the practitioner to discern the differences between right intention and wrong intention.

 

 

The Four Noble Truths: 苦集滅道 (佛法四諦)

                         The Four Noble Truths: 苦集滅道

The Four Noble Truths are the core teachings of the Buddha; yet they are probably the most misunderstood of the Buddha’s teachings. The Four Noble Truths have a clear and simple message; it is the nature of life that all beings will face difficulties. By correctly following and practicing the Buddha’s teachings, one can transcend these difficulties and ultimately become enlightened, liberated, and free .

The Four Noble Truths are:

  1. The origin of (dukkha) suffering 苦
  2. The truth of suffering, anxiety, unsatisfactoriness苦因
  3. The truth of the cessation of dukkha (能) 滅
  4. The path leading to the cessation of dukkha 道 (方法)

The First Noble Truth (輪迴  Sufferings of cyclic existence)

Truth of Sufferings : Experiencing birth, aging, sickness, and death. Encountering hostile people and unwanted situations. Being separated from loved ones and from what we desire. Suffering anxiety, dissatisfaction, discontentment etc. Suffering mentally and physically. Due to Impermanence, anything that is born, formed, constructed, or created, will face aging, decay, break-down /sickness, and death/extinct. The Buddha said that, we are composed of nothing but five heaps (Skandhas), aggregates, or conglomerations of individuality.

The Five Skandhas:   

  • Form 型與四大: The physical elements of earth (solidity), Water (fluidity), Fire (heat), Air (Movement), and Space (cavities)——-all of which comprise our human and all sentient beings.
  • Feelings / Sensations 六塵 (五根與心意): The five senses…sight (eye), sound (ear), smell (nose), taste (tongue), and touch ( skin). Buddha added another sensory organ
  • “Mind” –the six sense .
  • Perceptions 六入功能: Combines Form, feelings, and sensations with recognition and judgments.
  • Intentionality / Will 分別, 執著: One’s wishes/intent/motives direct the mind, which controls the way we think, speak, and act. Your intentions establish the priorities in your life. Your past intentions / conditions perpetuate your present intentions, habits, and propensities. This is where Karma is created.
  • Consciousness 六識: Visual consciousness (eye), auditory consciousness (ear), olfactory consciousness(nose), gustatory consciousness (Taste), tactile consciousness (body), and mental  consciousness, which you presently think of as yours, is comprised of six different basic facets.
  • The Second Noble Truth    (Origin of the cause of suffering (Dukkha))
  • Origin of Sufferings : The very fact that this body and mind have come into being through contaminated actions and disturbing emotions, our ignorance is like that of darkness , unable to see the fundamental nature of phenomena and the connection between actions and their effects. Our search for (contaminated) pleasure preoccupies us and takes up most of our energy , yet it is doomed to failure from the start because none of these pleasure can give us the real and lasting happiness we crave. These cravings and graspings are two disturbing emotions whose nature is attachment. These bring about our physical and mental sufferings.
  • Life is difficult because of cause for suffering. It suggests a state of incessant, never ending craving, cravings for sensory pleasures, fame, and name.
  • Ignorance : Can be defined as ignorance of the meaning and implications of The Four Noble Truths. On a deeper level, it refers to a misunderstanding of the nature of the self and reality.
  • Disturbing Emotions : The three root disturbing emotions are called the three poisonsand are the root cause of suffering or dukkha.
  • These three poisons are:
  • Ignorance : misunderstanding the nature of reality, bewilderment.
  • Attachment :attachment to pleasurable experiences.
  • Aversion : a fear of getting what we want, fear of losing what we have, fear of not getting what we want, and fear of change.   
  •         
    The Third Noble Truth  (Cessation of suffering and the causes of suffering.) 

Cessation of Sufferings : Through understanding the fundamental nature of reality, we realize that it is possible to shed the misconception which drive us. Our approach is to investigate the feasibility of gaining liberation. The ability to perceive reality clearly, demands the practice of

special insight. This can only be cultivated and developed with intense concentration. Such power of concentration requires a firm foundation the ethical discipline of conduct, meditation and view.

Cessation is the goal of one’s spiritual practice in the Buddhist tradition.  According to the Buddha; each of us have Buddha-Nature, we all have the capability of achieving enlightenment, once we have developed a genuine understanding of the causes of suffering, we can completely eradicate these causes and thus be free ourselves from suffering. Cessation is often equated with Nirvana and can be said to occur whenever the causes of suffering (e.g. craving) have ceased in our mind. One will achieve calm-abiding state of the mind, ability to see the true nature of all things, ultimately attain enlightenment.

The Fourth Noble truth  (The path to the cessation of dukkha. )

Path to cease Sufferings—(The Eightfold Path)

This path is called the Noble Eightfold Path, and it is considered to be the essence of Buddhist practice. The eightfold path consists of Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. While the first three truths are primarily concerned with understanding the nature of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, stress) and its causes, the fourth truth presents a practical method for overcoming dukkha/ suffering. The path consists of a set of eight interconnected factors or conditions, that when developed together, lead to the cessation of dukkha.

The EightFold path is

Body

  1. Right Action 正業, 正行
  2. Right Livelihood 正命 (正事業)
  3. Right Effort  正精進

Speech

4. Right Speech  正語

Mind

5. Right View 正見(正見解)

6. Right Awareness  正思維

7. Right Mindfulness, (Intention)  正念

8. Right Concentration, (Meditation)  正定