Apr 24

FOUR ENNOBLING TRUTHS/EIGHTFOLD PATH

FOUR ENNOBLING TRUTHS/EIGHTFOLD PATH
by Wayne Ren-Cheng

Thus I have heard,

“And what is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding? Precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.”

Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta – The Wheel of Law

During the first sermon in the Deer Park, when Siddhartha Guatama, who had recently become the Awakened One spoke to the five ascetics he introduced a new paradigm of spiritual quest and personal responsibility. Instead of the dogmatic rules imposed by deities and brahmin, he presented a spirituality based on the potential for human beings to become better caretakers of themselves and the world around them. The belief that the fate of human beings and the world around them was predetermined by deities and that brahmin were there “hands” on earth was replaced by the knowledge of suffering as presented in the Four Ennobling Truths and the potential of human beings to alleviate as offered in the Fourth Truth, the Eightfold Path.

The Buddha’s new spiritual paradigm was then, and is now a call to action. The Four Ennobling Truths are the realities of the world we live in, that we elevate to the forefront of our bodymind remaining always aware of our goal of the alleviation/cessation of craving. This is not a deific problem or a clerical problem, this is a human problem that must be solved and the Buddha gave us the guide to solving them. The Fourth Truth, the Eightfold Path is the guide to a deeper understanding and way for each of our thoughts and actions to be directed toward that goal. Through Buddhist practice we first recognize the efficacy of these practices and act upon them, then we realize them as an itegral part of how we are in each moment and we become positive agents of change, examples to others of a social self.

The Four Ennobling Truths

Inherent in this life is suffering, unsatisfactoriness, discontentment and anguish.
The cause of suffering, unsatisfactoriness, discontentment and anguish is craving.
The cessation of craving is attainable due to the causal nature of the Universe; it leads to the resolution of unsatisfactoriness, discontentment and anguish
The path to the cessation of craving is Eightfold

The Eightfold Path

Traditionally each ideal of the Eightfold Path begins “right” with its implication that there is one specific mode to practice, one “right” view, one “right” intention, etc. When the interconnection between the Eightfold Path, impermanence and causality are realized though it becomes clear that by viewing the 8FP as “encompassing and corrective” we integrate a dynamism that allows an elevated level of situational thought and action. We live in a causal Universe where all phenomena change and where only through the option of applying multiple methods can we reach desired positive results. We have to keep a “beginner’s mind” in ever situation as each will be unique, requiring unique solutions. So, “right” becomes two words, “encompassing and corrective”. To be encompassing when applying the 8FP is to be mindful that our actions and thoughts will have wide-ranging positive, neutral or negative effects. It reminds us that we must act with the intention of securing the most harmonious outcome for the situation overall. And, that our thoughts/actions must be directed toward being positive causal agents that lessen or negate our own craving, and promote human flourishing.

The 8FP is not only a path to the alleviation of suffering; it is also one that leads to the development of a positive personal character. The eight ideals are paths to developing the three key characteristics of a social self: wisdom (prajna), ethical conduct (sila), and meditation (samadhi).

Encompassing and corrective view and intention are tools of wisdom. View is simply seeing the world around us as it IS, rather than creating a view of what we WANT it to be. It is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. Realizing the Three Characteristics of Existence – suffering, impermanence and not-self – is an encompassing and corrective view. Intention is our commitment to practicing situational ethics and our dedication to a life-long learning that drives positive personal development. The Buddha spoke of three E&C intentions: intention to resist craving, of goodwill and generosity, of harmlessness and compassion.

Encompassing and corrective speech, action and livelihood are tools of ethical conduct, guides to moral discipline. Our speech (written and verbal) and actions must be directed toward the promotion of harmony, the old adage “sticks and stones . . .” was never true; words do hurt, cause conflict and suffering. E&C livelihood really requires a situational view. A job can’t always be adandoned due to some “negative aspects” but any job can be approached wit the intention of changing negatives within the structure of it.

Encompassing and corrective effort, mindfulness and concentration are tools of meditative practice, and the application of meditative skills off the cushion. Our mental energy, our effort must be directed as wholesome force fueling self-improvement, self-honesty and social self while avoiding forces like desire, aggression and lust. Mindfulness is the cognitive process of seeing how reality is, our perceptions must be clear, going beyond first impressions. Concentration is developed through meditation practice where we learn to focus and sustain concentration. Then this skill is taken off the cushion into moment-to-moment situations.

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Apr 17

Introduction to Meditation: How To Meditate (HD)

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Apr 15

A Loving Thought

namaste image

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Apr 15

Latest Schedule for Meditation and Teaching at the Buddha Center

Buddha Center Teaching and Meditation Schedule for 2016

Monday

08:30 AM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Tashi Aura in the main temple

01:00 PM SLT – 1st and 3rd of the month teaching with Venerable Wayne Slacker in Deer Park (in voice)

03:00 PM SLT – Session with Mani in Deer Park (in voice)

05:30 PM SLT -30 minutes of silent meditation with Cysix Sage in the main temple

06:30 PM SLT – 2nd and 4th of the month teaching with Venerable Wayne Slacker in Deer Park (in voice)

06:30 PM SLT – 1st and 3rd of each month teaching with Samanera Jayantha in Deer Park (in voice)

Tuesday

08:30 AM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Savi in the main temple.

9:00 AM SLT – Lecture with Swami Luminos in the Main temple (in voice)

07:00 PM SLT –Pure Land Ceremony with Prosper Telling in Deer Park

08:00 PM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Asendeson Svenson – in Deer Park

Wednesday

08:30 AM SLT – Short lecture and zazen in the Main temple with Delani (in voice)

09:30 AM SLT – Metta mediation with Jenn (in deer park)

01:00 PM SLT – Jataka tales and meditation with Zino March in the main temple (in voice

05:30 PM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Cysix Sage in the main temple

Thursday

08:30 AM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Tashi Aura in the main temple

03:00 PM SlT – various lectures by Mani in Deer Park (in voice_

07:00 AM SLT –Pure Land Ceremony with Prosper Telling in Deer Park

12 PM SLT – Meditation teaching session with Mani in Deer Park (in voice)

Friday

08:00 AM SLT -– 30 minutes of silent meditation with Savi in main temple

09:00 AM SLT – Lecture with Swami Luminos; in the Main Temple (in voice)

02:00 PM SLT – Teaching with Venerable Wayne Slacker in the main temple (in voice)

Saturday

10:00 AM SLT – teaching with Samanera Jayantha in Deer Park (in voice)

Sunday

10:30 AM SLT – the first Sunday of the month. – Puja ceremony for the release of compassionate energy. In the main temple, Venerable Wayne (in voice)

03:00 PM SLT – teaching with Lama Tsewang in the main temple (in voice)

There will be spontaneous sessions and/or chanting with Mani in Deer Park. Watch for notices

Venerable Wayne will be doing “pop up” sessions over the next few months and may not be doing his regular sessions (watch for notices)

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Apr 07

JUMP IN . . . THE WATER’S . . . WHAT WE MAKE IT

by Wayne Ren-Cheng

Buddhist philosophy and practice has long focused on the mind as a weak point for human beings. The mind can fool you with delusions, tell you lies you want to believe, and insist on thoughts and actions it is comfortable with rather than try something different. Strongly worded teachings to cleanse, to control, to pacify, and to know the mind are found across the sutras. This is a major reason why in Buddhism there are six senses not five: sight, sound, taste, touch, smell and consciousness . . . the mind. The mind, or consciousness doesn’t only process what the other senses gather it can create scenarios real and the contrived. The mind can offer distorted memories, wrong information and a deluded view of the future. To know the mind requires rigorous self-honesty in order to achieve insight into reality, internal and external. This is a point where the ideals of Buddhism meet the reality of human existence.

In the Anguttara Nikaya (The Further-factored Discourses) the Buddha uses a pool of water as metaphor for the mind.

Udakarahaka Sutta: A Pool of Water – AN 1.45-46

“Suppose there were a pool of water – clouded with mud and trash. A man with good eyesight standing there on the bank would not see shells, gravel, and pebbles, or shoals of fish swimming about and resting. Why is that? It is because of the spoiled nature of the water. In the same way a disciple cannot know his own benefit, the benefit of others, the benefit of both due to the spoiled nature of his mind; that he would not realize a superior human state, a truly noble distinction of knowledge & vision: Such a thing would be impossible. Why is that? Because of the spoiled nature of his mind.”

“Suppose there were a pool of water — clear and free from trash. A man with good eyesight standing there on the bank would see shells, gravel, & pebbles, and also shoals of fish swimming about and resting. Why is that? It is because of the unspoiled nature of the water. In the same way a disciple would know his own benefit, the benefit of others, the benefit of both due to the unspoiled nature of his mind; that he would realize a superior human state, a truly noble distinction of knowledge & vision: Such a thing is possible. Why is that? It is because of the unspoiled nature of his mind.”

“Udakarahaka Suttas: A Pool of Water” (AN 1.45-46), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 4 August 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an01/an01.045-046.than.html

A mind “spoiled” by vexations/hindrances – sensual desire, ill-will, laziness, restlessness, and doubt – and the arising of negative habitual reactions – anger, fear, envy, greed – is incapable of realizing the positive qualities of its own nature. The mud that clouds the water is from the mind’s reluctance to let go of habitual reactivity and hindrances. Mud is internal. The trash that clouds the water is the negative influences of society that you allow to be “thrown” into the pool. Trash is external.

‘In the same way a disciple cannot know his own benefit, the benefit of others, the benefit of both due to the spoiled nature of his mind; that he would not realize a superior human state, a truly noble distinction of knowledge & vision . . .’ It is impossible for you to get an appropriate view and realize how you can be the cause of wholesome transformations of the self, of others, and of the world unless the mud is made to settle and the trash disposed of properly. To make a distinction between what you think you know and what you need to know (knowledge) and between what you think you see and what is reality (vision) you must be viewing yourself and the causal universe through clear water or unobstructed mind.

The Buddha offers two ways to cleanse the mind. Let the mud settle by not engaging in sensual desire, ill-will, laziness, restlessness, and doubt; and remove the ‘trash’ of anger, fear, envy, greed. There is a third manner of clearing the water that is illustrated using the image of bathtub.

Let your consciousness create the image of a bathtub made of glass. The water in the tub is dark with mud. You can let the mud fall-away to the bottom but the mud will still be there waiting to arise into the clear water above it. You can scoop the mud out causing the water to become opaque, impossible to get a clear view through and then wait for it to settle again. In the first you might be engaging in denying the mud of vexations and hindrances, allowing it to remain in the tub. In the second you might be attempting to rid yourself of emotions, getting frustrated because some mud remains to swirl around in the water. Both of these methods have limited positive effects. What is missing?

You can’t focus exclusively on mindfully removing the unwholesome from the mind, on removing the mud and trash from the water. You must also engage in adding wholesome thoughts and ideals to the mind, putting drop after drop of clear, clean water into the tub. You cannot only subtract from the mind; you must also add to it. Interconnected these two actions are a path to a cleansed mind that will be able to realize personal and societal benefit, and to achieve knowledge and appropriate view of experiences and situations.

Mindfulness allows some of the mud to go down the drain. That same mindfulness allows drops of the clear waters of loving-kindness, compassion, generosity, morals, energy, awareness, acceptance, meditation and wisdom to be added to the tub. Slowly the level of mud diminishes and the water appears cleaner and clearer. It becomes easier to see the reality of self and the causal universe.

A sangha member once asked, “Why not just drain the tub, wash all the mud out and then refill it with the clean water?” This would make it easier. Drain out the vexations/hindrances and trash and start over. Unfortunately you cannot ‘drain’ you mind of all your experiences, attitudes, beliefs, habits and dispositions. This is the time to recall that Buddhism is the Middle Path between extremes.

For the great majority of us the ideal of a completely cleansed mind is a delusion. There will always be some arising, however minor of hindrances. There will always be the arising of mindfulness that stills habitual reactivity in favor of appropriate response. There will always be a certain amount of mud in the water. That is why mindfulness and awareness must always be present. The Middle Path realizes that one is never all mud, never all clear water. It must be a constant process of mindfulness of internal mud and awareness of external trash being processed through the mind so that the unwholesome influences are recognized. It must be a constant process of learning and practice so that drops of clear water are being continuously added so that a more wholesome personal character and societal direction can be realized.

We can’t change how our senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch send information to the mind. We can change how the mind responds to those stimuli. We can continue to allow the mud of hindrances and vexations to thicken and choke out our wholesome qualities, or we can put in the effort needed to be mindful of the unwholesome and limit it’s arising. With awareness we can learn to recognize the defilements of the mind caused by what we allow to become part of our thinking and acting, our habitual reactivities, as well as recognize the wholesome thoughts and actions that will cleanse the mind. Then with mindfulness we can allow the unwholesome to fall away and the wholesome to arise. We can let the mud settle and let the mud drain as we add clear, clean water drop by drop.

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Apr 02

Ask A Monk: Teaching Meditation to Children

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Mar 09

New Revised Buddha Center Schedule

Buddha Center Teaching and Meditation Schedule for 2016 revised as of 3/9/2016

Monday

08:30 AM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Tashi Aura in the main temple

9:00 AM SLT – Lecture with Swami Luminos in the Main temple (in voice)

01:00 PM SLT – 1st and 3rd of the month teaching with Venerable Wayne Slacker in Deer Park (in voice)

03:00 PM SLT – session with Mani in Deer Park (in voice)

05:30 PM SLT -30 minutes of silent meditation with Cysix Sage in the main temple

06:30 PM SLT – 2nd and 4th of the month teaching with Venerable Wayne Slacker in Deer Park (in voice)

06:30 PM SLT – 1st and 3rd of each month teaching with Samanera Jayantha in Deer Park (in voice)

Tuesday

08:30 AM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Savi in the main temple.

9:00 AM SLT – Lecture with Swami Luminos in the Main temple (in voice)

08:00 PM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Asendeson Svenson – in Deer Park

Wednesday

08:30 AM SLT – short teaching and zazen in the main temple with Delani (in voice)

09:00 AM SLT – metta mediation with Jenn (in deer park)

01:00 PM SLT – Jataka tales and meditation with Zino March in the main temple (in voice

05:30 PM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Cysix Sage in the main temple

Thursday

08:30 AM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Tashi Aura in the main temple

09:00 AM SLT – Lecture with Swami Luminos; in the Main Temple (in voice)

12 PM SLT – Meditation teaching session with Mani in Deer Park (in voice)

Friday

08:00 AM SLT -– 30 minutes of silent meditation with Savi in main temple

9:00 AM SLT – Lecture with Swami Luminos in the Main temple (in voice)

02:00 PM SLT – Teaching with Venerable Wayne Slacker in the main temple (in voice)

Saturday

12:00 PM SLT – teaching with Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu in Deer Park (in voice)

Sunday

10:30 AM SLT – the first Sunday of the month. – Puja ceremony for the release of compassionate energy. In the main temple, Venerable Wayne (in voice)

03:00 PM SLT – teaching with Lama Tsewang in the main temple (in voice)

There will be spontaneous sessions and/or chanting with Mani in Deer Park. Watch for notices

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Mar 01

HH Dalai Lama speaks at the Mayo Clinic in Second Life

Buddha2

-In a true-to- life avatar, His Holiness spoke with Mayo Clinic staff, health care providers, and the general population at the Mayo Clinic sim in Second Life.  In his usual brilliant, humble  and joyful way he answered the many questions regarding Buddhism and world health.  The event occurred February 29th and was warmly received by all attending.  What a gift to be in his presence.

 

 

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Feb 27

Buddha Center Teaching and Meditation Schedule

Buddha Center Teaching and Meditation Schedule

Monday
08:30 AM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Tashi Aura in the main temple
9:00 AM SLT – Lecture with Swamin Luminos in the Main temple (in voice)
01:00 PM SLT – 1st and 3rd of the month teaching with Venerable Wayne Slacker in Deer Park (in voice)
05:30 PM SLT -30 minutes of silent meditation with Cysix Sage in the main temple
06:30 PM SLT – 2nd and 4th of the month teaching with Venerable Wayne Slacker in Deer Park (in voice)
06:30 PM SLT – 1st and 3rd of each month teaching with Samanera Jayantha in Deer Park (in voice)

Tuesday
08:30 AM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Savi in the main temple.
9:00 AM SLT – Lecture with Swamin Luminos in the Main temple (in voice)
03:00 AM SLT – One hour session – Vipassana Practice in the Deer Park with Dar (in voice)
08:00 PM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Asendeson Svenson – in Deer Park

Wednesday
01:00 PM SLT – Jataka tales and meditation with Zino March in the main temple (in voice)
09:00 AM SLT – metta mediation with Jenn (in deer park)
05:30 PM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Cysix Sage in the main temple
06:30 PM SLT – 1st and 3rd of each month -teaching with Samanera Jayantha in Deer Park (in voice)

Thursday
08:30 AM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Tashi Aura in the main temple
09:00 AM SLT – Lecture with Swami Luminos; in the Main Temple (in voice)
03:00 PM SLT – Vipassana and Metta Practice in the Deer Park with Dar (in voice)

Friday
08:00 AM SLT -– 30 minutes of silent meditation with Savi in main temple
9:00 AM SLT – Lecture with Swamin Luminos in the Main temple (in voice)
02:00 PM SLT – Teaching with Venerable Wayne Slacker in the main temple (in voice)

Saturday
12:00 PM SLT – teaching with Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu in Deer Park (in voice)

Sunday
10:30 AM SLT – the first Sunday of the month. – Puja ceremony for the release of compassionate energy. In the main temple, Venerable Wayne (in voice)
03:00 PM SLT – teaching with Lama Tsewang in the main temple (in voice)

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Feb 27

Metta Meditation with Dar in The Deer Park @ The Buddha Center

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