Sunday, July 3, 2016

4th of July: Independence of Mind

Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo, The Path to Peace and Freedom for the Mind, translated from Thai by Ven. Thanissaro (Geoffrey DeGraff) edited by Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly
Seafair Summer Fourth of July in Seattle, Washington, an iconic event held at Gas Works Park overlooking Lake Union and the Seattle skyline preceded by skydivers (
Shock and awe: 20 most epic war-simulating fireworks shows across USA (
THE PATH: the Wheel of Eight Spokes on a Buddhist flag of all color combined
Weaving meaning from the Buddhist String Ceremony, Thailand (Rising Damp/
The Path to Peace and Freedom for the Mind
If we are all one, what the H is Rage doing?
This analysis of the Buddhist Path is intended as a guide to lead practitioners to peace and well being in terms both of the world and of the Dharma.

Well being in terms of the world includes fortune, status, praise, and pleasure. These four things depend on our conducting ourselves properly along the right path.

Rage Against the Machine fights hypocrisy
For if we follow the wrong path, we are bound to meet with loss of fortune, loss of status, censure and criticism, pain and suffering.

The fact that we experience these things may well be due to deficiencies in our conduct. So if our practice of the right path -- the Noble Eightfold Path -- is to lead us to peace in the world and the Dharma, we will first have to study it so that we understand it rightly then conduct ourselves in line with its factors.

Thereafter, if we have aims in the world, we will get good results. Our fortune, status, good name, and pleasure will be solid and lasting. Even after we pass away, they will continue to appear in the world.

A banner of truth flies high in all worlds.
However, if we see that fortune, status, praise, and pleasure are inconstant, undependable, and subject to change, we should immediately study and develop qualities that will lead our hearts in the direction of peace.

We are then sure to meet with results that parallel those of the world. For example, four supermundane paths of can be won for status:
  1. stream-entry
  2. once-returning
  3. non-returning
  4. full-enlightenment.
Fortune is the gaining of the fruition of these four. (See magga-phala, the paths-and-fruits for the distinction).

(School Freeware) 4th of July 2014 Fireworks Show Grand Finale - an U.S. passtime of war reenactment for kids...And the rockets' red flare the bombs bursting in air gave truth to the lie that our flag still stood for what it stood when it was first there, O, say can you see... (and so on, everyone makes up his or her lyrics).
These kinds of status and fortune are free of deterioration; they stay always. At the same time, we will receive praise and pleasure in full measure, inasmuch as Buddhists chant in praise virtually every night and day because "The followers of the Blessed One conduct themselves well, conduct themselves rightly, conduct themselves for the sake of wisdom, conduct themselves masterfully."
We are a JudeoChristian people. Yeah, right.
Similarly, our pleasure will be solid and lasting, steeping and refreshing the heart in the cool waters of the Dharma, no longer subject to death and decay. This is called niramisa sukha, "pleasure free from the baits of the world." It is pleasure that is quiet and cool, genuine and unchanging, the pleasure for which people who practice the Buddha's teachings aspire.

It is like gold: No matter where, every land and nation, it may fall, it remains gold by its intrinsic nature and is bound to be desired by people at large.

In the same way, the mental traits of people who follow the right path in terms of the Dharma are bound to give rise to genuine pleasure and ease, peace of mind and pleasure in the heart. Even when one passes from this world, fortune, status, good name, and pleasure in terms of the Dharma remains a constant companion.

So Buddhist practitioners who aim at progress and happiness wisely and compassionately study, ponder, and above all put into practice -- as far as they can -- all eight factors of the Noble Eight-limbed Path set out here as a guide to practice.

There is a Path to Freedom!
NOTE: There may be some mistakes in what is written here, because [Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo has] aimed more at the meaning and practice than at the letter of the sacred scriptures. So wherever there may be any deficiencies, offer forbearance. It is certain that whoever practices in line with guidelines given here is sure to meet to some extent with ease of body and mind in the world and the Dharma, in accordance with his or her own personal practice and ongoing conduct. May each and every one meet with progress and happiness.
Phra Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo
Wat Boromnivas, Bangkok
August, 1955
The Path
All of the Buddha's teachings and the way to practice them can be summed up in a mere eight factors:

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