Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Summer Solstice: Summer begins! (The Path)

Acharya Buddharakkhita (trans.), Dhammapada XX, Maggavagga, "The Path"; Pink Floyd, "Time"; Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

The worst thing is looking back with regret, having left undone what should be done, having done what should not be done, having wasted one's time, having learned nothing, having gained zip, youth spent, none the wiser, and no closer to enlightenment (bodhi) or freedom (nirvana).

It's like Pink Floyd sings in that famous song on constant repeat in Asia. All shoestring travelers hear it at hippie hangouts and hostels. Y'know the one: "Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day, you fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way. Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town waiting for..."
If that's the worst thing, then a very good thing is to stand here, project to that time in the future, look back, feel how much it sucks, and avoid it! You're young, life is long, and there is time enough today. But then there's that other line, the problem:

"Waiting for someone or something to show you the way," The Path, the thing no one lets us know unless we seek it out.

I suppose we always thought we'd find it ourselves. Teacher? We don't need no stinking teacher! Hey, teacher, leave us all alone, ah, but that's another song.
Verses on "The Path"

Should we worship Time or do surya namaskar, yoga's "sun salutation"? (Stonehenge)

Dhammapada (Dharma Path)
273. Of all the paths, the Noble Eightfold Path is best; of all truths the Four Noble Truths are best; of all things, dispassion is best: of humans, the One Who Sees is best.

274. This is the direct [possibly the only] path; there is none other for the purification of insight; tread this path, and you will bewilder Mara [Death, the Deceiver, who ruins the possibility of enlightenment and liberation].

275. Walking on this path, one will make an end of all suffering. Having discovered how to pull out the thorn of craving [lust, clinging, desperate hankering, passion], I make known the path.
276. You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way. Those meditative ones who tread the path are released from the bonds of Mara.
277. "All conditioned things are impermanent" -- when one sees this [reality] with direct insight, one [automatically] pulls away from suffering. This is the path of purification.
278. "All conditioned things are unsatisfactory" -- when one sees this with direct insight, one pulls away from suffering. This is the path of purification.

279. "All things are impersonal" -- when one sees this with direct insight, one pulls away from suffering. This is the path of purification.
280. The idler who does not exert oneself when one should who, although young and strong, is full of sloth, with a mind/heart full of vain thoughts -- such an indolent person does not find the path to liberating wisdom.
281. Let a person be watchful of speech, well controlled in mind [thought], and not commit harm in bodily action. Let one purify these three courses of karma (action) and win the path made known by the Great Sage.
282. Wisdom springs from meditation [cultivation, development, bringing into being]; without meditation, wisdom wanes. Having known both of these paths -- of progress and decline -- let a person conduct oneself that one's wisdom may increase.

283. Cut down the forest (lust), but not the tree; from the forest springs fear. Having cut down the forest and the underbrush (desire), be passionless, O meditators!
  • [20: (Verse 283) The meaning of this injunction is: "Cut down the forest of lust, but do not mortify the body."]
284. For so long as the underbrush of desire, even the most subtle, of a person towards another person is not cut down, one's mind is in bondage, like the sucking calf to its mother.
285. Cut off your clinging in the manner of a person who plucks with hand an autumn lotus. Cultivate only the path to peace, nirvana, as made known by the Exalted One.
286. "Here shall I live during the rains, here in winter, here in the summer" -- thus thinks the fool. One does not realize the danger (e.g., Death might intervene).
287. As a great flood sweeps away a sleeping village, so death seizes and carries away the person with a clinging mind/heart, doting on one's children and cattle [family and wealth].
288. For one who is assailed by death, there is no protection by kinsfolk. None there are to save one -- no sons, nor father, nor relatives.
289. Realizing this fact, let the wise person, restrained by virtue, hasten to clear the path leading to nirvana.
Free Summer Buddhist Meditation Retreat, June 30, 2018, Los Angeles (DMI)

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