Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Thai Forest Wisdom: True Nature of Reality

Ajahn Chah via Ven. Sujato, Ellie Askew; Dhr. Seven, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
I'm like a flower. Pick me while I'm beautiful.

Be careful. If you’re not careful, you won’t see the Dharma (i.e., the Truth, ultimate reality, things as they really are, the Buddha's Teaching, the Path to Awakening).

You must be circumspect, taking the Teaching and considering it well. Is this flower pretty? Do you also see the ugliness (the asubha or foulness) within this flower?

For how many days will a flower be pretty? [Inherent in its beauty is its impermanence and decay, hurtling it toward destruction.]

What will it be like from now on [losing its scents, its moisture, its softness, flexibility, and resilience]? Why does it change so? In three or four days we'll have to throw it away, right?

It loses all its beauty. People are attached to beauty, attached to the skillful, to goodness. If anything is good, they fall for it completely.

The Buddha tells us to look at pretty things as just pretty [their pleasant but transient nature]; we should avoid becoming attached to them, to clinging.

If there is a pleasant feeling or delightful sensation, let us not fall for it. Goodness is not a sure thing, nor is beauty. Nothing is certain. There is nothing in this world that is a certainty. This is the Truth.

The things that aren’t true are the things that change, such as beauty. The only truth it has is in its constant changing [and its impersonal and disappointing nature].

If we believe that things are beautiful, when their beauty fades, our mind/heart loses its beauty, too. When things are no longer good, our heart/mind loses its goodness, too. [Why? This is because we cling to what is impermanent, disappointing, and impersonal.]

The Buddha was right! I want freedom!
When things are destroyed or damaged, we suffer because we have clung to them as being our own [as if they were lasting, able to satisfy or fulfill us, as if they were real or what they seem].

The Buddha tells us to see that things are simply constructs of nature. Beauty appears [through Dependent Origination], and in a few days it fades. To see this is to [to begin to] have wisdom.

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