Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Four Truths to Enlightenment (now)

Ananda M. (Dharma Meditation Initiative), Dhr. Seven, Jen B., CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly
What is Buddhist "enlightenment"? Of the Four Noble Truths, the first is usually mistranslated as, "All life is suffering."

That's wrong, so no one bothers much with the other three. The Buddha -- sometimes called the "Master Physician" -- actually taught, "All conditioned-phenomena are unsatisfactory."
  • Q: What are "conditioned-phenomena"? A: "Things" that come into apparent existence based on supporting conditions and not without them.
  • Q: What does "unsatisfactory" mean? A: Disappointing, unfulfilling, unable to satisfy, incapable of permanently appeasing craving.
  • We think "things" are elemental when they are actually composite (compounded); there is only one unconditioned-element, and everything else is a composed of conditions, a compound of factors.
Help! I'm in pain, disappointed, dissatisfied!
But who cares? What does that have to do with my awakening to ultimate truth?
  • What is the first truth? "All 'things' are unsatisfactory," which is to say: Rebirth, aging, illness, death, sorrow, lamentation (crying over), pain, grief, and despair, being with the disliked, being separated from the liked, not getting what is wanted, getting what is not wanted, the Five Aggregates clung to as "self" -- of these are unsatisfactory. In brief, that's the problem. What's the solution? The other three ennobling truths.
The Four Noble Truths the Buddha taught are a summary of the Teachings (Dharma). By penetrating them directly and fully, one realizes here-and-now that awakening (bodhi) that results in the end of all suffering (nirvana).

If they are that important, it is essential not to think we understand them when we have no idea what the Buddha was talking about or why. Here's the traditional four-word shorthand: "Dukkham samudayo nirodho magga."
  1. Diagnosis: dukkha (condition)
  2. Origin: samudaya (cause)
  3. Prognosis: nirodha (cessation)
  4. Prescription: magga (cure)
The Buddha only taught two things, what suffering is and what the end of suffering is.
I get it! I see! I finally know-and-see!
First of all, they are the Four ENNOBLING Truths because they lead, by their realization, to the "noble" (enlightened, aryan) state.

How can they be that important? Here's how: No one realizes enlightenment without penetrating them.

For instance, the Buddha's chief male disciple he called "foremost in wisdom," Sariputra, the counterpart to his chief female disciple foremost in wisdom (Khema), entered the first stage of enlightenment just by inferring them.

He did this when he heard a brief two-line statement summarizing the Dharma from Assaji, one of the Buddha's enlightened disciples. The summary went something like:
  • "All conditioned-phenomena arise from a cause, and that cause has been made known, as has their cessation. Such is the teaching of the Tathagata [the Buddha], the great wandering ascetic" (Mv 1.23.1-10).
  • What proceeds from a cause? All "things," the cause being the conditions the Buddha made known, and he has also made known how to bring about their cessation, the great peace and freedom from all suffering. Sariputra realized this timeless truth: "All that is subject to arising is also subject to cessation." That is, things are impermanent, things are impersonal, and this can be realized because all conditioned-things are unsatisfactory. So what is that one unconditioned thing?
On March 1, 2018 we will explain, discuss, then meditate for their realization here and now LIVE IN LOS ANGELES.

Then on March 3-4, 2018, we will meet and question an enlightened Buddhist monk at the Buddhist University of the West, Los Angeles.

Dharma Meditation Initiative - Pasa Dharma - Dharma Punx Valley

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