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Series on Equanimity (continued)

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  • Sharon
    All these eight concerns can be condensed into two attitudes: being attached to what is pleasant and having aversion or fear towards whatever is unpleasant.
    Message 1 of 9 , May 1, 2004
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      "All these eight concerns can be condensed into two attitudes: being
      attached to what is pleasant and having aversion or fear towards
      whatever is unpleasant. In other words, whenever we encounter or
      obtain something pleasant our mind feels happy and excited and
      becomes attached to whatever brought us that pleasure, be it a
      person, an object or an experience. On the other hand, whenever we
      encounter someone or something unpleasant, ugly, frightening or
      uncomfortable our mind feels unhappy, irritated or angry and develops
      aversion towards that object.

      "One of the best examples of this is our reaction to praise and
      criticism. When people point out our good qualities, or tell us that
      we have done something really well, we feel happy. Our mind goes up
      and we feel elated and excited. But whenever we face the opposite --
      criticism, blame or unkind words -- what happens? Our mind goes down
      and we feel depressed, unhappy and negative. We may even become angry
      and want to hurt the person who criticized us."

      ~ Ven. Sangye Khadro,"Training the Mind in Compassion --- The Eight
      Verses of Thought Transformation"

      The entire commentary can be found online at:
      http://web.singnet.com.sg/~fpmtsing/d-8v.html


      May this be of benefit
    • Sharon
      Gain and loss is another major concern. When people give us gifts, when we go shopping and buy something nice for ourselves, or when we get something we want
      Message 2 of 9 , May 2, 2004
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        "Gain and loss is another major concern. When people give us gifts,
        when we go shopping and buy something nice for ourselves, or when we
        get something we want like a raise in salary, we feel happy and
        excited and get attached to the object or to the person who gave it.
        But when we do not get what we want, or when we lose something that
        we cherish, our mind goes down and we become unhappy, depressed and
        angry.

        "This is what the eight worldly concerns are all about: being overly
        concerned about the good and bad things that happen in our life. What
        is wrong with that? Well, if we allow our mind to be influenced by
        these eight attitudes then they leave us at the mercy of conditions
        over which we have no control, such as what people think and say
        about us, or whether we encounter good or bad experiences. As a
        result of that, our mind and our mood is always up and down like a yo-
        yo on a string -- one moment happy, the next moment unhappy; one
        moment full of love and kindness, the next full of anger and
        resentment. These eight attitudes cause our mind to be uptight and
        fearful; we are afraid of losing the things we are attached to and of
        meeting what we do not like. These eight attitudes also tend to be
        self-centered -- they are concerned about getting what I want, and
        avoiding what I do not like -- and thus are an obstacle to developing
        genuine concern for others. They get us all caught up in experiences
        and things which are impermanent, and which we will have to leave
        behind when we journey to the next life. Furthermore, under their
        influence, we may act unwisely, such as behaving pretentiously in
        order to win others' attention and praise, or stealing things we
        desire but cannot afford to buy. The eight worldly concerns are thus
        a source of problems in this life and an obstacle to our spiritual
        development."

        ~ Ven. Sangye Khadro,"Training the Mind in Compassion --- The Eight
        Verses of Thought Transformation"

        The entire commentary can be found online at:
        http://web.singnet.com.sg/~fpmtsing/d-8v.html


        May this be of benefit
      • marissa weiler
        Dear Sharon, This piece really resonated with me. The inability to be able to predict with certainty is something I repeatedly struggle with. I am learning
        Message 3 of 9 , May 2, 2004
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          Dear Sharon,
          This piece really resonated with me. The inability to
          be able to "predict with certainty" is something I
          repeatedly struggle with. I am learning more about
          "why" and I'm doing better with it and your choice of
          selection came at a terrific time! Much metta and
          peace, Marissa. --- Sharon <sharonwerner@...>
          wrote:
          ---------------------------------
          "Gain and loss is another major concern. When people
          give us gifts,
          when we go shopping and buy something nice for
          ourselves, or when we
          get something we want like a raise in salary, we feel
          happy and
          excited and get attached to the object or to the
          person who gave it.
          But when we do not get what we want, or when we lose
          something that
          we cherish, our mind goes down and we become unhappy,
          depressed and
          angry.

          "This is what the eight worldly concerns are all
          about: being overly
          concerned about the good and bad things that happen in
          our life. What
          is wrong with that? Well, if we allow our mind to be
          influenced by
          these eight attitudes then they leave us at the mercy
          of conditions
          over which we have no control, such as what people
          think and say
          about us, or whether we encounter good or bad
          experiences. As a
          result of that, our mind and our mood is always up and
          down like a yo-
          yo on a string -- one moment happy, the next moment
          unhappy; one
          moment full of love and kindness, the next full of
          anger and
          resentment. These eight attitudes cause our mind to be
          uptight and
          fearful; we are afraid of losing the things we are
          attached to and of
          meeting what we do not like. These eight attitudes
          also tend to be
          self-centered -- they are concerned about getting what
          I want, and
          avoiding what I do not like -- and thus are an
          obstacle to developing
          genuine concern for others. They get us all caught up
          in experiences
          and things which are impermanent, and which we will
          have to leave
          behind when we journey to the next life. Furthermore,
          under their
          influence, we may act unwisely, such as behaving
          pretentiously in
          order to win others' attention and praise, or stealing
          things we
          desire but cannot afford to buy. The eight worldly
          concerns are thus
          a source of problems in this life and an obstacle to
          our spiritual
          development."

          ~ Ven. Sangye Khadro,"Training the Mind in Compassion
          --- The Eight
          Verses of Thought Transformation"

          The entire commentary can be found online at:
          http://web.singnet.com.sg/~fpmtsing/d-8v.html


          May this be of benefit




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        • Philip
          Hello all I ve mentionned it a few times, but the meditation on the eight worldly concerns led by Thubten Chodron that Sharon posted way back when continues to
          Message 4 of 9 , May 2, 2004
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            Hello all

            I've mentionned it a few times, but the meditation on the eight
            worldly concerns led by Thubten Chodron that Sharon posted way back
            when continues to be so important for me. How much of our precious
            human lives we spend wrapped up in stories and -as we learned the
            other day- hallucinations related to worldly concerns!

            I find the expression "that doesn't concern me" keeps coming up
            into my head to catch me when I'm about to get caught up in some
            mental activity that will do me no good - watching the nes and
            getting irritated by you-know-who being a good example. "THat doesn't
            concern me," I say, and refuse to abuse my own brain with more
            hostility.

            This morning I remembered a phrase I learned in Thai a long time
            ago. Something Thai people say all the time "Mai pen rai" (sp?) "It
            doesn't matter, don't worry about it." I'm curious to know if it has
            Buddhist origins and if it does, I might make it a very helpful
            mantra. I think it helps us with equanimity.
            Detachment doesn't mean indifference. I don't quite know how we can
            stay concerned about others and detached from that at the same time,
            but we know that Buddhism helps us do just that!

            Metta,
            Phil

            p.s great to hear from you again Marissa. We missed you.

            --- In Buddhaviharas@yahoogroups.com, "Sharon" <sharonwerner@c...>
            wrote:
            > "All these eight concerns can be condensed into two attitudes:
            being
            > attached to what is pleasant and having aversion or fear towards
            > whatever is unpleasant. In other words, whenever we encounter or
            > obtain something pleasant our mind feels happy and excited and
            > becomes attached to whatever brought us that pleasure, be it a
            > person, an object or an experience. On the other hand, whenever we
            > encounter someone or something unpleasant, ugly, frightening or
            > uncomfortable our mind feels unhappy, irritated or angry and
            develops
            > aversion towards that object.
            >
            > "One of the best examples of this is our reaction to praise and
            > criticism. When people point out our good qualities, or tell us
            that
            > we have done something really well, we feel happy. Our mind goes up
            > and we feel elated and excited. But whenever we face the opposite --

            > criticism, blame or unkind words -- what happens? Our mind goes
            down
            > and we feel depressed, unhappy and negative. We may even become
            angry
            > and want to hurt the person who criticized us."
            >
            > ~ Ven. Sangye Khadro,"Training the Mind in Compassion --- The Eight
            > Verses of Thought Transformation"
            >
            > The entire commentary can be found online at:
            > http://web.singnet.com.sg/~fpmtsing/d-8v.html
            >
            >
            > May this be of benefit
          • Sharon
            This is not to say that it is wrong to experience pleasure and to not want. There is nothing wrong with pleasant experiences, relationships, a good
            Message 5 of 9 , May 3, 2004
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              "This is not to say that it is wrong to experience pleasure and to
              not want. There is nothing wrong with pleasant experiences,
              relationships, a good reputation, money or material possessions. The
              problem is being attached to these things. Attachment is a mental
              state that tends to exaggerate the positive qualities of people and
              objects, overlooks their shortcomings, gets lost in fantasies about
              them, and desires never to separate from them. It is therefore
              unrealistic in outlook, and leads to problems such as possessiveness,
              feeling disappointed when things don't turn out the way we imagined
              they would, and falling into depression when we lose the things we're
              attached to. What we want is happiness, but attachment is actually an
              obstacle to that. It makes our mind disturbed and tense, such that we
              are unable to just relax and enjoy people and experiences. So the
              problem is not the pleasant experiences themselves, it's our
              attachment to them.

              "We need to be especially alert to the eight worldly concerns
              influencing our practice of Dharma. For example, we may want people
              to be impressed by our Dharma knowledge, by our patience or our
              diligence in observing precepts, by the amount of money we donate to
              a charitable cause or the amount of time we spend doing social work.
              We hope that others will notice how long we are able to sit in
              meditation with our back perfectly straight, looking serene and
              sublime like the Buddha. We are full of enthusiasm when our practice
              is going well, but when we encounter problems we become depressed and
              discouraged, and think about giving it up. These are signs that the
              eight worldly concerns have crept into our Dharma practice. When this
              happens, it means that our practice has become polluted or "defiled",
              and is actually the cause of further confusion and suffering rather
              than of peace, happiness and spiritual growth."

              ~ Ven. Sangye Khadro,"Training the Mind in Compassion --- The Eight
              Verses of Thought Transformation"

              The entire commentary can be found online at:
              http://web.singnet.com.sg/~fpmtsing/d-8v.html


              May this be of benefit
            • Sharon
              So what should we do if we notice any of these eight attitudes in our mind? First, we should not be upset with ourselves, thinking: Oh, I m such a bad person
              Message 6 of 9 , May 5, 2004
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                "So what should we do if we notice any of these eight attitudes in
                our mind? First, we should not be upset with ourselves,
                thinking: 'Oh, I'm such a bad person to feel this way!' Instead we
                should be happy that we have become aware of a problem that we have
                always had but never noticed before. Now we can do something about
                it: we can change our mind and develop more positive, realistic
                attitudes.

                'The best remedy to the eight worldly concerns is to reflect on
                impermanence: the changing nature of all things. The pleasant and
                unpleasant events and experiences of this life are not permanent --
                they last only a short time and then disappear. So it is unwise to
                cling to what is pleasant, wishing it to last forever, or to be upset
                by what is unpleasant, since it will soon vanish. Furthermore, our
                very life is impermanent: we are going to die one day and when we do,
                everything in this life -- relationships, possessions, pleasant and
                unpleasant memories, reputation, and so on -- will fade and disappear
                like last night's dream.

                "A Dharma practitioner learns to think like this: 'My life is going
                to end at some point. I am going to die and leave everything behind:
                loved ones, possessions, job, reputation, all my experiences, even my
                body. Only my mind will go on to face the next life. In order to
                ensure that my mind can remain peaceful and positive at the time of
                death, have a smooth transition to the next life, and obtain a
                fortunate rebirth, I must learn to overcome disturbing negative
                states of mind such as attachment and aversion. I need to practice
                Dharma purely, without the pollution of the eight worldly concerns.'"

                ~ Ven. Sangye Khadro,"Training the Mind in Compassion --- The Eight
                Verses of Thought Transformation"

                The entire commentary can be found online at:
                http://web.singnet.com.sg/~fpmtsing/d-8v.html


                May this be of benefit
              • Sharon
                The second teaching contained in this verse is that all phenomena are like an illusion. This refers to the Buddha s teaching on emptiness, also known as
                Message 7 of 9 , May 6, 2004
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                  "The second teaching contained in this verse is that all phenomena
                  are like an illusion. This refers to the Buddha's teaching on
                  emptiness, also known as "selflessness". Emptiness is the actual,
                  correct way in which everything exists: oneself, all other people and
                  living beings, all inanimate phenomena. It is the ultimate, true
                  nature of all things. Emptiness is not somewhere far away or up in
                  space; we do not have to travel to a place like the Himalayan
                  mountains to find it. Emptiness is right here, right now: it is the
                  true nature of our bodies and mind, our thoughts and feelings, and
                  everyone and everything around us.

                  "Emptiness is not nothingness; it does not mean that things do not
                  exist at all. Things do exist, but they do not exist the way we think
                  they do. Our mind projects a way of existing onto the objects we
                  perceive -- like an extra layer on top of what is actually there --
                  and then we believe that things really do exist that way. However,
                  they are empty of the false, mistaken way of existing that our mind
                  projects onto them. That false way of existing is called "inherent
                  existence", "independent existence" or "true existence". It means
                  that we see things as if they were permanent, independent, existing
                  from their own side, in and of themselves. If we carefully analyze,
                  we will come to see that things do not exist in this way -- that such
                  a way of existing is false, an illusion."

                  ~ Ven. Sangye Khadro,"Training the Mind in Compassion --- The Eight
                  Verses of Thought Transformation"

                  The entire commentary can be found online at:
                  http://web.singnet.com.sg/~fpmtsing/d-8v.html


                  May this be of benefit
                • Sharon
                  Take a flower, for example. When we walk into a room and see a flower in a vase, we instinctively perceive the flower as something permanent, unchanging,
                  Message 8 of 9 , May 8, 2004
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                    "Take a flower, for example. When we walk into a room and see a
                    flower in a vase, we instinctively perceive the flower as something
                    permanent, unchanging, existing all on its own, as if it did not
                    depend on anything else for its existence. It seems very real,
                    concrete, out there, existing in and of itself -- almost as if it is
                    saying: "I'm a flower. I've always been here and always will be here,
                    just like this!" This is how the flower appears to us and we believe
                    it to exist in this way. But this way of appearing and the actual way
                    the flower exists are quite different. In reality the flower is
                    impermanent, dependent on various causes and conditions, and not
                    existing in and of itself. The flower came into existence in
                    dependence upon a seed, soil, moisture and sunlight. It grew little
                    by little and when it was in full bloom, someone cut it and placed it
                    in a vase. Its existence is also dependent on its parts: stem,
                    petals, leaves, as well as on the cells and atoms that make it up.
                    When first cut, the flower was fresh and beautiful but as the days go
                    by, it withers and turns brown, and soon it will die and be thrown
                    away. That is the true story of the flower, but that is not what we
                    see when we look at it. When we look at it, it seems to be permanent,
                    unchanging and independent of anything else.

                    "Furthermore, our mind grasps at the object being a flower from its
                    own side, not realizing that "flower" is just a name people have
                    given to a certain phenomenon with certain characteristics, and that
                    people of other languages would call it by other names. So, although
                    there appears to be a real, solid, permanent and independently-
                    existing flower existing out there, in and of itself, when we
                    investigate and search for such a flower, it cannot be found. Such a
                    flower is an illusion -- like a dream or a rainbow. It appears, but
                    does not exist the way it appears. But this does not mean that there
                    is no flower at all. There is a flower -- an impermanent collection
                    of parts that came into existence in dependence on causes and
                    conditions, is changing and will go out of existence, and to which we
                    give the name "flower". That exists, but not the permanent,
                    independently-existing flower that we perceive and grasp at when we
                    say: "Oh, isn't it beautiful!"

                    "In the same way, all things appear to be permanently, inherently,
                    independently existent, but on closer examination, we realize that
                    they exist in a completely different way. And that is their reality,
                    their true nature: being empty of inherent existence."

                    ~ Ven. Sangye Khadro,"Training the Mind in Compassion --- The Eight
                    Verses of Thought Transformation"

                    The entire commentary can be found online at:
                    http://web.singnet.com.sg/~fpmtsing/d-8v.html


                    May this be of benefit.
                  • Sharon
                    So what? you may wonder. Why should I be concerned about this? We should be concerned because this tendency to perceive, believe in and grasp at things as
                    Message 9 of 9 , May 9, 2004
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                      "'So what?' you may wonder. 'Why should I be concerned about this?'
                      We should be concerned because this tendency to perceive, believe in
                      and grasp at things as truly existing or inherently existing lies at
                      the root of all our problems. Fear, worry, frustration,
                      dissatisfaction, loneliness, grief, pain, and all the other myriad
                      problems and sufferings of mind and body that we experience are
                      caused by this attitude, which in Buddhism is known as 'self-grasping
                      ignorance'. We all have the potential to enjoy ever-lasting peace,
                      bliss, wisdom and freedom from all suffering -- the state of
                      enlightenment or Buddhahood -- but we are unable to attain this as
                      long as our mind is caught up in ignorance, and does not understand
                      the true nature of things.
                      Self-grasping ignorance pervades our view of everything. We see
                      ourselves as inherently existing -- we cling tightly to an illusory
                      image of a permanent, independently existing I or self. We hold on to
                      self-limiting concepts about ourselves, believing that mistakes made
                      in the past have become permanent aspects of our personality.
                      These 'permanent faults' become the basis of low self-esteem and even
                      self-hatred, obscuring our potential to be pure, perfect and free --
                      an enlightened being. All this arises from ignorant misperception.

                      "Moreover, we tend to cherish our sense of self, as if it were the
                      center of the universe. Out of this strong self-centeredness, we
                      develop desire and attachment for people and things that make us
                      happy and support our sense of I, we have aversion and fear towards
                      people and things that disturb us or threaten our sense of I, and we
                      are indifferent towards whoever or whatever neither helps nor harms
                      us. Believing all these people and objects to also exist in a real,
                      permanent, independent way further intensifies our attitudes of
                      attachment and aversion. These attitudes disturb our mind and
                      motivate us to create negative actions or karma, such as harming our
                      enemies, and lying or stealing to benefit ourselves and our loved
                      ones, and this karma is the cause of suffering and problems in the
                      future. Self-grasping ignorance is also the main factor that keeps us
                      circling in samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth."

                      ~ Ven. Sangye Khadro,"Training the Mind in Compassion --- The Eight
                      Verses of Thought Transformation"

                      The entire commentary can be found online at:
                      http://web.singnet.com.sg/~fpmtsing/d-8v.html


                      May this be of benefit.
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