Good Heart/ Real Science/ Machinist/ Devil Deal/ Mind Over Matter
- TheDailyEnlightenment.comWeekly 04/03/05
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People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong.
Why not try and see positive things,
to just touch those things and make them bloom?
-Thich Nhat Hanh (pic:rpi.edu)
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A Good Heart Begets a Good LifeMoonpointer Newsletter #9
Dharma-Inspired Movie Review:
"The Machinist" Behind the Mechanics of the Twisted Mind
Are You Actively Lazy?
Buddhism, the Only Real Science
Link Archive |
Realisation: A Deal with the Devil
Be careful what you wish for - you might get it! -Popular Expression
A demon decided to test Zeph by offering him the usual three wishes. Zeph was so greedy that he thought he needed only "one" wish. Without second thought, he said, "May all my wishes come true!" Immediately, Zeph found himself on a beautiful beach. It was exactly what he had in mind. Wishing for more, a tall glass of icy lemonade appeared in his hand. Next appeared the girl of his dreams, followed by his favourite snack, a perfect breeze, music... As he got more and more excited, he surrounded himself with more and more of what he wanted.
Just when he felt ready to sit back to enjoy it all, he discovered something peculiar. As he was about to sip his drink, it changed its colour. As it flowed down his throat, it tasted like a horrible concoction of conflicting flavours. Observing his drink closer, he realised that it was changing from moment to moment. Looking around, everything around was likewise changing... so rapidly that it was hard to really see anything. Puzzled, it took him a while to figure out that this was exactly what he wished for - to have all his wishes come true. His mind was so fickle that each time he wanted something, it would manifest, only to last a few moments - before he changed his mind for something "better"... again and again. Instead of getting all the happiness in the world, he got endless dissatisfaction instead.
Regretful for his wish, he thankfully remembered he had two more wishes. Wanting things to be normal again, he immediately wished, "May my first wish stop working!" Instantly, things became normal. After a long reflection, he realised what was troubling him was not getting what he wanted, but that he wanted endlessly. A saying of the Buddha came to his mind, "Contentment is the greatest wealth." Suddenly it made a lot of sense. A content person is already happy with whatever available. Instead of needing endless things to be happy, one is happy without dependence on anything in particular.
Confidently, he asked the demon for his last wish, "May I have contentment... so that I will have no more wishes!" The demon frowned, "Oh! That wish! I see! You have become wiser! Too bad - that is the one wish I cannot fulfil. In fact, true contentment is an aspect of Enlightenment! You have to work towards that. I can only give things, not lead you to Enlightenment. I can only feed your greed." Finally seeing the demon's deviousness, Zeph wished for what seemed to be the only right thing, "May you, evil demon, never tempt anyone again!" Suddenly, the demon's body started disintegrating, as he yelled in desperation, "Not only have you become wiser, you have become a kinder person too! I can't stand it!" Everything around began to swirl wildly. Zeph had to close his eyes.
When he opened his eyes, he was in bed. But what happened was so vivid he wasn't sure if it was merely a dream. But it doesn't matter since the lessons he learnt were real. Maybe the demon was a manifestation of his inner demon of greed, vanquished by his wisdom and kindness. It struck him that to wish "to have no more wishes" is itself a wish. What he needed was to not to cling to "wanting or not-wanting." He might as well enjoy the moment with equanimity, without like and dislike, and make the best of it, to become even wiser and kinder... till he attained True Happiness in Enlightenment. With that thought, he jumped out of bed. -Shen Shi'an (pic:mijnposter.nl)
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Review of Last Issue: Response to "Sitting for My Final Exam"
Excerpt: Mind Over Matter- The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom (Wes "Scoop" Nisker) (pic:omegasportsproducts.com)Evolutionary science also addresses the nature of desire, which is a central focus of the Buddha's teaching. As I watch my mind in meditation, I often see a constant flow of desires: to have, to know, to accomplish, to be secure, to be loved. In the early days of practice, I would become very frustrated because I could not seem to control or ignore this flow. Then I read an article in Science magazine explaining recent experiments on the lateral hypothalamus of the brain... our brain is built to function so that "our internal state will be a vague mixture of anxiety and desire - best described by the phrase 'I want,' spoken with or without an object for the verb."
In other words, the flow of desires in not mine. It is organic, generic to my species. We are built to want - whatever. This certainly helps explain our consumer society and why, with all that we have, we remain dissatisfied. But after reading about the organic nature of desire, I became aware of a change in my meditation practice. My own desires began to appear as impersonal and therefore no longer had such a strong hold over me. I didn't have to be caught up in every fantasy or passing whim. I felt as though I was gaining a new freedom from my own biological programming. The desires continued to come, but I could let them flow and let them go.
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