Attached and below are notes that Sue took during last Thursday’s discussion with Peg about the Third Noble Truth. For this Thursday, we will read the chapter, “Angulimala” which is about Buddha’s quest to meet the bandit of that name who wore a necklace upon which he strung a finger from each of the people he had killed. It is further discussion of the Third Noble Truth. This chapter reminds me of a part of Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem”:
You can add up the parts
but you won’t have the sum.
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum.
Every heart to love will come
but like a refugee.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your prefect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.
Notes from Peg's talk on the Third Noble Truth
Live Oak Zen Group
November 1, 2012
The third noble truth is niroda: containment. The energy of passion can be contained and used beneficially. In our culture we have two general ways to handle strong emotion: to act it out or to stuff it down. The Buddha taught a middle way: not a way half way in between -- acting out a little and stuffing a little. Rather a third way that is distinct from the other two. Containment is the third way. It is about turning away from the object of the emotion in order to look at the emotion itself, about being curious about how the emotion feels in the body, noticing the stories we tell around it. It is about spending enough time sitting with it that we get to what is underneath the emotion. Two key questions that can help us find liberation are:
· How is this emotion providing some gratification for me?
· How can this emotion be dangerous for me?
This eventually allows us access to the deep primal emotions that are buried beneath all our stories, that are the result of deep early conditioning.
- Gandhi returned to India, a lawyer newly graduated from Oxford. He was traveling on a train and was thrown off for being in the "white" car. He was filled with rage and humiliation. He sat all night in the train station. By morning, he knew what he had to do.
- Peg was in a faculty meeting. A colleague said she had read journals in Peg's field and had concluded that there was no scholarship or research in that field. Peg's first feeling was rage, followed closely by the shame and insecurity of wondering if perhaps this was true and there was no scholarship of worth in her field. Yet, she was able to turn toward the colleague, as the faculty prepared to witness bloodshed, and say "Really?" This disarmed the situation.
The middle way is not through distraction but to see into the pain which is usually stemming from some sense of lack. We do not realize that we ourselves construct that sense of lack. In order to see this, we must turn toward the feelings without entertaining the story. . We must pay attention to what is actually happening in the situations that bring up strong feelings. Finally the most deep primal beliefs can be met.
Containing emotions in this way allows for the freeing up of enormous amounts of energy that are usually drained away by our conditioned stories of "I'm not good enough" or "I never get a fair break." This allows us to become an agent of freedom in a situation by opening up a huge space of possibilities.
- Katie's birthday bash is today (after school until late); if the dinner outing goes quickly, I might be able to slip away for Zen!On Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 4:50 PM, John Daniewicz layover3@... [liveoakzen] <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:JohnThe reading and discussion this Thursday will be on the chapter, "Secret Oral Instructions." I can't say any more about this because they are secret and will only be revealed to those who come to the meeting.Bows,