Week 9

The Dharma: Teachings from the life of the  Buddha. Vision and Transformation

–   Shakyamuni’s path starts with The four sights, then some 6 years later. –

The Four Noble Truths

1. The Truth of Dukkha, unsatisfactoriness, discontentment or suffering, which we see all around us and also experience within ourselves as exemplified by the first three sights: old age , sickness and death.

2. The Truth of the cause of Dukkha, which is selfish craving or ‘thirst’, both within ourselves and within others (for things to come and remain in being that we crave and for things to be removed from being that we hate).

3. The Truth (that) of the cessation of Dukkha, the total eradication of discontentment is possible which is synonymous with the state of Enlightenment or Buddhahood as exemplified in the sight of the seeker.;

 4. The Truth of the way leading to the cessation of Dukkha, which is the Noble Eightfold Path.

 

The Eightfold path

  1. Perfect Vision The Nature of Existence
    1. Experiencing things as they really are.
    1. A world view that corresponds with reality
      1. No dark corners
      1. Inner truths shining through
      1. With Spiritual Receptivity

 

       Path of transformation

  • Perfect Emotion Reason and Emotion in the Spiritual Life
    • Fundamental principle
      • Cease to do evil
      • Learn to do good
      • Purify the heart
    • Emotions that resonate with reality and lead to actions that make better conditions.
    • Hogath’s the Four Stages of Cruelty.
    • Vegetarianism etc
    • Metta, Karuna, Mudita, and Upeksha
    • Faith and Devotion
  • Perfect Speech The Ideal of Human Communication
    • Is in resonance with emotion,Arises out of perfect emotion
      • Truthful, Kindly, Helpful , Harmonious
  • Perfect Action The Principles of Ethics
    • Unskillful , arising from greed hatred and delusion, leading to painful conditions.
    • Body (action) precepts: Abstention from harm, taking, sexual misconduct – leading to painful conditions.
    • Develop kindness, generosity and stillness from craving.
  • Perfect Livelihood The Ideal Society
    • What we do for work really affects us and set some of our conditions
      • Unskilful work
      • Skillful work
      • Acknowledging  and changing our working conditions for the better
  • Perfect Effort The Conscious Evolution of Man
    • The four exertions :- right effort at a habitual level so it becomes you.
      • Preventing arising of unskilful mental states,
        • Awareness
      •  eradicating,
        • Craving
        • Hatred
        • Restlessness and anxiety
        • Sloth and torpor
        • Doubt and indecision
      • developing,
        • Developing unarisen skillful mental states
        • Body awareness, Access consciousness and the Dyanas
      • maintaining
        • Regularity is applying Preventing, eradicating and developing
  • Perfect Awareness The Levels of Awareness
    • Things
    • Self:
      • Body and movement (sensations), Feelings, Thoughts,People, Reality
  • Perfect Samadhi (Abiding in) The Higher Consciousness
  • Samitha – Tranquility
  • Samapatti – attainments (mental faculties)
  • Samadhi , Mind established in reality.
    • Imageless, beyond conceptualising
    • Directionless – No preference – not moved by any desire
    • Voidness – Mind beyond al characteristics, all phenomena and beyond held within

Some Discussion Points: (we will pick one, maybe two)

  • How do the Four noble truths relate to the Three Characteristics of Conditioned Existence: it is discontentment(dukkha), impermanence(anicca), and insubstantial or no soul(anatta)?
  • How do we see our current state on the path? Can we see ourselves in these terms?
  • Can we see ourselves transforming, and what are our first steps?
  • Steps on a path or spokes on a wheel?

You might buy the book ‘Vision and Transformation’. Here is the ePublication  that it is based on.  https://www.sangharakshita.org/_books/Noble_Eightfold_Path.pdf

Meditation:   Mindfulness of Breathing

Next week:  The place of compassion and the Wisdom beyond words in Dharma