Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Heart of Buddha's Teaching

We met on Sunday - about 10 of us - at the Councill House. Ryan provided the reading from The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching.

Here is an excerpt.
"As we study and practice the Eightfold Path, we see that each element of the path is contained with each of the other seven elements. We also see that each element of the path contains the Noble Truths of suffering, the making suffering, and the end of suffering."

We will meet again on Sunday as planned. Jeremiah is bringing refreshments. Margaret is providing the reading.


  1. This is a really good book. I was just looking through it some more, and I especially like the set of five remembrances that he discusses on page 125. Good to remember, the inescapable truth that all conditioned things are impermanent. And all the implications of that truth.

  2. We discussed for awhile the concept of right livelihood. What does it mean? Can you do anything if you have the right attitude? The book provides some guidance on page 113.
    "To practice Right Livelihood (samyag ajiva, you have to find a way to earn your living without transgressing your ideals of love and compassion. The way you support yourself can be an expression of your deepest self, or it can be a source of suffering for you and others."
    The discussion proceeds from there.....

  3. I tend to agree with the statement, "The way you support yourself can be an expression of your deepest self, or it can be a source of suffering for you and others." How this perspective is suggested appeals to the idea that what the reason cannot completely know is ultimately mysterious in nature. The above statement rings true with the way I consciously operate in the world, but I happened upon a paragraph in Carl Jung's book The Undiscovered Self that made me think further about how the world outside of my conscious experience of it operates. He addresses a similar subject to what we had discussed on Sunday.
    "No one will maintain that the atomic physicists are a pack of criminals because it is to their efforts that we owe that peculiar flower of human ingenuity, the hydrogen bomb. The vast amount of intellectual work that went into the development of nuclear physics was put forth by men who dedicated themselves to their task with the greatest exertion and self-sacrifice, and whose moral achievement could therefore just as easily have earned them the merit of inventing something useful and beneficial to humanity. But even though the first step along the road to a momentous invention may be the outcome of a conscious decision, here, as everywhere, the spontaneous idea - the hunch or intuition - plays an important part. In other words, the unconscious collaborates too and often makes decisive contributions. So it is not the conscious effort alone that is responsible for the result; somewhere or other the unconscious, with its barely discernible goals and intentions, has its finger in the pie. If it puts a weapon in your hand, it is aiming at some kind of violence. Knowledge of the truth is the foremost goal of science, and if in pursuit of the longing for light we stumble upon an immense danger, then one has the impression more of fatality than of premeditation. It is not that present-day man is capable of greater evil than the man of antiquity or the primitive. He merely has incomparably more effective means with which to realize his propensity to evil. As his consciousness has broadened and differentiated, so his moral nature has lagged behind."
    It is interesting to consider how unconscious forces become manifest in the world. Perhaps if we all were conscious of the practice of right livelihood there would not be a hydrogen bomb and we would be creating a civilization on Mars. Jung also talks about the collective shadow contributing to the drive of unconscious forces in the world.
    Til next time!