Beginner's answers

This was orignally a comment for Clemente's post. I decided to post it just because the answers became lengthier than I originally thought. I call it beginners answers because I myself am rather green on this path. So if my answers don't seem right please do offer your insight.
here is a very useful lesson by a teacher named Ajahn Chah: http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books/Ajahn_Chah_Four_Noble_Truths.htm

Thank you for your post Clemente. Your questions are far more insightful than you may think. It's good to constantly go back and evaluate our own understanding of these concepts. I had the same very questions you did when I began( and I haven't been practicing all that long either). Your first question is with regards to craving(also attachment) and the extermination of such. First you are absolutely right, if we aim for the cessation of craving then you are just craving the end of craving. The important part is something you've already mentioned- that is letting go. One cannot aim to end their cravings, they have to let go. The reason why craving leads to suffering is because happiness cannot be found in external stimuli. You crave a car, so you buy a car. Have you found happiness? You drive the car and you think things are great but then you need gas so you have to spend money and become disgruntled because you don't want to part with your money(attachment), it breaks down, you crash it. Things change, they are impermanent. Where did the happiness go? It goes up and down, appears and vanishes because ones mind becomes attached to this idea that happiness and not suffering are "out there" and "mine" when you find that it isn't everlasting you start to suffer. So you decide to put down the burden. You wouldn't carry around a boulder on your back and just sit there and crave to put it down. You just drop that shit! So when you are in present situations and you start to suffer think to yourself "where did I pick this boulder up?" Once you realize that putting it down is all the easier.

Your second question is a little trickier. What I believe you are asking more essentially what is enlightenment? There is a great amount of debate to what is enlightenment. When we first hear about enlightenment we all think about the enlightenment of Siddhartha Gotama. We hear about his omniscience, and all these other wonderful powers. Buddhism is often referred to as a path. What The Buddha accomplished could be said to be at the end of the path, others say that the path itself is enlightenment. Buddha means "Awakened One" aka awareness. We are awake/aware of what causes suffering and how to end it. As we progress we become more awake and more aware. Complete awareness in every moment is indeed the goal and some argue that it takes lifetimes to attain it. As far as being "doomed to live a normal life" I'm not quite sure what that means to you. What is a normal life? What is Doomed? Surely we aren't doomed to a normal life because no life is normal. And life itself isn't forever. We will all die one day, that is our nature.

With regards to your meditation. You are correct again. If you think the thought "oh I am aware" you've just lost the awareness. This happens to me all the time. I sometimes LOL IRL when i'm sitting because I follow myself and realize oh shit I just had a calm mind there for a while. Don't check yourself. As nike says "Just do it". Follow your breath. let go of everything. If a bad thought comes into your mind. Acknowledge it, and let it go. Don't judge anything that comes to your mind. Don't fight anything. Just return to the following of your breath. Don't get pissed that you can only follow your breath a couple of times. Just realize that you aren't following it and start over. Don't "reach" for higher levels of consciousness. It will never happen with that mindset. just realize that whatever arises in your mind is a result of past conditions and as the beatles would say "let it be." Here is another article on meditation by the same Ajahn Chah:http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books/Ajahn_Chah_Meditation.htm

I hope this was of some benefit to you and everyone else reading this. I viewed this as a test. Now it is your turn to grade.

Om Mani pedme Hung
Andrew

3 comments:

Raymo.E-J said...

Very succinct. Sounds like you said exactly what was on your mind. I like most your boulder analogy. But I have to say, sometimes, depending on levels and openness of consciousness, it's really hard to tell whether it is a boulder or a tiny pebble that's on your back.

I think I read some material by Ajahn Chah, he was a forest monk right? I didn't finish the book but what I did read was quite different from most other classical practices. I don't remember it very well...

No comments on nirvana/samsara. But I think you made some very good points that I think Clemente would appreciate.

And, ah, the infamous "Just do it"
At some point I used this very method to sit. I think its called Shikantaza in Zen.

Very nice. I loved your post. Its refreshing to hear something from a young(er) person from my generation. Ughh soo many old people... no offense :) I love you all.

Kudos Vaulker

Raymo.E-J said...

o and what is the meaning of "LOL IRL"

Anonymous said...

it means laugh out loud in real life haha