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Peace in This Life
red
typing_sound wrote in buddhistgroup
I thought I would just do a bit of writing here; my thoughts on Buddhism, particularly 'inner peace'. My way of practising Buddhism is not exactly mainstream, so I imagine I'll write something controversial, which fits in with 'controversial subject week'.
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Everyone looks for good feelings, all the time. It's why we do anything. We do it for the taste of it, unless we are doing something we are forced to do, such as going to work. But the reason we go to work, is to avoid the bad situations we imagine losing our job would bring upon us. So the mind is always trying to control our experience, reaching out for the good and rejecting the bad. You can watch the mind doing this, in almost every moment of your life. (And it's important to see it for yourself. Just reading this isn't enough.) This 'controlling mind' is the nature of pain, for it decides what is good and bad, and it creates good and bad. An experience in itself is neither good nor bad; it is just an experience. That's why some people enjoy things that others hate, and vice versa. The goodness or badness isn't in the object, it's projected upon the object by the mind.

So we seek out what the controlling-mind decides is good. And we can achieve some level of peace and happiness, in the company of what we desire. Maybe we feel at ease with our partner, or in our new job, but when these things are taken away, even for a short time, we become depressed, or experience other negative emotions. It seems, the more happiness we experience, the more pain that follows. This is because the happiness is based upon temporary relationships and situations. Sometimes we can be depressed for years, because the conditions we decided we needed to be happy, are so rare.

It's because of this situation, that there is a need for Buddhism. The aim of Buddhism, in my opinion, is to find happiness that doesn't depend on temporary conditions; a lasting happiness. As our mind becomes more at peace through Buddhist practice, we are more able to let go, and the controlling mind becomes gradually weaker, until one day we can let go altogether.

Once, someone asked Ajahn Chah, "what is the aim of Buddhist practice? What should we be striving towards?" Ajahn Chah replied, "the aim is to let go." Simple as that.

In this practice of peace, we don't need to worry about the future or future lives. If we take good care of this moment, then the future will be taken care of. The future is created in this present moment. This present moment, is where the seeds of the future will be planted. If we find all our happiness in temporary things only, then suffering will eventually be our future. That is obvious.

If we can learn, over time, to let go of the past and future, and look after just this present moment, then most of our suffering is gone just at that. When we are looking after this present moment, we can let go of that too, with acceptance; letting things be as they are; come and go as they please. This is the opposite of the controlling-mind. The controlling mind sometimes manifests as a tight knot in our chest. It is all about grabbing, craving and controlling; making things conform. The mind of acceptance is loosening the knot; letting go; letting things be.

Usually, when we have a pain, for example a physical pain in our foot, we immediately identify the pain as being in the foot, or being in the feeling in the foot. In reality, our discomfort is in the controlling-mind. That painful feeling in the foot, is actually just a feeling, a sensation; neither good nor bad in itself. If we are able to completely let go; completely accept that feeling, there would be no pain or discomfort AT ALL!
It's easy to be sceptical about this, but it's true. You might find you have tried to accept, but the pain remained, so you conclude it doesn't work. But it takes time to learn this. It's a day-by-day thing, that deepens over time.

Meditating formally helps our ability to let go. If we meditate regularly, our level our peace should steadily increase, and hopefully our controlling-mind will lose power, day-by-day. Unless of course, our meditation is another temporary condition for happiness, and we're trying to control it, LOL!


Rob

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I was talking to my mother yesterday and I told her that Buddha's teaching is simply about finding inner peace in this very world, this very life.

I think that everything else in Buddhism is secondary, maybe later add-ons...

Yeah, it's difficult to know. I'm inclined to believe the same as you, but there are a lot of "words of the Buddha" that seems to indicate otherwise. And it's difficult to know what the Buddha actually said. I mean, if you want your religious texts to be noticed, why not sign Buddha's name to them? I think that may have happened with the Mahayana texts. Either that, or they really were kept in another plane of existence for safe keeping!

Either that, or they really were kept in another plane of existence for safe keeping!

Yeah, they were kept in a secret subfolder on the reality's hard drive.

Mahayana guys lived in a different cultural and social context, they simply adapted the teachings of primitive Buddhism to this context.

I am sometimes inclined to think that original Buddhism was not even a religion. More a kind of practical psychological philosophy with an ethical flavour to it.

It was common and perfectly acceptable to put your group's views into the mouth of a respected historical figure in order to give them more authority. It wasn't just Mahayana Buddhists.

Original Buddhism is a myth. There were likely many Buddhisms right from the very beginning.

Original Buddhism is a myth. There were likely many Buddhisms right from the very beginning.

Interesting. Can you elaborate some more on this topic please?

Buddhism appealed to a wide cross-section of Indian society. It meant different things to different people and different aspects were emphasized. India was in transition from tribalism to a rising urban and merchant class. Buddhism appealed to these groups for different, sometimes contradictory reasons.

Buddhism was a wandering tradition. Received teachings in one area will differ from received teachings in another area. Over time, concepts would be elaborated, different teachings emphasized and codified, and you end up with different Buddhisms.

If you stop breathing today, you can forget this life. All your work will have been in vain and you'll wish you had prepared for your future lives as Milarepa suggested!

Isn't creating inner peace in your mind, the best way to prepare for future lives?

So the mind is always trying to control our experience

BTW, this is described in Sufism as the "Tyranic Ego" (Nafs al Ameerah).

I don't recognise your version of Buddhism.

Buddha taught that we need to attain release from samsara, the cycle of uncontrolled death and rebirth. He didn't just teach this in the Mahayana scriptures, he taught it in Pali Canon. If you deny it, you are denying Buddha's teachings. The spiritual path begins with renunciation, the wish to leave samsara. I don't see renunciation in your 'system'.

Anyone can seek happiness in this life - in fact EVERYONE even animals and insects seek happiness in this life so what you're wishing for isn't so special. All you're doing by meditating is seeking a more refined form of samsaric happiness which is not what Buddha's teachings are for.

In the Pali Canon, rebirth is overcome by removing its cause: craving. Craving and the "controlling mind" are one and the same. So I'm not at odds with the Pali Canon.

I also don't see how I'm at odds with the Mahayana even. Samsara is not some place; it's in the mind. It begins with craving. As it says in your text, "from craving comes birth". Granted, your tradition has a different understanding of what will bring the end of craving, but I don't prescribe to your tradition.

Even though everyone, including animals and insects, seek happiness in this life, they seek it in temporary conditions, which is what I pointed out. So there's a big difference between that, and what I'm advocating.

Through my meditation I "seek" an end to craving, which is the cause of Samsaric rebirth.

Craving is not the cause of rebirth, ignorance is according to the twelve dependent related links.

You're addressing an effect, not the fundamental cause.

The clue is in the name, 'twelve dependant related links'. They are a chain, each link depending on every other link. Without craving, there can be no birth.

It is more of a network than a chain.
There is no awakening without ignorance and craving, no enlightenment without birth and suffering.
Buddha got enlightened because he experienced dukkha, without this experience there would be no Dharma today.
Lotus growing on a pile of dung, dung is an excellent fertilizer...

Ignorance gives rise to craving and craving gives rise to birth, but you're addressing only another effect of ignorance, just as birth is. Why not stop ignorance and be done with it? Until you do this there is no end to rebirth and suffering.

Even if your method could abandon craving (which I doubt), what you're doing is equivalent to someone who has a cold thinking that stopping their runny nose will make the cold vanish, or someone chopping off the tops of the weeds above ground while allowing the roots to remain.

In any case, the results of any spiritual action depend on the motivation with which you do it. Even spiritual actions that are motivated only by the wish for happiness in this life are worldly. Since you do not actually recognise the existence of future lives and have no wish to be free from the suffering of those lives but only to experience peace in this life, the results of your actions will be happiness in this life but suffering in the future. What's the point? Why don't you just practise what Buddha taught instead of adapting it to accommodate your doubts?

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