Monday, June 21, 2010

True Blood, False Dharma

Last night on True Blood Lafayette said to his cousin Tara "The Buddhists weren't crazy when they said that life is suffering!"

Here we go again.

A few months ago, Bill Maher dismissed Buddhism as being nothing more than a philosophy the spews "Life sucks, then you die."

Wrong again.

It seems that people have lots to say about Buddhism without knowing very much about it.

The "Life is Suffering" part comes from the First Noble Truth. Personally, I don't like to translate it as "suffering" since the word that was originally used was a Pali term, "dukkha." which refers to our constant sense of unease or dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. Dukkha is that feeling we have that things are always a little less than ideal--it's always a little too hot or too cold or too boring or too matter how things are, we're always wishing they were just a little bit different.

Yes, the Buddha taught about this dukkha or unease, but he also taught about HAPPINESS. And for some reason the world doesn't seem open to hearing about this part. I think it's because many Christian religions see suffering on earth as its own reward, but we can talk about that later.

The Four Noble Truths bear some repeating, so here they are:

1. Life is Dukkah (full of unease, dissatisfaction, discomfort)
2. The cause of dukkha is craving and attachment.
3. There is a way to end this discomfort
4. The way to end this dukkha is through the Eightfold Path

Friday, June 11, 2010

Weebles Wobble but they Don't Fall Down

When I was a kid I used to play with WEEBLES. Weebles are egg shaped toy figures that are weighted on the bottom so no matter how hard or how often they're pushed, they wobble around for a bit and then stand completely upright once again.

When people ask me why I meditate or whether or not I've seen any difference in my life since I starting sitting several years ago, I'm reminded of Weebles.

While I still have my ups and downs and get all kinds of crazy at times, those periods don't last nearly as long as they once did. I recover much more quickly than I used to from a bout of depression, anxiety, anger or obsessive thinking. The benefits of sitting on a regular basis are crystal clear, and I absolutely see a huge difference in the way I respond or don't respond to certain situations, circumstances, and people that would have once sent me spiraling out of control for days or weeks.

Weebles are awesome dharma teachers. Pay attention to them.