Archive | August 28, 2009

Lust and the Undeveloped Mind

Coming from an unenlightened place, the Buddha has shown in the story of Nanda, we must motivate ourselves to put for the effort to better ourselves. If the motivation is something as unwholesome as sensual lust or noble as enlightenment, we must remember that these are the motivations from our starting point.

As we progress along the Middle Path, our minds become stronger and wiser. The motivations will become more wholesome. As our mind, like the leaking roof, lets in desires at the beginning; diligent practice and study will shore up and secure the mind from temptations.

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Who Desires?

Dear Sumitta,

A desire is the thought, “I want this or that.” There can be no desire without the desirer.There can be no desirer without the thought “I.” The thought “I” is the mind.Ever wonder why we don’t desire when we dream? There is no thought in the dream state.
So how do we create a desireless state in the awaken state? Destroy the mind, or rather, the I-thought. You can live very peacefully without it as the Buddha has shown.


The mind has an Achille’s heel. A chink in it’s armor. It really doesn’t exist.It just appears to exist.

And, since it doesn’t exist it would naturally be impossible for it to see itself.

So, when you force the mind to seek itself say, with the question,”Who am I?” it simply vanishes. and once the mind vanishes….so does the “I” that you had taken yourself to be. and with no “I”…who can possibly desire?

What appears when the mind vanishes?

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Empty Nature

Through the practice of Buddhism, we can see the truth of this. We can then engage in the world with an unconditioned nature. We can make judgments of our actions without attachment to that which is not permanent or conditioned for response. We can accept the world as it is, and be in the moment.

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Suffering, Divorce and Buddhism

We cannot be perfect Buddhists every moment of every day. Especially during the challenges of divorce, but we can start orienting ourselves to see the benefits of accepting life as it comes and dealing with it positively.


1) Meditate— Sitting quietly for 30 minutes a day, over a two week period, has proven to reduce stress, reduce anxiety, and create inner calm, lower blood pressure and blood sugar.

2) Giving—Taking time to donate your time and effort to others develops compassion and forgiveness. It is also a good safe way to start new social networks outside of the previous marriage

3) Listening—everyone tells you that you should “talk it out.” Unfortunately, we do not reflect when we talk. Talking is good for venting, but listening is good for comprehension and insight. Find someone who wants to talk and listen to them without interjection or turning the conversation back to you. Soon you will start understanding a lot more about yourself.

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Nirvana and Happiness

In this we way we understand that self, as a permanent and real “thing” does not exist. It does not have a true nature and is therefore defined as “empty” in Buddhism. When the body and mind are seen as one impermanent subjective process, it is possible to see the world from view free from the delusion of “I”.

Free from the delusion of self and body as permanent, the awareness that is us can re-engage with the world around us with a different outlook. A view and understanding of the world free from the shackles of clinging, aversion and ignorance. The use of “I,” “we” or “you” in a sentence is one of utilitarian necessity rather than of conceptual reality. The ego gone emotions are no longer stirred up the same way a catfish stirs up the mud when it swims or slashes against the river’s bottom. The wisdom of the empty, connected and impermanent nature of all things removes the value of all things, which eradicates the condition of greed and hate.

Without hate, greed and delusion; without the ignorant view of “I”; within engaged wisdom through proper observation— a state of happiness is created without the need for condition or origin. This state of awareness is not blind to the past and future, but not determined unmindfully by it, is Nirvana.

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Instinct is one reason why realtionships fail

There is a serious perception problem that good relationships are ones that never disagree, argue or fight. It is impossible for two people to cohabitate for any length of time in perfect harmony. Recognizing disagreement and stress then actively engaging together to work through those issues is the best way to resolve serious problems later on.

It may often seem the wrong choice to confront your significant other when you are feeling that there is a problem, but it is almost always the best direction for resolution. And if you are afraid that the resolution will end in your significant other leaving, that needs to be addressed as well. Otherwise, the misery that comes from being afraid your relationship will end will be the single largest contributor ensuring that it does.

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The Sorrow from Ego

Many faiths and spiritual practices define the path to happiness as the destruction of the ego. The assumption then would be that an “enlightened” person would be detached from the universe without suffering, as if the person had an emotional lobotomy. This is NOT the case. The purpose of enlightenment is to become totally conscious of our relationships with the world; and, more importantly, ourselves. Understanding and maintaining awareness of our true relationships with the world, we can appropriately engage with the world around us.

The result is that we become more humble, compassionate, liberated and content.

The appropriate engagement is the key to happiness. There are no small characters in the epic story. Understanding the arising and passing of emotion allows us understanding of when that arising is appropriate or not. Understanding that the ego is a delusion does not diminish the wonder and value of our current existence.

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Buy on Apples, Sell on Cheese

Investigating these qualities in meditation is the first step in understanding how we add context to the world around us: How we “eat apples” when we want to be critical and “eat cheese” when we want the world to seem more pleasant. Never investigating our direct unadulterated experience with the wine (aka “life”), we never educate ourselves to its full experience.

Without removing the context created by our conditioning, we have no true understanding of the world around us. We will forever be avoiding people, judging them 2 dimensionally, lusting for Ms. Wrong,; and making judgments in life based on delusional and ignorant information. It is in this slumbering twilight that most of us live in called samsara. The Buddha (which means “awakened one”) was able to shine the light of clear understanding and wisdom so that we all brush the sleep from our eyes and see that we are the owners of our misery, because we spend more time drinking from life’s cup with opinion rather than compassion.

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What Is Reincarnated? Do We Have A Soul?

The mental shift we must make is this— we are the five aggregates. Our personality is bound and limited by them. When we die and decay so does the illusion convention of “I” as a personality and person. Nevertheless, realizing this, we can see that we are not an “I” person but a “process of dukkha driven by khamma and awareness.”

Like the seed, good conditions and choices create the future conditions of our lives and our rebirths. Like the finger, the body (as well as its personality) end, but the process your life is participating in continues until complete liberation is achieved.

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Karma and Unintentional Harm

So if we gather some negative (or dark khamma) can we determine what the punishment will be? Can we ever really say that bad things that happen to us can be attributed to a single previous negative khammic act?

Khamma creates conditions. It is not so direct as to say, “push this button and you can be assured that a big shoe will come out and kick you in the pants.” Imagine khamma more like the seasons. As the sun moves farther from the planet, and the Earth’s access shifts from northern and southern hemisphere the weather conditions change and that creates all sort of new challenges and opportunities.

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Happiness is Mind-made

We all experience moments of grief, loss, and regret. It is natural. What is important is that we do not continue to let it fester, like a man who continually pulls at the stitch of a mended wound.

Life is impermanent, and we should embrace the fact that our lives are limited making each moment we have in the world extremely precious. So we must refocus our energy to using our time wisely and putting value where it is most useful to our real happiness.

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Buddhism and Putting an Animal To Sleep

What most people fail to note is that there are always two sides to the precepts, just as there are two sides to a blade. As we take on the precept and affirmation to do no harm or killing— we often forget that it is also a precept to develop compassion.

So when making a decision of such importance ask which decision is the most compassionate. When putting the animal to sleep– what is your motivation? Convenience or compassion? Meditate on the decision and be honest within your heart: you will know the answer.

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Hatred is Never Appeased By Hatred

Indulging in unwholesome energy only creates the appetite for more negativity. An aware mind stays focused on embracing positive energy and putting value on deep happiness instead of instant negative gratification.

This is one of the benefits of meditation, is to build an awareness of what is happening around us, and what is being created within and projected out into the world as real. The more we practice this mindfulness, the better we are at becoming better navigators through life: avoiding the tidal currents that urge us into so many unwholesome situations.

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Quarrels Destroy Happiness

The Calm

Be mindful when the feelings arise where our feet plan firmly in the ground and our minds harden to defend a viewpoint. These are potential signs that the usually mean that we close our minds and hearts to what is really of value.

Our lives are finite and temporary, embrace the time that we have and engage with life fully as if time were limited—because it is.

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Is It Wrong To Have Goals In Buddhism?

Hi VagabondSumitta,

Good afternoon. I have admired your posts for some time. 🙂

I’d like to ask you a question regarding Buddhism. Is it wrong or “unskillful” to practice Buddhism and have goals? Is it an unskillful mentality to work towards a goal? Or, maybe it is OK if you are unattached to the result?

I am going through some changes in my life and would like to know if it is “un-Buddhist” to start being more goal-directed.

Thank you for your time and your posts.

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