Saturday, September 3, 2011


This is a picture of a rock formation near a lake in Burma ...
The photo can only be taken on a specific day once a year when the sun rays touch the rocks at a certain angle.
Nature is Great..
Respect it & Protect the Nature & Wild Life.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Suffering: Causes and Solution-Middle Way

An important guiding principle of Buddhist practice is the Middle Way, which is said to have been discovered by Gautama Buddha prior to his enlightenment (bodhi). The Middle Way or Middle Path has several definitions:

1. The practice of non-extremism: a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification
2. The middle ground between certain metaphysical views (e.g., that things ultimately either do or do not exist)
3. An explanation of Nirvana (perfect enlightenment), a state wherein it becomes clear that all dualities apparent in the world are delusory (see Seongcheol)
4. Another term for emptiness, the ultimate nature of all phenomena, lack of inherent existence, which avoids the extremes of permanence and nihilism or inherent existence and nothingness

Suffering: Causes and Solution-The Noble Eightfold Path

The Noble Eightfold Path, the fourth of the Buddha's Noble Truths, is the way to the cessation of suffering (dukkha). It has eight sections, each starting with the word samyak (Sanskrit, meaning correctly, properly, or well, frequently translated into English as right), and presented in three groups:

* Prajñā is the wisdom that purifies the mind, allowing it to attain spiritual insight into the true nature of all things. It includes:

1. dṛṣṭi (ditthi): viewing reality as it is, not just as it appears to be.
2. saṃkalpa (sankappa): intention of renunciation, freedom and harmlessness.

* Śīla is the ethics or morality, or abstention from unwholesome deeds. It includes:

3. vāc (vāca): speaking in a truthful and non hurtful way
4. karman (kammanta): acting in a non harmful way
5. ājīvana (ājīva): a non harmful livelihood

* Samādhi is the mental discipline required to develop mastery over one’s own mind. This is done through the practice of various contemplative and meditative practices, and includes:

6. vyāyāma (vāyāma): making an effort to improve
7. smṛti (sati): awareness see things for what they are with clear consciousness, being aware of the present reality within oneself, without any craving or aversion
8. samādhi (samādhi): correct meditation or concentration, explained as the first 4 dhyānas

The practice of the Eightfold Path is understood in two ways, as requiring either simultaneous development (all eight items practiced in parallel), or as a progressive series of stages through which the practitioner moves, the culmination of one leading to the beginning of another.

In the early sources (the four main Nikayas) the Eightfold Path is not generally taught to laypeople, and it is little known in the Far East.

Suffering: Causes and Solution-The Four Noble Truths

According to the Pali Tipitaka, the Four Noble Truths were the first teaching of Gautama Buddha after attaining Nirvana. They are sometimes considered as containing the essence of the Buddha's teachings and are presented in the manner of a medical diagnosis and remedial prescription – a style common at that time:

1. Life as we know it ultimately is or leads to suffering (dukkha) in one way or another.
2. Suffering is caused by craving or attachments to worldly pleasures of all kinds. This is often expressed as a deluded clinging to a certain sense of existence, to selfhood, or to the things or phenomena that we consider the cause of happiness or unhappiness.
3. Suffering ends when craving ends, when one is freed from desire. This is achieved by eliminating all delusion, thereby reaching a liberated state of Enlightenment (bodhi);
4. Reaching this liberated state is achieved by following the path laid out by the Buddha.

Described by early Western scholars, and taught as an introduction to Buddhism by some contemporary Mahayana teachers (e.g., the Dalai Lama).

According to other interpretations by Buddhist teachers and scholars, lately recognized by some Western non-Buddhist scholars, the "truths" do not represent mere statements, but are categories or aspects that most worldly phenomena fall into, grouped in two:

1. Suffering and causes of suffering
2. Cessation and the paths towards liberation from suffering.

Thus, according to the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism they are

1. "The noble truth that is suffering"
2. "The noble truth that is the arising of suffering"
3. "The noble truth that is the end of suffering"
4. "The noble truth that is the way leading to the end of suffering"

The early teaching and the traditional Theravada understanding is that the Four Noble Truths are an advanced teaching for those who are ready for them. The Mahayana position is that they are a preliminary teaching for people not yet ready for the higher and more expansive Mahayana teachings. They are little known in the Far East.

The Cycle of Samsara

Sentient beings crave pleasure and are averse to pain from birth to death. In being controlled by these attitudes, they perpetuate the cycle of conditioned existence and suffering (Samsara), and produce the causes and conditions of the next rebirth after death. Each rebirth repeats this process in an involuntary cycle, which Buddhists strive to end by eradicating these causes and conditions, applying the methods laid out by the Buddha.

Rebirth in Buddhism

Rebirth refers to a process whereby beings go through a succession of lifetimes as one of many possible forms of sentient life, each running from conception to death. It is important to note, however, that Buddhism rejects concepts of a permanent self or an unchanging, eternal soul, as it is called in Christianity or even Hinduism. As there ultimately is no such thing as a self (anatta), rebirth in subsequent existences must rather be understood as the continuation of a dynamic, ever-changing process of "dependent arising" (Pratītyasamutpāda) determined by the laws of cause and effect (Karma) rather than that of one being, "jumping" from one existence to the next.

Each rebirth takes place within one of five realms, according to Theravadins, or six according to other schools. These are further subdivided into 31 planes of existence:

1. Naraka beings: those who live in one of many Narakas (Hells)
2. Animals: sharing some space with humans, but considered another type of life
3. Preta: Sometimes sharing some space with humans, but invisible to most people; an important variety is the hungry ghost
4. Human beings: one of the realms of rebirth in which attaining Nirvana is possible
5. Asuras: variously translated as lowly deities, demons, titans, antigods; not recognized by Theravada (Mahavihara) tradition as a separate realm.
6. Devas including Brahmas: variously translated as gods, deities, spirits, angels, or left untranslated

Rebirths in some of the higher heavens, known as the Śuddhāvāsa Worlds (Pure Abodes), can be attained only by anāgāmis (non-returners). Rebirths in the arupa-dhatu (formless realms) can be attained only by those who can meditate on the arupa-jhānas.

According to East Asian and Tibetan Buddhism, there is an intermediate state between one life and the next, but Theravada rejects this.

Wheel of life