Monthly Archives: January 2013

Gathering 16: Look Closer

[The following mail message (clipped) went to the community mail list on 12/21/2012. It’s here for historical purposes; nothing was posted on the web for this gathering.]

Gathering 15: See Here, Now!

We talked at our last gathering about how to approach the Eightfold Path, so as to make that Path our way of life. This coming Sunday evening, we will begin our discussion of the individual Path factors, with a discussion of Correct View, or Correct Seeing—samma ditthi.

Samma ditthi is the traditional starting point for discussion of the Path; when the Path is explained, in the Pali Canon discourses, as a process—one factor leading to the next—Correct View is where it typically begins, and Correct Intention then follows as a natural result of Correct View, Correct Speech is then a natural result of Correct Intention, and so forth. It isn’t that simple, of course—nothing in the Buddha’s teaching is—but it’s still a good place to begin.

Continue reading

Gathering 14: Wheels Within Wheels…

Opening Lines of the Dhammapada, “The Path of the Dhamma

Thinking leads the way; thinking establishes; thinking creates;
With thinking muddled, speech and action
Are followed by distress, as cart wheels follow oxen.

Thinking leads the way; thinking establishes; thinking creates;
With thinking cleared, speech and action
Shine with gladness, as constant as one’s shadow.

“I’ve been insulted, hurt, violated, defeated”—
By such thinking obsessed, one is overwhelmed with hatred.

“I’ve been insulted, hurt, violated, defeated”—
With such thinking abandoned, one gives hatred no way in.

Never by hatred has hatred been defeated—
Only by kindness; this has been so forever.

Some fail to pay attention to death’s constant presence.
Those who pay attention settle their quarrels.

The Dhammapada
Chapter I (“The Pairs”), Verses 1—6

Translated (pretty literally) by Richard Blumberg

Continue reading

Gathering 13: Walk This Way

In the very first paragraphs of what is commonly accepted as his very first teaching, the recently awakened Buddha introduced what he had awakened to, that is “This Middle Way”. “This Middle Way,” he said, “is an eye-opener; following it, you will come to know. It calms you down, lightens your load, reveals the truth with lucid clarity; you will awaken fully, completely released from all pain and distress.”

If what the Middle Way leads to sound a lot like Enlightenment, Nibbana, that is, quite clearly, the Buddha’s intention. This is the way that brought him to experience Nibbana, and he holds out the promise that anyone who follows the way as diligently and intelligently as he did will, in fact, reach the same goal.

Continue reading