brief teachings

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    From the Canon: Dog on a Leash Paid Member

    “Monks, this samsara [cyclic existence] is without discoverable beginning. A first point is not discerned of beings roaming and wandering about hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving.“There comes a time, monks, when the great ocean dries up and evaporates and no longer exists, but still, I say, there is no making an end of suffering for those beings roaming and wandering about hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving.“There comes a time, monks, when Sineru, the king of mountains, burns up and perishes and no longer exists, but still, I say, there is no making an end of suffering for those beings roaming and wandering on hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving.“There comes a time, monks, when the great earth burns up and perishes and no longer exists, but still, I say, there is no making an end of suffering for those beings roaming and wandering on hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving. More »
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    From Turning the Wheel of Truth: Commentary on the Buddha's First Teaching Paid Member

    When there is understanding and a set of values that encourage sharing, then the limitations, the needs, and the lacks of any given life can be acknowledged and effort can be put into using material supports with compassion. This is also true in cases of deprivation; surely a major contributor to this is the greed and exploitation of others, which has its source in identification with material prosperity. If we could all accept the experience of limitation on our resources and comforts, if affluent people’s standard of living were not so high, there would be fewer people who felt, and actually were, “poor.” Maybe with more sharing, there would be less severe physical deprivation. Instead of creating golf courses in the desert, or seeing air-conditioning, two cars, and countless television channels as necessities of life, we could try to accept limitations to our material circumstances and acknowledge that there is suffering. More »
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    Heartfelt Advice Paid Member

    When we are deeply involved in the practice of the Buddha dharma, the sages advise that we practice a common sense of balance by learning to structure our mundane activities and dharma practice in ways that allow us success in both areas of our life. We should not fall into extremes, either of procrastinating in our dharma practice with the excuse of mundane distractions, or of allowing our mundane world to fall apart around us due to an overemphasis on dharma practice which ignores our mundane responsibilities. More »
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    From the Canon: Thirst Paid Member

    The craving of one given to heedless living grows like a creeper. Like the monkey seeking fruits in the forest, he leaps from life to life (tasting the fruit of his kamma).Whoever is overcome by this wretched and sticky craving, his sorrows grow like grass after the rains.But whoever overcomes this wretched craving, so difficult to overcome, from him sorrows fall away like water from a lotus leaf.This I say to you: Good luck to all assembled here! Dig up the root of craving, like one in search of the fragrant root of the birana grass. Let not Mara crush you again and again, as a flood crushes a reed.Just as a tree, though cut down, sprouts up again if its roots remain uncut and firm, even so, until the craving that lies dormant is rooted out, suffering springs up again and again.The misguided man in whom the thirty-six currents of craving strongly rush toward pleasurable objects, is swept away by the flood of his passionate thoughts. More »
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    In the Forest of Faded Wisdom Paid Member

    Walking with weary feet to the plains of the sandy south,Traversing the boundary of a land surrounded by the pitof dark seas,Pulling the thread of my life—precious and cherished—across a sword’s   sharp blade,Consuming long years and months of hardship, I havesomehow finished   this book. Although there is no one to beseech meWith mandates from on high or mandalas of gold,I have taken on the burden of hardship alone and writtenthis, More »
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    Dear Abbey Dharma Paid Member

    Dear Abbey Dharma, In my lifetime of professional work in Canadian social service, I have gone from being left-leaning to Social Conservative. I don’t find a place for myself in any Western Buddhist sangha where being politically left is the norm. Even my current dharma teacher spews out hateful speech against just about anyone and everything on the right side of the spectrum. I have a hard time listening to a Buddhist teacher going on about how much he despises George W. Bush or Sarah Palin or people like me. No one but me even notices, or at least is affected by it. How can I remain part of the Western Buddhist community under these conditions?—Up North More »