Wisdom Collection

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Search Results: desire

  • Freedom's Just Another Word Paid Member

    In the late sixties Janis Joplin's voice rallied the bedraggled front lines of the cultural revolution with the refrain from "Me and Bobby McGee": "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose." As she sang, the United States was committed to an unjust war, race riots had some cities in flames and every city on edge, and psychedelic drugs promised salvation from personal despair through sex, love, and ecstatic communion. For Janis and her fans, freedom from convention, freedom from parental and societal restraint, freedom from everything already labeled, categorized, and institutionalized was pursued with an urgency far surpassing that of the United States military fighting to keep Vietnam "free" from communism. More »
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    Green Koans Case 41: The Meaning of Suffering Paid Member

    CASE #41:    The Meaning of SufferingShakyamuni asked, “What is wisdom?” and when no one could answer, added: “It is the ability to perfectly understand and patiently accept the truth of suffering.”BACKGROUND:Perfectly understand        To understand a thing holistically, from beginning to end, rather than merely in terms of its parts—the latter constituting only knowledge.Patiently accept    To accept without reservation—that is, without any attempt to alter the reality of a given phenomenon.The meaning of suffering        Refers to the foundational teaching of Buddhism—the Four Noble Truths: More »
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    The Buddha's Smile Paid Member

    The most difficult Buddhist idea to explain, I’ve found, is not interdependent arising or nonself, challenging though these are, but equanimity. How is it that one can neither like nor not like something without being emotionally detached or indifferent? Our sense of identity is so bound up with our desires that to many people the thought of being without preferences for one thing or another is tantamount to being stripped of the very quality that makes us human. Nonattachment is just so dry. Give me the pot-bellied laughing Buddha any day (who, of course, is not a Buddha at all but a Chinese folk deity), rather than the austere figure presiding over our meditation halls with barely a hint of a smile on his face. More »
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    Sleeping with the Hungry Ghost Paid Member

    Hungry ghost, a morphology all by itself between our realmsHungry ghost: that dwells in consciousness, torments our desireSexy ghost, a performer, a demon, a gadflyTo never have enough be enough get enoughDancing on coalsIn a state of mind, bewitched, unsettled over what he thinks or she thinks, what they thinkWhat the “I” thinks: hieroglyph for the hungry ghostUnsatisfied—dancing on nails!Jostled by waves, the real kind, that pull you underTurbulent in a shadow realm between waking and sleepHungry ghost with sacrifices in the sand, hewn characters inthe mind, arms and legs that are brisk strokes of gestures in air, in language, flailing about, writing with the skeletal stylus of the hungry ghostSleeping with the hungry ghost who writes your book More »
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    Castles Made of Sand Paid Member

    Perhaps you will go to the beach sometime this summer and have a chance to watch children at play in the sand. How engrossed they can get in their projects! When building a sand castle, nothing in the world seems more important than shaping it, embellishing it, and protecting it from the encroaching sea or from other children who might threaten it. This must be a timeless pursuit, for the Buddha offers the following image in a discussion with an elder monk named Radha in the Samyutta Nikaya: Suppose, Radha, some little boys or girls are playing with sand castles. So long as they are not devoid of lust, desire, affection, thirst, passion, and craving for those sand castles, they cherish them, play with them, treasure them, and treat them possessively. More »
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    Self as Verb Paid Member

    The core insight of the Buddhist tradition—the relentless emptiness of phenomena—has profound implications for all of us who are trying to understand the nature of life. It points to the disturbing fact that all nouns are arbitrary constructions. A person, place or thing is just an idea invented to freeze the fluid flow of the world into objects that can be labeled and manipulated by adroit but shallow modes of mind. Beyond and behind these snapshots we take for ourselves is a vast and unnamable process. More »