Friday, March 14, 2014

4 noble truths

Somebody asked Lohbado, what's the point in meditating? What do you get out of it?

Buddhist meditation is a non-goal orientated activity. This sounds like a paradox, since one has a purpose for meditating. The paradox is part of the meditation process. Lohbado thought maybe an easy way to talk about why he meditated would be to refer to the four noble truths. They provide a basic overview of the process.

The four noble truths: the truth of suffering, the cause of suffering, the path and cessation of suffering. The cause of suffering is attachment to ego and the resulting confusion and turmoil. Ego is a central administration which employs thought departments to maintain a self-based structure. The departments create endless thoughts, opinions and strong emotions to maintain a sense of self and a self-based version of reality. Self sorts things out according to three principles: for me, against me, neutral. Self operates according to hope and fear. Self grasps and fixates on what it hopes to have and keep. Self hates or fears anything that might threaten one's sense of self. A thick self-based fog obscures reality and intensifies confusion, claustrophobia, dissatisfaction, frustration or suffering.

Meditation is a way of dispelling the fog that blocks Buddha-nature, or the way things are. One looks at the mind in order to see thoughts busily weaving the fabric of confusion, a tissue of messages to reenforce one's point of view. One gets excited when things please oneself. One becomes dull, tired and uninterested when things aren't applicable to one's self-interest. With years of practice, the momentum of ego could be reduced. One might begin to catch glimpses of the way things are, without the overlay of confused thinking or tinted perception.

Suffering ends when confusion dissolves like a cloud into the clarity of the sky and when intelligence or wakefulness shines like the sun. This is an oversimplified view of the situation.

To summarize: meditation is the path from suffering to cessation of suffering. It's a paradoxical path, or journey without goal. Ego has goals. Awakened mind has no goal, because awakened mind is already awake. One already possesses Buddha nature. To discover one's true nature requires unmasking the deceptions of ego. The unmasking is what happens when one meditates. It's a long process. Expectations or any kind of goal orientation becomes a setback, in so far as it reenforces ego. Ego is slippery as the devil in coming up with schemes to prevent one from waking up to how things are. However, one makes the effort, because to not make an effort is painful, especially after one catches glimpses of how things are.

Once one catches a glimpse of Buddha nature, wallowing in confusion is excruciatingly painful. To stop wallowing requires patience, discipline, intelligence and meditation.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, "somebody," for asking Lohbado; thank you O Lohbado for your re-minders about the medicine that is med-itation. If, hippo-like, pig-like, "one" can transform human-like, or even being-like, into a wet and muddy wallower-of-paradox, what is the distance from con-fusion to pro-fusion? The question sets up, as you beautifully write, "a central administration which employs thought departments to maintain a self-based structure." What is an "other-based" structure; and what is the sound of 7.5 billion hippos dancing?