Find a Buddhist meditation to help you to live a life of mindfulness.
"Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much
as your own unguarded thoughts."--The Buddha
Perhaps there is no greater religion that deals so much with meditation. The primary focus is to look at the world the way it is, and to discover the root to suffering that is prevalent everywhere.
There is a famous Buddhist story that exemplifies this point of finding the root of all suffering. It went something like this.
One day there was a great battle and a warrior lay wounded with an arrow piercing his chest. When the physician came over to remove the arrow the warrior stopped him. "Before you remove the arrow I want to know the name of the one who shot me. I want to know about his lineage. Where he is from. And then I want to know about the arrow, what type of wood was used, who made it. And about the bow ..."
And he died without removing the arrow that was causing him suffering.
Meditation on Suffering
My first exposure to Buddhism was while hiking solo in the Himalayas of Nepal, some 25 years ago. I found myself a copy of the Dhammapada, the teachings of the Buddha. It was a fine day, the sun shining, the high peaks above me glistening like crystals. I was sitting upon a stone reading the Buddha's words and watching the monks below me moving to and fro from their monastery. Feeling so happy I could not understand why the Buddha kept talking about suffering! Then a few years later I remembered the Buddha's words that all the world is suffering, as I watched my partner writhe in pain.
Everyone you know and love are dying. It may not be today when death will come, but it will be soon. Our lives are not very long. This was what Siddartha's father tried to prevent his son from realizing, when it was foretold at birth that the prince Siddartha would either become a great king or a great holy teacher. His father knew that if his son saw the world as it was he would be lost to the spiritual path. And so it was. Despite the king's best efforts, Siddartha found out that sickness, old age and eventually death, plague everyone. When he returned from these discoveries he saw his wife and child and knew he could do nothing for them, even as a king, to prevent the inevitable suffering. So he set out to find the cure for this suffering. He must become enlightened.
When I look around me at the world, the horrors that Japan is now going through after the 2011 quake and tsunami and all the other environmental catastrophes, all the wars, the famines, the people out of work, social oppression, animals dying off, the list goes on and on, it all seems so hopeless. The only thing to do is to wake up from the nightmare and to them comfort those who thrash about in their sleep.
It was not easy for Siddartha to become the Buddha, for Lord Mara, the egoic mind, tempted Siddhartha ruthlessly as Siddartha planted himself at the root of the Bodhi Tree, vowing to not move until he had reached enlightenment. After passing through the lures of the senses, Mara came at him with his last temptation and appeared before him (this re-telling is based on Joseph Campbell's re-telling I heard many years ago, but which I use often).
"Look at you, sitting there like a bump on a log. What good are you? Do you not know that there are wars being fought, people starving, and here you are, doing absolutely nothing. You are worthless."
Siddhartha says nothing but simply touches the Earth. And with his touch the Earth Mother comes and says, "My son has done enough." And thus he became the Buddha.
We can never do enough to fix the world with actions of our body. It is going to the source of all our perceptions, all our beliefs --the mind. And this is where meditation and mindfulness is so imperative. One needs to know what the mind is doing, what thoughts are dictating one's life and to be able to direct the thoughts with good concentration. If one does not do that then the mind runs riot and causes so much suffering to one's self and to the world.
This Buddhist section will offer various methods that the Buddha has suggested, as well as other Buddhist teachers, to end one's suffering and to come to the place of one's true nature, that I have found helpful upon my journey or those that I would recommend.
Nonduality and Environmentalism
Compassion in a Nest of Zombies
Mindfulness Meditation Techniques Basics
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