Zen is clear that we are essentially enlightened beings. Pureland insists that we are hopelessly deluded. Both seem to me to be true. On the one hand the mind with all it's contradictions, addictions, conciets and fears is completely unsortaoutable (at least not for long), on the other what sees that is utterly free and beyond the machinations of the mind. We have no choice but to operate as conditioned beings in this conditioned world. The attempt to perfect ourselves is torture and cannot possibly succeed. It is the seeing of this which is liberation. To accept that we are hopeless but from an enlightened standpoint - this is the end of suffering.
Being graced by the light that shows us we have no choice, that shows us we are conditioned beings; this is a liberation from some of our reactivity. This reactivity being a source of suffering described in the second noble truth. But our awakenings are not perfect, we are still conditioned beings; we will continue to suffer from our reactivity and certainly from the suffering described by the Buddha in the first noble truth.
So Thomas I do not find meaning in our being essentially enlightened beings nor that we may find the end of suffering. I don't feel these are real; what feels real is what you say...We have no choice but to operate as conditioned beings in this conditioned world.
we cant stop with the second noble truth, no matter how convenient it is to have an excuse for our weaknesses.
the third noble truth teaches us that Nirvana (the cessation of suffering), is possible right here and right now and the fourth noble truth is the path towards this.
we have to remember the core teachings of the Buddha if we want to call ourselves Buddhist.
hello Dr Di, My understanding of the four noble truths is per the book, The Feeling Buddha. My take on the third noble truth, nirodha is of containment. We may be graced with light that shows our reactivity and from pausing, our response may be compassionate action. We have contained the passion.
I don't really understand how the cessation of suffering has meaning to our actual lives where we will all enter suffering and death, as did the Buddha after his enlightenment. We will suffer from these things ourselves and we will suffer from witnessing other creatures suffering.
Namo Amida Bu
I think the trouble here is one of paradox. This is not an either/or thing. If i can use the words suffering and pain to mean two different things then I would say that it is not possible to eliminate pain but suffering is a different matter.
To be attached to this life and the pleasure and pain of it is suffering. To be unattached is to be free from suffering. This is the only difference. The result of any practice is this detachment either temporarily or permanently.
This detachment comes about not, as many Buddhists believe, by detaching from the 'things of the world', although for many(myself included) this may be a necessary experiment, but by seeing our true nature.
We do not let go of Samsara until we see Nirvana.
Nirvana is what we are, where we live, closer than our own eyes. It is Nirvana which percieves Samsara.
When the seeking ends it is found - not the other way around.
This is all just my view based on current experience - so only an opinion.
thanks Thomas for sharing your experience, it is a good guide. Is it absolute that grieving is dependent on attachment? To go beyond teachings into how we experience living is so difficult here; my attachments are mostly hidden, but deep grief feels also like a transcendence separate from attachments of self. Maybe this is being touched by Nirvana, but that word brings expectations of a different experience. So paradox is a good word for this 'trouble' that feels like suffering,
Grief I think happens - as all emotions do - to be attached would be to resist it.
I think Nirvana is this experience now minus separation. We constantly go with the mind and it's divisions and ignore the pristine oneness which is the basis of everything.
Perhaps the idea of enlightened being is misleading. Beings are essentially deluded. To understand that the being that we are is only a temporary manifestation of Buddha Nature; to see that what we truely are is Buddha - not a being at all - that is more what I mean.
Thanks again Thomas for looking at what I ask; I read earlier that we are simply a point of attention. We do appear and live and act and our minds get so busy with all of this. It feels like I am a flowering of something wonderful, immense and essentially loving; I think we simply use different words for this. Namo Amida Bu