The Living Field Inspiration Newsletter 3/06

Hi,

Often in my seminars and events someone asks, “Why…?” this or the other frustrating is happening in his or her life. The Buddhists among us have quite a clear answer to that question, citing the First Noble Truth, “There is suffering and impermanence in life for all beings.” Not being a Buddhist, although I do have great sympathy for the wisdom that this tradition brings, this is not an answer I prefer, and that is because I am not thoroughly convinced that life – our being in this world – actually is suffering. Neither do I believe that impermanence is a reason or cause of suffering.
The question ‘Why?’ is always also a question where the unliked or frustrating happening comes from, and often it is a request for a reasonable explanation for what is happening to me or us. And, of course, a good answer then gives us a meaning that we can attach to what is happening. This, it is supposed will give us an opportunity or the means by which we can avoid this unpleasant thing or happening in the future (and maybe does).

Whatever may be the case, we cannot avoid the fact that what is happening to us in daily life is… already happening; it is the case – whatever the meaning might be that we give it (even if a ‘good’ meaning might be helpful in dealing with its consequences). Seeing that this is so I am bold enough here to tell you ‘Mushins First Noble Truth’: “What is happening is already the case.” Or to put it more flippantly, “Reality, as I am experiencing it, doesn’t care what I think about it.” And this leads us to ‘Mushins Second Noble Truth’: “What I think about what is already the case determines very much wether I suffer or not.” So it is up to me – in many ways – how happy or unhappy daily life is in my case.

What does that mean for my spiritual practise?
Let’s assume that I meet someone that says something hurtful to me or that something frustrating is happening to me. My First Noble Truth informs me, “This is already happening – regardless of whether I want this to happen or not. And I perceive this happening as hurtful or frustrating. I can accept it, supress it or try to change it, but so much is true: It is happening/has happened and I feel bad.”
Now what?
If I am adequatly awake . and maybe the frustration has awakend me from my dreamlike state – I will pause. That means the automatic chain of judging (“this is frustrating”) and feeling bad and reacting (I justify myself, fight or try to escape) has been broken.
Now I have created enough space to undo my judgement (that I ‘automatically’ had) or regard it as not very adequate to the occasion. In this space also the ‘bad’ feeling loses power so that I can now accept and possibly ‘study’ it: How does it feel – exactly? Where does it manifest on the bodily level?
And I have another possibility in the space I created: I can – as this feeling (or with this feeling) – open to what is happening. Now my feelings don’t seperate me anymore from what’s going on – it doesn’t serve as protection, justification or whatever anymore – but rather connects me to what is the case right now. I don’t recoil or cramp up but rather loosen up and relax into what is the case.

In opening to this moment – just as I am feeling and experiencing it; just the way I am right now – I don’t need a ‘why’ or ‘whence’ or ‘where will it lead’ anymore; what is appropriate to this moment opens itself to me spontaneously. The moment of crisis showers its entire richess on me, and I can live it in relationship.

And so the way has become the goal…

Much Love,
Mushin

PS.: We still have a few places free in the summer-event “Opening the Cosmic Heart” – July 1st untill 9th – and I would be delighted to see you there.

7 Replies to “The Living Field Inspiration Newsletter 3/06”

  1. Dear Sandy,

    I thank you for writing the most phantastic and original reply on my newsletter so far.
    I still have tears of laughter in my eyes. Thank you, you are truly great!

    Much Love,
    Mushin

  2. Dear All,

    from does suffer comes? Its coming from suppression if feelings for a really long time. It can come because of education in combination with suppression of feelings and because of awakening. Awakening because of making more mild. Making more mild means that person has to go through pains, maybe strong pains and awful feelings like hate, rage and so on.
    Kids are pure, animals are pure, but people are very often very unpure because of things I wrote.

    Br,
    S.

  3. Hi Amapiri the Noble,

    I worry that without sufficient “divisive” thinking there is great misunderstanding. Critical distinction is also important. Suffering may or may not arise naturally from the world or its ephemerality, this is beyond the Buddha’s position with respect to the origin/cause of suffering (as I understand it). What is key is our relationship as ego beings with these natural states of affairs. I take this in large part from Dogen.

    By extension, not all life is suffering. Only all attachment to life.

    love
    Ringan

  4. Hi Mushin,

    Great write up and explanation about the noble truths – yours and Buddhas. I have always actually understood Buddha’s noble truths pretty much the same way you explained your noble truths… and often explain them in the same way. Plus such an explanation seems to move away from any kind of Newtonian, reductionist thinking and divisivness – in a way.

    Best

    Amapiri

  5. No time, must go, must do, but I cannot resist (attachment?)

    >>Well, IMHO Buddhists everywhere *regard* impermanence as a root cause of suffering, “everything dies”, and then – according to Buddhist lore – gets on the eternal wheel again to suffer another round.<<

    Ahhh, the difference between Buddhists and the Buddha

    >>If no suffering, what the heck do we need enlightenment for?<<

    Now, that is a question!

    By the way, what is IMHO?

    On attachment. Well, this is partly semantic, but I think there is a general understanding that an animal is attached to its life, and so food, sex, etc. It is not necessarily cognisant of its attachment, but then people often are not either!

    And what is suffering? Dukkha? Not getting what you want? Frustration at not getting what you want? I do know my cats suffer when they have to wait more than a minute to be fed Meoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!

    Damn, I have to go.

    Okay, be taking care of yourself.

    Much love

    rings

  6. Actually, I speak about the Wiki-version of the 4 NTs.
    As I gather from literature B’s first is “Dhukka” – that’s all.
    Thank you for being whetstone!

    Ringan: >> Notice that the Buddha’s Noble number one is: Suffering is a part of life. It does not say that it is all of life. Nor does the Buddha’s ethics speak to (I think) impermanence. That is part and parcel of the Buddha’s metaphysics, part of the thesis of dependent origination.<<

    Well, IMHO Buddhists everywhere *regard* impermanence as a root cause of suffering, “everything dies”, and then – according to Buddhist lore – gets on the eternal wheel again to suffer another round.

    If no suffering, what the heck do we need enlightenment for?
    Mushin: >> Neither do I believe that impermanence is a reason or cause of suffering.<<

    Ringan: >> Buddha’s number two Noble locates the cause of suffering in attachment born of ignorance. Not impermanence. Impermanence is the natural state of the world, there is not suffering because the world exists. There is suffering because we are attached to phantoms which do not exist.<<

    Yes, right. But is it true? If I look at little Shirala here (almost 3), he does suffer very little, and he doesn’t suffer through attachment but rather when he doesn’t get what he wants. He revels in change!
    And surely there are all kinds of things he will learn to attach himself to. So I would conclude that suffering is caused by learning. Maybe even because of growing consciousness? Do animals suffer? Pain yes, but suffering?

    When I have pain, and I am asleep, I don’t suffer from the pain.
    So maybe suffering is caused by the fact of awakening?
    Maybe we would have to conclude that suffering is only happening in the time between waking up and Waking Up?

    Mushin: >> ‘Mushins First Noble Truth’: “What is happening is already the case.” Or to put it more flippantly, “Reality, as I am experiencing it, doesn’t care what I think about it.” And this leads us to ‘Mushins >Second Noble Truth’: “What I think about what is already the case determines very much whether I suffer or not.” So it is up to me – in many ways – how happy or unhappy daily life is in my case.<<

    Ringan: >> In a way, what you are doing here is very interesting. Instead of focussing on the ethical dilemma, you begin with the metaphysics, and you do it in an inverse from the principle no independent origination and impermanence.
    Then you speak to the metaphysical foundation of Buddhist ethics by saying problems come from your epistemic relationship with the “real” – though it must be noted that “what is happening is already the case” is perhaps wrong, since what *seems to* be happening is not necessarily the case…<<

    True and false – I love the paradox! To me there is actually only seeming – what then we declare to be ‘actually the case’ is so from another viewpoint.
    Take the rope seen as a snake: When I ‘see’ the snake, I respond totally to that seeing; when then I ‘see’ it is just a rope, my wholehearted response evaporates and it looks like to me that the snake never existed. But for all ‘relevant’ bodily functions it did exist and then ceased to exist. A very impermanent happening indeed.

    Ringan: >> I hope to see you work this through further. I am very curious about Mushin’s third and fourth Noble truths. Do you claim there is an enlightenment (number 3) and are you going to show us how to get there? (number 4)<<

    I do claim that there is some state that looks very much light being enlightened (see Enlightenment at the “Padmafarm”). I don’t know, though, if it would qualify as such in the Buddhist view. And yes, so far I have shown the enlightened state to about 140 people in the manner I described.
    But I can’t yet put it into a ‘Truth’.
    Ringan: >> Did you ever read our old teacher’s four very helpful truths? He spoke them in one of his momentary lapses of enlightened action.<<

    No, I don’t remember (must have been asleep at the time!)

    Ringan: >> Okay, more later!<<

    Yes, and me I’m of to sleep. full day tomorrow.

    Much Love,
    Mushin

  7. Mushin!

    >>…citing the First Noble Truth, “There is suffering and impermanence in life for all beings.” … this is not an answer I prefer, and that is because I am not thoroughly convinced that life – our being in this world actually is suffering.<<

    K, gonna be your whetstone here, keep you sharp.

    Notice that the Buddha’s Noble number one is: Suffering is a part of life.
    It does not say that it is all of life. Nor does the Buddha’s ethics speak to (I think) impermanence. That is part and parcel of the Buddha’s metaphysics, part of the thesis of dependent origination.

    >>Neither do I believe that impermanence is a reason or cause of suffering.<<
    Buddha’s number two Noble locates the cause of suffering in attachment born of ignorance. Not impermanence. Impermanence is the natural state of the world, there is not suffering because the world exists. There is suffering because we are attached to phantoms which do not exist.

    >>’Mushins First Noble Truth’: “What is happening is already the case.” Or to put it more flippantly, “Reality, as I am experiencing it, doesn’t care what I think about it.” And this leads us to ‘Mushins Second Noble Truth’: “What I think about what is already the case determines very much whether I suffer or not.” So it is up to me – in many ways – how happy or unhappy daily life is in my case.<<
    In a way, what you are doing here is very interesting. Instead of focussing on the ethical dilemma, you begin with the metaphysics, and you do it in an inverse from the principle no independent origination and impermanence.
    Then you speak to the metaphysical foundation of Buddhist ethics by saying problems come from your epistemic relationship with the “real” – though it must be noted that “what is happening is already the case” is perhaps wrong, since what *seems to* be happening is not necessarily the case…

    I hope to see you work this through further. I am very curious about Mushin’s third and fourth Noble truths. Do you claim there is an enlightenment (number 3) and are you going to show us how to get there? (number 4)

    Did you ever read our old teacher’s four very helpful truths? He spoke them in one of his momentary lapses of enlightened action.

    Okay, more later!

    Much love
    Ringan

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