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Thread: My Favorite Buddhist Lesson, and it's not even Buddhist

  1. #1

    My Favorite Buddhist Lesson, and it's not even Buddhist

    Gassho and good morning to all!

    Just a revelation I had a few years back that I continue to find useful in almost all of my Buddhist, and other, studies.

    It actually comes from a Taoist source. The very first verse of the Tao in fact, among the various translations I like this one:

    "The Tao that can be spoken of is not the enduring and
    unchanging Tao. The name that can be named is not the enduring and
    unchanging name."

    I wracked my brain on it for quite a while, just trying to figure out what it meant, it wasn't until I spent five semesters learning German, spent a semester on French, and two non-stop vocational years of Arabic, that I realized that, for me, this verse is linguistic in nature.

    It speaks not of one thing, but of all things. The name in question is just a word, any word, every word. A word is nothing more than a name that we call something. But the problem is it's more than just that; it's context, prejudice, symbolism, and all these things and all these judgments and all these little mental sticky notes we attribute to absolutely everything to cover up the reality of what it truly is! And finally someone realized that no matter how true our judgments are, they're all lies! Every truth a lie, and within every lie a truth! All good became bad, all bad became good, because all these labels are just sticky gunk built up on the shining light bulb of reality from the day we were born!

    "Think with the mind you had before you were born," if someone knows the author of this quote please tell me.

    Suddenly, every religion became the same, from Catholicism to Atheism to Voodoo to Buddhism to the religions of the past long forgotten to the religions of the future yet undiscovered to every idea and thought and philosophy, anything that ever used a human word of any language suddenly became useless, a divine useless that was both completely wrong and eternally true.

    After this, I saw Buddha in the Bible, the Quran, the Wiccan Books of Shadows, the Math textbook, the Sociology textbook, the little sticky notes my wife left on the fridge for me, every message or kind gesture, every Christian prayer, everything man has ever used to communicate ever or will ever use forever! I saw Buddhist teachings in everything, or, more often, I didn't see it but knew it was there, somewhere, because every lie has some nature in reality and every truth has some way to be misconceived...

    So the only way to see reality was to set it all aside, to step back, to realize that nothing will ever be perfect, not even the Dharma, but that everything is also perfect, as it is, as it should be, just like the Dharma.

    Or something like that, I'm no teacher, no master, I can barely "find time" to sit daily if I'm able to at all. But I wanted to share, and also I wanted to ask...

    What're y'all's favorite (non-)Buddhist lessons you've picked up?

    Thank you for reading, thank you for your time,

    Sat Today

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Dylan View Post

    What're y'all's favorite (non-)Buddhist lessons you've picked up?

    Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

  3. #3
    Zen is about getting beyond the words, and the categories, valuations, divisions they represent.

    But Master Dogen also felt that the Silence was preaching right through the words too, but we must be tuned to hear. The categories, valuations and divisions are no problem for the eye undivided.

    You may find the following a helpful reference ... (or not ).

    Words and Buddhist Ideas alone are not barriers! There is a time for all words and categories to drop away. There is a time for the dropping away of words and categories right in and through words and categories.

    Dogen ... the master wordsmith ... held well expressed language to be the very essence of Buddhist Truths. For Dogen, suchness was not a matter of rejecting or embracing silence or speaking (there are right moments for each) ... but of how what is said, the well turned and turning phrase. The right words and Buddhist ideas do not simply describe Truth, but dance Truth itself, are True Dancing. The moons illuminates all things ... words no less ... and words illuminate the moon.

    Properly Illuminated words are not simply 'the finger pointing at the moon which cannot be described in words'. Enlightened words are the Very Moonlight.

    More here:
    Gassho, J

    SatToday (and that's not just words)

  4. #4
    A painted rice cake satisfies hunger.

    Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Dylan View Post
    What're y'all's favorite (non-)Buddhist lessons you've picked up?
    Hi Dylan,

    Great question, thanks for sharing yours. When I was about 10, my older sister - who was very groovy - brought a poster home and put it on the bedroom wall. It showed a sunset with this poem on it. It blew my little mind. At age 10 most of it didn’t apply to my life yet. In the years since, each part of the poem has come to life and guided me. It's not overtly Buddhist but it certainly follows our Way. It’s become a bit of a cliche, reproduced on coffee cups and key chains, but I don’t mind, I still love it. And I still have the tattered remains of that old poster.

    By Max Ehrmann

    Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

    Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

    Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

    Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

    Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

    Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

    And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

    And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

    sat today
    Last edited by Byokan; 04-24-2015 at 05:02 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    ... ... ... A raindrop in an ocean, more to come. Thank you.

    Also thank you to Raindrop for sharing your very lovely story, it put a smile on my face and the poetry is very inspiring!

    And thank you Jishin for you words, I will work to understand them.

    Thank you all!
    Sat Today

  7. #7
    Hey Lisa, I just love this text ("Desiderata"). I've been part of an Order which uses it as one of its main scriptures for study.
    That phrase which Dylan pointed from the Tao-Te-Ching is very interesting for me, and has been a topic of study. I've been through various religious belief, always chasing the true understanding of this truth.
    Here's another "2 cents" (why do you use that expression, "2 cents" or "grain of salt"? :P )
    When I was studying by myself something of Kabbalah (not the Madonna-style one, though), I've learned that graphic didactic scheme called "Tree Of Life", in which are depicted various realms, or dimensions, or even archetypes of the creation/creator (in the form of spheres).
    Above the upmost sphere, sometimes, they draw a semicircle in which we can read "Ein Soph" ("Ayin Soph") (Unbounded, Without Limits), it shows me clearly that same Truth, which is, every time we try to figure out the Unbounded Truth in conceptual ways, we are way distant from it, as it is boundless, limitless, infinite.
    I think Master Dogen told something like this, too.

    So I see it as clearly relating with the teaching from the Tao-Te-Ching, and I will cite something more I've read the first time on a book from Thich Nhat Hahn (and I've incorporated on my signature here, recently):

    "Does anyone else have a question? If so, let him ask now! But the instant you open your mouth you’re already way off. Why is this? Don’t you know that Venerable Śākyamuni said, ‘Dharma is separate from words, because it is neither subject to causation nor dependent upon conditions’? Master Linji Yixuan"

    Charlotte Joko Beck, I think, says something like that in her's "Everyday Zen" (a great book - as far as I'm reading it - that is just out of stock here in Brasil, turning almost to a collector's piece!). She says (in the first chapter, I guess) that during a Sesshin, a Zen Roshi said something like this: "This Buddha that you're trying to find is very shy. The moment you catch him, he vanishes."...or something alike.

    I guess it is very cool to see the Truth expressed in various ways, in many teachings, books, and even more because it gives us that feeling we're on the "right way". And - at least for me - this feeling's increases my faith (as I can not see for myself yet, still I'm trying honestly.).

    A buddhist teaching that was truly great and freeing for me was that of knowing that the Buddha is not out of me... that we can become Buddhas, that we can show off our Buddha-Nature. I always though that Buddha's was a prince on a quest, someone out of me. Now I'm trying to figure out why when Buddha's illuminated himself, everything and all the sentient beings were illuminated too.

    Though I still don't KNOW this is, it is a great thing to know we are the universe and all freed me and gave me more sense of responsability...


    強 Kyō
    声 Sei

    Namu kie Butsu, Namu kie Ho, Namu kie So.

  8. #8
    Thank you for asking Dylan!

    For me, it's this, from Dune:

    “I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
    Only I will remain.”



  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Dylan View Post
    ... ...

    And thank you Jishin for you words, I will work to understand them.
    Chapter 41 - Shobogenzo.

    Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

  10. #10
    Last year I read a truly amazing comic called Picnic Ruined by Roman Muradov. Mr Muradov is an extremely talented person with very serious social problems that are well documented. The comic is the narrative of a clouded and distressed mind undermining itself. The artwork is one of the most unique and passionate comics I've ever read. Not Buddhist as far as I know, but still relevant.


    Sat Today

  11. #11
    There's a Filipino love song that begins with the lines:

    'Di ba't tayo'y narito
    Upang maging malaya
    At upang palayain ang iba?
    (Are we not here
    To be free
    And to free others?)

    Many years later and I hear the Four Bodhisattva Vows, and the first one goes:
    Beings are numberless - I vow to free them



    Sat today

  12. #12
    "Think with the mind you had before you were born," if someone knows the author of this quote please tell me."


    If you like words -

    Myosha sat today

    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

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