The Jedi Way and Buddhism - Part 7

14 years 8 months ago #21522 by Garm
The fourth fact of life; the path of liberation (marga)

We can all enjoy the happiness called freedom. The awakening of the mind is the beginning of the path. If Buddha were a road sign, he’d be “Stop, Look around, Change your mind.” The fourth and final truth is a beginning tour of the way of harmony – and no one on a quest for awakening walks alone. The whole universe yearns for enlightenment. The path is not Esoteric, but one that anyone can travel on. It is up to each of us. You must take the path yourself in order to really see it.

Objective, scientific, and compassionate like a good doctor, the Buddha made this list:

1. Symptom: duhkha, suffering
2. Diagnosis: trishna, ignorance, attachment
3. Prognosis: nirvana, liberation is possible
4. Prescription: marga, the Eightfold path.

Self-inquiry is essential for making the teachings real to you.
Buddha taught a method to lead away from self-sustained suffering toward a more enlightened and compassionate life - through the pursuit of morality, meditation, and wisdom, described as eight pursuits: right speech, right action, right livelihood, right concentration, right mindfulness, right effort, right understanding and right thought.

In the West, we tend to expect theological concepts to come in the form of logical propositions - something that traces back at least as far as Aquinas' adaptation of Aristotle. Buddhism has a philosophical literature, to be sure, but most of the Buddhist writings encountered by lay persons seem not to be theo-logical as much as they are concepts that inspire and guide practice.

In this sense, Buddhism bears a resemblance to hatha yoga, Taoism, or tai chi. These are not systems of thought as much as they are systems of action -- practices. Theology, belief, and faith are surely intended to change the mind and heart. Practices such as the Buddhist practice of meditation and the other aspects of the eight-fold path, are another method to change the mind and heart, a method that depends less on what you believe about God than on what you do each day.

Some Buddhist teachers emphasize the use of \"skillful means,\" something kin to the Jesuit's willingness to adapt Catholic rituals to accommodate local customs. In skillful means, you take on a set of practices and concepts -- not because they stand for eternal truths, but because they get you somewhere. And, once you get there, once you cross the stream, you no longer need to carry the raft on your shoulders. In the words of St. Paul, you put away childish things. Indeed, perhaps all beliefs, all ideas, all concepts are but skillful means.

So how do you end eternal craving? Just live by the ideals of the Noble Eightfold Path. The Path is grounded in a program of meditation. It delineates a plan of self-discipline regarding ethical conduct, mental discipline, and wisdom. The Path avoids two extremes--the pursuit of complete and ultimate sensory pleasure, or the pursuit of utter self-denial.

This Truth must be penetrated to by cultivating the Noble Eightfold Path....

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