BUDDHA, THE WORD
(The Eightfold Path)
THE THREE CHARACTERISTICS OF EXISTENCE
How can you find delight and mirth,
Where there is burning without end?
In deepest darkness you are wrapped!
Why do you not seek for the light?
Look at this puppet here, well rigged,
A heap of many sores, piled up,
Diseased, and full of greediness,
Unstable, and impermanent!
Devoured by old age is this frame,
A prey of sickness, weak and frail;
To pieces breaks this putrid body,
All life must truly end in death.
Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
-Frederick Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 1886
A healthy mind is the greatest gain.
Contentment is the greatest wealth.
Trustworthiness is the best of kin.
Unconditional freedom is the highest bliss.
Dhammapada v. 204
We might assume that the perfect realization of unconditional freedom is some way off, but we can already plant the seeds of the possibility in our hearts. The conditions of the world keep changing: at times quite wonderful, at other times challenging and often something in-between. How do we stay stable with such instability? We orient our hearts toward true principles, Dhamma. Establishing an initial understanding of true principles gives our hearts direction. Contemplating these principles is nurturing the seeds. As to when they will bear fruit is not something we can control. In the meantime cultivating trust in the possibility of unconditional freedom is something we can do.