Friday, February 6, 2009

As I get deeper into my meditation practice, an interesting side effect I've noticed is my relationship to my emotions, specifically anger. It's much harder to get angrier with people when you begin to train your mind. Instead, I'll have the momentary fueling up of "Hey! What the fuck was that for!" which in general subsides a few seconds later. This is almost always viewed with confusion from the other party, specifically if they assumed we were going to get into an argument. They'll sort of blink for a moment and not quite know how to react. An odd thought and one's that been said more beautifully a thousand times before but just one that I've noticed.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A fistful Buddhist quotes on antiauthoritarianism, part 1

And yes, I realize the irony of posting a bunch of quotes saying "Think for yourself"

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.

I would rather sink to the bottom of the sea for endless eons than seek liberation through all the saints of the universe.

The full-grown man aspires to pierce through the heavens. Let him not walk in the footsteps of the Buddha!

Keep your mind alive and free without abiding in anything or anywhere.
-the Diamond Sûtra

No one saves us but ourselves, no one can and no one may.
-The Dhammapada

Yet you must not cling to the words of the old sages either; they, too, may not be right. Even if you believe them, you should be alert so that , in the event that something superior comes along, you may follow that.
-Dogen Zenji

If you meet a Buddha, kill him. If you meet a patriarch of the law, kill him."
This is a well-known Zen motto. If Buddhism is divided generally into the sects that believe in salvation by faith and those that believe in salvation by one's own efforts, then of course there must be such violent utterances in Zen, which insists upon salvation by one's own efforts.
-Yasunari Kawabata

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A quote from the Padhana Sutta:

"Seeing the bannered force all sides —
the troops, Mara along with his mount —
I go into battle.
May they not budge me from my spot.
That army of yours,that the world with its devas
can't overcome,
I will smash with discernment —
as an unfired pot with a stone."

The Padhanna Sutta is part of the Pali Canon, which are
some of the oldest records we have of the life of the
Buddha and what he may have actually said.
The quote above, specifically deals with his
confrontation with Mara immediately before his
enlightenment. Mara is a god or demon depending on
your definition who consistently tries to tempt the
Buddha to give up his meditation under the Bodhi Tree
and go home.
He tries reasoning with Buddha,
tempting him with beautiful women, and eventually by
threatening him with an army of demons. Buddha touches
his hand to the ground and gives the quote above,
which I liked enough to post here.

There are various interpretations of what Mara is.
Even in some of the early Buddhist texts, there's
an insinuation that he might not be an actual being
but the forces of temptation that we all carry
around in our heads. Other times he's
presented as an actual being. In either case, Mara
contiually throughout the Buddha's life tries to
tempt him away from the path, and each time fails,
and over time these stories move from being akin to
Jesus being tempted in the desert by the devil,
and more towards a sort of spiritual precursor
to a Road Runner cartoon, with Buddha
recgnizing Mara's tricks for what they are more
or less immediately upon seeing them,
with comical results for the would be tempter.
Not to do with Zen in particular today, but
there's a cool quote about smashing armies and
some talk about being unshakeable in your beliefs,
so there you go.