25 July 2011
~**~ What conclusions can be drawn from the Buddha's life? Certainly he was a larger than
life character, yet in no way ego-centered. But in most ways he was like us, living the same existence,
enjoying the pleasures of life, being puzzled about the nature of life and initially being distracted by money,
sex, power, and fame. If there was one thing that made the Buddha stand out, it was his determination.
Despite not knowing the outcome of his efforts, whether he would succeed in answering his question or not,
he totally immersed himself until he was satisfied. Not stopping there, but struggling for expression, he found
skilful means to enable all beings to experience the wonder of their true nature.
~**~ The Buddha's encounter with Mara (the devil) has particular meaning for those practising Buddhism.
It is not simply that he met the devil and had all kinds of temptations. In a real sense he, you, and I experience
this mara in the way we use our minds. Remember that the Buddha, after six years, sat still in the midst of his
troubled mind, no longer distracted by thoughts of what he could be doing, what he could attain, or by all kinds
of entertaining fantasies (sex, fame, gain, and power). He decided to see reality as it is – stripped of illusion.
If we can generate this resolve, then we, too, can overcome mara (all kinds of distraction).
Then, like the Buddha, the wonder of life is revealed.
~**~ By "awakened", Buddha means awakened from our own ideas of how life should be. After Mara
disappeared, his mind cleared, he saw distraction for what it is, he saw how his mind worked, and said,
"Wonder of wonders, I and all beings simultaneously attain the way, but because of upside-down views we
fail to see it." Seeing life as it is, he also saw the disease. The main problem for the aspirant is how he
thinks, and how he takes that thinking to be the only reality. This means accepting that "I am not enlightened,
therefore I need to think it out and go chasing after my vision of enlightenment," rather than studying the reality
of our momentary existence, and illumining that. By experiencing our life directly, we begin to let go of reliance
on thought. By not relying on thought, reality becomes unavoidable and clear. ~**~
(My note on this last passage: reminds me of living in the Now.)
Taken from Way of Zen ~
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