Friday, November 30, 2012

letting go and going on

Quotations below are from Ajahn Cha
The Buddha did not teach to fix things, but to see according to the truth. If you want to change things, that is not Dharma, that is not truth; it is just the habit of someone who wants to create and manipulate. If you do not see the truth of the way things are, there is no path to practice, and you are outside of the noble truth of suffering, its causes, its cessation, and the path. (p.20, Being Dharma)
This does not mean there is no place for creating. In fact a lay life requires it. We not only need to recognize the truth of insubstantiality and the hollowness of our constructions, but we must learn to dance within them, aware of their benifits to our personal life and the good of our culture as well as their limitations.

Since the very beginning of the Buddha's dispensation, for those who hear and practice there has not been any requirement to adjust or modify things, only to know and surrender....[conditioned phenomena] have their nature to arise and pass away. Any other view of things is impure dharma, the teaching of ignorance embedded in the heart. There will be no cessation, the wheel turning endlessly: no soloution, no end, no way to stop.  (p.20, Being Dharma)

There is a time to step off the wheel. That time is always right now...and yet we go on. The stepping off has to happen over and over again as we navigate daily life, as we play in the constructions, but by also not being trapped in them. Surrendering again and again to things as they are, but also putting one foot in front of the other to face the changing moment and the truth that whatever we create will not last. Everything we build is like a sandcastle on the beach. Beautiful for a time (or useful depending on what we construct), but temporary. Suffering is in the ignorance of the nature of things - in the clinging to anything as it is in the moment.

Its like insects crawling on the rim of a water barrel. They are always moving, but they aren't going anywhere, only traveling around and around the rim. The thoughts of ordinary benighted beings are the same. We may think we are headed far away, but we are only going around in circles, always, coming back to the same place. We don't see this cycle in the heart because there is no wisdom to see. ..In Dharma we want to see..that there is no solution, nothing to change or adjust, because the Dharma is always complete as it is. So we give up trying. (p.20, Being Dharma)

Until we choose or are confronted with an ultimate cessation, we live on with as much wisdom as possible of things as they are. We can change things within the constructions we have created, our own or our societies - and we should, but we also recognize our personal limitation and a broader scope from which our constructions have arisen. Ultimate reality does not need fixing.


Living skillfully