Saturday, February 25, 2006

Vicissitudes of Life

When the uninstructed worldling comes upon gain, he does not take the time to think, to analyze past experience and those of others, and comprehend that the gain is impermanent, that it is bound up in suffering, and that it is subject to change, like all things.

The mind of the uninstructed worldling dances to the to-and-fro, give-and-take of this cyclic existence, trapped in the tapping of the vicissitudes of life.

The mind of the uninstructed worlding is transfixed to the world of change like a child with a new toy. The change keeps the dance alive.

'With Gain, He is Elated.

With Loss, He is Dejected.

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With Fame, He is Elated.

With Disrepute, He is Dejected.

With Praise, He is Elated.

With Blame, He is Dejected.

With Please, He is Elated.

With Pain, He is Dejected.'

(Anguttara Nikaya 8:6;IV 157-59)

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All the while, the uninstructed worldling never stops the dance. When he slows, his mind slows. When slow, he may discern. When discerning, he will gain insight. With insight, freedom can be gained. The Eight Wordly Conditions are not permanent. Samatha, or calm abiding, is where we take our first steps to freedom.

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works cited:
Work in quotes adapted from the Anguttara Nikaya as translated in:
1. Bodhi, Bhikkhu In The Buddha's Words Somerville: Wisdom Publications, 2005

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