#368 The Knots of suffering Oct 24th 21

The knots of suffering
To be happy or even serene is not to be free from suffering, it is to suffer less.
If we cannot transform the pain within ourselves, serenity would not be possible.
Many people look for happiness outside themselves, but true happiness must come from inside of us. Our culture tells us that happiness comes from having a lot of money, power, and a high position in society. But if you observe carefully, you will see that many rich powerful, and famous people are not that happy because the search never ended.
According to the Buddha’s teachings, the most basic condition for happiness is freedom from our attachments to unachieved desires including expectations, negative feelings, and delusion.
Called “mental formations” by the Buddha, he considers these formations as poisons. As long as these poisons are still active in our hearts and mind by means of attachments, serenity cannot be possible because they always trigger attachments.
In order to be free from our poisons, we have to practice awareness of our attachments, whether we are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, or whatever.
The Knots of internal suffering:
In our consciousness and sub-consciousness, we have many attachment-based suffering from multiple origins already mentioned. We call these attachments, knots.
When attachment to desire, expectation, hatred, and delusions is creating suffering,
an internal knot is created in our subconscious and conscious mind. If you don’t know how to undo the internal knot, it will stay there for a long time with the power to control us and dictate our behavior. Every one of us has multiple knots that we need to take care of. With the practice of meditation, we can untangle these knots and experience transformation and healing.
Most knots are unpleasant but many of them are also pleasant.
Here are a few so-called “pleasant knots”:
When you taste, hear or see something pleasant, then that pleasure can become a strong internal “feel good “knot. When the object of our pleasure disappears, we miss it and we begin searching for it. We spend a lot of time and energy trying to experience pleasure again and again, more and more. We cannot get it off your mind and these “pleasure knots” are controlling us, depriving us of our freedom. Pleasure becomes ……..suffering.
Falling in love is also a big internal knot. Once we are in deep love, we only think of the other person and we cannot do too much but think of the subject of our love. Falling in love is a beautiful and wonderful thing as long as it does not become an internal knot such as worries and even fear of losing this precious gift.
Pleasant or unpleasant, both kinds of knots feed our suffering and take away our serenity. That is why we should guard our bodies and our mind and be more mindful about our knots.
How to untangle our suffering knots?
Suffering cannot be prevented, only be minimized.
Step#1: Having a good understanding of the sources of our suffering either from pleasant and unpleasant origin: unachieved desires including the search for pleasure, expectation, power, money, control, hatred, and illusion.
Step#2: To realize that all of them are creating attachment, which is the core of suffering.
Step#3: Paying attention to our attachments in a mindful way that is thru simple observation
w/o trying to control if not eradicate them which is impossible.
Final words:
Is suffering necessary? yes and no.
Who wants to suffer? No one, besides the masochistic personalities.
Yes, it is necessary because if you had not suffered as you have, there will be no depth inside yourself, no humility, and no compassion to yourself and to others. Thank you

#367: Is there a way toward Awakening Oct.10 21

Is there a journey toward Awakening?
“I have been meditating for 2 years with the group and alone at home every day.
Also, I have been listening and read all Dharma talks.
Where am I in the journey toward Awakening” asked the student.
“ You are far away from it and also too close” I replied.
The request to talk about Awakening is the most frequent one even if we talk about it on regular
basis and the last one was just a month ago.
Maybe only a few of you were attending or did not bother to read the blog.
It sounds that many Zen practitioners believe that there is a long journey toward Awakening and this journey is made of many stages full of meditation-based hard work during each phase.
It is like starting at point A and, after a lot of practice, POOF! the finish line is crossed and the student is
Awakened or Enlightened. This is pure delusion and the source of many disappointments.
Achieving Awakening or Enlightenment is not like taking a course and passing an exam.
There is no diploma at the end, and the teacher is more a guide rather than bringing knowledge.
The word Awakening is the word Awake and the word Awake means to be actively aware in its
literal and figurative senses.
Aware of what you may ask…….I will elaborate in a few min.
In the word Enlightenment is the word Light and the word Light means brightness or luminous
in its figurative sense. So…Awakening and Enlightenment are almost synonymous because one needs the other one. However, the word Awakening should be used since it is the word used by the Buddha
rather than Enlightenment which sounds more like a miracle or a bliss. Remember: the nickname “Buddha” means” the one who is awaked”
To be aware is to pay attention, in a nonanalytic way – meaning in a mindful way- to the current moment and its contents such as where you are, what you are doing, what your senses are perceiving around you.
Concisely put: To be awake is to experience, in a mindful way, factual realities of life in the precise moment. Or not to be in a permanent dreaming state.
How to do this?
It is done by bringing your out-of-control wandering mind where your body is and what it is doing in this precise moment.
Therefore, Body & Mind form a single entity rather than having, all the time, a split personality where your body is doing something and your mind something else in a different space-time.
So, Awakening does exist already in all of us. No Ph.D., MBA, or MD. are required!
Practicing awareness of the factual realities of life in the current moment has immediate consequences such as being fully mindful of our delusions as opposed to these factual realities. Our common delusions on which we should be awakened/alert to include:
– Things last: No they don’t. Everything is transient and we exist only in the present moment.
– I control my life: No you don’t. Wishful thinking.
– Life should be happiness: No, suffering is also part of Life and is mostly generated by our
ego-driven mind.
– Past, future, thoughts, and feelings are real. They do exist but are fictional that is don’t have any
concrete reality.
– I am an indispensable and independent entity: No, we are all interconnected and graveyards are
full of indispensable people.
A student asked Zen Master Suzuki: “What is Enlightenment Sunim?
He replied: “When you eat, just eat. When you chop wood, just chop wood”
Sorry folks. It is not mysterious, sexy, or exciting. IQ above 200 and hard work are not necessary.

#366 The 4th Noble Truth Oct.3rd 21

The 4th Noble Truth (Reality): The Noble eightfold path

1st Noble Truth = Suffering” is an integral part of life.
2nd = 3 main causes of suffering (I want but don’t get, I am getting what I don’t want, and ignorance (illusions) )
3rd = Extinction of suffering = Nirvana
The 4th Noble Truth (Reality): The Noble eightfold path

1st Noble Truth = Suffering” is an integral part of life.
2nd = 3 main causes of suffering (I want but don’t get, I am getting what I don’t want, and ignorance (illusions) )
3rd = Extinction of suffering = Nirvana
4th The 4th Noble Truth or the proper 8 paths or guide to follow in our daily life.
These 8 paths are all linked together and represent the core of the Buddha’s teaching over 50 years.
These eight factors aim at promoting and perfecting the three essentials of Buddhist training and discipline: namely: (a) ethical conduct, (b) mental discipline, and (c) wisdom.
It will, therefore, be more helpful for a coherent and better understanding of the eight components of the path if I group and explain them according to these three practical heads that are:

1- Ethical conduct, 2- Mental discipline, and 3- Wisdom.

1)Ethical conduct: It encompasses Right speech, right action, right livelihood.
Ethical conduct is built on universal love such as compassion and forgiveness for all living beings.
Right speech
Abstention from telling lies, backbiting, abusive and impolite language, gossiping, and slander.
Right action
Preserving all living beings, promoting moral, legal, and peaceful conduct.
Right livelihood
No harms to self (i.e. intoxicant) and to others.

2)Mental discipline: it encompasses right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration
Right effort
Having the will to promote good and prevent evil.
Right mindfulness
Developing awareness of:
1) Body and its activities.
2) Sensation: physical sensory experience from our 5 senses.
3) Feelings.
4) Mental activities ( ideas, thoughts, conceptions, etc…)
5) Present moment.
Right concentration
Developing mental focusing skills necessary awareness.

3)Wisdom: it encompasses right thought and right understanding or view.
Right thought
Right thought denotes the thoughts of selfless renunciation or detachment, thoughts of love
and non-violence, which are extended to all beings.
Right understanding or right view
What we generally call “understanding” is accumulated cognitive knowledge from ongoing
learning and experience. It is not very deep.
From a Zen point of view, real understanding or proper view is deeper that is:
Seeing things as they are is factual realities of life.
Among the most important let me mention impermanence, not having control,
only the present moment exists, thoughts and feelings are not the genuine you and
few others not mentioned here. Practicing an open non-egoistic mind is mandatory in
achieving not only the right view but also all of the other paths previously described. Thank you