I See an Image of Beauty Over There

The only two things life promises are suffering and death…

Suffering is the default mode of human life. It is a motivation to act for our survival, and, indirectly, the survival of our species. If I do not act to ensure my survival, or someone does not act on my behalf, I can be assured that I will experience some suffering and die a physical death. On a social level, if one did not suffer the longing/need to mate, our species would die off.

Pleasure is something which must be sought after/attained…

When I do something which I perceive as supporting and furthering my survival, I am rewarded with pleasure. This is both reward and reinforcement by my unconscious for my behaviors which support my overall need to survive, and the survival of my species.

In my model of the human experience, I have been looking at reducing and shedding perceived needs. I have also been looking at economy and simplicity- stopping when I have enough. When left with just my basic needs, satisfaction becomes easier to attain, and my suffering is easier to end. This makes it easier to free my mind to achieve higher consciousness.

I have been reading some Buddhist blogs, and one gentleman referred to 4 Noble Truths, the point of which seem to be that suffering can be overcome by shedding attachments/mental associations. Overcoming suffering completely is an intriguing idea. He shared the Four Noble Truths, the fourth of which was:

There is a Way, the Eightfold Path, which leads us to overcome suffering forever.

Am I reading this right? There is a path which ultimately leads to the end of suffering, I just need to shed my attachments? So, changing my attitudes/attachments to even basic needs will end the suffering caused by their not being met?

It just seems counter-intuitive. Still, it is something worth exploring. I’ve noticed that although my thinking, and this model I’m working on, are largely based on Taoist principles, there are some parallels to Buddhism (from what I’ve glanced over so far). I tend to shy away from anything mystical nowadays, and anything not founded on reason (not referring to Buddhism), so I haven’t dived too much into Buddhist teachings. Maybe I should rethink that.

I have certainly discovered fountains of beauty, truth, and poetry in (apparently) Buddhist individuals I am reading. Maybe I will find one great waterfall of beauty and truth in the writings of Buddhism itself.

5 thoughts on “I See an Image of Beauty Over There

  1. I’m sure there is a path for everyone, and I realize that most Buddhists don’t follow the path of the Buddha. Most Christians don’t follow Jezus’s path either. I don’t know much about Tao, but I really love my taoist friends. We live in a special time. This is the first time in the history of Earth that there is an abundance of information available of every possible path. To the horrors of the conformists clinging to their path, we have the choice now to do some shopping and taste what is good for us.

    Yesterday I read somewhere that the path is only formed after we walk it long enough.

    What is the place where good and evil meet, and how would you call the place where darkness and light are present at the same time? The end of suffering is called cessation in Buddhism, but how is this attained, and what does it lead too? Losing attachment is not the same thing as being detached. Mental pain is suffering they say, but can you switch off the mind when in physical pain, or in emotional pain? And what about spiritual pain?

    If you are detached of all desires, then there is also no will power left.
    My teacher asked me whether i would like to become like a tree?
    And I answered I wouldn’t. He said he wouldn’t either.

    So it is good to read and think, and evaluate, and to feel what suits you and what not.
    And then go your own way of trial and error.
    At the top of the mountain, all paths meet.

  2. In my own experience, it doesn’t mean the end of suffering, but simply the end of the suffering that causes suffering. So we still feel pain, loss, and more, but we know that those things are themselves our lives and the path. Recognizing that helps bring about diminishing of attachment. As Bert said, the path forms from walking it. But don’t take my word for it, experience it for yourself.

    Be well.

  3. I enjoy reading about your approach on your path to enlightenment. You have not abandoned questions for blind obedience to what you are reading/studying/contemplating on, you question, without denying, along the way. Wondering at this and wondering at that. If you ask me, this is one of the truest paths to wisdom. It seems to me that the best opportunity at learning comes from this layer of questioning and wondering. Question does not mean, incomprehension, but instead would lead to a deeper form of comprehension. You question, it seems, even the answers to some questions. This journey is what makes your blog an inspiration to read.

    PS I also love the unique quote in the header of your posts, great idea. 🙂

    • “You have not abandoned questions for blind obedience to what you are reading/studying/contemplating on, you question, without denying, along the way.”

      Thank you, so much, for your words. They are very encouraging. I often second-guess my lack of intellectual/philosphical form or conviction. I see the energy and enthusiasm that those with a ‘position’ on things can have, and, I admit, that that energy has a pull, and can be contagious with me.

      “Question does not mean, incomprehension, but instead would lead to a deeper form of comprehension.”

      In a letter to his nephew, Zhuge Liang (a great figure in Chinese military history), wrote: “…Seek knowledge by questioning widely; set aside aversion and reluctance. What loss is there in dignity, what worry is there of failure?…” That line hass stuck with me since I read it over 15 years ago. Better I risk looking dumb at the moment of asking, then keep silent and remain so. In the end, I hope, I will have achieved some wisdom, and any loss of dignity along the way would have been momentary.

      “PS I also love the unique quote in the header of your posts, great idea. ”

      I noticed that I could have rotating/random banner images, at least with this theme (maybe all of them?). I thought I’d showcase the gems I come across on your blogs, and anywhere else I find them. I grab desktop wallpapers online and stick the quotes on them with OpenOffice Draw, then upload them here.

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