Sunday, June 8, 2014

Thoughts on the word "suffering".

Watched the documentary "The Four Noble Thruths" at .

Different people from different traditions commenting gathering to think about bringing eastern buddhism
to the west, discussing the importance of The Four Noble Truths.

The Four Noble Truths are:
  1. The truth of dukkha
  2. The truth of the origin of dukkha
  3. The truth of the cessation of dukkha
  4. The truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha
Dukkha is most often translated to "suffering".

But the way we see suffering in the western world is most often bodily suffering, or suffering from mental illness.

A better translation would be ïmperfection"or "inbalance".

This brings buddhism closer to people, because even though many people consider themselves to have suffered from life, suffering is also a kind of far away from our feelings. Suffering is a kind of upper step, one of the most serious forms of unwanted experience.
When looking at other religions one sees that even God is not able to take away suffering from people.

Buddhism doesn't take change outward, to God or the angels, but lies change within ourselves.
We have to practice daily, on a continuous basis, on being a good person and dealing with life as it is.
We are solely responsible for our own happiness.
Buddha just gave us some guidance, but we have to do it ourselves. We can't pray and ask to take unwanted things away. There's no magic to be expected. Just human hard labour.

I think imperfection and inbalance are better translations, and when we put the word "perceived" in from of those concepts it's even better.
We don't mind not perceived imperfections, and when we can learn not to be disturbed by imperfections we can deal with them, or just accept them and be happy with them, we won't perceive them anymore.

Imperfections and inbalance not only lies the experience closer to us, it also makes it (psychologically) easier to deal with.
Interesting is that suffering is a definition that takes into account our inner experience and attitude, creating a feeling of helplessness, and inbalace is more of a description of something outside us. It says something of the outer world, not something of what happens inside us.

To me this translation and definition opens up the possibility that I can deal with the world around me, that I can stay calm even when things happen to me I don't like at all.

It brings me to the second Truth.
It states: the origin of suffering is attachment to the three kinds of desire:
  • desire for sense pleasure (kama tanha),
  • desire to become (bhava tanha) and
  • desire to get rid of (vibhava tanha)
The third Truth states that there's an end to "suffering".
    The origin of "suffering" has no need to bring my personal balance in jeopardy when I'm able to reach the right understanding of what's happening.
    It's like diagnosing an illness by a physician: description, analysing the causes and taking the most relevant solution to get rid of the disease. It might need medication, but more often it's the way we perceive the disease which heals us or which makes us cope with the problems.

    When we perceive imperfection or inbalance we feel the desire to change it.
    This inner longing makes us experience the imperfection/inbalance as a problem.
    When we can loose that inner longing we can reach the next step: cessation of the problem.

    Buddha guides us through the process in the Fourth Noble Truth, about the right path, through the Noble Eightfold Path.
    It consists of 8 elements:
    1. Right View,
    2. Right Intention, 
    3. Right Speech, 
    4. Right Action, 
    5. Right Livelihood, 
    6. Right Effort, 
    7. Right Mindfulness,
    8. Right Concentration.
    This interwoven theory opens up a world of practice.
    We can try every day, learn and try again.
    As long as we make progress in our development it's OK.

    Changing the word "suffering" into "inbalance" or "imperfection" gives us a learning opportunity of even the slightest experieces of concerns. It gives us hope. We can deal with minor things, so we can practice on more serious problems. And maybe we can even tackle real suffering.

    Monday, May 19, 2014

    Almost a year

    About 2 weeks to go and I can celebrate my 1 year survival.

    I've changed.

    But the days have still not enough hours to do everything I want to do.

    Today a great inspiration in my life has died. He had cancer. Conquered it and then found out it had returned even worse. He didn't manage the year his doctors wanted to give him, even though he tried all he could to believe in healing.

    All I do is try to rely on my inner peace. Take each day at a time.
    I try to see the world in a positive way (even though that's very difficult. When I see what people do to each other it makes me sick. For instance: the situation in Tibet.)
    I try not to judge people, not to manipulate and make my choices as plain as possible.

    Last weekend I was at the special day organised around the visit of the Dalai Lama. I was both at the lecture and the public meeting. Next to me sat a wonderful woman who radiated kindness. Her being was so nurturing, that I realised even more what I want, how I want to be.
    Strangely enough it makes me feel closer to people and yet understand even more of their behaviour.
    Well, maybe that's what compassion does.

    What do you think?

    Sunday, February 9, 2014

    Petition to spread the truth, not propaganda.

    All people in the world have the right to be informed in a truthful and accurate way. But many people have to deal with propaganda, even people in the USA.
    Students and others face the propaganda machine of China, without knowing it. The way it works is called brainwashing.

    To end this, please sign the petition >>here<<.

    Start of Tibetan Uprising March

    The Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest pro independence Tibetan NGO in exile, has organized a peace march from Dharamsala to Delhi. The socalled Tibetan Uprising March 2014 has started today at Dharamsala and will end in Delhi at march 10.
    This amounts to a total of about 600 km, which means about 20 km per day.

    The March is initiated to raise awareness about the situation in Tibet.
    The president of the Tibetan Youth Congress, Tenzing Jigme, stated in a press conference that the Chinese government has enforced a series of policies to systematically destroy and stifle Tibetan culture, language, identity, and spiritual traditions. "The result is that Tibet is now facing a life-and-death struggle."
    He invited the chinese government to have a different look at the self-immolations and respond in a positive way on the demands.
    The march is dedicated to show solidarity with the Tibetans in Tibet and marks the 55th anniversary of Uprising Day.

    The demands are:

    1. The Chinese government must positively respond to the demands of the self-immolators, who have called for, among many other things, the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet
    2. Free all political prisoners, including 11th Panchen Lama Gendun Choekyi Nyima, Tulku Tenzin Delek and Rongye Adak who are in Chinese jails
    3. China must allow the world media and an independent international youth group into Tibet to find out the ground reality
    4. Immediately cease population transfer into Tibet and stop insidious ‘Patriotic re-education campaign’ that is being forced upon the Tibetan people
    5. Stop nuclear testing, excessive mining and damming of rivers on the Tibetan Plateau which impact millions of people in Asia

    At the Tibetan Uprising Day, March 10th, Tibetan people and friends will gather at different places all over the world.

    Friday, February 7, 2014

    Yes, I'm going!

    It took a few days to get through online, but I finally managed to get a seat at both the lesson and public reading of the Dalai Lama.
    As far as I can see it's almost at the back, so I hope there are large screens so I can see enough anyway.

    It's a pity it's all a money thing.
    But long long ago I was promissed that I would be able to go when he would be in my country. I never thought the promiss would be kept, but without any real discussion a seat was booked.

    I feel very lucky.

    There are many reasons for me to be present at the event.
    I feel buddhist and I want to hear the lectures from as close to the source as possible.
    Many people have told me the Dalai Lama in person is a big inspiration. I wonder if I can sense that too.
    Maybe I will be too far aaway, maybe not. We'll see.

    I wish I could have a good talk with him. I heard him say, a while ago, that he's afraid to die.
    I don't experience fear of death. In fact I don't mind if I die, because maybe the next life will be better.
    I feel sorry for those that will be left behind and who will miss me. But to deal with mourning is part of life's tasks. I can prepare them for that as well as possible.

    Well, it will be nice to have a day all for myself.
    One of my sons will drive me there, so I'll be in time.

    What can I have more?

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

    Pawo Phagmo Samdup

    Pawo Phagmo Samdup/Samdrub, a 27 year old father of two, has set himself on fire today in Dokarmo town in Tsekhog of Malho, the Tibetan area of Amdo.
    It's said his body has been taken away by the chinese authorities.

    The chinese givernment has enforced even stricter security measure in the Tsekhog area and the nearby Rebgong area, where more people have self-immolated.
    They have also restricted communication in Tsekhog and the areas around it.

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

    Dalai Lama to The Netherlands

    I was elated to hear that the Dalai Lama will visit The Netherlands May 10-12 2014.
    He will give a public lesson and reading at may 11 in Rotterdam.

    Tickets are available but be aware that it's best to use the advice given on the main site of the visit, as there are commercial ticketsellers who provide a kind of second hand tickets for more money.

    You can get more information at this site.

    Monday, January 27, 2014

    I'm back

    Sorry I've been away for quite a while.

    Those who need to have my email: please leave yours written in the comments.
    I won't publish yours unless you're spamming me.

    As most of my readers know I have been caring for a large family with 4 kids with special needs for a long time without any vacation.
    I didn't mind, as I considered it to be my task in life.
    I cared for my grandmother until she went in a home at a very old age, a few years before I married and got children. So it was a kind of ongoing theme in my life.

    Apart from that I had to deal with quite some bad karma of others or a life I don't know, as I have started to call it.
    I have a clean conscience, but one way or another got dragged in the mistakes of other people and caught up in the whirlwind it all caused.
    The stress proved too much.

    Without realising I was developing a serious heartproblem I went on putting the wellbeing of others first, ascribing symptoms to my asthma.
    My health was deteriorating so bad that I started to arrange matters for my death.

    A bad pneumonia made me go to our family physician. He asked a longspecialist for advice and she called me in. It turned out I have some strange things going on in my lungs.
    She send me off to a cardiologist after she found something seriously wrong on an ECG.
    Well, at the moment I was at the cardiology department for an echo, straight during the echo, my heartfunction was almost nothing. I was admitted to hospital straightaway, put on a monitor and went through a whole lot of diagnostic procedures. The cardiologist couldn't do anything else but give me lots of medication.

    Now he states that he doesn't understand how I survived, as all others who arrive in hospital in the same condition have died.

    I quickly regained most of my health, but recently it took a turn worse. My bloodpressure went far too high even though I was taking all the right meds.

    So now I'm having the last pills available for the problem.
    I've lost more than 30 kg in weight.
    Eat and act healthy.
    There's not much more we can do.

    I feel the moment has arrived that I have to balance wellbeing, health and medication carefully.
    It's like being sliding on a slope with a weight that helps to feel better but which also pulls you down to the edge of the rocks above a deep valley.

    What a blessing I've already been living mindful before the whole concept even was (re-)invented in modern times.
    So I try not to worry, but prepare.

    Will you be walking this last part of my path with me?

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