What is in the past is already destroyed.
What is in the future has not yet arrived.
What is in the present does not abide.
Although we contemplate in this manner the production, destruction, scattering, and demolition of phenomena, we nonetheless remain constant in the accumulation of the roots of virtue and wisdom leading to enlightenment.
This is what is meant by skillful means in contemplating the three periods of time.
All of the suffering in the three lower realms and the two higher realms does not arise without causes and conditions. The cause is non-virtuous actions.
Although there are various enumerations of non-virtuous acts, the principal ones to be abandoned are summarized as ten.
The three non-virtuous actions of the body are depriving others of life, taking what is not given, and engaging in sexual misconduct.
The four non-virtuous actions of speech are to tell lies, to slander, to speak harsh words, and engage in idle talk[i].
The three non-virtuous actions of mind are covetousness, malice, and wrong view[ii].
I should strive to abandon all thoughts and actions related to them,
and definitely give up these ten.
[i] Idle talk includes any speech motivated by afflicted emotions, such as insinuation and flattery; needlessly conversing about mundane topics (politics, war, sex, and others’ business); frivolous singing and joking; and expressing distorted views.
[ii] Wrong view specifically refers to denying (1) the relation between cause and effect, (2) past and future lives, and (3) the Three Jewels.
The various Buddhist views of reality are not competing with or refuting each other.
They are indispensable at various times, and for different persons. They are necessary while helpful.
There is an orderly progression, from Vaibhasika realism, through Sautrantika subtle realism, and Madhyamika self-emptiness, to the realization of Maha Madhyamika other-emptiness.
If we grasp at these stages as “The Truth”, we lose the view, and become attached to a blind belief.
tadyatha om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
OM, it is thus: Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone perfectly beyond, to enlightenment!
May you be happy and peaceful.
May you be healthy and strong.
May you feel safe and protected.
May you live with ease and joy.
May they be happy and peaceful.
May they be healthy and strong.
May they feel safe and protected.
May they live with ease and joy.
May we be happy and peaceful.
May we be healthy and strong.
May we feel safe and protected.
May we live with ease and joy.
What is manifest is known through valid perception.
What is hidden is known through valid inference.
What is extremely hidden is known through valid testimony.
In the presence of fire, seeing the flames and feeling the heat constitutes valid perception.
At a distance from the fire, seeing the smoke and understanding that ‘where there is smoke, there is fire’ constitutes a valid inference.
At a further distance from the fire (in time or space), hearing from a reliable witness about the fire constitutes a valid testimony.
The perfect teaching of the Buddha is not accomplished through mere study.
Dharma without meditation is like dying of thirst while being helplessly carried away by a great river.
Dharma without meditation is like supplying many beings with food and drink, and starving oneself to death.
Dharma without meditation is like dying of a stomach ailment while possessing all the specific remedies.
Dharma without meditation is like counting huge numbers of jewels in treasure stores, without obtaining even one for oneself.
Dharma without meditation is like being born in the court of a royal palace, surrounded by pleasures, without getting any food or drink.
Dharma without meditation is like being a blind artist who paints a picture in the middle of a crowded market, unable to see it oneself.
Dharma without meditation is like being a boatman who takes many people safely across a big lake in which one drowns.
Dharma without meditation is like announcing at a crossroads all the most wonderful things without obtaining any for oneself.
―Flower Arrayed Tree Sutra
It is often thought that the Buddha’s doctrine teaches us that suffering will disappear if one has meditated long enough, or if one sees everything differently. It is not that at all.
Suffering isn’t going to go away; the one who suffers is going to go away.