In the best of times, our lives are often rushed and chaotic. Millions experience stress, sleep deprivation, and health problems with roots in our modern lifestyle. Now in 2020 after a turbulent election, a full blown pandemic, and continued social unrest, our collective suffering is mounting.
In the 2nd Noble Truth, the Buddha teaches that suffering is the consequence of attachment to our cravings and desires. Our society encourages us to consume and want. The newest game, the best phone, the nicest car, etc. Our politics divide mostly along social and cultural lines. The problem is that both sides are deeply entrenched (attached) in ideologies, tactics, and material compensation of our system. Nobody is willing to step back and look for better ways to solve our global societal problems because they make a nice living arguing with the other side. And those of us that don’t benefit, continue our attachments to this antiquated system because that’s what we know. It’s hard to imagine some new social order. This attachment is reinforced by media and social pressures we may not even be aware of. And we suffer greatly for it.
The 4th Noble Truth offers us a path from suffering in the eightfold path.
The Eightfold Path
So what are we to do? The Eightfold Path provides guidelines to end our personal suffering and new way to perceive and understand reality. The eightfold path is at the heart of the middle way, which turns from extremes, and encourages us to seek the simple approach.
These steps are not commandments as you might find in the Abrahamic traditions, but guidelines to contemplate, consider and take on when each step is accepted as part of the life you seek, promoting a journey of self discovery. A great place to start is with the Heart Sutra and the Heart Sutra meditation.
The Heart Sutra Meditation
The core tenets of Buddhism are expressed in the teaching known as the Heart of the Great Wisdom Sutra, or the Heart Sutra
Although it is the shortest of all the sutras, it explains the essence of Buddhism, which is KU or emptiness. The meaning is essentially that by letting go of your preconceived notions, opinions, and attachments, you can become open to all the wonders of our life.
All things are empty. This is the realization of nothingness. But, emptiness or nothingness does not just mean nothing. It means not holding attachments to anything; especially your own perceptions emotions, and ideas so that you can see your life clearly. The closed or full mind cannot learn.
Many years ago, a spiritual teacher gifted me a copy of the Heart Sutra by Marina Lighthouse. It contains a chanting of the Heart Sutra Mantra, a reading of the Heart Sutra, and the Heart Sutra meditation. All three are powerful. However, if you’re in a time crunch, I recommend listening to the meditation as often as you can in a quiet place.
I always find myself refreshed with clarity of mind and a inner feeling of peace. I find it easier to to focus on the moment throughout the day.
Find a quiet spot to sit or lay down. Start these tracks, close your eyes. Focus on your breath and listen.
Listen Now: Heart Sutra: Marina Lighthouse
All three tracks are also available for free mp3 download in the Heathen Planet Store. They may be downloaded for non commercial personal use only.
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