Yeah, What They Said

I’ve done some editing of my three vacation entries. The last one in particular wasn’t as clear as it could have been, and it’s probably still not as clear as it could be. Unsurprisingly, I’ve found clearer, more pithy statements of the same problem and its antidote among the reading for this fall’s class.

In his Treasury of Precious Qualities, Kangyur Rinpoche describes “the eight unrelenting types of suffering that are intrinsic to the human condition,” which are birth, old age, illness, death, meeting unwanted circumstances, separation from what is loved, not having what one wants, and having what one does not want. He spends the most time describing the suffering of birth, going on for two pages about the horrors of pregnancy and birth for the child, and at the end of the process, we’re left with a newborn:

The child suffers because all contact is frightening and painful; it suffers because of its own filth, or through illness, heat, cold hunger, or thirst. And throughout all this, the baby is unable to tell anyone what is happening to it.

In his Jewel Ornament of Liberation, Gampopa lists the four obstacles to the attainment of Buddhahood, which include “being attached to peace.” And he suggests that “meditating on loving-kindness and compassion remedies attachment to the pleasure of peace.”

Those few sentences from the masters say all that I struggled around and around in those three entries.

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