Friday, July 1, 2022

Ignorance and Suffering... Buddhism's Antidote... Love... Compassion... Understanding... Community


IGNORANCEIn Buddhism, ignorance about the true nature of existence. Ignorance is the first of the twelve-linked chain of causation, the sequence of causal relationships connecting ignorance with suffering. In the concept of the twelve-linked chain of causation, ignorance is the fundamental cause of delusion, suffering, and transmigration in the realm of delusion and suffering. In the T’ien-t’ai school, ignorance is regarded as that which prevents one from perceiving the Middle Way. Buddhist schools defined various levels of ignorance, teaching that, by cutting off increasingly deeper levels of ignorance, one can gradually gain understanding of the true aspect of existence and finally attain enlightenment. 

The Twelve-Linked Chain of CausationThe principle of the twelve-linked chain of causation is a basic teaching of Buddhism. It can be said that it is a detailed expression of the Four Noble Truths explaining where the 12 causes of our unhappiness come from.

Unhappiness begins with illusion, which is based on earthly desire. Through the thoughts and actions that result from illusion, we create karma, and as a result of that karma, we experience suffering. The twelve-linked chain of causation is an explanation of how this three-tiered causal relationship (illusion, karma and suffering) applies to the reality of our lives.

The Link List The twelve links or stages are (1) ignorance (mumyō), (2) actions (gyō), (3) consciousness (shiki), (4) name and form (mental functions and matter; myō-shiki), (5) the six entrances (the five sense organs and the mind; rokunyū), (6) contact (soku), (7) sensation (ju), (8) desire (ai), (9) clinging (shu), (10) existence (u), (11) birth (shō), and (12) old age and death (rō-shi).

Western culture and its almost total focus on self-sufficiency, self-interest, individualism, and individual rights are some of the basic underlying causes of suffering we experience in the west. The general lack of genuine concern for the suffering (or wellbeing) of ourselves as well as our fellow beings seems most prevalent (or pronounced) the USA. In other words, we are the causes of all our suffering and problems. Both individually and collectively.

Having wandered in samsara for many years without a clue as to A) why I felt so lost and unfulfilled, and B) why I so often felt confused or unhappy I found Buddhism and the Buddha just in time. Life has, over the past twelve months or so taken on a different feel and tone. Finding a path and practice that feels true and resonates with me has made a world of difference in my life and how see existence and my life on this beautiful planet.

Now, even at 70 years young, the present looms bright, promising, and full of opportunities for awakening and enlightenment. Life is indeed sacred and joyful. If only one maintains the right view, right intentions, and motivations. Buddhism has provided the path. Now the energy to live well with and for others begins.

You're invited to check out the following links if Buddhism is a path that resonates with you.

Natural Dharma Fellowship

Lion's Roar


Tibet House US

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