Buddhism and Meditation

Tibean Wheel of Life (Week4)


Clash of the Titans

This Tuesday the Milton Keynes branch of the Triratna Buddhist Community met up to practice a Buddhist Meditation called the mindfulness of breathing and to carry on our study and discussions around The Tibetan Wheel of Life. The Wheel of Life is a rich symbol containing many Buddhist teachings.

Here are the notes from the class:

 

The Asura Realm – The Titans

 

Some Key Features

 

The Experience

  • A fiercely competitive and aggressive world.
  • Not only warring with the Gods for control of the Wish Granting Tree, but also warring amongst themselves.
  • They form temporary strategic alliances, only to turn on each other.

 

The Upside

 

  • There is always potential for change.
  • Any energy can be useful if harnessed in the right way.
  • The Titans are very high energy beings – driven

 

The Downside

 

  • Powerful and grotesque war like beings.
  • Male asuras are ugly and muscle bound, the females, are seductive and alluring, causing dissent among the males.
  • Often called the Jealous Gods, they feel belittled by the success of others.
  • They need to feel they are the centre of the universe.

 

Expressions in the Human Realm

 

  • Highly driven and competitive types.
  • The world of business, high finance and politics – Titans can be dominate in this realms.
  • The world of sexual seduction and possession.
  • Those drunk on power.
  • People who relate to others in terms of dominance and submission.

 

The Buddha of this Realm & His Symbol

 

  • The green coloured Buddha “The Heroic Good One”.
  • His symbol is the sword of Wisdom – cutting through the root delusion.

 

What Needs to be done to make progress in this Realm

 

Overcome the cause – ENVY

 

  • The sword of Wisdom – counteracts the aggression of this realm, meeting fire with fire.
  • Strong medicine – and a very direct path. The sword cuts through delusion giving spiritual insight.

 

  • Only insight can deliver the spiritual conquests that will fulfill their heart’s desire.

 

“Though in battle one may conquer many thousands, He who conquers himself is the greatest Victor”. The Buddha

 

 

Positive Seeds, Negative Seeds & Buddha Seeds

 

Positive Seeds (Red) – Good Karma – One third red

Negative Seeds (Black) – Bad Karma – Two thirds black

Buddha Seeds (Gold) – only one single seed

 

 

  • The Asura realm offers the least potential for spiritual growth out of all the six realms.

 

  • This is a very ego centered realm, making it difficult to have regard for others or to make genuine connections with others.

 

  • It is difficult to learn from others (including spiritual teachings) when you are only interested in taking fruits of others efforts – not in how they gained them or learning how to earning them for ourselves.

 

  • The Asura realm is dominated by aggression and is very active (misdirected energy).

 

  • The high energy Asuras have little opportunity for spiritual growth, but a very few of them may harness their energies and have a direct breakthrough into Wisdom.


Tibetan Wheel of Life (Week 3)


Hell (detail) by Hellhieronymus-Bosch (1450-1516)

On Tuesday this week the MK Meditation Association met up to practice a Buddhist Meditation called metta bhavana (cultivation of loving kindness) meditation together and to continue our discussions around The Tibetan Wheel of Life. The Wheel of Life is a rich and powerful image containing many Buddhist teachings.

Here are the notes from the class:

Wheel of Life Week 3 – The Hell Realms (Niraya Loka)


Some Key Features

 

The Experience


  • A many leveled realm of infernal pain.
  • A variety of torments experienced as a result of unskilful actions. Mythologically represented by fire or icy pits manned by demons with a variety of torments to suit the nature of our previous evil actions.


The Upside


  • All experience is impermanent. Buddhism does not believe the hells to be eternal.
  • There is always a way forward – nothing is fixed – change the conditions and the situation will change.


The Downside


  • This is hell – it doesn’t get worse than this.
  • The overbearing experience of suffering makes it very difficult to act in a positive way, making a negative spiral a real possibility unless outside help is obtained.


Expressions in the Human Realm


  • Psychological or physical torment and distress.

 

This is not to say that all psychological or physical pain is related to past Karma – it may be caused by other conditional factors such as mental or physical trauma, illness, accident and so on.

 

To unthinkingly blame a persons suffering on their past actions (Karma) is dogmatic, simplistic and lacking in empathy and compassion.

 

The Buddha of this Realm & His Symbol


  • The smoke coloured Buddha called “Dharma King”.
  • His symbol is a vase of Amrita – a divine nectar, the drink of the devas/gods (like ambrosia).


What Needs to be done to make progress in this Realm


Overcome the cause – Hatred.

 

  • Hatred is a state of extreme isolation – a psychological and spiritual separation from our true context (other living beings). This feeling of isolation goes against how things really are and so it feels very unnatural and painful.

 

  • Amrita represents the path to Amritapada (the state of the deathless) e.g. Nirvana/Awakening.

 

  • Drinking of the Amrita (meaning following the influence of the Dharma)  includes ethical action and developing Metta (loving kindness). This counteracts hatred and provides a respite from our own pain.

 

  • We need to honestly recognize the situation we are in. This requires mindfulness. Yama (The Judge of the Dead) holds up the Mirror of Knowledge to our past actions. This arouses the inner voice of our conscience and we judge ourselves.

 

Honest self-appraisal transforms our suffering into a cleansing fire, purifying us so that we can rise to higher less painful realms of existence (mental states).

 

By making conscious our regrets for past actions we can feel the burning of a healthy shame (not an unhealthy guilt). We have let ourselves and others down and this is a source of regret. We want to make amends and do a better job in the future.

 

Seeing where we are at and that there is something that can be done about it we recognize that the situation is workable. We can let go of Self Hatred, finding inner forgiveness for our shortcomings.



Positive Seeds, Negative Seeds & Buddha Seeds


Positive Seeds (Red) – Good Karma – None of these

Negative Seeds (Black) – Bad Karma – Lots of these

Buddha Seeds (Gold) – Quite a few of these

  • The Hell Realms offer more potential for spiritual growth than the God Realms.

 

  • Although extremely painful, they give us an insight into a side of life we would rather ignore and can lead to deeper compassion when we meet that suffering in others.

 

Pain is a great motivator for spiritual practice and strongly promotes a real inner desire for personal change and growth.

 



Tibetan Wheel of Life (Week 2)


This week the MK Meditation Association met to practice midnfulness of breathing meditation together and to continue our discussions around The Tibetan Wheel of Life.

Here are the notes from the class:

Wheel of Life Week 2 – The God Realms

Along with the Hell Realm represent a pair of opposites in terms of psychological experience, as do all the realms appearing opposite one another on the wheel.

 

The (Deva) God Realms – Some Key Features

The Experience

A multi level realm of enjoyment – a  world of light and colour. Beautiful and graceful inhabitants. Highly refined beings, ethereal – deva means “the shining ones”. Whatever you wish for just appears, no need for work or effort. A carefree life of aesthetic pleasure and the arts. Accessible through dhyanic meditation.

 

The Upside

Highly pleasurable. Freedom from pain and suffering. Extremely long life span.

 

The Downside

The six lowest god realms still experience some subtle craving for material things (like us).

Intoxicated with their own pleasure they forget the suffering of others and the nature of existence e.g. that all is transient – even this period of pleasure.

Extended periods of happiness strengthen the ego and lead to disinterest in spiritual matters, complacency and a reliance on the benefits of previous good actions – resting on our laurels.

 

Some Expressions in our Human Experience

The beautiful rich and famous. Some artists. The “A” list.

Those who seem to ooze popularity and self confidence. The young.

 

The Buddha of this Realm & His Symbol

The white Buddha known as “Powerful One of the 100 Blessings”. He uses a lute to play the song of impermanence.

 

What Needs to be done to make progress in this Realm

  • Overcome the cause – Ignorance/Delusion i.e. a belief that pleasure is never ending and that we will live forever- there will always be tomorrow to make an effort, meditate, work on our ethics.

 

  • Reflection on impermanence – old age and death. We need to practice now! Develop Wisdom.

 

Positive Seeds, Negative Seeds & Buddha Seeds

Positive Seeds (Red) – Good Karma – Lots of these

Negative Seeds (Black) – Bad Karma – None at all

Buddha Seeds (Gold) – Only a very few

 

A realm without willfully harmful actions. These guys wouldn’t hurt a fly. However, little chance of spiritual growth due to apathy, but not a destination to aim for – a spiritual dead end.

 

 



Tibetan Wheel of Life (Week 1)


Wheel of Life by Dh. Aloka

 

Yesterday the MK Meditation Association met to meditate together and to discuss The Tibetan Wheel of Life.

Here are the notes from the class:

Introduction

 

  • A multi dimensional symbol
  • Symbols convey information – but not in a rational way – communicate in a different language – poetry, myth & archetype
  • Symbols speak directly to the unconscious
  • A teaching from the Mahayana phase of Buddhism

 

Sun & Moon

 

Found in many Thankga paintings

 

  • The Moon symbolizes the masculine aspect of Compassion
  • The Sun symbolizes the feminine aspect of Wisdom
  • They appear together balanced in unity (like Yin/Yang)

 

Yama

 

The red demon holding the wheel is Yama – the Gate Keeper of the Hell Realms

Be-fanged, 3 eyed and wrathful.

A manifestation of the gentle and compassionate Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.

 

  • Wrathful figures are about liberated energy – turning repressed or unskillful energy to the good – a process of psychic/emotional alchemy
  • Yama dares us to look closer, to use wheel as a mirror into our own mind.
  • Although wrathful he urges us to see things as they are for our own benefit out of compassion for the suffering our misunderstanding brings us.

 

The Wheel as a Mirror

 

  • Reflects back to us the nature and contents of our own mind.
  • Take a look – Which realm does your mind occupy right now?
  • What is driving your mind?
  • Knowing where our mind is helps us to know what we need to do in order to grow or change.
  • The Wheel is divided into 4 concentric circles or 4 levels of meaning.

 

1/ The Hub – contains the three poison drives (trivisa)

 

  • The Cock – Greed (Lobha) –– intense pecking at the ground, always looking for more
  • The Snake – Hatred (Dvesa) – cold and poisonous
  • The Pig – Delusion (Moha) – spiritual ignorance. This is an unawareness of our true nature and situation. A desire to hide from the ways things are.

 

Each animal bites the others tail – conditioning and reinforcing each other

Going around and around they power the wheel of life – conditioned existence – Samsara.

 

Spiritual Ignorance is said to be the root cause, the first conditioning factor – from this arise greed and hatred or attraction/repulsion.

 

2/ The Black/White Circle

 

  • Positive and Negative Karma (action).
  • We have a  choice of paths.
  • One is conscious – ethical and creative
  • One lacks ethical awareness is reactive and unmindful

 

  • White Path – happy beings – led upwards to a favourable rebirth
  • Black Path – unhappy beings, naked and bound being dragged down to lower rebirths

 

3/ The 6 Realms

 

In Traditional cultures these have two levels of meaning:

 

  • A Literal Realm of Rebirth – where we take rebirth after our death
  • Our Mental States – how we experience the world due to our state of mind

 

How do we relate to these realms and the idea of a literal rebirth? Is it important to us?

 

  • God Realm
  • Asura/Titan Realm (the Anti-Gods)
  • Human Realm
  • Animal Realm
  • Hungry Ghost Realm
  • Hell Realm

 

4/ The 12  Conditioned Links (Nidanas)

 

The unfoldment of unenlightened life (being bound to the Wheel) and the possibility of Freedom (the heart of the Buddha’s Teaching) can be seen through these 12 conditioning factors of Dependant Arising.

 



Support Hungarian Buddhists


This year a nationalist government with racist leanings has been elected with an overwhelming majority. They have rewritten the constitution of Hungary and passed a law that deregisters all but a few mainstream Christian and Jewish religious organisations.

When the Jai Bhim Network (an offshoot of Triratna work with marginalized communities in India) registration lapses at the end of this year, the budget for their schools will be cut in half and they will find it very difficult to continue to provide education to the 1,000 students who study with them.
The work that they are doing is beginning to flourish. Besides the very effective education they offer to Gypsy students who have no other realistic opportunities for education, they are beginning to have a deeper impact on Hungarian Gypsy society.

 

At the recent census, some 500 or more Gypsies declared themselves to be Buddhists by their affiliation with the Jai Bhim Network. This is a very important step indeed, similar to the mass conversions that took place in India in 1956….

You can help in a very simple and easy way.

Please log on to:

http://www.refuge.hu/  and sign the petition.

Many Thanks,

Jayasiddhi

Hungary Dispatches; October 2011 from Subhuti_secretary on Vimeo.



Worldly Winds – part V


Yesterday the MK Meditation Association met to mediate and have our final discussion on the 8 Worldly Winds.

Here is the material that we discussed:

Previously we have identified the 8 Worldly Winds:

 

1/2 Praise & Blame

3/4 Pleasure & Pain

5/6 Success & Failure

7/8 Fame & Infamy

 

We have reflected on our experience of these in our lives, how they occur and to what extent they affect us – how they condition our emotions and the ways we behave.

 

In this section we have been Learning how to Sail the Worldly winds: how to be less buffeted about. There are 4 stages in this practice:

 

  • Recognising the Worldly Winds
  • Distinguishing Control from Influence
  • Seeing the Worldly Winds as Opportunities
  • Listening to the Stories we tell

 

This week we will consider the fourth of these: Listening to the Stories We Tell

 

a/ The Mature & the Immature

 

The Buddha pointed out that we all get blown about by the Worldly Winds.

 

  • The “spiritually immature” would be most affected – their minds consumed by praise, blame, success pain etc. The welcome the wind in one direction, but rebel when it blows the other way.

 

  • The “well trained” disciple does not become consumed, does not welcome or rebel.

 

  • Often our “rebelling & welcoming” consists of “a story”

 

b/ Listening to the Stories we tell

 

  • An ongoing commentary in our head

 

  • We explain and interpret our day in this way – often subconsciously

 

  • Stronger emotions give rise to the most urgent stories – replays of disagreements – clever responses – replayed again and again

 

c/ Triggers & Interpretations

 

  • A tiny thing can trigger a story – a single word we do not like, a look or gesture

 

  • Stories come into play extremely quickly – almost pre-formed. How?

 

  • We draw on our past  – how we have previously interpreted our experience

 

  • Perhaps we have had difficulty with a person before – or someone who reminds us of this person – our previous explanations come readily to mind

 

d/ Culture

 

  • Our interpretations may not just be personal – they may be imbedded in our culture – difficult to see as we “are in it”.

 

  • Collective stories – that fit seem to fit the case – so they ‘are’ what happened

 

e/ Karma

 

  • Stories from the past colour the present moment

 

  • Stories about the present colour the present moment

 

  • Stories about the present colour our future experience

 

  • Our stories have a profound effect on how we perceive the world and how we act – we condition ourselves

 

  • What we think of as “me” is the sum of all our stories

 

f/ Papanca – mental proliferation

 

  • How our stories grow and spread – often highly subjective – sometimes just wrong

 

  • Triggered by fear, ill-will, longing, craving and so on – those triggered by craving etc. can be harder to spot than those triggered by negative emotions

 

g/ Working with Stories

 

  • When we realise we are in a story – put the breaks on – this may not be easy

 

  • Stay with what’s happening – the actual experience underlying the story

 

  • Stay with the facts – identify the embellishments

 

  • Try to remember what happened and acknowledge the feelings

 

  • Separate Observation from Interpretation. We still need to act and make decisions, but try to do this based in objectivity not coming from storied based in ill-will or craving.

 

h/ Reflection

 

During meditation and daily life, get used to watching your thoughts. Identify your stories, try to find where they start, test them for objectivity.

 



Worldly Winds – part IV


Last Tuesday the MK Meditation Association met up topractice some meditation together and continue exploring the Buddhist teachings known as the Worldly Winds. This is the material we explored in the meeting:

Previously we have identified the 8 Worldly Winds:

 

  • Praise & Blame
  • Pleasure & Pain
  • Success & Failure
  • Fame & Infamy

 

We have reflected on our experience of these in our lives, how they occur and to what extent they affect us – how they condition our emotions and the ways we behave.

 

In this section we will be Learning how to Sail the Worldly winds – how to be less buffeted about, how to navigate.

 

We will consider 4 stages in this practice:

 

  • Recognising the Worldly Winds
  • Distinguishing Control from Influence
  • Seeing the Worldly Winds as Opportunities
  • Listening to the Stories we tell

 

This week we will consider the third of these:

 

Seeing the Worldly Winds as Opportunities

 

  • If we have allowed our mood or self view to be swayed by the them, now is the opportunity to take regain the initiative.

 

  • Rather than hoping that the world will bring us all we need  we turn things around and consider what we can bring to the situation.

 

  • We can see the Worldly Winds as teachers, spurring us on to develop courage or patience or whatever the situation requires. We welcome the challenge to grow.

 

Dharma Doors

 

This is an image for going beyond the duality of these pairs of opposites. Rather than swinging from one to the other we can looking for an opening into something new:

 

1/ From Gain & Loss into Generosity

 

Turning the game on its’ head – from “what can I get out of this?” into “what can I give here?”.

 

At times like when we are caught in heavy traffic or stuck walking behind a slow or indecisive pedestrian. Rather than guarding our space and looking for gaps, trying to get ahead of others we could try relaxing and opening into the possibility of giving. Maybe we could let someone into the traffic in front of us, perhaps we could engage kindly with the pedestrian in front of us rather can quietly fuming.

 

2/ From Fame & Infamy into Individuality

 

The story of Kusinagara – “that wattle and daub, jungle backwater”

Our popularity will wax and wane and we will never be able to please everyone.

How much we are affected will depend on how much we depend on others opinions

Individuality is about possessing integrity and wholeness

We have a sense of who we are, our priorities and values and act from these

Not the same as individualism – based in getting our own way

Pride and vanity are about what others think of us – Metta comes from self-knowledge and self appreciation and manifests itself through friendliness and cooperation not competition.

 

3/ From Praise & Blame into Truthfulness

 

Reflect on what is true in a situation.

Accept praise graciously and with gratitude – but without intoxication

Look at criticism as frankly as you can – maybe it could have been delivered in a more kindly way – but is there a nugget of truth here? A precious jewel of self knowledge?

By looking for the truth in a situation we can be less emotive and more objective – what we learn may be useful to us and a little detachment may help us to cultivate more equanimity.

 

4/ From Pleasure & Pain into Mindfulness

 

Neither pleasure or pain is inherently “good” or “bad”, both are inevitable and both are impermanent.

The Second Arrow – the first causes pain (inevitable) the second is our response – focusing on the negative experience we make it feel worse.

Unconsciously turning to distraction or pleasure to try to avoid pain doesn’t work – the pain is still waiting “under the carpet” and we know it – this can feel even worse

Mindfully staying with our experience we can develop the joy of equanimity

 

 

Reflections

 

Sitting quietly perhaps during or after meditation we can reflect on these 4 Dharma Doors.

 

Recalling recent events where we have been pushed around by the worldly winds, how would it have change if we could have opened the doors of Generosity, Individuality, Truth or Mindfulness? How might this have felt?

 

What situations in our life might benefit from us recalling the 4 Dharma Doors?

 



Worldly Winds – part III


 

Last week the Milton Keynes Meditation Association met up to meditate and continue exploring the Worldly Winds. This is the material we explored int hat meeting:

 

Previously we have identified the 8 Worldly Winds:

 

  • Praise & Blame
  • Pleasure & Pain
  • Success & Failure
  • Fame & Infamy

 

We have reflected on our experience of these in our lives, how they occur and to what extent they affect us – how they condition our emotions and the ways we behave.

 

In this section we will be Learning how to Sail the Worldly winds – how to be less buffeted about, how to navigate.

 

Learning to Sail – We will consider 4 stages in this practice:

 

  • Recognising the Worldly Winds
  • Distinguishing Control from Influence
  • Seeing the Worldly Winds as Opportunities
  • Listening to the Stories we tell

 

This week we will consider the first 2 of these:

 

 

1/ Recognising the Worldly Winds

 

 

  • Looking out for them. Becoming aware of them.

 

  • Noticing the times and situation when we are more vulnerable to be blown about by them.

 

  • As we practice recognising them we will see them appearing in our daily life more often.

 

  • They can become a helpful way of thinking about our daily experience.

 

  • Just becoming aware of them can have a strong effect – opening up a gap between what happens to us and our response to this – a mindful moment

 

  • Naming the Demon – a traditional Buddhist practice – by naming the demon that torments us we become aware of what we are dealing with and stop being passive. To know a demons name is to take it’s power.

 

 

 

 

 

2/ Distinguishing Control from Influence

 

  • Firstly we recognise that we are under the influence of the worldly winds

 

  • We can ask ourselves what is happening in terms of control & influence

 

  • To what extent is this situation under my control?

 

  • To what extent is this situation outside of my control?

 

  • Do you need to change and adapt?

 

  • Can you respond in a way that has positive influence on your state of mind and perhaps on the situation itself?

 

  • Where we can influence there is room for action. What is beyond our influence we can identify and then try to learn to accept it.

 

Example:

 

A loved one is seriously ill in hospital. They await a bed in specialist ward. The factors affecting the availability of a bed are outside of your control.

 

If we do not recognise and work at accepting that this as outside our control it may lead to further unnecessary anxiety and stress for us on top of what we already experience.

 

There may be ways in which we can still have a positive influence such as comforting our loved one or talking calmly with staff – keeping your friends needs on their radar. Perhaps there are friends or family that need contacting.

 

 

Reflection on Control & Influence

 

Looking back at last weeks exercise on how the worldly winds blow in our life, can you see how you might resist those situations – how you try to maintain the feeling or appearance of control?

 

How does that manifest? What does it feel like?

 

What would it feel like to give up control and just do what you can to have a positive influence?

 

Try closing your  eyes and doing a relaxing body scan.

Remember one of these situations and imagine yourself in back in it.

What did it feel like? What were your thoughts?

Can you imagine a more creative response? What would that look and feel like?



Worldly Winds part II


Yesterday we met up to meditate and continue our exploration of theWorldly Winds. This week we were looking at chapter one of Vajragupta’s book – Sailing the Worldly Winds. We were considering what it was like to be blown around by these winds and we discussed the following material:

 

Blown by the Winds

 

It is natural to want things to go our own way, to want what is best for us.

 

However, the worldly winds blow in two directions. If we are too attached to them only blowing in a favourable direction then we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.

- Caught up in this way our moods will swing with the winds. We are caught in a game of opposites.

- A lot of energy goes into these tussles with the world. But could it be that relying on external conditions for our happiness is passivity?

- Not getting what we want can sometimes lead to a loss of confidence or initiative. We can develop a “victim mentality”

- Getting what we want can sometimes lead to attachment and over-reliance. We expect to find lasting happiness in externals.

 

 

Gain & Loss

 

Small instances happen all the time: “my electricity bill is smaller than expected – I can afford that new pair of shoes. Going shopping I scrape the car and face a hefty repair bill. I join a queue at the supermarket and my queue is going the slowest (as always), getting to the checkout the lady in front lets me go first as I only have a few items”.

 

- Me and Mine

- Me vs. the world

- A bad case of tunnel vision giving a cramped feeling of limited perspective

 

Fame & Infamy

 

It is normal to want to be well regarded. But sometimes we go further and the desire is deeper. We want to be noticed, we want to be the centre of attention.

 

Maybe we type our name into Google to see if the world knows about us, or we compare our number of friends on Facebook to judge how popular we are. Maybe we get upset if we don’t get as many birthday cards as our friends. Being shown photos of a party we are most interested in looking for ourselves and checking how we look.

 

Our society is obsessed with fame for its own sake (e.g. Big Brother). Do we crave our 5 minutes of fame? Is infamy better than anonymity?

 

Praise & Blame

 

Sometimes we can receive praise & blame for the same thing at the same time!

We cannot seem to please all the people all the time.

We become blown about by these winds when they affect how we view ourselves or our ability to act e.g. inflated or punctured.

There is often a culture of blame – at work, in politics and sport (e.g. National Football – we loose so sack the manager).

Blame can be about disgruntlement – where we put our energy when we don’t get what we want.

It is helpful to let others know when they do well or poorly, but feedback should be objective, constructive and kind.

 

 

Pleasure & Pain

 

A holiday – we are excited! Toothache – we are moody. Someone has finished the last of the milk and left an empty carton  – we are exasperated. The sun comes out and our spirits lift.

 

Life has many small pleasures and minor discomforts. There will be moments of extreme pleasure and moments of strong pain and anxiety. Old age can bring increasing aches & pains. Even the healthiest of us get sick sometimes.

 

- Observing these worldly winds can show us how even small things can affect our mood.

- Because we cling to comfort and long to make it last and because we resist discomfort we make things worse for us than they need to be.

 

 

We looked at the following meditation/reflection exercise and agreed to give it a try during the week ahead:

 

Relflection : Blown by the Winds?

 

  • Take time to sit and calm your thoughts
  • Make room for more considered thoughts to arise
  • Have a pencil and paper handy to note down your thoughts
  • Do you recognise the worldly winds blowing in your life?
  • Try to recall small or large events in the last few days
  • Can you see any patterns or themes?
  • Which winds blow more frequently for you (positive and negative)?
  • Are certain situations more stormy?
  • Do you have experiences that do not fit into the traditional 8 Winds? What are your special Worldly Winds?
  • Keep your notes and bring them to the next class

 



Worldly Winds – Part 1


Last week the Milton Keynes Meditation Association were looking at the 8 Worldly Winds. In this introductory session to a series on the eight “loka dhammas” we looked at this traditional description of the forces that push and pull us in life. These are considered in 4 sets of opposing pairs:

 

1/ Loss & Gain

2/ Infamy & Fame

3/ Blame & Praise

4/ Pain & Pleasure

 

These 8 categories can be summarised as:

 

LOSS – I am not getting what I want

GAIN – I am getting what I want

INFAMY – I am disliked

FAME – I am liked

BLAME – I am at fault

PRAISE – I have done well

PAIN – I am not enjoying this

PLEASURE – I am enjoying this

 

We spent some time discussing these and to what degree we felt influences by them. We also discussed the “ego clinging” behind them that leads us to believe there is a “special, separate thing” in us that requires protection. This clinging leads to the basic reaction of grabbing pleasant experience and pushing away the unpleasant or threatening.

We agreed to look at our responses to the 8 Worldly Winds during the week.

 

Further Reading/Info:

 

I can thoroughly recommend Vajragupta’s book: “Sailing the Worldly Winds” (Windhorse Publishing). You can read or download a sample chapter of this book from the Buddhist Centre.com.

Here is the first of 2 talks given by Vajragupta on the Worldly Winds for the recent Urban Retreat:

www.thebuddhistcentre.com

Here is the second talk in the series:

www.thebuddhistcentre.com