Saturday, April 14, 2018

Returning Home

When we examine the human body, the default setting is one of good health.  That is to say, we assume that people are supposed to be healthy, and then we go from there.  

We wake each morning with the expectation that we'll be able to breathe without trouble, that our eyesight will be clear, that our limbs will move freely, etc.

However, if something in our bodies doesn't operate as we expect (e.g. our stomach hurts or we have a fever), then we have a name for that.  It's called being sick, and depending on the severity of our sickness we may go to a doctor in order to find a remedy.

Naturally, the doctor will do an examination, diagnose the cause of our sickness, and then prescribe a treatment so that our bodies will return to their default settings of good health.  In terms of our spiritual health, Buddhism operates in much the same way.

We start with the assumption that human beings are basically good.

We expect them to make wise, loving decisions in daily life, which result in reduced suffering for both themselves and other living beings.

Of course, people can be a disappointment.  We are bombu beings; foolish creatures, ensnared by the poisons of greed, anger, and ignorance.  As a result, we act in ways that are harmful to ourselves and those around us; contrary to the inherent enlightenment that we all possess.

But all is not lost.  We have a name for this type of behavior in Buddhism, it's called being sick.  And Buddha provided us with the cure 2,600 years ago when he gave his first lecture in Deer Park.

By teaching us the three marks of existence, the four noble truths, and the 8-fold path, Buddha laid out a framework, which provides relief from suffering.  It's a long and difficult journey, but if we're brave enough to walk the path, we get in touch with our spiritual default setting which is good and pure.

When we practice Buddhism, we awaken to our true nature, we return home

In this way, there is nothing new that must be attained.  We don't need to fix ourselves, or feel guilty about past mistakes.  It's enough to simply take our daily medicine (e.g. seated meditation, chanting, sutra study, etc.), so that our good spiritual health is restored and maintained.

That's the real beauty of this practice.  We can go home anytime want; to a place within us of peace and loving-kindness.  Buddha has provided the path, all we have to do is walk.

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Upcoming Events:

I'll be giving a Dharma talk at The Heartfulness Meditation Center in Cleveland, OH on Sunday, April 15th from 1:00pm to 2:30pm. You can visit the event page, and get more information by clicking here.

Returning Home