CHAPTER 25 The Six Paramitas
(from "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching" by Thich Nhat Hanh)
2. Precepts, or mindfulness trainings
The second practice is the perfection of the precepts, or mindfulness trainings. = a great gift that we can make to our society, our family, and to those we love
(The Five Mindfulness Trainings: a form of love and giving = the most concrete way to practice mindfulness)
1) protecting the lives of human beings, animals, vegetables, and minerals
⇒ the lives of minerals??? (minerals are alive!!!) There must be consciousness inside of minerals. Freeman Dyson said, "Atoms may have minds (capacity to make choices)". David Bohm said, "Explicate order enfolds into Implicate order. Implicate order unfolds into Explicate order".
2) preventing the exploitation by humans of other living beings and of nature
3) protecting children and adults from sexual abuse, preserving the happiness of individuals and families
4) practicing deep listening and loving speech
5) mindful consumption
The third petal of the flower is inclusiveness. Inclusiveness is the capacity to receive, embrace, and transform. If our heart is large enough, we don't suffer.
⇒ "Please call me by my true names" Thay's commentary on a pirate = He was a victim in his childhood. What he needs is not punishment, but healing.
⇒ Symbol of Inclusiveness is the sunshine for me. That's because the sun shines to all without separation unconditionally.
To suppress our pain is not the teaching of inclusiveness. We have to receive it, embrace it, and transform it. The only way to do this is to make our heart big. We look deeply in order to understand and forgive. Otherwise we will be caught in anger and hatred, and think that we will feel better only after we punish the other person. Revenge is an unwholesome nutriment. The intention to help others is a wholesome nutriment.
Understanding is the only way out. When you have some pain in your body, breathe in and out and say to yourself, "It is only a physical pain." If you imagine that it is cancer and that you will die very soon, your pain will be one hundred times worse. Fear or hatred, born of ignorance, amplifies your pain. Prajña paramita is the savior. If you know how to see things as themselves and not more than that, you can survive.
I survived for Brother Nhât Tri and for so many others who died in order to bring the message of forgiveness, love, and understanding. I share this so they will not have died in vain.
Deep looking leads to understanding, and understanding always leads to love and acceptance.
Don't worry. "Perfect health" is just an idea. Learn to live in peace with whatever ailments you have. Try to transform them, but don't suffer too much.
4. the perfection of diligence, energy, or continuous practice
= (1) selective watering, (2) changing the peg, (3) transformation at the base
5. the perfection of meditation (Mindfulness + Concentration)
* Meditation consists of two aspects.
(1) stopping (shamatha)
* Stopping is to stop our running, our forgetfulness, our being caught in the past or the future.
* We come home to the present moment, where life is available.
⇒ Who is "We"? If "We" is ego, does ego come home to the present moment?
* My understanding is that ego does not come home to the present moment. Ego is always in the past or the future.
* Instead, because ego stops thinking, true self in the present moment revives.
(I understand that ego and true self are two sides of the same coin. They are not two but are not one, either.)
* In my case, when my ego was fed up with sufferings, my ego wanted to change itself seriously in order to stop sufferings. And my ego asked, "How can I stop rejecting myself? How can I love myself?" ["I": ego, "myself": true self (awareness)] That was the start of spiritual dialogue.
* It is important that a wave knows that she is water, and
not just a wave.
⇒ my understanding is as following.
* When ego is fed up with sufferings, ego (wave) revives true self (awareness) and true self can realize it is water (true nature)".
* That's because ego wants to change itself in order to stop sufferings.
* If ego practices mindful breathing, it can stop thinking, revive true self and true self can touch the true nature of reality.
* In this way, a wave can realize it is water.
Thay: "Enlightenment for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realizes it is water"
My revised version: "Enlightenment for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave (ego) revives awareness and awareness realizes the wave is water (true nature of the reality)."
(2) looking deeply (vipashyana)
* to see the true nature of things
6. the perfection of understanding (Insight)
* This is the highest kind of understanding, free from all knowledge, concepts, ideas, and views.
* Understanding is the substance of Buddhahood.
* understanding that has the power to carry us to the other shore of freedom, emancipation, and peace.
* the Mother of All Buddhas
* If we can offer understanding to someone, that is true love.
* Understanding is the fruit of the practice. Looking deeply means to be there, to be mindful, to be concentrated.
* Looking deeply into any object, understanding will flower. The teaching of the Buddha is to help us understand reality deeply.
* We don't have to attain nirvana, because we ourselves are always dwelling in nirvana.
* Non-fear is the basis of true happiness.