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Buddhism in the News


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Enlightenment is found in the garbage can too.

Know the good and the bad in travelling or in living in one place. You don't find peace on a hill or in a cave; you can travel to the place of the Buddha's enlightenment, without coming any closer to enlightenment. The important thing is to be aware of yourself, wherever you are, whatever you're doing. Viriya, effort, is not a question of what you do outwardly, but just the constant inner awareness and restraint.

-The Venerable Ajahn Chah

James: It's easy for us to see enlightenment in the silent monasteries, serene monks, rainbows, the smile of a baby and the days when everything is going our way. That is the easy part. Our practice and the hard work is necessary so that we can see enlightenment in heavy traffic, a dirty sink or a grumpy co-worker. That balance of enlightenment comes with deep awareness of the present moment and a radical acceptance that life is what it is regardless of what we think is life.

We think we know what life is but really it is what we think life should be. Often we think that enlightenment is reached by concentrating during meditation on eliminating all the noise, depression, anxiety and bad feelings because those don't fit our definition of enlightenment, peace or meditation either. Well the jokes on us so we might as well smile and laugh. This is it. Right now. That annoying sound the fridge makes as well as the lovely chanting of venerable monks. The trick is that when the squeaky fridge kicks in that we recognize the sound, let it go by recognizing it to be impermanent and be grateful that we even have a fridge and ears to hear the sweaking. The moment is now for this moment is all that we have and it's a great gift--regardless of where it finds us.


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Sunyata said...

Your wisdom fills me at this moment. *bowing*

"We think we know what life is but really it is what we think life should be."

This very thought came to me this morning as I woke, in great frustration, to the sounds of hunting gunfire.

It is that struggle between how life-is and how I think it should-be that keeps me frustrated.

Your words directed my thoughts to the better-way of focus.
Thank you.


"James" said...



Greetings friend. Hunting and gunfire are both very disconcerting things(especially for us Buddhists who take a vow of non-violence). I am glad that my words helped you focus your thoughts in a more mindful way.

Blessings back to you dear one.

-I bow to the Buddha within you.

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