Suffering and gratitude

 What follows  is copied from the Common Ground meditation Center's (in mpls) newsletter.  In Buddhism, dukka  (suffering) is accepted as a human condition and it is believed that we can overcome suffering by learning the various practices that help us to tune into our pure nature such as meditation and yoga And offering gratitude

As students of the Buddha’s teachings, we learn to return over and over again to the direct immediate and intimate study of dukkha, the pervasive and inherent unsatisfactoriness of existence. This insight does not discount the many joyful and beautiful experiences in life, they are real, but they do not satisfy in a lasting way. As it turns out, understanding the underlying nature of dukkha is our most trustworthy, sobering, and ultimately liberating teacher. Although we will resist giving it the curious and careful attention that it deserves, the study of suffering and its release is the best use of this human life.

When teaching about dukkha, Ajahn Chah taught, “It sticks on the skin and goes into the flesh; from the flesh it gets into the bones. It’s like an insect on a tree that eats through the bark, into the wood and then into the core, until finally the tree dies. We’ve grown up like that. It gets buried deep inside. Our parents taught us grasping and attachment, giving meaning to things, believing firmly that we exist as a self-entity and that things belong to us. From our birth that’s what we are taught. We hear this over and over again, and it penetrates our hearts and stays there as our habitual feeling. We’re taught to get things, to accumulate and hold on to them, to see them as important and as ours. This is what our parents know, and this is what they teach us. So it gets into our minds, into our bones.”

WIthout wisdom, our lives are a setup for endless stress. Reflecting honestly, how many times today have our hearts been burdened by the weight of fear or hope–wanting the conditions to be different than they are? Discontentment seems second nature to us. Although we may deeply desire the resolution of all of our stress, we wrongly presume that this depends on a change in circumstances. It rarely occurs to us that what is required is a transformation of understanding. 



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