Sunday 26 March 2023


Overcoming suffering

The New Indian Express

In Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism we learn of dukha (suffering) 

In Buddhism life is dukha - because of the 'changing and impermanent' nature of life. 

In Hinduism, dukha can be due to the gulf between desires and actual experience. 

The way out of dukha is to understand the real nature of self (atman) and the ultimate reality (brahman) - and then follow the path out of dukha and towards moksha (liberation / permanent bliss).


Indian philosophies are realistic in recognising that the world is full of suffering and the objective of life is learning how to overcome that suffering and attain permanent bliss. 

The superhit 1964 release Hindi movie, Dosti, about two physically challenged friends who constantly refuse to bow down in the face of suffering has a song whose opening line  captures the attitude of Indian philosophy towards suffering.

To overcome suffering?

Forgive everyone.

Be kind to everyone.

Detach yourself, when appropriate, from the body and the selfish agenda/ego

I met a taxi driver called Bob who had once been clinically dead and who had had an out of body experience. 

As he floated above his body he could see the doctor trying to get him back to life. He could hear the doctor's American accent and he could see the doctor's red hair. 

After he had come back to life, the taxi driver discovered that the doctor was indeed American and did indeed have red hair.

It would seem that our 'spirit' can exist without the body.

I met a hotel owner who had once been clinically dead and who had had an out of body experience. 

While 'dead' he met dead relatives who told him that he had a sibling that he did not know about and who had died very young.

After he had come back to life, the hotel owner checked the old records and discovered that he had indeed had a sibling who had died very young.

Professor Robert Lanza believes that Death is an illusion.

He believes that it is our minds that create space and time.

Are we all connected?

Scientists have discovered that pairs of tiny particles can be invisibly connected even when they are some distance apart.

When the scientists carry out an action on one particle, the other particle is instananeously affected, even though it is many miles apart.

A Dutch team has proven that 'spooky action at a distance' is real.


According to Jack Kornfield - 

Persian mystics say we are 'sparks of the divine'.

Christian mystics say we are filled with God.

Some say - We are one with all things.

Some say - The world is all illusion.

Some say -  consciousness creates life to express all possibilities, to be able to love, to know oneself.

Others point out how consciousness gets lost in its patterns, loses its way, incarnates out of ignorance.

Hindu yogas call the world a lila, or a dance of the divine.

Buddhist texts describe how consciousness itself creates the world like a dream or a mirage

Modern accounts of near-death experiences are filled with reports of wonderful ease after leaving the body, of golden light and luminous beings. 

(The Buddhists believe that there is no unchanging “soul” to reincarnate.

(What is reborn is not the person. 

(What is reborn is an “evolving consciousness” or “stream of consciousness”, whose quality has been conditioned by karma.)

The Buddha came to the conclusion that we do not exist as separate beings. 

He saw  the human tendency to identify with a limited sense of existence - 

'Consciousness creating identity by entering form -

'Attaching to certain forms, feelings, desires, images, and actions to create a sense of self.

'This belief in an individual small self is an illusion. 

'It causes suffering and removes us from the freedom and mystery of life.' 


Buddha described us as a collection of  changing processes:

The processes of the physical body, feelings, perceptions, responses, and the flow of consciousness. 

Our sense of self arises whenever we identify with these changing processes. 

We might identify with the role of being a woman or a man, a parent or a child. 

We might take our family history, our genetics, and our heredity to be who we are. 

Sometimes we identify with our desires: sexual, aesthetic, or spiritual. 

We can choose the archetype of hero, lover, mother, ne’er-do-well, adventurer, clown, or thief as our identity and live a year or a whole lifetime based on that. 

To the extent that we grasp these false identities, we fear their loss.

One master would say, “I am none of that. I am not this body, so I was never born and will never die. I am nothing and I am everything. 

"Your identities make all your problems. Discover what is beyond them, the delight of the timeless, the deathless.”


Christian texts speak of losing the self in God

Taoists and Hindus speak of merging with a True Self beyond all identity.

Buddhists speak of emptiness and of no self.

Emptiness does not mean that things don’t exist, nor does “no self” mean that we don’t exist. 

Emptiness refers to the underlying nonseparation of life and the energy that gives rise to all forms of life. 

We are in some relationship with our cars, our home, our family, our jobs, but whatever that relationship is, it is “ours” only for a short time. In the end, things, people, or tasks die or change or we lose them. Nothing is exempt.


When we bring attention to any moment of experience, we discover that we do not possess it either. 

As we look, we find that we neither invite our thoughts nor own them. 

We might even wish them to stop, but our thoughts seem to think themselves, arising and passing according to their nature.

The same is true of our feelings. 

How many of us believe we control our feelings? 

As we pay attention, we see that they are more like the weather; moods and feelings change according to certain conditions, and are neither possessed nor directed by our consciousness or desires. 

Do we order happiness, sadness, irritation, excitement, or restlessness to come? 

Feelings arise by themselves, as the breath breathes itself, as sounds sound themselves.

Our body, too, follows its own laws. The body which we carry is a bag of bones and fluid that belong to no one. It ages, gets sick, or changes in ways we might not wish it to, all according to its own nature.

The more we look, in fact, the more deeply we see that we possess nothing within or without.


'Where has the past week or the past month or our childhood gone? They arose, did a little dance, and now they’ve vanished.

'Experience becomes like the particle waves described in modern physics, a pattern not quite solid, ever-changing.


'The real world is beyond our thoughts and ideas; we see it through the net of our desires, divided into pleasure and pain, right and wrong, inner and outer. To see the universe as it is, you must step beyond the net. It is not hard to do so, for the net is full of holes' — Sri Nisargadatta

As we open and empty ourselves, we come to experience an interconnectedness. The teacher depends on the student, the airplane depends on the sky.


'So while purification, kindness, and attention can certainly improve our habits, no amount of self-denial or self-torture can rid us of a self, for it was never there.'

From A Path With Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life.

Happiness is about forgetting your own happiness and being part of a happy team?

Standford neurophysiologist Karl Pribram believes in the holographic nature of reality.

Every part of a hologram contains all the information possessed by the whole.

In a holographic universe there are no limits to the extent to which we can alter reality.

What we see as reality is a canvas where we can draw any picture we want.

The Buddhists believe that what we are thinking now, is what we will become.

Research has suggested that Buddhists are able to get their brains to feel happiness.

What we are now is the result of our past thoughts.

We are the creator of our circumstances.

By right thought and right action we can gradually purify ourselves and eventually reach enlightenment and Nirvana and beyond.


At 26 March 2023 at 19:56 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's odd that you post so many pictures of children in most of your articles, whether the subject warrants it or not. I wonder why.

At 26 March 2023 at 22:59 , Blogger Anon said...

At 26 March 2023 at 23:31 , Blogger Anon said...


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