January 21, 2013

Practice for the Week: The Second Noble Truth

Hello Everyone,

I apologize for the double email today. Guess my fingers were typing too fast. So hopefully I can slowwwwww dowwwwwn and breathe.

"There are two kinds of suffering.The suffering that leads to more suffering and the suffering that leads to the end of suffering. If you are not willing to face the second kind of suffering, you will surely continue to experience the first." Ajahn Chah, A Still Forest Pool

With regards to our practice, the 'suffering that leads to the end of suffering' is in the effort that we put in getting to know our suffering in our lives better, with more scrutiny, a willingness to be curious and ardent investigation. Hopefully we can all be courageous and step up to the challenge because the rewards are so wonderfully liberating and lightening of our daily load of stress that we seem compelled to carry without questioning it very much.

So this week, after noticing that which can potentially lead to our suffering over, we can examine more closely what takes us there. How is it that we jump so quickly to craving and carry out that which satisfies our desires that may lead to on to more suffering for us? This is what the Buddha asks us to do in the Second Noble Truth in identifying the origin of dukkha as tanha or craving.

One quick lab experiment we can try. When we are experiencing the classic midafternoon slump at work, and our mind says, "hey! why don't I take a latte break!" Notice how this thought manifests in the body. Is it excitement? Is there a quick shuffling of the feet leading out towards the door? What is happening in the mouth? Is the tongue salivating with the anticipation of the taste of the latte? Pleasurable thoughts looking forward to the ritual of standing in the coffee line? Paying for it, getting it, then stirring in one's favorite additives, be it honey, raw sugar or (ughs) white processed sugar. We never take the time to actually slow down the film take and watch the various steps that get us from the thought of desire to actually indulging the desire. This is important to watch! It will help us with the bigger potentially wrong decisions we could make for ourselves and/or others in the future.

Hoping that this will inspire you all to practice,


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