You are probably aware of the Buddha’s four noble truths: the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of liberation from suffering, and the truth of the path which leads to liberation. These are the foundational teachings of Buddhist traditions.
Yet I hope you do not get overly attached to a single formula for expressing these truths. That would make it difficult to study them and reflect on their significance. We have to approach the Buddha’s instructions with receptive minds, so we are able to join them together with our personal experience and also make these living truths, not simply dry recitations that obscure the truth beyond the words.
We occasionally hear about “sudden enlightenment,” but my hunch is that sudden enlightenment comes in the end of a very long trip. For many people the road to understanding is slow. We read one thing and a glimmer of insight shines. We hear something different and there is another flash of comprehension. One day while we meditate, a teaching we heard long ago suddenly opens a door. While all those insights appears to fade shortly after it dawns, together they reinforce each other, like water pooling underground. Gradually, we develop confidence in another way of seeing. It is sometimes taught that we must undergo sixteen different insights until we fully recognize them–four insights for every one of those truths. It isn’t that the truths are somewhat complicated. They could not be easier. It’s our insecurities and misperceptions that are complicated.
Delusion has numerous procedures for perpetuating itself. There are at least a dozen ways people confuse our psychosomatic experiences to be a self. We utilize five principal emotions and innumerable variations to intensify and solidify our fundamental sense of duality. We have countless conceptions, feelings, and discursive ideas we use to divert ourselves from naked reality.
In the conclusion, we’ll be free by seeing things how they are, not the way that they look to our perplexed, samsara mind. Because delusion is so complex, we are in need of a great variety of methods to overcome it.
Traditionally, it’s stated that studying the dharma is an ever-deepening procedure of creating prajna. Study of those deep themes will sharpen your own prajna–your own comprehension and wisdom. Bringing the understanding that comes out of research and contemplation into meditation will truly deepen it.
You will create your prajna by analyzing, contemplating, and meditating on those teachings about Buddhism’s main principles. For it’s prajna–with all the empathy that comes from viewing beings pursue the root of suffering and reject the causes of liberation–which will propel you across the road to understanding.
Source: Lion’s Roar
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