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    Modern version of the Eternal Knot by Charles Huttner
A View on Buddhism
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The tool the Buddha holds out to free the mind from desire is understanding. Real renunciation is not a matter of compelling ourselves to give up things still inwardly cherished, but of changing our perspective on them [to realise they are impermanent and unsubstantial] so that they no longer bind us. When we understand the nature of desire, when we investigate it closely with keen attention, desire falls away by itself, without need for struggle.
Bhikkhu Bodhi, from The Noble Eightfold Path: The Way To The End Of Suffering

The Buddha

The recollected go forth to lives of renunciation. They take no pleasure in a fixed abode. Like wild swans abandoning a pool, they leave one resting place after another.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

All of us have attained a human life; we are, in a sense, incomparable among the various types of sentient beings, as we are able to think about many topics with a subtler mind and are endowed with vaster capabilities. Dogs, birds, and so forth do communicate, but only humans can settle and ascertain deep topics on the basis of words; it is obvious that there are no other sentient beings capable of as many thoughts and techniques. Nowadays, humans are engaging in many activities that were not even objects of thought a century or two ago. The metaphors of the poets of the past, such as 'the wonderful house of the moon', are becoming actualities.
...People have made great effort right up to this century, thinking to become free from suffering, but we cannot point to even one person in the world, no matter how rich he or she is, who has no worry -- except for those who have the inner happiness of renouncing the material way of life. Without internal renunciation it is difficult to achieve happiness and comfort.
Deity Yoga

On top of the sufferings of birth, aging, sickness, and death, we encounter the pains of facing the unpleasant, separating from the pleasant, and not finding what we want. The basic problem lies with the type of mind and body that we have. Our mind-body complex serves as a basis for present sufferings in the form of aging, sickness, and death, and promotes future suffering through our usual responses to painful situations. By reflecting on birth and on the nature of mind and body, you will be moved from the depths of your heart to seek relief, thinking, "If I could only be free from a life driven by afflictive emotions and karma!" Without such reflection on pain, your knowledge of your own condition will be limited, which itself will put a limit on your compassion.
As Tsongkhapa says: "If you do not cultivate a genuine sense of disenchantment with cyclic existence--whose nature is a mind-body complex under the sway of afflictive emotions and karma--you will have no chance to develop a genuine attitude intent on liberation, and there will be no way to develop great compassion for beings wandering in cyclic existence. Therefore, it is crucial to reflect on your situation." Becoming Enlightened

Our practice of the Dharma should be a continual effort to attain a state beyond suffering. It should not simply be a moral activity whereby we avoid negative ways and engage in positive ones. In our practice of the Dharma, we seek to transcend the situation in which we all find ourselves: victims of our own mental afflictions- such as attachment, hatred, pride, greed, and so forth-are mental states that cause us to behave in ways that bring about all of our unhappiness and suffering. While working to achieve inner peace and happiness, it is helpful to think of them as our inner demons, for like demons, they can haunt us, causing nothing but misery. That state beyond such negative emotions and thoughts, beyond all sorrow, is called nirvana.
An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life

Turning away from samsara does not mean just studying the dharma and considering enlightenment; one can know the dharma intellectually and not have the deep understanding. Understanding comes through the four "ordinary foundations": meditation on impermanence, on cause and effect, on the troubles of samsara, and on the preciousness and rarity of human life. Being in a human body now, we can start on the path to Buddhahood; this is an opportunity to be seized.
These foundations are called the four ways of turning the mind, turning it away from samsara. Without these meditations, one's refuge is incomplete. One needs to clearly understand the nature of samsara and then firmly orient oneself toward enlightenment; in this way one draws near the path.
Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen, from 'Garland of Mahamudra Practices'

When we turn away from samsara, we stop blaming external situations for the state of our mind, and we begin to use the Buddha’s teachings in order to take responsibility for our own well-being. We reorient the mind away from causes and conditions that create suffering. This does not mean that we turn away from the suffering that humans create, such as warfare, poverty, prejudice, slaughter, or environmental destruction. We do not turn away or become passive, impartial spectators. However, we need to assess our strategies for engagement. Many well-meaning people assume that inflaming passions, especially anger, is a justifiable, necessary, even beneficial response to injustice. They often assume that anger is an automatic and inherent response to injustice, in the same way that exasperation is an inherent response to waiting at the airport. But it is not. Anger does not allow us to see clearly, so the good intentions of people engaged in trying to help others can actually be hindered by their own negativity. Anger does not allow us to act with true compassion, because the mind of anger keeps us trapped inside ourselves. Turning away from samsara means figuring out how to function with an open, clear mind, not a mind shut down and incapacitated by destructive emotions.
From: Turning Confusion into Clarity: A Guide to the Foundation Practices of Tibetan Buddhism by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Right now many of us wish for liberation, yet sometimes we cannot keep ourselves from creating the causes for cyclic existence. When we understand true suffering well, our wish for liberation will become firm. At present our resolve to reach liberation is not firm because we think of suffering, but not deeply. The deluded attitude believing that the unsatisfactoriness of change is true happiness easily arises in us because we are not yet deeply convinced that all happiness in cyclic existence is contaminated and is in fact only a variety of suffering. To remedy this, we should meditate on true suffering more often and explore its meaning deeply. Then our wish for liberation will become firm.
We consider many things--clothes, food, good health, nice possessions, financial security, the higher rebirths--as true happiness. As a result, we are attached to them and create more causes for suffering in cyclic existence in order to gain them. Thinking that the human birth is something marvelous, we work at creating the causes that propel us toward it. In fact all we are doing is creating the cause for yet another rebirth in cyclic existence, together with all the problems that such a rebirth involves.
If we understand that by its nature, cyclic existence is unsatisfactory, we will have a deep aversion to it. If we do not have a deep aversion to it, we will not be determined to be free, and therefore will not be able to destroy our self-grasping ignorance, which is the root of cyclic existence. In that case, we will not be able to attain liberation. However, when we deeply feel the extent to which we suffer in cyclic existence, we will automatically want to abandon the true origin of suffering, attain the true cessation, and meditate on the true path. Having realized true suffering, we will easily realize the other three of the four noble truths. Thus it is said: suffering is to be known. The origin is to be abandoned. The cessation is to be attained. The path is to be practiced. The determination to be free is the wish for ourselves to be free of cyclic existence. When we wish others to be free, that is compassion.
Geshe Jampa Tegchok from Transforming Adversity into Joy and Courage: An Explanation of the Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas

Whatever sensory experiences we go through, if we go through them with mindfulness and awareness, there is no limit to how far we can go. The limit is mindfulness and awareness. Even if we don’t enjoy the experience, that itself becomes a trip. The nonenjoyment becomes a cause of suffering. That’s why, if we don’t practice mindfulness and awareness, asceticism just becomes pain rather than a cause for liberation. That’s why Buddha said to forget about asceticism. That’s what Buddha did. He left asceticism, became very mindful in every step, and achieved enlightenment.
From: Penetrating Wisdom: The Aspiration of Samantabhadra by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

It is not just a matter of giving up attachment to this life's rewards but of losing our taste and affinity for the whole of worldly existence. This is why it is necessary to contemplate and meditate upon the faults of conditioned existence. Otherwise, we may imagine that samsara possesses any manner of attractive qualities. Pondering the shortcomings of samsara should bring forth in us a tangible sense of disgust, as we are confronted with our own misguided pursuit of worldly ends.
From Parting from the Four Attachments: Jetsun Drakpa Gyaltsen's Song of Experience on Mind Training and the View by Chogye Trichen Rinpoche

In short, the impermanence and death will come soon. Now is the time to give up this life. Due to the compassion of the Guru and my own virtue, may I be able to give up the work of this life.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche

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Last updated: December 29, 2016