Jul 02, 2012
I used to be confused about why the third truth came before the fourth. And I realize now that if I could not accept or believe that there was an end to suffering, I would not have trudged the path. After all, I would not have known what would be at the end of the path—or if there would even be an end. If somebody had described to me the path that would lead me away from suffering before telling me that there is an end in sight for suffering, I would have most probably had an attack of horrified anxiety. And convinced myself that the life I was living …
Jun 04, 2012
Really? There’s an end to suffering? An end to our pain? Our inner conflicts? Yes there is.
Sadly some people don’t make it. Some people do not realize there is an end to suffering, and choose to shorten their life, rather than bear the load they have been struggling with on and off for years. They believe letting go of their life will be the end of their suffering. And who am I to say this is not true? What I do believe is it can’t be the answer to inner peace.
By the time I was 12 I had tried to take my own life, and again at 18. I didn’t know …
May 07, 2012
When I first read the second truth, I had goose bumps, because I knew my life was heading in the direction of suffering. All the choices in my life were on the path of suffering, and all the things I was doing in my life too, kept me on the path of suffering. At age fourteen I had chosen to live on the streets. I had gone off the rails. Eighteen months with my biological mother from the ages of eleven to twelve and a half had taught me to self medicate. No adult could tell me what to do. I was going to take complete control of my life. And so …
Apr 02, 2012
The First Truth: There is suffering
Everything is impermanent. What arises will cease. When Shakyamuni gained enlightenment (insight), he became a Buddha, which means he attained an awakened mind. He awoke to what enlightened beings had seen before him. He rediscovered the path onto which we can return. The Four Noble Truths are part of the teachings that connect all Buddhist traditions.
The First Truth, that there is suffering, may seem pessimistic at first, as if life is hopeless. That is how it once appeared for me. Although I had suffered, I would have told you once upon a time that I had a great childhood, but once I stopped going for …
Mar 05, 2012
I was brought up in Essex in an orphanage run by Church of England Christians. Many of them had given up their lives in the material world, to work for the Lord, and looked after poor orphans. There, I learned several Christian truths, including the following three:
- There is a heaven, and if I am “good” I will end up there.
- There is a hell, and if I “mess up” I will end up there.
- I can repent, and the Lord will forgive me.
Reflecting on these three truths, coupled with praying to a God that never came to my rescue when I needed Him, initiated a spiritual …
Feb 06, 2012
When I came to Buddhism 22 years ago, I would never have admitted to being an addict. After all I was doing what everybody else was doing in my work and social life. No one I knew was in a 12 step program, or thinking about sobriety. We were in our 20s, happy go lucky and indulging in our hedonistic lives.
In fact when I first mentioned I was going to stop drinking, my friends were horrified. “What? Not even champagne?” How could I refuse such an offer? “Okay champagne only.” That’s how I became …
Dec 27, 2011
A new monthly blog first Monday of the month, by Vimalasara, a.k.a. Valerie Mason-John.
Why is it that so many people make new year’s resolutions, and two weeks later, they are off the wagon?
A study in 2007 by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol UK showed that 78% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, and those who succeed have 5 traits in common.
Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying “lose weight”), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their