HUNGRY GHOST WRITER
Welcome folks back to the Zendo. Hope you’ve been well. Some people no doubt continue to wonder how I can consider that I am in a monastery right now. If I am crazy, I am not alone in my thinking. Buddhist teachings on the Four Noble Truths allude to it and yogic teaching states it explicitly. It’s not our circumstances that cause our suffering. This is easy to prove, actually. For example, if it were otherwise, everyone in the “Zendo” would be in a crisis situation all of the time- it would be a daily, institution wide catastrophe!
It may come as a relief to find out our present situation is not the cause of suffering. Thing is, this realization can give us a false sense of comfort. We may say to ourselves, “oh, it’s only in your mind”, as if problems of the mind, being invisible, aren’t really real. The truth is the mind can be a real serious problem – the most serious problem. That’s why incarcerating the body doesn’t necessarily solve anything. The body isn’t what hurts others really, because the body merely follows the mind.
Now, Buddhists talk occasionally about the realm of “Hungry Ghosts”. Usually, it’s framed as some sort of cautionary tale about what might happen to you when you die. It’s a realm associated with clinging attachment. But, I wonder now if these ghosts aren’t just the energies left behind by obsessive thought. Interestingly, rather than exorcise them, or scare them away, we’re supposed to leave food out for the hungry ghosts. Such is our compassion for their suffering, which I am tempted to interpret as compassion for all our lingering, crazy mind stuff.
The Buddha is supposed to have said that we should not look at, listen to, or touch that which is poisonous (I.e. which infects the mind). I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but this year, I think I would like to not only purge my mind of that which is harmful-I would like to stop reinfecting myself altogether.
I think one of the thoughts that plagues us is the desire to know why there is suffering. Buddhism’s First noble truth ignores this question entirely, leaving us with the simple blanket statement, “There is suffering”. Yoga comes at it from a completely different angle by stating that all of life is a great cosmic dance. So, if suffering is a given, and is part of “the dance” we don’t need to ask the why question anymore. I mean, would you go up to a dancer and ask “what’s with all the dancing?”. Not unless you’re from another planet, in which case you likely have bigger concerns in mind.
As always, I would love for you to share your thoughts on suffering or the meaning of life or other such trivial matters, if you’re so inclined. Until next time, I’ll be workin’ up a sweat, as I do the cha-cha of life from the Zendo…
Jennifer Warren- #WF1092
CIW WA 807Up
16756 Chino Corona Rd
Corona, CA 92880
Categories: Jennifer Warren