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Posts Tagged ‘Shantideva’

Problems:
~ Can We Ever BE
Problem-FREE?

“Life is not a problem to be solved,
but a reality to be experienced.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard




Ron’s Introduction to “Problems”

Dear Friends,

This posting asks whether we can ever be problem-free. And it affirmatively answers that question (philosophically and pragmatically) with quotations, poetic verses, and comments defining “problems” as purely mental and explaining why all problems are created and exist in the human mind as ego illusions, and are ended when seen mindfully and transcended with LOVE.

Please enjoy and deeply reflect on these writings.

They are sincerely dedicated to helping us live happily and problem-free.

And so may it be!

Ron Rattner


Problems?

Q. 

What causes problems?
And how can we solve them?


A.  

Ignorance spawns them;

Intelligence solves them;

Wisdom averts them;

Truth transcends them.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Problems?”:

Listen to




Quotations About Seeing and Solving Problems

“Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.”
~ Erich Fromm

Ego is the biggest enemy of humans. ”

~ Rig Veda


“All problems are [ego] illusions of the mind”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“There is not a single problem in life you cannot resolve,
provided you first solve it in your inner world, its place of origin.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“Whenever you experience unhappiness or depression in daily life, this is caused by the ego, the self-cherishing thought.
Any obstacle to practicing Dharma or even to achieving
happiness and success in this life is caused by the ego.”
~ Lama Zopa Rinpoche

“The ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle:
Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses, it swings from one desire to the next, one conflict to the next, one self-centered idea to the next.
If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life. Let this monkey go. Let the senses go. Let desires go. Let conflicts go. Let ideas go. Let the fiction of life and death go. Just remain in the center, watching. And then forget that you are there.”

~ Lao Tzu



“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion, and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion.”

~ Dalai Lama

“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”

~  Erich Fromm

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.

Without them humanity cannot survive.”

~ Dalai Lama

“All the happiness there is in the world arises from wishing others to be happy.
All the suffering there is in the world arises from wishing oneself to be happy.”
~ Bodhisattva Shantideva

“Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.”

~ Rumi

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

~ Albert Einstein

“Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them.”
~ Albert Einstein

“Freedom from the desire for an answer
is essential to the understanding of a problem.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

“If we can really understand the problem,
the answer will come out of it, because
the answer is not separate from the problem.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

“The quest is in the question.
The question is the answer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“To think or not to think,
that is the question!”
* * *
“Thinking and Being can’t coexist.
So stop thinking and start Being.”
* * *
“Forget who you think you are
to Know what you really are.”
* * *
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Ron’s Comments about seeing and solving “Problems”

Dear Friends,

As sentient beings on planet Earth, we share innate yearning for continuing happiness. But there aren’t yet utopian Earthly societies inhabited by perfectly happy people without problems.

Thus, individually and societally, all humans inevitably experience problems and limitations which interfere with their happiness – no matter who we are, or how we are self-identified or categorized.

Though physically – like snowflakes – each of us is unique (but mortal) with a unique story and history, spiritually we are all inextricably interconnected and interdependent – existentially sharing an Eternal common Divine Source as Universal LOVE.

Problems preclude lasting happiness

So solving our societal and interpersonal problems is crucial to fulfillment of our inborn wish for lasting happiness. And just as curing disease usually requires diagnosis of its cause, to solve Earthly problems we need to see their source.

To help us “diagnose” our problems I have posted the foregoing quotations and enigmatic sutra poem (composed many years ago) about seeing, solving and transcending “problems”.

Seeing and solving psychological problems

The above sutra poem mainly addresses mental – rather than physical – “problems”, since physical pain is inevitable while mental suffering is optional.

As to psychological problems, His Holiness the Dalai Lama teaches that

“The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion” because “the need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence;” and because without “love and compassion . . .humanity cannot survive”.

Psychological problems and suffering inevitably arise when – ignorant of our true spiritual self-identity as LOVE –we futilely seek happiness from ephemeral worldly satisfactions. So the poem identifies “ignorance” as the source of “problems”.

And Rumi tells us:

“Your task is not to seek for love,

but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.”


Mental Problems are Ego Problems

Those mental ‘barriers’ which we have ‘built within’ all arise from ego, to which Buddhist teachings often refer as ‘self-cherishing thought’. Through ego we mistakenly mentally self identify as entities separate from the Whole – as separate perceivers of a supposedly objective world.

But this is an unreal ego illusion – samsara. And our self-cherishing beliefs and behaviors seeking psychological self-preservation and protection of that ego illusion of separateness are ultimately futile.

What never was can never be preserved

To promote lasting happiness and compassion, most spiritual practices have for millennia been aimed at transcending illusionary ego identity. For example this intention has been mentioned in ancient Vedic and Taoist texts such as Rig Veda and Tao Te Ching, as well as in Buddhist scriptures:


Ego is the biggest enemy of humans. ”

~ Rig Veda



“The ego is a monkey catapulting through the jungle:
Totally fascinated by the realm of the senses, it swings from one desire to the next, one conflict to the next, one self-centered idea to the next. If you threaten it, it actually fears for its life. Let this monkey go. Let the senses go. Let desires go. Let conflicts go. Let ideas go. Let the fiction of life and death go. Just remain in the center, watching. And then forget that you are there.”

~ Lao Tzu

“

The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion, and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion.”

~ Dalai Lama

Thus, according to perennial spiritual teachings, ego must be recognized, renounced and transcended.

No thought, no ego.

Ultimate overcoming of ego happens only when thought ceases NOW, and Universal Intelligence which has been mistakenly regarded as a separate experiencer of sensations and emotions, and a separate performer of actions, exists by itself and as itself, and is not mentally divided and projected.

Happiness grows as ego goes

Only very rare ‘awakened’ Buddha-like beings have completed the metamorphosis from Humanity to Infinite Intelligence – from human consciousness to superconsciousness. So the overwhelmingly vast majority of Humankind are incarnate because we are limited by illusionary ego entity-identity, and we inevitably suffer “problems” in space/time causality/duality.

But all of us can gradually evolve and achieve ever growing happiness by seeing and solving our ego problems from ever elevated mental states of consciousness, subtler than those which created them.

Initially we may use our inborn intelligence to “diagnose” and abandon the beliefs and behaviors causing our experience of such problems. Also, with wisdom we may avert problems by observing mistakes of others and not emulating such mistakes. And ultimately we will thoughtlessly BE problem-FREE – as LOVE.

Invocation

May we overcome our sufferings from earthly ‘problems’,
and experience ever growing happiness,
and fulfillment of our deepest aspirations,
by gradually recognizing, renouncing and transcending illusory ego-beliefs and behaviors,
until we become eternally problem-FREE –– as LOVE.


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner

Why Do We Suffer?
~ Quotations, Questions and Explanations

“Suffering is the way for Realization of God.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi
“A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.” “In Buddhism, ignorance as the root cause of suffering refers to a fundamental misperception of the true nature of the self and all phenomena.” “We must recognize that the suffering of one person or one nation is the suffering of humanity.”
~ Dalai Lama
“All the suffering in the world comes from seeking pleasure for oneself. All the happiness in the world comes from seeking pleasure for others.”
~ Shantideva (Buddhist master)
“True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at this moment. This inner alignment with Now is the end of suffering.” “When you are suffering, when you are unhappy, stay totally with what is now. Unhappiness or problems cannot survive in the Now.”

~ Eckhart Tolle
“No pain, no gain!”
~ Proverb
“Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.”
~ Buddhist saying
“Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon;
suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is…The only problem in your life is your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds.”
~ Dan Millman
Q. “How Can We End Suffering?
A. Be a Buddha, be a Tara;
Say sayonara to samsara.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“In the school of life we suffer
to learn compassion for those who suffer.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

“Compassion is born from understanding suffering. We all should learn to embrace our own suffering, to listen to it deeply, and to have a deep look into its nature.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Every action, every thought, reaps its own corresponding rewards. Human suffering is not a sign of God’s, or Nature’s, anger with mankind. It is a sign, rather, of man’s ignorance of divine law. . . .
Such is the law of karma: As you sow, so shall you reap. If you sow evil, you will reap evil in the form of suffering. And if you sow goodness, you will reap goodness in the form of inner joy.”
~ Paramhansa Yogananda
“You may die a hundred deaths without a break in the mental turmoil. Or, you may keep your body and die only in the mind. The death of the mind is the birth of wisdom.”
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“All formations are ‘transient’ (anicca); all formations are ‘subject to suffering’ (dukkha); all things are ‘without a self’ (anatt ). Corporeality is transient, feeling is transient, perception is transient, mental formations are transient, consciousness is transient. And that which is transient, is subject to suffering. ”
~ Buddha
“When another person makes you suffer,
it is because he suffers deeply within himself,
and his suffering is spilling over.
He does not need punishment; he needs help.
That’s the message he is sending.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering.
Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“Suffering is not holding you. You are holding suffering.
When you become good at the art of letting sufferings go,
then you’ll come to realize how unnecessary it was
for you to drag those burdens around with you.
You’ll see that no one else other than you was responsible.
The truth is that existence wants your life to become a festival.”
~ Osho
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
~ Helen Keller
“My dear son, be patient, because the weaknesses of the body
are given to us in this world by God for the salvation of the soul.
So they are of t merit when they are borne patiently.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi, The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls;
the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

~ Khalil Gibran
Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.
~ Aristotle
“[I]f the mind is attentive and does not move away from suffering at all, then you will see that out of total attention comes not only energy…but also that suffering comes to an end.”
“…when you suffer, psychologically, remain with it completely without a single movement of thought… Out of that suffering comes compassion.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
”As you would not like to change something very beautiful: the light of the setting sun, the shape of a tree in the field, so do not put obstacles in the way of suffering. Allow it to ripen, for with its flowering understanding comes. When you become aware of the wound of sorrow, without the reaction of acceptance, resignation or negation, without any artificial invitation, then suffering itself lights the flame of creative understanding.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
“It is the truth that sets you free and not your effort to be free.
Suffering is but intense clarity of thoughts and feelings which makes you see things as they are.”
“I maintain that truth is a pathless land,
and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever,
by any religion, by any sect.”
~ J. Krishnamurti


Shakyamuni_Buddha.


Introduction to “Why Do We Suffer?”

Dear Friends,

We are living in very difficult “new normal” times, with billions of people worldwide now enduring great stresses and sufferings. This posting is dedicated to helping us lessen our sufferings, and to enjoy increasing happiness despite unavoidable worldly problems and turmoil.

Although many of the ideas discussed in the foregoing quotations, and following Q & A essay and comments, are from Eastern teachings, they apply to all human suffering in this ever impermanent and illusory 3D world.

Q & A essay: “Why Do We Suffer?”

Q. The Buddha taught that human life entails unavoidable suffering (duhkha), but that we can be freed from suffering. Why do we suffer, and how can we be freed from suffering?

A. We suffer from ignorance (avidyâ) of our of our true self-identity and ‘reality’, and from our consequent egotistic thoughts, words and deeds, which subject us to the law of karma. Suffering ends when self-identity ignorance ends. Self-knowledge that we are Infinite Potentiality beyond conception, rather than merely mortal, separated, and limited physical persons, happens gradually as we learn from life experience.

Although enduring spiritual traditions propose different dsciplines for attaining such Self knowledge, they can not bestow it, but only point to the Self realization goal. Moreover, each person is unique, with a unique perspective and unique karmic history. So different methods may apply to different people.

An often recommended practice for overcoming such suffering is mindful introspection to identify, realize and transcend our unskillful inner tendencies.  Such attention and realization can gradually decrease and ultimately free us from mental suffering.


Ron’s Commentary on “Why Do We Suffer?”

Many years ago, as I was being treated for painful left leg injuries by Taoist master and Doctor of Chinese Medicine Sifu Wei Tsuei, I had an unforgettable experience.

During an acupuncture treatment, Sifu suddenly inserted a large metal needle into my left buttock, and I loudly exclaimed in pain, “OUCH!”. Whereupon Sifu responded,


“No pain, no gain!”


Then he quietly continued his treatment, which proved quite helpful.

Afterwards I often reflected on the wisdom of Sifu’s words, “No pain, no gain”, and learned they are a popular proverb. With human bodies we experience inevitable physical pain, which can be a crucial catalyst and incentive for spiritual evolution. As stated by another popular Buddhist proverb: 
“Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional”.

Though we may not be free to choose our sometimes painful outer circumstances in life, we are always free to choose our psychological attitude about those circumstances.

“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.” “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”
~ Viktor E. Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning


Thus every painful earth life experience can be a disguised blessing furthering our spiritual evolution, and our ultimate transcendence of psychological suffering. And, the greater such suffering, the greater its potential blessing.

The foregoing important quotations and brief essay help explain why we suffer and how we can transcend psychological suffering. They are spiritual teachings which can help us suffer less, and live ever happier lives. So I urge our deep reflection on them.

Moreover, as mindfully we experience ever less suffering and ever more happiness, it becomes possible for some of us to realize that everything in human life is an enormous blessing.

“There are no mistakes, no coincidences,
all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful
for the evolution of your consciousness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

“Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not.
The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”
~ Joseph Campbell


Addendum: Discussion of why “Suffering is the way for Realization of God.”

Dear Friends,

Hereafter I am privileged to share with you a (little known) profound colloquy about why we suffer between two of the most renowned Eastern spiritual teachers of the 20th century: Sri Ramana Maharshi, and Paramahansa Yogananda.

On Nov. 29th, 1935, Yogananda made a pilgrimage to holy Mt. Arunachala to meet Sri Ramana. During most of that day Ramana sat silently. However, he responded to a few questions from Yogananda, as follows:

Yogananda: How is the spiritual uplift of the people to be effected?
What are the instructions to be given them?

Maharshi: They differ according to the temperaments of the individuals and the spiritual ripeness of their minds. There cannot be any instruction en masse.

Yogananda: Why does God permit suffering in the world? Should He not with His omnipotence do away with it at one stroke and ordain the universal realization of God?

Maharshi: Suffering is the way for Realization of God.

Yogananda: Should He not ordain it differently?

Maharshi: It is the way.

Yogananda: Are yoga, religion, etc., antidotes to suffering?

Maharshi: Who suffers? What is suffering?

(Without responding to these rhetorical questions, Yogananda paused, arose and, prayed for Sri Ramana’s blessings for his own mission.)

Invocation.

With ever expanding and disciplined inner acceptance of inevitable outer problems, and with heartfelt compassion for the sufferings of all other sentient beings, may we

Remember with gratitude,
life is beatitude,

even its sorrows and pain;

For we’re all in God’s Grace,

every time, every place,

and

Forever (S)HE will reign!


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Pursuit of Happiness
~ Quotations

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence”
~ Aristotle
“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.”

~ Chuang-Tzu
“All happiness comes from the desire for others to be happy.”
~ Shantideva
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,

which is within.”

~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21





Introduction.

Dear Friends,

Everyone wants lasting happiness; no-one wants to suffer. For millennia great mystics have revealed that ever abiding Happiness is our true inner nature – our Self. So how do we discover and experience such Happiness?

This posting is a carefully selected collection of wisdom quotations about the Pursuit of Happiness which reveal perennial insights to the fundamental happiness goal of every human being – whether or not they knowingly follow an enduring religious, spiritual, or ethical path or principle.

These Pursuit of Happiness quotations follow my recent posting about why everyone wants happiness, which suggested that incarnation is limitation and that lasting happiness can only be found in transcendence of ego and merger with Source, after eons of inner evolution with ever elevated heart levels of awareness.

Today’s quotations provide pragmatic insights into ways which can help everyone experience increasing happiness as we evolve beyond ego to Self-identification as Eternal spirit, rather than as mere mortal bodies and their stories. They can help each of us from our unique perspectives find our most suitable path to lasting happiness.

Because we’re each unique with ever fluctuating enegies and unique evolutionary perspectives, different ‘pursuit of happiness’ quotations may apply to different people, concurrently or at different times. Therefore, as you carefully consider these quotations, please follow your heart to determine which ones and when they may apply to your unique perspectives.

Namasté!

Ron Rattner


Pursuit of Happiness ~ Quotations


We hold these truths to be self evident:

that all men are created equal:

that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights;

that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

~ Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Declaration of Independence


“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…”

~ Dalai Lama


“From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”

~ Dalai Lama

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Material progress and a higher standard of living bring us greater comfort and health, but do not lead to a transformation of the mind, which is the only thing capable of providing lasting peace. Profound happiness, unlike fleeting pleasures, is spiritual in nature. It depends on the happiness of others and it is based on love and affection.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Those who are not looking for happiness
are the most likely to find it,
because those who are searching forget that
the surest way to be happy
is to seek happiness for others.”
~ Martin Luther King,Jr.

“Joy comes not through possession or ownership
but through a wise and loving heart.”
“If one speaks or acts with a pure mind,
happiness follows like a shadow.”
~ Buddha

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold,
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus

“The secret of happiness is not found in seeking more,
but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
~ Socrates

“Happiness belongs to the self sufficient.”
~ Aristotle

“The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live
that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.”
~ Epictetus

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
~ Epicurus

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
“Very little is needed to make a happy life;
it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
~ Marcus Aurelius

“Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought!”
~ Rumi

“There is only one way to happiness
and that is to cease worrying about things
which are beyond the power of our will.”
~ Epictetus

“The people have a right to the truth
as they have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
~ Epictetus

“A happy life consists in tranquility of mind.”
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

“If you want to be sad, no one in the world can make you happy.
But if you make up your mind to be happy,
no one and nothing on earth can take that happiness from you.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains.

Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun,

go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God.

Think of the beauty that again and again 
discharges itself within and without you,

and be happy.”

~ Anne Frank

“Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them.
You will want to change them when you realize that each thought creates according to its own nature.
Remember that the law works at all times and that you are always demonstrating according to the kind of thoughts you habitually entertain.
Therefore, start now to think only those thoughts that will bring you health and happiness.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase;

if you pursue happiness you’ll never find it.”

~ C. P. Snow



“Don’t seek happiness.  If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness.  Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is, rather than making up stories about it. Unhappiness covers up your natural state of well­being  and inner peace, the source of true happiness.”

~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

“By letting it go it all gets done.

The world is won by those who let it go.

But when you try and try,

the world is beyond the winning.”

~ Lao Tzu

“I am a happy camper so I guess I’m doing something right.
Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you,
but if you turn your attention to other things,
it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

“Fame or integrity: which is more important?
Money or happiness: which is more valuable?
Success or failure: which is more destructive?
If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself.
Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
~ Lao Tzu

“In the pursuit of learning every day something is gained.

In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.”

~ Lao Tzu


“What is the worth of a happiness for which you must strive and work?

Real happiness is spontaneous and effortless.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


“True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away.
Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably.
Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only.
Find your real Self and all else will come with it.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it.

What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi



“I am happy even before I have a reason.”

~ Hafiz


The word “happiness” would lose its meaning

if it were not balanced by sadness.

~ Carl Jung



“The root of joy is gratefulness…

We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands.

For it is not joy that makes us grateful;

it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

~ Brother David Steindl-Rast