Winds, Blanks and Dharma

This hotel is being bombarded by high winds and rain. The windows are rattling, lightning has been flashing, the wind is howling and leaks are dripping. It’s been a night of blissful fury. The winds were predicted to reach up to 100 km/h, and it sure feels like that is so. It’s as if Fujin is running around this building trailing his bag of wind, Yaponcha has left his house and Vayu is breathing to all the world.

I recently came across the website for the TPILB Project, an endevour to spread breaks of simplicity throughout the web.

In former times printed manuals had some blank pages, usually with the remark “this page intentionally left blank”. In most cases there had been technical reasons for that. Today almost all blank pages disappeared and if some still exist here and there, they present flatterly comments like “for your notes” instead of the real truth: This page intentionally left blank!
Nowadays the “This Page Intentionally Left Blank”-Project (TPILB-Project) tries to introduce these blank pages to the Web again. One reason is to keep alive the remembrance of these famous historical blank pages. But it is the primary reason to offer internet wanderers a place of quietness and simplicity on the overcrowded World Wide Web—a blank page for relaxing the restless mind. (TPILB-Project)

I decided to add a blank page to my site because I like the notion of having a page to make oneself slow down, to realize how cluttered life and the internet can become needlessly. You can find my blank page and take a moment to reflect on just how superfluous much of our lives are.

Buddhism is largely misunderstood in the west. Despite being the fourth largest world religion (roughly one in twenty of us are Buddhist, compared with one in three Christian, one in five Islamic, more than one in ten Hindu), it is neglected by our society’s understanding and practice, so steeped are we in Christian thought. The website for Dharma the Cat (an enjoyable online comic and insight-sharing site) shares some accessable general information on Buddhism. I’ll share some of this here as an introduction, with elipses indicating more detailed information contained on that site.

Buddhism is a method of achieving “Nirvana,” or liberation from suffering. The method of realising this was discovered by a man called the Buddha (a title which means “The Awakened One” or one who has been awakened to the true nature of existence). The method of liberation he discovered is called the Eightfold Path (a very specific set of practical guidelines for daily living).
The overall tone of the Buddhist lifestyle is living with compassion and kindness, doing no harm at all, and being helpful towards all peoples regardless of their racial, religious or political differences. The most important objectives a Buddhist has in life are to become liberated from suffering by realising the state of enlightenment, and also to help other beings become enlightened.

What the Buddha discovered was a system of practices which can help achieve a spiritual transformation in which one is no longer vulnerable to suffering. The Buddha’s system consists of a method of daily living (see Eightfold Path below).
The Buddha’s method does not rely on or incorporate the concept of a personal God or individual Creator. While the Buddha himself did not endorse or encourage the concept of an ultimate Creator-God, neither did he categorically deny the possibility of such a God – he simply said that the issue was not relevant to achieving the particular type of spiritual transformation he was interested in, and he relegated such inquiries to “useless speculation” category.
This apparent theological neutrality has resulted in Buddhism being absorbed into the existing cultures and belief systems of many countries. For example, there are some Christian priests who live according to the Buddha’s teachings, and who follow the Buddha’s Eightfold Path at the same time as acting on their Christian convictions.

All Buddhist teaching is ultimately contained within the Four Truths. The first Truth describes the true nature of life to be “dukkha,” meaning that which is characterised by suffering and general unsatisfactoriness. The second Truth states that the cause of such dukkha to be “tanha,” or craving. The third Truth states that the cessation of dukkha is possible, by eliminating tanha — ie, if you eliminate the cause, the effect ceases. The fourth Truth describes the path (or method) that leads to the the elimination of tanha, which in turn causes the cessation of dukkha. This cessation of dukkha, which is liberation from suffering, is what many people mean when they use the word “enlightenment.”

In Buddhism, the Law Of Karma states that for every intentional action there is a corresponding consequence. Beneficial actions produce beneficial results, and harmful actions produce harmful results. It is important to understand that the consequence of anything you do depends on your motive for doing it, so the deed itself is not as important as the intention, with regard to your own karma. It is also important to know that in this context the word `action’ includes all intentional conduct, thought and speech. (DtC)

I hope you’ll take the time to become familiar with Buddhism if you are not already. Studying it has informed my own spirituality and way of life immensely and I firmly believe it can improve anyone’s life, no matter their current religious beliefs. Afterall, compassion is the core of all noble religion and Buddhism provides wonderful tools to cultivate it.

4 comments on “Winds, Blanks and Dharma

  1. “It's as if Fujin is running around this building trailing his bag of wind, Yaponcha has left his house and Vayu is breathing to all the world” – what an evocative sentence! I love the old god myths.

  2. “It's as if Fujin is running around this building trailing his bag of wind, Yaponcha has left his house and Vayu is breathing to all the world” – what an evocative sentence! I love the old god myths.

  3. Thanks Ecks.

    One thing I love about old god myths is that there tends to be an underlying sense of humour that modern interpretations of myth and religion often lack.

  4. Thanks Ecks.

    One thing I love about old god myths is that there tends to be an underlying sense of humour that modern interpretations of myth and religion often lack.

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