Thursday, 26 May 2011

Vishvapani's Latest Thought for the Day

Vishvapani delivered the "Thought for the Day" yesterday, Wednesday. His theme was the Eight Worldly Winds, how success turns to "failure" and loss and how the Buddha taught us how to transcend this.


The 8 worldly Dharmas are also known as 8 worldly concerns or 8 worldly concerns. Avoiding these 8 mental states is considered quite important in Buddhist practice. They describe the ceaseless activities we develop towards short-term pleasures, which often not even result in pleasure...

The Eight Worldly Dharmas are being concerned with:
Getting what you want, and avoiding getting what you do not want
Wanting (instant) happiness, and not wanting unhappiness
Wanting fame, and not wanting to be unknown
Wanting praise, and not wanting blame.

From the point of view of karma, we usually behave contrary to our goals, because in order to receive what we want, we need to give others what they want. To avoid getting what we do not want, we should avoid giving others what they do not want and so on.

This is a very good subject for meditation; you can ask yourself for example:
- Do I often give others happiness or unpleasant experiences?
- Do I help others who are unhappy?
- How often do I blame people instead of praising them?
- What can I do with fame, what will it really bring me?
- What will be useful when I am about to die?

"Spiritual practice is difficult in the beginning. You wonder how on earth you can ever do it. But as you get used to it, the practice gradually becomes easier. Do not be too stubborn or push yourself too hard. If you practice in accord with your individual capacity, little by little you will find more pleasure and joy in it. As you gain inner strength, your positive actions will gain in profundity and scope."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

A story by Ven Master Hsing Yun, from Merit Times:

"The Eight Winds Cannot Move Me"

Su Dongpo (a famous Buddhist poet) of the Song Dynasty was assigned to an official post at Guazhuo, which was situated at the northern shore of the Yangtze River. Across the river, on its southern shore, was Jinshan (Golden Mountain) Temple where Chan Master Foyin presided. One day, Su Dongpo, feeling quite advanced in his practice, wrote a poem and asked his attendant to send it to Chan Master Foyin for verification.

The poem went as follows:

"Bowing with my highest respect
To the deva of devas,
Whose fine light illuminates the whole universe,
The eight winds cannot move me,
For I am sitting upright on the golden purple lotus blossom."

("The deva of devas" here figuratively refers to "the Buddha", who is actually not a god, but surpasses all the gods and is "Teacher of men and gods." The "eight winds" are the eight worldly conditions - gain and loss, fame and defame, praise and blame, pleasure and pain. "The golden purple lotus blossom" is a symbol of purity and a "throne" of spiritual attainment.)

After receiving the poem from the attendant and reading it, Chan Master Foyin picked up the brush and wrote down one word as his comment. When the attendant came back with the poem, Su Dongpo, expecting words of praise from the Chan Master, quickly opened it to read the comment. However, on that page, nothing was written except the word "Fart!" ("Pi" in Chinese, which means "utter nonsense") Upon seeing such an insult, Su Dongpo was ablaze with the fire of anger. Immediately, he boarded a boat and crossed the Yangtze River to argue with Chan Master Foyin.
Before the boat even pulled onto the shore, Chan Master Foyin was already standing there waiting for Su Dongpo. Upon seeing Foyin, Su Dongpo said, "Chan Master, we are such intimate Dharma friends! It is fine that you do not compliment my practice or my poem. But how can you insult me like this?"

Innocently, as if nothing had happened, the Chan Master asked, "How have I insulted you?" Without saying another word, Su Dongpo simply showed the word "Fart" to Chan Master Foyin.

Laughing wholeheartedly, the Chan Master said, "Oh! Didn't you say that the eight winds cannot move you? How come you are sent across the river with just a fart?" Hearing what Foyin said, Su Dongpo was extremely embarrassed."

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