Thursday, 7 May 2020

Happy Vesak – and a Dhammapada Reflection; Seeking Contentment



It's the day of the first full Moon of May and that makes it Vesak, the celebration of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and final passing into nibbana, or nirvana. In some places it is known as the festival of lights, since lanterns, candles, and lamps are frequently used as part of the celebration (I've got loads of candles so that one's sorted).

This full moon is known as the ‘Flower Moon’ and provides the last chance to see a supermoon this year.

A supermoon occurs when the moon’s orbit brings it to its closest proximity to Earth – called its perigee.

A supermoon appears brighter and larger than normal, and is anything from 14% to 30% brighter than the average moon. 


Seeking Contentment 
To harm living beings
who, like us, seek contentment, 
is to bring harm to ourselves. 

Dhammapada v.131

It is reasonably obvious what living harmlessly means if we are referring to the way we relate to other living beings, but what does it mean if we turn our attention inwards? What does living harmlessly mean when we are referring to all those ‘living beings’ who occupy our inner worlds; how are we relating to them? If we feel obstructed by a bad mood or, even more painfully, thoroughly overwhelmed by intense negative emotions, can we meet these ‘beings’, truly receive them as they are, and in so doing release them? Or do we judge them and fight with them and in so doing compound the pain? All beings long to be free, including those unattractive, unwelcome beings that we have kept imprisoned for so long.

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