Third Noble Truth

To those who are unfamiliar with Buddhist teachings, there is something called the Four Noble Truths.  In my case I write on the subject from a very different perspective than traditional Buddhists and this is because my commentaries come from experience and not from a religious perspective. Those of us who comfortably move in and out of the transcendental at will have the ability to look at doctrines, teachings and scriptural texts and ‘see’ through them, then articulate what is written into a language that is ‘living’ and transformative.  To many Buddhists the common understanding of the Third Noble Truth is the “Knowledge of the Cessation of Suffering”.  The first Noble Truth is the Truth of Suffering and the second is to do with the Cause of Suffering, I have written about these already but this commentary on the Third Noble Truth is not dependant on the other two. Traditionally people consider that the Noble Truths may be sequential but when it comes to wisdom we can enter at any point and it will unfold its mystery.
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Not Feeling the Pain
There is a type of irony right now within this moment.  I am sitting here, my belly full like a chubby smiley Buddha, I feel warm, the food odours waft by, the sweet smells seem to get my salivary glands going a little more.  Being a vegetarian for most of my life I am very fussy and ridiculously over-sensitive, this place I am in has a comfy slightly hipster Eastern contemporary feel about it, around me people are laughing and chatting, everything is cruisey not so bluesy.  Out on the street it’s a little chilly, I’m sitting in a cafe on a popular street in the inner city, lots of bars open with people spilling out onto the pavement. It’s Friday night, everyone seems rather joyous after downing a drink or two, no-one is obnoxious or has drowned in their alcohol … yet.  I can’t see or feel the Suffering right now that my Buddhist brothers and sisters fuss about or speak of.
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Human Nature
There is something that visitors from other worlds must wonder about and although some of us know that a lot of our alien friends have super-minds and present as if they are emotionally dry and wouldn’t crack a smile in a million years (literally). But there are others humanity will encounter who do have a sense of humour, they no doubt would fall off their super-sonic chairs in their shuttle-craft in disbelief watching the antics of humans. Humanity is a very mysterious species, an enigma to the star people from Inner and Outer Space who gaze on in amazement and monitor everything.  The human being is such that if you tell him or her that something is missing, sure enough they won’t be able to help themselves and will head off in all directions to find out what it just might be.
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Rethinking the S-Word
Suffering is our friend.  Strange as it may seem. We do live in an odd world, we interpret things in a particular way but it is so familiar everything seems okay. Our genes carry the opinions of the past civilisations and our ancestors.  We need to reconsider the role of suffering in order to be free. The Noble Truths are about freedom, they are not about acquiring information and adding it to our bundle of supposed wisdom.
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Let’s go there, get personal, realie and feely.  There are people who we have adored, then in an instant a strange shadow emerges out of Emptiness.  In a moment what we perceived as love dissolves right before our eyes, that’s a part of life on planet Earth; friendships and love-ships can change so quickly.  I don’t really have enemies, I try to resolve everything, it’s not always possible but this attitude is healthy, otherwise my days are poisoned. My real enemies are the things I need to change within myself.  Mankind does have an enemy, there is an abomination that wishes to enslave it, it takes the form of various tyrants who run the world, the creators of the systems that dominate the communities we move in.  But suffering, BELOVED SUFFERING is our friend.  It IS the ache in our heart that points us in the direction of DEEP change, it leads us gently or drags us unwillingly into transformation, it is the harbinger of a new season of experiences emerging. It is NOT some tool of a hateful god who seeks vengeance and accountability for our supposed misdeeds or inflicts us with ‘our karma’, if you want to believe that stuff your life may always feel like misery or you will have a dull ache and shadow following you around, ahhh the tragedy of enslaved thinking.
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OUCH!
Like many other people I don’t ‘DO’ or overly like pain, particularly things that physically hurt. Am I soft? NO I am gentle, there is a difference. I like to feel nice, it’s my birthright to be happy and the Western Christian concept of guilt, despair, and repent sinner are control programs. As a child and young teenager I did play Rugby Union and Rugby League; like most teens when all the natural chemicals kicked in I quite enjoyed getting smashed around, struttin’ my stuff, the harder you hit meant the higher in the hierarchy of the Lion Kingdom you were or more specifically Planet of the Human Apes. But as years passed I have loosened up, as a musician I care for my hands and after a large dose of hippiedom in my late teens, acoustic guitars and a lot of brown rice I changed and the artiste within took control of the reins of my being.  I am not one of those unfilfulled artists who carries on like the world owes them something, I do stuff that I love and within this is fulfilment.
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Suffering is something extraordinary.  I know the feelings well that fall under that heading and I don’t run from them, would I like to? Absolutely.  I peep out from under my blankets and say, “gotta get out of here, see ya later alligator” but after a short period of time my Sage within wraps his arms around me, holds me gently and says “you’ll be okay, just wait, we are in this together, there is a new day coming, you are loved and blessed,” my eyes fill up with tears and I stay.  Like many men and women my beloved left, I loved her so dearly, I am not ashamed to say I loved but I am not a victim of love lost, I am a feeling being who has the intelligence to embrace change, to seek understanding, to accept the patterns of the changing kaleidoscope of life and allow others to follow their dreams.  So how on earth do I tell the man that I am who is hurting that ‘suffering is a friend’? If I said this to another fragile person who had a grieving heart, that friend would walk away, they would tell me that I lacked empathy and they would consider me as somebody who was insensitive and although I had written many things over the years that expressed wisdom, in my actions I had proven beyond any doubt that I was all talk with no walk.
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Looking at Noble Truth Number 3
I am writing about the Cessation of Suffering, the Third Noble Truth.  If the teachings of Buddha that are passed down are true, then there is hope that the cessation will come. However we do know that those who run the religions create lies to control, to imprison man and to have power in the strength in numbers by getting their communities to believe in their truths.  So maybe it’s best to bypass the great Gautama Buddha and attempt to come to a point of rest without dogma, scriptures or tradition, to ‘arrive’ by seeing from personal experience.
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So let’s go back to the problem or at least a real scenario and dig in, when we are in it, it bites, we’ve all been there.  Our loved one has just left us high and dry, the pain is unbearable, can’t sleep, everything and everyone reminds us of him or her, it feels like a dark shadow we can’t shake, tears emerge at the strangest times, you think you’re over it then whammo someone says something and you melt like an ice-block in the desert sun, or feel the bitterness of winter and it seems to have no end, your bones hurt from the cold even though it’s a hot sunny day.  Sound familiar?
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What’s Normal?
When resolving things I always like to start from the point where I make a decision of whether it is normal or not; to have an aching heart when someone we love exits the arena of our life is a very natural and healthy response, even though we can say this is not unusual, there will be no consolation when I say, “Hey this is normal”, it won’t pacify the pain nor dry the tears.  If we didn’t feel something it really be would be a concern; we know the Cosmos is in order, it’s uncomfortable yes true; life consists of a number of seasons, things form, grow, sort of stabilise then there is decay, change is constant.  Humans are feeling beings and that is such a beauteous thing about the species; without feelings life becomes just a set of menial tasks, rather drone-esque and robotish.  And if that’s all that life is, best we close down the Universe immediately.
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Feelings
From my experience I know that wisdom comes from experience, experiences unpack feelings. Feelings are important but we need to be cautious that they don’t become our master.  There are days when I don’t want wisdom, I’d rather be a dumb-ass in love, to feel the loving arms I miss, to see her eyes, to feel her being beside me. So here I am with my deepest feelings on the surface, totally unashamedly vulnerable. HOWEVER, this is where I walk through the doorway to freedom each moment, this is what separates the Gods from the Philosophers, the Sadhaks (aspirants) from the Siddhas (the free men/women); freedom is not in the future, it is unfolding each moment, people have been duped by books and false teachers.
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Through this doorway that I peer stands forever, endless possibilities, unknown worlds, changes cascading, glorious Benevolent beings… if I wallow in the state of ‘what isn’t’, in dreams of how I think things should be, clinging to the past and imaginary futures, suffering is my booty, I am its slave.
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The Third Noble Truth as I said was, ” the Cessation of Suffering”.  Suffering at this point and phase of humanity’s evolution is always there, we have a choice whether we enter it, cling to it, allow it to be the driving force behind what we do.  Or we can step off the dance floor of life, take a breather, see it for what it is, just another dance step in the passing show, tripping over our toes …we restore our balance and glide across the floor.
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Freedom is now, not in the imaginary future, it is HERE NOW.  The real issue is people have no idea what it looks or feels like.
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Tilopa 2.0

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