Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lama Surya Das: On the Dharma

The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character;
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings. . . .

As the shadow follows the body,
as we think, so we become.

-- from the Dhammapadda --
"Dharma teachers," writes Lama Surya Das, "sometimes refer to the stream of consciousness of a person with an untrained mind (most of us, much of the time); as a continuous stream of delusion. This continuous stream is built up through years (or lifetimes) of deeply confused habitual and distorted thinking. We think so much, yet we truly know and understand so very little."

"A Tibetan saying," notes Das, "is that thoughts and concepts are delusions; awareness is wisdom. Self absorption acts as a veil of delusion that distorts everything."

[Lama Surya Das, "Awakening the Buddha Within," pp. 131-132.]

Like so many other spiritual teachers, in varied traditions, Das, notes the post-modern man and woman seem to be "narcissistic and self-absorbed," identified and ruled by the continuous stream of deceptive self-consciousness which is the human ego. Thus, he notes, "(t)o embody the Dharma, we have to learn to let go of self-deception and be honest with ourselves as well as the rest of the world. This level of honesty requires conscientious attention, discernment, emotional intellignece, self-knowledge, and sincere internal scrutiny."

"Everything," Das observes, "depends on motivation and intention. What you tell yourself about any situation reflects where you are coming from. It starts in your head, with what you tell yourself."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Right intentions . . . suggests to the spiritual seeker that it is in our own highest interest to be less selfish," Das notes.

"When our energies are taken up with thoughts of "me" or "mine," we are honoring neither our human dignity nor our innate Buddha-nature," he points out. "The Dharma urges seekers to develop an unselfish view of the world because the reality is that we are all interconnected; our fates are intertwined."

"It takes an entire community to raise a Buddha," he observes.
[Lama Surya Das, supra., p .135.]

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