The Lord Buddha Words

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Dharma (dhamma)

Dharma (dhamma) the teachings of the Buddha.

Advice for someone who is dying

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Ajahn Chah’s simple, profound advice to an aging student approaching her death.

Today I have brought nothing material of any substance to offer you, only Dhamma, the teachings of the Buddha. Listen well. You should understand that even the Buddha himself, with his great store of accumulated virtue, could not avoid physical death. When he reached old age, he relinquished his body and let go of its heavy burden. Now you too must learn to be satisfied with the many years you’ve already depended on your body. You should feel that it’s enough.

You can compare it to household utensils that you’ve had for a long time—your cups, saucers, plates and so on. When you first had them they were clean and shining, but now after using them for so long, they’re starting to wear out. Some are already broken, some have disappeared, and those that are left are deteriorating: they have no stable form, and it’s their nature to be like that. Your body is the same way. It has been continually changing right from the day you were born, through childhood and youth, until now it has reached old age. You must accept that. The Buddha said that conditions (sankharas), whether they are internal conditions, bodily conditions, or external conditions, are not-self—their nature is to change. Contemplate this truth until you see it clearly. Keep Reading

Why Can’t “I” Be Happy…?

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The four noble truths tell us that to be happy we must first discover the causes of our unhappiness. This is the approach of the renowned French Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, who says that genuine happiness is only possible after we understand the fundamental mistake that is the root of our suffering.

An American friend of mine, a successful photography editor, once told me about a conversation she’d had with a group of friends after they’d finished their final college exams and were wondering what to do with their lives. When she’d said, “I want to be happy,” there was an embarrassed silence, and then one of her friends had asked: “How could someone as smart as you want nothing more than to be happy?” My friend answered: “I didn’t say how I want to be happy. There are so many ways to find happiness: start a family, have kids, build a career, seek adventure, help others, find inner peace. Whatever I end up doing, I want my life to be a truly happy one.”

The word happiness, writes Henri Bergson, “is commonly used to designate something intricate and ambiguous, one of those ideas which humanity has intentionally left vague, so that each individual might interpret it in his own way.” From a practical point of view, leaving the definition of happiness vague wouldn’t matter if we were talking about some inconsequential feeling. But the truth is altogether different, since we’re actually talking about a way of being that defines the quality of every moment of our lives. So what exactly is happiness.? Keep Reading

Does being a Buddhist mean you have to be a vegetarian…?

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Outside of monastic rules, there are really no specific Buddhist dietary restrictions. Some Buddhists are vegetarians, some aren’t. In fact, the Buddha himself is said by some to have died after eating a meal of pork (though a lack of clarity in translation leads others to state that a mushroom-like fungus was the culprit). Buddhism does place a strong emphasis on reducing suffering and, in its precepts, on not taking life. Because of that, many practitioners follow a vegetarian diet in order to reduce the suffering of animals.

Often, non-spiritual concerns are also factored into practitioners’ decisions about what (or “who”) to eat or not. Health is one of them, but so is what’s available. Some people are surprised to learn that most Buddhists of the Himalayan region are big consumers of meat, because the climate there severely limits what crops can grow. Even there, though, there is now a move toward vegetarianism being led the 17th Karmapa. Overall, the Buddhist guideline is to consider the impact of all your activities—including eating—and how you can most benefit the lives of sentient beings.

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