Path & Practice

These last months are trying for the entire world.
We are called to practice what we have learned and apply what works to maintain peace and equilibrium.
Faced with so much death and sorrow and suffering of illness we are presented with more difficult feelings and experiencing more of our brother’s and sister’s pain. This pain of illness and death and economic uncertainty are things that are frightening that as a global community we tried to resolve times before. Our suffering is rooted in attachment, aversion, and ignorance. These difficult times are scary as we feel world events have pulled the carpet from under our feet. With over 325,000 people dead from illness, we are wondering how to cope with the devastating news and the inability to live the way we used to.
The world is isolating and locked down, the world is praying and hoping to be able to resume what was considered to be the norm, the world is thinking of creative altruistic solutions.
The current global situation is facing leaders and people in all sectors of economical and political thinking contemplating and planning the next moves to deal with devastation and recovery of people’s sense of value and our global economy.
Buddhism can be pathless and/or a clear path of spiritual tradition. Wherever your mind is at, you can be on the path with the buddha-dharma or off the path and still in the buddha-dharma.
The practices we had done in the comfort of our homes accustomed during the past global status quo, now are turned towards our loved ones and the pandemic and provoke insights and reflections about the fragility of life, addressing fear and grief and their accompanying feelings. Practices we did in the past for other outbreaks and global problems are building blocks of today’s practice.

Both practice and path are dependent on thinking and behaviors resulting from thinking and formed values make up the view.

In Hinayana view, the path will have a focus on the concept of permanence, the concept of singularity and concept of independence, in order to see the nature of these concepts we need to understand impermanence, multiplicity, and interdependence.

Ex: We might experience seeing someone a little sick from illness and laugh about it. However, when this happens to us we will have fear and pain and it will not be as funny anymore.

Mahayana view, for instance, is about getting and understanding reality and practicing loving-kindness and compassion. To eliminate suffering you need the view of emptiness.

Ex: We might experience seeing someone a little sick from illness and laugh about it. We then might reflect that this is not kind to be this mean spirited and do a practice to purify our senses. When this happens to us we will have reflections and experiences and insights to draw on. We will feel stronger in our practice and have better sense and morale. Next time we see someone sick we will generate compassion and loving-kindness towards them.

Vajrayana view takes trying to recognize fruition within yourself. We practice and visualize enlightened deities. The fruition has two aspects: wisdom and kayas. These are latent inside of you and we refer to this as the Vajra body. Cultivating the vajra body helps to stabilize the recognition.

Ex: We might experience seeing someone a little sick from illness and we will instantly offer them compassion and loving-kindness. We might have more insight to inquire about the circumstances of their illness. We then will do a practice visualizing ourselves as a deity and offering healing blessing and healing of the deity extending to this person. This, as a result, will continue to strengthen our valuable practice. When we get sick we will continue to practice and visualize ourselves as a deity.

The circumstances we experience may blossom us into more clear seeing and emptiness or can make the emotional waters murky pushing us from one view to the next lower view. In current times the Mahayana view is the best practice we can take and this will help us to generate merit and advance our practice.

For benefit of all sentient beings.
Photo by Zsuzsa N.K. from FreeImages