Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Beyond the Mountains, are More Mountains

(Fiction, Part 4) After hours of climbing and several false summits, I realize I have no clear idea of the scope of the problem. I am not even sure where second hut is. My guide and I have some language barriers so I can only trust that he knows what we are doing.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Indescribable Beauty

For a moment the mists cleared and much to my surprise was a panorama and vista I was not prepared for, a Garden of Eden with such richness and detail; beyond the mountains, more mountains! Exhilarated, I climbed on. The feeling became more and more intense with each step, even when the clouds engulfed us again

Friday, November 13, 2009

Kitchen, First Hut

(Part 2 of a fictional narrative) Moving up and away from First Hut I was almost immediately enclosed by thick cloud cover. The only part of the path I could do was the one right in front of my feet. Cloud streamed all about me, and I was soaked pretty quick. My guide was slightly better prepared for this than I was, but now he remained silent most of the time. Clouds and silence were all we knew. My mind wandered back to the relative warmth and dry comfort of First Hut kitchen the night before, which had been spartan enough at the time, but now seemed like a luxury.

(photo, Mt. Fako, Cameroon, First Hut's kitchen)

Friday, October 30, 2009

First Hut

I woke up feeling light and free. I got my butt out of the sack and went out, looking up the mountain above me, and the scenery far below. In the distance the town was barely perceptible in the morning haze. I thought over my previous days climb, how steep it was, and how at times it seemed like just as I thought I was getting near the summit only to discover it was yet another false summit. Then at the last minute I lostt the trail, there were several trails and I just took one of them even though it was getting late. Coming around a turn, not knowing if this was the trail or how much farther I had to go, there was Hut One. The guide, the Pied Crow, kept with me. I was worried about the spirit of the mountain, it might not like my water elementals, or perhaps my water elementals would be jealous of my climb. The path is entirely made up of non-path elements, the mountain is entirely made up on non-mountain elements. First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then thee is. Yet there is interconnectedness too, the path is the mountain, the mountain is the path.

The bird waited in the trees below, at the edge of timberline. First Hut was nothing more than a cave really, with a few square rocks gathered to form a crude wall and a doorway. A bit of rough hewn framework and a door was thrown on to keep out large critters. Sleeping was more a matter of passing out, the comfort of First Hut wasn’t that great especially knowing how much mountain was behind, how much was ahead. Food and perishables were kept in the metal shed called the kitchen, a bit tighter construction, it was simply a firepit on the floor with three huge logs forming a “Y” in the local manner with large rocks placed between them. A few bites shouldering the pack and moving out while the sun was still low in the sky, one step at a time. Now First Hut is below me, the rest of the mountain ahead.

(narrative fictional, photo is Buea town, viewed from hut three, Mt. Cameroon)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Quote from Wikipedia

"The importance of dhyana in the Mahayana tradition can't be over emphasized. Dhyāna is the fifth of six pāramitās (perfections). It is usually translated as "concentration," "meditation," or "meditative stability." In China, the word dhyana was originally transliterated as chan-na (禅那; Mandarin: chánnà), and was eventually shortened to just chan (禅) by common usage.
Dhyana, usually under the related term of samadhi[3], together with the second and sixth paramitas are also known as the three essential studies, or threefold training, of Buddhism: moral precepts (sila), meditation (dhyana or samadhi), and wisdom (prajna). In Mahayana Buddhism no one can be said to be accomplished in Buddhism who has not successfully trained in all three studies."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Four Noble Truths

Throughout his teaching career Buddha taught a simple formula variously called The Four Noble Truths, This-That Conditionality, and Dependent Co-Arising or Interdependence. Basically this means that since dukkha (see prior post) has an origin, which is attachment, that therefore the origin of dukkha can be avoided or eliminated by not becoming attached. This does not necessarily mean leading a hermit lifestyle, since we still experience dukkha just as well there - it does mean turning back or turning within and turning on to the moment by moment direct experience rather than continuing to be trapped in the shadow play of "existence" - it means a meditative practice and procedure which addresses the basic ills of life.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Sudden School

It can at times be difficult to find something that approaches the "simple truth" so here it is.

Buddha taught 3 characteristics, marks, or seals of existence. Annica, Anatta, and Dukkha (in romanized Pali):

Nothing is permanent, unchanging or absolute. Thus, we have no permanent, unchanging, or absolute identity or self. Without a fixed or stable identity, we experience disappointment and dissatisfaction. He called it a cycle of death and rebirth, Samsara.

He also taught that a careful and accurate analysis and application thereof based on these characteristics can also lead to liberation from this cycle. He said that the correct understanding of this can lead to liberation, or Nirvana.

He also said that understanding what it was that he was saying can bring liberation in a certain period of time, then he said no, yet a shorter length of time, then no, even shorter (see Satipatanna Sutta). The implication is clear. And this statement is found in the Pali canon, which many consider to be the bedrock of Buddhist teaching.

(The illustration is a symbol for the Triratna, The Triple Gem, The Three Refuges, the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha)