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Pamo

"cessation Is A Slow Process"

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From Tashi Tsering's explanation of "The Four Noble Truths", as an inspiration and comfort, if it feels the same. Best regards :-)

 

*The last noble truth, the path leading to cessation of suffering, actually encompasses the entire spiritual journey that we need to undertake if we are ever to be free of suffering. Every positive action we have ever done is related to this last noble truth in some way. It is a long path, and we must not become discouraged. In that regard I find the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama very inspiring:

 

“Another important factor is your determination. You should not imagine that all these developments can take place within a few days or a few years; they may even take several eons, so determination is evidently vital. If you consider yourself a Buddhist and want to really practice Buddha Dharma, then right from the start you must make up your mind to do so until the end, regardless of whether it take millions or billions of eons.

After all, what is the meaning of our life? In itself, there is no intrinsic meaning. However if we use life in a positive way, then even the days and the months and the eons can become meaningful. On the other hand, if you just fritter your life away aimlessly then even one day feels too long. You will find that once you have a firm determination and a clear objective, then time is not important.â€

 

As Shantideva writes in this beautiful prayer:

As long as space endures

As long as sentient beings remain,

Until then may I too remain

To dispel the miseries of the world.

 

These inspiring words say so much to me. The more impatient we are, and the more we want to find the way that is easiest or cheapest, the more likely we are to obtain a poor result. So I suggest this is the wrong approach.

In searching for a path that leads to liberation and enlightenment, we look for a way to deal with the afflictive emotions that have been with us since we first started to interact with other beings. To confront such deep-rooted emotions, determination is not enough - we must also develop a clear objective, a clear idea of what we are looking for. Without that our determination will definitely be unstable.

Our objective must be to search for the true, complete cessation of our afflictive emotions - not just some, not just a certain level, but long term and complete. We must aim for true cessation, which is the complete destruction of our fears and anxieties. The path we settle upon must have the power to bring this about. Of course, before we reach complete cessation, we need immediate solutions to sort out our daily difficulties, but our ultimate aim must always go beyond that. It must address the very root of our problems.

 

(...) We are dealing here with a process. Complete cessation is the end product of working through many temporary cessations, and while it is important to always have the end product in mind, it is equally important to be realistic in our expectation. In Mahayana Buddhism in particular we recite the phrase “all sentient beings†many times a day. Everything we do is for (or should be for) the benefit of all sentient beings. Because of who we are and the society we live in, we then feel guilty because we are not focused on all sentient beings and not doing enough for their complete enlightenment.

I find that frustration understandable but based on unrealistic expectations; it is too ambitious, and it may not even be what Buddha meant by benefiting all sentient beings. If we manage to benefit even one sentient being with a pure heart, I think that is enough. Of course two or three better, but we need to let go of unrealistic expectation of being able to save every single being this instant. That is a wonderful aspiration, but as an immediate goal it is naively idealistic.

In reality cessation is a slow process.*

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Dear Pamo,

 

thank you very much for posting this teaching. It encourages one to look positively and constructively at the gap between our aspirations and where we are at the moment :).

 

Best wishes,

B.

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