Nirvana is this moment seen directly. There is no where else than here. The only gate is now. The only doorway is your own body and mind. There’s nowhere to go. There’s nothing else to be. There’s no destination. It’s not something to aim for in the afterlife. It’s simply the quality of this moment.
Jane Hirshfield, American poet, in the PBS documentary, The Buddha
In Tibetan Buddhism there’s a set of teachings for cultivating compassion called mind training, or lojong. One of the lojong teachings is, “Whichever of the two occurs, be patient.” This means if a painful situation occurs, be patient, and if a pleasant situation occurs, be patient.
This is an interesting point. Usually, we jump all the time; whether it’s pain or pleasure, we want resolution. So if we’re happy and something is great, we could also be patient then, and not fill up the space, going a million miles an hour —impulse shopping, impulse talking, impulse acting out.
When there is love, there is beauty.
When love is drying up in your life, look for the beauty around you.
That is where love can be found.
Haemin Sunim, The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down
There is a Tibetan saying: ‘When things are difficult, then let yourself be happy.’ Otherwise, if happiness is relying on others or the environment or your surroundings, it’s not possible. Like an ocean, the waves always go like that but underneath, it always remains calm. So we have that ability as well. On an intellectual level, we may see things as desperate, difficult. But underneath, at the emotional level, you can keep calm.
The Dalai Lama
More insightful teaching on the basic human dynamics of “continual movement” beneath a lot of the suffering in the mind, from my favourite source. These dynamics can become more apparent as exterior stimuli are reduced due to the Covid-19 lockdown and we can experience a greater interior restlessness.
We live with many options. If we get bored with looking at a painting, we read something; when that becomes boring, we go for a walk, perhaps visit a friend and go out for dinner together, then watch a movie. The pattern is that each new arising, or “birth” if you like, is experienced as unfulfilling. In this process of ongoing need, we keep moving from this to that without ever getting to the root of the process. Another aspect of this need is the need to fix things, or to fix ourselves — to make conflict or pain go away. By this I mean an instinctive response rather than a measured approach of understanding what is possible to fix and what dukkha (suffering) has to be accommodated right now.
Then there’s the need to know, to have it all figured out. That gets us moving too. This continued movement is an unenlightened being’s response to dukkha. That movement is what is meant by … “the wandering on” – within this life, we can see all these “births,” — the same habit taking different forms. And each new birth is unsatisfactory too, because sooner or later we meet with another obstacle, another disappointment, another option in the ongoing merry-go-round. High-option cultures just give you a few more spins on the wheel.
Ajahn Sucitto, Turning the Wheel of Truth
The ten directions converging,
Each learning to do nothing,
This is the classroom of the Buddha’s training;
Mind’s empty, all’s finished.
P’ang Yün (Layman Pang) died 808, famous lay practitioner of Ch’an