…and not recognizing

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An ancient tale tells how Karamita met the Buddha but did not recognize him. He asked the “stranger” to explain the Buddha’s teachings to him, but did not like them. He then asked him if he had actually ever heard these ideas directly from the Buddha’s lips himself, to which the Buddha with a smile, answered no. Ajahn Amaro comments on this episode:

Ajahn Chah often said that this is a position we often find ourselves in – face to face with the Buddha, sharing a room together, spending hours and hours in deep conversation and not realizing who this is. The truth of life is staring us in the face, but because we have already got programmed with something else that we want and expect, we are missing out on the lessons that life is actually able to teach us.

Ajahn Amaro, Silent Rain

photo alex proimos

 

Fear-driven stories

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The quality of our lives depends heavily on whether we assume a world of scarcity or a world of abundance.

By embracing the scarcity assumption, we create the very scarcities we fear.  We create scarcity by competing with others for resources as if we were stranded on the Sahara at the last oasis. In the human world, abundance does not happen automatically  It is created when we have the sense to choose community, to come together to celebrate and share our common story. Whether the “scarce resource” is money or love or power or words, the true law of life is that we generate more of whatever seems scarce by trusting its supply and passing it around. Authentic abundance does not lie in secured stockpiles of food or cash or influence or affection, but in belonging to a community where we can give those goods to others who need them – and receive them from others when we are in need.

Parker Palmer, The Active Life and Let Your Life Speak

photo john liu

The difference between joy and happiness

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Joy in the context of spirituality
is not the same as happiness.
Happiness is a feeling that, like all feelings, comes and goes,
while joy is a more fundamental attitude toward life.

This joy doesn’t change your circumstance; it embraces it.
Joy doesn’t make your situation other than it is;
but reveals the greater reality in which it is.
Being aware of the greater reality
always manifests as joy.

The more narrow the attention,
the more focused we are on fleeting moments
of happiness and sadness.
The wider our attention becomes
the more aware we are
of an unending flow of joy.

Rabbi Rami Shapiro

photo martin cathrae

Never getting there

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I cannot tell if what the world considers ‘happiness’
is happiness or not.
All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it,
I see them carried away headlong, serious and obsessed,
in a general rush,  unable to stop themselves or to change their direction.

And all the while they claim to be
just on the point of attaining happiness….

Chuang-Tzu.

photo emery way