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Suffering, Emptiness, and Meditation



Slender, old, and the veteran of many teachings and retreats (both as attendee and then as teacher) Eileen had, had many teachers, had out lived most of them, and was determined to make of her students’ journey an easier thing than had been hers’.


When called upon, a bedraggled student lamented, “I’ve poured over both the Heart and Diamond sutras as well as Nargarjuna’s explanations. And although I can explain and even debate Madhyamaka philosophy I can’t seem to bring it on to the meditation cushion. Have my efforts been in vain?”


“It is NOT your fault,” Eileen explained, “over the millennia the more philosophical and less yogic the teachings have become; the LESS potent they have grown until now Buddhism fails to produce Buddhas often, if at all.


Consider the Four Noble Truths: (ONE) there are stressors, (TWO) we exacerbate our stress by indulging our primal drives of shoving, reaching, and clutching. (THREE) we could be liberated from the tyranny of those drives by (FOUR) practicing the eight-fold path.


Buddha’s enlightenment factors remind us that during every inhalation we notice and with every exhalation our bodies physically relax and our minds release as if that which we had noticed during our inhalation had now grown as non-graspable as a vast, EMPTY void; like the illusion of the infinite azure sky, on a bright and beautiful cloudless morn, which though is tantalizing to the eye, feels intangible to the hand. For enlightenment’s path is paved with neither philosophy nor belief but rather awareness and release.


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