Project #30571 - Buddhist Philosophy on Dharma


Hi Scholars,

I require a 2 page essay on Buddhist philosophy, double spaced.

Drawing on one of the "Daily Dharma" entries, as well as the new knowledge you have gained about Buddhist philosophy in this course, provide a deeper explanation of your chosen selection, and relate it to your own life, e.g., how might you benefit from employing this wisdom?

The Daily Dharma entries to choose from are shown below:

The following are excerpts from books on Buddhism that Tricycle Buddhist Review sends as "Daily Dharmas."

Daily Dharmas

The True Nature of Happiness
Lack of understanding of the true nature of happiness, it seems to me, is the principal reason why people inflict sufferings on others. They think either that the other's pain may somehow be a cause of happiness for themselves or that their own happiness is more important, regardless of what pain it may cause. But this is shortsighted: no one truly benefits from causing harm to another sentient being. Whatever immediate advantage is gained at the expense of someone else is shortlived. In the long run, causing others misery and infringing their rights to peace and happiness result in anxiety, fear, and suspicion within oneself. Such feelings undermine the peace of mind and contentment which are the marks of happiness. True happiness comes not from a limited concern for one's own well-being, or that of those one feels close to, but from developing love and compassion for all sentient beings. Here, love means wishing that all sentient beings should find happiness, and compassion means wishing that they should all be free of suffering. The development of this attitude gives rise to a sense of openness and trust that provides the basis for peace.
--The Dalai Lama, from The Dalai Lama: A Policy of Kindness, edited by Sidney Piburn
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Love, but only if...
The near-enemy of love is attachment. Attachment masquerades as love. It says, "I will love you if you will love me back." It is a kind of "businessman's" love. So we think, "I will love this person as long as he doesn't change. I will love that thing if it will be the way I want it." But this isn't love at all--it is attachment. There is a big difference between love, which allows and honors and appreciates, and attachment, which grasps and demands and aims to possess. When attachment becomes confused with love, it actually separates us from another person. We feel we need this other person in order to be happy. This quality of attachment also leads us to offer love only toward certain people, excluding others.
--Joseph Goldstein

Flesh and Spirit
The Buddhist challenge to conventional Western notions of spirituality illuminates the way we set flesh and spirit at war with each other. In Buddhism there is no original sin. Although noticing how we express our sexuality can certainly lead to an awareness of right conduct, the flesh is not regarded as representing a corruption or punishment of any kind, nor as an obstacle to the attainment of enlightenment. The root of human suffering is not sin, but our confusion about ego. We suffer because we believe in the existence of an individual self. This belief splits the world into "I" and "other."
--Stephen Butterfield, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Vol. I, #4

Composting Life
Garbage can smell terrible, especially rotting organic matter. But it can also become rich compost for fertilizing the garden. The fragrant rose and the stinking garbage are two sides of the same existence. Without one, the other cannot be. Everything is in transformation. The rose that wilts after six days will become a part of the garbage. After six months the garbage is transformed into a rose. When we speak of impermanence, we understand that everything is in transformation. This becomes that, and that becomes this. Looking deeply, we can contemplate one thing and see everything else in it. We are not disturbed by change when we see the interconnectedness and continuity of all things. It is not that the life of any individual is permanent, but that life itself continues.
--Thich Nhat Hanh, in Present Moment, Wonderful Moment
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Problems, Problems, Problems...
Most perceived problems merely become problems because we believe they are so. This is true even of extremes such as disease, old age, and death, which are after all universal and inevitable. It's equally true of the sorrow and grief that often accompany these events. To define the universal experiences of our species as problems is to define the whole human life system as a problem. And when something is seen as a problem, you feel compelled to do something about it. A problem, like a leaking faucet or a flat tire, is something that needs to be fixed. You can exhaust your life in the effort to fix it.
-- Lin Jensen, in Bad Dog!
from More Daily Wisdom, edited by Josh Bartok,

What the Buddha Taught
Mindfulness, or awareness, does not mean that you should think and be conscious "I am doing this" or "I am doing that." No. Just the contrary. The moment you think "I am doing this," you become self-conscious, and then you do not live in the action, but you live in the idea "I am," and consequently your work too is spoiled.

You should forget yourself completely, and lose yourself in what you do. The moment a speaker becomes self-conscious and thinks "I am addressing an audience," his speech is distributed and his trend of thought broken. But when he forgets himself in his speech, in his subject, then he is at his best, he speaks well and explains things clearly.

All great work--artistic, poetic, intellectual or spiritual--is produced at those moments when its creators are lost completely in their actions, when they forget themselves altogether, and are free from self-consciousness.
-- Walpola Rahula, in What the Buddha Taught
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book 

Karma Is Not Fixed Destiny
Karma is often wrongly confused with the notion of a fixed destiny. It is more like an accumulation of tendencies that can lock us into particular behavior patterns, which themselves result in further accumulations of tendencies of a similar nature.... But it is not necessary to be a prisoner of old karma.... Here's how mindfulness changes karma. When you sit, you are not allowing your impulses to translate into action. For the time being, at least, you are just watching them. Looking at them, you quickly see that all impulses in the mind arise and pass away, that they have a life of their own, that they are not you but just thinking, and that you do not have to be ruled by them. Not feeding or reacting to impulses, you come to understand their nature as thoughts directly. This process actually burns up destructive impulses in the fires of concentration and equanimity and non-doing. At the same time, creative insights and creative impulses are no longer squeezed out so much by the more turbulent, destructive ones. They are nourished as they are perceived and held in awareness.
--Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are

The Journey and the Destination
When we are driving, we tend to think of arriving, and we sacrifice the journey for the sake of the arrival. But life is to be found in the present moment, not in the future. In fact, we may suffer more after we arrive at our destination. If we have to talk of a destination, what about our final destination, the graveyard? We do not want to go in the direction of death; we want to go in the direction of life. But where is life? Life can be found only in the present moment. Therefore, each mile we drive, each step we take, has to bring us into the present moment. This is the practice of mindfulness. When we see a red light or a stop sign, we can smile at it and thank it, because it is a bodhisattva helping us return to the present moment. The red light is a bell of mindfulness. We may have thought of it as an enemy, preventing us from achieving our goal. But now we know the red light is our friend, helping us resist rushing and calling us to return to the present moment where we can meet with life, joy, and peace.
--Thich Nhat Hanh, Present Moment, Wonderful Moment

Buddha the Baker
Buddha was not interested in the elements comprising human beings, nor in metaphysical theories of existence. He was more concerned about how he himself existed in this moment. That was his point. Bread is made from flour. How flour becomes bread when put in the oven was for Buddha the most important thing. How we become enlightened was his main interest. The enlightened person is some perfect, desirable character, for himself and for others. Buddha wanted to find out how human beings develop this ideal character--how various sages in the past became sages. In order to find out how dough became perfect bread, he made it over and over again, until he became quite successful. That was his practice.
--Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

The foundation and initial goal of [our] transformation is avoiding doing harm to others. Whether alone or with others, we must strive to avoid doing harm either directly with our words or deeds or indirectly with our thoughts and intentions. We may injure others with abuse, slander, sarcasm, and deceit, or by acts of omission due to insensitivity and thoughtlessness. The most subtle way of harming others is indirectly by means of our thoughts, judgments, and attitudes. When the mind is dominated by hostility, we may be viciously attacking others with our thoughts. Although no apparent injury may be inflicted, these thoughts affect us internally and influence our way of interacting with others, and the long-term effect is invariably harmful. So the initial theme of Dharma practice is a nonviolent approach to our own lives, to other living beings, and to our environment. This is a foundation for spiritual practice, and can provide well-being for both ourselves and others. On this basis of nonviolence we can look for ways to serve others keeping in mind that any work will be altruistic if our motivation is one of kindness and friendliness.
--B. Alan Wallace, Tibetan Buddhism from the Ground Up

We Walk, We Eat
I remember a short conversation between the Buddha and a philosopher of his time. I have heard that Buddhism is a doctrine of enlightenment. What is your method? What do you practice every day? We walk, we eat, we wash ourselves, we sit down. What is so special about that? Everyone walks, eats, washes and sits down... Sir, when we walk, we are aware that we are walking; when we eat we are aware that we are eating.... When others walk, eat, wash, or sit down, they are generally not aware of what they are doing.
--Thich Nhat Hanh,
Zen Keys

The Boat
There's a Zen story in which a man is enjoying himself on a river at dusk. He sees another boat coming down the river toward him. At first it seems so nice to him that someone else is also enjoying the river on a nice summer evening. Then he realizes that the boat is coming right toward him, faster and faster. He begins to get upset and starts to yell, "Hey, hey watch out! For Pete's sake, turn aside!" But the boat just comes faster and faster, right toward him. By this time he's standing up in his boat, screaming and shaking his fist, and then the boat smashes right into him. He sees that it's an empty boat. This is the classic story of our whole life situation.
--Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are

The way we define and delimit the self is arbitrary. We can place it between our ears and have it looking out from our eyes, or we can widen it to include the air we breathe, or at other moments we can cast its boundaries farther to include the oxygen giving trees and plankton, our external lungs, and beyond them the web of life in which they are sustained.
--Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self

Self Discipline and Patience
"Discipline" is a difficult word for most of us. It conjures up images of somebody standing over you with a stick, telling you that you're wrong. But self-discipline is different. It's the skill of seeing through the hollow shouting of your own impulses and piercing their secret. They have no power over you. It's all a show, a deception. Your urges scream and bluster at you; they cajole; they coax; they threaten; but they really carry no stick at all. You give in out of habit. You give in because you never really bother to look beyond the threat. It is all empty back there. There is only one way to learn this lesson, though. The words on this page won't do it. But look within and watch the stuff coming up--restlessness, anxiety, impatience, pain--just watch it come up and don't get involved. Much to your surprise, it will simply go away. It rises, it passes away. As simple as that. There is another word for self-discipline. It is patience.
--Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

"If Only" Syndrome
Go to a party. Listen to the laughter, that brittle-tongues voice that says fun on the surface and fear underneath. Feel the tension, feel the pressure. Nobody really relaxes. They are faking it. Go to a ball game. Watch the fans in the stands. Watch the irrational fit of anger. Watch the uncontrolled frustration bubbling forth that masquerades under the guise of enthusiasm or team spirit. Booing, catcalls and unbridled egotism in the name of team loyalty. Drunkenness, fights in the stands. These are people trying desperately to release tension from within. These are not people who are at peace with themselves. Watch the news on TV. Listen to the lyrics in popular songs. You find the same theme repeated over and over in variations. Jealousy, suffering, discontent, and stress. Life seems to be a perpetual struggle, some enormous effort against staggering odds. And what is our solution to all this dissatisfaction? We get stuck in the if only syndrome.
--Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English

The basic objection to alcoholic drinks and [hallucinogenic] drugs lies in the fact that they distort the mental vision, if only temporarily; in such case it is not possible to preserve the vigilance and alertness which Buddhists should continuously practice. It should be firmly stated that the use of hallucinogenic drugs for the purpose of attaining allegedly higher meditative states is highly dangerous and is a contravention of the Fifth Precept.
--Hammalawa Saddhatissa, Buddhist Ethics

A Collective Matter
Right livelihood has ceased to be a purely personal matter. It is our collective karma. Suppose I am a schoolteacher and I believe that nurturing love and understanding in children is a beautiful occupation. I would object if someone were to ask me to stop teaching and become, for example, a butcher. But when I meditate on the interrelatedness of all things, I can see that the butcher is not the only person responsible for killing animals. He does his work for all of us who eat meat. We are co-responsible for his act of killing. We may think the butcher's livelihood is wrong and ours is right, but if we didn't eat meat, he wouldn't have to kill, or he would kill less. Right livelihood is a collective matter. The livelihood of each person affects us all, and vice versa. The butcher's children may benefit from my teaching, while my children, because they eat meat, share some responsibility for the butcher's livelihood.
--Thich Nhat Hanh, in Claude Whitmyer's Mindfulness and Meaningful Work

Following the Urge
You might try looking at all the stuff that comes up in your head as just a secretion. All our thoughts and feelings are a kind of secretion. It is important for us to see that clearly. I've always got things coming up in my head, but if I tried to act on everything that came up, it would just wear me out. Haven't you ever had the experience of being up on a very high pace and having the urge to jump? That urge to jump is just a secretion in your head. If you felt that you had to follow every urge that came into your head, well.
--Kosho Uchiyama, Opening the Hand of Thought

The Idea of Self
Buddhism stands unique in the history of human thought in denying the existence of. . . a Soul, Self, or Atman. According to the teaching of the Buddha, the idea of self is an imaginary, false belief which has no corresponding reality, and it produces harmful thoughts of "me" and "mine," selfish desire, craving, attatchment, hatred, ill-will, conceit, pride, egoism, and other defilements, impurities and problems. It is the source of all the troubles in the world from personal conflicts to wars between nations. In short, to this false view can be traced all the evil in the world.
--Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught

Freedom and Morality
Morality as taught by way of rules is extremely powerful and valuable in the development of practice. It must be remembered that it, like all the techniques in meditation, it is merely a tool to enable one to eventually get to that place of unselfishness where morality and wisdom flow naturally. In the West, there's a myth that freedom means free expression--that to follow all desires wherever they take one is true freedom. In fact, as one serves the mind, one sees that following desires, attractions, repulsions is not at all freedom, but is a kind of bondage. A mind filled with desires and grasping inevitably entails great suffering. Freedom is not to be gained through the ability to perform certain external actions. True freedom is an inward state of being. Once it is attained, no situation in the world can bind one or limit one's freedom. It is in this context that we must understand moral precepts and moral rules.
--Jack Kornfield, Living Dharma
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Inner Peace, World Peace
We can never obtain peace in the world if we neglect the inner world and don't make peace with ourselves. World peace must develop out of inner peace. Without inner peace it is impossible to achieve world peace, external peace. Weapons themselves do not act. They have not come out of the blue. Man has made them. But even given those weapons, those terrible weapons, they cannot act by themselves. As long as they are left alone in storage they cannot do any harm. A human being must use them. Someone must push the button. Satan, the evil powers, cannot push that button. Human beings must do it.
--The Dalai Lama, in The Dalai Lama: A Policy of Kindness, edited by Sidney Piburn
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Active and Effective Citizens
You might think that if you let go of your ego world, you become passive and defenseless like some kind of crash dummy and people will take advantage of you. Or that you might wander around aimlessly in the street without an agenda. If this were the case, as one contemporary Buddhist master pointed out, it would be necessary to have enlightenment wards in hospitals to take care of bruised or socially inoperative buddhas. But this is not the case. Rather than being inmate types, people who have become enlightened to any degree are builders of hospitals for other people. Their intelligence and compassion are relatively unobstructed, and they tend to become quite active and effective citizens.
--Samuel Bercholz, in Entering the Stream from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Clinging is a Stressful State
The moment we want happiness, we start to cling to it in our mind. First, we cling to our own idea of happiness. We relate to the outside world as a source of satisfaction and look outward for the things we normally associate with happiness--accumulating wealth, success, fame or power. As soon as we become attached to any idea--happiness, success or whatever--there is already some stress. Clinging is itself a stressful state, and everything that derives from it is also stressful. For example, try to clench your hand to make a fist. As soon as you start to clench your hand, you have to use energy to keep your fingers clenched tightly. When you let go of the clenching, your hand is free again. So it is with the mind. When it is in such a state of clenching, it can never be free. It can never experience peace or happiness, even if one has all the wealth, fame and power in the world.
-Thynn Thynn, Living Meditation, Living Insight from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Milarepa's Demons
One evening, Milarepa returned to his cave after gathering firewood, only to find it filled with demons. They were cooking his food, reading his books, sleeping in his bed. They had taken over. Milarepa didn’t know how to get rid of them. He sat down in front of them and tried to talk them into leaving. Nothing happened. He then lost his patience and got angry with them. They just laughed. Finally, he gave up and sat on the floor, saying, “I’m not going anywhere, and I guess you aren’t either, so let’s just live together.” At that point, all of them left, except one. Tired and exasperated, he surrendered himself even further. He walked over and put himself right into the mouth of the demon, and said, “just eat me up if you want to.” Then that demon left, too.
--Classic tale

Opening From Heart
Right now, and in every now-moment, you are either closing or opening. You are either stressfully waiting for something--more money, security, affection--or you are living from your deep heart, opening as the entire moment, and giving what you most deeply desire to give, without waiting. If you are waiting for anything in order to live and love without holding back, then you suffer. Every moment is the most important moment of your life. No future time is better than now to let down your guard and love. Everything you do right now ripples outward and affects everyone. Your posture can shine your heart or transmit anxiety. Your breath can radiate love or muddy the room in depression. Your glance can awaken joy. Your words can inspire freedom. Your every act can open hearts and minds. Opening from heart to all, you live as a gift to all. In every moment, you are either opening or closing. Right now, you are choosing to open and give fully or you are waiting. How does your choice feel?
--David Deida, from 365 Nirvana, Here and Now

Entry-level Right Speech
Entry-level Right Speech is speech that doesn't add pain to any situation. This takes care of the obvious mistakes, like telling lies or purposely using speech hurtfully. High-level Right Speech maintains the balance of situations by not adding the destabilizing element of gossip. Gossiping is talking about someone not present. Except on rare occasions when one might need to convey a need on behalf another person, gossip is extra. Talking disparagingly about a third person is inviting the listener to share your grumbly mind space. Talking admiringly about a third person might cause your listener to feel unimportant. Why not choose to talk about current experience?
--Sylvia Boorstein, It's Easier Than You Think  from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book


Subject Philosophy
Due By (Pacific Time) 05/17/2014 12:00 am
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