Buddha nirvana

The Seven Days of Thai Buddhism

Posted in Buddhist by buddhanirvana on April 17, 2010

Traditionally it is believed that Buddha spent seven days following his enlightenment thinking of the suffering of all living creatures and how unimportant his life was prior to reaching enlightenment.
In Thailand, the majority of people practice a form of Theravada Buddhism. It is based on the Pali Canon augmented by the practices, beliefs and magic traditions that make it unique to Thailand. Buddhism is based on the Four Noble Truths through the practice of the Eightfold Noble Path and the daily Five Basic Precepts.
Thais are superstitious and believe that their day of birth reflects their life and there are seven Buddha images to reflect each day of the week (actually, there are eight Buddha images but I’ll talk more about that in a moment).
The days are also each assigned a different color and many Thai people pay special attention to this. The most visible example is the wearing of yellow shirts on Mondays to honor HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Likewise, you will see many blue shirts each Friday as that was the day of the week that HM Queen Sirikit was born. Even the different royal flags are colored to reflect individual birthdays of the royal family.

Sunday is the Day of Restraint with red being the color of those born on this day of the week.
A person born on a Sunday is respectable, wise, loved by friends and family. He is likely to be in a professional occupation. His lucky day is Wednesday and lucky color is green while the unlucky day is Friday and unlucky color is blue

Monday is called the Day of Making Peace. The day’s color is cream or yellow.
A person born on a Monday is serious with a good memory and a love of travel. This person is likely to be in a skilled occupation whose lucky day is Saturday and lucky color is black. His unlucky day is Sunday and unlucky color is orange.

Tuesday with the daily color of pink, is the Sleeping Day.
This person is serious, brave and active most probably in the services. His lucky day is Thursday and lucky color is yellow. The unlucky day is Monday and the unlucky color is white.

Wednesday is divided into day and night according to Thai astrology. The color for those born on Wednesdays is green.The Morning is for Receiving.
The person born on Wednesday morning is polite, artistic and emotional. He is most likely working creatively. Wednesday night is their lucky time and the lucky color is green. His unlucky day is Tuesday and the unlucky color is pink.

The Evening is for the Blessed One.
This person is hard working and honest. He is likely to be employed in a profession with the lucky day of Monday and the color white. The unlucky day is Thursday and the unlucky color is yellow.

Thursday uses the colors of orange or brown. It is the Day of Meditation.
This person is peaceful, calm and honest –likely to be a teacher or in the legal profession. His lucky day is Sunday and the lucky color is orange. The unlucky day is Saturday and the unlucky color is black

Friday is the Day of Contemplation. The day’s color is blue.
This person is fun loving, friendly and ambitious, probably an entertainer or public figure. Their lucky day is Tuesday and the lucky color is pink. The unlucky time is Wednesday night and the unlucky color is light green.

Saturday is the Day of Protection and uses the colors of black or purple.
This person is calm, logical and a bit of a recluse. He is very likely engaged in manual work of a skilled nature. The lucky day is Friday and the lucky color is blue. The unlucky day is Wednesday during the daytime with the unlucky color of green.


Mortality of Buddha To Nirvana

Posted in Buddhist by buddhanirvana on August 25, 2009

f modern Buddhism teaches us anything, it is how to cope with samsara with little or no thought given towards the consideration of its complete transcendence—or the transcendent.  I realize that this is a novel and odd thing to say given the importance of terms like nirvana, the undying (amrita), dharmadhatu, Buddha-nature, One Mind, Mind-only (cittamatra), etc., in Buddhism.  Nevertheless, from what I can see, in the world of popular Buddhism, specialized terms that represent transcendence like nirvana are either glossed over, detranscendentalized, or not addressed at all.  The reason for this is not exactly clear.

On this same score, the project of modern Buddhism, as I view it, is to rescue us, first, from the great evil of religion (i.e., respect for the transcendent) then deal with the pain of samsara through psychology, specifically, by means of meditation which provides a noticable calming effect within forty minutes. 

In light of the above, such a project can be easily packaged and marketed to the denizens of pop culture whose drives are not, for the most part, in the direction of the transcendent and perhaps never will be.  Quite the opposite, the main drive of pop culture is centered on taking as much delight as can be achieved in the great toy store of modernity until either the money runs out or until the physical body craps out.

That we should live our lives without giving a single thought to what lies beyond this body of flesh with its short life span—and not care—is certainly one of the more remarkable and tragic achievements of modern culture.  But given that most people are victims of the global dream-making industry that pumps out desires and fantasies faster than a hot dog machine, not to mention the products that go along with such fantasies, it is not surprising that the transcendent is neglected if not entirely ignored. 

But this tells us something else, too:  there has occurred a subtle inversion in regard to the human spirit where complete immersion in the temporal world is believed to be the highest good while, on the other hand, seeking the transcendent is considered to be escapist and delusional.  In other words, the life of a sage (P., isi; S., rishi), as one who is dedicated to seeking the transcendent, is no longer acceptable.  It is no more publicly acceptable than is the belief in alien spacecraft or that aliens from other planets have made significant contact with us.  One, therefore, risks being ostracized or severely marginalized for thinking out of the box of modernity—this box, at times, being more like a steel cage.

Finally, the reasons for anathematizing the transcendent (let’s be frank—that’s what is going on), except in the form of God, are hard to frame and analyze, except that we can see that fear of the unknown plays a prominent role in all of this.  In considering this, such fear, however, is not shared by everyone; not even by the bulk of the public.  This fear is felt only by a handful of powerful people (maybe 5 percent of the population) who stand to lose their authority and the foundation upon which it has been built being maintained by an elaborate system of lies and coercive practices.

Regrettably, if Buddhism wishes to be on the stage of modernity, to be blunt, it has to kiss the asses of those who are spiritually dead or suffer the consequences.  This means that it cannot unfurl its transcendental banner for all to see.  Far from it.  Buddhism must be silent and look the part of the good servant who will also reassure the impotent lords of creation who run our society that in the end we all go to the same Void being thoroughly annihilated. 

No, I can’t imagine either the Dalai Lama or Thich Nhat Hanh doing much more than smiling and bowing when asked, “What did the Buddha mean when he said, ‘In this world grown blind, I beat the drum of immortality’?”

Us Like Buddha

Posted in Buddhist by buddhanirvana on August 25, 2009

Generally speaking, a fallacy is an underlying error of reasoning which on the surface seems reasonable—when in fact it is not.  Looking at the current health care debate a fallacy has been put forward in the form of self-responsibility vs. universal health care coverage which leaves no one behind.  What makes this a fallacy is that self-responsibility and universal health care are not mutually exclusive.  Both, in fact, can go together quite nicely.

Yet, so hostile is the present dispute because of this fallacy which now boils down to rugged individualism vs. socialism that there is not even a chance that minor differences can be settled to allow for some kind of compromise in which self-responsibility and universal health care can come together.

A large part of the hostility shown in this debate stems from a conservative subculture that likes to paint a picture of itself as being proudly American and Christian, and an elitist corporate system that is supporting them, that wants maximum profits at the expense of those who can least afford the current price of health care.  Perish the thought that at the current rate 260,000 people in ten years will die because they will be unable to get health care due to the systemic weakness of the U.S. health care system.

One thing lacking both in the conservative subculture and health care corporations is compassion (karuna) which, while being fundamental to Buddhism, has no place in either the general conservative ideology or in the nation’s HMO board rooms. 

While all of Buddhism, under the banner of compassion, is built upon the elimination of suffering and equally the curtailment of craving which leads to it, the present trend line in the U.S. seems to suggest not the elimination of suffering, but rather its increase.  If you think about it, making and keeping a nation sick is actually profitable.  If this sounds sinister, consider this:  U.S. physicians kill 250,000 Americans a year—which is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.  If this were an airline, more than one Boeing 747 would be crashing everyday!  Yet despite these appalling figures, physicians are going on with business as usual.

Although this is unsettling for some who have an almost child like belief in the goodness of America, the facts with regard to health care are not at all encouraging.  Of course I have my own views of what should be done from a Buddhist standpoint and it begins with the radical overhaul of how physicians are trained whose narcissism, according to Professor John Banja of Emory University, greatly contributes to medical errors and the overall rotten smell of the entire medical system.  By the way, if you are interested in John Banja’s book, its title is, Medical Errors and Medical Narcissism

Are you Buddhism ?

Posted in Buddhist by buddhanirvana on August 25, 2009

How do you know if Buddhism is right for you?  Okay, let me cut to the chase and say that Buddhism is right for you if you see that the life you have left to live is not going to be without suffering and, at the same time, you have a hunch that there is a transcendent path that leads beyond this world of suffering.  But also important, Buddhism is right for you if you can accept the fact that there is no creator God who is going to save you from your mistakes and suffering.

The last part is especially important if you want to know if Buddhism is right for you because the idea of a creator God who runs the universe as he sees fit is an idea that was rejected by the Buddha since it goes against the way the world really is.  In fact, according to Buddhism God is unnecessary since the world is a phenomenalization of mind; mind itself being transcendent and absolute when cognized directly.

In considering if Buddhism is right for you, you must accept that the search for the absolute that transcends suffering falls within you and is found and verified within you.  This can only be accomplished when mind’s perturbations have been sufficiently removed so that mind’s inherent luminosity comes forth which is mind’s disclosure of its absolute nature. 

In light of the above, to practice Buddhism involves a much different approach than is normally done in religions like Christianity.  This means that if Buddhism is right for you the approach to what constitutes ‘religious practice’ will involve chiefly respect for the place of mind and the varied processes entailed in its purification so that eventually your mind will become linked with Buddha Mind.

Understandably, in considering Buddhism, what I have presented here might seem too esoteric and unapproachable.  Nevertheless, this is what Buddhism is about.  But this shouldn’t bar anyone from practicing a part of Buddhism hopefully that one day they will grow into it.  The decision to take up Buddhism really involves a series of little steps.  However, it is also important not to delude yourself into believing Buddhism is like some pop cult which teaches you to be in the big Now as you enjoy every kind of sensory pleasure.  Far from it.  Buddhism to reiterate is a path of transcendence.  This especially entails transcending sensory craving; seeing pure Mind which is ever blissful and beyond the pale of suffering.

Buddhist Traps

Posted in Buddhist by buddhanirvana on August 25, 2009

Picture 8 The most pressing goal of Buddhism, especially with regard to Zen, is to get a momentary glimpse into the luminous or pure Mind thus to experience it, directly, face to face (keep in mind that luminous Mind is interchangeable with other terms like One Mind, Unborn Mind, Buddha Mind, etc.). 

In order to do this, the Zen practitioner has available two tools, namely, Buddhist  scriptures and other forms of literature which can be likened to a huge set of very detailed road maps, and secondly, certain meditational practices.  In respect to the latter, the Zen practitioner uses meditation to remove the perturbations that are thickly plastered over the luminous Mind so that its clear light nature can be eventually disclosed.

However, each of these tools is not without its problems.  Turning to Buddhist scripture it is easy to get drawn into metaphysics clinging to mere concepts as if such concepts were in actual possession of Mind.  What constitutes true reality, namely, the realization of the luminous Mind is thus taken up by means of fanciful thought determinations much like creating a great work of fiction which never gets off the pages but vividly lives in the reader’s mind.

Turning to meditation, it can quickly turn into sitting for its own sake as if the longer one is able to sit (so the belief goes) the more likely they will return to their natural pristine nature, whatever that is.  But this is not the real purpose of meditation.  First of all, such a practice as just sitting can’t bring one face to face with the pure Mind.  Correct meditation is only intended to facilitate mind’s own interpenetration into itself such that as it goes into itself it must pass through its own phenomena, which are like vibrations, until only it remains.

Both the tools of Buddhist scripture and meditation are not meant to be ends in themselves.  If one attempts to make the means the end they are hopelessly lost.  This is like keeping the fish net and forgetting the fish or clinging to the rabbit trap and forgetting to catch the rabbit. 

The whole point of studying Buddhist literature and practicing meditation is to catch the big mysterious fish of Buddha Mind—not to enshrine the Sutras at the expense of awakening or indulge in sitting meditation thus to remain clueless as to what actually animates this lump of flesh.