Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A question you ask with your life

From the Dhammapada verse on 'Old Age':

147. Behold this body — a painted image, a mass of heaped up sores, infirm, full of hankering — of which nothing is lasting or stable!
148. Fully worn out is this body, a nest of disease, and fragile. This foul mass breaks up, for death is the end of life.
149. These dove-colored bones are like gourds that lie scattered about in autumn. Having seen them, how can one seek delight?
150. This city (body) is built of bones, plastered with flesh and blood; within are decay and death, pride and jealousy.
151. Even gorgeous royal chariots wear out, and indeed this body too wears out. But the Dhamma of the Good does not age; thus the Good make it known to the good.

From the 'Sermon on the Mount'

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Spirituality is the search for what is beyond birth, death and decay; that is 'what your heart should treasure'.  It's no use asking whether anything of that nature exists, from a hypothetical or lounge-chair perspective; you have to engage yourself in the quest for it; that is what it takes to ask the question. It is a question you ask with your life

This can be easily differentiated from a 'naturalistic ethic', as anything in nature is, by definition, subject to birth, decay and death; whereas, in the realization of the 'true identity', one is seeking that which is beyond birth, decay and death.

The dharmachakra represents 'the means to navigate the ocean of existence towards the further shore of liberation'. The symbolism is that of the wheel of the vessel (yana) used to cross over the river of suffering.


LeamerCat Wild said...

Your essays and musings are always thought provoking and very relevant to our human passage.
I hope you continue to post more, I have miss them over the past six months.


jps said...

Thanks, Jay, you're right, I haven't been posting much, I'll get back to it soon.