Hello Saṃsāra

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here is an old copy of the Dhammapada with the Pali and the English. The copy below is not the book I used to chant in Pali while reading the English translation, but was very similar. It would take me about 3 days. It can be downloaded. Its a bit smudgy but easily readable if you use the magnifying glass. Try chanting a verse then reading the English. Its wonderful. It can be downloaded or embedded.

hmm having trouble with this embed  meanwhile it is in the Library (link)

Here is another version:

The Dhammapada by NBN Books


The mind is the forerunner of all conditions, there is nothing that is not mind created.

Anyway the Thai temple in Bodh Gaya is a magnificent marble temple built for pilgrims. Most Buddhist countries were represented. Look up Bodh Gaya.

Several Buddhist temples and monasteries have been built by the people of Bhutan, China, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sikkim, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam in a wide area around the Mahabodhi Temple. These buildings reflect the architectural style, exterior and interior decoration of their respective countries. The statue of Buddha in the Chinese temple is 200 years old and was brought from China. Japan’s Nippon temple is shaped like a pagoda. The Myanmar (Burmese) temple is also pagoda shaped and is reminiscent of Bagan. The Thai temple has a typical sloping, curved roof covered with golden tiles. Inside, the temple holds a massive bronze statue of Buddha.

I used to stand on his hand to dust his face. I was there for about 4 months 3 of which I spent serving the monks. Then I was ordained as Jnanabodhi , knower of enlightenment. Bit of a contradiction in terms really. It was rather splendid being carried around the temple saying farewell to samsara, the Thai press were there and about 20 westerners starting a meditation course (retreat). I was embarrassed before I learnt to give it up. A Buddhist goes up to a hot dog stand and says “Can you make me one with everything” . (Robin Williams , Bi-Centennial Man) . So I used to sit in the temple and chant the Dhammapada ( the second one in the Library) in Pali, the great little book above that had Pali on one side and English on the other. It would take me about 3 days. I would do it as often as I could. As i have already said.

At the back of the temple about a mile away stood the Japanese temple. They had a huge bell just like the one in the picture with a tree trunk to hit it. I used to watch in the dawns early light, through ground mist, the bell being struck. Some time later I would hear the sound.

Bodh Gaya is in Bihar one of the poorest states in India. We had no problems with simple meals mainly rice. I did not find the discipline of only eating between the hours of 7am to midday irksome. There were pangs but these were only pangs. I used to practice in my underground chamber , a room I think meant to be a storeroom. I had just a flat bed with mosquito net. I had to crawl in a skylight to get in. It was clean and bright. One day I was sitting in meditation. Through half closed eyes I saw a gecko come in. He traveled along the wall down to the floor up one side of me and across my bare shoulder. i felt his individual feet.

At the back of the temple was a small pond guarded by two Thai Guardians about 10ft high called Virulaka and Virupaka. I would feel comforted. by them. One day I decided that I would achieve the perfect moment if I saw a lotus flower open. I used to watch it for several hours a day. Bringing my mind back to concentrate as it frequently wandered. i spent over a week doing this. It never opened. (giggles at the mind)



Dukkha – I cobbled together bits and pieces below

The Buddha didn’t speak English. This should be obvious, since the historical Buddha lived in India almost 26 centuries ago. Yet it’s a point lost on many people who get stuck on the definitions of English words used in translations.

For example, people want to argue with the first of the Four Noble Truths, often translated as “life is suffering.” That sounds so negative.

But, remember, the Buddha didn’t speak English, so he didn’t use the English word, “suffering.” What he said, according to the earliest scriptures, is that life is dukkha.

“Dukkha” is Pali, a variation of Sanskrit, and it means a lot of things. For example, anything temporary is dukkha, including happiness. But some people can’t get past that English word “suffering” and want to disagree with the Buddha because of it.

I’ve noticed that some translators are chucking out “suffering” and replacing it with “dissatisfaction” or “stress.” I’m a bit dissatisfied with that approach, however. Sometimes translators bump into words that have no corresponding words meaning exactly the same thing in the other language. I believe “dukkha” is one of those words.

Understanding dukkha, however, is critical to understanding the Four Noble Truths. And the Four Noble Truths are the foundation of Buddhism.

Filling in the Blank

Because there is no single English word that neatly and tidily contains the same range of meaning and connotation as “dukkha,” I think it’s better not to translate it. Otherwise, you’ll waste time spinning your wheels over a word that doesn’t mean what the Buddha meant.

So, throw out “suffering,” “stress,” “dissatisfaction,” or whatever other English word is standing in for it, and go back to “dukkha.” Do this even if — especially if — you don’t understand what “dukkha” means. Think of it as an algebraic “X,” or a value you’re trying to discover.

Defining Dukkha

The Buddha taught there are three main categories of dukkha. These are:

Suffering or pain (dukkha-dukkha)
Impermanence or change (viparinama-dukkha)
Conditioned states (samkhara-dukkha)

Let’s take these one at a time.

Suffering or Pain (Dukkha-dukkha). Ordinary suffering, as defined by the English word, is one form of dukkha. This includes physical, emotional and mental pain.

Impermanence or Change (Viparinama-dukkha). Anything that is not permanent, that is subject to change, is dukkha. Thus, happiness is dukkha, because it is not permanent. Great success, which fades with the passing of time, is dukkha. Even the purest state of bliss experienced in spiritual practice is dukkha.

This doesn’t mean that happiness, success and bliss are bad, or that it’s wrong to enjoy them. If you feel happy, then enjoy feeling happy. Just don’t cling to it.

Conditioned States (Samkhara-dukkha). To be conditioned is to be dependent on or affected by something else. According to the teaching of dependent origination, all phenomena are conditioned. Everything affects everything else. This is the most difficult part of the teachings on dukkha to understand, but it is critical to understanding Buddhism.

What Is the Self?

This takes us to the Buddha’s teachings on the self. According to the doctrine of anatman (or anatta) there is no “self” in the sense of a permanent, integral, autonomous being within an individual existence. What we think of as our self, our personality and ego, are temporary creations of the skandhas.

The skandhas, or “five aggregates,” or “five heaps,” are a combination of five properties or energies that make what we think of as an individual being.

Theravada scholar Walpola Rahula said,

“What we call a ‘being’, or an ‘individual’, or ‘I’, is only a convenient name or a label given to the combination of these five groups. They are all impermanent, all constantly changing. ‘Whatever is impermanent is dukkha’ (Yad aniccam tam dukkham). This is the true meaning of the Buddha’s words: ‘In brief the Five Aggregates of Attachment are dukkha.’ They are not the same for two consecutive moments. Here A is not equal to A. They are in a flux of momentary arising and disappearing.” (What the Buddha Taught, p. 25)

Life Is Dukkha

Understanding the First Noble Truth is not easy. For most of us, it takes years of dedicated practice, especially to go beyond a conceptual understanding to a realization of the teaching. Yet people often glibly dismiss Buddhism as soon as they hear that word “suffering.”

That’s why I think it is useful to toss out English words like “suffering” and “stressful” and go back to “dukkha.” Let the meaning of dukkha unfold for you, without other words getting in the way.

The historical Buddha once summarized his own teachings this way: “Both formerly and now, it is only dukkha that I describe, and the cessation of dukkha.”

Buddhism will be a muddle for anyone who doesn’t grasp the deeper meaning of dukkha.

Saṃsāra (Sanskrit, Pali; also samsara) is a Buddhist term that literally means “circle” or “wheel” and is commonly translated as “conditioned existence”, “cyclic existence”, “cycle of existence”, etc. Within Buddhism, samsara is defined as the continual repetitive cycle of birth and death that arises from ordinary beings’ grasping and fixating on a self and experiences. Specifically, samsara refers to the process of cycling through one rebirth after another within the six realms of existence,[a] where each realm can be understood as physical realm or a psychological state characterized by a particular type of suffering. Samsara arises out of avidya (ignorance) and is characterized by dukkha (suffering, anxiety, dissatisfaction). In the Buddhist view, liberation from samsara is possible by following the Buddhist path.


you gotta laugh……

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