Posted in tattooed buddha, Uncategorized

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

 

“You can no longer deceive yourselves as sincerely as you did before. You have now got the taste of truth.” -Ouspensky

There’s something about the spiritual journey that we don’t talk about much.

When we really engage spiritual practice and we go deeply within ourselves, a lot of things change. The spiritual journey takes us all sorts of places and that’s why it can become uncomfortable at times. We lie to ourselves all of the time and really, looking within is hard sometimes because it forces us to take a good hard look at all the things we believe.

And, of course, we can continue lying to ourselves. We often do. But as stated in the quote above, once we have a certain level of awareness we know we’re lying. We spend a lot more time fooling ourselves than we spend fooling others.

What kind of lies am I talking about? I’ll tell you some lies I used to tell myself.

I’m not overweight but I’ve always had a beer belly. I used to say it was genetic, that I couldn’t really do anything about it. But that wasn’t true. I took control of my health. I started eating better and working out and it started going away. It’s largely because I drank too much soda and ate too many carbs (and, of course, too much beer).

I used to tell myself: I can’t handle that. Some projects or interactions seemed like too much for an anxious introvert like me. But the truth is I can handle anything with just a little effort. I do all sorts of things that I thought I would never be able to do.

And pretending to be confident goes a long way.

I used to tell myself that I loved my job. The truth is that I’m comfortable. I don’t stay at my workplace because I enjoy it. I stay there because it’s comfortable and leaving seems scary. Although I make more money than a lot of people I know, I am well aware that I could make a lot more money in a different industry. But money isn’t everything. I like being comfortable.

I used to tell myself that I couldn’t leave. We tell ourselves that we can’t leave relationships or jobs or situations. But the truth is that you can always leave. Many of us can say: “I should have left but I thought I wasn’t strong enough.” I can say that.

The Eagles said, “Oftentimes it happens, that we live our lives in chains. And we never even know we have the key.”

And it’s a side effect of the spiritual journey. Once you’re in touch with your true self, it just gets harder and harder to fool yourself. It gets harder to make excuses for yourself too.

That said, it doesn’t necessarily make things any easier. We just come to a point where we have to admit to ourselves that the reason we’re doing something (or not) is because that’s a choice we’re making. We come to a point where we aren’t interested in making excuses to fool ourselves anymore.

Because the spiritual journey makes us more honest. And I don’t mean with others, although I think that’s true too. The spiritual journey makes us more honest with ourselves. Because when we are looking for TRUTH, we find all sorts of little truths along the way.

What lies do you tell yourself?

http://thetattooedbuddha.com/the-lies-we-tell-ourselves/

 

Posted in diamond sutra

Diamond Sutra, chapter 20

Subhuti asked, “When you attained complete Enlightenment, did you feel in your mind that you had gained nothing?”

The Buddha replied:

“That is it exactly, Subhuti. When I attained total Enlightenment, I did not feel, as the mind feels, any form of spiritual truth. Even the words ‘total Enlightenment’ are just words, they are used as a figure of speech.”

The Truth is beyond words. We describe it as attaining Enlightenment, but thinking of it as something we ‘gain’ can be a problem. We sometimes tend to think of it as finding spiritual truth, but it can more accurately be describe as getting rid of untruth. We aren’t creating our true nature, it’s our true nature. How could we? We are digging through the layers of delusion that keep us from seeing our true nature.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Parable of the Burning House

The parable of the burning house is a teaching that  is used to remind us that the precepts in Buddhism are suggestions. It is part of a long text called the Lotus Sutra. Although precepts are important, they aren’t airtight commandments that we can never break. They are a roadmap, not a set of laws.

 

This is how the story goes:

A man sees that his house is on fire with his children inside. The children are having so much fun playing a game that they don’t realize that the house is going to burn down.

So, the father yells, “Come out!”

 

And…the kids ignore him. A familiar experience to those of us that are parents.

 

The father thinks for a minute and comes up with an idea.

 

He yells, “Kids, I have three carts full of toys out here, come outside and play with them.”

 

And the kids come running out immediately.

 

 

So, he lied to save their lives. And because he lied they lived, although they were probably disappointed and perhaps angry at their father.

 

In Buddhism, honesty is valued very highly. It’s one of the five precepts. But, this goes to show that life happens and there are situations.

 

An example from modern times would be someone hiding Jews in their house during the World War 2. Of course if you’re trying to save lives in that way, you’re going to lie if someone comes to your door looking for the people you’re protecting.

 

This can be a dangerous teaching, because one could then think of all sorts of excuses to break precepts. But another important part of Buddhism is using common sense. If you use this teaching to get around the precepts, you know exactly what you’re doing and you aren’t helping anyone.

This is an important teaching because it sets Buddhism apart. The Buddha says these rules are a good idea, but he also says use your common sense.