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{ Category Archives } Skillful Means

The Third Great Truth: You Can Escape the Trap

When Gautama left home and became a sramana, he had dedicated himself to the notion of finding the answer to dukkha: what could be done? Living at home had taught him that no matter how pleasant things might have been, the painful sense of “unsatisfactoriness” remained. Becoming a sramana and an ascetic had taught him […]

The Second Great Truth: You Do It Yourself

Of course, the First Great Truth wasn’t the source of Gautama’s realization; it was just the hint that got him started, the pebble in his shoe. He left home determined to find a way to solve the problem of suffering, for himself and for everyone around him. In the -5 century[1], in India, there were […]

The First Great Truth: Things Suck

Remember that Gautama, when he first launched himself willy-nilly on the Path of The Great Liberation, didn’t know he was becoming the Great Liberator; this wasn’t a career path. It was more like some rich hippie kid (remember hippies?) “dropping out.” After growing up sheltered, sequestered, he happened to see old people, sick people, corpses […]

The Four Great Truths

About 2500 years ago, the pampered, sheltered son of a minor king in a tiny satrapy about the size of Los Angeles looked around himself one day and said “Why are things so unsatisfactory? I have everything — the most beautiful wife in the country, concubines, a beautiful son, I spend my days practicing archery […]

Must a Buddhist be Vegetarian?

I am asked: “does Buddhism necessitate vegetarianism?” Considering that Siddhartha wasn’t a vegetarian, I’d say “no”. On the other hand, there are lots of people who disagree. I think Stephen Mitchell wrote an extensive apologia for vegetarianism, although I can’t find a reference to it. (It may have been back in the old East-West Journal.)  […]

In Transit

Very odd day today. Cathy Seipp died, after a long struggle with an aggressive lung carcinoma.  (She told us the actual histology in her blog, but I’ve forgotten now; it was one of the weird bad ones that just apparently comes from nowhere.  She was not a smoker, as every obit seems required to note.) […]