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Μάρκος Αυρήλιος

Σάββατο, 15 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

35 Trust Yourself Even When Life Hurts

July 27th, 2011
Maybe you feel jaded because your trust has been betrayed and you have built high walls of protection  around your heart. Thats understandable. Life can be harsh, and people can be cruel. Now you have a choice. You can either let the betrayal define you and become closed and bitter, or you can rise above the hurt and become even more determined to do whatever you can to create a world of unconditional love. Trust without any guarantee that your trust will be respected. Love without any guarantee that your love will be returned. Be kind without any guarantee that your kindness will be appreciated. This is the dance of authenticity, the risk that being completely yourself will open you to the most satisfying of all relationships.
Learning to trust an unpredictable world changes your whole outlook on life. It makes the world a more open, inviting and friendly place. Don’t give your trust recklessly. Give your trust mindfully; aware that there are no guarantees and there is always the chance you will be hurt again. In your calmest moments, you know that the risk to keep your heart closed is nothing in comparison to the joy of sharing love.
Are There Any Guarantees?
It seems backward, but the first step to building trust in relationships is to accept that there are no guarantees. As Comedian, Randy Millholand said, “There are people I know who won’t hurt me. I call them corpses.” Trust offers no certainties, or else trust would not be required. But don’t give up working on trust no matter how jaded you feel, or else you might as well be a corpse.
Find your balance. Being jaded and being idealistic are equally dangerous when it comes to relationships.
Be realistic. I have presided over too many weddings where young couples stand before me with stars in their eyes and no idea of how much they will likely hurt each other at some point. Some of these same couples have knocked on my door within weeks or months with awful stories of broken trust.
If people truly realized the intensity of making vows of commitment to another human being for life, they would wear a crash helmet to the wedding. Not a veil, but a crash helmet. Love is an act of faith. I sometimes feel like sending couples out with the instructions, “Do not try this at home without a safety net. It’s risky!”
Be realistic. There are risks involved. But also believe. Believe that there is something stronger than the risk- that is the joy of dropping your guard with another person, letting that person into your private wthoughts and dreams and making a commitment to love each other through thick and thin. Risk your trust in return for the adventure of being in love. Trust opens the gates to love.
Trust is more important than love. Saying to another person ‘I trust you” is often more profound than saying “I love you.” You may not always trust the person you love, but you can always love the person you trust. Trust is a gift. When you offer someone the gift of trust, you create an opening for something greater. Trust frees you from your fears and helps you give birth to love.
Building Trust in Relationships
Stephen Covey, son of Stephen Covey who wrote Seven Habits of a Highly Effective People, is the author of The Speed of Trust; The One Thing that Changes Everything. He offers the analogy that every relationship has a trust account. When you build trust, you make a deposit. When you break a trust, you make a withdrawal. The withdrawals are typically larger than the deposits. Therefore the fastest way to rebuild the trust account is to stop making withdrawals. The other way to rebuild trust is to make new deposits.
Here are 10 practical ways to build trust.
1. Practice with small and safe deposits first. There are big things to entrust to someone, and there are smaller things. How many people would you trust with your life savings? Probably very few. What about telling someone a secret, or starting a new business with someone? Again, very few. But would you be prepared to trust someone with a smile, or a kind word, even knowing that they might abuse your vulnerability? Start by making small deposits into your trust account and build confidence from there.
2. Gather information to get the greatest return on your investment. Trust, to a certain extent, is built on information. Instead of taking a blind leap of faith, take a calculated risk. Gather as much information as you can before you trust, but keep in mind that trust implies incomplete information. Wendell Berry said this- “Knowledge, like everything else, has its place, and… we need urgently now to put it in its place… Let us…abandon our superstitious beliefs about knowledge: that it is ever sufficient, that it can of itself solve problems… Let us give up our forlorn pursuit of the ‘informed decision.” Gather information, but also be prepared to take a leap with incomplete information.
3. Be transparent. Suspicions often emerge in relationships when people act in a way that is outside their character or routine. Even if you don’t know why you are behaving the way you are, or if you don’t know why you are pushing love away, just express that you are going through something and need some space. Transparency leaves less room for imagination that can easily create unnecessary drama.
4. Be consistent. Make sure your words match the way you live. Mean what you say and say what you mean. There is nothing that can devastate trust more quickly than inconsistency.
5. Believe in the strength of your partner. He/ she can deal with your feelings and doubts and questions. Express yourself as lovingly as you can, and trust your partner to stay with your honest thoughts and feelings.
6. Agree to boundaries with other family and friends. Your relationship has its own intimacy boundaries, and this has as much to do with sharing private information and personal feelings as sexual intimacy. If you are telling a friend something that you haven’t or wouldn’t tell your partner, you may have crossed a line into emotional infidelity. This can create major barriers to trust.
7. Don’t confuse trust with forgiveness. They operate differently. You usually forgive people well before you trust them. You might forgive an apologetic jewel thief, but not leave him alone in a jewelry store. You might forgive people who have hurt you, but not leave them alone with your heart. If there has been a breach of trust, work at forgiveness as the first step towards trust.
8. Each person has their own trust account. People operate their trust accounts differently. You need to deposit into the other person’s trust account in a way that speaks to that person. Garrison Keilor tells a story about a couple who had been married for many years. The woman wrote a sonnet to her husband that amongst all the things she loved about him it was when he was working on the broken washing machine that she gained a “trust for tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that.” Be clear about how trust accrues, and ask direct questions to know how trust builds for others.
9. If you have breached a trust, don’t make things worse by lying about it. Take responsibility quickly, and begin regaining broken trust. The more time that passes, the more tangled the web, the harder it is to come back from broken trust.
10. If in your situation the broken trust is too deep, then work at a healthy ending to the relationship. There is more at stake than the relationship (and kids if there are kids involved). Your ability to trust yourself and get back on a path with integrity is the biggest issue at stake. Work towards loving and leaving the relationship, giving thanks for what it has meant, forgiving life for disappointing your expectations and moving forward positively.

Trust – What Are You Ultimately Protecting?

A Zen Master lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening, while he was away, a thief sneaked into the hut only to find there was nothing in it to steal. The Zen Master returned and found him. “You have come a long way to visit me,” he told the prowler, “and you should not return empty handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.” The thief was bewildered, but he took the clothes and ran away. The Master sat naked, watching the moon. “Poor fellow,” he mused,” I wish I could give him this beautiful moon.”
The beautiful thing about this story is that the Zen Master wasn’t holding on too tightly, so trust was easier for him. Be generous in your relationships. The more freely you give, the less you will feel that you have to lose.
Maybe you don’t need a crash helmet after all. Life is generous, and always offers second chances. People are flawed, but there are always opportunities to rebuild trust. You have an inner courage to get back up after being hurt and keep loving anyway. Let go, trust the adventure of being alive and enjoy intimacy without defensivene
 http://www.soulseeds.com/

Εφικτό το ταξίδι πίσω στο χρόνο

Μια ομάδα κβαντικών φυσικών του πανεπιστημίου ΜΙΤ των ΗΠΑ θεωρούν ότι είναι δυνατή η δημιουργία μιας χρονομηχανής, η οποία θα επιτρέπει το ταξίδι στο παρελθόν και συνεπώς την πρόκληση αλλαγών σε αυτό, χωρίς καν να δημιουργούνται παράδοξα στο παρόν και το μέλλον.



Οι κβαντομηχανικοί έχουν καταφέρει μέχρι σήμερα – αξιοποιώντας το μυστηριώδες φαινόμενο του «κβαντικού εναγκαλισμού» (που ξένιζε ακόμα και τον Αϊνστάιν)- να τηλεμεταφέρουν κβαντικές καταστάσεις από το ένα μέρος στο άλλο, σε απόσταση χιλιομέτρων.

Τώρα ο καθηγητής Σιθ Λόιντ και οι συνεργάτες στο Τεχνολογικό Ινστιτούτο της Μασαχουσέτης (ΜΙΤ), σύμφωνα με τη βρετανική «Τέλεγκραφ», φιλοδοξούν να πάνε ακόμα παραπέρα, αξιοποιώντας ένα άλλο κβαντικό φαινόμενο, την «μετα-επιλογή», προκειμένου να ταξιδέψουν ανάποδα στον χρόνο.

Όπως δήλωσε ο Λόιντ στο περιοδικό “Technology Review” (Τεχνολογική Επιθεώρηση), «είναι δυνατό για τα σωματίδια (και, θεωρητικά, για τους ανθρώπους) να ταξιδέψουν στο τούνελ του χρόνου, από το μέλλον προς το παρελθόν». Οι ερευνητές του ΜΙΤ θεωρούν ότι αν συνδυαστούν τα φαινόμενα του «κβαντικού εναγκαλισμού» και της «κβαντικής μετα-επιλογής», είναι η εφικτή η τηλεμεταφορά στο παρελθόν.

Αντίθετα με άλλες θεωρίες τηλεμεταφοράς στον χρόνο, η συγκεκριμένηκβαντική θεωρία αποφεύγει διλήμματα και παράδοξα που προκύπτουν από ένα τέτοιο ταξίδι στον χρόνο (του τύπου «αν φρόντισα ο μπαμπάς και η μαμά μου να μη συναντηθούν ποτέ στο παρελθόν, τότε εγώ πώς υπάρχω σήμερα;» ή «αν σκότωσα τον παππού μου όταν τον συνάντησα στο παρελθόν, τότε πώς εγώ γεννήθηκα και πώς γίνεται μετά να ταξίδεψα στο παρελθόν κοκ;»).

Επιπλέον, αντίθετα με άλλες θεωρίες «επιστροφής στο μέλλον», η κβαντική χρονομηχανή δεν προϋποθέτει την κάμψη του χωροχρόνου (κάτι που υποτίθεται ότι κάνουν οι μαύρες τρύπες, όμως ένα ταξίδι μέσω αυτών φαντάζει ιδιαίτερα απίθανο από πρακτική άποψη…).

Φυσικά και το κβαντικό ταξίδι στο παρελθόν δεν φαντάζει προς το παρόν πιο κοντά στην πραγματικότητα, καθώς δεν είναι παρά μια αμφιλεγόμενη θεωρία και πολλοί φυσικοί δεν πιστεύουν ότι μπορεί ποτέ να υλοποιηθεί. Πάντως η ομάδα του ΜΙΤ την παρουσίασε με τίτλο «Η κβαντομηχανική του ταξιδιού στον χρόνο μέσω μετα-επιλεγμένης τηλεμεταφοράς» στο arxiv.org – Quantum Physics.
 http://www.katohika.gr/

ΟΙ ΚΟΡΥΦΑΙΟΙ 12 ΤΡΑΠΕΖΙΤΕΣ ΤΩΝ ILLUMINATI ΘΑ ΣΥΝΑΝΤΗΘΟΥΝ ΓΙΑ ΣΑΤΑΝΙΚΗ ΘΥΣΙΑ ΠΑΙΔΙΩΝ ΣΤΟ ΝΤΕΝΒΕΡ ΣΤΙΣ 21 ΚΑΙ 22 ΔΕΚΕΜΒΡΙΟΥ

Ο Stew Webb αναφέρει ότι όπως και το περασμένο καλοκαίρι, οι 12 κορυφαίοι τραπεζίτες των Illuminati θα συναντηθούν για μια ακόμη παιδική θυσία στο κέντρο του Ντένβερ στο Κολοράντο στο υπόγειο του μουσείου "Ναβάρα" που ήταν ένα παλιό πορνείο και καζίνο, που πλέον είναι εγκαταλειμμένο και δεν ανοίγει για το κοινό. Οι σατανιστές θα συναντηθούν το απόγευμα της 21ης Δεκέμβρη με τη θυσία να συμβαίνει τις πρώτες πρωινές ώρες της 22ης. Ο Stew λέει ότι θα κλέψουν ένα μωρό απο την περιοχή για να το θυσιάσουν και στη συνέχεια να πιουν το αίμα του για να ευχαριστήσουν τον Σατανά. Πριν γελάσετε απο αυτό που ακούσατε και πιστέψετε ότι δεν είναι αλήθεια, παρακαλώ να διερευνήσετε πλήρως όλες τις λεπτομέρειες.




Αυτό είναι το το Συμβουλίου του κακού των Δεκατριών, όπου τόσα πολλά έχουν γραφτεί όλα αυτά τα χρόνια. Είναι η κορυφαίοι 12 τραπεζίτες των Illuminati με την 13η θέση για τον Διάβολο! Αυτοί οι άνδρες συναντιόνται κρυφά για να κάνουν τις κακίες τους στα δύο ηλιοστάσια της χρονιάς για πολύ μεγάλο χρονικό διάστημα, σύμφωνα με πληροφορίες του Stew Webb. Ο Stew και πηγές μυστικών υπηρεσιών, επιβεβαιώνουν ότι ο HW Bush ήταν εκεί κατά την διάρκεια της τελευταίας θυσίας στις 21 Ιουνίου και θα είναι εκεί και φέτος μαζί με τον Henry Kissinger, τον Leonard Millman, τον Larry Mizel και άλλους.

Ο Stew Webb θα κάνει ραδιοφωνικές εκπομπές σχετικά με αυτό το γεγονός, μέχρι την συγκεκριμένη ημερομηνία, και πραγματικά χρειάζεται την βοήθεια όλων για διάδοση των πληροφοριών στο Διαδίκτυο. 

Παρακαλώ μοιραστείτε την ακόλουθη σελίδα με όσο περισσότερους ανθρώπους μπορείτε μέσω του facebook και όλα τα άλλα μέσα κοινωνικής δικτύωσης και ιστοσελίδες. Με τη βοήθειά σας, μπορούμε να προβάλουμε το φως του Θεού σε αυτούς τους ανθρώπους που σκέφτονται ότι είμαστε όλοι σκλάβοι τους και ότι έχουν το δικαίωμα να θυσιάσουν νεογνά στον Σατανά! Ο Stew ζητά να προσευχηθούμε ότι αυτοί οι άνθρωποι θα εκτίθενται στον κόσμο φέτος!
atheatignosi.gr
 http://www.katohika.gr/

Samsara

Abstract: The game of Samsara  (everydayness) is characterized.
Samsara (or sometimes spelled "Sansara") is the daily round of the normal everyday world (where the triviality and repetition; the so-called "hurry-up-and-wait aspects of life are emphasized).

    A. General description:  the static or senseless cycle of everyday life. E.g., the metaphor of the potter's wheel [Hesse 61C].

      1. The attachment to things: compare life in different centuries as to what people find important. This century in the U.S., more than any other, we have become attached to gadgets: VMW, VCR, DVD, CD, PC...

      2. Samsara is usually defined as (1) the state of continual rebirths or (2) the daily round.

      3. Siddhartha sees Samsara as a game, and he's losing interest in it. On a smaller scale, job burnout is the same sort of state which happens when the specific differences of the day-to-day events do not seem to matter any more.
    B. Siddhartha begins to experience the soul-sickness of the rich.

      1. Even though Siddhartha felt different from and superior to others, the more he became like them, the more he envied them.

      2. He envied the sense of importance by which they lived their lives.

      3. His inward voice was silent.  As noted previously, the inward voice was not so much his conscience as a sense of intuition of taking charge of his life.

        a. Hesse characterizes the inward voice as seeking that which we have never had or that which we have lost.

        b. We can become self-adapting when the soul becomes vaguely aware of what is lacking, but it's not a satisfying way of life.
      4. Riches are seen as a burden. He takes up the adventure of gambling and high stakes. Note how people often seek adventure in order to forget the daily round, to avoid boredom at all costs, and to defeat the soul-sickness of Samsara.
III. Both Siddhartha and Kamala are approaching a mid-life crisis.
    A. Life is seen as limited and converging in possibilities when we do not take care of the soul.

      1. She had lost herself in Samsara as well.

      2. Compare to Freud's observation—[Hesse 65B]: "How closely related passion was to death."

        a. Compare the loss of ego in love, death, and meditation.

        b. What are the differences in ways the ego is lost according to the Daisy Theory of the human mind?

        c. Consider, for a moment,  the loss of self in accordance with alienation of misidentification where the self is identified as one of the petals of the daisy and the center disappears.
    B. With Siddhartha's nausea and dream is the death of Kamala's songbird. As he throws the bird away, he seems to throw away all that was of value to him.

      1. The dream is interpreted [Hesse 66C, 70C]: his own heart and inner voice are in danger.

      2. Siddhartha's self-analysis: a method often used in time of crisis. Another method of analysis is to prospectively write your own obituary [Hesse 67A].

        a. Examine your past in detail, your hopes, your shortcomings, and your strengths.

        b. What kinds of things make you sad? What kinds of things make you happy? The process of putting time into such thought can put new zest and direction in a life.
      3. His own life was more wretched than the Child-People. Why?

        a. He was a seeker—he sought to understand reality and self.

        b. The Child-People had faith—they knew that they could not understand; the mysteries were beyond them, but they could accept it by faith simply. (Cf., Tolstoy's characterization of the common people in his famous essay on the meaning of life from My Confession.)

        c. Perhaps here, in this regard, for these persons, ignorance is bliss—to know too much is harmful for the soul. In such cases we often seek to deceive ourselves or to elude life.

        The Pantry theory of the human mind can help explain the contrast. Just as, however many cans of food are on a shelf, their distribution fills the available space, so likewise, however many problems we have, their number fills our consciousness.  One can is placed in the middle of the shelf; one problem becomes the center of our thoughts. The Child-People are most concerned about what is before them now—they are concerned with whatever is part of the everyday.

        There was no room in their lives for the endless confusion of the speculative entertainment of transcendental reality. Cf., Buddha's parable of the poisoned arrow.
III. Siddhartha's conclusion: the game of Samsara is not a game worth playing—it's not a game worth losing your life for.

    A. He left without a "good-bye"—even Kamala seemed to be of no value to him now.

      1. Just as art was a decoy of life for Tolstoy, so likewise Siddhartha saw the art of love as a game, an art (a decoy), but not a reality.

      2. Siddhartha becomes a pilgrim: he now belongs to no person and no place. The ordinary trappings of life have become a burden to him.
    B. Kamala lets the bird go—just as Siddhartha has unlocked the cage of the prison of the daily round.
http://philosophy.lander.edu/oriental/samsara.html

Buddhism: The Eightfold Path

Abstract:  A rigorous system of habit formation as a course of practice in life is explained  as part of the Buddhist Eightfold Path.
Preliminary Step to the Eightfold Path often mentioned by Buddha is right association.  Training for a life of the spirit is made less arduous if you can be with others who seek the same things.  As Huston Smith points out, health is as contagious as disease, virtue as contagious as vice, and cheerfulness as contagious as moroseness.

http://philosophy.lander.edu/oriental/eightfold.html

I.  Right Knowledge:  some convictions are necessary to achieve a good life.


    A. Understanding of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path is, itself, what is meant. Especially noted are the resolution to overcome suffering by leaving aside selfish cravings and, instead, develop compassion for others.

    B. The use of reason as restriction--the middle way, the doctrine of the mean to avoid harmful things.

    C. Intellectual knowledge is conditioned by concepts and principles of a system. The intellect is inferior to the understanding, and direct insight results from seeing things just as they are without interpretation..

      1. Consider the futility of reducing a person to the categories of "tall," "Republican," "dark-haired," and so on.

      2. Wisdom is the direct apprehension of a thing--not propositional knowledge of labels or categories in standard form.
    D. If we can make up our mind as to what life's problems actually are, we can indeed fulfill the conviction that we can be happy.
II. Right Aspiration: decide what it is that we really want.   Is it enlightenment?

    A. One common feature of people of greatness is the passion by which they pursue their interest.  Although they might do other things well, it is this passion which motivates their lives and gives it significance.

    B. We should seek enlightenment with the intensity and single-mindedness to overcome life's dislocation.

    C. Cf., biographies of persons you find significant.
III. Right Speech: the first of the triggers of our lives.

    A. Language and speech patterns show us a lot about ourselves. (Cf., "How to Talk: Some Simple Ways.")

    B. Our speech acts affect how we think.

      1. First, watch how our speech deviates from the truth in everyday life--how when we tell stories we emphasize different aspects to make a point.  Sometimes, in the retelling, we lose sight of the truth.

      2. In truth, we should not fear revealing to others what we really are--use authentic speech.

      3. Cf., below the Noble Silence.
    C. Consider the person who makes himself angry by his own speech--he reminds himself through triggers. Consider the effects of the following statements:

      "That's not fair."
      "I deserve better."
      "He/she doesn't really care what I think."
      "He/she should be made to do it."
      "Why should I do that for you? You would never do that for me."
      "What you ought to do is ..."
      "I don't want to."
      "I hate it."
    D. We tend to find what we look for in others, yet we don't blame children for being short or alcoholics for drinking (that's what alcoholics do).
IV. Right Behavior: a kind of paradox results from considering that often behavior precedes states of mind, but actions in themselves have no moral worth in Buddhism--only the intentional struggle or lack of it has moral worth..

    A. The Five Precepts: similar to the ethical (second) half of the Ten Commandments:   Do not kill, steal, lie, be unchaste, or drink intoxicants.

    B. Self-analysis: examine your motives. In all behavior you inquire as to who, what, where, when, and why.

    C. Ultimately, one can practice according to the doctrine of non-effort --this is the heart of Buddhism.
V. Right Livelihood:  your occupation should be in accordance with, and not interfere with, your path.

    A. The question should not be whether or not you are to be a CEO or an accountant, but whether you are to be centered.

    B. Your choice of livelihood should be wherever you can experience support for your personal program.

    C. Specifically, avoid being a tax collector, a brewer, and arms dealer, or a caravan trader.
VI. Right Effort:  what William James called "the slow dull heave of the will."

    A. Buddha laid tremendous stress on the will: especially in transcending harmful mental states. Psychological pain is much more difficult to deal with than physical pain.

      a. Attempt to overcome crippling sentiments such as taking offense at the remarks of others.

      b. Tao Te Ching (pronounced roughly like "dow day jhing"): "He who takes the longest stride does not walk the fastest."

      c. Cf., Karma yoga for other aspects.
    B. Right effort entails doing things at the "staying speed."

      1. E.g., don't exercise too much or too little or exercising will be difficult to continue.

      2. The story of the ferryman carrying an old man and boy carrying books: "You can make it though the gates of the city before they close, if you do not hurry."  Unfortunately, they hurried, stumbled, spilled the books ...
VII. Right Mindfulness:  their mind leads people into disharmonious living.

    A. Our imaginations make things more or less than they really are and is the cause of excessive desire (tanha).

    B. Watch your emotions come and go. What is it that you just "have to" have? We need not crave or cling to any thing.

    C. Dhammapada: "All we are is a result of what we have thought." (The beginning verse of the most accessed Buddhist writing.)

      1. As Carl Rogers pointed out, "When man's awareness of experience is operating, his behavior is to be trusted."

      2. If we fully understand ourselves and life itself, neither would be a problem.

      3. Awareness is truth; see things as they are, not what you fear or want them to be. (How does a small child view dogs after that child is bitten  by one?)
    D. Intensive Self-examination:  in Buddhism, we go wrong through ignorance, not sin.

      1. The greatness of a person is in proportion to self-knowledge.

      2. Everything we experience (esp., moods and emotions) should be traced to its cause. (Cf., psychoanalysis.)

      3. Relate your actions through the overself or "second-self":  that who thinks of that who reads this sentence.

      4. E.g., "Why do I feel as I do now?  Did someone say something?, am I attempting to repress something?, am I covering up something? ..."
    E. Other recommendations.

      1. In the beginning, keep your mind in control of your senses and imagination rather than the other way around.

      2. Mediate on fearful and disgusting sights until you overcome your aversions.  Seek acceptance of "what is."

      3. Picture vividly your goal (not all desire is mistaken).

      4. Set aside a special time of the day for undistracted self-analysis--occasionally withdraw from life for several days.
VIII. Right Contemplation: the ceasing of Samsara by the extinction of individuality or personality, as one blows out a candle. Nirvana is a condition of the mind. 

    A. The Noble Silence: silence the mind--do not speak of soul or Atman; hesitate to talk of Brahman.  (Cf., Right Speech.)

    B. Raja yoga is the royal road to re-integration by psychological experiment with prescribed mental exercises. One observes their effects with respect to getting beyond the pitter-patter of daily existence (Samsara).

    C. The main steps:

      1. mastery of the breath
      2. completely shut out the external world
      3. mastery of concentration
      4. mastery of meditation
      5. union with God (yet, there is no "self")
Eightfold Path Summary Axioms of the Good Life
1.  Right Knowledge (Views) Wisdom
2.  Right Aspiration (Resolution)
3.  Right Speech
4.  Right Behavior (Action) Ethical Conduct
5.  Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort Mental Discipline
7. Right Mindfulness
8.  RightAbsorption  (Concentration)

Dukkha

Dukkha (Pāli; Sanskrit: duḥkha; Tibetan phonetic: dukngal) is a Buddhist term commonly translated as "suffering", "stress", "anxiety", or "dissatisfaction". Dukkha is identified as the first of the Four Noble Truths.
Within the Buddhist tradition, dukkha is commonly explained according to three different patterns or categories. In the first category, dukkha includes the obvious physical suffering or pain associated with giving birth, growing old, physical illness and the process of dying. These outer discomforts are referred to as the dukkha of ordinary suffering (dukkha-dukkha). In a second category, dukkha also includes the anxiety or stress of trying to hold onto things that are constantly changing; these inner anxieties are called the dukkha produced by change (vipariṇāma-dukkha). The third pattern or category of dukkha refers to a basic unsatisfactoriness pervading all forms of life because all forms of life are impermanent and constantly changing. On this level, the term indicates a lack of satisfaction, a sense that things never measure up to our expectations or standards. This subtle dissatisfaction is referred to as the dukkha of conditioned states (saṃkhāra-dukkha).

Neither pessimistic nor optimistic, but realistic

The central importance of dukkha in Buddhist philosophy is not intended to present a pessimistic view of life, but rather to present a realistic practical assessment of the human condition—that all beings must experience suffering and pain at some point in their lives, including the inevitable sufferings of illness, aging, and death.[1] Contemporary Buddhist teachers and translators emphasize that while the central message of Buddhism is optimistic, the Buddhist view of our situation in life (the conditions that we live in) is neither pessimistic nor optimistic, but realistic.[a]
Walpola Rahula explains the importance of this realistic point of view:
First of all, Buddhism is neither pessimistic nor optimistic. If anything at all, it is realistic, for it takes a realistic view of life and of the world. It looks at things objectively (yathābhūtam). It does not falsely lull you into living in a fool's paradise, nor does it frighten and agonize you with all kinds of imaginary fears and sins. It tells you exactly and objectively what you are and what the world around you is, and shows you the way to perfect freedom, peace, tranquility and happiness. One physician may gravely exaggerate an illness and give up hope altogether. Another may ignorantly declare that there is no illness and that no treatment is necessary, thus deceiving the patient with a false consolation. You may call the first one pessimistic and the second optimistic. Both are equally dangerous. But a third physician diagnoses the symptoms correctly, understands the cause and the nature of the illness, sees clearly that it can be cured, and courageously administers a course of treatment, thus saving his patient. The Buddha is like the last physician. He is the wise and scientific doctor for the ills of the world (Bhisakka or Bhaisajya-guru).[7]
Surya Das emphasizes the matter-of-fact nature of dukkha:
Buddha Dharma does not teach that everything is suffering. What Buddhism does say is that life, by its nature, is difficult, flawed, and imperfect. [...] That's the nature of life, and that's the First Noble Truth. From the Buddhist point of view, this is not a judgement of life's joys and sorrows; this is a simple, down-to-earth, matter-of-fact description. [8]
The Buddha acknowledged that there is both happiness and sorrow in the world, but he taught that even when we have some kind of happiness, it is not permanent; it is subject to change. And due to this unstable, impermanent nature of all things, everything we experience is said to have the quality of duhkha or unsatisfactoriness. Therefore unless we can gain insight into that truth, and understand what is really able to provide lasting happiness, and what is unable to provide happiness, the experience of dissatisfaction will persist.[9][web 4]

Three patterns

Within the Buddhist tradition, dukkha is commonly explained according to three different patterns or levels or categories:[b][1][10][11][12][13][14][web 5][web 6][web 7][web 8]
Dukkha of ordinary suffering
  • Pali: dukkha-dukkha
  • Also referred to as the suffering of suffering.
  • Includes the sufferings of birth, aging, sickness, death, and coming across what is not desirable.
  • This outer level of dukkha includes all of the obvious physical suffering or pain associated with giving birth, growing old, physical illness and the process of dying.
Dukkha produced by change
  • Pali: viparinama-dukkha
  • Also referred to as: suffering of change or suffering of impermanence.
  • Includes two categories: trying to hold onto what is desirable, and not getting what you want.
  • Buddhist author Chogyam Trungpa includes the category "not knowing what you want."
  • Pema Chödrön described this type of suffering as the suffering of trying to hold onto things that are always changing.
  • This inner level of dukkha includes the anxiety or stress of trying to hold onto things that are constantly changing.
Dukkha of conditioned states
  • Pali sankhara-dukkha
  • Also referred to as all-pervasive suffering
  • This category is also identified as one of the "eight types of suffering".
  • Pema Chodron describes this as the suffering of ego-clinging; the suffering of struggling with life as it is, as it presents itself to you; struggling against outer situations and yourself, your own emotions and thoughts, rather than just opening and allowing.
  • This is a subtle form of suffering arising as a reaction to qualities of conditioned things, including the skandhas, the factors constituting the human mind.
  • This is the deepest, most subtle level of dukkha; it includes "a basic unsatisfactoriness pervading all existence, all forms of life, due to the fact that all forms of life are changing, impermanent and without any inner core or substance."[web 9]
  • On this level, the term indicates a lack of satisfaction, a sense that things never measure up to our expectations or standards.

Types

Eight types

Dukkha can also be categorized into eight types belonging to the three categories of: inherited suffering, the suffering between the period of birth and death, and general misery. Chogyam Trunga explains these categories as follows:[15][c]
Inherited suffering:
  • Birth: the discomfort of birth and experiencing the world for the first time; and the discomfort of relating to new demands or experiences.
  • Old age: the discomfort involved in the process of aging and growing old; this can apply to psychological as well as physical discomfort of aging.
  • Sickness: the discomfort of physical or psychological illness.
  • Death: includes the pain of separation and not being able to continue on in your endeavors, as well as the physical discomfort of dying.
Suffering between the periods of birth and death:
  • Getting what you don't want: being unable to avoid difficult or painful situations.
  • Not being able to hold onto what is desirable: the pain of trying to hold onto what is desirable, lovely, splendid, terrific.
  • Not getting what you do want: this underlies the previous two categories; the anxiety of not getting what you want.
General misery:
  • All-pervasive suffering: a very subtle dissatisfaction that exists all the time; it arises as a reaction to the qualities of conditioned things (e.g. the impermanence of things).

Six types

Aung San Suu Kyi presented a list of six great dukkha at her Nobel Lecture, delivered on 16 June, 2012. These are:[web 11]

Three marks of existence

Dukkha is also listed among the three marks of existence. These are:
  • Impermanence (anicca)
  • Suffering (dukkha)
  • Not-self (anatta).
In this context, dukkha denotes the experience that all formations (sankhara) are impermanent (anicca) - thus it explains the qualities which make the mind as fluctuating and impermanent entities. It is therefore also a gateway to anatta, not-self.

Developing insight into dukkha

Canonical Buddhist teachings emphasize the importance of practicing meditation to develop insight into dukkha. The subtle nature of dukkha eludes an unprepared mind, as noted in Samyutta Nikaya #35, in which the Buddha says:
What ordinary folk call happiness, the enlightened ones call dukkha.
The Anapanasati Sutta and Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta each affirm that a person first needs to practice meditation (jnana) to purify the mind of the five hindrances to insight before contemplating the Four Noble Truths, which begin with the nature of "dukkha" in life.
Without experience of meditation, one's knowledge of the world is too limited to fully understand dukkha, as required by the first noble truth, and proceed to enlightenment.[16]
Contemporary scholar Micheal Carrithers also emphasizes the need to examine one's life. Carrithers asserts that insofar as it is dynamic, ever-changing, uncontrollable and not finally satisfactory, unexamined life is itself precisely dukkha.[17] Carrithers also asserts that the question which underlay the Buddha's quest was "in what may I place lasting relevance?" He did not deny that there are satisfactions in experience: the exercise of vipassana assumes that the meditator sees instances of happiness clearly. Pain is to be seen as pain, and pleasure as pleasure. It is denied that happiness dependent on conditions will be secure and lasting.[17]
Contemporary Buddhist teacher Ajahn Brahm emphasizes this point using a simile that compares the experience of dukkha to being in prison, and compares meditation (Pali: jhana) to a tunnel that leads out of the prison:[d]
Another simile [...] is that of the man who was born and raised in a prison and who has never set foot outside. All he knows is prison life. He would have no conception of the freedom that is beyond his world. And he would not understand that prison is suffering. If anybody suggested that his world was dukkha, he would disagree, for prison is the limit of his experience. But one day he might find the escape tunnel dug long ago that leads beyond the prison walls to the unimaginable and expansive world of real freedom. Only when he has entered that tunnel and escaped from his prison does he realize how much suffering prison actually was, and the end of that suffering, escaping from jail is happiness. In this simile the prison is the body, the high prison walls are the five senses, and the relentless demanding prison guard is one's own will, the doer. The tunnel dug long ago, through which one escapes, is called jhana [meditation] (as at AN IX, 42). Only when one has experienced jhana does one realize that the five-sense world, even at its best, is really a five-walled prison, some parts of it is a little more comfortable but still a jail with everyone on death row! Only after deep jhana does one realize that "will" was the torturer, masquerading as freedom, but preventing one ever resting happily at peace. Only outside of prison can one gain the data that produces the deep insight that discovers the truth about dukkha.
In summary, without experience of jhana, one's knowledge of the world is too limited to fully understand dukkha, as required by the first noble truth, and proceed to enlightenment.[16]
Contemporary Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa explains that meditation is designed to develop an understanding of dukkha:
Understanding suffering [dukkha] is very important. The practice of meditation is designed not to develop pleasure, but to understand the truth of suffering; and in order to understand the truth of suffering, one also has to understand the truth of awareness. When true awareness takes place, suffering does not exist. Through awareness, suffering is somewhat changed in its perspective. It is not necessarily that you do not suffer, but the haunting quality that fundamentally you are in trouble is removed. It is like removing a splinter. It might hurt, and you might still feel pain, but the basic cause of that pain, the ego, has been removed.[18]

Relation to the five skandhas

According to the Buddhist tradition, the dukkha of conditioned states (saṃkhāra-dukkha) is related to clinging to the skandhas. Oxford scholar Noa Ronkin discusses the relation between the skandhas (Sanskrit; Pali: khandhas) and dukkha:
Her conclusion is that the associating of the five skandhas as a whole with dukkha indicates that experience is a combination of a straightforward cognitive process together with the psychological orientation that colours it in terms of unsatisfactoriness. Experience is thus both cognitive and affective, and cannot be separated from perception. As one's perception changes, so one's experience is different: we each have our own particular cognitions, perceptions and volitional activities in our own particular way and degree, and our own way of responding to and interpreting our experience is our very experience. In harmony with this line of thought, Gethin observes that the skandhas are presented as five aspects of the nature of conditioned existence from the point of view of the experiencing subject; five aspects of one's experience. Hence each khandha represents 'a complex class of phenomena that is continuously arising and falling away in response to processes of consciousness based on the six spheres of sense. They thus become the five upādānakhandhas, encompassing both grasping and all that is grasped.'[19]

Within Buddhist literature

Dukkha appears frequently in Buddhist texts. Jeffrey Po explains:
Dukkha is an extremely important concept and is central to understanding Buddhism in its entirety. It appears in the first of the Four Noble Truths and as one of the Three Characteristics of Existence. References to "dukkha" as one of life's situations abound in many of the suttas delivered by Lord Buddha Himself as well as in numerous Buddhist philosophical and psychological thoughts.[web 12]
The Four Noble Truths deal with the nature of "dukkha" in life, what is the cause of "dukkha", the cessation (cure) for "dukkha", and the techniques to bring about the cessation of "dukkha".
The first noble truth is presented within the Buddha's first discourse, Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Dharma (Dharmacakra Pravartana Sūtra), as follows:[web 13]
"This is the noble truth of dukkha: birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, illness is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are dukkha; union with what is displeasing is dukkha; separation from what is pleasing is dukkha; not to get what one wants is dukkha; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are dukkha."[20]
Texts like the Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta[web 14] and Anuradha Sutta,[web 15] show Buddha as insisting that the truths about dukkha and the way to end dukkha are the only ones he is teaching as far as attaining the ultimate goal of nirvana is concerned.

Within non-Buddhist literature

Hinduism

In Hindu literature, the earliest Upaniads — the Bṛhadāraṇyaka and the Chāndogya — are believed to predate or coincide with the advent of Buddhism.[e] In these texts' verses, the Sanskrit word dukha (translated below as "suffering" and "distress") occurs only twice. In the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad, it states (in English and Sanskrit):
English Sanskrit
While we are still here, we have come to know it [ātman].
If you've not known it, great is your destruction.
Those who have known it — they become immortal.
As for the rest — only suffering awaits them.[21]
ihaiva santo 'tha vidmas tad vayaṃ na ced avedir mahatī vinaṣṭiḥ
ye tad vidur amṛtās te bhavanty athetare duḥkham evāpiyanti
[web 16]
In the Chāndogya Upaniṣad, it is written:
English Sanskrit
When a man rightly sees,
he sees no death, no sickness or distress.
When a man rightly sees,
he sees all, he wins all, completely.[22][f]
na paśyo mṛtyuṃ paśyati na rogaṃ nota duḥkhatām
sarvaṃ ha paśyaḥ paśyati sarvam āpnoti sarvaśaḥ
[web 17]
Thus, as in Buddhism, these texts emphasize that one overcomes dukha through the development of a transcendent understanding.[g]

Panetics

In 1986, the Journal of Humanistic Psychology published an article by Ralph G.H. Siu entitled Panetics—The Study of the Infliction of Suffering.[23] In the abstract for the article, Sui proposed using the term dukkha as a quantitative measurement; he wrote:
After analyzing the unceasing mutual inflictions of suffering by practically everyone and the neglect of this pervasive and degenerating human deficiency by the academic community, I urge the immediate creation of a new and vigorous academic discipline, called panetics, to be devoted to the study of the infliction of suffering. The nature, scope, illustrative contents, and social value are outlined. The dukkha is proposed as a semiquantitative unit of suffering to assist in associated analytical operations.
Related publications include:
  • Panetics: The study of the infliction of suffering. J. Humanistic Psychology 28(3), 6-22. 1988
  • The humane chief of state and the Gross National Dukkhas (GND). Panetics 2(2), 1-5. 1993.
  • Panetics Trilogy. The International Society for Panetics, 1994.
    • Vol. I, Less Suffering for Everybody. Ibid.
    • Vol. II, Panetics and Dukkhas. Ibid.
    • Vol. III, Seeds of Reflection, Panetic Word Clusters. Ibid

Etymology

The early Western translators of Buddhist texts (prior to the 1970s) translated the Pali term dukkha as "suffering" and conveyed the impression that Buddhism was a pessimistic or world-denying philosophy. Later translators, however, including Walpola Rahula (What Buddha Taught, 1974) and nearly all contemporary translators, have emphasized that "suffering" is too limited a translation for the term dukkha, and have preferred to either leave the term untranslated or to clarify that translation with terms such as unease, anxiety, stress, dissatisfaction, disquietude, etc.[24][25][26][web 12]
Rupert Gethin explains:
Rich in meaning and nuance, the word duḥkha is one of the basic terms of Buddhist and other Indian religious discourse. Literally 'pain' or 'anguish', in its religious and philosophical contexts duḥkha is, however, suggestive of an underlying sense of 'unsatisfactoriness' or 'unease' that must ultimately mar even our experience of happiness.[1]
On the deepest level, dukkha suggests a basic unsatisfactoriness pervading all forms of life because all forms of life are impermanent and constantly changing. Dukkha indicates a lack of satisfaction, a sense that things never measure up to our expectations or standards.[27][web 9]
Sargeant (2009: p. 303) explains the historical roots of duḥkha and its antonym sukha:
It is perhaps amusing to note the etymology of the words sukha (pleasure, comfort, bliss) and duḥkha (misery, unhappiness, pain). The ancient Aryans who brought the Sanskrit language to India were a nomadic, horse- and cattle-breeding people who travelled in horse- or ox-drawn vehicles. Su and dus are prefixes indicating good or bad. The word kha, in later Sanskrit meaning "sky," "ether," or "space," was originally the word for "hole," particularly an axle hole of one of the Aryan's vehicles. Thus sukha … meant, originally, "having a good axle hole," while duhkha meant "having a poor axle hole," leading to discomfort.[28]
According to grammatical tradition, dukkha is derived from dus-kha "uneasy", but according to Monier-Williams more likely a Prakritized form of dus-stha "unsteady, disquieted".[29] The Sanskrit prefix 'su' is used as an emphasis suggesting wholesome, high, evolved, desirable, strong and such.[web 18]
Dukkha was translated as ( "bitterness; hardship; suffering; pain") in Chinese Buddhism, and this loanword is pronounced ku (苦) in Japanese Buddhism and ko (苦) in Korean Buddhism, and khổ in Vietnamese Buddhism. The Tibetan (phonetic) is dukngal. In Shan, it is [tuk˥kʰaː˥] and in Burmese, it is [doʊʔkʰa̰].

Alternate translations

Translations used for dukkha in the context of the four noble truths are:
  • A basic unsatisfactoriness pervading all existence (Bhikkhu Bodhi)
  • Anguish
  • Anxiety (Chogyam Trungpa, The Truth of Suffering, pp. 8–10)
  • Affliction (Brazier)
  • Dissatisfaction (Pema Chodron, Chogyam Trunpa)
  • Discomfort
  • Discontent
  • Frustration (Dalai Lama, Four Noble Truths, p. 38)
  • Misery
  • Sorrow
  • Stress (Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Jon Kabat-Zin)
  • Suffering (Thich Nhat Hanh, Ajahn Succito, Chogyam Trungpa, Rupert Gethin, Dalai Lama, et al.)
  • Uneasiness (Chogyam Trungpa)
  • Unease (Rupert Gethin)
  • Unhappiness
  • Unsatisfactoriness (Rupert Gethin; Dalai Lama, Four Noble Truths, p. 38; Piyadassi Thera, The Ancient Path)
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

Buddhism: The Four Noble Truths

Abstract: Buddha's fundamental understanding of life is summarized.
I.  At the end of his six-year quest and the so-called 49 days of enlightenment, Buddha gave his first insights:
    "Be ye lamps unto yourselves. Be ye a refuge to yourselves. Betake yourselves to no external refuge. Hold fast to the Truth as a lamp. Hold fast as a refuge to the Truth. Work out your own salvation with diligence."

    The subject of this first sermon in the forest was the declaration of his key insights in propositional form.

    A. The Four Noble Truths: his deepest and most considered reflections about life.

      1. First Noble Truth: Life is dukkha--usually translated as "suffering" although it is much more than this.

        a. We continuously distract ourselves with ephemeral pursuits--to be so distracted is to forget in the depths what we are and can be.

        b. A better translation of dukkha is dislocation or hindrance (literally, "out of joint, not together").

        c. Buddha specifies six occasions when life's dislocation is evident to anyone, rich or poor:

          (1) the trauma of birth
          (2) the pathology of sickness
          (3) the morbidity of decrepitude
          (4) the phobia of death
          (5) to be tied to what one hates
          (6) to be separated from what one loves
        d. Hence, the basis and foundation of living is hindrance, suffering, and pain.
      2. Second Noble Truth: The cause of life's dislocation is tanha: the desire to private fulfillment.

        a. Buddha did not advocate the extinction of all desire (e.g., the desire for liberation and the desire for the welfare of other human beings remain essential).

        b. Tanha is excessive concern with self.
          In a group photograph, we look for our own picture first.

          Where is the person who would sacrifice all gifts to his loved ones in lieu of gifts for the sake of reducing world hunger?
      3. Third Noble Truth: If the cause of life's dislocation is selfish craving, then its cure lies in the overcoming of selfish craving.

      4. Fourth Noble Truth: The program offering specific steps to overcome tanha are given as the Eightfold Path.
    B. The Eightfold Path is a rigorous method whereby one can obtain happiness.
II. These are the options for a life-course:

(1) "Wandering about":  the almost random unreflective way in which we are pushed and pulled by circumstances (like a twig caught in a drain), and

(2) "The Path":  if you seek happiness, you can have it (with practice).
Check your understanding with a Quiz on The Four Noble Truths.

Readings
Access to Insight, "The Four Noble Truths."
 http://philosophy.lander.edu/oriental/noble.html

Buddhism: The Buddha

Abstract:  A brief summary of Buddha's life is given together with Huston Smith's brief assessment of Buddhism as a religion.
I.  Huston Smith* notes that there are only two persons in the history of the world that we wonder what they were rather than who they were.

    A. When asked who he was, Buddha replied, "I am awake." "Buddha" means the "enlightened one" or "awakened one."

      1. The implication is that ordinary consciousness is like a deep sleep.

      2. As I come to the end of this sentence, think of yourself thinking of this sentence.
    B. When born in 560 BC in northern India, the fortune tellers said he would either be (1) a universal king who conquers India or (2) the savior of the world.

      1. His father spared no effort to get him attached to worldly things.

      2. His upbringing was luxurious; he was extremely handsome; he married at 16--well-born on both sides.

      3. He was destined for wealth, power, and prestige--like Siddhartha in Hesse's novel, he had everything going for him.
II. The Four Passing Sights: when in his twenties, a discontent came over him.

    A. In spite of his father's care and guard, he saw ...

      1. An old man: the fact of old age.
      2. A body racked with disease: the fact of illness.
      3. A corpse: the fact of death.
      4. A monk with a shaven head: the fact of withdrawal from the world.

      Thus, the inescapable facts of disease, decrepitude, and death made him realize that happiness cannot be found on this earth as Maya.
    B. The Great Going Forth: when he was 29 years old, he became a forest-dweller for six years. (Cf., Siddhartha and the Samanas in chapter 2 of Siddhartha).

      1. He studied raja yoga in such depth that even today, the Hindus claim his as a Hindu.

      2. He exhibited enormous will power through his asceticism.

      3. As a result of his self-torture, Buddha proposed a "middle way" between asceticism and indulgence.
    C. The remaining 45 years of his life were spent in teaching. Although he was called divine during his life, he always replied that he was human in every respect.
III. Is Buddhism religion or psychology?
    A. Smith points out that there are six main aspects of religion:

      1. Authority--both human and divine.

      2. Ritual--celebration of the origin of the religion.

      3. Speculation--the sense of wonder.

      4. Tradition--the institutions and practices to perpetuate the faith.

      5. God's transcendence and power--our existence is contingent upon God.

      6. Mystery, magic, mysticism, and miracles.
    B. Buddha rejected all of these aspects of religion. He preached a "religion" ...

      1. Devoid of authority: "Be ye lamps unto yourself."

      2. Devoid of ritual: one of the fetters which bind our spirit.

      3. Devoid of speculation: "The Noble Silence." He flatly refused to discuss metaphysics such as  "Is the world finite?" or "What is the relation between the soul and the body?"

        Parable of the Poisoned Arrow: doing metaphysics is like a physician wanting to know all of the background information before he will pull out a poisoned arrow from a patient.
      4. Devoid of tradition: don't go by what is handed down. "If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him!"

      5. As opposed to God, he taught a religion of intense self-effort; no Gods can be counted on--even the Buddha, himself, cannot be counted on.

      6. Devoid of the supernatural: he taught a religion of personal experience.
------------------------
* Huston Smith, The World's Religions (New York; HarperCollins, 1991).
 http://philosophy.lander.edu/oriental/buddha.html

Hinduism: The Caste System, Reincarnation, and Karma

I. The Caste System--(groups assigned by birth not personality). The Hindu conception of the social order is that people are different, and different people will fit well into different aspects of society.  Social order or social class according to varna forms the framework of moral duties according to personal characteristics of individuals (not necessarily birth).


    A. Historically the caste system dates back to the Aryan invasion of India around 2,000 BC.

    B. Society is divided into four main groups (with a fifth, "the untouchables," outside of the caste system).

      Passage from the Rig Veda:
      (The world was formed from Purusa whose body is described as follows.)
      "The brahmin was his mouth, his two arms became the rajanya (kshatriyas), his thighs are what the vaisya are, and from his feet the shudra was made."

       1. Brahmin: the seers, the reflective ones, the priests.

        a. The intellectual and spiritual leaders.

        b. In our society, they would correspond to the philosophers, religious leaders, and teachers.
      2. Kshatriyas--(pronounced something like "kshot ree yahs") the born administrators (formerly nobles, rajahs, and warriors).

        a. The protectors of society.

        b. In our society, the politicians, police, and the military.
      3. Vaisyas: (pronounced something like "vy sy us") the producers, the craftsmen, artisans, farmers.

        a. The skillful producers of material things.

        b. In our society, the merchants.
      4. Shudras--(pronounced something like "shoo drrahs") the unskilled laborers or laboring class.

        a. The followers or the maintenance people.

        b. The so-called menial workers or hard laborers.
    C. Advantages to the Caste system. The heritability of intelligence and factors of personality raise some interesting philosophical questions.

      1. What we would like people to be is not usually what they are. Many persons would be more comfortable in their own social class.

      2. Unless unequals are separated into different classes, many persons would be "born losers."

      3. Egalitarianism is the belief that privileges are proportional to the responsibilities and a denial of the tyranny of the majority.
II. Reincarnation: the philosophical basis of this belief is the consideration that if individual souls (jivas) are eternal, where did they come from?
    A. The spriit is independent of the body and the situation the spirit is in.
      Passage from the Gita:
      "Worn out garments are shed by the body; worn out bodies are shed by the dweller."

      1. At the subhuman level the passage is almost automatic up the chain of being.

      2. At the human level comes consciousness which implies freedom, responsibility, and effort.

      3. The consequences of your past decisions have determined your present state.
    B. Law of Karma--the moral law of action and reaction.

      1. The present condition of your soul (confusion or serenity) is a product of your past decisions. You have made yourself what you are.

      2. Your present thoughts, decisions, and actions determine your future states. ("Unsettled state" = "bad karma.")  Karma can be altered through natural and moral decision and action.

      3. Every person gets what that person deserves--even though decisions are freely arrived at, there is no chance in the universe. Karma is the middle way between determinism and indeterminism.

      4. The assumption is that we will not change the world in any significant way--the world is the training ground for Atman-Brahman.

      5. There is no randomness or accident in the universe. "There are no lost traces."  Karma is not fate or strict causality.
http://philosophy.lander.edu/oriental/caste.html

Hinduism: The Four Stages of Life

Abstract: Life is a developmental path upward through four stages (ashramas) for some Hindus.
I.  The Four Stages of Life--as has been noted before, if there is one abiding perspective on Hinduism, it is that people are different.  How should you live?  If you are a male in an upper three varna, then it depends upon what stage of life you are living.  (Not all persons go through all stages).
A. The Student Stage--(twelve year rite of initiation 8,12 to 18,24 years old for male, high caste Hindus).

    1. Student lives in the home of his teacher and study the Vedas.

     2. Student serves the teacher, shows respect, and learns the texts. The rite is a kind of apprenticeship where habits, skill, and practical knowledge are emphasized.
B. The Householder Stage--(begins with marriage as the completion of the formal studies).

    1. The rules for marriage are set forth in the Laws of Manu. Attention is turned toward the world: family, career, and community.

    2. Note the relation to the game of life, the path of desire, where success is a means to self-esteem.

    3. If physical activity is the only importance in life, all experience after youth is wasted, and what would lie ahead would be unfortunate. However, obviously, there is more to life than dharma.
C. The Forest Retirement Stage--(begins after the arrival of the first grandchild; the grandfather can withdraw from social obligations).

    1. Compare the different import to the question, "What do you want to be?" when the question is addressed to a 16 year-old and to a 50 year-old person.

    2. This stage involves coming to terms with who we are. There is time to read, think, and consider the significance of life without the interruption of duty.
D. The Forest Dweller or Ascetic Stage--(begins by leaving home and carrying out a spiritual existence in the country).

1. The man and his wife together (if she wants to go) move to the forest to begin in earnest the path of self-discovery.

2. Most men defer the Forest Dweller Stage to another future life.

 3. The forest dweller works out a philosophy of sannyasin--one who neither hates nor loves anything. A sannyasin is completely independent and is beyond dharma (the structure of moral and social obligations) and so in a sense is "beyond good and evil."

a.  There are no social pretensions--things simply are what they are (cf., Vasudeva in Hesse's Siddhartha).

b.  Once detachment, mental and economic independence, is achieved, the sannyasin can return to the town or city.

c.  This stage of life is a necessary condition for the attainment of salvation; once achieved that soul will never individually return to this world.
http://philosophy.lander.edu/oriental/stages.html

The View from Above: Moksa ( Moksha, Mukti)

Abstract: By overcoming the limitations of personality, moksa can be realized.
I.  As human beings we are limited in many ways:  we lack physical, mental, and spiritual abilities.  We error, we grow ill, we die.

II. We are limited in three essential ways: suffering, ignorance, and limited life.

    A. Limitations due to suffering--the limitation of existence.

      1. When your life has a purpose, you can tolerate almost any pain.  E.g., in the strenuous life, the scrapes and bruises are hardly noticed.

      2. Psychological suffering and pain is more difficult to deal with--especially, personal losses.

        a. If the ego had no expectations there would be no disappointment. If the ego did not exist, there would be nothing to disappoint.

        b. If one can see things with empathy "under the aspect of eternity," one can truly experience joy at the victory of his opponent (cf., the final chapter of Siddhartha). One can see the inevitable narrowing of life's possibilities due to prior choices (e.g., compare the process of life to a chess game).
      3. The only real disability in life is a bad attitude.
    B. Limitations due to ignorance or lack of awareness. We seek "knowing that knowledge of which brings knowledge of everything." We seek awareness of ultimate reality.

      1. The "blinding insight" of the mystical experience has occurred too many times to too many reputable thinkers in all cultures for us to doubt its worth.

      2. The shattering vision of unity--mystics claim transcendent knowledge is possible.

      3. Evidence from academic psychology suggests that we are hardly aware of the possibilities of the human mind: hypnotism, meditation, collective unconscious,  the idiot savant.
    C. Limitations of the self--how far can our being extend? How can we define the boundary of the self? Is our total being part of infinite consciousness?

      1. Immediacy level of consciousness: we identify ourselves with the individual moment (e.g., the crying of a child over a trivial misfortune).

      2. Intermediate level of consciousness: we identify ourselves with what we do, "show we are," and the roles we play. We shift identification away from the individual moment to see our life as a process.

      3. Infinite level of consciousness: we do not identify ourselves with any particular set of experiences. There is a self which underlies my everyday self and yet endures through individual experiences. Compare this notion to the transcendental unity of apperception.

        a. If I am more than what I have experienced, then I can let go of past injustices, forgive, and still be the same self.  If I change my mind, I do not change myself.  Commitment and self-consistency are not necessary for self.

        b. The Hindu epics relate many fables which illustrate the infinite level of consciousness.
III. Moksa: "From Brahman to a grass blade, creation is for the benefit of the soul until supreme knowledge is obtained." Moksa is absolute freedom from ignorance, anguish, and death. Suffering is not part of the soul (Self) and is only part of human personality (the self). 
 http://philosophy.lander.edu/oriental/moksa.html