Ancient wisdom traditions have deep resonance in these uncertain times — not that there's more suffering than ever before but that more people are aware of suffering. Now that humans are capable of relieving needless suffering, we're discovering our positive potentials for great happiness and innate goodness. (¿Have you heard the saying? "Train your mind and change your brain!") Might you already be a bit Buddhist, and not yet realize it?
Gary Gach is an author, editor, translator, poet, and teacher. Buddhism provides an excellent job description for his multi-faceted calling in life: generalist.
Since the appearance of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buddhism, there are now 100,000 copies in print. His seminal anthology, What Book? Buddha Poems from Beat to Hip Hop, featuring 350 selections from 125 contributors, is the recipient of an American Book Award, and is now in a its third printing. He’s brought out three books in English by Korea’s unofficial poet laureate: Flowers of a Moment (Northern California Book Award, Translation), Songs for Tomorrow: 1961-2001, and Ten Thousand Lives (second printing; with an introduction by Robert Hass). He’s also the author of Pocket Guide to the Internet, Preparing the Ground: Poems 1960-1970, and Writers.net. His work has appeared in more than 150 newspapers, magazines, journals, and anthologies, including The American Poetry Review, A Book of Luminous Things, The Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Language for a New Century, The Nation, The New Yorker, Technicians of the Sacred, and Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace. He is an instructor at Stanford Continuing Studies.
Born in 1947, Gach grew up in Hollywood, where he was student body president, a champion speaker and debater, and performed on the stage and in movies, television, and radio. He was educated at the University of California at Los Angeles and San Francisco State University, from which he received a BA in English. He lives in San Francisco, where he swims in the Bay.
Major world religion and philosophy founded in northeastern India between the 6th and the 4th centuries BCE. Based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, called the Buddha, Buddhism takes as its goal the escape from suffering and from the cycle of rebirth: the attainment of nirvana. It emphasizes meditation and the observance of certain moral precepts. The Buddha's teachings were transmitted orally by his disciples; during his lifetime he established the Buddhist monastic order (sangha). He adopted some ideas from the Hinduism of his time, notably the doctrine of karma, but also rejected many of its doctrines and all of its gods. In India, the emperor Ashoka promoted Buddhism during the 3rd century BCE, but it declined in succeeding centuries and was nearly extinct there by the 13th century. It spread south and flourished in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, and it moved through Central Asia and China (including Tibet; seeTibetan Buddhism), Korea, and Japan (seePure Land Buddhism; Zen). In the 19th century, Buddhism spread to Europe and the United States, and it became increasingly popular in the West in the second half of the 20th century. Buddhism's main teachings are summarized in the Four Noble Truths, of which the fourth is the Eightfold Path. Buddhism's two major branches, Mahayana and Theravada, have developed distinctive practices and unique collections of canonical texts. In the early 21st century, the various traditions of Buddhism together had more than 375 million followers.
thank you, twilight! these 4 en-nobling truths are indeed beautiful! nothing (000) to add ; everything to see for one's self, study, test, apply, understand, realize, transform, etc. actually, this four-foid sequence is so foundational — & potent — the first teaching of the Buddha, upon Enlightenment, so one could say they're his report as to How To — i'm posting another formulation/translation, these by Susan Piver, as posted this week at HuffingtonPost —
1) Life is suffering. (Doesn't mean "life sucks," by the way. More like, "life changes.")
2) Suffering is caused by attachment. (Wanting things to be other than they are.)
3) It is possible to stop suffering. (Phew.)
4) There is an eight-fold path to liberate yourself from suffering, which includes such things as Right Speech, Right Action and so on.
their truth is revealed in one's life, and so their study is life long ...
hi, twilight. good question ! (none better)
1st noble truth : fact of suffering
("pain is inevitable, suffering is extra")
we're mortal, we're bound to experience pain; driving the wrong way on a one-way street however is unnecessary, yet we find ourselves in such situations in our life. we're all given to stress, grief, etc.
if 1st noble truth is symptom, 2nd is diagnosis: we suffer needlessly because we attach ourselves to what's impermanent, or interconnected, or without any intrinsic identity, or not present in the present moment ... and so build sandcastles along the shore thinking they're going to last and are upset when they're worn or wiped away
it's not about not having desire, it's not that desire is "bad" — all living beings desire various things ... water, air, food, etc ... but to cling to our desires, or identify with them, (likes, dislikes, indifferences), there's a set-up for unnecessary suffering ...
the way is easy for one who has no preferences ...
experience the present moment without clinging ... awaken your mind without fixing it onto any thing ...
this is short-hand ... many have taught about this eloquently ....more about it in chapter 7 of my humble book ... please let me know if you have further questions, comments, etc.
I'm currently in an exam period that is thankfully over soon and then I shall read Rene Descartes "Meditationes de prima philiosophia". Ever since I've read a short essay about his methods around the famous quote "cogito ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am) I wanted to explore the whole thing.
I've ordered your second edition via Amazon and it should be there in a couple weeks, probably by the time I've finished exams and completed Descartes.
I'll definetly try to remind myself to give you feedback once I'm reading it.
Thank you for answering my question. You actually answered it very well.
In my mind, Buddhism is not a religion (in the American sense lol). It is more of a description of what someone does to be complacent and happy within ones self. Actually I take that back....Buddhism is not a description...more of a title, an umbrella that keeps you out of the rain, but you can still enjoy the smells and view.
sensing how people like yourself have heard my little talk on this great topic is indeed an honor. if it stirred a responsive chord, all the more so.
and i'm happy to think you already "get" that the Way is not in a book, but is, as you say, a way of acting and thinking. and is about what already is.
it's like Tao (pronounced dow ). have you ever heard of the Tao? it's some times translated as the Way. this is what some chinese sages (around the time of the Buddha) felt to be what is the unchanging essence of life ... and it's simply whatever's happening right now in the place ...
if you do follow through on your intent, ed, when you finish (¿what?) your current reading, i'm always more than glad to hear and reply to any questions, comments, and criticism, during or after dipping into my humble tome. i hope it brings a smile ...