New Year

The New Year has come and gone.  We survived relatively unscathed, staying indoors out of the craziness of fireworks, gunfire, and drunkenness.  The rain has continued, which I am sure put a bit of a damper on the various neighborhood pyrotechnic festivities.

The beginning of the New Year is a time for resolutions and new beginnings.   Which all sounds wonderful until you actually try to make changes in your life.  Then the rubber hits the road and we see how entrenched we are in our comfortable and familiar habits.  We may not like our habits and behaviors but they are what we know.

This is, of course, why practicing the Buddha Dharma is so hard!  The Dharma runs contrary to what is familiar.  In the Buddhist way of thinking it is our habitual patterns that create and perpetuate much of the suffering in our lives and the world.

To begin “anew” we must be willing to see these habitual patterns and recognize that they are the root of much suffering.  This is why the Buddha’s first teaching, after his awakening, is about Dukkha (suffering) and the causes of suffering.  It is a concise teaching.  Yet it is the foundation for the vast and innumerable teachings known as the Buddha Dharma.

“Now this, monks, is the Noble Truth of Dukkha: birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, illness is dukkha; death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair are dukkha; association with what is displeasing is dukkha; separation what is pleasing is dukkha; not getting what is wanted is dukkha. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha.”

Peace, Paul

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