We were a little squeezed into a back classroom yesterday, because there was an event in the UU sanctuary. Actually, it’s kind of nice to have that intimate sitting occasionally. We began the chapter, “Weather and the Four Noble Truths,” with the section on suffering. Pema mentions that the Buddha didn’t begin by talking about basic goodness, clarity, space, bliss, or openness–he began by talking about suffering. We suffer because of conditions; we suffer because we want things to be different than they are; we suffer because we know we’re going to die–all sorts of reasons. Suffer seems like a strong word for some of our dissatisfactions, but looked at closely enough, we see we are actually in quite a lot of pain because of them.
Pema asks why we resist our own energy, why we resist the way things seem to want to go, why we resist the directions WE seem to be going. She then moves to discussion of the second noble truth, which is that our resistance comes from what she calls our “fundamental operating mechanism,” the ego. This small paragraph could easily be a whole book (and there are plenty of them), looking at the development of the ego–the concept that we are somehow solid–and how the ego needs to shore itself up by resistance.
She says, “Interestingly enough, when the weather changes and the energy simply flows through us, just as it flows through the grass and the trees and the ravels and the bears and the moose and the ocean and the rocks, we discover that we are not solid at all.”
A lot to take in, there. A lot to talk about next time–but next time is our four-hour block sitting, from 2:30-6:30. Please join us for any part of that time you can.