Saturday, December 01, 2007

Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

Dalai Lama Quote of the Week from Snow Lion Publications.

...In the Buddhist teachings, when we search for the causes of suffering, we find what is called 'the truth of the origin of suffering', namely that negative actions--karma--and the negative emotions that induce such actions are the causes of suffering.

Talking about causes, if we take a step further and investigate more deeply, we find that the cause alone is not sufficient for bringing about the results. Causes themselves have to come in contact with co-operative circumstances or conditions. For instance, say we search for a material or substantial cause for this plant, we will find that it has a continuity stretching back into beginningless time.

There are certain Buddhist texts that speak of space particles, existing before the evolution of this present universe. According to these texts, the space particles serve as the material and substantial cause for matter, such as this plant. Now if the essential and substantial cause for matter is traced to these space particles, which are all the same, how do we account for the diversity that we see in the material world? It is here that the question of conditions and circumstances comes into play. When these substantial causes come in contact with different circumstances and conditions, they give rise to different effects, that is, different kinds of matter. So we find that the cause alone is not sufficient for bringing about a result. What is required is an aggregation of many different conditions and circumstances.

Although you can find certain differences among the Buddhist philosophical schools about how the universe came into being, the basic common question addressed is how the two fundamental principles--external matter and internal mind or consciousness--although distinct, affect one another. External causes and conditions are responsible for certain of our experiences of happiness and suffering. Yet we find that it is principally our own feelings, our thoughts and our emotions, that really determine whether we are going to suffer or be happy.

~ From Dzogchen: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection by the Dalai Lama, translated by Thupten Jinpa and Richard Barron, Foreword by Sogyal Rinpoche, edited by Patrick Gaffney, published by Snow Lion Publications

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