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Meditation As The Cure for Suffering

"Train in concentration, which is the cause of shamatha, and train in prajna, which is the cause of vipashyana." — Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Trulshik Adeu Rinpoche

In the First Noble Truth, all life is suffering.
In the Second Noble Truth, the cause of suffering is tanha.
In the Third Noble Truth, suffering can be relieved.
In the Fourth Noble Truth, the Noble Eightfold Path
is prescribed to relieve suffering in all sentient beings.

Suffering is mental unrest. The Eightfold Path of Buddhism relieves the mind of it. Its cause is tanha.

Tanha or trishna is craving, desire and thirst. It is also aversion, desire, and hunger-thirst. Its opposite is upekkha is peace of mind, serenity, and equanimity.

Craving arises through the action of aversion — a person's craving for the object of desire causes one to hunger for it , and this results in attachment due to desire.

Hunger-thirst arises through ignorance, ass one's peace of mind is disturbed by the desire for satisfaction. Yet aversion to the object of desire is what causes craving to arise.

Thus, the Three Poisons of aversion, attachment, and ignorance lead to suffering.

To help relieve suffering, meditation is prescribed. It consists of shamatha and vipashyana, the main two meditation practices of calm abiding and clear seeing.

Shamatha is the meditation of calm abiding that is abiding tranquility which works on the conceptual mind, to free it of the Three Poisons.

Vipashyana is the meditation of clearing seeing that is the meditation of intense insight, which has three prerequisites consisting of reliance on a spiritual teacher, sincere engagement in extensive study, and appropriate reflection.

Prajna refers to insight into the cure for suffering through meditation. It is also known as primordial wisdom, the primordial and non-dual knowing aspect of the nature of mind.


Quote from Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and Trulshik Adeu Rinpoche, trans. Schmidt & Kunsang, Skillful Grace: Tara Practice For Our Times; New York 2007. Rangjung Yeshe Publications



Three Poisons and Tanha:



Prajna as primordial wisdom:
Dr. Fleischman’s description of meditation was a self-reflective melding of natural scientific theories with the worldview that underlies vipassana meditation. He stressed two points in particular: (1) The natural laws that govern our world also govern us as embodied beings; cultivating awareness of our embodied existence, through concentration and observation, provides insight into the world itself. (2) The practice of meditation is supported by ethical practice, both in terms of basic precepts and the voluntaristic, service orientation of the vipassana movement itself. In addition to being detailed and informative, his talk was imbued with a wonderfully dry humor, making it accessible and entertaining.

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