Ethics: Acting in a situation with appropriate energy. Doing without overstepping what is necessary for life. (Where “life” is to be held as distinct from mere existence or survival.)
And maybe that opens up the next query: What is life?
The narrative goes that Buddha taught that life is suffering. But we know how things go with the big stories: they grow and shrink depending on what is held to be important in a given time or place.
So.. for us this early morning Vigil, a consideration.
The Awake-One says, “I have taught one thing and one thing only, DUKKHA and the cessation of DUKKHA.” Dukkha: anxiety, dissatisfaction, frustration, suffering.
Read detached from presupposition…
Look at the old word itself: DUKKHA. This is the word in Pali, an Indo-European language form.
Du- means “bad”. Kha means “(wide-open) sky” or “hole”–it implies something empty.
Kha can also be the hole in the wheel where the axle fits.
So DUKKHA arises in the ancient tongue to describe a bad (stormy or filled) sky or a blocked (ill-fitting or constrained) hole.
Recognizing this, Siddhartha teaches us about ‘blockage’ and the cessation of ‘blockage’.
What blocks us more than how we account for ourselves and how we interpret what is happening to us? Life is a cause-effect chain (Kharma) of narrative blockages.
These are what we throw out before us, the problems we create to define the false-self: building up blemishes in the fields to stop others from getting close; gathering up clouds in the wide open sky to hide the sun; stuffing our mouths with ceaseless amount of words so that we cannot even breathe…
There is cessation of “blockage.” There is letting-go and opening-up. There is not-I… not-mine… and not-myself.
“The concentration of attention in the heart:
this is the starting point of prayer.”
St. Theophane the Recluse