Action And The End of Suffering

“All things involve suffering. He who realizes this is freed from suffering. This is the Path.” — The Dhammapada (278).

If, as the Buddhist text claims, “all things involve suffering,” then life merely involves choosing between this or that suffering. And, this does not seem much of a choice, perhaps especially for those who are looking forward to a time in which, they imagine, there will be no stresses or strains in their life.

We are faced with choices every day, of course. To do some work or not to do it; to clean up the home, or not to clean it up; to eat healthily or unhealthily; and so on. Continue reading “Action And The End of Suffering”

Body Language, Ritual, And Self-Development

In medieval Europe, a man about to be made into a vassal (generally a knight) of a feudal lord went through a special rite. It will seem familiar to you. He knelt on the floor and placed his hands together, with the fingertips pointing at his lord, who would then clasp his own hands around them. At this point in history, as with the pre-Christian tribes of Europe, Christians prayed with their arms open, and up, in a kind of wide V-shape — which reminded the latter group of Christ on the cross. It was only later that, influenced by the rite of making a vassal, Christians adopted the posture of kneeling and placing the hands together when praying.
Continue reading “Body Language, Ritual, And Self-Development”

The Sufi Mysticism of Music, Sound, and Vibration

Within the sayings and practices of both Sufism and music, one can find all the necessary conditions that are needed to cultivate higher states of observation and consciousness.  Upon the attainment of these higher states, says scholar Irene Markoff, the seeker can finally achieve the desired “spiritual intoxication (wajd) and a unique and intimate union, even annihilation (fana’), in the supreme being.”

In Sufi music, this practice is known as Samāʿ (Arabic: “listening”). It is the mystical approach of practicing “listening” in order to achieve remembrance (Dhikr) of the divine spark in our heart of hearts. Through chanting — and while in a mystical trance — participants reinforce their ecstatic state with the aim of reaching a “direct knowledge (maʿrifah) of God or Reality (ḥaqq).” Continue reading “The Sufi Mysticism of Music, Sound, and Vibration”