I’ve attended many talks at Dawn Mountain in Houston and, by this point, done a fair amount of Buddhist reading. So, for people who haven’t had that experience, I thought I’d share some of the fruits of it, in essay form.
I think this is especially useful for people of a general background (I include myself in this) who have developed callouses at some places against some of their particular cultural incarnations, and so have developed blind spots in certain areas that are probably endemic to any culture and religion, but are particular to theirs. Buddhism as presented at Dawn Mountain has a different ‘angle of attack’ and so tends to split open awareness in places where it’s generally grown very dim. Such has been my experience, anyway.
What people want – what women want, what men want – is to not suffer.
Good. Now we know what they want – we have a goal to work towards. We can search and replace ‘what I want’ with ‘not suffer.’ Next question: how do I not suffer?
Well, we have to know what is causing our suffering, to stop it.
Suffering is caused by desire, in this model (use the model that works best for you). Our desires are the real culprit, here. There are contributing factors, but the root cause – the one that sprouts all the other ones (at a micro and macrocosmic level) – is suffering.
So when we want to end our suffering – which is the answer to what we want – we should look in the direction of our desires, which are manifold and out of control.
Turns out this issue is related to the state of our minds, in general. In fact – allied with it – is that our minds are constantly, endlessly hopping around, preventing the foundation of happiness. That is the cause of our suffering, that nonstop round of desire.
So we have identified what we want, to not suffer, and what causes it, desire. In this model. That’s a good place to start, to experiment with self-improvement.
What’s next, then – what do we do about this rampant desire, the cause of our suffering?
Meditate. Or, in less mystifying words, come to know ourselves, and our minds – what they really are, what they have inside them. Self-examination, introspection.
So much of what we do is just an attempt to do end-runs around issues that are really internal, that we could mostly solve by reasoning with ourselves. Not everything, perhaps. But many things. You can start with meditation, and go from there.
Here ends the 5-minute intro.