The Path to Awakening
Awakening is a deep inner realization, a profound new perception of life, an overturning of former values and goals. It means no longer drifting through life, living for sense pleasures, or yielding to unsatisfactory social norms. An authentic reality is now seen; illusion and reality are separated; a genuine end of suffering and lasting happiness beckon us. In a way, it is a vision – something direct and immediate, a spiritual experience (although it can be expressed intellectually). It is a vision of the nature of existence.
Buddhism communicates its vision of existence through three great images. “Perfect Vision is a vision, first of all, of our actual present state of bondage to conditioned existence as represented by the Wheel of Life. It is also a vision of our potential future state of Enlightenment as represented by the Buddha, or the mandala of Buddhas, or a Pure Land. Finally it is a vision of the path or way leading from the one to the other – a vision, if you like, of the whole future course of evolution” (Sangharakshita, The Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, revised edition, 2007).
A Way to Awakening
The Buddhist path of spirituality is a way to awakening that offers a Path to attain wisdom and compassion, as well as freedom from suffering. Understanding will come directly from one’s own practice. Needed is a willingness to explore the Path and a rigorous testing of it against one’s own experience. Confidence and conviction in the validity of the Path will then emerge — rather than from a simple belief in the teachings. (Initially, one will not have had direct, personal evidence. However, one sees that these teachings have been of value to others — and so one can cautiously proceed on the likelihood that they will be of benefit to oneself as well.)
As a Western lay Buddhist, I have created this website in my appreciation for the Dhamma (Pali term) and a vision of a way of life inspired by the universal Four Noble Truths. All articles and any charts may be freely downloaded (either in PDF format or as a Microsoft Word document), as well as photos (which I have taken, unless credited otherwise).
These words from Lama Thubten Yeshe link mind with spirituality: “I hope that you understand what the word ‘spiritual’ really means. It means to search for, to investigate, the true nature of the mind. There’s nothing spiritual outside. My rosary isn’t spiritual; my robes aren’t spiritual. Spiritual means the mind, and spiritual people are those who seek its nature.” [Yeshe, Lama Thubten, Becoming Your Own Therapist (Boston: Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, 2003), p. 89.]
May this website enrich your journey through life.
Buddha Photo Credit: Intellimon Ltd.