If everything is teaching the Dharma, how is learning occurring? We might say how do we get IT? In the book: Everything is Teaching Us, Venerable Ajahn Chah a twentieth century Thai monk who expounded the forest monk tradition of teaching. Everything Is Teaching Us
I’d like to input rather than the output aspect of communication. Let’s begin with a section of the book (Underlining is mine):
If we know all things as they are, that will bring us well-being. Where exactly are those things that cause us to have happiness and suffering? Think about it well. They are only things that we create ourselves. Whenever we create the idea that something is us or ours, that is when we suffer. Things can bring us harm or benefit, depending on our understanding. So the Buddha taught us to pay attention to ourselves, to our own actions and to the creations of our minds. Whenever we have extreme love or aversion to anyone or anything, whenever we are particularly anxious, that will lead us into great suffering. This is important, so take a good look at it. Investigate these feelings of strong love or aversion, and then take a step back. If you get too close, they’ll bite. Do you hear this? If you grab at and caress these things, they bite and they kick. When you feed grass to your buffalo, you have to be careful. If you’re careful when it kicks out, it won’t kick you. You have to feed it and take care of it, but you should be smart enough to do that without getting bitten. Love for children, relatives, wealth and possessions will bite. Do you understand this? When you feed it, don’t get too close. When you give it water, don’t get too close. Pull on the rope when you need to. This is the way of Dhamma, recognizing impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and lack of self, recognizing the danger and employing caution and restraint in a mindful way.
I watched a movie yesterday: Genius, about the relationship of Max Perkins, publisher and the writer Thomas Wolfe. The theme, as I experienced it, was about facing life fully. That is if viewed fully, life is enormous and small and as such, tasting it is bittersweet, seeing it is brightly dull, hearing harshly soothing, touching smoothly rough and smelling a whiff of fowl delight. As Ven. Chah writes, when we personify Dharma/life: IT is vexing.
In the Dharma talk Tuesday, February 7, 2023, we’ll discuss learning as recognition of when we are imposing our opinions on the moment, rather than having an event experience which is neither capture or aversion…