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  1. Finding the Middle Way
  2. The Middle Way
  3. Recent Stories
  4. The Middle Way Within

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The truth of non-substantiality refers to the invisible aspects of life, such as our mental and spiritual functions, which lay dormant in our lives until they are manifested. He defined this as the Middle Way. From this viewpoint stem the Buddhist principles of the inseparability of body and mind and of self and environment. It is neither existence nor nonexistence, yet exhibits the qualities of both. Like the lotus flower that blooms unsullied by the muddy waters in which it grows, Nichiren maintained that human beings possess tremendous potential and the life condition of Buddhahood which they can bring forth in direct proportion to the depth of confusion and predicament they face.

From this perspective, to pursue the Middle Way is not a compromise. Rather, it transcends subjective values and accords with something more fundamental—our humanity. At the social and political level, the Middle Way could be expressed as the commitment to upholding respect for the dignity of life and placing it before adherence to a particular political or economic ideology. This misconception comes from the idea that the middle way is moderation.

Finding the Middle Way

Although monks deny themselves things like sex or perfume this is not a type of indulgence in pain, the purpose of the rules is entirely different. The monks don't try to use perfume in moderation but as I've explained moderation is not the middle way. This is not true, The Buddha did not say that one only achieves nirvana the highest happiness after renouncing the world.

Arahantship or enlightenment is caused by the ending of mental fermentations, defilements, pains, hankers, cankers asavas , not from merely giving up worldly possessions this is something repeated throughout the Pali canons. There were lots of people during The Buddha's time who gave up worldly possessions but did not achieve arahantship.

When Siddartha Gautama did severe austerities like starving he found that it had no benefits and just made him weak. When he started eating again after regaining his strength he found it easier to concentrate, but his enlightenment came only after the ending of mental fermentations asavas. The Buddha discovered the "Middle way" in between the extremes of austerities and the extremes of a worldly life.

The Middle Way

The rules for monks are there to help one achieve arahantship in this lifetime, but arahantship won't come until the ending of mental fermentations, defilements, pains, cankers, taints, hankers asavas. When you go too much into the extremes of austerities it becomes difficult to end mental fermentations and when you go too much into the extremes of a worldly life it becomes difficult to end mental fermentations. So it's the "Middle way". So it's important to emphasize the ending of mental fermentations asavas above everything else as The Buddha himself said that ascetics who torment and afflict the body even while following many of the same rules that Buddhist monks follow lead a life that yields pain in the future to lower destinations like hell.

The 'Middle-Way' does not require giving up all worldly possessions. Instead, the Middle-Way states to not engage in sensual pleasures. A person can have basic worldly possessions 'requisites' , such as food, housing, clothing, medicine, etc, and still practise the Middle-Way. Therefore, there is no contradiction.

Recent Stories

Sensual pleasures also create enslaving tormenting addictions. Therefore, from a Buddhist perspective, reliance on sensual pleasures cannot be bring lasting true permanent happiness. The scriptures state:. The Blessed One has compared sensual pleasures to a chain of bones Alagaddupama Sutta. And what may be said to be subject to aging Subject to aging Ariyapariyesana Sutta: The Noble Search. When the Buddha refers to the Middle Way he wasn't talking about 'moderation' of indulging in desire, he was talking about avoiding the pitfall of extremes.

To the Buddha any level of 'moderation' of indulgence in desire is not the Middle Way.

The Buddha calls this path the middle way majjhima patipada. It is the middle way because it steers clear of two extremes, two misguided attempts to gain release from suffering. One is the extreme of indulgence in sense pleasures, the attempt to extinguish dissatisfaction by gratifying desire. This approach gives pleasure, but the enjoyment won is gross, transitory, and devoid of deep contentment. The Buddha recognized that sensual desire can exercise a tight grip over the minds of human beings, and he was keenly aware of how ardently attached people become to the pleasures of the senses.

But he also knew that this pleasure is far inferior to the happiness that arises from renunciation, and therefore he repeatedly taught that the way to the Ultimate eventually requires the relinquishment of sensual desire. Thus the Buddha describes the indulgence in sense pleasures as "low, common, worldly, ignoble, not leading to the goal. The other extreme is the practice of self-mortification, the attempt to gain liberation by afflicting the body. This approach may stem from a genuine aspiration for deliverance, but it works within the compass of a wrong assumption that renders the energy expended barren of results.

The error is taking the body to be the cause of bondage, when the real source of trouble lies in the mind — the mind obsessed by greed, aversion, and delusion. To rid the mind of these defilements the affliction of the body is not only useless but self-defeating, for it is the impairment of a necessary instrument. Thus the Buddha describes this second extreme as "painful, ignoble, not leading to the goal.

Aloof from these two extreme approaches is the Noble Eightfold Path, called the middle way, not in the sense that it effects a compromise between the extremes, but in the sense that it transcends them both by avoiding the errors that each involves. The path avoids the extreme of sense indulgence by its recognition of the futility of desire and its stress on renunciation.

Desire and sensuality, far from being means to happiness, are springs of suffering to be abandoned as the requisite of deliverance. But the practice of renunciation does not entail the tormenting of the body. It consists in mental training, and for this the body must be fit, a sturdy support for the inward work. Thus the body is to be looked after well, kept in good health, while the mental faculties are trained to generate the liberating wisdom. That is the middle way, the Noble Eightfold Path, which "gives rise to vision, gives rise to knowledge, and leads to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana.

The Middle Way Within

Cutting Off the Causes of Suffering. Anything short of the Noble Eightfold Path is actually indulgence in sensual pleasure, no matter how 'moderate'. Those who are not bound to the internal knots of grasping and attachment no longer imagine and cling to the idea of a self.

Alan Watts - The Middle Way

They understand, for example, that suffering comes to be when conditions are favorable, and that it fades away when conditions are no longer favorable. They no longer have any doubts. Their understanding has not come to them through others; it is their own insight.

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When a person who has correct insight observes the coming to be of the world, the idea of nonbeing does not arise in her, and when she observes the fading away of the world, the idea of being does not arise in her mind. Kaccayana, viewing the world as being is an extreme; viewing it as nonbeing is another extreme. The Tathagata avoids these two extremes and teaches the Dharma dwelling in the Middle Way.

Because there is ignorance, there are impulses; because there are impulses, there is consciousness; because there is consciousness, there is the psyche-soma; because there is the psyche-soma, there are the six senses; because there are the six senses, there is contact; because there is contact, there is feeling; because there is feeling, there is craving; because there is craving, there is grasping; because there is grasping, there is becoming; because there is becoming, there is birth; because there is birth, there are old age, death, grief, and sorrow.

That is how this entire mass of suffering arises.