“I live in a very small house, but my windows look out on a very large world.” Confucius
“The eye is always caught by light, but shadows have more to say.” Gregory Maguire
“Every luxury must be paid for, and everything is a luxury, starting with being in this world.” Cesare Pavese
“With regards to the way of death, if you are prepared to die at any time, you will be able to meet your release from life with equanimity. As calamities are usually not as bad as anticipated beforehand, it is foolhardy to feel anxiety about tribulations not yet endured.” Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
“Global warming isn’t real because I was cold today! Also great news: world hunger is over because I just ate.” Stephen Colbert
“Plato in the peonies, Socrates force-growing his own hemlock. A man toting a sack of blood manure across his lawn is kin to Atlas letting the world spin easy on his shoulder.” Ray Bradbury
Norman Rockwell’s oil painting: Blacksmith’s Boy-Heel and Toe was painted as an illustration for Edward W. O’Brien’s story by the same name in the 1940 issue of The Saturday Evening Post magazine
In 2003, local artist Wayne Fettro painted a partial reproduction on the side of this building in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It can use a little touching up but I like it just the way it is.
I asked these two horses this morning to try to get a completely unbiased opinion on the subject, right out of the horses mouth sort of speak. The first one laughed and walked away so I asked his buddy. The second one ignored my question, looked me right in the eye, and asked me why I never bring them snacks.
The Pali word dukkha means suffering and stress and unsatisfactoriness, but it also includes all the minor annoyances of life as well. It’s basically getting what one does not want and not getting what one does want.
I had a chance to see and experience dukkha in several ways this afternoon. There was a hot air balloon preparing to launch and I stopped to take some photos. I could see this was going to take quite a while so I had to leave to find a bathroom and come back.
I watched the crew struggle to drive the van with all the equipment onto the grass but it was too soft and muddy, and they got stuck several times. I spoke to the pilot who was determined to launch no matter what so he could get his certificate, though he was obviously frustrated.
About 45 minutes later they got the balloon hooked up to the basket and set up the fan to inflate it. I felt sorry for this guy as he pulled and pulled but the fan wouldn’t start. It turned out it was out of gas so they filled it up and were back in action.
His crew seemed to have no experience and had to have everything explained to them at least twice, but eventually the balloon was up, up and away and I trudged back through the mud to my car.
Because of the direction the van ended up parking I didn’t have the beautiful late afternoon light, but I tried to get an image I could use that would capture the essence of dukkha.
Novelist Hermann Hesse, author of Siddhartha said: “I began to understand that suffering and disappointments and melancholy are there not to vex us or cheapen us or deprive us of our dignity but to mature and transfigure us.” Yes.
“He who cannot put his thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of dispute.” Friedrich Nietzsche