We’ve got a new category called ‘Paths’.
(listed up there in the heading, and over to the right) The title’s a tad obscure, but it’s a good box to put these things in:-
☆ Courses I’ve been to,
(‘path’ being a synonym of ‘course’ ;~)
☆ Ways of being which lead to higher states of mind, and so higher states of being.
What are Buddhist ‘Paths’?
A spiritual path is a mind conjoined with renunciation, which is a strong wish to escape from our hamster-wheel lives of relentless suffering and pain (samsara).
Generally ‘minds’ – or what we think – are internal paths that take us someplace; just as external ‘paths’ lead us to a destination.
(For lots more interesting word meanings, please see the appendix)
For example, there’s a foot-path that runs by the hospital near here; but you wouldn’t want to take it because it’s narrow, and full of litter and dog poo.
Likewise, we sometimes get shitty minds of anger that bypass any attempt at rational thinking. They reinforce dark moods with some very narrow-mindedness, and litter them with nasty little thoughts. You wouldn’t want to follow these internal paths either, because they lead to a negative and hurtful state of mind. (not that that always stops us taking an ill-advised train of thought through to its negative conclusion. Unless we’ve practiced, it’s run away with us before we’ve even noticed.)
Shantideva said that the path to hell is paved with our misdeeds. He meant this as fact. Killing a living being out of anger creates the cause for a lowly rebirth.
But if we find that hard to understand or accept, we can take it as figurative.
Whatever – we all know that negative thoughts leads us to do negative things, which sooner or later lead to unwanted results. These minds are best avoided.
(Shantideva was a 7th century mendicant and totally brilliant Buddhist.)
A Joyful Path
Is a positive state of mind. We remain peaceful, which makes us feel happy and content. And not just on days when everything’s going right for us. As we get good at it, we can keep our train of thought on the right track, whatever the circumstances.
Joyful Path of Good Fortune is like our bible of Lamrim teachings.
‘Paths’ definition from Ocean of Nectar, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.