marks of existence 

I was brought up Catholic, in the Irish Catholic kind of way. I was born in South Boston and lived along the South Shore my whole life. I moved at least 10 times before I graduated high school –and that’s only off of memory. I was poor. Not in the worldly sense of poor, the American understanding of poor. One summer mom and I stayed in a tent at Myles Standish Campground as our place to live for those few months. I was little, so that was an awesome adventure! Sometimes we’d get those Christmas presents delivered from the charitable organizations. Beautiful! Mom and I truly appreciate the potential of the wholesome feeling of community wherever we go. This is NOT a typical American’s point of view in my opinion. Some may say it but don’t act on it. I think it has to do with fear. I’m not complaining about any of this. I think it’s important to say what’s on your mind in a largely subjective way. It’s like being an outsider looking in. I feel like tht helps me cope with a lot of things.

So studying anthropology doesn’t come to a surprise. I study one of the lowest paying fields of occupation. I went to great lengths to get a higher degree in a holistic field of study. Why? Not for the money, for the knowing. It’s kind of addicting in a way. You get your mind going as you’re exposed to all of these cultures and concepts that you can’t experience yourself. You put yourself in that shoes that transform you into a variety of time periods and places. You think you’re smart. You think you know a lot. You think you can read people better. You are in fact in a position where you have experience with cultural understanding and acceptance of something that is not like your own. But the problem is that no one cares. Perhaps my ego got in the way when I said I need to get a Masters Degree and I need to do a field study. These are the things that people in my community make it seem like you have to do to be successful. But they only do this in forethought. To hear themselves talk. To make themselves feel better for “helping” you. It’s rare that people I’ve been exposed to take the time to actually listen to you and make a realistic and constructive suggestion. This is outside of academia. In academia there is an overwhelming sense of competition and politics. If you’re poor, forget it. Everything costs a lot of money.

I’ve wondered about Buddhism before, in the past, and now. I get a little insight from yoga and movies  (no joke).  The problem is a lot of people pose. They’re posers. Pretending they know about the religion/way of life. To be honest I fear labeling myself almost anything because people are all so full of doubt. Like I just was in the previous sentence. The posers ruin it for the real/genuine people.

I’m reading “The Everything Essentials of Buddhism Book” by Arnie Kozak, and came across this excerpt. I’m reading it on the train but don’t want to go on. I’d rather read this over a few times.

…”Dukkha is the first of the three marks of existence. Dukkha is descriptive; it’s the diagnosis. The second two marks are the culprits. Anicca is best translated as ‘impermanence’. Things are constantly changing. If you don’t appreciate this, you suffer because you are not in touch with the actual nature of reality. Stephen Batchelor put it eloquently when he said,’It’s transitory, it’s impermanent, it’s constantly moving on, it’s unpredictable, every moment is an opening to another possibility. Nothing stands still, nothing is fixed, there is no kind of ultimate ground that doesn’t move, that is unconditioned. Everything is within this extraordinary rhythm and flow of life itself.’

Anatta is the next culprit, and while not difficult to translate, it’s difficult to grasp. It means ‘no self’ or ‘not self’. Anatta suggests that what appears to be ‘me’ is not something solid, enduring, or stable. Whatever this ‘me’ is is subject to Anicca. It’s always changing from one moment to the next and only gives the appearance of solid…

…Self is a process just like everything else. And furthermore, what you take to be yourself is a metaphor for identity in that this moment is based on previous silimar moments from the past or future similar moments from an anticipated future. This process of comparison gives rise to a solid self or ego that is more like a thing than a process. A lot of energy is invested into this ego self. It must be identified and protected; self-esteem must be enhanced and is often the subject of obsession. Think of all the energy you will have once you give up all that protection for something that doesn’t really exist.


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