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BUDDHISM, THE MIDDLE WAY and THE THIRD TRUTH

Short Version
The Long Version gives details, references, and develops the connection with orthodox Buddhism.

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Dukkha and Sukkha
Originally the word Dukkha (suffering) described when a wheel was problematic or not running smoothly.

There is another important word in basic Buddhism: Sukkha. Sukkha means when a wheel is running smoothly. A good wheelwright would not only be able to cure Dukkha, he would know how to make a wheel Sukkha.

Buddhas's message was about far more than how to stop "suffering". Buddha found the answer to fulfillment in life; he found not only the answer to Dukkha, but also the way to make things Sukkha.

The Middle Way and the Third Noble Truth are both about a way to get life to run smoothly, to make it Sukkha.

The Middle Way
Buddha's Middle Way is a way between the two extremes of sensual indulgence and sensory withdrawal. It is usually understood as a mental and emotional approach to life, to do with moderation.

The Third Truth
Most versions of the Third Truth are short and state simply renunciation as the true method. However in the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutra's Third Truth : The Cessation of Dukkha, tells us that Dukkha will cease when craving ceases, and craving may be eradicated wherever in the world there is delight and pleasure (ref).

The want (or craving) for worldly delight and pleasure can be stopped by most forms of meditation, prayer, selflessness, renunciation, devotion, worship, pennance, or love ... The Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna's Third Truth could include all of these possibilities.

The subject matter in the full text of the Third Truth (and the Second) of the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna, lists sixty steps in the sensory process. It describes something which happens not only with the mind, but also with the eye, the ear, the nose, the mouth and the tactile sense.

So i wanted to know if or how the Middle Way could be applied to the Third Truth.

When applied to the mind, i could only understand the Middle Way as a vague attitude to life, maybe moderation, or non-attachment, and there are many other possible applications, but there was nothing decisive, nothing definite, just a broad area in between the two extremes.

When applied to the body, it seemed to indicate taking care of it, not ignoring it or being finicky and over-sanitised. Again, this left a vague, broad area of moderation.

But then i asked myself, could the two extremes of sensual indulgence and sensory withdrawal be applied to the physical senses? ... What else could i do with my eyes apart from focusing with them or closing them? ... And immediately i thought of how some birds and horses see their entire visual field without focusing on anything special, with their so-called peripheral vision. This was a clear and specific third way. I call it broadbanding.

My first experiments with this are described in the opening paragraphs of Going on the Lookout, and the results developed into this site on broadband sensing. It took several months, even years to fully realise ... :

The Middle Way is a way between sensory indulgence and sensual withdrawal. Broadband sensing fulfills these criteria perfectly. This is a practical expression of The Middle Way – Broadband sensing is a way of using the senses, without any sensory indulgence or sensory withdrawal.

Broadband sensing also belongs to the list of possibilities which fulfil the Third Truth, it is a way of relating to the world without wanting anything from it. The only thing broadband sensing makes us want, if it's pleasurable, is to want to do more broadband sensing.

Please continue with Going On The Lookout

Extract from Chapter 7 : Buddhism and Wheels
Back to CENTRAL INDEX

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Reference: The Third Noble Truth - English Translations, Ref 1: Pali Tipitaka
"And what, monks, is the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering?"

"It is the complete fading away and cessation of this very craving, forsaking it and giving it up; the liberation from it, leaving no place for it. But where may this craving, monks, be eradicated; where may it be extinguished? Wherever in the world [of mind and matter] there is something enticing and pleasurable: there this craving may be eradicated and extinguished."(Back)