9 July 2015

The Four Mind Turning Reflections

Five Dharma night talks by Triratna Order members on what might be called 'the facts of life ' from a Buddhist perspective

Shakyamuni Buddha

The Four Mind Turning Reflections

Our attitude toward our life and what we think about it, determines what interest we may have in a spiritual path and our ability to commit ourselves to it. If we take our lives for granted; disregard our mortality; ignore the repercussions of our actions; and think we can make ourselves permanently happy or secure by manipulating the world, it will be very difficult to follow a spiritual path.

The purpose of the ’Four Mind-Turning Reflections’ or the ‘Four Reminders’ is to help establish the kind of psychological climate in which we will be motivated to enter a path of spiritual practice. The subjects of the four reflections which we will be exploring over the course of these talks are:

the precious opportunity offered by human life;
death and impermanence;
karma, or the fact that actions have consequences;
and the disadvantages of samsara, or suffering.
These might be called ‘the facts of life’ in the Buddhist perspective. They are wake-up calls, jolts to our complacency, articulations of the troubling voice of reality as it speaks through our immediate experience. As we go through them, we are saying to ourselves, ‘Remember, reflect, wake up to the truth.’

Recorded Talks:

6 July: Overview of The Four Reminders by Purna

13 July: Being Human Curse or Blessing? by Vajrajyoti
What makes our time on this earth a “rare and precious human life of leisure and opportunity”? Is it our upbringing, our attitudes, our behavior or our beliefs? Vajrajyoti explores the promise made by the first mind turning reflection and asks if we’re up to its challenge.

27 July: Karma: Its Choice by Sujiva
Karma is probably one of the most misunderstood spiritual teachings. Sujiva explores its true meaning within Buddhism, and how understanding and applying it in our life can help us create conditions for happiness and spiritual growth.

3 August: The Defects of Samsara by Kusalamani
On this evening Kusalamani will be talking on the fourth and final reminder which tells us that there is suffering in life. The purpose of this reminder encourages us to be aware of the reality of the things large and small that we find unsatisfactory.

Everyone experiences dissatisfaction: not just us, maybe reflecting in this way can help us relate to our suffering or dissatisfaction more lightly and avoid unhelpful responses. We can also see that since the world is large and complex and ever-changing, we are never going to get things exactly as we want them.