Thursday, August 27, 2009
In Schiedam they're these big old windmills that're supposed to be the biggest the world. I guess you have to leave out the new modern ones to make such a claim. The mills in Schiedam were used to mill the grains to make the alcoholic drink, Jenever, a grain alcohol made with juniper berries.
There's a mill here where you can buy freshly milled flour the old fashioned way. It's wholesome stuff I use to make our pizzas, pancakes, cookies, brownies, cakes, and other things. Plus, the people working at the mill are helpful and friendly. Every May they hold an open day when you can go visit the miller for a demonstration. There's a mill that's been turned into a restaurant, and one that's a museum, a visit that includes a ride around the canals of Schiedam.
Dukkha is the Sanskrit word for the afflictive state of pain we find ourselves in.
Living in the Netherlands is a form of masochism for me. What else, how else can I put it. Constantly being sort of used up. Where is my energy. I don't know. Better to accept the inevitability of it all, and thereby undermine its influence.
The only way "out," or should I say "in," is a strict regimine of meditation. Tomorrow I will begin to box myself in to the discipline that brings a clausterphobic sense of relief. How else can I put it? Whenever I loose my discipline, I can feel it welling up again, the sharpness of dukkha. When I think of doing something else, there is no choice. There's nothing left for me to do but dedicate myself to refuge in the Buddha dharma.
Waking up early, prayers, hour-long meditation. Late night, the same. Otherwise, the unbearable sharpness of the pain simply won't relent. Over and over again I say to myself, my family is not here. Friends, supporters are few and far between. Stop complaining. So many people don't have their families. Untold numbers of people have less support, and live in destitution, which I do not. I can immediately think of many Tibetan friends whose families are locked away in Tibet. They risked their lives to leave Tibet; they'd be risking them again in re-entering. No way in. No way out for the aging parents, small children. My thought, the pain of separation, the loneliness I face. This, I dedicate to those who are also separated from their families. They too have felt the sharpness of this so acutely. And yet, the beauty, the genuineness of their laughter surpasses mine.
Here's the definition of one form of dukkha I found on a website:
"And what is the stress of separation from the loved? There is the case where desirable, pleasing, attractive sights, sounds, aromas, flavors, or tactile sensations do not occur to one; or one has no connection, no contact, no relationship, no interaction with those who wish one well, who wish for one's benefit, who wish for one's comfort, who wish one security from the yoke, nor with one's mother, father, brother, sister, friends, companions, or relatives. This is called the stress of separation from the loved."