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Practice observation for the day...
Best ex-president in American history, I aver.
For those interested in taking refuge and the precepts in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, here is the Vandana book of Bhante Gunaratana's Bhavana Society in West Virginia. The request for refuges and the precepts starts page 43 in both English and Pali: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/vandana.pdf
Thanissaro Bhikkhu took on this very point in a touchstone Dhamma talk that helped clear up my own thinking about this. Not that "life is suffering" but that "there is suffering" -- a rather large semantic difference -- but more importantly a path that leads to suffering's final end:
"Only when I began to look directly at the early texts did I realize that what I thought was a paradox was actually an irony — the irony of how Buddhism, which gives such a positive view of a human being's potential for finding true happiness, could be branded in the West as negative and pessimistic.
You've probably heard the rumor that "Life is suffering" is Buddhism's first principle, the Buddha's first noble truth. It's a rumor with good credentials, spread by well-respected academics and Dharma teachers alike, but a rumor nonetheless. The truth about the noble truths is far more interesting. The Buddha taught four truths — not one — about life: There is suffering, there is a cause for suffering, there is an end of suffering, and there is a path of practice that puts an end to suffering. These truths, taken as a whole, are far from pessimistic. They're a practical, problem-solving approach — the way a doctor approaches an illness, or a mechanic a faulty engine. You identify a problem and look for its cause. You then put an end to the problem by eliminating the cause...."
Important point/Reminder to (non)self:
Peace within oneself is to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It’s not found in a forest or on a hill top, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run towards it.
If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you will have complete peace.
Someone commented, “I can observe desire and aversion in my mind, but it's hard to observe delusion.” “You're riding on a horse and asking where the horse is,” was Ajahn Chah's reply.