The Buddha and the Big Bad Wolf

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Through all of this Tandita realized that being lazy was not good. And Devadatta realized that being too rigid and worried all the time was not good. The other two piggies both built wooden houses and they all lived happily ever after. We celebrate the Equinox today. A very special day when the Daylight and Nighttime are equal.

This has always been an important time of year for Buddhists. Nature shows us a peaceful balance today. In the story the piggies examined the two existential extremes of indulgence and perfectionism, but real life lives in between. Are we like one of these piggies sometimes? Which one? Sometimes we are guided to the middle way by seeing the extremes.

Three Little Pigs and the Middle way was a Buddhist adaptation of a story we all know. We shared it with the children to encourage them to see life as an ongoing series of challenges that we can handle.

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Sometimes we will get bumps and bruises, but we can handle life. In the story the Piggies are building houses. Constructing an abode.

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The space we live within. The Buddha talked about this house building process when he was enlightened Your rafters have been broken up, Your ridgepole is demolished too. The causes and conditions that lead to our life are so many, that we can hardly take any credit or authorship for our life. Really what we construct is our way of looking at the world. Our refuge. The protective but permeable bubble we live within everyday. Who is the house builder the Buddha is speaking to?

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The self? When the house builder is seen - it disappears.

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The Self. Clining, thirsting, and wanting.

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They all swirl around ignorance. With seeing. With Deep Hearing ignorance melts away. Our friends the piggies build their houses as shelters against the cold and the hot. We all need refuges at times.


A balance between activity and contemplation is important. What about the piggies? We all know the first piggy - Tandita is pretty laid back. Actually his name means lazy in Pali language. We have all been this little piggy. It is quite the opposite. It falls apart so easily. It lacks a foundation. It lacks structure. It lacks the discipline of a life well lived. It looks a lot like a haystack. The Buddha described three kinds of laziness.

First, there is the kind of laziness that tandita shows: we don't want to do anything, and we'd rather stay in bed than get up and go with the sun. The third kind [of Lazy] Buddha describes is being busy with worldly things.

How can being busy be a kind of laziness? We can just overfill fill our time by keeping so super busy. Constantly having many tasks on a list can even make us feel virtuous. But usually it's just an escape. We are all regular people with regular lives. Our days are very busy, our days can be frantic, it feels like we never have any space to sit for even a minute and just be. That escape is an easy way out. Because if we did take the time and make the effort we would be confronted with real life work. As Gotama the piggy did - mindfully fixing the boards in his house as they change and needed attention.

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  • Right now. And the Piggy Devadatta is too strict. Too worried. He worries and worries. And his house is very rigid. In his fear he constructs a life that can not accommodate change.

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    A view of life that is too rigid is destined for trouble. The Piggy Devadatta is full of fears and they drive him to build the brick house. Ultimately we can see that fear of death is what drives his actions. This at the expense of life. Building a rigid view seems safest, but it really shows a lack of faith in life. It is vulnerable to change and lacks flexibility. When we build a refuge to live within we are at risk when we don't allow for change. Changfulness is the nature of the universe. The downfall of all perfectionists is delusion.

    This attitude comes from clinging to the self. The Buddha tried that and it almost killed him. It makes for a very tense and difficult life. In the sutras Devadatta was a real person - Gotama's cousin. He was often second guessing the Buddha and always pushing for more.

    The Buddha and the Big Bad Wolf The Buddha and the Big Bad Wolf
    The Buddha and the Big Bad Wolf The Buddha and the Big Bad Wolf
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    The Buddha and the Big Bad Wolf The Buddha and the Big Bad Wolf
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