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    Majjhima Patipada

    (Middle Path)

        Sri Buddha, taught that all the extremes should be avoided. His followers should follow the Middle Path, which leads to cessation of suffering through just such avoidance of extremes. Buddha taught that we must find the Middle Way, a path between the two extremes, the path which leads to the Truth.

        Buddha was a prince who married at an early age and participated in the worldly life of the court, but found his self-indulgent existence dull. He left his home full of luxuries and began wandering in search of enlightenment. As he was living a life of abundance, he thought that he should attain enlightenment becoming an ascetic, starving himself and torturing his body. When he was so weak as to be near death, he accepted nourishing food, recovering his strength, and taking the final steps to Nirvikalpa Samadhi -certain form of enlightenment, not to be mistaken with mukti -spiritual liberation. In his sermon in the Deer Park, near Varanasi, he is said to have taught this realization to his former companions in asceticism. He realized

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    that the way to enlightenment does not lie, neither in exaggerated asceticism or leading a loose life gratifying one's every wish.

        Rejecting severe asceticism on the one hand and self-indulgence on the other, the Buddha proposed the Middle Way -Majjhima Patipada- of mental and intellectual discipline and meditation.

        There is a Chinese saying: "Now you laugh heartily and on the next moment you will be weeping." The more emotionally elated you tend to be, the more you may be prone to the other extreme -sadness or depression. Certainly we all experience this. We usually swing back and forth, clinging to our emotions. We swing like the pendulum from one extreme to the other. The further the pendulum swings in one direction, the further it will swing to the opposite direction. We must avoid being caught in the passionate pendulum game. If we swing with the pendulum, we go to the extremes of love and hate, joy and sadness, humbleness and egocentrism, asceticism and overindulgence, etc. Our mission in life is to find the Middle Path.

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        There is a Hindu saying:

    "Fair goes the dancing when the sitar’s tuned;
    Tune us the sitar neither low nor high,
    The string over stretched breaks, and the music flies;
    The string over slack is dumb, and music dies."

        You must always try to perform actions in a Middle Path, because if you go to one extreme then sooner or later, you will swing back to the other extreme.

        If you continue to surrender to your mind and desires, you won't be able to change your wrongful habit patterns, and you will never experience a real inner peace. Your mind is like a monkey, it is always moving, playing, getting into mischief, doing wrongful actions, ridiculing and criticizing others, etc.

        Your mind is also insatiable, it is always asking for more. If you do not control your mind, certainly it will control you. For example, Ferdinand always wanted to buy a small car and 20 years later his dream comes true, but as soon as he have got the car, his mind becomes dissatisfied with that automobile and he wants a bigger one. So one year later he has the

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    opportunity of buying it, and as soon as he gets it, then his mind wants a convertible. Then we have no end to it! Such is the nature of the mind. Our mind is our best friend and it is also our worst enemy. He can take you to sublime states of peace and happiness, and also he can immerse you into chaos, confusion and unhappiness, leading your soul astray. So try to be very strong and tenacious, in order to withstand the obscure changing nature of the mind, or you might become a slave of it, blocking your spiritual path.

        To perceive and to follow the Middle Way, is perhaps the most difficult task in the World. It requires constant discrimination, endurance, patience, inner strength, determination, persistence and a strong will. It is like walking on the razor's edge, which demands from you the best of your efforts, being completely conscious and wide awake at every moment, because sometimes you will tend to go to one side and when you try to straighten out, then you will tend to go to the other side.

        The stronger your desire to be in the Middle Path, the more resolute your persistence will be. Desire, determination and will power are of great importance in this path. Your desire to go to Heaven, to attain mukti,

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    moksha, nibbana, nirvana or whatever be the name you want to give to the liberation of your soul, must always be enormous.

        In the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, this great messenger of God, declares that the mind of the seeker should always be fixed on the Almighty, because this attitude will help you to be in connection with the Supreme Light, which will protect you and will also help you to purify your soul and to cofront the problems in your daily life. He also stated that it was very difficult to fix the mind on God, but practice leads to perfection. Try to think on God or on a fully realized spiritual master -Guru- at all times, with faith, love, devotion and a total surrender, because by doing this, you establish a spiritual connection with the highest form of spiritual energy, that will certainly help you to think, talk and act in a most proper way, leading you to spiritual liberation.

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