Jack Kornfield – Ep. 83 – A Story of Inspiration and Wisdom

Jack shares the story of the Buddha’s final days and teachings, a story of inspiration and wisdom that offers a bigger picture of our place in things.

Show Notes

Stories of What Is (Opening) – Jack talks about the significance and value in sharing myths. He begins the story of the Buddha’s final teaching, a tale whose message can only be heard completely when read as mythology.

“We have the capacity to see this world in an illuminated way, and yet we do not see the mystery and magic of it. There is a need to understand these ancient stories as not just historical. We keep telling them because they resonate in a different way in the heart and mind when recieved in a mythological way.” – Jack Kornfield

Cause, Effect and Free Will (10:30) – We look at the bigger lessons of cause and effect that The Buddha had to teach the King of the Magadha at the beginning of this story. Jack looks at the dramatic difference in action when a person is given insight into the ramifications of their actions, rather than simply being told what to do.

No Mara, No Buddha (18:20) – Later in our story, the Buddha is journeying through forests and comes to rest at a great tree, where the demon Mara comes to visit. With Jack, we examine the dualistic nature represented by the relationship between Mara and The Buddha, reflecting on the necessity of that relationship to exist in order for liberation to occur.

“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

An Island Unto Yourself (28:50) – Any wise teacher, like The Buddha, can lead us to the possibility of the liberation of heart, but no one can do it for us. Jack talks about the responsibility we have to pick up the tools of practice if we want to see the true fruits that await.

“Now it is time for you to do as you see fit.” – The Buddha

Held to the Intention of our Hearts (38:55) – We hear of the Buddha’s last meal, which became the cause of the final breath of his final incarnation. This leads to a question of intention. Was the man who served The Buddha his final meal responsible for his death, or is the intention behind his actions the key to everything?

“Make of yourself a lamp, make of yourself a light.” – The Buddha’s Last Instruction, a poem by Mary Oliver

Jack delves more deeply into the power and implications of our intention on Ep. 50 of the Heart Wisdom Podcast