Some old posts from my former Tech Buddha Wordpress Blog.
Some musings on a point my professor made about the oral teachings in Buddhism during the 1st century CE. He speculated that during that time-frame in history, any mention of a conversation with a god or with the Buddha after his death gave a story more credit; elevated its prestige. That having faith in such an event actually taking place was common and not challenged as it might be today. I find this quite interesting and without having studied much Buddhist or religious history, I’d agree. In current times, any mention of a “miracle” or a “healing” or even a dream in which a conversation was had with someone deceased brings about doubt. Brings about criticism of truth. Why? I suppose in today’s time we are a more science-anchored people, and demand proof instead of taking things on faith. I think this is good and bad. I think we need more faith, but perhaps should apply that faith with a dose of common sense. But, maybe not. Who are we to decide if a friend did or did not communicate with God, or his deceased friend, or even saw a ghost? How can we? We’re not that person. We don’t know what they can and cannot perceive. Interesting and demanding of more thought and study.
In almost every job interview I’ve ever had, I’ve been asked the question: How are you at multi-tasking? As most of us know, this has been a common workplace buzzword for many years now, but I’ve come to a new conclusion: multi-tasking is neither efficient, nor productive. Instead, I recommend developing your task switching skills. I base this on one of the fundamental teachings of the Buddha: being mindful, or specifically the three steps of the Noble Eightfold Path dealing with concentration: Right Effort, Right Mindfullness, and Right Concentration. (The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Buddhist Wisdom, Gill Farrer-Halls, p74-79)
All three of these steps of the Noble Eightfold Path seek to enhance the control you have over your mind and help you achieve a single-pointed mind which is a prerequisite to attaining wisdom and enlightenment. (The Tree of Enlightenment, Dr. Peter Della Santina, p62-63)
In business, and practially, in all activites we undertake, we should be mindful of what we are doing; we should work to achieve a single-pointed mind focused on the task at hand. This will have many benefits including accuracy, efficiency, and thoroughness.
By approaching each task or activity we undertake with complete dedication of the mind, we will not only strengthen our “mind muscle” through mindful repetitions, but we will enjoy better results and may even find more efficient ways of completing those tasks.
A few months ago I published a post about the confusion I was experiencing with the inter-relationship of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold path, going so far as to try and diagram it out.
In starting my first MA course I’ve been introduced to my late professor Dr. Santina and his text: The Tree of Enlightenment. In Chapter 5, he gives the best analogy that I’ve come across so far:
…we used the analogy of climbing a mountain, where the very first step depends on keeping the summit firmly in view, while the last step depends on being careful not to stumble at the outset. In other words, each part of the way depends on the other parts, and if any part of the path is not completed, the summit will not be gained. In the same way, in the case of the Noble Eightfold Path, all the steps are interrrelated and depend on one another.
This could not be a better visualization for a hiker like me!
I recently purchased a used Jaguar S-Type and while the Buddhist in me revolted, the gear-head in me rejoiced; as did my wife. This is one of the nicest driving/riding cars I’ve ever owned and I feel spoiled every time I get in. However, over the past few weeks I’ve started to notice how much more focused on driving I am. Upon further analysis, I’ve come to the conclusion that all of the automated features on the car take the distraction out of driving and is letting me be more mindful while driving. These features are marketed as luxury features, but I like to think of them as zen features:
- Automatic headlights that come on when a certain percentage of darkness is detected.
- Memory seats that allow me to go back to the perfect driving position each time I get behind the wheel.
- Rain-sensing windshield wipers that quicken the wipes when more rain is detected.
- Steering wheel-mounted radio controls. Ten & Two, people!
- Automated climate control where I set an interior temperature and the car does the rest.
- And several more.
I feel that these “luxury” features are making me a more mindful and safe driver and I wish all car makers would offer the same features on their vehicles.
Just a quick follow-up on last week’s lesson. The Four Noble Truths and the resulting Noble Eightfold Path truly are the road map to inner peace, and for the Buddha, the attainment of Nibbana (Nirvana.) One of the things I admire about Buddhism is that there are no absolutes that you are expected to simply accept on blind faith. Throughout his teachings, the Buddha invited students and followers to test his lessons before accepting them. Unlike the Christian teachings I experienced as a child, Buddhism offers a level of transparency that, for me, is welcome and gives the lessons more validity. Anyone can ask us to believe something just because they state it is fact or truth, but that can lead down a path of peril if one is not careful and even suspicious of the teacher and the lesson.
The basis of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path is one of observation and understanding. Observation of the world around us, of the misgivings of the human mind, and the source of suffering. By going further and understanding the causes and subsequent effects of the world, the mind, and of suffering, one can learn to control and dispatch those conditions that lead to an unhappy life. A common saying has often stated that “true happiness comes from within”… clearly this was coined by a Buddhist.
I am into week 4 of my studies at IBC (http://ibc.ac.th/en/) and am being challenged every step of the way! This week’s lesson is on the Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path and I was struggling with the relationship between the two until I came across this text by Bhikkhu Bodhi (copyright 1984/1994):
The essence of the Buddha’s teaching can be summed up in two principles: the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. The first covers the side of doctrine, and the primary response it elicits is understanding; the second covers the side of discipline, in the broadest sense of that word, and the primary response it calls for is practice. In the structure of the teaching these two principles lock together into an indivisible unity called the dhamma-vinaya, the doctrine-and-discipline, or, in brief, the Dhamma. The internal unity of the Dhamma is guaranteed by the fact that the last of the Four Noble Truths, the truth of the way, is the Noble Eightfold Path, while the first factor of the Noble Eightfold Path, right view, is the understanding of the Four Noble Truths. Thus the two principles penetrate and include one another, the formula of the Four Noble Truths containing the Eightfold Path and the Noble Eightfold Path containing the Four Truths.
This explanation made things more clear to me and being a visual learner, I created this graphic to help me commit the lesson to memory.
Paticcasamuppada = Dependent Co-Arising
The Buddhist theory of causality is an excellent lesson to take to heart in the IT industries. Boiled down, it simply means that there is no effect without a cause. It goes on to further state that there are no singular causes or effects in life; everything is interconnected.
Applying this line of thought to a server rollout, we can come to many conclusions and be better prepared to respond to issues as they arise:
- Putting a server into production, means more traffic
- Means a configuration change
- Means more RAM and CPU usage
- Means higher IO on the disks
Therefore, we can be prepared to respond to each of these effects knowing that putting the server into production is the cause. However, do not disregard the network as it will be affected as well with additional broadcast and application traffic going to the new server. Again, everything is interconnected.
So, Paticcasamuppada shows that there can be no effect without a cause, and for that matter multiple effects.
Ti-Lakkhana are the 3 marks of existence. In list form, they are:
- annica – impermenance
- dukkha – suffering
- anatta – no-self (egolessness)
These 3 marks of existence are important to realize and keep in mind while going through our daily lives. Especially in the technology-driven fields, workers know that everything is always changing; everything is always in a state of flux.
By accepting this fact, and starting each day with the expectation that our environment has changed from the day before, we can better cope with changes and be more prepared to react calmly.
The only constant is change.
One of the concepts we study in Buddhism is the theory of no-self or egolessness.
The false belief in a soul/ self gives rise to all forms of self-centered desires. Therefore,
such a belief is the worst kind of belief because it leads to egocentric behaviour.
If we give up the idea of self in our career, we can better focus on the cause and effect of our daily actions and those of our co-workers.
For me personally, giving up the phrases “why does this always happen to me” and “why does nothing every go smoothly with our equipment” is helping me to stay more peaceful when faced with problems that I need to address. If I approach a server problem with egolessness, than all that exists is the server and the problem. All I need to focus on is a solution. I therefore have more positive energy and I am able to think more clearly to discover that solution.
I am in! I have been accepted into the International Buddhist College’s MA program in Buddhist Studies! Here is a link to their website: http://ibc.ac.th/en/
In the words of my application adviser, Lyehin, “Get cracking Phil.”
And I shall.