The Eight Winds

“Worthy persons deserve to be called so 

because they are not carried away by the eight winds: 

prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering, and pleasure. 

They are neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. 

The heavenly gods will surely protect one who is unbending before the eight winds”.

                                                                                                     Nichiren




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The Eight Winds by are not of a Christian tradition, but are of a Buddhist tradition.  It is good to be aware of other traditions.  For me personally the Eight Winds help me to explore and examine my Christian faith more deeply.  Understanding and practicing the Eight Winds will do a Christian no harm; but may lead you to a deeper understanding of your own faith.  eoa   

By respecting the differences in our own church
And seeing how these differences 
enrich each one another. 
We are more open to appreciating
the richness and diversity of other traditions. 
In a true dialogue, both sides are willing to change. 

Thich Nhat Hahn

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The Eight Winds:

     1.     Prosperity 

     2.     Decline

     3.     Honor

     4.     Disgrace

     5.     Praise

     6.     Censure

     7.     Pleasure

     8.     Suffering

 _____________________________________________________



Spiritual Yoga

From Shelly Niebuhr’s Class Notes:

The Eight Worldly Winds or 8 conditions that arise in every life, constantly blow in and out of everyone’s life.

·       Praise/Blame/Criticism 

·       Gain/Loss

·       Pleasure/Pain

·       Fame/Disrepute

  

You will find these 8 conditions in the Upanishads - in the Buddha’s teachings and ALL spiritual traditions speak in some way to these eight winds.

It is important to understand that they will appear in our lives, and what is even more important is how to relate to each one when they do appear.

In yoga, we are taught to meet the eight worldly winds with a balanced mind or with Equanimity. This is clearly very difficult, and that’s why it’s called a practice.

Equanimity

[ee-kwuh-nim-i-tee, ek-wuh-] 

Spell Syllables

·         Synonyms

·         Examples

·         Word Origin

noun

1.

mental or emotional stability or composure,especially under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium.



Give example of praise/blame pair that has come up in class:

One time I had a participant tell me that this class was a farce because it wasn’t enough of a work out – it didn’t help her at all and that I needed to change the class (and she gave me a list) or she would never come back. And she never did come back. btw.

 After the same very class, I had another person email and say how much it had help her both physically and spiritually and that she was able to see an event completely different b/c of the teaching.

This is how life is: we act, hopefully, out of the best intentions within us, and sometimes we will receive praise, sometimes blame/criticism.

This is the very nature of life; No one in a body, in this world, experiences only pleasure and no pain and no one experience only gain and no loss and only praise and no blame.

When you open to the truth, you will see that there is no need to hold on, or to push away from praise and blame, but rather to meet both with a balanced mind, with equanimity, to learn over time, to not attach to either praise or blame, to not allow one to wash you away.

Receiving praise does not mean we have nothing to learn, and receiving blame does not mean we are failures. Neither is who you are!

If you keep trying to control what you can never be controlled (Praise/Blame, Gain/Loss), that will only bring suffering and discontent.

The ancient Taoist called it the “10,000 joys and the 10,000 sorrows” and they said that they would come over and over again.

Contemplate that praise/Blame will always be present and we cannot change that.

But what we have the power to meet these winds, these conditions with a balanced mind. 

Yoga is all about cultivate that equanimity, the center of gravity within you. 



We will ALL face the Eight Winds throughout our lives. The 8 Winds blow at their own volition. We cannot control the Winds.  We are to meet these Eight Winds with “Equanimity.”   We are to “Meet” these winds with a “Balanced Mind!”

We are NOT to get Caught-Up (attached) into either Wind. For example: We should NOT get caught-up in the Wind of Praise; for if we do we will require more and more praise and not getting more praise is Suffering!  If we get caught-up (attached) in the Wind of Criticism and Blame we are on the Road to Depression, Despondency, and Suffering!

The Equanimity is facing the Winds with a Balanced Mind; Not getting too wrapped-up in either the Wind of Praise or the Wind of Criticism. We don’t get sucked into the Whirlwind of Suffering.

eoa


A truly wise man will not be carried away by any of the eight winds:  prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering and pleasure.  He is neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline.  The heavenly gods will surely protect one who does not bend before the eight winds. However, if you bear an unreasonable grudge against your lord, heaven will never protect you, no  matter how strongly you may pray.

Eight conditions that prevent people from advancing along the right path to *enlightenment. the eight winds are prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering, and pleasure. People are often swayed either by their attachment to prosperity, honor, praise, and pleasure (collectively known as "four favorites" or "four favorable winds"), or by their aversion to decline, disgrace, censure, and suffering ("four dislikes" or "four adverse winds").

*enlightenment: (my personal definition) Enlightenment is to be truly "fully human" - to be fully human is to be "Christ-Like". Enlightenment is to be in a "right-relationship with God"/ Salvation. So for me enlightenment is to be fully human, Christ-Like, and in a Right-Relationship with God.

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Eight conditions that prevent people from advancing along the right path to enlightenment:

Prosperity: to obtain what one desires.

Decline: to suffer loss.

Honor: to be admired and praised in one’s absence.

Disgrace: to be criticized and defamed in one’s absence. 

Praise: to be admired and praised directly.

Censure: to be criticized and defamed directly.

Pleasure: to be happy in body and mind. 

Suffering: to suffer in body and mind.

___________________________________________


Prosperity: to obtain what one desires.

Prosperity may lead to arrogance, egotism, and superiority. At the other end of the spectrum 

Decline: to suffer loss.    

Decline may lead to suffering, poverty, and feelings of failure, depression, and unworthiness.

Prosperity means we get more stuff, decline means we do not. Pleasure feels good; pain does not.

Happiness is not simply the abundance of pleasure in the absence of pain. "Happiness" it is to remain confident and optimistic in the face of everyday reality.

Both Prosperity and Decline may lead you to stray off of the path to enlightenment.


Be joyful always,
pray continuously,
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 adapted


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Honor: to be admired and praised in one’s absence.  

Honor: It is good to be an honorable person, but if it goes to your head you may become conceited, vain, and narcissistic.  

Disgrace: to be criticized and defamed in one’s absence.

Disgrace leads to dishonor, humiliation, and disrespect.   Both Honor and Disgrace may lead you to stray off of the path to enlightenment. 

Praise: to be admired and praised directly.

PraiseWe all like to be appreciated, flattered, and recommended. But if flattery goes to our heads we may become arrogant, conceited, and become prideful, aloof, and egotistical.  

Censure: to be criticized and defamed directly.                  Censure: We do not like to be criticized, rebuked, and blamed.  When we are censured we may become defensive, argumentative, overly-sensitive, and angry.

Both Praise and Censure may lead you to stray off of the path to enlightenment.  

                   

·        Pleasure: to be happy in body and mind.                        

·        Suffering: to suffer in body and mind.                                


Thich Nhat Hahn

Five Wonderful Precepts

Six Paramitas

Ten Selfless Precepts


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