Tuesday, November 30, 2021

A Deeper Experience Of Life...


Deeper and meaningful expeiences are found within oneself, never to be found outside of oneself.

Suffering (or unhappiness) is caused by the Three Posions, greed, ignorance and hatred

Enjoy the video... it speaks truth.

Creator/Creation and Human Arrogance @ 3 Minutes Thirty Seconds...


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving 2021...

Teaser below left.

Buddhism Is True...


Why 'Why Buddhism Is True' Is True

Here is one thing author Robert Wright and I agree on when it comes to Buddhist meditation: It's really, really boring.

At least, it's boring in the beginning. But there is another thing we agree on, too. That initial meditative boredom is actually a door. It's an opening that can lead us to something essential, and essentially true, that Buddhism has to teach us about being human.

Wright's insight on this point is just one of the many truths in his delightfully personal, yet broadly important, new book Why Buddhism Is True.

The "true" in Wright's title doesn't refer to the traditional kinds of scriptural truths we think of when we think of religions and truth. Wright is explicitly not interested in the traditional aspects of Buddhism as a religion. The book, for example, makes no claims about reincarnation or Tibetan rainbow bodies or the like. Instead, Wright wants to focus on Buddhism's diagnosis of the human condition. The part that is relevant to the here and now. It's Buddhism's take on our suffering, our anxiety and our general dis-ease that Wright wants to explore because that is where he sees its perspective lining up with scientific fields like evolutionary psychology and neurobiology.

To his credit, Wright is more than cognizant that exploring just these aspects of Buddhism means he is filtering out quite a bit of its history. As he reminds his readers:

"Two of the most common Western conceptions of Buddhism — that it's atheistic and that it revolves around meditation — are wrong; most Asian Buddhists do believe in gods, though not an omnipotent creator God, and don't meditate."

Wright also acknowledges that even within this "scientific" Buddhism he is interested in, there are also enormous differences between various philosophical schools of thought, many with 1,000-year histories.

"I'm not getting into super-fine-grained parts of Buddhist psychology and philosophy," he tells us.

"For example, the Abhidhamma Pitaka, a collection of early Buddhist texts, asserts that there are eighty-nine kinds of consciousness, twelve of which are unwholesome. You may be relieved to hear that this book will spend no time trying to evaluate that claim."

I was happy to see Wright address these issues of history and interpretation head-on. No matter where Buddhism's encounter with the West takes it, ignoring history doesn't do anyone any good (I've tried to explore these issues myself here at 13.7 and elsewhere, including here and here).

But with those important caveats, Wright is then forceful in his main argument that "Buddhism's diagnosis of the human predicament is fundamentally correct, and that its prescription is deeply valid and urgently important."

To back up this claim, Wright leans heavily on evolutionary psychology, which he says, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, "is the study of how the human brain was designed — by natural selection — to mislead us, even enslave us." That misleading and enslaving, however, is all in the service of getting our genes into the next generation. As he writes:

"Don't get me wrong: natural selection has its virtues, and I'd rather be created by it than not be created at all — which, so far as I can tell, are the two options this universe offers."

These lines give you hint of Wright's tone throughout the book. He is very funny and uses his own experiences to drive to the book's questions. In particular, it was his first experience at a week-long meditation intensive two decades ago that launched his journey into Buddhism and "contemplative practice" (i.e. meditation). His accounts of time spent on "the cushion" are full of self-effacing humor and real insights.

Wright's main point is that evolution hardwires us with intense emotions that are in fact delusions. (He has discussed this in an interview with Fresh Air's Terry Gross.) They developed as survival responses to the environments we evolved in and they were tuned to those environments. Now they just don't make sense and need to be seen for what they are. As he puts it:

"These feelings — anxiety, despair, hatred, greed — ... have elements of delusion, elements you'd be better off without. And if you think you would be better off, imagine how the whole world would be. After all, feelings like despair and hatred and greed can foster wars and atrocities. So if what I'm saying is true — if the basic sources of human suffering and human cruelty are indeed in large part the product of delusion — there is value in exposing this delusion to the light."

Not only is Buddhism spot on with respect to science as discussed in the article, it is also a valid and rewarding spiritual path for millions across the globe who practice. For some, Buddhism makes as much sense as the virgin birth or the burning bush.

 It's the practice that counts

Continiue on for MORE of Adam Frank's article.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Discovering Your Inner Peace...

Purify the Mind of the Three Poisions...


Mindfulness, Love, Letting Go, Wisdom, and Transmutation... Five practices that lead to liberation and enlightenment.

To find out out more follow the link to Lion's Roar. The trip will be well worth it!

Here's the teaser to whet yer appetite.

I think what makes Buddhism unique — what makes it Buddhism — is its diagnosis of what causes suffering, which is called the second noble truth.

Looking at the other noble truths, most religions acknowledge the pervasive reality of suffering, that it can end (if not in this life, then after), and that wisdom, compassion, and ethical living are a path to less suffering.

But why do we suffer at all? This is where Buddhism stands alone, offering a real-world explanation that is simple, testable, and, to my mind, irrefutable.

What is it like to detox our mind of ego and these three poisons? We already know.

According to Buddhism, the fundamental cause of suffering is ignorance, our mistaken view of reality. The Buddha taught that everything is impermanent. That’s another way of saying that everything dies. But we hold on to the belief, or at least the hope, that something in us won’t die, something permanent at our core we call soul, atman, ego, or just “me.”... Melvin McLeod

Additional reading

Why Are We Afraid Of Death?...;

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Taming Habit Energy...


Valerie (Vimalasara) Mason-John shares how to free ourselves from deep-rooted habitual patterns.

Watch your thoughts; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become stories.
Watch your stories; they become excuses.
Watch your excuses; they become relapses.
Watch your relapses; they become dis-eases.
Watch your dis-eases; they become vicious cycles.
Watch your vicious cycles; they become your wheel of life.

We meditate to uproot what the Buddhist teachings call samskaras. These are the mental impressions and recollections that have been psychologically imprinted in our minds by early childhood trauma.

We also meditate to loosen what the Buddha called the seven anusayas, which are obsessions or underlying habitual tendencies. If we really want to break deep-rooted habits, every one of us needs to become aware of the obsessions of sensual passion, resistance, views, uncertainty, conceit, ignorance, and the passion of becoming.

Every time we habitually react, the past is present.

Maybe you’ve made a New Year’s resolution again this year, performed rituals, done therapy, or tried plant medicine. But these seven habitual ways of acting out are still dominating your life and causing you misery. Why? Because the anusayas are rooted in ancestral trauma, intergenerational trauma, and epigenetic trauma. They have become part of your identity.

The thoughts that habitually run around in your head are part of your superego: they are giving internal voice to the adults in your past who harmed, hurt, and wounded you. Every time we habitually react, that past is present. It resurfaces.

I used to have a huge reaction if I was waiting for a friend and they were half an hour late. For some of you, someone being half an hour late wouldn’t be a big deal. But once upon a time, waiting for someone put my whole body into a crisis—palpitations, sweats, grinding my teeth. That’s because the memory was still in my body of the six-week-old me who was left somewhere by a mother who never returned. So when someone was late, my body memory was activated and I became deeply distressed.

This habit of reacting was only uprooted when I surrendered the identity of an abandoned six-week-old, and allowed that identity to die, in the painful gap of sadness, rather than habitually turning away from it in my distress. We transcend our habits by allowing a part of our superego to die.

Meditation: Thoughts with No Thinker

Continue on BELOW theFOLD.

Source: Lion's Roar

Buddhist Wisdom That Will Positively Transform Your Life...


Buddhaimonia ... Buddhism holds within it a treasure trove of wisdom, not to mention wisdom easily applicable in one's everyday life and by all people of various backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences.

Thich Nhat Hanh has said, "Buddhism is made up of all non-Buddhist elements." And this couldn't be truer. When it comes down to it, Buddhism is really just a collection of methods and ways of realizing the ultimate truths of this life, and the path to discovering true peace and happiness.

Whether Buddhist, a collector of universal wisdom, or just someone interested in finding practical ways to improve their life, this list presents 12 powerful and potentially transformative pieces of Buddhist wisdom which you can benefit from.

12 Pieces of Buddhist Wisdom That Will Transform Your Life

1. Live with compassion

Compassion is one of the most revered qualities in Buddhism and great compassion is a sign of a highly realized human being.

Compassion doesn't just help the world at large, and it isn't just about the fact that it's the right thing to do. Compassion, and seeking to understand those around you, can transform your life for a number of reasons.

First, self-compassion is altogether critical towards finding peace within yourself. By learning to forgive yourself and accepting that you're human you can heal deep wounds bring yourself back from difficult challenges.

Next, we can often be tortured because of the fact that we don't completely understand why people do certain things.

Compassion is understanding the basic goodness in all people and then seeking to discover that basic goodness in specific people. Because of this, it helps you from going through the often mental torture we experience because we don't understand the actions of others.

But even more than that, expressing compassion is the very act of connecting wholeheartedly with others, and simply connecting in this way can be a great source of joy for us.

The reasons for practicing compassion are numerous and powerful. Seek to live in a way that you treat everyone you meet as you would yourself. Once you begin trying to do this, it will seem altogether impossible. But keep at it, and you'll realize the full power of living with compassion.

2. Connect with others and nurture those connections

In Buddhism, a community of practitioners is called a "sangha". A sangha is a community of monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen who practice together in peace towards the united "goal" of realizing greater awakening, not only for themselves but for all beings.

The sangha is a principle which much of the world can greatly benefit from. People come together in groups all the time, but it's usually for the purpose of creating monetary riches or obtaining substantial power and rarely towards the united goal of attaining peace, happiness, and realizing greater wisdom.

The principle of the sangha can be expressed in your own life in many ways. The sangha is ultimately just one way of looking at life, through the lens of the individual "expressions" of the totality.

By living in a way that you're fully aware of the power of connecting with others, whether it's one person or a group of 100, and seeking to nurture those relationships in the appropriate way, you can transform your life in ways that will pay dividends for years to come.

3. Wake up

One of the most powerful points on this list, the power of simply living in a way that you're fully awake to every moment of your life pretty much couldn't be exaggerated even if I tried.

Mindfulness, greater awareness, paying attention, whatever you want to call it- it changes every facet of your life and in every way. It's as simple as that.

Strive to live fully awake to each moment of your daily life and overcome your greatest personal struggles, find a great sense of peace and joy, and realize the greatest lessons life can teach you as a result of living fully awake to the present moment.

4. Live deeply

To live deeply, in a way that you become keenly aware of the precious nature of life, is to begin down the path of true peace and happiness.

Why? Because to live in this way is to gradually become aware of the true nature of the world. This will happen essentially in "sections" of the whole, such as realizing your interconnectedness (you begin to see how everything is connected to everything else) and impermanence (you begin to see how everything is ever-changing, constantly dying only to be reborn in another form).

These realizations are the bread and butter of Buddhism and all spiritual practice. These "sections of the whole" are fragments of the ultimate realization, ways for us to understand that which can't be fully understood in the traditional sense.

By living in a way that you seek to realize these various "qualities of the ultimate" you find greater and greater peace in realizing the natural way of things. This cultivates in us the ability to savor every moment of life, to find peace in even the most mundane activities, as well as the ability to transform your typically "negative" experiences into something altogether nourishing and healing.

5. Change yourself, change the world

Buddhists understand that you can hardly help another before you help yourself. But this isn't referring to you gaining power or riches before you can help others or living in a way that you ignore others.

This is mostly referring to the fact that because we're all interconnected, by you helping yourself you create an exponentially positive effect on the rest of the world.

If you want to make an impact on the world, don't falsely convince yourself that it's "you or them". You don't need to drag yourself through the mud to help those around you. If you do this, you'll greatly hamper your ability to create a positive impact.

At the deepest level of understanding, by making it about you this also makes it about them because you know there's no separating "you" and "them".

Take care of yourself and seek to be more than just a help, but an example of how to live for others to follow and you'll create waves of exponential possibility that inspires others to do the same.

6. Embrace death

Death is an often taboo topic in Western society. We do everything we can to not only avoid the subject but pretend that it doesn't even exist.

The reality is, this is really unfortunate and in no way helps us lead better lives. Becoming keenly aware of your own impermanence and deeply understanding the nature of death with regards to our interconnectedness are both things which can help us find great peace.

In Buddhism, students in many sects at one point or another "meditate on the corpse" as it were (a practice which is said to have originated at least as far back as the Buddha's lifetime).

This is literally what it sounds like. They meditate on the image of a corpse slowing decomposing and imagine that process through to its end, eventually resulting in a deep and profound realization about the true nature of death.

That might sound a little intense to you, but the truth is if you live your entire life acting as if you're never going to die or ignoring your own impermanence then you won't ever be able to find true peace within yourself.

You don't necessarily have to meditate on the image of a corpse, but simply opening up to yourself about death so that you're no longer shielding it from your mind (which you're likely doing unconsciously, as that's how most of us were brought up in the West) can begin to be a great source of peace and help you appreciate the many joys in your everyday life.

A true appreciation for life can never be fully realized until you come face-to-face with your own impermanence. But once you do this, the world opens up in a new and profound way.

Continue on BELOW the FOLD.

Dhammapada (256-257)...


na tena hoti dhammaṭṭho, yenatthaṃ sāhasā naye.

yo ca atthaṃ anatthañca, ubho niccheyya paṇḍito.

asāhasena dhammena, samena nayatī pare.
dhammassa gutto medhāvī, 'dhammaṭṭho'ti pavuccati.

Not by passing arbitrary judgments does a man become just; a wise man is he who investigates both right and wrong.

He who does not judge others arbitrarily, but passes judgment impartially according to the truth, that sagacious man is a guardian of law and is called just.

Is there a nation today that has actually lived up to this idealized notion of just? The evidence is clear methinks.

Maybe Tibet. That proud and once sovereign nation that the Communist Chinese annexed and took illegitimate control of in 1959. With the full and docile compliance of the rest of the world.

We Are Truly Blessed, If We Believe We Are...


Thursday, November 11, 2021

Buddhist Wisdom...

Honoring Veteran's Day...


On this, another Veterans' Day, try thinking of things that will ease suffering and make life for all sentient beings better. Then ACT on those thoughts.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Why We Must Support the Resistance...


Lion's Roar - Nine months ago, the Burmese military staged a coup in the predominately Buddhist country of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). The military continues to enact horrendous violence and human rights abuses against the citizens of Myanmar, and many of our fellow practitioners are suffering.

The attempted coup in Myanmar began on February 1, 2021 when the Tatmadaw military detained many of the country’s democratically elected officials. The country responded with a national strike as millions of healthcare workers, civil servants, teachers, truck drivers, and others refused to work. Railways and highways were shut down as part of the Civil Disobedience Movement, and the streets of major cities and small towns flooded with people.

We should see it as our karmic responsibility to support the people suffering in Myanmar.

The military junta responded to this Spring Revolution with extreme violence. State-sanctioned security forces opened fire on unarmed crowds. The military imposed citywide curfews, conducting midnight raids to arrest and disappear dissidents. Since February, the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners has documented over 1,200 deaths and over 9,300 arrests.

As violence intensified, participants in the Spring Revolution took to writing their blood type and personal information on their bodies should they be killed or injured in the streets. The military has also massacred rural villages and continues to use torture and sexual violence as part of their political repression.

Of the 57 million people living in Myanmar, nearly 90% identify as Buddhists. It is because of our interconnectedness with Myanmar that we must support its people in this time of need. Many secular mindfulness practices were shaped by Burmese traditions.

Continue on BELOW the FOLD..

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

The Practice...

Have you ever watched your mind? I mean really watched your mind???  If you have you no doubt found it a very active place. A non stop procession of  random unrelated thoughts, ideas, and stories run through your mind like a rolling river during heavy rains. No wonder life can seem so confusing. Right?

The mind never ever stops. But a lot of  folks probably don't pay a lot of attention to the mind. I suppose that's because the mind simply runs on auto pilot accumulating experiences and building stories based on ones life experiences. And when one considers all of the societal conditioning we all experience in life and add that to all the stories we tell ourselves (to support what we want to believe of course) it's reasonable to think perhaps reality is not what we've always believed it to be.

When one sits down to meditate (with right intentions) they do so to calm the mind while focusing on the breath and the present moment. After all the present moment is the only moment we have. The past is behind us and the future has not happened yet. But for most folks the lion's share of their time is spent thinking about the past and how they're going to make the future better. Yet, the only moment we can impact is the present one. That's the moment to focus on. And understand it as it really is.

Yeah, I know, it sounds simple. It isn't. It's work. And, it take practice. Lots of practice,.As everyone knows, pactice make perfect. Right? Or is there any such thing as perfect? I suppose perfect is a matter of perception. And each individual being's perception is their own.

Anyway it all starts with following the breath. Each inhalation and each exhalation. The breath should be easy and natural. Not forced in any way. Proper beathing is important and proper breathing is not chest brething. As you inhale draw the cool fresh breath into your abdomen (stomach), paying close attention to the breaths "feel" as it enters your nostrils and continue down and fills your abdomonal cavity. As you exale feel the warm moist breath as it leves your abdomen and crosses the tip of your nostrils. Focus on the breath. The easy natural rythmn of your breathing.

Thoughts and distractrions will begin to happen almost immediately. The mind is a very active place. It never stops "thinking". Unless you quiet it through a practice. Which is what mindfulness meditation can do for you. Over time and through practice. Te important thing is to practice and not get discouraged. I suggest starting with a 10 minute prctice session 5 days a week and gradually increase as you feel comfortable. And remember, don't get down on yourself. There really is no right or wrong way to meditate. If it focuses you on the present and helps you to experence reality and the moment as they really are it's all good!