Dec 10, 2013
When I’m talking with people about the Buddhist teaching of non-self (anatta) they often say things like, “But how can you function in daily life without a self?” I usually answer, “Well, how do you function in daily life without a self?” Because Buddhism doesn’t say that we have to lose our selves — it says that we have no selves to lose. The reason we assume we have to lose our selves is because we walk around with the delusion that we do actually have a self in the first place.
So we all go about our daily lives without selves; it’s just that most of us drag around …
Dec 10, 2013
Self-compassion is at the heart of my teaching these days.
The retreat fees include food and accommodation, and they’re on a sliding scale.
Most us us have the habit of being unkind to ourselves. We talk unkindly to ourselves and often we sacrifice our own well-being
Dec 04, 2013
Join us for a series of free meditation events throughout 2014. We’re calling this our Year of Going Deeper.
The Year of Going Deeper includes events suitable for you whatever your level of practice, whether you’re a beginner interested in learning basic techniques or a more experienced meditator interested in cultivating deep meditative states and insight. You’re free to pick and choose which events you participate in.
- Registration for these events is free, although donations are encouraged.
- When you register for an event, you’re signing up for a daily practice reminder that will be delivered by email.
- The newsletter will contain practice suggestions and links to guided meditations.
Dec 04, 2013
No matter how much experience we have of meditation being beneficial in our lives, and of not meditating making life harder for us, we can still end up experiencing resistance. And resistance to meditation can be very painful, especially when we get caught between that feeling that we “should” meditation and the feeling that we don’t want to.
Sometimes there’s a hidden agenda at work. We might on some level think that meditation is selfish. Or we might be worried about “not getting things done.” Or we might be afraid of change. If you can become aware of the underlying reason for your resistance you …
Dec 03, 2013
The Buddha really emphasized giving. In fact in you think about it we wouldn’t have any Buddhism today. The Buddha’s life, after his Awakening, was a life of giving. His time and his talent in communication was spent in giving people the tools they needed to become awakened. His energy was spent traveling around India, teaching.
The entire community of monks and nuns likewise gave their time and energy — their lives, really — in order to help others.
And if it wasn’t for 2,500 years of householders donating to the sangha, none of that teaching would have been passed onto us. It wasn’t just a question of lay Buddhists putting some …
Nov 27, 2013
What’s your preferred translation of “metta”?
As a kind of postscript to our recent Urban Retreat, which was on the theme of metta, I’m going to share my thoughts about some of the terms people use, and propose an uncommon, but I think good, English term.
The most common English term that people use for metta is “lovingkindness.” That’s pretty much the standard term. A search for “metta is loving-kindness” on Google brought up 17,200 results.
What’s good about it?
It’s an old and well-established term in English. You might be surprised how old it is; it’s found for example in a 1611 translation of the Bible (this example is from the Book of …
Nov 27, 2013
Shhhhh!! Let’s be very quiet while we review author Deborah Underwood and illustrator Renata Liwska’s The Christmas Quiet Book.
Are you sitting comfortably? Have you silenced all the alarms on your computer and phone? Have you closed all other windows or switched your browser to full screen mode? Have you taken three full breaths, closed your eyes, and spent a few minutes quietly listening to the world around you? No? OK, go do that now…
I adore Ms. Underwood’s books. So does my six-year-old daughter and, to a lesser extent, …
Nov 26, 2013
This is not the end, but the beginning.
Here is a summary of where we’ve been, and a list of suggestions for continuing your exploration of meditation.
Where we’re been
We hope you appreciated and benefited from the material we sent you. Remember that even if you didn’t manage to read everything or watch all the videos, they’re always there for you. In fact here’s a handy list of all the posts we sent during the retreat:
- Urban Retreat: Day 1: Demystifying lovingkindness
- Urban Retreat: Day 2: Authentic lovingkindness
- Urban Retreat: Day 3: Lovingkindness: When the Rubber Hits the Road
- Urban Retreat: Day 4: Protecting others, you protect yourself.
- Urban Retreat, Day 5:
Nov 25, 2013
Three years ago I walked into a bookstore in Vancouver, where I was doing a book launch, and literally the first book spine that caught my eye in the Buddhist book section was called Buddha at Bedtime. As the father of two young children I pulled it from the shelf with excitement, and was astonished to discover it had been written by an old friend of mine from my days in Glasgow.
Of course I got a copy of the book, and it’s been a bedtime fixture in our household ever since. Now comes a much-welcomed sequel, The Buddha’s …
Nov 25, 2013
I’m going to write less today, because sometimes I go on a bit, and I know we’re all bombarded with information. So here are just a few words about the practice of compassion, and especially of self-compassion.
What is compassion? Like lovingkindness, it’s a volition (something we desire or will or intend). While lovingkindness is the desire that beings find happiness, compassion is the desire to relieve suffering. Compassion flows directly from lovingkindness; we want beings to be happy, yet they suffer, and so we want their suffering to be relieved so that they can find happiness.
Compassion is not a sentiment. It’s not just a feeling. Volitions are what lead to …