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Blog

Sep 24, 2009

Awareness in our technological world

monk with laptopTechnology brings a world of spiritual knowledge to our fingertips. But immersing ourselves in a world of gadgets may also distance us from more authentic connections with teachers, family, and friends. Guest blogger Justin Whitaker takes a look at the double-edged sword of our hyper-connected world.

Since you are reading this, presumably on a computer or other high-tech device, you owe a thing or two to technology. Nearly all of us in the Western world and a fast-growing number in the East live in a world molded and directed by technology. We have lived amidst changes that could scarcely be imagined just fifty years ago. We wake up, push a button or …

Mar 30, 2009

The Centrality of Impermanence

flowing waterIf there is just one thing you should learn about this world, anicca is it. It may be an exaggeration to say that anicca, or impermanence, is the core of the Buddha’s teaching, but when we look closely at this single idea, the whole of the Buddha’s teaching begins to open up.

In Buddhism, impermanence is one of the three “marks” of existence, along with dukkha and anattā, or unsatisfactoriness and no-self. Together, these three marks form the core of a Buddhist conception of reality. Understanding this reality is often described as tantamount to awakening.

Indeed, in Vipassanā meditation we are taught to note, or to simply direct the mind to …

Sep 24, 2008

Awakening the Inner Warrior

Buddha handThe archetype of warriorhood, if taken literally, can antithetical to the Buddhist path of peace. Taken as a metaphor for inner change, however, it can represent the inner struggle required in spiritual practice. Guest blogger and philosopher Justin Whitaker explores three types of warrior: outer, inner, and perfected.

I find it difficult to write about warriorhood from a Buddhist perspective. The term for me is heavily laden with negative connotations and often misunderstood by those around me. We may do well to distinguish at the beginning between three kinds of warrior: the outer, the inner, and the perfected. It is the outer warrior that we most often think of when hearing the term …

Jun 22, 2008

The art of friendship

Two monks walking Spiritual friendship comes highly praised in Buddhist practice. But why are spiritual friends considered to be so crucial? What are the qualities of a spiritual friend? And do we have to leave our existing friends behind? Guest blogger Justin Whitaker investigates.

But due to the fragility and perishability of human things, we should always be on the search for someone to love and by whom to be loved; indeed if affection and kindliness are lost from our life, we lose all that gives it charm… Cicero, Laelius de Amicitia

Friendship, and our human relationships in general, can at times be one of the most difficult aspects of our lives while at …

Mar 24, 2008

The purity of no-self

Diamond Are we fundamentally sinful beings? Or fundamentally pure? Or somewhere in between those two extremes? Even within the body of Buddhist teachings there is a variety of ways of looking at human nature. Buddhist scholar and practitioner Justin Whitaker tries to bring some clarity to the murky area of purity.

The notion of Purification can be a puzzling one for the modern Dharma practitioner. Am I impure? Is there something, somewhere deep inside me, that is bad or wrong and must be gotten rid of? Such questions ruffle my brow a bit. Like many Westerners practicing the Dharma today, I was born into a Christian society and attended church …