May 16, 2015
“Pop art,” Wikipedia tells us, “is an art movement that emerged in the mid-1950s in Britain and in the late 1950s in the United States … Pop art presented a challenge to traditions of fine art by including imagery from popular culture such as advertising, news, etc. In pop art, material is sometimes visually removed from its known context, isolated, and/or combined with unrelated material.”
For some reason I found myself using Google’s images search to look for Pop Art representations of the Buddha. There’s rather a lot of them out there, and I’ve included a few here, with links so that you can support the artists, if you’re so … Read more »
May 15, 2015
Brent Huffman, who travelled to Afghanistan to film the desperate efforts by archaeologists to document the ancient city of Mes Aynak before it turns into a Chinese-funded open-cast copper mine, wrote today to point out these new artifacts, which were recently unearthed:
The unheard-of level of preservation on discoveries just like this is one of the many reasons why Mes Aynak provides such a unique insight into Buddhism and Afghanistan’s past. This historical treasure must be protected and preserved!
Mes Aynak (“little copper well” in Pashto) is a mountainous site in the Taliban-controlled Logar Province, Afghanistan, 25 miles southeast of Kabul near the Pakistan border. Mes Aynak contains the … Read more »
May 15, 2015
In this 28 day event we’ll explore the quality of upekkha, or loving wisdom.
This event is by donation and is suitable for people who are familiar with lovingkindness or compassion meditation.
Upekkha is often translated as “equanimity,” but this is just a secondary aspect of this quality. Upekkha rests on an awareness that for beings (including ourselves) to be truly happy, they need spiritual insight.
Therefore, the practice of upekkha involves cultivating insight as we develop metta (kindness), karuna (compassion), and mudita (joyful appreciation). Not only do we cultivate insight ourselves, but we wish that all beings … Read more »
May 14, 2015
Considering that I’ve been practicing meditation for over 30 years, I’m rather embarrassed about how hard I find it to define mindfulness.
I’ve described it elsewhere as “the gentle effort to be continuously present with experience.”
Jon Kabat-Zinn’s has described it as “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
The other day I thought of a useful way to describe or define mindfulness:
“Mindfulness is when we observe our experience rather than merely participate in our experience.”
Unmindfulness is an almost hypnotic state. We’ve lost our perspective on our experience, and we’re swept along by it. We may be caught up in an … Read more »
May 12, 2015
You Are Not Your Pain by Vidyamala Burch Pain always seems worse at night. Something about the silence amplifies the suffering. Even after you’ve taken the maximum dose of painkillers, the aching soon returns with a vengeance. You want to do something, anything, to stop the pain, but whatever you try seems to fail. Moving hurts. Doing nothing hurts. Ignoring it hurts. But it’s not just the pain that hurts; your mind can start to suffer as you desperately try to find a way of escaping. Pointed and bitter questions can begin nagging at your soul: What will happen if I don’t recover? What if it gets worse? I can’t … Read more »
May 11, 2015
The other week I was interviewed by Olivier Larvor and Tim Brownson of the Raw Voices podcast. You can listen to the podcast here.
Olivier seems to be a fan of mine:
A truly enlightening podcast with Buddhist and meditation teacher Bodhipaksa Dharmacari, author of the book ”Living as a river: finding fearlessness in the face of change”
Prepare to be transported by Bodhipaksa’s stories, wisdom and soft-creamy voice.
Such a cool and humourous guy!
And his voice…
Ok fine, I am jealous!
The interview was rather rambling, since I was responding to questions and points that Olivier and Tim were bringing up. It’s partly about meditation … Read more »
May 08, 2015
A new report by the Pew Research Center suggests that of all the world’s major religions, Buddhism is the only one destined to lose ground between now and 2050.
The total number of adherents to Buddhism will remain virtually unchanged, with a slight decline from approximately 187 to 186 thousand people. But since the global population will have risen, the percentage of the world population that practices Buddhism will have declined sharply from 7.1% to 5.2%.
In the meantime, the percentage of the world practicing Christianity will be roughly static, while Islam will go from being embraced by 23.2% to 29.7% of the world.
This strikes me as ironic, since … Read more »
May 04, 2015
So I have survived one month of mentorship through my own programme of ‘Eight Step Recovery.’ I’ve relapsed twice, and am back on track with three days of abstinence. I tried harm reduction and it didn’t work for me. Told myself I will eat a handful of raw cashews a day. I even left them out on the kitchen counter so my hosts could share them with me too. But once they were finished, I went out bought a 500 gram packet and proceeded to eat them for my lunch, during a period of three hours. Now you may think: ‘Get over it, you don’t have an addiction. … Read more »
Apr 23, 2015
Meditation MP3 – The Heart’s Wisdom: Development of Compassion Everyone messes up. Me, you, the neighbors, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, King David, the Buddha, everybody.
It’s important to acknowledge mistakes, feel appropriate remorse, and learn from them so they don’t happen again. But most people keep beating themselves up way past the point of usefulness: they’re unfairly self-critical.
Inside the mind are many sub-personalities. For example, one part of me might set the alarm clock for 6 am to get up and exercise . . . and then when it goes off, another part of me could grumble: “Who set the darn clock?” More broadly, there is a kind of … Read more »
Apr 23, 2015
A well-known Buddhist teaching explains that all (or at least most) beings have, at one time or another in the inconceivable past, been close family members:
From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration [saṃsāra]. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating and wandering on [literally “saṃsāra-ing”]. A being who has not been your mother at one time in the past is not easy to find… A being who has not been your father… your brother… your sister… your son… your daughter at one time in the past is not easy to find. [Māta sutta]
A millennium or so later … Read more »