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 »
Apr 22, 2015
Someone wrote to me the other day, asking for advice:
I just started regularly meditating about a month ago. I’m scared to continue now though. I had a sudden feeling of self resentment and I felt it so deeply. I remembered the bad choices I have made in my life and felt so unworthy of love and compassion. I felt unworthy of the meditation itself. I felt like I was the most selfish person in the world. I can’t even begin to describe how painful it was.
What she’d described is what we call the “hindrance of doubt.” There are five of these hindrances, which are mental patterns that stop … Read more »
Apr 20, 2015
So why should we go out of our way to develop mindfulness?
Mindful presence feels good in its own right: relaxed, alert, and peaceful. Not contending with anything. No struggle.
In addition to the inherent, experiential rewards of mindful presence, studies have shown that it lowers stress, makes discomfort and pain more bearable, reduces depression, and increases self-knowledge and self-acceptance.
To quote the father of American psychology, William James: “The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very … Read more »
Apr 20, 2015
I just wanted to flag up that in late May and June my friend Harshaprabha of the Triratna Buddhist Order will be offering the opportunity to meet with like-minded people in Goderich, Guelph and Sudbury, Ontario.
He has planned a diverse set of events, ones which he believes will meet the expectations of those living in those places.
This is the first of his 2015 visits and one he is particularly looking forward to; not just meeting old and potentially new friends but the first time he has put on events in Sudbury.
Harshaprabha lives in the UK but has family ties to Ontario. He’s visited the province many times … Read more »
Apr 17, 2015
A blog post listing 25 Buddha quotes—most of which are fake—has now been “liked” over half a million times on Facebook. Sheesh.
So I’ve written a blog post debunking the list, with a link to an article on the origins of each quote, usually also with references to actual quotes from the Buddhist scriptures. The article’s called “25 Mostly Fake Buddha Quotes That May or May Not Change Your Life.”
So far it’s been liked nine times on Facebook. Only another 600,000 “likes” to go and we can leave the article of fake quotes standing in the dust :)
Apr 16, 2015
What Are You Holding Onto?
I’ve done a lot of rock climbing, so I know firsthand the importance sometimes of not letting go! This applies to other things as well: keeping hold of a child’s hand while crossing the street, staying true to your ethics in a tricky situation, or sustaining attention to your breath while meditating.
On the other hand, think of all the stuff – both physical and nonphysical – we cling to that creates problems for us and others: clutter in the home, “shoulds,” rigid opinions, resentments, regrets, status, guilt, resistance to the facts on the ground, needing to be one-up with others, the past, people who … Read more »
Apr 09, 2015
In this 28 day event we’ll be exploring the quality of mudita, or joyful appreciation.
Mudita recognizes and appreciates the positive qualities and actions that bring happiness to beings (ourselves included).
It begins with a desire that beings be happy, but recognizes that happiness arises from a life well-lived, rather than randomly.
During this event you’ll learn how to:
- Develop peace through an appreciation of impermanence
- Overcome a tendency to blame yourself or others
- See all beings as potentially awakened
- Abandon indifference and cruelty in favor of genuine loving wisdom
- Encourage the arising of insight in others
Signing up for this event gives you access to:
- 28 daily emails with