One of the strangest and most meaningful experiences of my life occurred when I going through Rolfing (ten brilliant sessions of deep-tissue bodywork) in my early 20’s. The fifth session works on the stomach area, and I was anticipating (= dreading) the release of buried sadness. Instead, there was a dam burst of love, which poured out of me during the session and afterward. I realized it was love, not sadness, that I had bottled up in childhood – and what I now needed to give and express.
We can hold back our contributions to the world, including love, just as much as we can muzzle or repress sorrow or anger. But contribution needs to … Read more »
About to turn thirty, Conor Grennan planned a year-long trip around the world. He started his trip with a three-month stint volunteering in the Little Princes Orphanage in war-torn Nepal. What was supposed to be just a three-month experience changed Conor’s life, and the lives of countless others.While playing on the roof of the orphanage, Conor was approached by a woman who would turn out to be the mother of two of the wards. Over hours of conversations with her, Conor learned the truth about the kids he’d come to love. Many of the little princes were not orphans but rather had been taken from their homes and families by child traffickers. In addition to … Read more »
One of the most frustrating things in my life is that for the last few months, because of a change in my wife’s work schedule, I haven’t been able to get up to the prison I’ve been teaching in for the last seven years. I miss the guys there. I regard them as part of my “sangha” (spiritual community). I have great respect for them as spiritual practitioners because of the sheer effort they have to make in order to remain sane and balanced in a very challenging environment. Not only do they stay sane and balanced, but some of them bring about huge changes in their lives. I regard many of them as friends.… Read more »
The transformation of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons from the recreational drug-using, model-chasing manager of seminal 1980s rap artists Run-DMC, LL Cool J and Will Smith into a serene 21st-century prophet of veganism and meditation may be surreal, but it’s also quite real.
Even in his dark days of excess, Simmons had a lot of light around him. As 1990s entrepreneurs like Suge Knight made the rap business virtually synonymous with invective and violence, Simmons stood above them as a relative paragon of virtue, achieving unmatched success with humor and hustle rather than brutality. As he matured and embraced his holistic lifestyle, Simmons became “Uncle Rush,” purveyor of hip-hop brands but also philanthropist and father-figure.
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I’m fascinated by the psychology of giving and/or financial exchanges. Just this morning I was noticing my hesitation in committing to pay 99¢ for an iPhone app without having tried it first. But when I go into a coffee shop I happily plonk down $1.50 or so for a cup of Joe, without hesitating or asking for a free trial. The coffee will last me for 20 minutes, while I might end up using the app on a daily basis for an indefinite period of time. There’s no guarantee I’m going to find the coffee pleasant. Screwy, but normal.
One peculiarity regarding money is that people who have less of it are more willing to … Read more »
In the days of the Buddha, people generously supported monks and nuns. They gave them food, clothing, medicine, land, and buildings. And the monks and nuns taught — freely. Many people nowadays, thinking back to that arrangement, say “meditation should be free” or “it’s wrong to charge for Dharma (Buddhism) classes.”
Of course the Dharma was never free! It was free at the point of delivery, in that monks didn’t charge for classes. But enough people supported the monastics for them to be able to do that. It’s that half of the equation that gets forgotten when people are saying, in effect, “give me meditation — and don’t charge me!”
Unfortunately, this rarely works … Read more »
A retired building engineer, artist and life-long Buddhist, who gifted his 6 hectare Takou Bay property to a Buddhist trust to use as a meditation centre, has died aged 96.
Bruno Mertens died peacefully on April 19, at the Kaikohe Care Centre, where he had been a resident since 2008.
His funeral was held at the Otaha Rd property, now used by the Pannarama Buddhist Sati School, last Thursday.
Friends of Mr Mertens said he would be cremated and his ashes scattered on the property.
Mr Mertens was born in the Netherlands, but moved to New Zealand in the late 1980s.
He founded an engineering firm in Kaeo because he wanted to help poor people, … Read more »
Diagnosed with MS at age 32, Cami Walker thought her life was over. But when she took up a challenge to give 29 gifts in 29 days, her life started taking off in amazing directions. Sunada reviews 29 Gifts, the remarkable true story of how one woman rose above her debilitating illness — and started a worldwide movement that has inspired thousands to work toward reviving the spirit of giving in the world.
Cami Walker seemed to have everything going for her when a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis put a screeching stop to all her plans. Her condition had degenerated rapidly in just two years — she lost vision in one eye, and found it … Read more »
Ratnasambhava is, amongst other things, the Buddha of generosity. Danamaya explores the open-handed Buddha of the south.
In some ways, I may have known Ratnasambhava all my life, although I didn’t learn about Buddhism until high school, and then only from an introductory article in a comparative religion class. But looking back I can see all sorts of important themes in my life that got their start in little experiences long before. As a kid, I loved fairy tales, especially the Grimm Brothers. There were always buried treasures uncovered, or led to for someone who’d been set an impossible task who was a small, weak or humble person but who was actually a worthy, noble … Read more »
To think of generosity only in terms of giving can limit us. Sunada tells of her realization that being truly generous is as much about being open to receiving as it is about giving.
As a follower of the Buddha’s teachings, one of the ethical principles I try to live by is generosity. Most commonly, generosity is understood to be about giving freely, and putting others’ needs before one’s own. While this definition isn’t wrong, I think it’s a bit too simplistic. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that generosity is a two-way street. It’s an openness of heart that’s just as much about graciously receiving as it is about giving.
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…generosity is a