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Sit : Love : Give

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You are browsing all posts tagged with the topic: impermanence

Rick Hanson PhD

Oct 17, 2013

Let go…

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 are gone, bad habits, hopeless guests, unrewarding relationships, and so on.

Letting go can mean several things: …

Bodhipaksa

Aug 26, 2013

“To be creative means to consider the whole process of life as a process of birth, and not to take any stage of life as a final stage.” Eric Fromm

Erich_FrommFor social psychologist and psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, creativity wasn’t necessarily about bringing something — a poem, a symphony, a sculpture — into being. For him, creativity was an attitude. Creativity was the ability first to be aware, and then to respond. In this sense, creativity may produce works of art that can be viewed in a gallery, but it is also a way of living. Creativity may produce not only art but a life lived with awareness, a life imbued with meaning, a life lived well. Creativity is about allowing life to come into being — fully.

When I sat down to write this post just a few minutes ago, I looked at …

Vimalasara

Aug 05, 2013

The three marks of human existence

Three single ranunculus flowers on vintage backgroundWhen we turn our life over to the Dharma, we surrender to the teachings of the Buddha. What are those teachings? There are many, and I encourage you to explore and see what resonates for you. They are all doorways onto the path of liberation, freedom and a new understanding of happiness.

Perhaps one of the most accessible teachings is the three Laksanas (The three marks of human existence.) In brief;

Dukkha (unsatisfactoriness) – suffering comes up time and time and again in the Buddhist teachings, it is the back bone of the Four Noble truths – a teaching that connects all Buddhist traditions. The Buddha taught: …

Bodhipaksa

Jul 19, 2013

Cultivate only the path to peace

BuddhaThe Buddha was a man on a mission, and very single-minded. He said over and over again that his only interest was in addressing suffering:

Both formerly and now, it is only dukkha that I describe, and the cessation of dukkha.

This word “dukkha” is often rendered as “suffering.” I have no real problem with that translation. It’s accurate. But many people have problems with the word “suffering.” As a friend and I were discussing just the other night, many people don’t recognize the suffering they experience as suffering, and so they don’t think that dukkha applies to them. Often people think of suffering as actual physical pain, or severe deprivation such as …

Bodhipaksa

Jul 11, 2013

Five remembrances for deep peace (Day 90)

100 Days of LovingkindnessIn learning to experience deep peace in the face of impermanence, we need to consider not just our inner experience, as I did yesterday, but our very lives, and the lives of those around us. Life is short; we all face loss.

These things aren’t really different from what I was discussing yesterday, since it’s our inner feelings about changes in the world that we largely have to deal with, but the same situations can be looked at from different perspectives. When we’re actually experiencing loss, instability, and change, we can work on accepting the the feelings that arise with equanimity. But we can also prepare ourselves philosophically for …

Bodhipaksa

Jul 01, 2013

“There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can’t control.” Marcus Aurelius (Day 80)

marcus aurelius“There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can’t control,” wrote Emperor and Stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, in his Meditations. “These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.”

I’ve described even-minded love (upekkha) as being love with insight. One thing that allows our love to be even-minded, or equanimous, is insight into impermanence.

Even-mindedness is a quality that accompanies all of the other brahmaviharas, which are the four qualities of lovingkindness (metta), compassion (karuna), joyful appreciation (mudita), and even-minded love (upekkha) itself. We need to have even-mindedness accompanying these other states because loving-kindness, compassion, and joyful appreciation each …

Bodhipaksa

Jun 30, 2013

Even-mindedness and the two arrows (Day 79)

100 Days of LovingkindnessUpekkha, or even-minded love, is the fourth of the series of meditations we’re looking at in our 100 Days of Lovingkindness series.

As I discussed in the first post on upekkha, this word has several different meanings, although they’re all related.

There’s:

  • Even-mindedness where we are able to accept ups and downs (specifically, pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feelings) without being thrown off-balance.
  • Even-mindedness in the deep states of meditative absorption called jhana, where the mind is very stable and focused.
  • Even-mindedness as one of the four immeasurables (brahmaviharas), where we have even-minded love.
  • Even-mindedness as a synonym for the awakened state, or enlightenment, where greed, hatred, and delusion have been unrooted, and so
  • Bodhipaksa

    Jun 24, 2013

    Appreciation and impermanence (Day 73)

    100 Days of LovingkindnessJack Kornfield, in his lovely Buddha’s Little Instruction Book, says “The trouble is, you think you have time.” He doesn’t say what we don’t have time for, but presumably he means that we put off important things because we assume that we can do them later. The trouble is, there may not be any “later.”

    Recognizing that our time here is short can help us appreciate life more. I opened my book, Living as a River, by discussing how an awareness of impermanence can enhance our appreciation of our loved ones. When married people were asked to reflect on the death of their (still living) spouse, they …

    Bodhipaksa

    May 29, 2013

    Compassion and impermanence (Day 48)

    100 Days of LovingkindnessAs I wrote in my book, Living as a River:

    Relating to someone as a “self”—on the basis of how we see them right now—is like seeing a video reduced to a single frame, or seeing a ball hurtling through the air in a freeze-frame photograph. It’s life-denying. It’s a static way of seeing things. In taking a snapshot of a thing we lose its sense of trajectory, the sense that it’s headed somewhere. We’re disconnected from the reality of change and process. But imagine if we could consistently see a person not as a thing but as a process—if we could, at least in our imagination—see that person

    Vimalasara

    Apr 01, 2013

    Reflections on Samsara

    samsara - the endless roundIf we believe that we are not responsible for our mental suffering then we are implying we are helpless.

    If we believe everything is permanent then we are implying there is no room for change.

    If we believe in a fixed self then we are implying we can not transform ourselves.

    If we cling on to these thoughts and think they are facts we will continue to be swamped by the ocean of samsara.

    If we can begin to see that our mental suffering arises out of our strong habitual behaviours we will begin to transform ourselves.

    Ask yourself:

    • What thoughts that arise do I believe in?
    • What would I do if