Dec 18, 2012
The other day I posted a news article about various ideas for replacing the ancient Buddhist statues of Bamiyan, Afghanistan, which were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. One of our Facebook commenters had the following to say:
I am so grateful for the Taliban destroying these statues, what an amazing lesson in the impermanent nature of reality. The people who did this are our greatest teachers, firstly for helping us to practice patience with our negative feelings of anger and secondly to show us how attached we can become to impermenant objects.
There’s certainly a traditional teaching in Buddhism of having gratitude toward our enemies for giving us an … Read more »
Nov 10, 2012
Between November 2010 and February 2011, New Zealand, a country of 4 million people, suffered two of the biggest disasters in its history.
The Chilean mining disaster had many of us riveted to our TV screens as miner after miner was brought to safety, having been trapped underground for 69 days. This was not to be the case in New Zealand. After an explosion at the Pike River Mine in New Zealand’s South Island, anxious families, buoyed by the Chilean experience, waited for long days and nights for a breakthrough that might bring their men home. None of the 29 miners and contractors survived.
Only three months later, Christchurch, New … Read more »
Nov 05, 2012
I love you and one day I will die. I can not escape it. Death comes to everyone, including me.
Death is unavoidable; it will come to all of us, today, tomorrow, next month, next year.
Death is unavoidable; even I will die. Even you will die. Everyone we know will die.
Death is unavoidable, you and I may die before our parents. You and I may die before our children. You and I may die before our friends. You and I may die before our loved ones. You and I may die after our loved ones.
Death is unavoidable; this is the only thing we can guarantee in life. … Read more »
Oct 23, 2012
One of the indisputable realities about being human is that we all have weaknesses. No one escapes this.
Some of us are able to acknowledge these less attractive aspects without being unduly fazed. Others tend to cultivate strategies to help hide the cracks. Yet others convince themselves that their weaknesses are inherent aberrations, with this view then becoming a rationale for indulging in aberrant behaviour. It is the last of these views that I tend to work with in addiction.
Some of us convince ourselves that we are such a waste of space that really, we should commit ourselves to a life of substance-induced mayhem or … Read more »
Sep 29, 2012
An astonishing series of photographs of a Tibetan “sky burial,” where a corpse is cut up and fed to vultures, with the remains being pounded into dust, has been viewed almost three quarters of a million times in 24 hours.
The images (view here) are very graphic, but as Justin Whitaker says, “As a poignant reminder of the impermanence of this body, they’re worth viewing.”
According to Wikipedia, in Tibet the practice is known as jhator, which means “giving alms to the birds.”
Sky burial is traditional in Tibet, where the ground is too rock for interment to be practical, and where a lack of wood similarly makes … Read more »
Rick Hanson PhD
Sep 19, 2012
The truth of anything is like a mosaic with many tiles, many parts.
One part of the truth of things is that they are robust and enduring, whether it’s El Capitan in Yosemite or the love of a child for her mother and father.
Another part of the truth is that things bruise, tear, erode, disperse, or end – fundamentally, they’re fragile. Speaking of El Capitan, I knew of someone climbing it who had just placed anchors above a long horizontal crack when the sheet of granite he was standing on broke off to fall like a thousand-ton pancake to the valley floor below (he lived, clutching his anchors). Love … Read more »
Sep 03, 2012
Joyful to have
such a human birth
Difficult to find
Free and well-
Composed by Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. 1974.
It is a miracle that we are born, and that we are still living. Every minute, world wide approximately 267 people are born and 108 people die. Just over 40% of us survive birth, and none of us survive death. Last month I asked you: ‘How are you making the most of your precious birth? I ask you again this month, as it is a reflection we could do daily.
… Read more »
Our human birth
ordinary and extraordinary
Our human birth
Aug 30, 2012
At the end of a daylong meditation workshop, Pam, a woman in her late sixties, drew me aside. Her husband, Jerry, was near death after three years of suffering from lymphoma. “I wanted so much to save him,” she told me. “I looked into ayurvedic medicine, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, every alternative treatment I could find, tracked every test result . . . We were going to beat this thing.” She sat back wearily in her chair, shoulders slumped. “And now I’m keeping in touch with everyone, giving updates, coordinating hospice care. If he’s not napping I try to make him comfortable, read to him . . .”
I responded gently, … Read more »
Rick Hanson PhD
Aug 29, 2012
Things keep changing. The clock ticks, the day unfolds, trees grow, leaves turn brown, hair turns gray, children grow up and leave home, attention skitters from this to that, the cookie is delicious but then it’s all gone, you’re mad about something for awhile and then get over it, consciousness streams on and on and on.
Many changes are certainly good. Most people are glad to put middle school behind them. I’m still happy about shifting thirty years ago from single to married. Painkillers, flush toilets, and the internet seem like pretty good ideas. It’s lovely to watch grass waving in the wind or a river passing. Fundamentally, if there … Read more »
Rick Hanson PhD
Jun 15, 2012
Most people, me included, are holding onto at least one thing way past its expiration date.
It could be a belief, perhaps that your hair is falling out and you are ugly and unlovable as a result; that you can’t say what you really feel in an intimate relationship; or that you must lose ten pounds to be attractive. It could be a desire, such as wishing someone would treat you better, pushing to make a project be successful, yearning for a certain kind of partner, or wanting to cure an illness. It could be a feeling, like a fear, grudge, resentment, longtime grief, or sense of low worth. It … Read more »