Jan 03, 2012
Metaphors can be traps. We can end up taking them too literally. The point of a metaphor is to help us see things more clearly (“time slips through our hands like sand” helps us connect something intangible and abstract, like time, to a physical experience, like sand trickling through our fingers). But sometimes metaphors mislead, and make it harder to see things clearly. The image of the path is one of those metaphors that can potentially trap and mislead us.
The Buddha himself used the image of his teaching being a path. One of his key teachings is the Eightfold Path (aṭṭhaṅgika magga), and in a famous teaching he explained that he …
Nov 17, 2011
As I wrote in my most recent 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
Rick Hanson PhD
Nov 05, 2011
In every life, reminders arrive about what’s really important.
I’ve recently received one myself, in a form that’s already come to countless people and will come to countless more: news of a potentially serious health problem. My semi-annual dermatology mole check turned up a localized melanoma cancer in my ear that will need to come out immediately. The prognosis is very positive – this thing is “non-invasive” – but it’s certainly an intimation of mortality. Hopefully this particular bullet will whiz by, but it’s an uncomfortably concrete message that sooner or later something will catch up with each one of us.
Personally, I am doing alright with this. It’s …
Oct 24, 2011
An address I’m scheduled to give today at a high school in New Hampshire, where the students have been making secular prayer flags, in order to “send their positive thoughts into the world.”
It’s a pleasure and an honor to be here, and I’d like to thank you for having me. I’m delighted to hear that you’ve been putting your positive thoughts on flags and sending them out into the universe. Of course I don’t believe that your thoughts will literally be sent out on the wind, but I see great significance in what you’re doing.
To print your positive thoughts on fabric you have, of course, to have had a positive …
Oct 05, 2011
I’m sad that Steve Jobs has died. No one has had as much effect on the computer industry as he has. His company, Apple, has transformed the way we relate to computers.
I only recently learned that Jobs was a Buddhist. According to his Wikipedia biography, he went to India in the 1970s and came back a Buddhist. In 1991 his wedding ceremony was performed by a Zen priest. He was a very private man, and I don’t think he talked much about his religion.
I thought a fitting tribute would be Jobs own words, from his 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, in which he eloquently discusses how an awareness of …
Jun 03, 2011
Well, there’s a good reason why. It can make you a happier and better person.
In an experiment in the UK, people were asked to reflect about death in an abstract way, were asked to imagine their own death, or (as a control) were asked to imagine toothache.
Next, the participants were given an article, supposedly from the BBC, about blood donations. Some people read an article saying that blood donations were “at record highs” and the need was low; others read another article
Jan 29, 2011
The emotional undertow of aging, I think, is a feeling of loss — Loss of youth, loss of dreams, loss of possibility.This quality is what used to be referred to as mid-life crisis. Other phrases have come into vogue now — such as the cheery “60 is the new 40″ — but the undertow of such homilies is still loss. Is there some way out of this sense of loss, some fresh point of view that assuages the pain of it? Actually, there is. Aging is not a matter of years — forty, sixty, eighty — but of life process. Everything is aging, all the time. We age from our first breath. The problem is not aging per se,
Wildmind Meditation News
Nov 30, 2010
Buddhist Geeks is an insanely popular podcast, featuring in-depth interviews with some of the most influential Buddhist teachers around today. Recently the Buddhist Geeks’ Vince Horn interviewed Bodhipaksa about his new book, Living as a River, which explores how penetrating the truths of impermanence and insubstantiality can free us from fear and clinging.
The interview has now been transcribed, and is available online:
Vincent: Hello, Buddhist geeks, this is Vincent Horn, and I’m joined today, over Skype, with Bodhipaksa. Bodhipaksa, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. I know that you’ve actually tuned in to Buddhist Geeks before, and I’ve been following …
Oct 21, 2010
It has taken me an age to write this, and I have only just realized why.
Pema delivers such ‘big’ ideas and concepts – and often all in the same breath! It has taken quite a few listens. Also, the opportunity to review The Three Commitments arrived when I was creating an event called ‘White Night – What is Enlightenment?’ for Brighton Buddhist Centre, tending to an allotment (community garden), and producing a BBC documentary series, as well as a short stint at Buddhafield. Listening to Pema became a multitasking affair – either while driving or whilst making decorations with my friends for White Night, while …
Oct 20, 2010
In this extract from his new book, Living as a River, Bodhipaksa discusses how we have mistaken views that limit our sense of who we are.
In 1911, a 32-year-old sportsman and daredevil called Calbraith Perry Rodgers, with a scant 60 hours of airtime in his logbook, set off to cross the United States from coast to coast in his specially modified Wright airplane—the first in private ownership. His dream was to win the $50,000 that tycoon publisher William Randolph Hearst was offering to the first person to fly across the continent within 30 days, but Rodgers, as much a canny businessman as an adventurous pioneer, had a financial …