Posts Tagged "materialism"

Decline of Buddhism in Thailand

Lucky Severson, Religion and Ethics: There’s a struggle going on inside Thailand. It’s between two powerful influences. One side can be found in places like this; the other in crowded spaces like this. For now it seems that one side is falling behind.

This is Professor John Butt, senior advisor to the Institute of Religion at Payap University in Chiang Mai.

PROF. JOHN BUTT: It’s a real clash with modernity, with social change, and it’s been very intense. The changes that took place in America and in Europe have been extended over a couple of centuries; here it’s been a couple of decades…

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The art of finding abundance in frugal times

January 4, 2012

In the metta sutta, the discourse on loving kindness, the Buddha teaches us how to be “skilled in goodness and know the path of peace”.

These attributes can be practiced in a number of ways including kind speech, humility and also through being frugal.

We are living at a time when prices keep going up and our income, if we are fortunate enough to have one, is not keeping up.

So, how can we live abundantly while living frugally?

Here is a list of suggestions.

1. Attitude is Everything

The way we think about things creates our reality. When we think we don’t have enough, we come from a … Read more »

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Korean Monks discuss Buddhism, culture

In their traditional grey monk suits with shaved heads and wearing iPods, they’ve walked Park Avenue, listened to the concerts in Lincoln Park and played football in Lyndhurst—a part of their introduction in the Western world. The monks are a group of three Korean monks and four nuns from Donguk University in South Korea, and are staying at Felician College in Rutherford while studying English as a Second Language and learning about Buddhism in the Western world.

They live under a rule of 250 precepts. And on a typical day, they’re up at 4 a.m. for meditation, have breakfast at 6 a.m., and have university studies, chant three times a … Read more »

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Dalai Lama speaks — at Universal Studios

February 23, 2010

LA Times: The exiled Tibetan leader speaks to an audience of thousands in what some might consider an incongruous setting. But his message is unchanged: The path to happiness is not paved with stuff.

In his first major public appearance in Los Angeles in more than three years, the Dalai Lama spoke to a crowd of several thousand people Sunday about his hopes for Tibet, the need for dialogue in resolving conflicts and the importance of spurning the material world to cultivate compassion.

People today are “too much concerned with exterior material values and not our inner values,” the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said.

Happiness, he said, touching his … Read more »

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Awareness in our technological world

September 24, 2009

monk with laptopTechnology brings a world of spiritual knowledge to our fingertips. But immersing ourselves in a world of gadgets may also distance us from more authentic connections with teachers, family, and friends. Guest blogger Justin Whitaker takes a look at the double-edged sword of our hyper-connected world.

Since you are reading this, presumably on a computer or other high-tech device, you owe a thing or two to technology. Nearly all of us in the Western world and a fast-growing number in the East live in a world molded and directed by technology. We have lived amidst changes that could scarcely be imagined just fifty years ago. We wake up, push a … Read more »

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“Natural Wakefulness: Discovering the Wisdom We Were Born With” by Gaylon Ferguson

May 13, 2009

Natural Wakefulness, by Gaylon FergusonA new book by Gaylon Ferguson argues that the biggest obstacle to natural wakefulness is the materialism that has us all in its grip, and that meditation and spiritual community are the antidotes. Pam Dodd is our guest reviewer.

Gaylon Ferguson, a Tibetan Buddhist meditation master, has studied and taught meditation for over 30 years. During that time, he has probably met all kinds of people from all walks of life who have actively pursued, or fallen onto, the spiritual path. Ferguson believes that the normal human condition is natural or basic wakefulness. Wakefulness is the fundamental goodness of who we really are, independent of our circumstances, that lies dormant … Read more »

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Dharma on zero dollars a day

November 23, 2008

Urban meditation

In a time of global financial meltdown, it may be wise to consider that many of the best things in life are indeed free, including self-awareness, happiness, and the freedom to explore one’s own experience. Bodhipaksa shares some reflections from a former monk.

“Rise before dawn and bow three times to the Buddha within you. Bow three times to whatever Buddha image you may already have. If you have no Buddha image, trace the outline of a footprint or a circle on the wall and bow to that. Bow three times to anyone else who may be doing this practice at this very moment, to those who have done it … Read more »

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Mark Twain: “Any so-called material thing that you want is merely a symbol…”

November 21, 2008

Mark Twain Bodhipaksa explores the relationship between hats, iPods, desires, and needs. And also figures out what the Pali for “Palm Pilot” is. Oh, and he also offers a radical approach to dealing with distraction in meditation.

In a piece called “What Is Man?” Twain wrote: “Any so-called material thing that you want is merely a symbol: you want it not for itself, but because it will content your spirit for the moment.”

Twain argues that when you find yourself desiring, say, a hat, it’s not actually the physical object that you want but something else: perhaps something like the admiration you’ll get from your friends for having such a fine hat. … Read more »

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Krishnamurti: “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

December 28, 2007

krishnamurtiI once had a disturbed young man come to a meditation class I was teaching in Edinburgh. As we’d gathered and during the meditation instruction I’d noticed that he was unusually intense and that he had noticeably poor personal hygiene, but in most ways he seemed like a fairly typical young man.

In the discussion following, however, his conversation started to veer off into more bizarre areas. He’d had “cosmic” experiences during the meditation session — experiences whose details I no longer recall but which sounded very off-balance. His girlfriend was apparently an Iranian princess. He was being shadowed by various security forces. Later still, as we were winding up … Read more »

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