Feb 23, 2010
We spend much of our time and energy trying to pretend impermanence isn’t real, but the strange thing is that when we embrace impermanence we become happier, Bodhipaksa argues.
Here’s a very “queer thing” about life: sometimes the things that we think will make us miserable actually make us happier. When Professor Eric D. Miller of Kent State University’s Department of Psychology asked people to imagine the death of their partner they reported that they felt more positive about their relationships and less troubled by their significant others’ annoying quirks.
We live in a world marked by constant change and impermanence. The things we love decay and perish. The people we love will pass …
Nov 30, 2009
We all want to be happy, but often we’re not. Bodhipaksa argues that this is because of the way we treat ourselves as a thing that lacks happiness, and happiness as a thing to be grasped.
In a parable in the Buddhist teachings, a king hears the sound of a lute for the first time and asks to see what produced such sweet music. A lute is produced, but the king is not satisfied. He wants to see the music. His ministers say,
“This lute, sire, is made of numerous components, a great many components. It’s through the activity of numerous components that it sounds: that is, in dependence on the body, the skin, the
Wildmind Meditation News
Nov 18, 2009
Robert T. Edison was born and raised in Nottingham, England. When he was fourteen years old he began to practice Buddhism. At eighteen he became a monk and went to Thailand where, for a decade, he spent his time in monasteries.
He became the first Buddhist monk in Iceland when he moved there in 1994 and founded a Buddhist sect.
In this clip, from the documentary, Act Normal, directed by Olaf de Fleur, Edison, at that time a monk in Thailand, contrasts the Buddhist explanation of the cause of suffering with the explanations from theistic religion.
Sep 25, 2009
Recently I received a request to answer some questions for a book on the topic of surrender. Here’s the first draft of my response:
1. How would you define surrender? Who or what is one surrendering to, in your opinion? God, Universe, Self, Soul, What Is, present moment…?
Surrender is an important part of all spiritual practice. Ultimately it’s what we’re aiming to accomplish in practice.
What we’re surrendering to is the reality of impermanence and non-separateness. In reality, everything changes and nothing (including ourselves) is separate or self-contained. But we have deep-rooted assumptions that we exist separately from the rest of the world, that there is something in us (and others) that is …
Sep 21, 2009
John Dewey: “The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.”
Dewey’s saying echoes Buddhist notions of impermanence and not-self. Bodhipaksa points out that the Buddhist position is not merely descriptive of how things are. Rather it amounts to a technology of happiness — a set of perspectives and tools that allows us to create more deeply fulfilling lives.
One of the most crippling — and often unacknowledged — beliefs we can have in that the self is something fixed and unchanging. When we have the idea that our personalities are set like words carved in stone the possibility of change is closed off to us.
A mountaineering friend of mine once commented that when coming down a hill you were faced with innumerable choices about …
Jul 27, 2009
Parenting can be a hindrance to spiritual practice or the main driving force of a spiritual practice. Bodhipaksa shares what he’s learned from his daughter.
Short of taking up Buddhist practice, the biggest seismic shift in my life was becoming a parent. Originally I’d seen parenthood as a distraction from my spiritual practice — after all having kids would take up more of my time, make it harder to meditate, and prevent me from getting on retreat as much as I was used to. And although all those things turned out to be true, I’m finding that there’s a lot of ways in which I’m learning and growing from being a parent. In …
Mar 31, 2009
Does the Buddhist idea of “no self” strike you as bizarre or outrageous? Sunada has been reflecting on this difficult concept, and shares her thoughts on it so far. It isn’t just an obscure philosophical point for mental gymnasts, she says. Paradoxically, she thinks the ideas can help us in a very real way toward finding and becoming more of who we really are.
If I asked you who you are, what would you say? Many people might begin by telling me what they do for work – teacher, software engineer, accountant. But no, I’d say. That’s the work you do, not who you are. If you changed or lost your job, that …
Feb 15, 2009
So far there’s only been one episode of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse, so perhaps it’s a bit early to be talking about overarching themes, leitmotifs, or its deeper meaning, but this is a show I’ve been long anticipating and so my mind was primed right for the start to resonate with any thematic elements to do with identity and selfhood – for that (I confidently announce, based on one episode and a trailer) is what Dollhouse is about.
But first to step back a little. Joss Whedon, the show’s creator, is most famous as the creative force behind (in chronological order) the seven seasons of the hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the …
Mar 24, 2008
Are we fundamentally sinful beings? Or fundamentally pure? Or somewhere in between those two extremes? Even within the body of Buddhist teachings there is a variety of ways of looking at human nature. Buddhist scholar and practitioner Justin Whitaker tries to bring some clarity to the murky area of purity.
The notion of Purification can be a puzzling one for the modern Dharma practitioner. Am I impure? Is there something, somewhere deep inside me, that is bad or wrong and must be gotten rid of? Such questions ruffle my brow a bit. Like many Westerners practicing the Dharma today, I was born into a Christian society and attended church …