Jul 10, 2013
As a teacher I’m often asked: What does it mean in Buddhist practice when you agree to “take refuge” in the Buddha? Does this mean I need to worship the Buddha? Or pray to the Buddha? Isn’t this setting up the Buddha as “other” or some kind of god?
Traditionally, there are three fundamental refuges are where we can find genuine safety and peace, a sanctuary for our awakening heart and mind, a place to rest our human vulnerability. In their shelter, we can face and awaken from the trance of fear.
The first of these is the Buddha, or our own awakened nature. The second is the dharma (the path or the …
Jul 10, 2013
There’s a frightfully corny saying that you’ll find on postcards and posters for sale all over Ireland: There are no strangers, just friends you haven’t met yet. I say corny, but only because I’ve seen it so often in the context of overpriced woolen jumpers, stuffed leprechauns and tee-shirts with alcohol-related humour. The fact is, for all its corn, I think the saying contains solid gold truth.
I was walking to the supermarket the other day, in a city far away from woolen jumpers and leprechauns, and I started to pay attention to the few other pedestrians I encountered along the way. Many of the faces I saw expressed emotions that ranged from neutral to the …
Jul 01, 2013
In the 12-step tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous it clearly states in the third step that we need to make a decision ‘ to turn our will and our lives over to the care of a God as we understood him’, if we are to maintain sobriety and abstinence.
Buddhists whether in recovery or not, or have an addiction or not, turn their lives over to the Buddha, Dharma the Sangha. When we surrender to this action, we are placing positive refuges at the center of our lives. We are placing the ideal of liberation and freedom, the teachings of the Buddha and the spiritual community at the center of our lives.
Dec 31, 2012
We all need encouragement with our practice, and many of us need help in meditating regularly. So to provide some support that will hopefully continue long after other new year’s resolutions have worn off, we’re running a 100 Day Meditation Challenge, starting January 1, 2013.
The aim is to support people to meditate daily for 100 straight days. There aren’t any “rules” as such, but we suggest that a “sit” should consist of a minimum of five minutes of practice, which could be sitting or walking practice. Ideally, though, you’d do at least 20 minutes of meditation a day. A “day” counts as the period between waking and sleeping, so …
Dec 07, 2012
I’ve created a new online space for people who have a connection with me based on practice.
A lot of people have practiced meditation with me over the years, at face-to-face classes, online classes, Skype classes, through CDs and MP3s, through Wildmind’s online meditation guides, or via books I’ve written. I’m in touch with some of those people directly, but there are many people who follow what I post on Facebook, Wildmind’s blog, my personal blog, Google+, and Twitter, that I have no contact with at all. And perhaps some of those people would like to have contact with each other. And I’d like to have that — to create …
May 22, 2012
An extraordinary power struggle is tearing apart a Buddhist community in England.
While scouring the headlines for stories that might fit on Wildmind’s blog under the “news” category, I came across the intriguing headline “Dispute closes Buddhist centre,” discussing problems at the Maitreya Buddhist Center of the New Kadampa Tradition, or NKT, in Bexhill in East Sussex.
Unfortunately both newspapers that carried the story had removed the article. But a friend came to the rescue by pointing me toward Google’s cache of the story, and someone on Facebook sent me a link to a blog which presents one side of the dispute (read the blog from the bottom up).
First, a bit …
Nov 29, 2010
When Sunada’s sangha in Boston had a big decision to make, they tried something different. Rather than taking a majority vote, they went for the challenge of finding a group consensus. In other words, they talked through a process where everyone contributed to envisioning a solution that all could support. And what a ride that was.