GOOD: I recently spent two months living in Ibri, Oman, learning Arabic. I was there as part of the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program run by the U.S. State department. Having just graduated from college, this seemed like the perfect reason to postpone the job search and flee the country. In doing so, I felt that I may be able to find answers to some of the questions that have evaded me up until now.
For those of you who have never heard of Ibri, let alone Oman, here’s a brief background. Oman is located in the Arabian Gulf, surrounded by the…
Last night at a Dharma study group that I meet with on Skype, we looked at the Meghiya Sutta. Meghiya was an attendant of the Buddha, and one time when the two of them were together, Meghiya asked if he could go off and meditate in a lovely looking mango grove that he’d spotted when he was off on his alms-round. Meghiya had thought that the mango grove would be the perfect place to meditate.
The Buddha asked him to wait, though, since he would be left alone. Presumably he wanted the company, or … Read more »
Yesterday i was sitting in a little park in Ghent together with a friend talking about….friendship. The sun was shining gently and cosy on us as if she was warming our love for beauty and truth. And i remembered Narziss and Goldmund, the novel of Herman Hesse, about the remarkable story of two friends.
A few weeks ago i left my job to work for the Buddhist Centre in Ghent and so i had to say goodbye to my colleagues some of whom i have known for years. I definitely wanted to leave my job yes but i didn’t want some of my colleagues to dissapear. I wanted to hold them, to grasp them, i … Read more »
How would you feel if your teacher burned your book collection? A new book by Sangharakshita highlights a challenging friendship between a Tibetan guru and his disciple.
A good dharma book is humbling. It is like a spiritual friend who isn’t afraid of cutting through our defenses in the service of positive change. Sangharakshita’s new book, exploring three songs of Milarepa, challenged me in this way. The material is compiled from edited transcripts of seminars Sangharakshita gave to members of the Triratna Buddhist Order (formerly the Western Buddhist Order) in the late 70’s, about Milarepa, his songs and the spiritual life. The songs chosen are about spiritual friendship and its challenges. We get to see … Read more »
What do you do when you find you’ve changed — but your friends haven’t? Bodhipaksa recounts how he found himself growing apart from one set of friends, and closer to a new set who were more supportive of his spiritual quest.
I was at university when I started practicing Buddhism. I was surrounded by fellow students who were like me. We thought the height of happiness was to party, to drink, to trade insults, and to find someone to have sex with. I was at vet school, and most of us thought that meat-eating was natural and right, and that animals existed in order to be devoured. When I took up meditation I found myself … Read more »
A 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 in each of us, waiting … Read more »
For some inmates imprisonment offers an opportunity to reflect on the causes and conditions that have shaped their lives, and a powerful incentive to bring about personal change. Calvin Malone’s first book, Razor Wire Dharma, elegantly and powerfully outlines the challenges and rewards of practicing behind bars.
Calvin Malone began practicing meditation and Buddhism soon after he entered prison — about twenty years ago. In “Razor Wire Dharma,” he gives an account of time served, of fellow prisoners, and of his attempts to practice the Buddha’s teaching in this most challenging of environments.
And challenges Calvin Malone has encountered in plenty. In a series of short and very readable chapters, he describes the difficulties … Read more »
I sometimes think that my life has proceeded by way of a series of breakdowns and reconstructions. Such episodes haven’t exactly been frequent in my life, but they have represented important turning points. There have been three times I can recall where I’ve hit emotional bottom, learned something important about myself, and found a release that led to significant growth taking place.
In each case there had been a long period of holding on to some pattern that had been causing me pain (usually unacknowledged). I’d been a tightly-closed bud. This was followed by a catalyzing event (in each case it involved being on retreat) in which I became fully aware of the pain I’d … Read more »