Sep 17, 2013
It’s been reported that Aaron Alexis, the former U.S. Navy reservist who went on a shooting spree on a naval base, leaving 13 people dead, including him, was a Buddhist.
This isn’t of course the first time a Buddhist has acted violently. While Buddhism generally has a peaceful history, Buddhist institutions have persecuted non-Buddhists and those from other Buddhist traditions and have sometimes supported war (Japan in the Second World War is a notable example). And Buddhist individuals have committed pretty much every violent act you can imagine, for their own personal reasons, whether that’s greed, hatred, or, in Alexis’ case apparently, mental illness.
Is it possible, in the face of all this, …
Apr 22, 2012
I wonder what kind of “meditation” Anders Breivik — who shot 69 people on an island in Norway last year, as well as killing another eight with a bomb — was doing?
According to this report,
When prosecutors Friday asked Breivik whether he felt empathy for others, the killer said he taught himself to dull all emotions – “from happiness to sorrow, despair, hopelessness, anxiety, fear” through meditation.
It’s possible that Breivik was not doing anything resembling traditional Buddhist meditation, which encourages compassion and non-repression of emotions. I’d be 100 confident that Breivik was not practicing lovingkindness or compassion meditation!
Traditionally, meditation is only one part of the spiritual path, and it’s accompanied with …
Aug 13, 2009
There are far too few books on meditation for children, and Kerry Lee MacLean’s Moody Cow should be a welcome addition to the book collection of any meditator’s child. But Bodhipaksa has some concerns. Find out why.
“My name is Moody Cow. It used to be Peter, but now it’s Moody Cow. It all started one stupid, rotten day when everything went wrong…”
So begins the story, which introduces us to Peter the calf, his sister Daisy, and his mother. We also get to meet a Peter’s grandfather, who plays a pivotal role as the wise man of the family. Peter’s father is strangely absent, although we do get to see his car. Fathers do …
May 05, 2009
People behind bars are often open to change, as Suvarnaprabha discovers when teaching prisoners to meditate.
There is a series of rituals you learn when you start going into prisons. Of course they aren’t meant to be rituals –- they’re for security, but they end up feeling like rituals, in the same way that some of us automatically bow when we enter a meditation room. You walk up to the door, push the button, turn your back to the door, the door buzzes, and you turn around, open the door and go inside. Every time you go through a door, even on the inside, you do the same thing: you push …
Sep 24, 2008
The archetype of warriorhood, if taken literally, can antithetical to the Buddhist path of peace. Taken as a metaphor for inner change, however, it can represent the inner struggle required in spiritual practice. Guest blogger and philosopher Justin Whitaker explores three types of warrior: outer, inner, and perfected.
I find it difficult to write about warriorhood from a Buddhist perspective. The term for me is heavily laden with negative connotations and often misunderstood by those around me. We may do well to distinguish at the beginning between three kinds of warrior: the outer, the inner, and the perfected. It is the outer warrior that we most often think of when hearing the term …