In theory, at least, we might achieve a certain sort of invulnerability right at the end of life. Suppose that under favorable circumstances we can live a certain number of years, say 125, but no longer, and also that we can make life as a whole better and better over time. Under these assumptions we might hope to disarm death by spending 125 years making life as good as it can be. If we were lucky enough to (...) accomplish that, afterwards we would be immune to mortal harm. Especially for those who are closer to the beginning of life than to the end, however, this strategy leaves much to be desired. It is like devouring an entire banquet so as to eliminate the danger of someone stealing it from us. Like a feast, a good life is safely ours after it is over, but then safety comes too late to be of any use to us. To be of practical value, we need protection from mortal harm much earlier in life. (shrink)
The aim of this book is simple: to invite readers to consider what it means to lead a good life, and to offer practical advice, based on the Buddhist teachings, as to how this can be accomplished. In each of more than thirty brief essays, Master Hsing Yun treats a specific moral or ethical issue, using quotations from the rich treasury of the Buddhist scriptures as a point of departure for his discussion. Among the topics he considers are control (...) of the body and of speech, overcoming greed, ending anger, patience under insult, how to manage wealth, how to get along with others, what it means to practice Buddhism, and the blessings and joys of that practice. The Buddhist precepts are introduced as guideposts along this path of liberation, and friendship, gratitude, and service to others are presented as essential elements of a common quest to discover and to embody our innate goodness and humanity. (shrink)
This paper addresses the ways that we can understand and transform our strong emotions and how this project contributes to moral and spiritual development. To this end, I choose to think with two Tibetan Buddhist thinkers, both of whom take up the question of how passionate emotions can fit into spiritual and moral life: the famous, playful yogin Shabkar Tsodruk Rangdrol (1781–1851) and the wandering, charismatic master Patrul Rinpoche (1808–1887). Shabkar's The Autobiography of Shabkar provides excellent examples of using (...) one's own passionate emotions to connect to others and gain insight into the world. Patrul Rinpoche's The Words of My Perfect Teacher (kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) focuses on passionate empathy with the emotions of others. Drawing on these texts, I present a (distinctly Buddhist) conception of a passionate life and argue that passionate emotional experience is a central part of moral and spiritual development more broadly construed. (shrink)
This article explores the autobiographical writings of Western monks living in Thailand in the light of scholarship on modern and Western Buddhism to understand their constructions of Buddhism. I explore Western monks' understanding of Buddhism before leaving for Thailand, their experiences of integrating into Thai Buddhism, and their lives after returning to their home countries. Their constructions consist of Buddhism as a scientific, rational tradition focused on the practice of meditation. These constructions are challenged during (...) monastic life in Thailand and further problematized when reintegrating into their home countries. I find that they encounter challenges incorporating monasticism into Western countries and may choose lay life?reflecting the trend of laicization in Western Buddhism. I conclude that their constructions of Buddhism conceived in Western countries affect their experiences in Thailand and afterwards. (shrink)
Damien and John Keown claim that there is important common ground between Buddhism and Christianity on the issue of euthanasia and that both traditions oppose it for similar reasons in order to espouse a "sanctity of life" position. I argue that the appearance of consensus is partly created by their failure to specify clearly enough certain key notions in the argument: particularly Buddhism, euthanasia and the sanctity of life. Once this is done, the Keowns' central claims (...) can be seen to be either false or only restrictedly true. (shrink)
The comparative study of mysticism and inter-religious spirituality has gained more space in universities and research centers that radiate everywhere. They are also research involving Eastern religions, in its peculiar mystical trait. Also in the context of Buddhism one can talk on spirituality, understood as a search path of liberation. This article presents the theme of Zen Buddhist spirituality based on the reflection of Eihei Dogen Zenji (1200 – 1253), one of the most important and prominent teachers of the (...) Soto Zen Tradition. This text aims to show the richness of spirituality and its peculiarity concerning the everyday reality. To promote understanding of the central question presented, the theme of spirituality was situated within the historical context of the birth of Zen Buddhism and the insertion of the presence of Dogen in its field of action. The theme of Zen spirituality was becoming evident in the approach to the problem of search of the Dharma in Dogen and his attention to small signs of everyday life. Keywords: Spirituality. Buddhism. Zen. Daily life. Religions. Resumo Os estudos de mística comparada e de espiritualidade interreligiosa vão ganhando espaço cada vez mais singular nas universidades e núcleos de pesquisa que se irradiam por toda parte. São pesquisas que envolvem também as religiões orientais, em seu traço místico peculiar. Também no âmbito do budismo pode-se falar em espiritualidade, entendida como um caminho de busca da libertação. Esse artigo visa apresentar o tema da espiritualidade zen budista, com base na reflexão de Eihei Dôgen Zenji (1200-1253), um dos mais importantes e destacados mestres da tradição Soto Zen. O objetivo é mostrar a riqueza dessa espiritualidade e sua peculiaridade de adesão à realidade cotidiana. Para favorecer a compreensão da questão central apresentada, visou-se situar a temática no âmbito do contexto histórico do nascimento do zen budismo e da inserção da presença de Dôgen em seu campo de ação. A temática da espiritualidade zen foi se evidenciando na abordagem da problemática da busca do Dharma em Dôgen e de sua atenção aos pequenos sinais do cotidiano. Palavras-Chave : Espiritualidade. Budismo. Zen. Cotidiano. Religiões. (shrink)
Yoga came to Tibet from India more than a thousand years ago, and it was quickly absorbed into the culture's rich traditions. In this small book readers will discover Heart Yoga, which developed over the centuries in the Gelukpa tradition of the Dalai Lamas. The program presented here combines popular yoga exercises wtih special Tibetan poses, and methods of working from the inside to give a healthy and a happy heart. Roach discovered a number of previously unknown Tibetan works on (...) yoga in the course of his ongoing efforts to find and preserve ancient Tibetan Buddhist texts. He discusses the ideas and insights presented in these texts and places them within the context of the Buddhist tradition. To help readers incorporate this ancient wisdom in their daily lives, he provides a specific regime of yoga postures and meditations. Combining instructive illustrations with the unique philosophical underpinnings of the Buddhist approach, Geshe Roach has created a unique program for yoga on a physical and spiritual level. (shrink)
This lucid overview of the Buddhist path takes the perspective of the three "vehicles" of Tibetan Buddhism: the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. While these vehicles are usually presented as a historical development, they are here equated with the attitudes that individuals bring to their Buddhist practice. Basic to them all, however, is the need to understand our own immediate condition. The primary tool for achieving this is meditation, and The Essence of Buddhism serves as a handbook for the (...) various meditative approaches of Buddhist practice. Beginning with the Four Noble Truths, Traleg Rinpoche incorporates the expansive vision of the bodhisattva path and the transformative vision of Tantra. The final chapters present the transcendent view of Mahamudra. This view dispenses with all dualistic fixations and directly realizes the natural freedom of the mind itself. Along the way, the author provides vivid definitions of fundamental concepts such as compassion, emptiness, and Buddha-nature, and answers common questions: Why does Buddhism teach that there is "no self"? Are Buddhist teachings pessimistic? Does Buddhism encourage social passivity? What is the role of sex in Buddhist Tantra? Why is it said that "samsara is nirvana"? Does it take countless lifetimes to attain enlightenment, or can it be achieved in a moment? (shrink)
The American Buddhist nun and author of the best-selling When Things Fall Apart counsels readers on how to live compassionately and well during times of instability, demonstrating the use of the Three Commitments practice to promote ...
In Taking the Path of Zen , Robert Aitken provided a concise guide to zazen (Zen meditation) and other aspects of the practice of Zen. In The Mind of Clover he addresses the world beyond the zazen cushions, illuminating issues of appropriate personal and social action through an exploration of the philosophical complexities of Zen ethics. Aitken's approach is clear and sure as he shows how our minds can be as nurturing as clover, which enriches the soil and benefits the (...) environment as it grows. The opening chapters discuss the Ten Grave Precepts of Zen, which, Aitken points out, are "not commandments etched in stone but expressions of inspiration written in something more fluid than water." Aitken approaches these precepts, the core of Zen ethics, from several perspectives, offering many layers of interpretation. Like ripples in a pond, the circles of his interpretation increasingly widen, and he expands his focus to confront corporate theft and oppression, the role of women in Zen and society, abortion, nuclear war, pollution of the environment, and other concerns. The Mind of Clover champions the cause of personal responsibility in modern society, encouraging nonviolent activism based on clear convictions. It is a guide that engages, that invites us to realize our own potential for confident and responsible action. (shrink)
We're all given the same twenty-four hours a day. We can spend our time feeling hurried and harried, overwhelmed by chores and demands, distracted and burned out . . . or we can awaken to Buddha Standard Time, the realm of timelessness where every choice, every action, and every breath can be one of renewal and infinite possibilities. Buddha Standard Time shares one of the great realizations of Buddhism, an insight that anyone can learn to apply. The minutes and (...) hours of our days do not simply march from future to present to past. Rather, each moment is intersected by a fourth dimension. By learning to live in this dimension-Buddha Standard Time-we reduce the amount of stress in our lives and find greater focus, fulfillment, creativity, and even wisdom. Drawing on Tibetan Buddhism and other great wisdom traditions, as well as on neuroscience and holistic traditions, renowned teacher and national bestselling author Lama Surya Das shares real world examples, practical exercises, and essential techniques. The pace and pressure of today's world feels relentless. That is why, now more than ever, we need the ancient wisdom contained in Buddha Standard Time. Far from being at the mercy of time's demands, we will finally realize that we have, in fact, all the time in the world. (shrink)
Conversation 1: waking up to our inner strength -- Conversation 2: family education and parental recollections -- Conversation 3: philosophy and the will to encourage -- Conversation 4: a life of robust optimism -- Conversation 5: start from our shared humanity -- Conversation 6: like the light of the sun -- Conversation 7: healing as the restoration of wholeness -- Conversation 8: healing individual and social wounds -- Conversation 9: the healing power of dialogue -- Conversation 10: dialogue of (...) peace and humanism -- Conversation 11: philosophic wisdom; humanity's great treasure -- Conversation 12: epoch-creating philosophy -- Conversation 13: the quest of art and the mentor-disciple bond -- Conversation 14: views of life and death -- Conversation 15: women, builders of the peace culture -- Conversation 16: the human revolution: the philosophy of global citizenry. (shrink)
Even the chapters that at first didn't seem relevant to my current practice contained such great gems of teaching that they turned out to be extremely relevant and very helpful.”—Catherine Fordham “To me, this book is like the world's ...