Archive | 2010

The Buddhist Freud

As a graduate student in clinical social work, I spend a lot of time reading the theories of psychology. As a serious Buddhist practitioner, I read a lot of Buddhist philosophy and the Pali Canon. Eventually, you come across those moments when you feel like a Reese’s peanut butter cup commercial: “Hey, your Buddhism is […]

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Blogisattva Award Finalist

Applied Buddhism is a Finalist!

“This past six months has been quite the wild ride for us here at the Blogisattvas. First off, I want to thank everyone, the readers, the Buddhist publications and most of all the hard working bloggers out there that have made this whole thing possible. The response we received in nominations far exceeded anyones expectations, and […]

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Sex and Buddhism?

Sumitta,
Is it wrong to want or have a sexual relationship if I am practicing Buddhism? If we are supposed to eliminate craving and desire then wouldn’t sex be against Buddhism?
—-

Dear Dhamma-Follower,

The Four Noble Truths is one of the simplest, yet most misunderstood, philosophical concepts ever presented. The Buddha said that there is a general dissatisfaction with the world: just by the very nature of existing as a temporal being. We are generally dissatisfied (dukkha or “suffer”) because we have cravings that we cling to. There is a solution. The way to end suffering is following the Noble Eightfold Path. [CLICK ON TITLE FOR FULL STORY]

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Evolution of the Buddhist Mind

Looking at ourselves biologically, I have to ask “how did we evolve to creatures that suffer (i.e. dukkha)? Certainly, if evolution creates being best suited for its environment, then the concept of suffering must somehow be linked to what is needed for our species to survive. How could Darwin translate Buddhism?

Now this is a pretty big subject, but here is one small part of how neuroscience and Buddhism meet for greater understanding why we the way we are. [CLICK ON TITLE FOR FULL STORY]

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There is no “I” in Dhamma

Speaking with another dhamma follower, we explored the concept of non-attachment and the practice of “non-self.” For most, this is the cornerstone of practice: the goal of Buddhism. We see dukkha (“suffering”) as something that must be eliminated to find happiness. We see anatta (the concept of “non-self “or “empty nature”) as the key realization needed to complete that process. This blog will hopefully elucidate that our Buddhist practice needs more than understanding of these concepts. The goal isn’t realizing anicca, anatta, and dukkha, but how we choose to live our lives once we do. [CLICK ON TITLE TO READ FULL STORY]

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The Science of “Why We Suffer”

What was sticking to the roof of my mouth like peanut butter was the question“why dukkha?” I know what you are going to respond, “Sumitta, we have dukkha because we have unwholesome craving.” But that is my point. Why do we have craving? Not just the Buddhist answers of “ignorance.” That requires a fully evolved brain.

Why did we evolve into a being of craving? Why did we evolve into a being of emotionality? Why have we not evolve through Darwinist evolution into creatures beyond unwholesome craving? What is the scientific explanation of “why we suffer?” [CLICK ON TITLE TO READ FULL STORY]

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Can You Be A Buddhist Christian?

I visited my my family this weekend for a picnic. They live in Chicago. I live almost eight hours away and other family members live even farther. It is rare to get us all together and so I felt compelled to show. I had to deal with many questions of my Buddhist faith. Most of my family is heavily invested into their Christianity and to them, the concepts of any other faith are considered false.

So how do you speak with a Christian that is trying to understand that Buddhism a wholesome practice for everyone? [CLICK ON TITLE TO READ THE FULL STORY]

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AudioBoo– AudioBuddhism

I have discovered something better than twitter. It is called Audioboo! It allows me (and you) to create quick 5 minute podcasts straight from my iPhone. Plenty of time to get in a quick thought.

Like Twitter, you have to learn brevity, but that is probably a good thing too. So if you are interested in signing up and getting more Applied Buddhism audio…we will be putting all the audio podcasts on AudioBoo now.

And you can get them directly on your iTunes like any other podcast!feed://audioboo.fm/users/55922/boos.atom

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If I am not Special, Then Who Am I?

I spend a lot of time talk with individuals and groups about Buddhism. Not only does it provide me an opportunity to share the dhamma, but I find it helps me discover aspects to develop in my own practice.

For example, recently a friend of mine has been struggling with her personal suffering: career, love life, personal sense of happiness, etc. At one point she said to me, “I think I should write a book and call it ‘If I am not special, then who am I?’”

What a brilliant title! “If I Am Not Special, Then Who Am I?”

This got me to thinking of an appropriate response. Why do so many of us feel the need to be special? Why is it the ego (the identity of ‘self’) is part of our natural progression before developing the wisdom of the Dhamma? [CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE]

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When is Suffering A Good Thing?

Trying to explain Buddhism to non-practings Buddhists can sometimes be a challenge. Nevertheless, it can also be a truly fruitful experience, because it requires you to reflect and answer questions that perhaps get unmindfully conditioned in the brain.

Speaking to a friend of mine about Buddhism, she stated, “ If Buddhism is about non-attachment then I would rather suffer. I enjoy my attachment to things like my family and friends. I may find some suffering from owning a car, but I enjoy my car more than I suffer from it.”

The world is made up of what we use and what gets in our way.

Her statements were true. I honestly believe and practice my Buddhist faith, but I enjoy my family and my pleasure in the suffering I endure with my clinging to them. I do practice unconditional love and acceptance of metta, but that is not the only love I have for them. I have that attached love of a parent and son. [CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE]

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Cleaning out the Attic: Renunciation vs. Refuge

As the Buddha teaches, “A householder looks at his home and thinks that it is too cramped and stifling to remain in this home, and steps away from it into the open air to be free.”

But as lay Buddhists we are not asked to renounce, but to take refuge.

Refuge in Western terms is often looked at as seeking shelter within– and this is the true definition of the word. But the translation from the Pali term “gachammi” really means “to journey with.” This was a common practice and vow in ancient India with gurus and teachers. [CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE]

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Simile of the Raft

“Suppose, monks, there is a man journeying on a road and he sees a vast expanse of water of which this shore is perilous and fearful, while the other shore is safe and free from danger. But there is no boat for crossing nor is there a bridge for going over from this side to the other. So the man thinks: ‘This is a vast expanse of water; and this shore is perilous and fearful, but the other shore is safe and free from danger. There is, however, no boat here for crossing, nor a bridge for going over from this side to the other. Suppose I gather reeds, sticks, branches and foliage, and bind them into a raft… [CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE]

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Is Applied Buddhism a new division of Buddhism?

Applied Buddhism is just another term that I take to mean something slightly different. The transformations made while in temple or in meditation are seen in the gradual evolution of who we are and who we become as Buddhist. However, all that is learned and developed should be seen as tool to use and “apply” in ever moment. The introspection and insight of meditation can be applied to being more mindful and aware of the world around us. The practice of precepts should create skillfulness and wisdom in daily challenges. The lessons of the Buddha should be our guides in every minute of every day.

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Isn’t Suffering Good?

Sumitta, In my opinion, in order to understand suffering you must experience it. So we need to suffer to live and grow. Isn’t this true? __ Dear Dhamma Follower, This is an interesting question. But the first thing we must do is understand what we mean by the word “suffering.” The Pali word (the language […]

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Understanding Karma and the Universe

Sumitta, As someone who studies Buddhism, the way I understand KARMA it excludes random and chance events, this reality(realm) is exactly as the Buddha described it to be. Dear Dhamma Follower, Upajjhatthana Sutta–“Kammassakomhi kammadāyādo kammayoni kammabandhū kammapaṭisaraṇo yaṃ kammaṃ karissāmi kalyāṇaṃ vā pāpakaṃ vā tassa dāyādo bhavissāmī” [Translated: I am the owner of my actions, […]

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