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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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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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How to deal with Anger

Sumitta, How can I humble myself against hate and dislike? How do I response to someone who really doesn’t like me? I know I should love them, but how do I put up with it without feeling the feeling of pain and anger they give me? —– Dear Dhamma Follower, The first step is to […]

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Abusive Relationship and Buddhism

Sumitta, What is the Buddhist view on staying/leaving emotionally abusive relationships? If we are supposed to have loving kindness and compassion and realize that everyone just wants happiness and to avoid suffering just like ourselves, is it ever proper to endure such a relationship or would that be a hindrance to having compassion for ourselves? […]

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Does Religion Hate Science?

Sumitta, What I have seen in this world is that there is a lot of hate from both sides of religion and science but in my eyes they are pratically the same thing. Other religions hate science because it goes against all that they believe. Whereas buddhism embraces it because we don’t believe that “God” […]

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Enlighten Your Daily Load

It’s the fourth Buddhist Blog Swap, created by the great Nate DeMontigny over at Precious Metal! And this one’s a video-blog swap! This blog swap I have been honored to be paired with Reverend Danny Fisher. He is an individual who I have been following for awhile. You can read his good works on his blog Danny Fisher. […]

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I Get the Strange Feeling Like Nothing is Real

Sumitta, when I just sit sometimes at the beach and try to become present I still get this strange feeling like nothings is real or like you have a veil over your head, does anyone else get this strange feeling. —– Dear Dhamma-follower The mind is a tricky maze that continually changes to meet our […]

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Meditation Is Like Sitting On a River Bank

One of the purposes of meditation is to understand the mechanics of the mind and how it is conditioned to create suffering. By the act of sitting still and becoming an observer of ourselves, we can create wisdom. We see that we have little control over our thoughts. We can see how our egos create […]

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Their Death Should Wake Us Up To Living.

Each day, hundreds of mourners gather together in West Virginia: first in hope, and now in remembrance. The life of the coal miners is a dangerous one, and so some may not find it surprising that such a tragedy could occur, but nonetheless, it should remind us all of the fragility of life. It begs […]

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New Year: Sickness, Aging and Dying

The big holiday season comes at the end of the year. We celebrate the coming of winter, the shortest day of the year, good will towards men, peace on Earth, resolve to be better to ourselves and others. This time,for most in America, is spent with family and loved ones, huddled over dinner tables of potatoes and yams.

As the end of the year came, I had an experience that brought this time of year back to the first realizations of the Buddha. The Buddha Gotoma, who was always sheltered from the world, had made four trips outside his castle and had his eyes opened to the world around him. He saw the sick, the old and the dying that is the condition of all mankind. He also saw the spiritual people of the world who found happiness.

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Marriage and Buddhism

My advice is always to seek love and develop love with the knowledge of the mortality of love, just as there is mortality in anything that is born. All things are impermanent, but all things are also inter-dependent. The love, compassion, and acceptance we develop with our spouses carries on beyond our marriages. The love we develop in our marriages is not less important because it is temporary, but more precious because of this fact. Two people who have bonded and joined their lives to journey their short time on this world together are a blessed by each other and are able to take a non-monastic path in their understanding of happiness, wisdom, understanding and compassion.

We must choose the Buddhists we wish to be develop and become, always understanding that the goal is not nirvana, but true happiness. While a married lay person must carry a heavier burden in the physical world, they still walk the Middle Path.

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How to deal with people who bother you

We must recognize that when we harbor negative feelings about someone, that it is not a gift or curse from others, but a choice we have to develop those negative thoughts and hold onto them until they become very unpleasant– and only to us.

Instead, let these feelings go. Remind yourself that you should focus on liberating yourself from negativity and replace the arising of those negative thoughts with something positive.

And if you focusing only on the present situation without developing judgments about it you will find that you will not give power to the negative energy we all so easily hold onto in our lives. This is the poison of aversion and clinging. To avoid and push negative energy away, itself takes energy and develops a sense of validity to negative thoughts, just as clinging to them feeds those negative thoughts as well. We end up carrying rotting potatoes.

Feel the lightness of being when we can put down the burden and move forward in our lives without dealing with such things.

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Do I Exist?

Rene Descartes said, “I think therefore I am.” In one short sentence,he was able to sum up the delusion of man, because while he could deny and question the existence of everything external to him, he was unable to rationalize away his own existence. (Actually, he said it in Latin, “Cogito ergo sum!” which made it sound even more impressive.)

But is his statement true? Because we think, do we exist? In Buddhism, so many try to wrap their heads around the concept of emptiness (sunyata): the concept that we have no true nature and therefore possibly do NOT exist. In addition, this concept of emptiness raises other questions of “does any thing exists?” and “what is the point if nothing exists?”

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Mindful Marriage: How to reconnect

After the rings are exchanged, cake is cut, honeymoon tans have faded marriages have to get down to business. The enthusiasm of this new phase in the relationship – the marriage phase—is exciting like a new car: it is shiny, sexy, smooth to ride. Like a new car, we are extra careful in how we treat our new relationships. With a car we do what we can to avoid scratches, change oil regularly, etc. In a new marriage, we work hard to avoid conflict, temptation, maintain passion.

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