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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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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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Craving

Ajahn Brahm addresses the issue of craving.

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Being Alone

The holidays, we are told, are times for family. It is a time for family and friends to come together and share of themselves. It is a time where we can renew our connections with others.

It is a predominate theory that the reason human beings have large brains—brains that use about 20% of our energy output—is because we are hyper-social creatures. We do not have claws, fur, and animal strength: what we have is our communal power.

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Buddhism and Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a great time for Buddhist. The act of giving thanks is a way we can develop ourselves. By recognizing all the wonderful gifts we receive in life Buddhists can appreciate the world around us.

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Emotions and Dharma

When we develop our Buddhist practice, we develop the habits of loving kindness to replace greed, we develop compassion to replace hatred, and we develop equanimity to replace delusion. We embrace the emotional aspects of who we are, but recognize that emotions are conditioned responses are what we must focus on for change. Nothing is miserable unless we think it is so.

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Be Happy Without Wanting

Enlightenment is not born from ecstasy but from the displeasure of discontentment. Stimulated enjoyment is simulated happiness. The arousal of the senses to pleasurable experiences distracts the mind from genuine experience. We know this because when we turn the stimulation off—we are left empty and wanting.

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What is Suffering?

The Buddha gave a very clear mission statement, “I teach one thing and one only: that is, suffering and the end of suffering.” (— SN 22.86)

The Four Noble Truths, the oble Eightfold Path, the Law of Karma, etc.: Everything that the Buddha taught was done with one clear purpose: to end suffering.

But what does he mean by suffering? How does that translate into happiness?

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Being Still And See the World

Buddhism doesn’t change the world, but how we engage in it. Buddhism—in its application—is a fundamental shift of thinking, where we see that we are not fixed identities but a grouping of ever-changing processes and conditions continually in motion. That realization dissolves the concepts of self, separateness and isolation that are cornerstones to the illusions which cause our suffering.

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Who Desires?

Dear Sumitta,

A desire is the thought, “I want this or that.” There can be no desire without the desirer.There can be no desirer without the thought “I.” The thought “I” is the mind.Ever wonder why we don’t desire when we dream? There is no thought in the dream state.
So how do we create a desireless state in the awaken state? Destroy the mind, or rather, the I-thought. You can live very peacefully without it as the Buddha has shown.

How?

The mind has an Achille’s heel. A chink in it’s armor. It really doesn’t exist.It just appears to exist.

And, since it doesn’t exist it would naturally be impossible for it to see itself.

So, when you force the mind to seek itself say, with the question,”Who am I?” it simply vanishes. and once the mind vanishes….so does the “I” that you had taken yourself to be. and with no “I”…who can possibly desire?

What appears when the mind vanishes?

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Suffering, Divorce and Buddhism

We cannot be perfect Buddhists every moment of every day. Especially during the challenges of divorce, but we can start orienting ourselves to see the benefits of accepting life as it comes and dealing with it positively.

THINGS YOU CAN DO TO FIND SOME HAPPINESS DURING A DIVORCE

1) Meditate— Sitting quietly for 30 minutes a day, over a two week period, has proven to reduce stress, reduce anxiety, and create inner calm, lower blood pressure and blood sugar.

2) Giving—Taking time to donate your time and effort to others develops compassion and forgiveness. It is also a good safe way to start new social networks outside of the previous marriage

3) Listening—everyone tells you that you should “talk it out.” Unfortunately, we do not reflect when we talk. Talking is good for venting, but listening is good for comprehension and insight. Find someone who wants to talk and listen to them without interjection or turning the conversation back to you. Soon you will start understanding a lot more about yourself.

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