This is the question of all questions. If the Buddha was happy growing up he never would have left his castle, his riches, his wife and child. Studying faith and religion didn’t make him happy. Suffering and starving to cleanse himself didn’t make him happy. There is a general unhappiness that comes from living. The […]
I was speaking with a fellow minister of my order and I asked him what work he was doing. He is working as an Army Chaplain and he replied “I am reminding an infantry company to remain mindful and to bring the spiritual into their training. It’s an uphill battle.” Of course, he is a […]
Here is the audio from my talk at the University of Pittsburgh for the Rainbow Alliance’s Panel discussion on Faith and Gay Marriage. I represented Buddhism. http://www.thepao.com/GayMarriageUPitt.mp3 Yesterday was the National Day of Silence were students nationwide take a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools.http://www.dayofsilence.org/
My daughter’s mother is a wonderful mom. I am an equally wonderful dad. We did not have a wonderful marriage, but we have had a fantastic divorce. Most people that discover I am divorced usually treat me like a cancer survivor. When people discover that my daughter lives with me— the father— people almost always […]
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?
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]
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? […]
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” […]
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.