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    Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening

    A Classic Zen text written in the 8th century by Hui Hai. He was a student of Ma-tsu and from the same line as Hui Neng, Huang Po and Rinzai (Lin-chi).

  • Don't Take Your Life Personally

    Ajahn Sumedho urges us to trust in awareness and find out for ourselves what it is to experience genuine liberation from mental anguish and suffering.

  • Perfect Wisdom: Prajnaparamita Texts

    The Short Prajnaparamita Texts were composed in India between 100 BC and AD 600. They contain some of the most well known Buddhist texts such as The Perfection of Wisdom in 700 Lines, The Heart Sutra, and The Diamond Sutra.

  • Fingers and Moons, by Trevor Leggett

    Trevor Leggett points to the truth beyond words, beyond explanations and methods.

  • Experience Beyond Thinking: Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation. An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation and the reflections of an ordinary practitioner. Used as a guide by meditation groups.

    An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation.

  • Understanding Karma and Rebirth A Buddhist Perspective

    Meditations and exercises to help us understand karma and rebirth and to live from the unborn moment.

  • The Old Zen Master by Trevor Leggett

    Stories, parables, and examples pointing to the spiritual implications of practical events in daily life.

  • Teachings of a Buddhist Monk

    Modern practical teachings from an American monk living within one of the oldest Buddhist traditions.

Regular Everything, by John Aske

Stupa (chorten), 17th–18th century Tibet. © Metropolitan Museum of Art We all like things to be regular, and what’s wrong with that, you might reasonably ask? We all want stable conditions as well. We don’t want anything to change, either — we want it to stay the same — or more or less, always.

Having a regular job, regular meals and somewhere regular to sleep at night can only be good, better than sleeping in a ditch and being hungry all the time. The gravedigger at Drewsteignton preferred to sleep under a hedge, he told me, because a roof ‘made the place stuffy,’ but he was an unusual man. Continue reading

Tibet and India: Buddhist Traditions and Transformations

Cover of Tibet and India @ Metropolitan Museum of ArtAs Buddhism spread out from north India, the place of its origin in the sixth century BC, the core ideas of this great religious tradition were often expressed through images. This Bulletin and the exhibition it accompanies, “Tibet and India: Buddhist Traditions and Transformations,” focus on Indian and Tibetan Buddhist art of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, a period that witnessed both the end of the rich north Indian Buddhist tradition and the beginning of popular Buddhist practice in Tibet. At this critical juncture in Buddhist history, a number of Tibetan monks traveled down out of the Himalayas to study at the famed monasteries of north India, where many also set about translating the vast corpus of Buddhist texts. Continue reading

The First Truth, by Ajahn Sumedho

Wheel of the Buddhist Law (Rinpō). Japan, Kamakura period (1185–1333) © Metropolitan Museum of ArtThe significance of the Buddhist teaching lies in the fact that it isn’t doctrinal. It’s not an attempt to tell us how things should be, it’s more a way of bringing our attention to the way things are.

Most of us are educated to think in terms of how things should be, and we often don’t understand why life is the way it is. So it surprises us, shocks us, upsets us. We become overwhelmed, even with good fortune, not to mention bad. The Buddhist teachings are guides that help us to look at the experience of being alive. Continue reading

A small bronze Buddha

Buddha is probably one of the earliest iconic representations of Shakyamuni from GandharaThis small bronze Buddha (16.8 cm) is probably one of the earliest (1st to mid-2nd century) iconic representations of Shakyamuni from Gandhara. He sits in a yogic posture holding his right hand in abhaya mudra (a gesture of approachability); his unusual halo has serrations that indicate radiating light. His hairstyle, the form of his robes, and the treatment of the figure reflect stylistic contacts with the classical traditions of the West. This Buddha shows closer affinities to Roman sculpture than any other surviving Gandharan bronze.

Click on an image below to view larger photo.

© The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Mantra Om Mani Padme Hum, by The Dalai Lama

Shadakshari Lokeshvara is the bodhisattva of compassion (Avalokiteshvara)It is beneficial to recite the mantra om mani padme hum, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking of its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast. The first, om, is composed of three letters, a, u, and m. These symbolise the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; they also symbolise the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.

Can impure body, speech, and mind be transformed into the pure, or are they entirely separate? All Buddhas are cases of beings who were like ourselves and then in dependence on the path became enlightened; Buddhism does not assert that there is anyone who from the beginning is free from faults and possesses all good qualities. The development of pure body, speech, and mind comes from gradually leaving impure states and their being transformed into the pure. Continue reading

Nibbana, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Buddha Offering Protection, Sri Lanka, mid-15th–16th century. © Metropolitan Museum of ArtThe meaning of the word Nibbana clearly extends to the absence of mental defilements the cause of Dukkha. So that at any moment that our minds are empty of ‘self’ and ‘belonging to self’ then that is Nibbana. For example, at this moment as you sit here I will attest that everyone, or almost everyone, has a mind empty of the feelings of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ because there is nothing engendering them. In listening attentively you give no opportunity for self – consciousness to arise. So look and see whether or not the mind is empty of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. If there is some emptiness (and I merely use the word some, it’s not comp­letely or unchangingly empty) then you are dwelling within the sphere of Nibbana. Even though it is not absolute or perfect Nibbana, it is Nibbana just the same. Continue reading

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