Posted on 10 February 2017 by Buddhism Now
The 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
Filed under: Ajahn Sumedho, Buddhism, Buddhist meditation, Foundations of Buddhism, Theravada | Tagged: #longread, Art Metropolitan Museum of Art, Buddhist teachings, Theravada Buddhism | 5 Comments »
Posted on 10 September 2016 by Buddhism Now
We are approaching the end of this summer school here in Leicester. The day after tomorrow we shall be departing and the only thing left will be a sweet memory which may recur from time to time.
In a way, life is a continuous imparting of oneself in other people’s hearts. So we can say there is a continual process of giving something to someone. Whether you like it or not, that is just the way life is. If you know this, then give readily with pleasure. Give it according to your own environment and relations.
There is a maxim in this part of the world: `One swallow does not make a summer’. But I’ve never seen a swallow in Britain! I can, of course, imagine a mother swallow picking up a worm or an insect and bringing it back to the nest where her young chicks—maybe five or six of them—are waiting, making an awful noise, opening their mouths: Me first! Me first! Me first! Give it to me! Give it to me! Continue reading
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Posted on 4 July 2016 by Buddhism Now
Twofold Depictions of the Buddha
Very rarely do people contemplating some wide-scale reality recognise that its origin is often to be traced back to an event too tiny to be seen with the naked eye, like a minute island far away in the vast expanse of the ocean. Over a period of some 2,500 years Buddhism has spread throughout the world, but its long-ago origin lay in the experience of a single person, an experience which, as unanimously corroborated by Buddhist sources, was at first impossible even to put into words.
The process whereby Buddhism—which first began as the deeply internal experience of just one ascetic practitioner—has over time borne fruit within vastly different races, climates, cultures and histories, might be likened to the way volcanic magma breaks through the earth’s crust and gushes heavenwards then flows down in every direction, descending slopes, changing course, swallowing rocks, trees and water currents in its path, sometimes redoubling in force, sometimes widening to a gentle flow until eventually it cools and coagulates. Overnight the path traced by the magma appears as a great mountain nobody has ever seen before. The invisible terrestrial heat has changed into a dignified, visible landscape. Continue reading
Filed under: Buddhism, Encyclopedia, History, Mahayana | Tagged: #longread, Art Metropolitan Museum of Art, Buddhism at work, Buddhist history, Mahayana, Mahayana Buddhism, Professor Masahiro Shimoda, WPLongform | Leave a comment »
Posted on 12 September 2015 by Buddhism Now
Hakuin Zenji (1689-1769) describes the “Zen sickness” he contracted in his latter twenties and the methods he learned from the recluse Hakuyu in the mountains outside Kyoto that enabled him to cure the ailment.
On the day I first committed myself to a life of Zen practice, I pledged to summon all the faith and courage at my command and dedicate myself with steadfast resolve to the pursuit of the Buddha Way. I embarked on a regimen of rigorous austerities, which I continued for several years, pushing myself relentlessly.
Then one night, everything suddenly fell away, and I crossed the threshold into enlightenment. All the doubts and uncertainties that had burdened me all those years suddenly vanished, roots and all—just like melted ice. Deep-rooted karma that had bound me for endless kalpas to the cycle of birth-and-death vanished like foam on the water. Continue reading
Filed under: Biography, Book reviews, Buddhism, Ch'an / Seon / Zen, Encyclopedia, History, Mahayana | Tagged: #longread, Art Metropolitan Museum of Art, ki-energy, Norman Waddell, zen practice | 10 Comments »