|Thought for the day: April 4, 2008
What is Buddhism? Well, it is what you make of it. There is no salvation by faith in Buddhism.
The Buddha taught his disciples to examine his teachings. While one can accept the Buddha as
their teacher, either formally or informally, the benefit or lack thereof, is entirely the
responsibility of the student.
Buddhism's highly developed system of philosophy and logic gives us the tools we need to
correctly analyze the path we are on and travel it knowingly. These tools coupled with correct
meditation and livelihood will enable us to experience directly within our own consciousness the
truth of Buddhism
|Thought for the day: April 5, 2008
Today I read an article (link below ) about Jason Magnessa, an extreme sports enthusiast that is
pioneering yoga on a slack line (similar to a tightrope.) In the article (see link below) he
mentions how it has greatly benefited his meditation and how deep his meditation becomes when
sitting on a slack line for twenty minutes. While I am a big fan of extreme sports, and truly admire
the accomplishment of Jason, it also points out common misconceptions about what meditation is
and how easily these misconceptions can form.
Meditation has nothing whatever to do with the focus extreme sports demand. Mr. Magness
reveals his naiveté by expressing how sitting in full lotus while balancing on a slack line has
deepened his meditation. This has little to do with insight that leads to wisdom. While this
demands tremendous focus, conflating "focus" in this context with the meditative focus taught in
Buddhist sutras is a mistake. The target of the focus is different and thus the result.
|Thought for the day: April 8, 2008
A wandering monk during a very contentious period of Chinese history when Buddhism was
banned observed,, "Of the deep thoughts some had when leaving fame and fatherland behind,
all that remains in mind is an ancient temple and a tall Cyprus." When we die, what thoughts
will we have?
|Thought for the day: April 9, 2008
Salvation comes in many colors. There is salvation by threat; "accept this doctrine or this person
or we will kill you." Salvation by laying guilt trip, "You are a mess and the only way to straigten
yourself out is to accept this person or doctrine." Salvation by promise, " Paradise is yours if
you accept this person or doctrine." Salvation by common sense, "Salvation lies within me and is
realized by my own effort."
All of us must learn to untie our own knots. We bind ourselves up and must set ourselves free. A
little reverse engineering goes a long way. Anger, lust, greed are powerful energies that we are
all familiar with. On the coarse level these energies display themselves in obvious ways. But,
through meditation we can become familiar with these energies before they arise in their coarse
and obstructing ways. These same forces that lead to attachment and craving can be quieted
and turned around leading to insight and liberation.
|Thought for the day: April 12, 2008
When we meditate our effort should be to develop a keen alertness that enables us to be aware
of the rise and fall of thought. If we do this we will not need to cut off thoughts or stuff them back
in because our alertness preempts our following them to begin with. Doing so we eliminate a
tiresome step in meditation.
|Thought for the day: April 16, 2008
True happiness stands on its own; it is the nature of the mind, and is the happiness spoken of
by the Buddha. It is this fundamental happiness that is part of who we are, but is often
confused by the happiness that arises and falls with the success or failure in our everyday life
and relationships with others. When we sit in meditation and we go deep beyond thought, we
begin to feel a happiness and mental engagement that is seemingly without an object. Being
happy about nothing helps us to develop a distaste for happiness dependent on things and
events, and enables us to develop an even mindedness towards all relative happiness and
|Thought for the day: April 18, 2008
It is essential to know when a firm hold of a meditation topic should be slackened and a lose
hold firmed up.
|Thought for the day: April 20, 2008
Does sound come to the faculty of hearing, does the faculty of hearing go to sound, do they
meet in the middle; such contemplations were advised by the Buddha and many meditation
masters. They may seem absurdly simplistic on the surface, but they are not if the many layers
of understanding them are peeled away. Understanding contemplations often requires us to
step outside of our assumptions and try to understand the perspective from which they
|Thought for the day: April 27, 2008
Buddhist study must strike to the bone if it is to be considered practice.Buddhist study must
strike to the bone if it is to be considered practice.
|Thought for the day: April 29, 2008
If we simply allow our thoughts to emerge from mind and dissolve therein, without creating more
constructs out of them, the mind will eventually stop creating thoughts. The key is not so much
"doing", but rather "allowing" things to happen.