03/24/15

Making Sense Of Buddhism

Monk (Unattributed - photographer unknown)
Making Sense of Buddhism

Today there is no shortage of Buddhist primers.  Unfortunately, the historical Buddha (‘Awakened One’) never did write a line of doctrine, and much of what passes for ‘Buddhism’ today he never actually spoke. To make sense of the religion attributed to him requires a lot of digging…

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07/27/14

The Authenticity Of The Early Buddhist Texts

Metta (PJL 06-2014) [SAM_4782_fused] PhotomatixPicasaPSE12 BW

 

Thanks to the Early Buddhist Texts (EBTs) we can be reasonably sure of where, when and how the Buddha lived, who he associated with and what he taught. This is the main argument of Bhikkhu Sujato and Bhikkhu Brahmali in their peer-reviewed book, The Authenticity of The Early Buddhist Texts, published by the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies…

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06/27/14

Misperception: Buddhism Leads To Inertia

Metta

Unfortunately, the Buddha’s goal of freedom through wise renunciation is so often misperceived – “How does sitting on a cushion help people who are starving or oppressed? Isn’t some amount of desire good? So at least we would feel the motivation to eat, to go to work, to have children… etc.?” To anyone who thinks this way I would say contemplate seriously whether or not lust and aversion are the only human motivators and whether or not meditation really is a recipe for inaction…

 

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05/25/14

Misperception: The Buddha Taught ‘No Self’

Stone Buddha, Scarborough
If the Buddha taught that there is no self then who is it that is experiencing the fruits of kamma and wandering endlessly in samsara? If there is no self then what is the point of meditation and why bother to lead a spiritual life? Questions like these are frequently asked by the Buddha’s critics and by those who are new to the dhamma…

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03/5/14

Attached Or Unattached?

Brass Buddha

Hopefully most meditators will at least be aware of the Five Precepts and doing their best to refrain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, unwholesome speech and intoxication.  However, it is also recommended for lay practitioners to observe the Eight Precepts on Uposatha days or days when one is free from work or household commitments. Observing the Eight Precepts strictly for just one day is a great test of one’s attachment to material comforts…

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01/26/14

Revering The Buddha

Buddha (PJL 2013)
A traditional way of training oneself is to treat the Buddha-image as one would treat the Buddha himself.  Although modern western sceptics in particular may view this form of preparatory training with suspicion, maintaining a negative attitude is neither an advantage for one’s own meditation nor in agreement with the traditions of early Buddhism…

 

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01/15/14

Unswerving, Unshakeable, Rocksteady Faith

Phra Buddha Dhammacakra (thumb)

 

Faith is an important aspect of the Buddhist Path to liberation. I am not talking about blind faith in personalities or fickle attachment to dogmas, I am talking about a discerning yet unwavering trust or confidence that one deliberately cultivates in order to dispel doubt and all other obstacles to spiritual progress…

 

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