04/26/14

Maha-mangala Sutta: Blessings (Sn 2.4)

Tibetan Buddha
In the Maha-mangala Sutta, the Buddha describes the ‘greatest blessings’ in life and how to attain them. According to the Buddha, there are 38 ‘greatest blessings’ – not the shallow and changeable blessings of luck and fortune but blessings which are of genuine and lasting importance. By making the effort to obtain these blessings, we can create our own good fortune and move gradually closer to the supreme blessing of Nibbana. This is the main purpose and objective of the Mangala Sutta…

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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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12/8/13

Reconciliation in Buddhism

As the year draws to a close and winter tightens its grip I am reminded that peace and goodwill do not extend to all. The world remains a dangerous place and a political solution to the perennial problems of war, deprivation and injustice is still a long way off. The latest issue of ‘The Middle Way: Journal of The Buddhist Society’ is devoted to the issue of reconciliation, and I hope you will agree that its timely message is one worth sharing.

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10/10/13

Skilful Giving

In this post I list a number of motivations for giving that the Buddha discussed and ranked according to their kammic potential. I explain in brief why Theravada Buddhists believe that skilful giving benefits the giver more than the receiver, and why the Sangha of the Buddha’s Noble Disciples are considered the most worthy recipients.

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09/9/13

Kamma, Death, Rebirth

Many people attracted to the Buddha’s teachings on impermanence and suffering nevertheless have a problem with his teachings on kamma and rebirth and are quick to reject them as outmoded metaphysical ideas, either cultural baggage or interpellations intended to placate his less-sophisticated followers.  Here I attempt to show that such doubts are based on misunderstandings and that kamma and rebirth are in fact verifiable through meditation…

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07/27/13

Anger

In this post I suggest that anger is a deluded person’s emotional response to the existential facts of impermanence, dissatisfaction and insubstantiality.  Anger serves no useful purpose whatsoever, and through meditation and mindfulness practice one gets better at dealing with this destructive emotion…

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02/24/13

Is Buddhism Compatible With Modern Science?

The compatibility of Buddhism and science was being argued during the Victorian period. More recently this idea has been popularised by writers like Fritjoff Capra (who wrote a book – The Tao of Physics – on how Western science and Eastern religions were apparently converging), and former monk Stephen Batchelor (who argued the case for a socially engaged, secular western Buddhism free from its cultural and religious accretions in Buddhism Without Beliefs.) In this post I explain why I no longer regard Buddhism and western science as compatible…

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02/2/13

What Is Buddhism?

In this post I describe ‘Buddhism’ as a religion of self-help. The teachings traditionally ascribed to Siddhattha Gotama, the historical Buddha, are concerned primarily with ending existential angst and attaining liberation from the endless and painful cycle of death and rebirth. The Buddha claimed not to be a God or a saviour, just a man who had attained liberation by his own efforts and was able therefore to point the way for us to do the same…

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