Short film about 5 minutes. Hakuin’s self-taught, spontaneous, yet masterly and inspired painting and calligraphy, just like his teachings and writings, expressed the mind and heart of Zen for monks and lay followers alike.
I’ve made some big changes in my life but, strangely, decided not to blog much about the more significant ones. You would think that’s the point of having a personal blog like this, but I think I made the right decision because I think how I would have written about it all would have come out wrong.
And so I thought this post from Buddhism Now was somewhat apt and timely: My intention going forward is to pick up where I left off, but with a different tone than I’d previously used in my more personal posts.
Rapid technological advances. Increased wealth. Stress. Stable lives and careers come under the pressure of accelerating change. The twenty-first century? No, the sixth century BC—a time of destructive warfare, economic dislocation, and widespread disruption of established patterns of life, just like today. In conditions similar to ours, the Buddha discovered a path to lasting happiness. His discovery—a step-by-step method of mental training to achieve contentment—is as relevant today as ever.
Putting the Buddha’s discovery into practice is no quick fix. It can take years. The most important qualification at the beginning is a strong desire to change your life by adopting new habits and learning to see the world anew.
Each step along the Buddha’s path to happiness requires practising mindfulness until it becomes part of your daily life. Mindfulness is a way of training yourself to become aware of things as they really are. With mindfulness as your…
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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 780 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 13 trips to carry that many people.
‘Buddha’ As the years go by, this particular word has become increasingly meaningful and precious to me; it is something that reminds me of the way of mindfulness.
I came to Buddhism as an adult after being brought up in a Christian family where the word ‘buddha’ was never spoken. When I was twenty-one, I deliberately chose Buddhism because of the teachings. The word ‘buddha’ itself, however, still remained a kind of abstraction in my mind. I could be inspired by the idea of a buddha, but it is only after years of practise that the profound meaning has manifested.
I am not saying that I am a buddha because that doesn’t make sense. People have claimed to be buddhas, but that isn’t actually the way it works; it isn’t a question of becoming or personally identifying with the word ‘buddha’. To do that is a sure sign that…
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The reason I’ve been unable to contribute what I consider anything of substance to any one of the myriad of online soapboxes is because I didn’t feel like an expert in anything. I had no top ten lists, no gadget reviews, no pitches on how to make money in just four hours a week; all I have are my ideas, perceptions and insights — and even those I keep to myself for the most part.
Sure, I am — or was — good at being a designer and, maybe, a writer. But this, the third extended period of unemployment peppered with the relentless rejection from potential employers has left me doubting myself: I don’t know what I can do, really, having been told over and over for years how I wasn’t successful.
And that’s the key phrase, the one that cuts to the bone now. I thought I had a pretty thick skin (it’s a prerequisite for being in a creative field) but for the better part of the past seven years it’s the only phrase I’ve heard more than any other.