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Buddhist reflections

  • It appears that mindfulness is being usurped by the corporate industrial complex. However, it is absurd for people to espouse mindfulness while not their deeper values or daily life. It is as senseless and egoistic as practicing some kind of secular “prayer” for the sake of health and feel-good benefits. In its proper context, mindfulness is supposed to be Right Mindfulness, and is but one of eight components of the Noble Eightfold Path. It is supposed to be grounded, contained, and expressed through Right view, Right intention, Right speech, Right action, Right livelihood, Right effort, Right mindfulness, Right concentration. The divisions of the Noble Eightfold Path are to be developed more or less simultaneously, as far as possible according to the capacity of each individual. To fixate on non-judgemental mindfulness alone is bullshit.
  • I prefer the way of Zen and Taoist masters: quiet your mind, connect with the universal mind and receive the information you seek through your intuition, instead of trying to work it out analytically. Then you’ll know, and you won’t feel the need for endless words and labels, or to justify and argue about endless technicalities.
  • The disciplines of Buddhist monastic codes and vows are descriptions of possible behaviour, and their function is to support the efforts we make in our practice. The point is that we choose to live in a way that supports our practice. When we don’t follow those choices, then we are undermining our practice efforts, but we are not necessarily acting immorally. These chosen behaviours are not offered as universal prescriptions or ways that a society should function but rather as individual practice efforts.
  • Giving Thanks for Our Food. Wisely reflecting, I use this food not for fun, not for pleasure, not for fattening, not for beautification, but only for the maintenance and nourishment of this body, for keeping it healthy, for helping with the Spiritual Life; Thinking thus, I will allay hunger without overeating, so that I may continue to live blamelessly and at ease.
  • Be alert that feelings can be indirectly influenced by our behaviour. Doing something repeatedly may give us confidence whereas constant complaining may stimulate feelings of resentment such as envy. Our actions often precede, rather than follow, feelings.
  • We can no more control our thoughts than we can control the weather, as both are phenomena of the most amazingly complex natural systems. And if we have no hope of controlling our emotions, we can hardly be held responsible any more than we can be held responsible for feeling hot or cold. We do, however, have complete dominion over our behaviour, and that is a sacred responsibility.
  • Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you think, ‘Man, this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The ‘hurt’ part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand anymore is up to the runner himself. ~Haruki Murakami (2008) What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
  • All conditioned phenomena share Three Marks: impermanence, imperfection, and non-substantiality. Everything flows in an endless stream. Everywhere there is pain, turmoil, confusion, and unrest. No place is there an enduring self. If all decays, why chase after material things? If life is suffering, why not seek true bliss? If there is no abiding personality, why cling to ego?
  • Mind: a) It is a mistake to think that the mind is the brain. The brain is a material object; whereas, the mind is non-material object. The mind is a formless continuum that functions to perceive and understand objects. Because the mind is formless, or non-material, by nature, it is not obstructed by physical objects b) There is only mind and no external material world. The Cittamatra school asserts that there is no external reality, not even external objects, and that the material world we perceive is in essence a projection of our minds. From many points of view, this conclusion is rather extreme c) There is mind and an external material world. At this time, it seems more coherent to maintain a position that accepts the reality not only of the subjective world of the mind, but also of the external objects of the physical world.
  • Tread the Middle Way by avoiding any type of physical, psychological, or philosophical extreme. The Middle Way is much more than simple moderation; it signifies the flexibility, openness, and freedom that is found when one is centred between all poles of opposition.
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