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then what

What is the point of training the brain!? ~ rebirth part 4

My grandfather lived to 100. He was a spiritual person, and he probably could have lived to 110 as he was immensely fit, but unfortunately he was run over by a car. During his last 6 weeks, spent in hospital, he went through a lot of stuff, going in and out of pain, in and out […]

time is empty

The circle of life ~ rebirth part 3  

If we do the meditation described in the last article on rebirth, we get a sense of the flow of our mind – what it is, where it’s coming from, where it’s going. This helps us understand rebirth.  There are 5 different ways in general to understand rebirth, and understanding the continuum of consciousness is […]

thank you for kindness

Thanking our lucky stars, thanking everyone

I’ve been thinking about Thanksgiving, probably because it is Thanksgiving today – and I’m thinking that Buddhism teaches two very good reasons to give thanks, both of which have universal relevance. The first is being thankful because we have such a precious human life right now. The second is being thankful to others, because without them this life would […]

stones

Where were you before you were born? ~ rebirth part 2

We are travelers. Here’s a Buddhist meditation we can do to help us gain a feel for this. We can begin by simply sitting comfortably, back straight, shoulders level, hands resting in our lap, right hand on top of left, palms upward, thumbs slightly raised and touching. (If you’re used to putting your hands in a different […]

retreat

Are you a traveler? Where are you bound? ~ rebirth part 1

Reincarnation or rebirth is a very important and challenging topic – and not just in Buddhism but for everyone because, just in case it IS true, we’re better off thinking about it than not … Do you ever ponder your existential predicament (for example at three in the morning when the clouds of distractions temporarily […]

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Ice cream makes you happy

Karma and us

Some of you may remember the inappropriate attention I paid to the supposed theft of two bikes two summers ago… bikes that turned out not to be stolen at all. Well, some months ago, the big blue bike was stolen “for real”! Someone really wanted that bike. We’d locked them to a palm tree on […]

needle

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

I just had my flu shot. (I know, I know, some of you will disapprove, I do a bit myself). But it reminded me of Geshe Kelsang, my Teacher’s, explanation of transforming adversities into the spiritual path, where he uses the example of a needle. So, in normal circumstances, I would not let a stranger […]

life is like a dream according to Buddha

Choose Freedom

It may sound counterintuitive, but a free mind is a controlled mind. Having no control over our own mind is the same as having no choice in our thoughts. If we cannot choose what to think at any given moment, we automatically default to our habits and react with thoughts that we don’t even like […]

karma painting

How are you feeling? Musings on karma continued…

(You may want to read this article first to get up to scratch. I’ve divided the article up into two parts to make it easier to read in a coffee break.) Feelings Going back to the discussion in the last article, as there are three types of object, there are three types of feeling that experience […]

depression

Mindfulness is as good as antidepressants

“Mindfulness is as good as antidepressants, study says”: “Mindfulness therapy is gaining headway in many areas of psychology, and now there’s more evidence to back up its effectiveness. A new study published the Archives of General Psychiatry finds that depression patients in remission who underwent mindfulness therapy did as well as those who took an […]

ugly tree

Why am I so sad? Removing the two ego minds at the source of our pain.

In a recent article I tried to explain how self-grasping and self-cherishing, and the delusions they spawn, entirely undermine our happiness. Luckily, nothing is fixed – if we can understand these two ego-centered states of mind at the source of our pain and dissatisfaction, that’s the first step to removing them. We don’t need them […]

how to get rid of delusions

How meditation overcomes negative thoughts and emotions

A bit more on the subject of delusions and how to get rid of them. Nothing is as it seems If it is true that “The things we normally perceive do not exist” it means that nothing is really out there, and everything is free of being real and fixed. This means we can change […]

wide open road

Clearing out the clutter from our mind

Yesterday I met Steve, recently evicted from his mobile home and locked out from his possessions for no longer earning enough money from eBay to pay his rent. Living in his car for two weeks, he has just been rescued by my old friend Iben who lives next to him and who decided to buy […]

Shantideva

DON’T PANIC

The great Indian Buddhist Master Shantideva is famous for his practical advice on dealing patiently with problems: If something can be remedied Why be unhappy about it? And if there is no remedy for it, There is still no point in being unhappy. Here is a flow chart to illustrate this seemingly unarguable point (sorry, […]

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