Author: Luna Kadampa

Based on 40 years' experience, I write about applying meditation and modern Buddhism to improve and transform our everyday lives and societies. I try to make it accessible to everyone anywhere who wants more inner peace and profound tools to help our world, not just Buddhists. Do make comments any time and I'll write you back!

When an intern called Paul Butler mapped the connections between everyone using the Facebook social network, the results ended up being a detailed map of much of the world! This is good news for Mark Zuckerberg’s bank account, but it is also a vivid illustration of how interconnected, and therefore mutually dependent, we are. None of us is an isolated individual, we are all part of the family of living beings. Our thoughts and actions directly or indirectly affect many other people, even when we are not aware of this. And everything we think, say, do or have is dependent…

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A recent article in the New York Times reports the findings of scientists at Harvard that people are happier when their minds do not wander from what they are doing. Whatever people were doing, whether it was having sex or reading or shopping, they tended to be happier if they focused on the activity instead of thinking about something else. In fact, whether and where their minds wandered was a better predictor of happiness than what they were doing. This is the other side of the coin from the article, Mindfulness is as good as antidepressants. If we are not…

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Yesterday on my way to do Xmas shopping I heard a heart-warming* National Public Radio report on the Chilean miners who were trapped for more than two months underground, believing they were on the verge of death. Instead of dying, however, they were spectacularly rescued, and are now being feted all over the world. Yesterday they had just been to see a Man United match and have photos  taken with the footballers. They were excited. They’ve been invited to the Greek islands, to travel with the Bolivian president, to a Real Madrid match in Spain, to Disneyland, to Hollywood… They…

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“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 antidepressant, and better than those who took a placebo. That means that mindfulness therapy was as effective as antidepressants in protecting against a relapse of depression. Mindfulness generally refers to the concept of being present and in the moment, and comes from the Buddhist meditation…

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I have just come across this inspiring example of equalizing self and others in action: In the Kadampa Buddhist meditation called “equalizing self and others”, we deliberately cultivate a feeling of affection for others by remembering that they are no different to us. We may be unique but, in the ways that count, we are all exactly the same, like snowflakes. Shantideva says in Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life: First, I should apply myself in meditation On the equality of self and others. Because we are all equal in wanting to experience happiness and avoid suffering, I should…

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Tributes are pouring in for Elizabeth Edwards, who died at 10.15am yesterday. As one cancer survivor says: “It breaks our hearts, because it could be us,” Schmid said. “She lived through everyone’s worst nightmare — the loss of a child, cancer, infidelity.” She did. Imagine how hard it must be, for example, to face leaving your remaining children behind. Along with many others, I feel for her and her young family and pray for their happiness in all their lives. Truth is, as Schmid’s statement implies, everyone who lives long enough has a sad story to tell. It is hard…

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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 anywhere near my arm with a needle, even a stranger with an official Walgreen’s badge. I would not let her inject me with some alien virus. I certainly would not say, once she had inflicted the pain: “Oh, thank you, you did great!” But because…

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The other day I was at a yard sale with my neighbor and friend, more like family actually, searching for stuff for his and his fiance’s new property. There is, ermmm, about 20 years difference between us in age this time around, and this is sometimes obvious. For example, he can solve any computer problem at the speed of light and gets paid handsomely for doing it; but when we drove past several streets with the names “Whitman”, “Chaucer” and “Blake”, his face went blank when I said brightly: “Well, this is a literary area!!” At the yard sale, he…

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One of my dearest friends is a hoarder. He is gentle, kind, thoughtful, funny, and very unable to let go of his junk. For him, of course, that is because it is not junk. We tried to do a yard sale of all his stuff earlier this year and after weeks of work involving a small army of his loved ones, we raised all of $300. This to my mind proved that his big house-load of stuff was junk, but that reasoning does not work on him. This is because for him it could all come in useful one day,…

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