August 23, 2011
Buddhist teacher Ken McLeod, who has long been on digital dharma's cutting edge, recently relaunched his website, Unfettered Mind. In September we will be launching a series of video teachings by Ken, in which he will be giving weekly dharma talks on the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva, which were written in the 14th century by the great Tibetan Buddhist scholar-monk Thogme Zangpo.
I've been looking through Ken's new site today and there is a tremendous amount of material available— podcasts, articles, translations, and practices. The site is well designed and easy to navigate, with Ken's teachings separated into the categories of Basics, Training, Awareness, Life, and Traditional.
Take a look, you won't be disappointed!
Here are a few pieces I recommend:
Who Am I?
A simple question, you say. Well, how do you answer it? With your name? With your family pedigree? With your job? At some point, you see that nothing you say really answers the question and you stop — at the edge of a vast open space. “This can’t be who I am?”, you say, and turn away.
Won’t you please,
please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd
but please tell me who I am.
— Supertramp, The Logical Song
Let’s start again. Who are you? Every time you fill out a job application, work up your resumé, fill in your information on an online dating service (one of the many new forms of hell created by the web), or meet someone socially, that ‘simple’ question has to be answered.
In the world of social conventions, the answer is a story. Lots of things may go into this story: interests, history, quirks, talents, achievements, background, likes, dislikes, successes and failures. And the story we tell changes according to the circumstances.
We don’t stop there. We reflect, refine, and even create such stories, not only to navigate in the world, but also to understand why we do certain things or to prepare for a new stage in life. The stories are always evolving. They are not fixed. They take on new dimensions, reveal connections we hadn’t seen before, or seem to explain things about our lives in a different, perhaps even useful, way.
But none of the stories, not one of them, not even all of them, answers the question “Who am I”. continued
Read the whole article here.
Money and Meditation
A question that has long drawn my attention appears at first glance to be quite simple: what is money? I’ve come to the feel that it is a collective thought.
Let’s turn to meditation for a moment. When we sit in meditation, resting the attention with the breath, thoughts come up. Sometimes when they arise, they just disappear without disturbing the attention. Sometimes when they arise, we are distracted and begin to think. Thoughts bounce off each other and we stay in this distracted state for a period of time until it dissipates: “Oh, I’m meant to be meditating!” and we return attention to the breath.
There is a crucial difference between resting with the breath and engaging a thinking process. In the former, we know, without thinking, that we are resting with the breath. In other words, we are mindful. In the latter case, we are not aware that we are thinking until after the distraction has dissipated. In other words, the mind is less clear when we are thinking.
Let’s return to money. As a collective thought, it has a great deal of power. continued
Read the whole piece here.
What is Karma?
Karma is one of the most misunderstood concepts in Buddhism. The misunderstandings are unfortunate because the principle of karma is crucially important for our understanding of why we practice and what happens when we practice. In this series, I will try to correct a number of these misconceptions. The first misconception on my list is the notion that karma means cause and effect. continued
Read the whole piece here.
Tricycle Wisdom Collection articles by Ken McLeod
Image via liquidnight (Flickr)