on practice

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    The Enemy Within Paid Member

    Our history abounds with stories of individuals perpetrating the most destructive and harmful acts: killing and torture, bringing misery and untold suffering to large numbers of people. These incidents in human history can be seen as reflecting the darker side of our common human heritage. These events occur only when there is hatred, anger, jealousy, and unbounded greed. World history is a record of the effects of the negative and positive thoughts of human beings. This, I think, is quite clear. By reflecting on these past occurrences, we can see that if we want to have a better and happier future, now is the time to examine the mindset of our present generation and to reflect on the way of life that it may bring about in the future. The pervasive power of these negative attitudes cannot be overstated.More »
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    Nonopposition Paid Member

    Although everyone has the potential for compassion, some people seem to be our enemies. How should we react to them? Shakyamuni Buddha encountered many people who wanted to harm him during his life, but he was never angry with them, nor did he try to overpower or dominate them. Instead he treated them compassionately and tried to help them. Both Buddhism in general and Ch’an [Chinese Zen] in particular condemn fighting and advocate nonopposition to one’s enemies. A true practitioner responds with nonopposition to obstructions caused by people, situations, and the environment, and lets go of any tension she may feel. She does not resist or fight with difficulties.More »
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    Loving the Enemy Paid Member

    •As a mother would risk her lifeto protect her only child, even so should one cultivate a limitless heart with regard to all beings. With goodwill for the entire cosmos, cultivate a limitless heart: Above, below, and all around, unobstructed, without hostility or hate. Whether standing, walking, sitting, or lying down, as long as one is alert, one should be resolved on this mindfulness. This is called a sublime abiding here and now. —The Buddha,from Sutta Nipata 1.8 • More »
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    The Second Arrow Paid Member

    "When touched with a feeling of pain,the ordinary uninstructed personsorrows, grieves,and laments, beats his breast,becomes distraught.So he feels two pains,physical and mental.Just as if they were to shoot a manwith an arrow and,right afterward,were to shoot him with another one,so that he would feelthe pains of two arrows..." —the Buddha Image: Tibetan medical painting illustrating sowa rigpa, the ancient Tibetan "science of healing." From the Blue Beryl, a 17th century Tibetan medical text. More »
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    The Practice of Nonpreference Paid Member

    Nothing I had learned in my years of Zen sitting practice and innumerable retreats had prepared me for the ordeal of developing rheumatoid arthritis in my seventh year of practice. Overwhelmed by the power of pain, I could do little else but surrender to the pure physicality of my existence. I wouldn't have chosen to explore consciousness on such a visceral level, bur once I was forced to, I discovered that there were other experiences waiting to be noticed. More »
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    When It Happens to Us Paid Member

    This is a fact of life; we don't like pain. We suffer because we marry our instinctive aversion to pain to the deep-seated belief that life should be free from pain. In resisting our pain by holding this belief, we strengthen just what we're trying to avoid. When we make pain the enemy, we solidify it. This resistance is where our suffering begins. More »