thus have i heard

  • Tricycle Community 22 comments

    The Buddha's Smile Paid Member

    The most difficult Buddhist idea to explain, I’ve found, is not interdependent arising or nonself, challenging though these are, but equanimity. How is it that one can neither like nor not like something without being emotionally detached or indifferent? Our sense of identity is so bound up with our desires that to many people the thought of being without preferences for one thing or another is tantamount to being stripped of the very quality that makes us human. Nonattachment is just so dry. Give me the pot-bellied laughing Buddha any day (who, of course, is not a Buddha at all but a Chinese folk deity), rather than the austere figure presiding over our meditation halls with barely a hint of a smile on his face. More »
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    Pinch Yourself Paid Member

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    Finding the Center Paid Member

    Imagine you walk into a small empty room that is totally dark and are asked to locate its center point. How might you proceed? Unable to use the sense of sight, you might begin by going around the room with one hand on the wall, exploring the perimeter. Once you’ve turned the corner four times, you can be fairly sure you are more or less back where you started. Next, you might push off boldly from one wall and traverse the whole room until you crash into the opposite wall. Bouncing back and forth between these two walls, you would eventually get a sense of the midpoint between them. Thus oriented, you might then shuffle between the other two walls along this centerline until you find what appears to be half the distance between them. More »
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    Moral Health Paid Member

    Research over the past decades has shown pretty convincingly that physical health is influenced by the quality of the nutrients we ingest, the activities we engage in, and the habits that guide our behaviors. Such quality is measured on a sliding scale between healthy and unhealthy. If we eat unhealthy foods, engage in unhealthy behaviors, and develop unhealthy habits, then the outcome will be unhealthiness. The reverse is equally true, when healthy modes of living replace unhealthy ones. This is a matter of understanding the biological laws of nature; it has nothing to do with moral judgment or religious decree. More »
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    Primordial Soup Paid Member

    Greed and hatred are efficient survival tools. Deeply embedded in the operating system of sentient beings, perhaps from the days when a brain stem first developed in vertebrates, these instincts trigger behaviors that enable a creature to seek out and chase down the food it needs and to call forth the ferocity required to kill its prey or fight for its life. Each is an opposite expression of the same primordial force: desire. Greed is the desire to get and hold on to what one wants, while hatred is the desire to ignore or destroy what one does not want. They require little or no understanding, function best at rudimentary levels of consciousness, and thus thrive in conditions of ignorance and delusion. More »
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    Castles Made of Sand Paid Member

    Perhaps you will go to the beach sometime this summer and have a chance to watch children at play in the sand. How engrossed they can get in their projects! When building a sand castle, nothing in the world seems more important than shaping it, embellishing it, and protecting it from the encroaching sea or from other children who might threaten it. This must be a timeless pursuit, for the Buddha offers the following image in a discussion with an elder monk named Radha in the Samyutta Nikaya: Suppose, Radha, some little boys or girls are playing with sand castles. So long as they are not devoid of lust, desire, affection, thirst, passion, and craving for those sand castles, they cherish them, play with them, treasure them, and treat them possessively. More »