Tag: Buddhism

Buddhist Thoughts: Showing Feelings

This is a rather long quote I found the other day. But it reminded me of our feelings. It reminded me of our game we play of too often: pretending what we are not.

Look at children. Of course they may quarrel, but generally speaking they do not harbor ill feelings as much or as long as adults do. Most adults have the advantage of education over children, but what is the use of an education if they show a big smile while hiding negative feelings deep inside? Children don’t usually act in such a manner. If they feel angry with someone, they express it, and then it is finished. They can still play with that person the following day.

– His Holiness the Dalai Lama, “Imagine All the People”

Children are a joy. Having two of them can be daunting at times but overall the positive things outweigh any potential drawbacks.

Children however are honest, they just tell you how things are. They don’t pretend to not feel ill or to feel ill if they are not. That might of course change once they get to school 😉

As His Holiness says, all the education isn’t helping to NOT show feelings. Eating things up, not letting things out, having pent-up feelings is causing more distress than trying to let go, accept feelings and showing them. And this is true for positive as well as for negative feelings.

I believe we grown-ups too often swallow things rather than expressing things. And, I believe this leads to people being unhappy and unsatisfied.

Talk to each other. Address issues. Don’t take it personally.

Love and Kindness,
Volker

Buddhism – Universal Emptiness

I enjoy writing about Buddhism and my religious/spiritual thoughts. Maybe it goes back to my childhood when it was often suggested that I might become a minister. But I never did. I am not a church goer, nor a conformist.

Just the other day I was called a “part-time Buddhist” as I was rude to a sales call I received 🙂 Probably my colleagues were right but being Buddhist and practising Buddhism are two different kettles of fish.

Here is another quote that I read the other day:

Once you realize universal emptiness, all objects are spontaneously penetrated: integrating the world and beyond, it contains all states of being within. If you lose the essence, there is nothing after all; if you attain the function, there is spiritual effect. The genuine path of unminding is not a religion for the immature.

Universal Emptiness is something I personally haven’t experienced, but I could imagine what it might be like. A Universe that is set up of nothing. A freedom from any attachment and thoughts; one is caught in samsara.

Samsara as such is a pain, literally. I almost find it fearful to think to not end up enlightened and being reborn as a human being again. Would I have to go through all the pain and suffering again? I guess so.

In Universal Emptiness every object is just there, in all states of beings. There isn’t “a” state but all states. Everything seems to be nothing and something.

For the Enlighten ones that can make sense of it, that found the essence, they shall benefit from the spiritual effect. The ones that don’t mind, the “unminded” will have a hard time. Ignoring the attachments, embracing emptiness and a complete state of any object.

I think what I take from this quote is that only the ones that are ready to give everything up, that allow themselves to not worry and not being distracted by objects, can learn from the Universal Emptiness and move on.

What do you think?

Love and Kindness,
Volker

Buddhist Thoughts at time of #londonriots

I actually wanted to write about a different topic this week within Buddhism until I came across the following quote from the Dalai Lama which I find ties in with the London Riots.

I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one’s own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace.

– His Holiness the Dalai Lama

We have indeed very challenging times. Kids set our streets on fire, our houses and businesses, they loot and riot. However, the Dalai Lama suggests that we must develop a greater sense of universal responsibility.

This is not just about a pair of trainers or kids being bored. This is not only about kids not getting the education or up-bringing from home/school but also about society. Politics, church and communities play a major role.

The universal picture, the holistic approach, the over arching principles have to be looked at. Particularly at times like these. When a country lives in fear of a minority of people that stepped over the line. Where people die because they defend their freedom and right of a peaceful life.

It is about the greater good. It is about being able to look beyond the individual looter but the bigger problem that needs solving. Only by doing so, the Dalai Lama says we are going to survive as humans.

If we aren’t able to solve our problems in a holistic way, with deep understanding of each individual and the groups themselves, we might not survive as a human race. We might just turn into animals. We become anti-human.

Let us solve the local problems, and so many people have gathered to solve the problem already. Let us move on and fight for peace, humanity and a better life. For all of us, for world peace and a better place.

Love and Kindness from Beckenham,
Volker

Buddhism – Inner Dimensions & Spiritual Revolution

As this month I will not arouse myself with alcohol, I hope to be able to write a few more posts, particularly about Buddhism. Let us look at the following quote from the Dalai Lama:

Our problems, both those we experience externally such as wars, crime and violence and those we experience internally as emotional and psychological suffering will not be solved until we address this underlying neglect of our inner dimension. That is why the great movements of the last hundred years and more–democracy, liberalism, socialism, and Communism–have all failed to deliver the universal benefits they were supposed to provide, despite many wonderful ideas. A revolution is called for, certainly, but not a political, an economic, or a technical revolution. We have had enough experience of these during the past century to know that a purely external approach will not suffice. What I propose is a spiritual revolution.

– His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I highlighted in bold a few points:

a) address the underlying neglect of our inner dimension
b) failed to deliver (referring to the outer dimension)
c) spiritual revolution

Only a spiritual revolution will be able to address whatever is bugging you inside. b) and c) state the obvious. If it is politics or if it is personal circumstances, an outer dimension will not make you happy inside. This could be a job, a marriage, possessions or plain money. Nothing will be able to be put upon us that makes us happy and find inner peace but the spiritual revolution.

Of course you can think of the “spiritual revolution” in many terms. But what is the Dalai Lama wanting to say?

Let’s look at a), the underlying neglect of our inner dimension. As long as we, unconsciously or consciously, fight an inner dimension, then we will not be able to be happy. Why is that?

We need to be able to have inner peace. Only with inner peace we are able to develop our spirituality. By overcoming obstacles that we have inside us, and those can be anything from challenges in our job, our relationship or in daily communications, we will not get the inner peace.

Those of you that are working in personal development will know what I am talking about. How often have you had clients that fight the same situation over and over again. With their 3rd employer the same problem as with the 1st, the 4th wife having the same problem as the previous three. No, the problem is inside you! Stop neglecting your inner dimension and focus on the problem inside you. Only by overcoming your inner problem you are able to move on.

Buddhism theories go as far as suggesting that we live in samsara until we overcome all those issues, all personal problems that hold us back, in order to gain enlightenment. And, in order to do so, don’t rely on the outer dimensions but the spiritual revolution.

Buddha bless.

With Love and Kindness,
Volker

Buddhism – being busy

I get a daily newsletter with Buddhist quotes. Hence I like to collect the most inspiring ones and put them in my blog. Similar to what I did with Balamadana back in the days.

Most quotes have been in my draft folder for a few months, if not years. So here we go with one:

How very happily we live, free from busyness among those who are busy. Among busy people, free from busyness we dwell.

– Dhammapada, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Now I recently couldn’t travel due to the sickness of my children. However, as I had holidays booked, I just ended up with two and a half days without any plans whatsoever but helping my wife and spending time (!) with my kids.

Time. Free time is almost unheard of. We all work a lot, normally 9 to 5.30, often to 6.30 and most often much longer. We are people that enjoy working (and I speak about people like myself), and we should probably or most certainly take a day off. Or compensate for over time. Not because we don’t value time at work or because it might be our right to do so. No, we should take time off because we need to.

We need to relax, unwind and take time for ourselves. Children really help you to de-stress and relax when they are in good form. Of course they can be awful, ill or very annoying at times, but the majority of the time you spend with them, it takes you back to “point zero“. You relax. You see the world with their eyes, more relaxed, more simplistic. It is great to unwind.

You become more productive if you are sitting down and unwind. Taking a break at work helps you to increase your productivity. Employers start realising that.

So as a self conscious Buddhist, someone who is at ease with him/herself, you should be able to have a calm and relaxed mind. A mind like water, being focused and concentrated whilst you ignore the busyness going on around you. You are the rock. You are the one that stays relaxed, not being bothered by what the environment tries to put upon you.

It takes a lot of practise but it is possible. You decide! You are in charge of your destiny and the way you live your life. Take charge.

I may die today…

Some people might call me crazy for this thought but I got it out of this new book I am reading, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s “Transform your Life“.

So far I have only read a few chapters about Inner Peace and Karma. Also, I love the Buddhist thoughts about reincarnation. And, that if you don’t have fear, you don’t have to worry about your life….and your death. So by saying this mantra, that I may die today, I take off all the fear. But what is happening?

In our samsara, the rebirth cycle in which we are born to different levels depending on our karma and previous lives, we travel from one life to another. We wouldn’t remember any of it consciously, and re-birth might not take place for a while. However, the more stressed and fearful you are about the next one, the less likely you go from this life with a good karma – that is additional to everything else you might have done in your life.

By thinking that you might die today, you are not saying you will or won’t. All you are saying is that you should be prepared for it. So if it happens, go in a good matter. Be prepared. Live your life in a way that if you die today, you don’t have to worry or fear anything. Just let go.

I find this thought very comforting and helpful. It calms me down to think that if I might die today, there is no reason why I should stress or worry now. But on the other hand it doesn’t suggest me to stop living or enjoying myself either. But more relaxed.

I start focusing on the here and now rather than the future or past. I live in the now, worry less and of course enjoy every moment more than before. That combined with Karma means, if you live your life more intensely, each moment more than before, maybe with a strong sense of giving and helping, then you cannot really develop a bad karma, or can you?

And, by thinking you may die today, you take all the fear of it away.

This might be odd for some, but I really find it helpful. Do you?

Love and Kindness,
Volker

Buddhist Thoughts – being better

Happy New Year again!

I came across this quote and in all honesty I am not sure if I understand it totally.

If, in your course, you dont meet your equal, your better, then continue your course firmly, alone. Theres no fellowship with fools.

– Dhammapada, 6, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Does it say that if you are on a mission or project and you don’t think that you are meeting your equal, e.g. you are superior and better than everyone else, then you should continue as you were?

Alone. As no one is following you if you are a fool. So are we fools thinking that we are the best and better than anyone else I suppose?

Is that true? It reminds me a bit of NLP where you create your own map of the world. Where you make up your own ideas and thoughts and then you are the person in charge, you are going the way alone as you think this is the only right way. But maybe, it is foolish to go this way in the first place.

Have a think.

Sunday Column (85)

I might be a bit lazy writing my blog at times, but you might have seen the posts last week. An up and down that usually depends how much time I have at the weekend.

This week I had a good week. I think anyway. No alcohol all week which was nice. I even managed to meet some friends without drinking. Whilst this sounds awful to admit, I think we all drink to much. Tony Blair admitted it in his book too. The whole society likes a tipple. It is just when you decide not to, you stand out, and almost feel awkward. Like an alcoholic because you don’t do it. It will be, similar to smoking, one day socially unacceptable to drink. It’ll come.

This week had one story. A story that will write or already wrote history. The story of the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners. 33 men. 33 stories. 33 families. I was crying when I saw the first one coming to the surface. It is human tragedy, and we all like to watch it. But it is real. The psychological pressure, the strain on the health, being separated by their families.

I remember more human tragedy. 20 years ago the fall of the Berlin Wall. Then 9-11 which will be 10 years in 2011. Or 7-7 in London which is 5 years ago. Events at the opposite side of the spectrum of good and evil, but emotionally both up there with the rescue of those 33 men. I was there when all of those things happened – here on earth. I saw history in the making.

It is remarkable how these events let humans grow closer together. How things like wealth, health, religion, money or possessions become so unimportant. When it is about survival. When it is about helping each other. That is what these events bring out of the human race: the pure basic instinct of being good to each other, and to cherish the love you can give, independent from status, religion or any background really.

Although I just wrote about Colin last week. Children have these instincts widely available. Because society hasn’t taught them about money, possessions, status and evil yet. And they haven’t been taught yet that a drink is essential to be part of the cool gang. And 10 years ago smoking would have been on the top of this list too. Will being a vegetarian be normal one day too?

On Friday we went out to an “all you can eat” buffet. It was really nice, a good night out. I was stuffing my face – because I could and because I enjoyed it of course. But in my opinion this is all the same attitude and behaviour.

That is where my thinking turns to Buddhism. Life is about love, sharing and caring for each other. Life is about healthy, moderate living. A life independent from status, money and possessions. Life is a lot about learning, and personal development.

Of course I am not there yet. But sometimes I wish I was.

Thoughtful, and happy.
Volker

Buddhism and Islands

In my daily newsletter, the following quote was displayed the other day:

Awake and rejoice in watchfulness. Understand the wisdom of the enlightened. By watching keenly and working hard, the wise one may build himself an island which no flood can sweep away. The thoughtless man does not care, but the attentive man looks on wakefulness as his greatest treasure. Meditate, and in your wisdom realize nirvana, the highest happiness. Dhammapada

I used to write those blog posts over at Balamadana but haven’t for a while. So I would like to share it here.

My Island Theory kind of fits with the above. It states that you move from island to island in order to develop, and only settle when you are where your body is in 100% harmony with your spirit.

The wise man building himself the island he can develop in. No one can touch him or his thoughts whilst he moving up through personal development. And, the island becomes a nice analogy for your little space. Doesn’t it?

If you are interested in the theory, let me know. It is a bit out of date, and I believe the download link doesn’t work anymore.

Love and Kindness,
Volker