The Eight Worldly Winds (The Eight Vicissitudes)
From the Mungalla Sutta
This time of year in Tucson is daily filled with breezy or windy weather, which blows dust in the air, knocks over trash cans and carries them away, burns and stings eyes, and much more. It often makes a mess and causes us irritation; and, interestingly, some of us enjoy its impact, variability, spacious blowing, and unexpected outcomes.
We are all different and so how we relate to these life winds varies, as do the winds themselves.
The definition of vicissitude is “the quality or state of being changeable, mutability; natural change or mutation visible in nature or in human affairs” or “a favorable or unfavorable event or situation that occurs by chance; a fluctuation of state or condition the vicissitudes of daily life; a difficulty or hardship attendant on a way of life, a career, or a course of action and usually beyond one’s control; alternating change, succession.” These vicissitudes seem to be endless and out of our control; yet how we choose to respond to life’s conditions and events may be part of our path to cultivating happiness or being dragged down into a whirlwind of suffering. Continue reading
How to Transform Anger
When most of think about anger we have images of people yelling at each other, getting red in the face, tightening of the jaw and fists, nasty or insulting speech, actions that may involve some type of physical or psychological abuse, fear of being harmed, blaming, irritation, frustration, feeling annoyed just to name a few manifestations of this mind state.
Much of this type of anger when taken out on another person is actually a form of rage; a deep seated emotion that was likely triggered by some trauma or childhood abuse. It can be deeply destructive to oneself and to another. Often it is an ‘out of control’ reaction to suppressed wounds that have never been faced and healed. When the causes and conditions are ripe for these ‘angry behaviors” to manifest they emerge so quickly that they bypass our ability to even be aware of what is happening. They take over and we react. Continue reading
Beginning Anew, Beginning Again
This is the time of year when so many of us emerge from the festivities, celebrations, and doldrums of the holiday season ready for something new. We feel a longing to commit or re-commit to change. There is an inner urge to contribute in some way to our own lives or to our families or to reach out to the world’s many problems and lend a helping hand.
From deep within our psyche and heart, our conscience (that factor of being that intuitively knows when we are kind and caring and when we are not) is stimulated to clear out the old debris that is blocking the channels. Somehow we intuit that in this moment it is just and fair to rid ourselves of our unnecessary burdens — those extra burdens of what we no longer need, that have served us well, and are now blocking the plumbing. This practice is one partially of letting go and of then repairing what needs replacement. Continue reading
How Do We Practice Compassion in a World of Terrorism?
This question goes to the heart of the Buddha’s teaching. Over 2,600 years ago when the Buddha had his “Awakening” he came away with several epiphanies that would revolutionize his own life and bring practical wisdom to the difficulties and troubles of that world. One of the most significant of these is that there is suffering in the world, which he named a truth of existence. He said t this is both personal and universal and that it manifests in illness, injury, aging, death, warfare, and impermanence. We call this the First Noble Truth. Continue reading
What is the Way of Contentment?
As I sit here this morning I am aware that the morning temperature was cool at 53 degrees, the air was refreshing, sweet, a gentle breeze stirred the tree leaves which were animated and dancing, the sky was a true sky blue, bright and clear. This has been an extended and beautiful spring season. At times like this my heart swells and I feel so grateful to be living this life. I hope you are also filled with this deep contentment.
You Are Not Your Thoughts
How many times in a moment, minute, hour, day, month, or a year have you had a thought that emerged from no particular place and it seemed so imperative, actual, true, that you believed it’s validity and took it to be you — your reality? We become identified with these fleeting thoughts and begin to make them “me.” We all have thoughts; they arise seemingly out of nowhere, and if we do not buy into their story, they magically change, shape shift, morph into a different thought or dissolve. Continue reading
What is Awakening?
Awakening is often called enlightenment, liberation, freedom, nibbana (Pali), or nirvana (Sanskrit). Some say that it is the ability to be free from greed, aversion, and delusion — also known as “cessation” and “cooling out.” It is the freedom that arises when the mind is no longer attached to what it wants and is free from demands. The mind no longer rejects or reacts to what it is unpleasant (aversion) and does not crave sensory pleasures (greed). It no longer suffers from the Five Hindrances of greed, aversion, sloth and torpor, restlessness, agitation, and doubt, which obstruct awakening. It recognizes when they are present, and this awareness opens the path to working with them. It is said that the “Seven Factors of Awakening” antidote the Five Hindrances. Continue reading
How We Open to the Light of the New Year 2016
In mindfulness practice, I have often said, “every moment is a new moment, every breath a new breath.” This is the essence of our practice — to keep returning to the perpetually unfolding, changing moment. In each moment we can begin anew; we can start again to remain present to the here and now.
What Does Generosity Mean to You?
Generosity is a wisdom teaching found in many cultures of the world. In Buddhist practice it has a special place. Generosity was one of the first teachings of the Buddha and it began when he was establishing the first “Four-Fold Sangha”. The sangha, community, was comprised of male and female monastics and laity, both men and women who learned to support each other through the giving of ‘alms” in exchange for receiving of teachings and blessings. Continue reading