Byakuren (White Lotus) Judith Ragir

Judith sitting on dockIs it possible to find freedom and happiness?  Buddhism is, in this regard, radically optimistic.  Pessimism and optimism meet in the Four Noble Truths.  Pessimistically, samsara (the cyclic existence of ordinary reality) is always broken and we suffer. And yet, Buddha himself said, the chain of suffering can be broken by a change in our understanding of reality and the reorientation of our minds. We can find well-being.

Changing the basis of operation in our minds is a long task.  We have to be unflaggingly determined to pivot our minds day after day, moment after moment.  We have to use the three bases that Buddha gave us:  wisdom, concentration and ethical integrity.  Gradually and suddenly, we can transform our understanding and find freedom.

Freedom is not in another place or another time.  It is “just this”.  The miracle of life is everywhere.  It hits us in the nose, on our cheeks, and in our eyes.  We simply have to come back to Now.  We simply have to be devoted to kindness.

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Recently, I have been listening to Phillip Moffitt’s recordings on the Nine Bodies.  ( or from his book entitled Awakening through the Nine Bodies:  Explorations in Consciousness for Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga Practitioners. One inspiration I’d like to share is the renunciations he suggests as you are going into a retreat.  I never really liked … Continue reading Inspired Renunciations on Judging, Comparing and Fixing Mind

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One misunderstanding I have followed in my Buddhist life is to take the instruction “exchanging yourself for another” as a prescription for not attending to myself and my own needs.  To that end, I took “giving” and “giving service” to an extreme that left me burnt out.  In the Zen world that I am familiar … Continue reading Radical Rest

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