Unbearable or beneficial?

A given situation can be viewed as either unbearable or beneficial: it depends on how we look at it.

We must make certain that things don’t begin to seem unbearable. If we look too closely at problems we will see nothing else, and they will appear all out of proportion with reality; that is when they become intolerable.

If we can stand back from them, we will be better able to judge them, and they will seem less serious. ~ His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

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~ This quote from HH spoke to me today…and maybe it speaks to you too. There are times to look closely at a situation…and then the situation becomes clear. Yet at other times…if we look too closely…the situation becomes blurry, and we lose our ‘balance,’ our middle way.

Taking a step back from a problem or situation and relaxing our tight view can give us the ‘answer’ we seek.  ~ Debra

Book Review: Breakfast with Buddha

It wasn’t as if I’d been suddenly turned gullible in western Indiana, but the raspy hard edges of my suspicion had been worn down, and I have to admit that it frightened me.  This was not a physical feat but something else, a shakiness at the base of who I thought I was.

Breakfast with Buddha is a wonderfully witty ride through America both physically and spiritually.  Through this road trip parable, Robert Merullo challenges us to analyze our own spiritual life and see the equality of compassion and happiness.  Without preaching, he weaves a tale that gives us reason to see all religious traditions in a different light.

I enjoyed every page as Otto Ringling takes us from his wonderfully upper middle class perfect life to the point where he is prostrating to a Skorodovian monk.

The journey begins when Otto is tricked by his sister into transporting her guru across the country on his way to North Dakota.  Along the way, he acquires some realizations about his life, his family, and his spirit.  Volya Rinpoche is an amalgam of several eastern traditions, zen master, Tibetan lama, yoga guru all mixed in a delightfully wise and funny character whose purity of spirit runs through the pages.  Through his words, actions, and silence, Rinpoche shows Otto how to remove the chaos that controls his life and appreciate each moment.

We’ve all had moments when the fabric of our belief system is challenged and this book delves into that challenge with humor and wit.  The western skepticism of eastern philosophy is touched on through interaction with a Catholic nun, Philosophy professor, and Otto and handled in the inclusive manner of the Dalai Lama.  As the hard shell of Otto’s belief system is cracked, the teachings reveal their truths in a way that is completely relevent to his life.

As Cecelia (Otto’s sister) put it “The country needs help, spiritual help.  He’ll change your life too, if you just let him“.  While the book itself isn’t going to necessarily change your life, hopefully it will give you pause to contemplate where your life is spiritually.

~ Review by digging_the_dharma

Sickness, old age, mishaps of one sort or another are the same for us all

I feel that an individual whose actions are motivated by the wish to bring others happiness necessarily meets with less misfortune that one who does not.

Sickness, old age, mishaps of one sort or another are the same for us all. But the sufferings which undermine our internal peace – anxiety, doubt, disappointment – these are definitely less. ~ His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama

Book Review: The World of Tibetan Buddhism

The World of Tibetan Buddhism: An Overview of Its Philosophy and PracticeHis Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama gives a wonderfully complete overview of the entire scope of Tibetan Buddhism in his book The World of Tibetan Buddhism.

His Holiness begins by explaining the 3 turnings of the Wheel of Dharma, first explaining the Four Noble Truths, then an explanation of the concept of Emptiness, and finally a commentary on the essence of Buddha-nature. He further expounds on topics including selflessness, the Four Seals and the Mahayana Path.

The second section describes how to bring the altruistic attitude into your life through development of compassion and overcoming negative emotions.

The final section explores the Tantric traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.  He explains the process of empowerment and the different views of each sect as they relate to Tantra.

I enjoyed the questions and answer session that end each section.  The book was given to me as a suggested reading for my Intermediate Series classes at Drepung Monastery.  It was a great help in understanding the topics we covered in class.  I would recommend it for anyone needing a good overview of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and practice.