Here we aim to help you blur the line between your time on and off the meditation cushion. I’m Barry, the author of The Practical Buddhist and creator of the Zen-Journal Task Management System. My mission is to create a worldwide movement of awakened individuals better able to change the world.
It begins by blurring the line
Each of us can change the world by spending time on the cushion changing ourselves, but we can carry our insights gained on the cushion to our place of business and everywhere we go. My aim is to help you blur the line between your work life and your life’s work.
As Stephen Batchelor, author of the brilliant but brief book, Buddhism Without Beliefs, wrote:
There is nothing particularly religious or spiritual about this path. It encompasses everything we do. It is an authentic way of being in the world.”
Practical Buddhism is not a religion, but a way of being in the world. Being in the world is very different from observing religious doctrine, dogma, and beliefs. Religion relies on the truths established in an earlier time by persons not encountered by the observer/believer. Practical Buddhism relies on one’s own experiential knowledge to determine what is true.
Practical Buddhism is the reemergence of classical Buddhist life. It takes the robes and ritual out of daily life and focuses on the experience of living mindfully and compassionately reinforced by daily meditation.
The following posts are an introduction to a better way of bing in the world…
Excerpted from my book, The Practical Buddhist
2,600 years ago, a former prince who purposely left his life of leisure to discover the truths of everyday life, began a movement that started with these four simple truths of existence. His name was Siddartha but when he experienced his awakening, his followers called him the Buddha, or the ‘one who is awake.’
Noble Truth #1: Life is characterized by a basic sense of dissatisfaction; like a cart with one wheel out of kilter.
Some refer to this as suffering. But you don’t always suffer in the classic sense, do you? A better, more apt translation of duhkah, the Sanskrit word most often translated as suffering, is ‘out of kilter.’ Here’s an effective way to relate to duhkah.
Imagine you’re riding in a wooden-wheeled cart with one of the wheels slightly out of true. You’re getting where you want to go, but not without a regular and uncomfortable wobble produced by the wheel that’s out of true. Although it might be interesting or slightly amusing at first, you’d soon grow tired of the repetitive up-down-wiggle, up-down-wiggle, up-down-wiggle.
Excerpted from my book, The Practical Buddhist
“The Eight-fold Path is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development with the goal of freeing the individual from attachments and delusions; and it finally leads to understanding the truth about all things.”
The Eight-fold Path is not a physical journey with a starting point or a destination. There are no steps to follow. Instead, the Path is a set of guidelines to keep in mind as you experience your life; it provides a set of questions to ask during each moment of our lives, such as:
- Am I holding the appropriate view given what I do and do not know?
- Is my intention appropriate?
- Are the words I’m using appropriate?
- Is the action I’m taking appropriate?
The eight-fold path is the fourth noble truth in action. It’s the path we can traverse in order to face the present moment as it presents itself. The Buddha taught that there was no need to wait for some promised future life when everything was bliss; instead, he taught that we can experience moments of bliss each and every day by traversing the eight-fold path.
Yesterday I was reading my Kindle version of Lodro Rinzler’s book, Walk Like a Buddha. I was reading a section where a reader had asked Lodro how to deal with her Ex who insisted that she wasn’t a ‘real Buddhist’ because she didn’t attend a Buddhist Temple or sangha.
In his response to this question, he first argued for not using a label at all, stating that the Buddha never called himself a Buddhist. Instead, the Buddha referred to himself as ‘one who is awakened,’ After stating his overall opinion about labels, he then listed seven things that every follower of the Buddha should have in their lives.
I read these and thought about them and present them below as they pertain to Practical Buddhism.
“Just as a map isn’t the same as the journey it illuminates, neither is meditation, mindfulness, or compassionate kindness the same as enlightenment.” -barry
Meditation alone cannot eliminate suffering. Neither can the practice of mindfulness, or the active process of enacting compassionate kindness. But when practiced together, they can.
I know this sounds far-fetched and you’re most likely a little skeptical. That’s OK. Let’s dive a little deeper into the subject, shall we?
PS. If this interests you, please check out my book, The Practical Buddhist.