Monday, May 26, 2014

Sit Boo-Boo, Sit

Sakula Mary Reinard

Photo by Jennagu
One of the things I noticed (like so many of us) when first attempting meditation was the constant rambling of my mind. I was shocked and dismayed at how a simple thought, feeling, or sensation could waft through my mind and without hesitation tantalize my attention over hill and dale, and I wondered could this mind be trained to sit still and relax?

I have been practicing meditation since 1996, eighteen years. During my first year of practice (I don’t recall who the teacher was at the time), I followed a guided meditation that used an image I still employ today. This image worked then because it encouraged a firm, yet gentle attitude that countered my usual judgmental mind. It works for me still because my training is not complete. I will train in this way . . .

Monday, May 19, 2014

Women’s Contributions to Buddhism

Nona Sarana Olivia

Birth of the Buddha, Pakistan (Gandhara) second century A.D.

The Sati Journal is a publication of the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies. The center supports the study of Buddhist teachings with a perspective that balances scholarly inquiry with serious meditation practice. Believing that study and practice work together to deepen one’s practice and aid in awakening, the Sati Center's goal is to help participants explore original Buddhist texts and appreciate the richness of the tradition and lineage.

In the fall of 2011, I was delighted when Gil Fronsdal and Jeff Hardin asked me to be the guest editor for an issue devoted to women in Buddhism. Below is an excerpt from my introduction to this issue. In choosing writings, I decided to approach the topic of women in Buddhism through the lens of three overlapping themes: early Buddhist scholars, symbolic representations of gender, and inspiring contemporary leaders. This issue contains essays by Rita Gross, Noa Ronkin, Dawn Neal, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Ajahn Amaro, and Analayo Bhikkhu.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Buddha’s Middle Way to Knowledge: Bridging Science & Spirituality

Susmita Barua
All scientific knowledge is provisional. Everything that science “knows,” even the most mundane facts and long-established theories, is subject to reexamination as new information comes in.
Scientific American editorial, December 2002
Much of our contemporary schooling is dominated by the Western materialist scientific worldview. The worldview sets the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual, group, or society. It encompasses the entirety of society’s knowledge and point of view including natural philosophy, Dhamma, ethics, and code of behavior. Worldview develops within the context of language, culture, and commerce. It conditions the general mindset, mental models, perception, and volitional habits of human beings.

It is significant that the ancient path discovered by Buddha that set the Wheel of Dhamma in motion is called the Middle Way. This way of moderation and wisdom is the Noble Eightfold Path: “Avoiding both these extremes [of self-indulgence and self-denial, and everything exists and nothing exists], the Middle Way realized by the Tathagata—producing vision, producing knowledge—leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to unbinding.”(1) This blog post advocates the view that the Middle Way can be rediscovered today as a way to knowledge that may bridge the gaps in the worldviews of material science and spiritual science.

Monday, May 5, 2014

How We Show Up: Storytelling, Movement Building, and the First Noble Truth

Mushim Ikeda

The Community Engagement Project founded by Yemi Olu is trying to make a difference in the world by reaching out to people. Here they are collecting stories outside the Chinatown Metro in DC.
Photo by Victoria Pickering.

For me, there’s an often missing and crucial piece of the puzzle in socially engaged Buddhist dialogues, both in person and especially in online dialogues where we express our views. I’m feeling strongly these days that there’s a seemingly invisible suffering caused by linearity and disembodiedness in online activist forums, and I’m wondering what organizing strategies and movement-building methods can address this. How can we see, hear, and feel one another more clearly as we try to figure out how to set in motion systemic changes in complex, global systems of power and domination? How is it that we show up to and for one another when we express our views? Is there time and space and support for spirals of storytelling and sharing?