Archive for the 'Books' Category

Just Sitting by Barry Magrid

February 23, 2012

“Just sitting means just that. That ‘just’ endlessly goes against the grain of our need to fix, transform, and improve ourselves. The paradox of our practice is that the most effective way of transformation is to leave ourselves alone. The more we let evrything be just what it is, the more we relax into an open, attentive awareness of one moment after another.”
Quote from the book “Leave Yourself Alone by Barry Magrid.
This quote is shared by Doreen Domb.
More discussion can be found at Tricyle through this link.

The Four Global Truths – Book Notes

December 14, 2011
by Milan Vodicka
Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and the spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.
This quote is “questionably attributed to Albert Einstein” (the book’s Preface, page xvii). The key phrase is “a meaningful unity.” We cannot, individually and collectively, escape the consequences of the interdependence of all existence – including, yet not limited to, of our own relationship to the Earth.
The author of The Four Global Truths, Darrin Drda, masterfully applies and explores the structure of Buddha’s Four Noble Truths – the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path to the end of suffering – to global problems that affect lives of each one of us. He does it in context of contemporary knowledge and thinking. This invokes the notion of “integrality,” all-inclusiveness. I see this approach as the most viable for addressing global problems and their potential remedies. I also see it as being in accordance with the buddhist worldview.
The big question emanating from the book is: “What does it mean for me? How does it affect my thinking, talking, actions, or my practice? In order to lessen global suffering, what should I do?”
Buddha laid out the Noble Eight-Fold Path, a guide on how to eradicate suffering. The eight tenets of his prescription include, among others, right intention, right speech, right action, and right livelihood. The book applies this framework to the current global situation.
In the words of the book: “The obvious implication of the Eight-fold Path is that some action must be taken, some effort must be expended in order to achieve enlightenment. It is not enough to adopt a certain set of beliefs, don a special garment or amulet, memorize a few prayers, or receive a magical blessing from a powerful saint. If one seeks full liberation, she must undergo a profound change in consciousness, a radical realignment of her heart-mind that leads to an entirely new outlook” (page 204).
The book recommends the path and practice of wise relations, “which can be interpreted as balanced, healthy, or beneficial to life” (page 209). Those include relations with self, with others, with other species, with the Earth, the feminine, space, time, and the divine. For me, the awareness and – most importantly – the attention to those relationships truly illuminates the difference between ego, “me first,” based existence and the buddhist bodhisattva’s ideal “to work for the enlightenment of all sentient beings.” The enlightenment, in the context of global awakening, means happiness.
Stated more humbly, our work for the ideal will bring about less suffering and more happiness, for more sentient beings, including ourselves. This is something we all wish for, or should wish for. And, not only wish for in our right thinking, but also rightly speak for it, and rightly act for it. Yes, we should work, with compassion and wisdom, for the meaningful unity. This is the message of the book.
© Milan Vodicka 2011