Thursday, 31 December 2009

Using the Tools We Were Given

Suffering occurs. So what tools do we have at our disposal to cope with the situation? As mammals we are also endowed with innate impulses toward generosity, kindness, compassion, and cooperation, which help counteract and at times override the more primal selfish instincts. More significantly, we also have a protruding prefrontal cortex capable of introspection, self-reflection, and mindfulness. Encouraging us to put this organ to work, the Buddha proceeds in our text to say:

He understands thus: “There has arisen in me what is agreeable, there has arisen what is disagreeable, there has arisen what is both agreeable and disagreeable.”

This observation might not sound like much, but it is a huge step. Bringing awareness to the inner life allows light to shine in the darkness. Seeing what arises and passes away in the mind and body each moment allows what we experience to become something known and understood, rather than something shaped entirely by invisible, unconscious conditioning. Such mindfulness provides the necessary prerequisite for the next transformative step pointed to by the Buddha: insight into the nature of phenomena.

- Andrew Olendzki, "In the Blink of an Eye" (Spring 2006)

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

New Years Eve

Out with the old, and in with the new right? I guess it's a time for reflection and resolution making.

How will you be spending your NYE?

This year (for the first time ever) I will be spending my NYE with my local Sangha, meditating and listening to various speakers talk about purification. Should be interesting. Usually, (I have to be honest) I get pulled along to a house party where I drink too much and make silly conversation.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Letting Go

A wonderful article by Judy Lief can be found here, please share your thoughts.

Monday, 28 December 2009

'Into the Wild'

I just watched Sean Penn's 'Into the Wild', it was utterly beautiful.

Not only is the film visually stunning and incredibly engaging, I found it spiritually inspiring. The film is based on the true story of Christopher McCandles, who renounced his family, wordly posessions and responsibilities.

The film features themes of renunciation, acceptance, love and compassion - it also deals with the extremeties of renunciation and explores the spiritual concept of a 'middle path'.

I found myself drawing a number of parallels between the film and Buddhist and Christian teachings, as well as some nihilistic trains of though. All of this 'spiritual stuff' was cleverly set around humbling relationships involving some very colourful characters.

A truly wonderful watch, the best film I've seen this year. Check it out!

Definition of Maitri

So, to explain what Maitri is and to set the tone for 'Maitri Matters'...

What is Maitri Matters?

I have launched 'Maitri Matters' in the hope that it will become a useful resource for practising buddhists, warriors of compassion or for anyone in search of spiritual inspiration and practical guidance for the modern world.

'Maitri Matters' is an interactive platform for sharing spiritual teachings, advice, stories, music, film and art. I hope that this platform will attract spiritualists from around the world, and that a 'Maitri Matters' community will grow and develop.

I guess I launched 'Maitri Matters' to further my own practice, but I also feel that whilst the internet is rich in spiritual information - not much of it is useful for the modern day, nor is it all in one place and accessible/editable by a like-minded community.

Much Love and Maitri!