Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Buddha is as Buddha does

So, I started reading a new book a few weeks ago.  It's called "Buddha is as Buddha Does" by Lama Surya Das.


I haven't read any of Lama Surya Das's other books but this one is really great.  However, it is not a fast reader the concepts are really quite deep.  It's one of those books that has to be digested slowly.  I find myself only able to read a couple of pages at a time.  The concepts just sit in my mind and slowly soak in.  Here is a particularly great paragraph (from chapter 1 - Generosity):

"Whenever we consider our inner thoughts about anything, it's crucial to bear in mind that we can change them.  Being visited by negative or selfish thoughts doesn't make us bad people.  It just means we're conditioned human beings.  Nor do we have to be forever at the mercy of these thoughts merely because they occurred to us.  We can cultivate positive thoughts to replace them, thus skillfully and intentionally reconditioning and eventually deconditioning our energy and ourselves.  When the Buddha said, 'We are what we think,' He was asking us to take responsibility for our inner life.  That's the crux of why meditation and awareness cultivation are such vital practices in Buddhism.  They enhance our ability to manage more skillfully our own thoughts and feelings, including our thoughts about generosity -- a truth that, again illustrates how all the paramitas are interrelated and mutually supportive.

It is a great comfort for me to remember throughout the day that the thoughts that arise in my mind are not necessarily a reflection of who and what I am.  Irrational anger can be caught and defused before it explodes.

The teachings of the Buddha give me great hope...


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