Sunday, February 10, 2013

The power of vulnerability

Two in one week – I’m on fire!

This TED Talk by Brene Brown is just gold – a must see! It is so dharmic I had to put it under 4 different ‘Resources for the Heart’ headings.
The need for connection with others is a fundamental part of being human. Brene’s research into connectedness showed shame to be a heart-stopping disconnector. She followed the theme further and found that the willingness to be with our own vulnerability is key to connecting with others. She also found some characteristics which differentiate those who embrace their vulnerability from those who are just too afraid to look at it and some common but also some not-so-obvious methods of aversion. These include portraying uncertainty as certainty (she highlights the self righteous approach to religion in particular), blame (a way of discharging difficult feelings), and pursuing perfection.
Oh, and the key job of parents? Not to make their kids perfect or over-achievers but to have them believe they are worthy of love and connection. They are wired for struggle, so they will work life out themselves – as long as they believe they are worthy of love (I’ve been saying this for years!).
The Power of Vulnerability is an entertaining and touching talk. I couldn’t speak for about 5 minutes afterwards – it’s a real heart opener. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Warm regards
P.S. Don’t forget to submit your favourite resources for the heart!

Friday, February 8, 2013

From Plato to NATO of traditional Buddhism

Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana…what the???
Newcomers to the dharma are often confused by the many different Buddhist traditions that exist, where they came from, what they are, and how they relate to each other. Are they just like the different denominations of Christianity? How are they different? All of these questions and more are addressed in this fabulous talk by Winton Higgins called From Plato to NATO. It’s a great overview of the dharma’s key lines of development as it wove through and into Asian cultures in the centuries after Gotama’s death. A great big picture talk.
This was recorded at Beaches Sangha here in Sydney. I hope you enjoy being a virtual member!
Warm regards

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Two important new articles

i’m pleased to let you know that the hot-off-the-press edition of Journal of Global Buddhism includes two excellent and important articles on secular Buddhism. This is a highly respected academic, peer reviewed journal that is available on the web for free.
The first article is by the unofficial  figurehead of the secular Buddhism movement, Stephen Batchelor called A Secular Buddhism. This definitive article gives a great summary of Stephen’s secular approach to the dharma. He suggests that secular Buddhism is not just a re-working of the traditional approaches to make them digestible to our modern world, but a re-thinking of the core ideas, starting with the ‘four noble truths’ as invitations to act rather than propositions to be believed. If I were a betting woman I’d say this article is likely to shake things up a bit.
The second article is by our own Winton Higgins (didn’t know you belonged to us did you Winton?) called The Coming of Secular Buddhism: A Synpotic View. This article describes the forces that have led to and shaped the secular approach. Don’t let the academic-sounding abstract deter you, the article is accessible, educative and enjoyable. Having said that it doesn’t hurt to have open in the background if you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.
I’ve also placed links to these articles in Resources for the Mind and added a new movie toResources for the Heart.
Any feedback on which bits of the material you’re finding helpful is most welcome.
Warm regards

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Podcast available – the last three folds of the eight-fold path

Hi all. After conquering many new apps and open source programs I’ve taught myself how to get recorded talks from my phone into mp3 format, edit them and publish them on here through dropbox. I can’t say I ever had a burning desire to learn these skills but the upside is it’s allowed me to put the first podcast up on this site which is a talk given by Winton Higgins late last year on the last three folds of the eight-fold path (effort, mindfulness and concentration). I requested this talk primarily because I didn’t feel I really understood the last fold which is usually called ‘concentration’. As you’ll find out, it doesn’t mean concentration in the way we tend to use the word. A better term is ‘mental integration’.

The recording was done as part of our weekly sangha meets – outside on the deck in a bush setting, so you’ll hear an owl, some kookaburras and a few other outdoor noises…as well as a few left of centre questions by a blow-in sangha attendee. My next lesson will be how to filter out a bit of that (not the owl and the kookaburra of course). It’s a pretty good recording though. Here’s a quick link to the dropbox file. Enjoy!
Warm regards

Monday, January 7, 2013

Some good stuff coming

Posted on 

Phew! Craziness of the silly season is over. Happy new year everyone! Finally some time to get posting some more good stuff for secularish Buddhistish types.
I’ve just put up a link under Resources for the Mind (Links to other Resources) to an article summarising some scientific evidence for the idea that pursuing happiness itself is a source of dukkha. I’ve mentioned before the fabulous book by Barry Magid called Ending the Pursuit of Happiness which encourages us to embrace the whole catastrophe of life rather than clinging to happiness as if it were something we could have all the time. This article summarises some of the perils of getting too single-minded about happiness or extremes of happiness.
I’ve also included a link to a positive, proactive news site called Yes! Magazine. I’ve been starting to include such things in my media consumption to help balance out the natural negativity bias of the brain.
More good stuff to come soon.