Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn FoxBuddhism

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox


Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Episode 118 - Right Action

Mon, 18 Oct 2021

In this episode we take a deep dive into what Buddha meant by Right Action or conduct. Right Action is part of the Noble Eightfold Path, which lays out the gradual path to enlightenment. Right action means a abstains from non-virtuous actions of body, principally:

  • Killing
  • Stealing
  • Sexual misconduct

Abandoning taking life

This refers not just to killing human beings, but to refrain from intentionally killing any living, specifically sentient beings means humans, animals and insects. 

 

The positive aspect of abandoning killing is having compassion and kindness toward all living beings. We not only avoid taking life, we have heartfelt concern for the welfare of all living beings. The highest aspect of this is the Bodhisattvas path, with a commitment to attaining enlightenment for the benefit of all living beings so you can have the greatest capacity to help others. 

 

Abandoning stealing

(1) stealing

(2) fraudulence

(3) deceitfulness

 

Stealing refers to taking what is not one’s own through deceitful actions, cheating, or fraud.  Honesty is the positive counterpart of this, as well as contentment. The most eminent opposite virtue is generosity, giving away one’s own wealth and possessions in order to benefit others.

 

Abandoning sexual misconduct 

To refrain from sexual activity with:

  • Anyone who has a partner
  • Anyone other than your partner of you have one
  • Someone with a vow of celibacy like a monk, nun or priest
  • Someone who haven’t given consent 
  • Someone inappropriate due to convention like a close relative 
  • Someone still under the of their parents, someone too young to give consent 

 

The essential purpose, as was said, is to prevent sexual relations which are hurtful to others. 

 

“The holy life at its highest aims at complete purity in thought, word, and deed, and this requires turning back the tide of sexual desire.” --Bhikku Bodhi

 

Watchful in speech and well-restrained in mind,

Do nothing unskillful with your body. 

Purify these three courses of action; 

Fulfill the path taught by the sages. (281) 

—Buddha, The Dhammapada

 

References and Links

 

Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link)

 

Bodhi, Bhikku. The Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhist Publication Society, 1999, pp 49-54.  BuddhaNet. http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/noble8path6.pdf







Right Speech - Episode 117

Wed, 13 Oct 2021

This episode explores Right Speech, as part of a series on the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path. In the context of the spiritual path, Right Speech is more than just an ethical discipline of behavior. Right Speech is a vital part of purifying our mind so that we can attain spiritual realizations and deeper levels of wisdom. Almost everyone in our modern society engages in some type of unskillful speech. Yet, our speech is so powerful to affect others. If our speech comes from loving-kindness, we can be a mirror that shows someone their beautiful qualities. Conversely,  our words can do great harm--harm that haunts that other person and negative karma that haunts our future. Becoming mindful and positive with our speech will lead to more inner calm,  happy relationships, and spiritual insights. 

 

The four types of non-virtuous speech to purify:

  • Lying
  • Slander
  • Harsh speech (abusive speech, insult, sarcasm)
  • Idle chatter

 

Watchful in speech and well-restrained in mind,

Do nothing unskillful with your body. 

Purify these three courses of action; 

Fulfill the path taught by the sages. (281) 

—Buddha, The Dhammapada

 

References and Links

 

Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link)

 

Bodhi, Bhikku. The Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhist Publication Society, 1999, pp 43-48.  BuddhaNet. http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/noble8path6.pdf



Episode 116 - Right Effort

Tue, 05 Oct 2021

This episode focuses on Right Effort, one part of the Noble Eightfold Path. Buddha repeatedly taught the importance of effort, for realizing the rest of the eightfold spiritual path depends on effort. In this context effort means energy directed toward cultivating the mind. The path begins with an impure mind and a wish to change; the liberated mind is the culmination of the path.what comes between is unrelenting effort. Here we focus on the four powers of effort, which teaches us how to make positive change unstoppable. 

 

Time and again the Buddha has stressed the need for effort, for diligence, exertion, and unflagging perseverance. The reason why effort is so crucial is that each person has to work out his or her own deliverance. The Buddha does what he can by point- ing out the path to liberation; the rest involves putting the path into practice, a task that demands energy. This energy is to be applied to the cultivation of the mind, which forms the focus of the entire path. The starting point is the defiled mind, afflicted and deluded; the goal is the liberated mind, purified and illumi- nated by wisdom. What comes in between is the unremitting effort to transform the defiled mind into the liberated mind.

The work of self-cultivation is not easy — there is no one who can do it for us but ourselves — but it is not impossible.

 

Buddha himself and his accomplished disciples provide the liv- ing proof that the task is not beyond our reach. They assure us, too, that anyone who follows the path can accomplish the same goal. But what is needed is effort,

 

4 powers of effort 

  1. Aspiration. Dream. Wish. You have to develop a strong wish to accomplish an important goal or personal change. Visualize yourself having accomplished it. In your imagination, feel how wonderful it is. Imagine what your life is like having attained this goal/change.
  2. Steadfastness. Steadfastly put these planned steps into action. Accomplish your daily goals. Decide what has to be done to accomplish this goal--according to your capacity. Very clearly identify the first step (what you will do tomorrow.) Plan what the steps will be the following day toward realizing your goal. Create a step-by-step plan.
  3. Joy. Your plan to change must be a joyful one. We won’t do what makes us suffer for very long! The path toward change will be challenging, but it cannot be very unpleasant. The Buddhist path should always be a joyful one if we are practicing correctly.
  4. Rest. Rest is a power of effort. Plan to take rest and have a break. Also, when we have an unexpected rest (when we diverge from our plan), don’t feel that you have failed. Steadfastness means we are going in the trajectory of our dreams, not that we are perfect.

Through the steadfast accomplishment of daily actions toward your goal or personal change, confidence will naturally arise. Eventually, you will be familiar with this new way of being. You will have become a new person, with new habits and a new life!

 

3 Lazinesses (obstacles to effort)

  1. procrastination 
  2. attachment to what is meaningless or non-virtuous 
  3. discouragement 

 

The eight practices of the Eightfold Path are 

Right View, 

Right Intention, 

Right Speech, 

Right Action, 

Right Livelihood, 

Right Effort, 

Right Mindfulness

Right Concentration. 

 

Right Effort 

Inactive when one should be active, 

Lazy [though] young and strong, 

Disheartened in one’s resolves,

Such an indolent, lethargic person 

Doesn’t find the path of insight. (280)* 

—Buddha, The Dhammapada

 

References and Links

 

Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link)

 

Je Tsongkhapa. Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, by Je Tsongkhapa, Volume 2. (Kindle.)Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor, pp 187-197.




Episode 115 - Right View

Wed, 29 Sep 2021

In this episode, we explore Right View connoting the realization of emptiness. Right View is part of the Noble Eightfold Path, laid out by Buddha as the gradual path to enlightenment. All eight parts of the path are practiced concurrently as we move along our spiritual journey. The eight parts are not sequential or practiced one-at-a-time, but you could say that the realization of emptiness is what directly leads to enlightenment. All the other parts are absolutely necessary to prepare and purify the mind until it can realize the true nature of reality, emptiness. Emptiness describes how reality actually exists as opposed to the way it appears. Emptiness does not mean nothingness. When you say your glass is empty and you want a refill, it means your glass is empty of something. Similarly, when Buddha says reality is empty, it means reality is empty of something specific: reality is empty of inherent existence. A chair is empty of existing inherently as a chair, for example. You are empty of existing as “I” (there are countless other beings also perceiving themselves as “I”). We are empty of existing inherently as old, young, a painter, a lawyer, smart, dumb, or any other label we have accepted. These are just mere labels, mere appearances to mind. To explain how conventional reality does exist, Buddha explained that all things are mere labels or mere appearance to mind. Right View then has two parts: the ultimate truth that all things are empty and conventional truth, that all things are mere name, mere label, mere appearance, and impermanent. Conventional and Ultimate Truth are two sides of the same coin. They are the two ways that reality does exist, and not the way things normally appear to us. 

 

We grasp at things as inherently attractive; if we didn’t, we would never get attached. We grasp at things as inherently unattractive; if we didn’t, we would never get upset. We believe our mind’s projections of beauty and ugliness. A traditional analogy to help us understand how conventional reality exists is the magician’s illusion. A magician might conjure the illusion of a ferocious tiger lunging into the audience, and the audience is frightened and crying. The magician, however, is unmoved because he knows it is an illusion. We are like a magician casting an illusion of the reality of our personal world, but believing the illusion we created. We chase attractive illusions and run from unpleasant illusions. 

 

Why does our reality appear the way it does?

Our karma causes appearances to be attractive or unpleasant, not the things themselves. The karmic appearances that come from good karma are beautiful or pleasant. Karmic appearances from negative karma are unpleasant or frightening. But these appearances are all just like magician’s illusions--things are not inherently beautiful or unpleasant. Realizing the conventional truth of reality, that things are mere appearances to mind, is like the magician knowing his illusion isn’t real. This knowing magician remains at peace in the midst of illusion.  Similarly, when we understand conventional and ultimate truth, even a little, we have more flexibility of mind to change the way we see things. We can choose to see a difficult situation differently. We can even come to see that challenging situation in a way that we will feel grateful for it. When we understand that reality is empty of existing inherently, it becomes infinitely full of possibilities. 

 

“All created things are suffering.” 

Seeing this with insight, 

One becomes disenchanted with suffering. 

This is the path to purity. (278)*

 

“All things are not-self.” 

Seeing this with insight, 

One becomes disenchanted with suffering. 

This is the path to purity. (279)*

 

Links and References

 

Her Daughter Was Kidnapped by Traffickers. So She Trafficked Herself. Vice World News.

https://www.vice.com/en/article/5dbv4a/mother-rescue-trafficked-daughter-bangladesh-india

 

Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link)

 

Yeshe, Thubten. Introduction to Tantra. Wisdom Publications; Revised ed. edition (June 10, 2005). (Kindle). Link 

Episode 114 - Karma Bandits

Mon, 13 Sep 2021

This episode is dedicated to Right View, one part of The Noble Eightfold Path. Right View has two parts to it: a mundane right view and a superior right view (emptiness).Today we look at mundane right view which adopts the understanding and belief in karma. It is specifically, “right view of the ownership of action” (kammassakata sammaditthi). What does it mean to live mindfully in accordance with the of karma?

“All created things are suffering.” 

Seeing this with insight, 

One becomes disenchanted with suffering. 

This is the path to purity. (278)*

—Buddha, The Dhammapada

The eight parts of the Noble Eightfold Path:

  1. Eightfold Path are Right View
  2. Right Intention
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood 
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Concentration

References and Links

Bodhi, Bhikku. The Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhist Publication Society, 1999, pp 12-21.  BuddhaNet. http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/noble8path6.pdf

Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link)



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