a buddhist carnival – 3rd edition, part 2

here is part 2 of the january buddhist carnival. you can find part one here.zen teacher

t he first two posts will be particularly interesting to people who are just starting to explore buddhism. samuel bryson talks about living in the now – the philosophy of happiness with a twist of zen at his blog total wellbeing. here is one of the things he explores in this post; it’s a question that often comes up in discussions of buddhism:

there are certain ideas within the buddhist tradition which are of great interest to me. one of these is the idea of living “in the now”. many people’s instinct would probably be to say “but what does this mean, sam? does it mean we should always do things that we enjoy and therefore become hedonistic?

simply put, no. we should not by this theory become hedonistic in a material sense and indeed the buddhists also have a theory of balance known as “the middle way” which also suggests one avoid extremes.

samuel’s post on the nature of happiness pursues this topic further.

jonathan reynolds presents buddhism’s emptiness, dependent-arising, karma, and no-self posted at meditation vinyasa yoga. it’s a little introduction to buddhism for people who feel attracted to buddhism but aren’t quite sure why. his article on practicing with pain is also interesting.

to be honest, one of the things that has always attracted me to zen buddhism are all the wonderful teaching stories. anmol mehta tells us one in true meaning of zen and of life? in just 3 words. here, zen master blumise asks his students to help him answer the question, “what is the true meaning of zen?” so … what is it? you’ll just have to read the article. after anmol reveals the answer, he issues this challenge: can you drop the apple and not take the next bite?

anmol also offers a video on how to practice zazen (zen sitting meditation)

albert foong, the urban monk, has an in-depth article on compassion and self-esteem, part of a whole series on compassion. in it, he explains that self esteem is very much the same as self-love. he refers to tonglen meditation, a wonderfully loving buddhist practice advocated by one of my buddhist “heroes”, pema chodron.

finally, we have tupelo kenyon, who submitted three posts. they’re not directly about buddhism but i’m sure people who read this blog will find them interesting: consciously programming your subconscious mind before sleep; balancing desire with contentment and how to live the life of your dreams through intuition. as usual, tupelo reminds us that you can “enjoy soothing instrumental music as you read plus songs with lyrics related to each article.”

a big thank-you for all the articles! if you have a post about buddhism, please submit it here for the next carnival. it’s scheduled for february 15.

(this image above is by ottmar liebert. this is kind of a neat story: as usual, i was browsing through flickr’s creative commons section for an image that i can use. i wanted something to illustrate the telling of zen stories, so i looked for “zen teacher”. this one seemed just perfect – and it turned out to be by ottmar liebert, whose music i used to listen to most avidly back in the 80s.)

18 thoughts on “a buddhist carnival – 3rd edition, part 2

  1. isabella mori

    @albert, always happy to link to you!

    @jonathan, what a beautiful way of putting this! and i have to race over and read what “technology as practice” is all about – sounds like my kinda thing!

  2. Evan


    I don’t understand how something that includes a warrior cult (zen) became part of Buddhism. Was there much reflection and conflict before this was achieved? I find it intriguing.

    How I wish the phrase, understood as a command, “live in the now” would disappear off the face of the earth – it so easily leads to the hedonist misunderstanding. As if it was possible to do anything else. We could replace it with ‘broaden your awareness’ or ‘go deeper’ which has almost as good a ring to it.

    Evan’s last blog post..Three Things I’ve learnt from reading history

  3. isabella mori

    evan – regarding your first point: i am anything but knowledgeable on this but have invited chris, who knows much more about this, to comment on the connection between zen and what you call “warrior cult”; i presume it has something to do with martial arts.

    as regards hedonism – i’d like to take a different tack on that. i believe that hedonism is misunderstood, and also that if one truly lives in the now, self-centered lusting after pleasure only is not possible. material for at least two blog posts!

  4. Evan

    Zen is said to be part of martial arts (at least by the practitioners of the martial arts).

    This doesn’t seem to fit neatly with the usual Buddhist emphasis on respect for all life.

    Hope this is clear.

    Evan’s last blog post..A Blog for Aussie Bloggers

  5. Chris Marshall | Martial Development

    Most practitioners of the Asian martial arts only pay lip-service to Zen philosophy; European martial artists don’t even go that far. So there is no need to worry that these dirty fighters will pollute the pure waters of Buddhism.

    When Bodhidharma brought Zen to China, he chose Shaolin monks as disciples. Now, the stories of their historical fighting prowess are probably somewhat exaggerated; but if anyone should be expelled from under the tent, it should be the non-martial-artists!

    Do martial artists exhibit an inherent disrespect for all life? On the contrary, I would argue that deeply pondering the inevitability of death gives them a unique capacity for such respect.

    P.S. Politicians start wars, not martial artists. Did you know that Shakyamuni was a prince?

    Chris Marshall | Martial Development’s last blog post..Two Recession-Proof Investment Picks for 2008

  6. Evan

    Yes I knew Shakyamuni was a prince.

    Yes it is politicians who start wars.

    And it is martial artists and soldiers who fight in them.

    In the West a similar thing happened with the christian church developing chivalry. Many a debate about ‘being too heavenly minded to be any earthly good” versus “compromise is fatal, we should not follow the ways of the world” has been had about this (and no doubt will be continue to be engaged in).

    Thanks for your response, it is greatly appreciated.

    Evan’s last blog post..A Blog for Aussie Bloggers

  7. isabella mori

    “music videos” – hm, i guess you talk to other martial artists than i do. i’ve never heard of zen being part of the martial arts. i would imagine that the proportion of zen practitioners among martial artists is higher than in the rest of the population, though. maybe that’s where that comes from?

  8. isabella mori

    thank you, chris. i believe it is part of suzuki’s book, “zen and japanese culture”. it sounds interesting although i have to admit that i could never really warm up to suzuki roshi. maybe it’s because i find soto more appealing than rinzai, and suzuki is more of a rinzai guy?

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