a buddhist carnival – 7th edition, part 1

buddhist artwelcome to the may 2008 edition of a buddhist carnival.

this time around, we got another really good selection of articles. i don’t want to throw too much information at you – that wouldn’t be very buddhist, would it? – so i’ll present the carnival in two parts again. part 2 will arrive some time before may 22.

just like last month, let’s start with a poem – actually, an excerpt of a poem – about … lunch with the dalai lama.

he reaches inside his robe and brings out
an old radio which he places on the table
as if it were the cafeteria’s main selection of the day.
as he shows me how to work the dials,
i feel like a child just beginning to walk
or a bird about to sing its first song.
as he works the dials, he looks toward me
to be sure i’m paying attention.

and more on art and buddhism. in an interview at fuzz, eden maxwell talks about the similarity between zen and art.

in zen, there are no lessons, tests, or lengthy discourses; the source of truth is grasped through intuition. art is the same. the source of all great art is intuition. you experience this when you suddenly, without planning, hear a magic lyric or melody inside your head.

on his own blog, eden reminds us of the difference between reality and talking about it.

as the japanese zen priest, shunryu suzuki-roshi, said: “when i raise the hand thus, there is zen. but when i assert that i have raised the hand, zen is no more there.”

this difference is an important concept in buddhism. another such concept is buddha-mind living in everything. nikhil gangoli muses about this here

one of the buddhism beliefs that i have found most useful is this saying attributed to the zen master bodhidharma:

“this very mind the buddha”

if we accept this as true then what are the implications of these buddhism beliefs to the way we live our lives?
simply this: be as polite respectful and reverent to the antics of the mind – the jumble of thoughts, emotions, feelings and complexes – as you would to the buddha himself.

this is something i often think about. it’s easy to look at a child playing and to say, “oh, look, buddha nature!” but what about more difficult people? what about george bush’s buddha nature?

moving on … yet more important buddhist concepts are compassion and equality (in fact, buddha-nature and equality are closely related)

focus on our equality. this is a practice i learned from the dalai lama. judgement and hatred stem primarily from “othering” individuals. we see them as so different from ourselves, so unequal, and so removed from us that it’s easy to not love them. instead, we can focus on our similarities. then we can grow in our kindness. we are all human beings. we all suffer. we all want the best for ourselves and our families. we all hurt. we all cry. we all laugh and smile. we all yearn for comfort and freedom. just because someone is different in some way, does not devalue their needs, innate beauty, and their inherent right to happiness.

so much for part 1. stay tuned for part 2! in the meantime, do you have an article you think we should see? go here to submit it.

(image by circusvoltaire)

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