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Thematic Essay

Thematic Essay
The essential element of Zen Buddhism is found in its name, for Zen means "meditation." Zen teaches that enlightenment is achieved through the profound realization that one is already an enlightened being. This awakening can happen gradually or in a flash of insight (as emphasized by the Soto and Rinzai schools, respectively). Zen traces its origins to India, but it was formalized in China. Today, ink monochrome painting is the art form most closely associated with Zen Buddhism. Zen Buddhism's emphasis on simplicity and the importance of the natural world generated a distinctive aesthetic, which is expressed by the terms wabi and sabi.

Buddhism and the God-idea Do Buddhists believe in a god? No, we do not. There are several reasons for this. Gripped by fear people go to sacred mountains, sacred groves, sacred trees and shrines. Primitive humans found selves in a dangerous and hostile world, the fear of wild animals, of not being able to find enough food, of injury or disease, and of natural phenomena like thunder, lightning and volcanoes were constantly with them. The second reason the Buddha did not believe in a god is because there does not seem to be any evidence to support this idea. The third reason the Buddha did not believe in a god is that the belief is not necessary. But if there are no gods how did the universe get here? All religions have myths and stories which attempt to answer this question. What does the Buddha say about the origin of the universe? It is interesting that the Buddha's explanation of the origin of the universe corresponds very closely to the scientific view. You say there is no evidence for the existence of a god.

Love and Knowledge: Two Paths to the One Thomas J. McFarlane Summer 2000 Revised and edited for the web March 2004 Introduction In an ordinary Yoga one main power of being or one group of its powers is made the means, vehicle, path. The paths are many, but the goal is one. The mystics and spiritual traditions of the world all acknowledge at least two main paths: the path of knowledge and wisdom (e.g., jnana yoga), and the path of love and devotion (e.g., bhakti yoga). The Path of Love and Devotion Be drunk on love, because love is all that exists. ...It is Love and the Lover that live eternally—Don't lend your heart to anything else; all else is borrowed. You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Across all traditions and times we can hear mystics pouring their hearts out to the Divine in ecstatic poetry. Clearly, this is no sentimental love, all comfortable and cozy. This is no path for the faint of heart. To the ego, this is insanity. Bibliography

How to Cultivate Compassion in Your Life: 12 steps Edit Article Edited by Flickety, Lillian May, Krystle, Eric and 10 others If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ~ Dalai Lama Why develop compassion in your life? How do we do that? Ad Steps 1Develop a morning ritual. 7Develop an evening routine. Video Tips These compassionate practices can be done anywhere, any time. How to Practice Mindfulness (Buddhism): 5 steps Edited by Lily A, DifuWu, Krystle, Eric and 12 others Mindfulness is the ability to see things as they really are, without the cloud of feelings, prejudice, or even mood. Mindfulness is part of the eightfold path of Buddhism and can be a key part of meditation. It is also used in western culture as a therapeutic technique to reduce stress, pain, and even help with depression. It can be used to find and maintain a sense of gratitude toward life, or even to improve your running style! Ad Steps 1Learn more about mindfulness. 5Consider gratitude. Video Tips The challenge of using breath as the anchor is that the attention is likely to keep moving with the flow of the breath.

How to Face Confusing Thoughts: 6 steps (with pictures) Edit Article Edited by George AP, CBK, Flickety, Emma and 5 others Everyone, at some point in their lives, is faced with confusing and disturbing thoughts, and many live oppressed by them, having their well-being and health compromised. What can be done about this? In today's climate we are increasingly exposed to extremes of ideas and views and so many of them are contradictory, confusing and hard to deal with, while leaving many with stress and misery. What is right? Ad Steps 1Firstly, if the thought is causing you some distress, practice a relaxation method that works for you. 7If you can't just let go, change the thought process and introduce a new theme such as tolerance, or kindness to yourself, or a more proactive theme such as resolving to ask someone about the issue. Tips Talk to someone you trust if you feel you would like help.Don't be hard on yourself, thoughts are thoughts and they do just happen. Warnings

Handbook for Life: 52 Tips for Happiness and Productivity By Leo Babauta This is something I’ve been wanting to write for some time — a Handbook for Life. Now, is there any handbook that can be a guide to every single person? Of course not. It’ll also become apparent from the links in this handbook that I’ve written about this stuff before. How to use this handbook This handbook is not meant to be a step-by-step guide, nor should you adopt all the tips below. Pick and choose the tips that will be most useful to you. 52 Tips for Happiness and Productivity Try rising early. How to do Everyday Buddhism - Ken Jones Zen Below I have tried to explain my understanding of ”Everyday Buddhism” in a concise paper designed to assist the reader, step by step, to learn what is involved in its practice. It incorporates the essentials learnt from over ten years of leading retreats. It is aimed at any reader -- student or teacher -- who would like to experience the practice at first hand, and hence includes framed DiY exercises. I have particularly written it for those who have never, and may never, actually attend any of my retreats, and I see it as something of a final endeavour to disseminate what I have been trying to do. Exercises are offered for you to reflect and meditate on experiences in your life so as to bring a more personal and deeply felt awareness into whatever I am trying to define and describe. Everyday Buddhism is not a new kind of Buddhism, but is hospitable to most Buddhist traditions. In all this there has been a strong and taken-for-granted liberal or socialist orientation. The Two Arrows

Pilgrim Foxes - Ken Jones Zen “Pilgrim Foxes: Haiku & Haiku Prose” (co-authored with James Norton and Sean O’Connor). Pilgrim Press, Aberystwyth. 2001. ISBN 0-9539901-0-9. Ken Jones’s contribution comprises six haibun and 53 freestanding haiku. Two of the haibun and seventeen of the haiku are reproduced below. The Samurai Paper Knife Rooted out in autumn livid again in spring the weed in the chimney stack In the mail it is the elegant grey envelope that stands out. A hint of scent this one delicately slit Two sheets of the same grey paper. The swivel chair squeaks awkwardly. I place the photo inside the unread letter and look about my well lived study. Field glasses case in battered leather its lid hangs open I get up from my desk and go over to the fire. Out of the darkness wind chimes made of bones Flintstone Millennium Unmistakably Saxon, that little window in the tower. The great key turns effortlessly, the door swings open without a sound. Among the hammer beamsa sudden rustlingof dusty angel wings Butterfly hovers