The (modified) Proust Questionnaire — 1

From an interview recently published in the French press. ‟What are the underlying principles of practicing meditation?” • Give rise to an altruistic motivation: transforming oneself in order to alleviate others’ suffering. • Try to savor the freshness of the present moment, without dwelling on the past or imagining the future. • Try to regain… Read more »

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An Arch of Light

It is not easy to photograph through the window of a commercial airplane, since one must go through a double plastic glass, with a lot of reflections and frequent scratches. It is nevertheless possible as shown on this image taken recently above the Gulf of Thailand. (Canon Mark III Ds, 70mm, 50 ASA)

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Knowledge and Moral Values

The mere accumulation of knowledge is not enough. My teacher, Khyentse Rinpoche said: ‟If you amass intellectual learning just so that you will be influential and famous, your state of mind is no different from that of a beggar sponging off the rich. Such knowledge will bring no advantage either to yourself or to others…. Read more »

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Praise and Criticism

Craving praise and fearing criticism, these only trouble our mind needlessly. Such concerns, each in their own way, promote and reinforce our vulnerability to others’ opinions and remarks. We yearn for praise because it flatters our ego, and we dread criticism, which threatens it. However, craving and an inflated sense of self-importance are each a… Read more »

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Each to his own reality

Our perception of an object as desirable or undesirable doesn’t reside in the object itself, but in the way we perceive it. There’s no inherent quality in a beautiful object that does the mind any good, nor anything in an ugly object that might harm it. If human beings were to disappear, the phenomenal world… Read more »

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Fulfilling our deepest aspirations

What might best fulfill human needs? Science? Spirituality? Money? Power? Pleasure? No-one can answer such questions without also asking themselves what mankind aspires to most deeply, and what the very purpose of life might be. Buddhism’s answer to that question is to point out that finally what we all seek in life is happiness. But… Read more »

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Peace through war?

A few days ago, the International Herald Tribune ran a revealing front page article : ‟Hitting Taliban hard to encourage peace talks.”* The article reports that from June to September this year, U.S pilots dropped 2,100 bombs during airstrikes against Taliban insurgents, a 50 percent increase over the same period last year. This effort, orchestrated… Read more »

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Liberating the monkey mind

To accomplish this task, we must begin by calming our turbulent mind. Our mind behaves like a captive monkey who, in his agitation, becomes more and more entangled in his bonds. Out of the vortex of our thoughts, first emotions arise, and then moods and behaviors, and finally habits and traits of character. What arises… Read more »

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A MASTERY THAT SETS US FREE

The way we deal with thoughts in meditation is not to block them or feed them indefinitely, but to let them arise and dissolve by themselves in the field of mindfulness. In this way, they do not take over our minds. Beyond that, meditation consists in cultivating a way of being that is not subject… Read more »

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Training the Mind

The object of meditation is the mind. For the moment, it is simultaneously confused, agitated, rebellious, and subject to innumerable conditioned and automatic patterns. The goal of meditation is not to shut down the mind or anesthetize it, but rather to make it free, lucid, and balanced. According to Buddhism, the mind is not an… Read more »

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