Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Happy New Year - Dharma talk

Every day is brand new. Every day is an opportunity to awaken. Living with this in mind every moment is walking the Buddha's Way.

Introduction and sound engineering by Tom Eunsahn Gartland.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Don't be cruel

The fundamental tenet of nearly every spiritual tradition is to do good; don't cause harm or inflict unnecessary suffering. Help others whenever possible. This all sounds good in theory but putting it into practice is another matter entirely.

In the modernized West, food of all varieties is available to people of all incomes, and yet Americans consume more meat than ever before in history--even though they know that animals are virtually tortured in the process. I don't understand this willful ignorance. I'll paraphrase Thich Nhat Hanh and say that a hamburger is pain. We support cruelty when we buy factory farmed meat.

Another example of the same principle: although many of the white Americans who voted for Donald Trump may not actually be racist, they are okay with racism. When Muslims or Mexicans are persecuted because of racist legislation that Trump passes, Trump voters are responsible for that injustice. They may pretend that they aren't or argue otherwise, but they are accomplices to racism and discrimination.

A large part of contemplative practice is about being honest--owning oneself and one's actions. If we endorse racist politicians, we are permitting racism. If we eat meat, we are a contributing to cruelty. Our actions and their consequences are our responsibility. If we poison the river, we are responsible for all of the harm that it causes--not just immediately, but generations from now as well.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Every Step is the Path - Dharma talk

Zen is nothing special. It's about realizing and actualizing the fact that everything we do is the action of a Buddha.

Introduction and sound engineering by Tom Eunsahn Gartland.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Every Day is a Holiday - Dharma talk

Every Day is a Holiday

Treat every day like it's the anniversary of your own awakening--because it is. Stop doubting that you are a Buddha. Realize that your mind is already perfect and needs to cultivation.

Introduction and sound engineering by Tom Eunsahn Gartland.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

You Are Not Your Thoughts - Dharma Talk

You Are Not Your Thoughts

Look through your thoughts to see clearly. That clarity is your true nature, which is closer to you than your own breath. All that it takes is the courage to let go of all conceptualizations.

Introduction and sound engineering by Tom Eunsahn Gartland.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Corporate Mindfulness: Worker Bees Unite

Image result for worker bee

The purpose of seeing clearly is to see clearly. When we do that, we act skillfully, which means we cause less suffering. One clear act can echo endlessly, inspiring others to see and act with wisdom.

It's no news that corporations have begun to adopt mindfulness into their training and professional development/health program. This can be a great thing if mindfulness is being "adopted"; but if it is being "appropriated," then that is another story entirely.

The iconoclast in me suspects it's the latter case. Despite what Mitt Romney says, businesses are not people. They are institutions with one common goal--success, usually monetary. While different businesses have different missions, their goals usually equate to money, power, or influence. None of these inherently have workers in mind; in fact, the well-being of employees is only helpful to a business inasmuch as it impacts the company's success.

This means that--more likely than not--corporate mindfulness and health programs' ultimate goal is to make better employees. After all, the healthier (mentally, emotionally, and physically) employees are, the more productive they become.

Stated in direct, albeit admittedly cynical, terms:
America's embrace of mindfulness is to make Americans better worker bees. 
This should come as no surprise. When a country elects a businessman with no political experience whatsoever into the highest executive office, that country has thoroughly digested corporate values.

But I digress. Mindfulness is not supposed to make you a better, more productive person or worker; it's goal, if it can be said to have one, is to wake people up for the sake of waking up. Living, acting, and speaking with clarity of mind is its own goal. I'm reminded of a Quaker proverb: "There is no way to peace. Peace is the way."

Similarly, mindfulness shouldn't be treated as yet another means to an ends. When it is, practitioners should be extremely wary. Like Buddhism itself, mindfulness should be treated as an ends unto itself, not a mental workout program so that we can gather more honey.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dharma talks for the holidays

Wherever You Go

We don't need to go anywhere to wake up. We bring awakening with us wherever we go; it's our true, original nature. In fact, "here" is the only place where awakening can manifest.

Introduction and sound engineering by Tom Eunsahn Gartland.

Giving Endless Thanks

Awakening means realizing the fundamental interconnectedness of reality, how we and all beings are connected. When this happens, we see how everything in this world sustains us. This is the highest form of gratitude.

Introduction and sound engineering by Tom Eunsahn Gartland.