Meditation is all very well and good, but why are we meditating? Here are collected articles that talk about the meta-level of meditation: strategies we can use to find the right teacher, and ideas about how to see the world and what philosophy of life to adopt. I do not claim to know the right answers to questions on these topics, but I am sharing my current thinking on the topic here in hopes that it may be of use to you.
Which is a more effective way of engaging with the world, of changing the world? Should we undertake to fight evil where it is seen, to crush those who cause it? Is there any hope for a pacifist approach? Or is that frame backward? Should we instead ask, is there any hope for a warlike approach? Rather than imagining that pacifism might be at all effective, perhaps we should wonder if perhaps it can be more effective.
What is awakening? Why is it such a big deal? Why do people describe it in so many different ways?
The concept of dana, making offerings at teachings, is customary in Buddhist cultures, but a bit fraught in non-Buddhist cultures. This article goes into some detail on my own thoughts about the practice, and how to approach it in a non-Buddhist culture. I don’t claim that I’m right, but I hope that this is at least food for thought.
Which is more important: leaders, or followers? What makes a good leader? These are questions that are often asked, but it’s hard to get any clarity by asking these questions.
So suppose I allow myself to see things clearly. What do I do with this to help others, to help the world?
Why is the truth so hard to see?
What is the point of loving our enemies, anyway?
One of the bugaboos of practice is the difference between right and wrong. I say “bugaboo,” because although virtuous behavior is very important to practice, there is no right that can be stated. There is no wrong that can be stated.
If you have read about or studied Buddhism at all, you’ve heard the idea that part of the Buddhist path is to “overcome desire.” This can be a bit off-putting, because it leaves us with the impression that wanting things is bad, and on the one hand this sort of seems true, but on the other hand, if we entirely give up on wanting things, won’t we starve? The confusion actually boils down to the difficulty of translating Pali or Sanskrit to english: “desire” means more than one thing.
How do I become the person I wish I were? How do I even know if the person I wish I were is who I would want to be if I were that person? There is no perfect answer to this question, but here’s some thoughts about it.