Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Couple Quotes to Ponder

I receive a Beliefnet "Buddhist Wisdom" daily email. It uses quotes from all different branches of Buddhism and different practitioners. I thought today's was great.

The threshold between right and wrong is pain.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Imagine All the People

I've been learning about and reading about Buddhism for a couple years now, but I'm not really practicing it. I see it as a great source of wisdom, and the end of suffering is a goal we probably all share. I think there is a lot to be learned from the basic Buddhist beliefs, and none of them come from a god, they are within the reach of most people--those willing to try, at least.

If you are interested, The Naked Buddha: A Practical Guide to the Buddha's Life and Teachings is a good book to start with. I'm not done reading it yet, but I've read enough to recommend it.

The author, Adrienne Howley, (from Publishers Weekly) "sets out to "strip the Buddha of added layers... and get down to what he really thought and taught,"" and "her vigorously philosophical, non-religious approach (an unexpected choice for an ordained nun) results in a streamlined, appealing primer for everything you wanted to know about Buddhism but were afraid to ask. In simple, well-organized chapters-often employing a Q&A format-she addresses topics and questions that get to the heart of Buddhism. She begins with the historical Buddha (Who was he? Who were his followers?), then discusses whether Buddhism is properly a religion or a philosophy. (Conclusion: it's a philosophy frequently adapted to religious expression.) She offers excellent, lucid discussions of some of Buddhism's core elements such as the Four Noble Truths, karma, impermanence, compassion and emptiness."

From the book, a quote I like:

Enjoy what you have now but accept that it is already changing.
Do no harm to living beings, including yourself.
Learn to control your mind by being aware of things as they really are, now.

Something for us all to aspire to.

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