Category: Buddhism

The Buddhist Metta (Lovingkindness) Prayer

The Buddhist Metta (Lovingkindness) Prayer is simple but profound. It starts by blessing oneself and gradually expands outward from there, eventually wishing good intentions for the entire world and all beings, even our enemies. There are many variations and translations of this prayer, but what follows is the essence of it; if we all said this prayer with sincerity at least once per week, the world could be a very different place: My heart fills with with loving kindness. I love myself. May I be happy. May I be well. May I be peaceful. May I be free. May...

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Seven Buddhist Mantras

Buddhist mantras are syllables and words chanted repetitively as part of a centering, consciousness-shifting practice. Their exact function can vary, but all have a goal of helping to inspire and invoke Enlightenment. Chanting a mantra can assist in specific life concerns as well as offer a way to focus during meditation. It’s also believed that some mantras call forth helpful guides and energies to assist us on our path. Here are seven examples of mantras to try in your own practice: The Medicine Buddha Mantra This mantra helps to bring about success in all areas of life, assisting in...

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5 Ways Buddhist Principles Can Improve Your Relationships

At the core of Buddhism is the goal of Enlightenment, or realization of the true nature of the self as connected with the ground state of All That Is. While many may understand this intellectually, living from this space in an integrated way is another matter. However, a commitment to the Buddhist path can help many areas of life to go much more smoothly. Here are five ways practicing basic Buddhist principles can improve your relationships: 1. You Make for a Better Friend and Partner If you show up in a relationship already committed to being as centered, peaceful...

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The Earth Touching Pose and What We Can Learn From It

Having a goal of raising your consciousness and becoming “Enlightened” is noble, but it can inevitably bring challenges in our daily lives. At times when you’re feeling triggered or swept away by thoughts and emotions, it can seem like you’ve made no progress at all. However, Enlightenment is the birthright of every human being, and it is our destiny as a species to awaken. The Story of Mara the Tempter In the final hours before Siddhartha’s (the future Buddha’s) awakening, it is said that he made the decision to meditate through the night, vowing not to stop until attaining...

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Zen Ox Herding: An Overview of the 10 Stages of Enlightenment

The Buddhist teaching of Zen Ox Herding, or “Taming the Ox,” surveys the 10 stages of Enlightenment as it unfolds in a human life. In this teaching, the ox is a symbol for Enlightenment — the goal of Buddhist studies. (It is believed that the ox symbol was chosen due to East Indians’ reverence for cows, which are considered sacred.) What is Enlightenment? Instead of being an experience, Enlightenment transcends all experiences, all duality. Enlightenment is the full, embodied and abiding realization that while the forms of this world are ever-changing, something lasting and infinite persists, uniting everything. Separation...

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Understanding Emptiness in Buddhist Teachings

The Buddhist concept of “emptiness” is one of the most misunderstood by Westerners. Perhaps some of its true meaning is lost in the translation to English, or perhaps some of the confusion is due to the Buddhist tendency to choose terms that are least likely to be clung to as another attachment. However, while the traditional English definition of “emptiness” relates to nothingness, a void, or even an emotional lack, the Buddhist definition refers to an emptiness that has the potential to be anything. Forms and Emptiness One of the most famous Buddhist phrases, “Form is emptiness; emptiness is...

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The Flower Sermon

While the Buddha gave many spoken sermons after he became enlightened, during one sermon in particular he did nothing but hold up a flower. It is said that upon seeing it, his disciple Mahakasyapa was immediately enlightened. Why did the simple display of a flower have such a profound effect upon Mahakasyapa, and what can we learn from this lesson? Form and Formless Historical records show that the flower the Buddha held up at the sermon was a lotus flower, which is associated with Buddhism to this day. The lotus is known for its great beauty, but it is...

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Where is the Buddha?

A monk embarked on a long pilgrimage to find the Buddha. He wandered fruitlessly for several years until he reached a river. Across the river, it was said, was the home of the Buddha. The monk got into the boat, excited at the prospect of reaching his goal. As the boatman rowed, the monk saw a corpse in the water, floating towards their boat. The body drifted close to touching distance and the monk saw to his horror that the corpse’s face was – his own! Unable to control himself, he broke down, screaming and crying. That was the...

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Buddhist Mudras: Hand Gestures of the Buddha

The serene smile of the Buddha is his most distinguishing feature. Along with this, the viewer’s attention cannot help but be drawn towards the Buddha’s graceful hands, displayed in a variety of gestures. What do they mean? Each of these gestures is called a “mudra”. In Sanskrit, the word “mudra” (literally, “seal” or “mark of identity”) is a form of non-verbal communication that refers to symbolic gestures imbued with varied spiritual meanings. Common to both Hindu and Buddhist iconography, mudras are typically expressed with the hands and fingers and sometimes with the whole body. In Buddhist iconography, mudras invoke...

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The Buddhist Tour

Places connected to the life of the Buddha are sacred to Buddhists across the world. The most important of these are his birthplace in Lumbini, Nepal, and in India — Bodh Gaya where he attained Nirvana or enlightenment, Sarnath where the first sermon by the Buddha was preached, and Kushinagar where he passed away. Pilgrimage Many religions stress the importance of going on pilgrimages or journeys to holy places. In Buddhism, these places are where the Buddha lived and taught, with four places considered the holiest. One is in Nepal and the other three are in India. It is...

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Buddha Groove Shop

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