Karuna – Compassion and Wisdom

The Brahmaviharas Part 3 Carrying on the theme of the Brahmaviharas, this week it is the turn of karuna – compassion, the wish for others to not suffer. As the second Brahmavihara it follows as a natural development from mettā; when we have no ill will towards people then we have no reason to want … Continue reading Karuna – Compassion and Wisdom

Mettā: A Foundation of Kindness

The Brahmaviharas Part 2 Carrying on with the theme of the Brahmaviharas, this week I am looking at mettā , or loving-kindness as it is commonly translated into English. Most people are instinctively drawn to ideas about love, and it is a fairly universal belief that the power of love is a tremendous force for … Continue reading Mettā: A Foundation of Kindness

The Brahmaviharas – Immeasurable States of Mind

The Brahmaviharas Part 1 I’ve been writing about  mind states and latent tendencies recently so now seems like a good point to explore the role that positive mind states can play in our practice. The Brahmaviharas are the most obvious example of these kinds of practice that focus on the deliberate cultivation of positive mind … Continue reading The Brahmaviharas – Immeasurable States of Mind

The Mind That Inclines

Most of us would probably like to be in happy positive mind states all the time, but  the chances are that we usually feel that our mind state is something that is beyond our consistent control. The best of our intentions seems to not be enough to stop a sour or grasping mood from taking … Continue reading The Mind That Inclines

The Heart of Mind States

My practice has brought me to the contemplation of mind states recently, which is one of the primary practices in the famous Satipatthana Sutta. The section on the investigation of the mind tells us to look for certain mind states, and in doing so I found a lot of useful insights into the nature of … Continue reading The Heart of Mind States

Not So Neutral

So this week I want to write about neutral feelings, and I don’t blame you if you aren’t set on fire by this idea, I wasn’t terribly taken by neutral feelings either until recently. While working with pleasant and unpleasant feelings is a routine  task for a Buddhist practitioner, I have to say that neutral … Continue reading Not So Neutral

More Than, Less Than, Same

Last week’s blog about comparing papañca and imagination brought up an aspect of Buddhist theory that I admit I haven’t paid a lot of attention to, which is the issue of conceit. Once I went looking for evidence of conceit, I found it everywhere much to my initial chagrin and surprise; none of us want … Continue reading More Than, Less Than, Same

Imagination or Just Papañca?

Last week’s fascinating exploration of the role of imagination and creativity in Buddhist practice left me with a niggling question about papañca (the process whereby the mind gets lost in its own thoughts and ideas) and its connection to imagination, as the process of papañca seems to often be described as using imagination. Papañca is … Continue reading Imagination or Just Papañca?

Buddhism and Imagination

Last week’s post about dreaming and awakening lead me to wonder if there was much evidence of the use of imagination in Buddhist practice. This might seem like a curious proposition, given that the general idea that many people have about Buddhism is that it is as far removed from imagination as possible. This is … Continue reading Buddhism and Imagination

Dreaming and Waking Up

I don’t often stop to give much thought to the fact that the word Buddha means ‘awakened one’, which obviously gives us the term awakening and the recurrent theme in Buddhist practice of waking up. We can take this to imply that perhaps we are otherwise dreaming. What is it that we are dreaming about though? … Continue reading Dreaming and Waking Up