Life – Is it Really All That Bad?

The first teaching of the Buddha was called the four Noble truths’s. The 4 Noble truths’s speaks about suffering, and the cessation of suffering. in other words, how to get rid of it and make a happy life for ourselves and others. According to the 4 Noble truths, nothing in this world that exists without an element of suffering. However, for many people this sounds pretty grim – let’s face it, if everything is all about suffering then how can we ever be happy?
But what actually are the 4 noble truths?

The Four Noble Truths

  1. The truth of suffering (Dukkha) This means that suffering actually exists.
  2. The truth of the origin of suffering (Samudāya) understanding where suffering comes from.
  3. The truth of the cessation of suffering (Nirodha) understanding that because suffering exist, it can also be ended.
  4. The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering (Magga) How to end suffering.

To put it in a nutshell, the Buddha taught, that once we understand the root of our suffering, which according to Buddhism is ‘desire’. Then we can actually move towards ending it.
This is why the Buddha was often compared to a physician because he diagnosed an actual human and universal problem, then prescribed the cure in 4 relatively simple lessons.

But here’s something to debate…..
LifeIf life is just suffering, as Buddhism claims, why is it some of us don’t see it this way? Why do some of us see life as wonderful rather than filled with suffering?

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Rinpoche’s Take on Death & Why it’s Feared So Much in the West.

Yesterday evening I had the great honour & privilege of having Geshe Lama Ahbay Tulku Rinpoche visit my home for the 3rd year running. With a small gathering of spiritually minded people, we ate together, laughed together (what an infectious laugh he has) and shared some great philosophical discussion.

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After supper we all moved to my healing & meditation room for Q & A about Buddhism & life in general before taking part in the dedication prayer.
One of the questions raised during our discussion was this…… Why do you think Westerners have a deep rooted fear of death?

Rinpoche’s response;
Maybe it’s because in the West, the main focus is on materialism. The media is all about materialism, as are the newspapers & Internet. It’s all about products that make you feel and look good giving you the false hope of regaining youthfulness. We know the hope is false because from the moment we’re born, we are physically moving towards eventual death. That’s the cycle of life really – no escaping it. Then when illness & sickness comes it’s a terrible shock because we thought we were invincible. Death is something we Westerners choose not to talk about because it’s considered morbid & dark, but we all want a comfortable death surely? But, if we’re ever going to prepare for the inevitable event of death properly we must discuss it in life.

Rinpoche’s words gave me some great food for thought and so I’d like to put these 2 questions out to the universe…..

1, What are your thoughts on death?
2, Where are you going after death?

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Alzheimer’s & Meditation – What You’re Not Told

Dementia & Alzheimers seem to be on the increase, especially in the West. I’ve certainly noticed an increase in people mentioning during treatments, their fears around the symptoms.  But do you know, there’s a way to slow down the process and maybe even cure the symptoms? I’m really not joking, and I’ve absolutely no idea why we aren’t told about it – Meditation.

 

But would you know the difference between Alzheimers & Dementia? This is a powerful question and for most of us, the answer would be NO. First let’s understand the differences, and then how a simple practice like meditation can help reverse the symptoms.

Alzheimer’s disease destroys neurons and their connections in the parts of the brain controling memory. These include; the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus. It later affects areas in the cerebral cortex responsible for language, reasoning, and social behaviour.

Dementia is a group of symptoms affecting our mental cognitive tasks such as memory and reasoning  (for example, making sense of the world)  Dementia is a kind of umbrella that Alzheimer’s disease stands under, and it has many causes. The most common is Alzheimers. Please note… there are different types of dementia too.

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Mindfulness or Meditation – Would You Know the Difference?

Mindfulness – buzzword of the 21st Century. Maybe you’re an avid Mindfulness practitioner yourself? But if someone asked you the difference between Mindfulness & Meditation, would you know?

Don’t worry! Most people wouldn’t and this is why many people aren’t getting the most from their practice. Here you can find a short understandable explanation of the two and how they work…..

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Meditation is all about letting go, just being and entering a deep restful state. When your mind & body has the peace it needs, it automatically know how to heal itself. This wonderful state of healing happens, when you access a state of consciousness different from waking, sleeping, or dreaming.
The benefits of entering this state:
We enable the right and left hemispheres of the brain to communicate, strengthening the corpus callosum which bridges the two. This allows us to come up with creative solutions even in “high-stress” situations.

Mindfulness however,  is a completely different practice.  In fact, mindfulness could be seen as the complete opposite of meditation. Mindfulness is  about complete non judgemental awareness of sensation and experience – being in the moment ‘as it is’ with complete vision. The brilliance of the two is they fit perfectly together, which sums up the very essence of Eastern Healing – treating the mind and body as a complete unit rather than 2 separate things.

Mindfulness & its place in Meditation Practice.

Focusing the mind before meditation is vital. Especially in the West, where most of us struggle with targets & deadlines at work, and family/personal issues at home. We can’t just wipe these worries away & so we need to refocus the mind before even thinking about meditation. This is where Mindfulness practice comes in. Paying attention to the pace, sound, sensation etc of the breath and being aware of this & any thoughts that enter our mind in a completely non-judgemental way.
Once we feel at ease, we then begin to enter a different state where we ‘just are’ it’s a state of complete rest for the mind and body which is meditation. Some call this Mindfulness Meditation.

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The Strength of Surrender

There’s always light, but sometimes you have to surrender yourself to it.

Im sure lots of my readers will identify with what I’m about to say. Recently life’s been like a giant rollercoaster of stress, anxiety & people piling on more. My partner must be the unluckiest guy in the world, wherever there’s a problem it’ll find him, and in life we carry each other but it’s worn me down. All this pressure has taken its toll on my physical & mental health and I’d reached a point of disconnection from myself & Spirituality.  Spirituality is a huge part of my life as a Buddhist and so is meditation but something was lost, I was lost.  It was 2 nights ago, in tears I rang a very close and wise friend who gave me the best advice I’ve ever had.

Tonight she said, go into your prayer room – make up a bed on the floor and sleep there, amongst the Buddha statues, pictures of HH The Dalai Lama & your teacher, and give yourself up to them. Don’t ask them for help, this isn’t their mess to clean up. Just give yourself up to their power.

Even with a strong faith, and the greatest respect for my lovely friend, my mind was still racing at 100mph. The likelihood of me getting any sleep whatsoever at this

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The Mind Debate?

 The western world – a hub for mindfulness, meditation and all things mind related. But what is the mind? And where is it located? Let’s debate!

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In today’s fast moving societies where targets and deadlines dominate &  our economic situation is constantly changing. It’s no surprise people are trying to find ways of quieting the mind, to manage stress and deal with every day life. It’s true we talk about it every day, but even if the most skilled surgeon on the planet cut open our head and body he/or she would not find anything that resembles mind. So where & what exactly is the mind?

what are your views?

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