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The Great Path of Awakening. Jamgon Kongtrul. The Torch of Certainty. Light of Wisdom, The Conclusion. The Teacher-Student Relationship. How to write a great review. The review must be at least 50 characters long. The title should be at least 4 characters long. Your display name should be at least 2 characters long. At Kobo, we try to ensure that published reviews do not contain rude or profane language, spoilers, or any of our reviewer's personal information.
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Seller Inventory n. More information about this seller Contact this seller. Book Description Penguin Random House. Condition: New. Brand New. Seller Inventory X. Book Description Snow Lion. Language: English. Brand new Book. Seller Inventory BZV Seller Inventory Seller Inventory BTE The gift object itself provides little benefit, and could even be harmful , Even so, good karma involves a potential danger, since if it is not redirected it can lead merely to dangerous wealth rather than to awakening.
Unlike giving, it is not discussed at systematic length in either text. This suggestion is borne out by the content of the fifth BCA chapter, which, following up the claim about the mind of cessation, details exactly these sorts of practices. The practices bear some resemblance to Buddhist monastic rules vinaya , although they could all be followed by lay householders and the text does not restrict them to monks. Similarly, one should avoid idle chatter, or purposeless nervous tics BCA V. For this reason, it seems largely like a subtype of the third type, patience toward wrongdoing, which involves reflecting on the fact that their actions all have causes.
In terms of the actions and mental dispositions that they entail, they do not appear to be different from each other.
So we may here subsume this second variety under the third, except as otherwise specified. First, there is a logical or analytical relationship. When one is wronged by others, it is likely to be an undesired event, and therefore experienced as suffering. The appropriate reactions are intertwined as well.
While he addresses theft in the context of anger, and more generally of patience toward wrongdoing, the reason he gives to remain patient is that possessions are dangerous to have anyway BCA VI. Second, there is a causal relationship. He proceeds to describe a panoply of graphic tortures in a startlingly upbeat manner.
For example:. While a reader might cringe at the literal masochism in this passage, it is also not hard to see the power of its appeal: It strongly suggests that a bodhisattva can be happy anywhere, any time, in any condition. And there is a particular practice that the bodhisattva pursues to reach this state. He lays out these arguments primarily in the sixth chapter of the BCA ; for a detailed commentary on this chapter, see Thurman This set of psychological claims has a strong intuitive plausibility, in our context as well as his; it is probably not difficult for anyone to remember times that anger has negatively affected her peace of mind or pleasure or sleep.
He is especially concerned to neutralize insults and the destruction of praise. Why, O mind, do you get enraged by it? There is no bad karma equal to anger, he says, so patient endurance is the most effective means to reduce bad karma BCA VI. He warns that anger leads to suffering in the hell realms far greater than the suffering that originally provoked the anger:.
If suffering merely here and now cannot be endured, why is anger, the cause of distress in hell, not restrained? BCA VI. In this very case I do not get angry. Why is there anger at sentient beings? These arguments against anger are phrased in terms that could convince someone not already on the path. Other arguments are directed specifically at bodhisattvas. Unlike desire, anger has no saving graces. It is rare to be born as a human, and a short human life leaves one with little time for adequate spiritual development, so it is crucial to devote oneself wholeheartedly to the task.
The topic is surprising, since it seems tangentially related, at best, to the more straightforward heroic strength addressed in BCA VII. The connection seems to be that, to listen to sacred texts properly, one must do so tirelessly. But becoming calm and solitary, in both texts, is only the first step to grasping arguments and transformative techniques with an explicit cognitive content.
Specifically, his male audience is urged to reflect on the foulness of a potential female lover. He notes that the beloved will invariably become a corpse, highlights the repulsiveness of corpses, and asks the reader rhetorically why the living beloved seems any less repulsive VIII. Next he notes the great effort one must take in finding and keeping a lover, and the ultimate vanity of such efforts VIII. This meditation takes on a strongly misogynist tone, describing as it does the repulsiveness of female bodies. As Wilson notes, historically Buddhists have never turned the arguments about female foulness around to have it apply to men, even when speaking to a female audience.
The point is noted here to stress the relevance of these meditations for a contemporary philosophical audience, rightly skeptical of misogynistic claims. He treats the thesis that all men desire pleasure as a factual assertion which guarantees the success of an ad hominem apeal to anyone who denies his conclusion. MacIntyre , To deny that suffering should be prevented at all, in other words, is to argue in bad faith: anyone who makes such a claim does not really believe it. The selfish objector is right, then, to believe that suffering should be prevented.
Where he goes awry is in focusing only on his own suffering; this focus turns out to be absurd. Why is that hurt protected against? However, later Tibetan commentators, especially rGyal tshab rje, interpret the verse so that it could refer to any present suffering one might try to prevent Williams a, Logically this seems a more satisfying reading. Even the present self should be broken up into its parts. Why does [the hand] protect [the foot]?
Why do these arguments appear in the chapter on meditation, when the primary focus of that chapter seems to concern the kind of metaphysical insight that is the topic of the following chapter? Two reasons suggest themselves. First, the arguments prepare the audience for the more imaginatively focused practice of the exchange and self and other. The intervening verses manifest this idea in practice.
Having imagined oneself from the viewpoint of an envious inferior, one then imagines the inverse viewpoint of a contemptuous superior:. We joyous ones see him finally mistreated, and the mocking laughter of all the people here and there. That wretch even had a rivalry with me! Even if he were to have wealth, we should take it forcibly, having given him a mere pittance, if he does any work for us. And he should be caused to fall from happiness. Meditating in this way, one comes to live entirely for others. See Nagarjuna and Madhyamaka Buddhism for more detail. For Western commentaries see Oldmeadow ; Sweet Sweet , Many Buddhist texts draw soteriological conclusions of some sort from metaphysical premises — the nature of the universe is such that everyday life is filled with suffering but one can be liberated from it.
Moreover, texts often draw ethical conclusions from these soteriological ideas. So in earlier texts there is an indirect connection from metaphysics to ethics by way of soteriology. Any such position would itself be considered empty and therefore in some sense flawed. BCA IX. But because we are caught up in illusion, seeing substance, we still need to make provisional statements at a conventional level to make ourselves and others aware of this illusion and free ourselves from it.
It is worth noting here that the Tibetan dGe lugs Geluk school argues that such claims cannot be taken literally and that in fact the ultimate truth is accessible to the intellect, although other commentators from the Sa skya Sakya and rNying ma Nyingma schools accept a more literal interpretation like the one I have just provided Sweet , The distinction between conventional and ultimate, however, helps one resolve this apparent problem -- for the claim that bodhisattvas suffer is made merely at the conventional level of truth.
This recognition is the way in which it is possible for suffering to end, as the Third Noble Truth of Buddhism promises. If suffering is unreal, however, one may wonder why it should be prevented. A similar worry applies to good and bad karma. Clayton , argues that this point implies that ethical action, good karma, or eliminating suffering are unnecessary or insignificant. Ultimately good and bad karma are unreal, but they are very real at the conventional level.
Most people remain trapped in the conventional level, where suffering occurs, and so they experience the suffering as real. For them, it is this conventional level of truth that matters. First, knowing the nonexistence of self will lead one to benefit others. The passage quoted above does not merely state that one who knows emptiness also knows that he should not be emotionally attached to worldly phenomena; it states further that he himself is not in fact so attached na samhriyate.
Such a view seems perplexing to contemporary Western ears, including some informed by Buddhism. Understanding ideas often seems not to have this liberating effect.
David Burton puts the problem well, in terms of his personal experience:. I do not seem to be ignorant about the impermanence of entities. I appear to understand that entities have no fixed essence and that they often change in disagreeable ways. I seem to understand that what I possess will fall out of my possession. I apparently accept that all entities must pass away. And I seem to acknowledge that my craving causes suffering. Yet I am certainly not free from craving and attachment.