11.01.15: That Which Matters Most

Hi Sangha,

Language is (in my opinion) a really interesting thing to pay attention to. We’re going to continue to unpack the Buddha’s teachings in a Secular lens; and this heavily means looking at what words, relevant to us, correlates or translates what buddhism speaks about.

Foundationally, of course, is ‘what matters most to us’. In Buddhism, rather than thinking of ‘what matters’ as ‘answers to questions’ Buddhism keeps the question itself. For example, “What does it mean to live a fulfilled life”? The focus on the big questions  is what, by definition, qualifies buddhism as a religion. Likely not a religion as how you normally think of it, though – am I right?! As Stephen Bachelor observes, though, how else can you describe something that talks about the big issues? Philosophy just doesn’t resonate the same way.

This week we’ll expand from that def’n of religion as that which asks the most important questions, and talk about the ramifications: How do you live holding questions over the course of your life?  Can we hold things as true?

‘Truth’ is another fun word to unpack and examine, certainly used frequently in traditional (non-secular) Buddhism.

Looking forward to our discussion,

Annamarie

10.18.15: Audio Lecture by Dr. Muesse

Hi Sangha,

One week a month we’ll be listening to a series of lectures (‘a course’) by Dr. Muesse. The series is a very good primer for our mindfulness practice – it goes very much from ‘a to z’, introducing why we might take up mindfulness, what it is, how to do it, and it’s implications (ie it pretty much covers the same breadth of information as the classical 8-fold training).

On weeks such as this, we will follow the usual schedule: meditation for 30 minutes, brief Q&A, tea break, and then discussion. The switch is that the first part of the discussion period will be listening to the lecture.

This Sunday is the first lecture – entitled ‘Mindlessness’.  The lecture is only 30 minutes long (I think I’ve told a few of you it’s an hour? if so, my mistake!) – we’ll have plenty of time for discussion.

Some questions to consider over the next few days as prep for the session focus on considering how we relate to, or think about our minds:

  1. Is your mind what makes you ‘you’? Is it distinct from your body?
  2. Do you control your mind? Is it possible to control your mind?
  3. Can you think of a situation or two where you were surprised by your reaction, or your mind seemed ‘out of control’? What did you do? What were the results of that situation?
  4. How does your relationship with your mind shape your approach to mindfulness?

See you Sunday,

Annamarie