Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion

The Buddha’s awakening is evidence for a law governed universe.

Some have suggested that Newton conceived of gravity as a law because he was a devout Christian who believed that the Christian god had ordained laws to govern the universe and so was inclined to think in such terms.

If the Buddha was right that we all have the potential to awaken as he did, and I believe he was right from my own experience, and that karma has an impact on what we experience, then it seems necessary that laws of nature exist that still operate now much as…


Chenrezig, The Buddha of Compassion

Actually, it’s clear as a bell right now, but it will rain again soon enough, and adults will adjust appropriately. If you are outside, you will go inside, or choose to enjoy the rain, depending on your preferences and situation.

Children, of course, will sometimes denounce the rain, fruitlessly demanding that it go away so they can go about whatever dry weather pursuit they had in mind for the day.

In some important sense, awakening on the Buddhist path is like growing up and realizing that no one can stop rain from falling. Constantly searching and hoping for happiness…


Chenrezig, The Buddha of Compassion

I am nobody. Nobody is anybody.

The Buddha said that we suffer because we cling. He broke it down into lots of experiences and events that we cling to.

But the big one, the meta experience we cling to that encompasses all others is our identities, our sense of self. It is annoying self perpetuating, but we can cut it off if we pay enough attention.

Your ego will tell you that it is essential, that you will be lost without it. But a necessary inference of the Buddha’s position on not self after he awakened is that he lost…


Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion

The Sun

Overcoming mistrust is critical to the project.

One of the weirder, more subtle paradoxes of Buddhism is that we want to substitute pure consciousness for monkey mind as the default, which is difficult in part because monkey mind is actually very powerful. It’s just wrong, or deeply misguided. Again, the world is passing like a movie, and monkey mind slows it down and edits it so that we can understand it in real time. …


The Sun

The Buddha didn’t give a shit. He realized that all is impermanence, so there is no point in getting invested in anything he could perceive or experience, even his own life.

To be “gimlet eyed” is to have sharp, keen vision, to see or perceive very clearly, even to be cunning.

But with the Buddha’s wisdom arose great compassion, such that he also realized that nearly all, or all, other humans were still deeply invested in their own experiences and just telling them to stop it was not going to help.

Not much has changed in the 2,500 years since…


The Sun

It is important to be very careful about this. We call the conceptual move that precedes violent oppression “dehumanization.” It’s what slave owners did to slaves and it is what Nazis did to their many targets.

That is not what we are on about here. Just the opposite.

The Buddha told us that a human birth is precious. We should be glad to have it and make the most of it. To “dehumanize” is to treat other people as if they were less than human, more like animals, freely available for violent, brutal punishment, degradation, and murder.

What the Buddha…


The Sun

This is the hard part. If you listen to enough Buddhist teachers, you will hear more than one talk about the courage you need to follow the Buddhist path.

You may wonder, why does Buddhist meditation require courage? You may mostly get benefits from your consistent meditation practice. May it be so.

But if you want to awaken fully, you have to give up entirely on your current understanding of reality because it is fundamentally flawed.

That requires courage.

It’s actually sort of terrifying. Remember how the Buddha started on his own path. He gave up an easy life in…


The reason why it is important to develop compassion, especially for yourself, on the Buddhist path is that, the further you go, the more likely you are to recognize your own perversity.

You start to realize that you are holding on, and that you choose to do so, for no good reason. It’s actually hugely irrational, but it is very human.

It’s hugely amusing, but it is also pretty sad and kind of scary. …

William B. Turner

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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