Buddhism in Daily Life

Buddhism is not merely a philosophy, nor is it simply an "attitude" towards life.  The value of Buddhadharma lies in its power to change lives, for ourselves and for others.  Simply stated, to be a buddhist is to learn to live mindfully, keeping the teachings of the Buddha in mind and implementing them in deeds - right here and right in this moment.  The collection on this page is meant to serve as an inspirational guide for us to weave what we learn about buddhism into daily life.  Apart from specific dharma teachings, we will attempt to provide living examples of the practice of the six paramitas (six perfections leading to the Buddhahood).
  • Letters from Prison (by Paul Dewey. Most of my life up until about nine years ago had been centered around me, I, mine. The results were heartache, frustration and tragedy for everyone near and dear to me as well as myself.) (added 2001/7/11)
  • Letters from Prison (by Milo Rusimovic. As I experienced his rage, I noticed a desire to react with physical violence. When meditation on kindness and logic did not work in those moments, my very basic knowledge of Buddhism made me think about what was happening rather than just reacting.) (added 2001/7/11)
  • Letters from Prison (by Timothy Haremza. My life, this time, began in 1957. Orphaned at the age of two, I grew up in many, many foster homes and boys' homes. The fights, drugs, guns, gangs, joining the army, coming to prison: it was the truth of suffering, and it is familiar to everyone.) (added 2001/7/11)
  • Letters from Prison (by J.W. Johnson. I have been caught up in samsara, and because of karma only now feel like I'm awakening from a long sleep.) (added 2001/7/11)
  • Letters from Prison (by Jimmy Tribble. But her dedication, patience, and kindness somehow never changed. And it's to her that I'm most grateful. It's a miracle she still loves and encourages me to practice. I had left a trail of embarrassing disaster in India and Nepal, ...) (added 2001/7/11)
  • Attachment: The Biggest Problem on Earth (by Lama Thubten Yeshe. Trying to face your problems is far more worthwhile than trying to run away from them without understanding their root. You've been that way before; it's not a new trip. It's the same old trip. You go, you change, you go, you change, on and on like that. In this life alone you've taken so many attachment tops.) (added 2001/5/22)
  • A Buddhist Approach to Mental Illness (by Lama Thubten Yeshe. Human problems are more than just emotional distress or disturbed relationships. In fact, those are tiny problems. It's as if there's this huge ocean of problems below, but all we see are the small waves on the surface. We focus on those "Oh, yes, that's a big problem" while ignoring the actual cause, the dissatisfied nature of the human mind.) (added 2001/5/22)
  • The Faults of Criticizing and Blaming Others (by Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Of course, this doesn't mean one can't point out others' mistakes at all. But when you do, as much as possible do it with loving kindness and compassion. For the sake of others, one can point out mistakes and make suggestions this is how you discuss and communicate according to Dharma.) (added 2001/5/22)
  • Reversing the energy of addiction (by Ngawang Chotok with Jindati Doelter. ...addiction is an energy that can be reversed from agonizing misery to blissful liberation and become the spiritual path itself.) (added 2001/5/22)
  • Bringing Practice into Daily Life (by Jeanne Bendik. ... Im inviting suggestions from everyone: How do you awaken attention while at home? How you remember to pause and take those extra slow and deep breaths at a staff meeting?...) (added 2001/4/3)
  • What does a Buddhist Monastic Know about Real Life, Anyway? (by Ajahn Amaro. In the monastery, we learn to deal with the body, with pain. Living communally, we learn a lot about forgiveness, commitment, honesty, patience. We learn how to deal with anger, jealousy, fearfulness, selfishness. We get the whole palate; every color is there.) (added 2001/4/3)
  • Gratitude and Transferring Merit (by Ven. Sheng-yen. Like repentance, practicing gratitude and transferring merit are useful for reducing self-centeredness and vexation during retreat and in daily life... The first error is resenting those who obstruct us; the second error is not acknowledging the help we receive. These attitudes are the biggest causes of vexation.) (added 2001/2/27)
  • Questions and Answer (with Thich Nhat Hanh. Q: How do you maintain mindfulness in a busy work environment? At times it seems there is not even enough time to breathe mindfully.) (added 2001/2/27)
  • The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation (by S.N. Goenka. This is Vipassana: experiencing one's own reality, by the systematic and dispassionate observation of the ever-changing mind-matter phenomenon manifesting itself as sensation within oneself. This is the culmination of the teaching of the Buddha: self-purificationby self-observation.) (added 2000/11/6)
  • Environmental Protection (by Ven. Sheng-yen. We do not curse modern industry and commerce; neither do we denounce the rapid development of technological production. Therefore, we are forced to appeal to the religious and spiritual leaders of the world to advise all humankind that it must take responsibility to protect the environment while engaged in industrial, commercial, and technological activities.) (added 2000/11/6)
  • The Buddhist Idea of a Perfect Society (by Ajahn Sumedho. We can imagine a perfect society and have a model of it to use as a guideline, as something to aim for. But we shouldn't expect society ever to be perfect and to be continuously the way we would like it to be, because part of the perfection lies in the fact that everything changes; nothing can remain the same.) (added 2000/11/6)
  • Man Is Not Our Enemy (by Thich Nhat Hanh. All of us have made mistakes - whether we are Buddhist, Catholic, Communist, the Party or the Government. Because we are so sure of our perceptions, because we are fanatic and prejudiced we could have wounded painfully our people, but if we can wake up and know how truly to begin anew we could learn from the painful lessons of the past.) (added 2000/11/6)
  • New Century Message (by Thich Nhat Hanh. ... despite new and faster ways to communicate, we have become very lonely. Many have no spiritual beliefs. With no spiritual ground, we live only with the desire to satisfy our private pleasures.) (added 2000/11/6)
  • Beyond Cure (by Dr Rachel Naomi Remen. Three stories from Kitchen Table Wisdom, a highly acclaimed book of real life stories. Dr Remen is a physician, a therapist, a professor of medicine, and a long-term survivor of chronic illness.) (added 2000/7/11)
  • In the Service of Life (by Dr Rachel Naomi Remen. ... But we don't serve with our strength, we serve with ourselves. We draw from all of our experiences. Our limitations serve, our wounds serve, even our darkness can serve.) (added 2000/7/11)
  • Song of Mind of Niu-tou Fa-jung No.29 (Commentary by Master Sheng-yen. ... Do not be disturbed if, in recalling your day, you realize that you were off your method or unmindful many times. Practice is precisely  catching yourself engaging in thoughts of past, future and fantasy, and bringing yourself back to your method or to the task at hand.) (added 2000/5/2)
  • Song of Mind of Niu-tou Fa-jung No.28 (Commentary by Master Sheng-yen. ... This householder Buddhist's response to everything I say is always the same, "No problem! Everything is fine." He believes that problems and troubles arise so that we can face them as well as ourselves. It is an important part of daily practice.) (added 2000/4/25)
  • Transforming Our Suffering (by Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Our anger is a kind of flower, and our mindfulness is the sun continuing to shine upon it. Do not be impatient. The very first moment you shine your awareness on it, there is already some transformation within your anger.) (added 2000/4/18)
  • Walking in the Direction of Beauty (by Alan Senauke and Susan Moon. An interview with Sister Chan Khong. . . . If we just worry about the big picture, we are powerless. So my secret is to start right away doing whatever little work I can do. I try to give joy to one person in the morning, and remove the suffering of one person in the afternoon.) (added 2000/4/11)
  • Guidance for Practice in Daily Life (A "Questions and Answers" session with Master Sheng-Yen at the end of a retreat in Polland.) (added 2000/4/4)
  • Earthquake in Taiwan (A talk by Master Sheng-Yen. ... From very young children to adults, the people are still traumatized by this experience. A lot of them see the fragility of life, impermanence, and how property and life can be lost overnight. They feel hopeless and they are in despair. A lot of them have begun to have mental problems, some hallucinating. Those who were helping the victims began to have problems, themselves, and had to receive treatment.) (added 2000/4/4)
  • Skillful Means to Reduce the Power of Ill-Will (by Ajahn Jagaro. Whenever anger, ill-will, or irritation arises it immediately destroys our peace of mind, our mental well-being. There are many things, many people, many situations which may trigger off this reaction in the mind, but we must be very clear that the problem is within us and not 'out there'.) (added 2000/3/14)
  • Hungry Ghost (by Gordon L. Smith. All of us who have found ourselves caught up in an addiction know that it is quite possible to dwell in the nightmarish realm of hungry ghosts without being physically reborn there. I would like to briefly examine here some aspects of Theravada Buddhist meditation practice that may be of help in recovering from addictions.) (added 2000/2/22)
  • The Healing Power of the Precepts (by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. The Buddha's path consisted not only of mindfulness, concentration, and insightpractices, but also of virtue, beginning with the five precepts.  . . . In fact, the precepts constitute the first step in the path. There is a tendency in the West to dismiss the five precepts as Sunday-school rules bound to old cultural norms that no longer apply to our modern society, but this misses the role that the Buddha intended for them: They are part of a course of therapy for wounded minds.) (added 2000/2/22)
  • The Five Wonderful Precepts (by Master Thich Nhat Hanh. When someone asks, "Do you care?" Do you care about me? Do you care about life? Do you care about the Earth?", the best way to answer is to practice the Five Precepts. This is to teach with your actions and not just with words.) (added 2000/2/1)
  • The Rimpoche's Toenail (by Jane Mclaughlin. ... I didn't want to give her anything, but begrudgingly reached into my pocket and gave her some money anyway. The whole experience was so ironic. I was climbing the wide steps to receive these teachings on clarity, compassion, and "saving all beings." Here was a real life situation - a chance to put that teaching to the test - and all I felt was annoyed!) (added 2000/2/1)
  • The Elimination of Anger (by Ven. K. Piyatissa Thera. It is no wonder if we, at times, in our everyday life, feel angry with somebody about something.  But we should not allow this feeling to reside in our mind.  We should try to curb it at the very moment it has arisen.  Generally there are eight ways to curb or control our anger.) (added 2000/1/26)
  • How to Integrate Emptiness into Daily Life (by Lama Thubten Yeshe. What I mean is this: you should recognise how every appearance in your daily life is in fact a false projection of your own mind. Your own mind makes it up and becomes an obstacle to touching reality.) (added 2000/1/19)
  • Bringing Dharma into Relationships (by Ven. Dr. Karuna Dharma. In a room with forty people, there are forty different universes. Each one of us sits at the center of our universe. Because it is a universe that we have created, we believe in it. The problem is that each of us views our individual universe from our own particular little time and space, and our universes do not always coincide, so frictions develop.) (added 1999/12/29)
  • In the Gap between Right and Wrong (by Pema Chodron. Only in an open, nonjudgmental space can you acknowledge what you are feeling. Only in an open space where you're not all caught up in your own version of reality can you see and hear and feel who others really are, which allows you to be with them and communicate with them properly.) (added 1999/12/29)
  • Expectations (by Rev. Sarika Dharma. Sometimes our expectations become self-fulfilling prophesies. We expect something of the world or of ourselves or of another person. Because we have those expectations, we behave as though they are reality.) (added 1999/12/29)
  • Bathing a New Born Buddha (by Master Thich Nhat Hanh. ... With the cup in my hands I will be thinking about what to do next, and the fragrance and the flavor of the tea, together with the pleasure of drinking it, will be lost. I will always be dragged into the future, never able to live in the present moment.) (added 1999/12/29)
  • The gift of life--a lung (This man did not suffer from a medical condition that requires the removal of the lung lobe. Instead, he has volunteered to give the gift of life to a little girl he had never met before.) (added 1999/12/08)
  • A gift freely given (In an act of altruism, a nurse donates her kidney to a stranger.) (added 1999/12/08)
  • Writings of Jesse Daikan McKinney (... my wife and I both have disabilities on top of everything else. Since we live totally independent without receiving Social Security or any supplemental income, we both work. My wife is a counselor and I'm a recently published author. My new book "A Mind On Wheels...The Inner Journey" is an inspirational odyssey into my unusual perspective of life with and without a disability. ) (added 1999/11/24)
  • A buddhist life in America (a lecture by Joan Halifax, with an introduction by Thich Nhat Hanh. In the words of Thay, "Joan tells us to remove our adornments. Be truth. Go to the Buddha and tell of our suffering. Face our pain with courage and tenderness. Turn also to the world. Turn to it with compassionate action.") (added 1999/11/10)
  • Its OK to Let Go -- A hospice experience (by Zen Master Seung Hyang ... The husband was on the other side, and every time his daughter said, "It's okay to let go," he would cover his wife's face so she couldn't hear what her daughter was saying. He didn't even know he was doing it. He wasn't angry with his daughter. It was just as if he had this question: is it okay to let go? He wasn't sure it was okay, so he was protecting his wife from hearing it.) (added 1999/11/03)
  • More about Jarvis Jay Masters (by Melody Ermanchild Chavis. Foreword to Finding Freedom: Writing from Death Row. "As one of the defense investigators who prepared Jarvis's trial, I looked into the details of his life and learned how far he has traveled spiritually in one short lifetime.") (added 1999/11/03)
  • Writings from Death Row (by Jarvis Jay Masters. How is it like to be a buddhist on death row who has taken the bodhisattva vows in one of the most notorious prisions in the US? An inspirational account!) (added 1999/10/27)
  • Random Acts of Kindness (A series of brief pieces, each by a different writer, on encounters with bodhisattvas in everyday life. As the saying goes: "Do not refrain from an act of goodness because we perceive it to be insignificant; conversely, do not commit an act that will bring harm because we perceive it to be insignificant.") (added 1999/10/27)
  • Illness: Journey off the Map (by Sensei Sevan Ross. In the pain, in the suffering, if we can get out of the way enough, we can come to see this blank for what it really is. Until we engage illness at that deep level, it will have far more damage to hand us, because we will forever overlay it with the pain of delusion. (added 1999/10/20)
  • Preparing for Death: The Final Days of Death Row Inmate Jaturun "Jay" Siripongs (An interview with Ajahn Pasanno. "People will be strapping you down; things will be happening around you," I warned. "You need to establish the mind without going to externals. Keep your attention within.") (added 1999/10/6)
  • The happy monk (After spending time with the Western monk Ajahn Amaro, one is left with the unique feeling of having been in the presence of a truly happy man, and one whose happiness is born of wisdom.) (added 1999/10/6)
  • A living religion - in the hearts and minds of people (The question is: do we know our own heart? Do we have a feeling of responsibility for our own feelings, our own life? Buddhism requires that we become awake.) (added 1999/9/23)
  • A Ponderable Point (by Petr-Karel Ontl. ... And then, just before they meditate, they bow yet again to the cushion upon which they are to sit. If we see this as honoring a mere cloth bag stuffed with kapok, yes, it does seem bizarre. But if we see the symbolism of the act, as well as what the cushion symbolizes, the beauty and meaning of the bow become immediately obvious.) (added 1999/9/23)
  • Tonglen -- "Sending and Taking" (by Thrangu Rinpoche. TongLen is a meditation done in conjunction with one's breathing, and in relation to one's parents, friends and enemies, to all beings gathered around oneself.) (added 1998/9/15)
  • Chidlren's Direct Seeing (by Dr. Thynn Thynn. ... Prior to this he would always blame his sister or others for his losses and it was becoming a habit. When he saw what was happening in himself, he must have assumed responsibility for his own anger. That must have been the magic cure.) (added 1999/9/15)
  • Exploring our Intention in Service (A long-time Buddhist practitioner, Frank Ostaseski uses his knowledge of both Buddhism and Western psychotherapy in his work of de-mystifying the care-giving process.) (added 1999/9/8)
  • Stories of Lives Lived and Now Ending (Inspired by a 2500-year-old spiritual tradition, Zen Hospice Project encourages and supports a mutually beneficial relationship among volunteer caregivers and individuals, facing death.) (added 1999/9/8)
  • Forging a Final, Spiritual Bond: The Zen Hospice Project (This community-based project acts as afriend to indigent people facing the final months of their lives, and helps hospice volunteers to discover the innate generosity and compassion they never knew they had.) (added 1999/9/8)
  • Buddhism & Buddha Groves in UK Prisons (ANGULIMALA - the Buddhist Prison Chaplaincy Organisation. In UK, ANGULIMALA tries to help those who are locked away by striving to make available facilities for the teaching and practice of Buddhism) (added 1999/9/8)
  • Toward a beautiful new life (Sister Chien Hsing-yuan took off her mask when a total stranger offered to donate her skin!)
  • A gift of hope (Bone marrow transplant recipients and their families express their gratitude to the donors.)
  • Sweet Love (A hospital patient learns what the Tzu Chi volunteers are all about.)
  • Practicing the Dhamma in Ordinary Life: Generosity (A talk by Bhikkhu Yogavacara Rahula)

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