November 16, 2006

Buddha Break 2006.11.16

I'll start off today's Buddha Break with some quotes:

"The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description... If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism." -- Albert Einstein

"The coming of Buddhism to the West may well prove to be the most important event of the Twentieth Century." -- Arnold Toynbee, Historian

"Buddhism has transformed every culture it has entered, and Buddhism has been transformed by its entry into that culture." -- Arnold Toynbee

"My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims." -- Dalai Lama

"The Dalai Lama seemed genuinely enthusiastic about the foreigners who had recently come to Buddhism; he said he thought Americans and other Westerners had an affinity for Buddhism because they didn't believe anything until it was proven. The Buddha, he reminded me, told people not to follow anything blindly, for Buddhism is not based on belief so much as rational experiment. If, like a scientist, you replicated the Buddha's experiment, you should get the same good results -- enlightenment." -- Lama Surya Das

I found these quotes while reading Michael Shermer's review of the Dalai Lama's book, The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality. Coincidently, I am currently reading Lama Surya Das's book, Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World. I recently re-read Stephen Batchelor's masterful and life-altering book, Alone with Others: An Existential Approach to Buddhism.


Why do we stick to our bad habits? Why do so many people ignore public warnings and advertisements about the dangers of smoking, drinking alcohol, overeating, stressing out and otherwise persist in habits and behaviours that we know aren't good for us? According to a University of Alberta researcher it's because we aren't getting at the underlying reasons of why we persist in bad habits or risky behaviour.


It's been shown that high IQs protect kids from traumatic events. A new U.S. study has found that children who are more intelligent than their peers at age 6 were less likely to experience traumatic events by age 17 and, if they did, were less likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Paul Harris discusses Daniel Goleman's new book, Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships and asks, "How Do You Measure People Skills?" Harris writes,
Goleman's new book, Social Intelligence, has two themes. First, he situates emotional intelligence much more explicitly in the context of interpersonal relations. If the hallmark of the emotionally intelligent is awareness and regulation of the self, the hallmark of the socially intelligent is awareness of, and sensitivity toward, other people. Second, he ties his proposals concerning social intelligence to the burgeoning field of social neuroscience.
Goleman is no stranger to Buddhism, the author of such books as Healing Emotions: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Mindfulness, Emotions, and Health (2003) and The Sanity We Are Born With: A Buddhist Approach to Psychology (2005, co-authored with Chogyam Trungpa).


Ryan McReynolds is an accidental Buddhist.


Lin Jensen describes the mind that dwells nowhere. He writes,
Although worry is typically an anxious effort to prepare for some future event, a worried mind is not a ready mind. It’s too busy planning ahead. I sometimes fret over the violence that marks our species, turning us against one another. But no matter how serious and justified this worry of mine might be, it won’t help when the time comes to act. Even the best strategies and plans, as fit for an anticipated occasion as they might seem, get in the way when discrete momentary choice and action are required. This exact moment is forever the time for a beginner’s mind, the mind that dwells nowhere.

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