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Episode 125 - Making Positive Habits Stick, The Buddhist Way

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Release Date: 12/31/2021

Episode 148 - Mindfulness for a Happy Life show art Episode 148 - Mindfulness for a Happy Life

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Mindfulness can be used to train the mind: to make the mind more peaceful and see your world differently. Mindfulness, in this way, is used to remember things we’ve learned and intend to put into practice. For example, we may have heard the teaching to gather all blame into one--our mental afflictions. We might agree that there are no external problems or enemies; our problems come from our mental afflictions, such as anger, attachment, ignorance, pride, or greed. To practice mindfulness, we could then determine to recall this wisdom when we start to get angry or upset. Mindfulness is used...

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Episode 147 - Be Grateful To Everyone show art Episode 147 - Be Grateful To Everyone

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

The practice of Lojong has the literal translation of “mind training.” The great Buddhist master Atisha taught mind training over 1,000 years ago in the form of slogans. These 59 slogans are designed to be practiced in the hustle and bustle of daily life to retrain our minds in the ways of peace, compassion, wisdom, and bodhicitta (the wish to attain enlightenment for the sake of all living beings.) In this episode, JoAnn Fox focuses on the 13th slogan, “Be grateful to everyone.”   Be grateful to everyone. Who does everyone include?  Grateful to those who lift us up Grateful...

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Episode 146 - Caring For Our Parents show art Episode 146 - Caring For Our Parents

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

The Buddha taught that certain factors strengthen the karmic results of our actions. One example is that the effects of actions we do toward certain types of people are intensified because of their special relationship to us and the benefits we receive from them. Our parents are one of these types of people, since we have received so much help from them in the past. Buddha, therefore, advised that we try to take care of our parents and cherish them as much as we can. In this episode, JoAnn Fox relates the teachings on this subject in a way that can also begin to heal our experience of our...

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Episode 145 - The Nature of The Mind show art Episode 145 - The Nature of The Mind

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

The word enlightenment is a translation of two Pali words that mean “awakened” and “freed from all fetters.” To become enlightened then means we wake to the true nature of reality, and we free our mind from all the shackles of the delusions, like ignorance, anger, and attachment. The basic nature of the mind is purity. No matter how troubled or deluded someone’s mind is currently, their basic nature is purity. In this episode, we try to get an understanding and an experience of the basic nature of the mind: purity, clarity, and awareness.    “The deep, peaceful clarity of...

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Episode 144 - How To Turn The Other Cheek show art Episode 144 - How To Turn The Other Cheek

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Many of the great religious leaders have asked us to practice non-retaliation, to turn the other cheek, and practice nonviolence. The Buddha explained that non-retaliation is not only important for the person who harms us, but for the protection of our self. Buddha once said that if you throw burning coal at someone, you will definitely get burnt. In the same way, when we retaliate in our mind by harboring resentment, we experience that harm by drawing out the suffering we experience. If we retaliate verbally or physically, we create negative karma that will cause us to suffer again in the...

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Episode 143 - Right Thinking show art Episode 143 - Right Thinking

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

This episode is the last of a three part series on the ten nonvirtuous actions, and the focus is on actions of mind. Actions of mind you say! Yes, actions of mind do create karma. In fact, mental actions are continuously creating our reality. Our mind can create a heaven or a hell right on earth. Our mind can also create a happy life—or at least 80% happier.   Nonvirtuous actions of mind: covetousness ill will Wrong view   Finding fault in what’s not at fault  And seeing no fault in what is,  Those who take up wrong views  Go to a bad rebirth. (318)   ...

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Episode 142 - Mindful Speech show art Episode 142 - Mindful Speech

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

  When the Buddha explained the ten nonvirtuous actions to abandon, four are devoted to our speech. Our words are an incredibly powerful tool; they can build ourselves and others up. Or they can tear ourselves and others down. In a sentence they can destroy a relationship, friendship, or employment; such is the power of our speech. In fact, a mindfulness practice of purifying our speech is one that can change our lives completely.    The Four Nonvirtous Action of Speech Lying Divisive speech Harsh speech  Idle chatter    5 Factors of Right Speech: Is it true?...

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Episode 141 - Body Karma show art Episode 141 - Body Karma

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Buddha explained the Ten Nonvirtuous Actions as a way to guide our actions of body, speech, and mind. "Nonvirtuous" means that it brings suffering to us in the future by way of negative karmic results. Yet it is easy to be confused about what is nonvirtuous if everyone around us is doing it or if our society sanctions it. That is why we are encouraged in Buddhism to bring the light of awareness to our actions. To see, in the light of our own wisdom, if our actions are helpful or harmful. The daily mindfulness practice JoAnn Fox suggests begins by contemplating what unskillful actions of body...

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Episode 140 - Happiness Training show art Episode 140 - Happiness Training

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Where we place our thoughts is how we produce happiness, calm, and peace. The real trap we're all in is believing that we will be happy when_______. Think about how many times we've said this: "I'll be happy when I get my own room. I'll be happy when I can drive. I'll be happy when I can move out. I'll be happy when I can move back in. When I graduate college, I'll be happy, and when I get that great job. I'll be happy when I get married. I'll be happy when I get divorced. I'll be happy when I have kids. I'll be happy when these kids finally leave. I'll be happy when I retire." We're always...

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Episode 139 - How To Purify Bad Karma show art Episode 139 - How To Purify Bad Karma

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

There is a way to purify negative karma! Phew. Buddha taught the Four Powers of Purification. The first power is healthy regret. This type of regret stands in contrast to guilt. Healthy regrets teaches us that we should try to not be angry or unkind to ourselves when we experience regret. Regret makes us naturally desire not to repeat that action and the harm we caused. The second power of purification is applying remedies. In this episode, JoAnn Fox shares a traditional method for applying remedies, reciting the mantra of Vajrasattva, Buddha of Purification (see the mantra below.) The third...

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The Buddha taught that small, good karmic actions lead to great results in the future, a powerful motivation for making even small positive changes in our lives. In this episode we look at the Four Powers of Effort, a process for making positive changes last. 1,200 years ago, the Buddhist Master Shantideva offered this Buddhist approach to lasting change and building confidence in his Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. The Four Powers of Effort are guiding principles to reaching a goal by aspiring to who you want to become, creating a joyful process for change, and steadfastly sticking to it. The Buddha said that “with effort we have all attainments,” meaning we can do anything we aspire to with enough effort—even attain enlightenment! 

 

The Four Powers of Effort

  1. Aspiration. A strong wish is fundamental for accomplishing an important goal. How can we best create a strong wish and harness the power of it fir change?  By visualizing the future self. We decide who we want to become and visualize it, preferably in the quiet of meditation. We imagine what this new identity feels like, what they do each day, and the positive effects they have on others and our selves. For example, if we aspire to meditate every day, we imagine becoming a meditator, the newfound peace, and less anxiety. Or you might imagine becoming a fit and healthy person, and you visualize a future self that exercises most days of the week, feels light in your body, enjoys active pleasures like biking with friends or hiking. 

 

A shift in identity will follow changing our habits, but choosing who we want to become helps us understand what processes we need to adopt in order to become that person. (Emptiness of the self at work here!). The most powerful wishes come when the outcome is meaningful to us and is an expression of our values. Living in accordance with our values is a path toward happiness. Engaging in the positive process is a type of success that can reliably bring us satisfaction. External success may or may not be achieved. External success may not deliver the happiness we believed it would, but acting in accordance with our values will bring us peace whatever the outcome. Outcomes are invariably unpredictable, but good will come if we make positive changes.

 

“Identity change is the North Star of habit change” —James Clear

 

  1. Steadfastness. What is the smallest, most manageable step you can take in the next 24 hours to move in the direction of your goal? Very clearly identify the first step, according to your capacity. Plan the step for the following day, and even at a certain time and place. Make the plan specific. The plan, “I will meditate tomorrow” is less likely to be fulfilled than: “I will meditate tomorrow morning after I have my coffee while still sitting at the kitchen table.” Try to make one small step toward reaching your new identity each day. If we diligently put these planned steps into action, from this steadfastness will come a newfound confidence. We will eventually be confident in our new identity because we have performed this activity steadfastly over a period of time. 

 

  1. Joy. Try to make the plan for change a joyful one. We won’t do what makes us suffer for very long! Adopting new habits will be challenging, but the experience can’t be very unpleasant. The spiritual path should be a joyful one if we are practicing correctly. Try to make your plan for change as easy and pleasant as possible, like setting out your meditation cushion the night before if you intend to meditate in the morning. 

 

  1. Rest. Rest is a power of effort. Plan to take rest and have a break. Also, when we have an unexpected rest (when we diverge from our plan or slip up,  don't feel that you have failed, you just needed a little rest from all that willpower!) Steadfastness means we are going in the direction of our dreams, not that we are perfect.

 

From Atomic Habits by James Clear:

I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]. 

Meditation. I will meditate for one minute at 7 a.m. in my kitchen. 

Studying. I will study Spanish for twenty minutes at 6 p.m. in my bedroom. 

Exercise. I will exercise for one hour at 5 p.m. in my local gym. 

Marriage. I will make my partner a cup of tea at 8 a.m. in the kitchen.

 

If by giving up small pleasures great happiness is to be found, 

the wise should give up small pleasures 

seeing (the prospect of) great happiness. (Verse 290)

—Buddha, The Dhammapada

 

Apply for a free life coaching session:

To apply for a complimentary 30-minute life coaching session with JoAnn Fox (for the first 5 that apply in December) visit https://buddhismforeveryone.com/coaching 

References with Links

Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=290

 

Clear, J. (2018). Atomic Habits. Avery. https://www.amazon.com/Atomic-Habits-Proven-Build-Break-ebook/dp/B07D23CFGR/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1QMEEZSP01C91&keywords=atomic+habits+james+clear&qid=1640962723&s=books&sprefix=Atomic%2Cstripbooks%2C142&sr=1-1