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Episode 128 - The Middle Way

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Release Date: 02/07/2022

Episode 149 - Friendship and Buddhism show art Episode 149 - Friendship and Buddhism

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

With stories of yogis who spent years practicing alone in isolated mountain caves, it might seem like Buddhism promotes a solitary path. But in reality, Buddha spoke many times of the importance of good friends. Friends that are a good influence on us are essential to our well-being and spiritual development. Once, Ananda said to the Buddha that good friends are half the Holy Life. Buddha replied, “No, Ananda, having good friends isn’t half of the Holy Life. Having good friends is the whole of the Holy Life.”    Buddha also said, “it is better to go alone” than to have...

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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

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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

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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

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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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The Buddha sometimes spoke in metaphor to convey very deep and complex truths. In this episode, we examine a beautiful verse that describes how we can attain freedom from suffering and difficulties. In particular, the episode is devoted to understanding the meaning of eternalism and nihilism. This refers to avoiding the extremes of eternalism and nihilism. This wisdom of the Middle Way avoids the extremes of thinking things exist inherently or eternally (i.e., the way things normally appear to us) as well as the other extreme of thinking nothing exists (nihilism). We begin by examining emptiness, which describes how our reality does exist. Emptiness means that nothing exists inherently, eternally, concretely, independently of its causes, conditions, name, etc. The practical application of this is to not readily accept how things appear to us— good, bad, fortunate, unfortunate. Things in our reality don’t exist in a fixed way. We don't fall under the spell of believing that the experiences and people in our life are inherently good or bad.

 

But things do exist! Buddhism teaches us to avoid a nihilistic view that thinks nothing exists. We do exist, with a name, a body, and ways that we function. Our self and all things exist in dependence upon causes and conditions. Understanding that things are empty, we can change the label we give something, and it changes. We can change the label from “They are a BAD person” to “they are a suffering person,” and the person appears very different. We can also change the way things function. As a person, we can start to function more compassionately, more kindly, or with more integrity, and the ways things appear to us will also change. Because our whole reality is empty, we can change the label of things in our lives or the way we function, and the things that appear in our lives will change. Changing the way we function will greatly impact the names others give us too, HA!

 

Buddha spoke these words 2,500 years ago:

 

Having killed 

Mother, father, 

Two warrior kings, 

A kingdom and it's subjects

The brahmin, undisturbed, moves on. (295)* 

 

Having killed 

Mother, father, 

Two learned kings, 

And a tiger, 

The brahmin, undisturbed, moves on. (295)* 

--Buddha,The Dhammapada 

 

If we insert the meaning of the metaphors, it roughly means:

Having killed 

Craving, conceit 

Views of eternalism and nihilism

And doubt

The spiritual person, undisturbed, moves on from all suffering. 

 

According to Gil Frondsdale, the translator of the Dhammapada we are referencing:

 

 “Mother” refers to craving, “father” to conceit. “ The two warrior kings to metaphysical views of eternalism and nihilism, the kingdom to the twelve sense spheres (āyatana), and the subjects of the kingdom to the passion for pleasure dependent on the sense spheres. “A tiger” is a translation of veyyagghapañcamaṃ, literally, “with a tiger as fifth” or “that of which its fifth element pertains to tigers.” The DhpA commentary describes this as referring to either the five hindrances (sensual desire, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and anxiety, and doubt) or just to the fifth hindrance, doubt.”

 

References and Links

 

Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 75-76 and glossary 295* (Link)

 

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=294