In his book, , written 1961, Thomas Merton describes the nature and essence of Zen, mostly in the first chapter. He also examines various Christian monastic traditions in order to show us the similarities and differences in the search for mystical experience across cultures and religions. The following comments, based on quotes from his book, illustrate that he […]

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The Diamond Sutra is one of the most historically important texts in Buddhism, in part because a copy of it is the oldest surviving dated printed book in the world (868 A.D.). Also known by its Sanskrit title Vajracchedika, the Diamond Sutra states that something is what it is only because of what it is not. […]

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Chögyam Trungpa was one of the important exponents of Buddhism to western students. The 14th Dalai Lama said about Trungpa in 1981: “Exceptional as one of the first Tibetan lamas to become fully assimilated into Western culture, he made a powerful contribution to revealing the Tibetan approach to inner peace in the West.” Biography Chögyam Trungpa […]

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I have argued in an earlier post that it is hard to define what the subject really is. The following dialog from the Buddhist tradition shows that a materialist interpretation does not work. It is also not possible to find the identity of the subject in a  particular collection of  elements, as the chariot example […]

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This is the quintessential Buddhist text. It was written in the first century CE, and the earliest record of a copy of the sūtra is a 200-250CE Chinese version attributed to the monk Zhi Qian. Translation by George Boeree. Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, meditating deeply on Perfection of Wisdom, saw clearly that the five […]

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It is the Holy Eightfold Path, namely, Right Belief [understanding the truth about the universality of suffering and knowing the path to its extinction], Right Aspiration [a mind free of ill will, sensuous desire and cruelty], Right Speech [abstaining from lying, harsh language and gossip],
Right Conduct [avoiding killing, stealing and unlawful sexual intercourse], Right Means of Livelihood [avoiding any occupation that brings harm directly or indirectly to any other living being], Right Endeavor [avoiding unwholesome and evil things], Right Memory [awareness in contemplation], Right Meditation.

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Even when confronted with poor ingredients, there is no negligence whatsoever; even when faced with scanty ingredients, one exerts oneself. Do not change your mind in accordance with things. Whoever changes his mind in accordance with things, or revises his words to suit the person [he is speaking to], is not a man of the way. That you still do not grasp the certainty of this principle is because your thinking scatters, like wild horses, and your emotions run wild, like monkeys in a forest.

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