söndag 28 juni 2009

The concept of Dukkha or "Curing pain"...


I don't think we cure our pain by any kind of speculation.

We cure our pain by feeling it as it is, not adding to it and not trying to make it stop. The pain of loss is just what it is. We feel it and then we move on.


This is where i write about dukkha, the "dissatisfaction of things".
I sometimes explain dukkha something like this.

Samsara is when you put the knuckles of your hands together.
Nirvana is when you put the palms of your hands together.
Dukkha is when you move your hands.

What Brad Warner says in the quote is one of the fundamental teachings of Buddhism, although in his own "special" manner.
He often puts things in a perspective and is enjoyable to read, although some may find him somewhat "disturbing"...
Which very neatly points out the emphasis of the texts written above...

May the force be with you

lördag 27 juni 2009

Burning the Buddha


Americans like to refer to one of the old Zen stories about how a master took a wooden Buddha image, chopped it up, and made a fire, warming himself by its flames. Seeing this, a monk asked, "What are you doing, setting fire to the Buddha?"

The master replied, "Where is Buddha?"

The opposite goes on in America. In America we want to burn the Buddha images to begin with. You see, that monk was stuck on the form. In America, we are antiform, so the pointing goes in another direction. If you're attached to neither existence nor nonexistence, you manifest a sixteen-foot golden Buddha in a pile of rubbish, appearing and disappearing.
-–John Daido Loori in Essential Zen

A very thoughtful text.
Dont separate hot and cold, no extremes.

May the force be with you

fredag 26 juni 2009

Bookreview: Jag vet inte


Jan Bärmark is an University lecturer in scientific theory at the university of Gothenburg. He is also an practising Tibetan Buddhist and has published many articles and books in a variety of subjects.
This review is on his latest publishment, the book "jag vet inte" (I don't know). Sadly to say it is at the moment only available in swedish (and not even that as it isn't really published yet...)

It contains a lot of short essays on the a variety of things, from rhetoric and feelings to the differences between the theoretical and practising Buddhist.
Although he, in the introduction of the book, claims that "the central theme of the book is the dialogues central role in the exploration of reality and in the understanding of ourselves" almost all the texts touches something contained within the Buddhist sphere,and contains a sort of buddhist message.
The main emphasis in the buddhist section is on the western buddhism and on the tibetan buddhism. He explores it from a somewhat different angle than that of the ordinary buddhist writer, he is exploring it with the eyes of a researcher.
It also sontains an personal exposee of the author on many levels, a sort of "how it all fits together" according to the author.
Altogether this is not to say that he is advocating a certain viewpoint. It's more in the character of "i'm giving you my two cents, now think for yourself".

Although some of the texts may be a bit arduous for the novice in the subject at hand, it is an book that is easy to read, and will put a smile on your face on more than one occasion. "Humour is", as Bärmark puts it, "a medicine for a thinking that is idling", and he makes good use of it.

May the force be with you

Buddhism and secterianism


Today we have an text on sects and secterianism.

The historical question of how sects and sectarianism arose in Buddhism is fascinating.
One of the best authors on the subject that I have read so far is Sukumar Dutt- "Buddhist monks and monasteries: their history and contribution to indian culture".

Of course in the beginning there was no sectarianism.
There was just the "sangha of the four quarters" that included all those who took refuge.

Buddha left home and became a member of the wandering home-leavers, the mendicants or spiritual almsmen (bhikku), whose social position was itself an institution without walls in the Indian culture.
By polite reference the wanderers and mendicants (bhikkus) were called samanas (or sramanas). The samanas would congregate around well known teachers (sattha). Siddhartha Gotama studied under two such satthas of reknown. Dutt explains,

When two wanderers meet casually on the wayside, the customary questions asked of one another for mutual recognition are : 'Who , sir, is your Master (Sattha)? Whose Dhamma (system of spiritual culture) do you find most agreeable to you (rocesi)? What is the Dhamma you have adopted? (From Buddhist Monks and Monasteries of India, p. 46)

Thus there were no sects per se, but there were networks of followers of one Master (Sattha) or Dhamma or another. The wandering almsmen (bhikkus) and women (bhikkunis) would follow a teacher as long as their dhamma was agreeable and if they found it lacking they could find another teacher whose Dhamma was more agreeable.
This was the same pattern that Siddhatha followed.

When Gotama Buddha became a teacher himself, he became known as a Great Master (Mahasattha) and more and more wanderers found his Dharma to be agreeable to them forming a network of samanas around him.

To outsiders this group was known as he 'Ordained Followers of the Sakyaputta' (Sakyaputtiya Samanas), but the group called itself by the simple name, the 'Union of Bhikkus' (Bhikkhu-sangha).(Id at p. 36)

During the lifetime of Gotama Buddha, the Bikkhu sangha was not sectarian by design. Buddha was not in the business of collecting followers and there are famous instances where he told someone not to leave his own teacher even if the person found Buddha's dharma agreeable.
To Buddha, true to his samana roots, it was the Dharma that was important, not belonging to one group of wanderers or another, even those who were the followers of his dharma.

In the tradition of wandering samanas, they would take off from their homeless wandering lifestyle during the monsoon rainy season. At this time Buddha and his followers, ie. the Union of Bhikkus, also would find shelter for the three months of the rainy season.
During the rain retreat period (vassa) the Bhikku sangha would shelter together and share discussions about the Buddha's Dharma. After Buddha's decease, of course the tradition continued. Bhikkus from all over would congregate annually each at a different retreat location (either the monk-built avasa dwellings or the donated arama dwellings) and share stories and report the sayings of the Buddha that were known to them.
But at the end of the rain retreat they would again scatter and regroup the next year but there would be no continuity between the members of the collective during the rain retreat.

Gradually over time, two traditions developed that led to sectarianism in the general sence among the Union of Bhikkus. First, Bhikkus began returning to the same rain retreat location year after year, and second the rain retreats became extended to year0round locations.
In other words, the temporary abode (vihara) as any rain retreat location (avasa or arama) of the wandering Bhikku became the continuous abode of the settled Bhikku. The wandering Union of Bhikkus became a settled Order of Bhikkus.

During this multi-century process of change the familiarity of continuous congregation led to the shared collective of stories and interpretation of the Dharma and the familiarity of associations that became Buddhist sects. After a time, only the familiar Bhikkus of one rain retreat location became the recognized members of that location and would be welcomed unconditionally at the next rain retreat by those who stayed at the location throughout the year.
The group of Bhikkus sharing the same retreat location came to be known as "co-dwellers" and the Bhikkus who were strangers to that location were called "separate-dwellers" and were allowed to stay conditionally during the rain retreat but they were given the lesser allotments and accommodations and only allowed to stay during the rain retreat. If they came to a location outside of the rain retreat they could often stay for only three or so days.

This is the source of the early Buddhist division of the "18 Schools" of which the Theravada school is the only remaining and continuing heir. As the Bhikkus ceased their wandering lifestyle and divorced themselves from the wider community and institution of the wandering samamns they also became more insulated from each other and the influence of other views generated by the influx of new faces each rainy season retreat.
The new faces of unknown Bhikkus became seen as "separate-dwellers" and their specific code of conduct became something unknown and a little suspect as well. Thus the primary allegiance to the Dharma as the central cement of the wandering Bhikkus became the allegiance to the rules of the Dharma-vinaya of the settled Bhikkus.

According to Dutt, the original declaration of faith of the Pattimokkha was a declaration of faith in the Dharma as stated in the Dhammapada verses 183 and 184 in reverse order.

This original Patimokkha of the Bhikkus is described in the Mahapadna Suttanta (Digha Nikaya 13). It is not the recital of a code of offences against the rule and regimen of monastic life, but a congregational chanting by assembled Bhikkus of a confession of faith; it is not a regularized fortnightly function, but a rite held only in six years. The confession of faith itself is a summing-up of the fundamental Sasana (Injunctions) of the religion. In this formulated form it must have been current among the Bhikkus since the early days of the Sangha, for it occurs among the verses of the Dhammapada:

Khanti paramam tapo titikahha
Nibbanam paramam vadanti Buddha;
Na hi pabbajitoparupaghati,
No samano hoti param vihethyanto (v. 184).
Sabba-papassa akaranam, kusalassa upasampada,
Sacitta-pariyodapanam, etam Buddhana sasanam (v. 183).

(Tr.-- Forbearance of Patience is the highest kind of penance--and Nibbana is declared to be he highest (object) by the Buddhas--for he is never a mendicant who hurts others and he is not a Samana who molests others.
Abstinence from all evils, accumulation of all that is good, and purification of one's own mind--this is the injunction of the Buddhas.) (p. 66-67)

Thus the original and archaic Patimokkha established the cohesion of the Bhikku sangha in the "Dhamma of the Sakyaputtiyas" (as the Bhikkus came to be called) not in the elaborate enunciation of rules. Each of the "18 Schools" (there were in fact more schools than 18, but for some reason this was an historical label for the various Buddhist schools of the pre-Mahayana period) not only developed its similar but distinct formulation of the rules, they also adopted their similar but distinct cannon collections of texts, first orally and then in writing (none of which was originally written in Pali or Sanskrit).

It was over the hundreds of years in the process of the Bhikku sangha becoming a settled order that the cohesion of the Dhamma became supplanted by the cohesion of rules, that the wandering life was given up for the life of settled monasteries, and that the sharing of stories of the Buddha's teaching became an adopted canon.
Once this process was more or less complete, the sectarianism of the 18 schools was clear.
Each school found the members of another school to be "separate-dwellers" and not part of their own familiar group of Bhikkus and the canon that it adopted and revered. As a shool's particular canon and its particular set of disciplinary rules (vinaya) became the standards of measuring one's orthodoxy, the sectarian rivalry became more and more pronounced.

It was in this context of sectarianism that the Mahayana movement developed in large part as a non-sectarian reaction to what was perceived as a narrow doctrinairian orthodoxy.

Today, we can observe how our all too human propensity toward sectarian views has entered the Mahayana and attempted to establish sects within the Mahayana movement.
There is a thread of continuity within the Mahayana that holds firmly to the non-sectarian context and that is One Vehicle (Ekayana) movement which was developed in India in the Ekayana sutras of the Lankavatara, the Avatamsaka, The Saddharma Pundarika, and the Mahayana Parinirvana and was outlined and systemitaized in the treatise Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana.

- "Gregory wonderwheel"- moderator "zen forum international"

But to quote the Lankavatara Sutra:
“The recognition of the one vehicle is obtained when there is no rising of discrimination by doing away with the notion of grasped and grasping and by abiding in the reality of suchness.”

And Yoda (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back):

"No! No different! Only different in your mind. "

Although it may seem like the different sects teach different things, the goal is the same, and the way is the same, because the goal is the way. So there really is no difference, there is only one dharma...

May the force be with you

torsdag 25 juni 2009

Bookreview: Zen master Raven


Robert Aitken has practiced Buddhism for more than half a century. He is an American Zenmaster (now “retired”), a writer and teacher of vast reputation.
His beginning as a Buddhist resulted from being a prisoner of the Japanese in the Second World War, where he met R. R. Blythe and D. T. Suzuki as fellow inmates.
When he came back to america after the war he met Nyogen Senzaki, with whom he continued to study Buddhism. Aitken has returned to Japan on several occasions to study for a number of masters including Haku'un Yasutani.
He has written more than than 10 books on Buddhism, and resides on Hawaii.

In the book Zen master Raven he takes up the koan tradition in a different setting, through the stories of animals.
We have the beginners, Mallard and Mole, teachers-in-training, Porcupine, and masters, Master Brown Bear and Zen Master Raven. But also animals such as Stag sensei, teaches karate, Reverend Crane, preaches Christianity, and Owl who complains about the difficulties of balancing the pursuit of enlightenment with the demands of a career.
He uses the animals in an own accord, each animal portraying a special kind of "character".

Relaxing with the others after zazen one evening, Owl asked,"What is the spirit of the practice?"
Raven said,"Inquiry".
Owl cocked his head and asked, "What do I inquire about?"
Raven said, "Good start."

The usage of animal imagery in the Buddhist literary tradition is widespread. Animal imagery plays a central role in some of the earliest Indian sources. Examples include the Khaggavisana Sutta, advocating world-renunciation by portraying the itinerant lifestyle of the early bhikku as the lonely wandering of the rhinoceros. Likewise in the jataka tales, animals often appear, but here not only as fables, but as episodes in the previous lives of the Buddha himself.

In Zen Master Raven, through a series of brief Koanstyle conversations/talks between masters and students, we are taken through the career of Master Raven, beginning with his studies under Master Brown Bear, and his foundation of a small but vital Zen community.
As leader of this community, he provides guidance to an array of different creatures in a variety of topics.
In the final episodes, Raven retires from his role as teacher, leaving the community in the capable hands of his disciple, Master Porcupine.

If you have ever read any animalfables, you will love this book.
If you enjoy koans, so much better.
It draws admirable upon both the traditions, making it an book for all to enjoy.

May the force be with you

Bookreview: shinji shobogenzo


Product Description
When the thirteenth century master Eihei Dogen, one of the most influential thinkers in Zen Buddhism and founder of the Japanese Soto school, returned to Japan after four years of study in China, the fruit of his pilgrimage was recorded in a collection of koans called the Chinese Shobogenzo, also known as Shinji or Mana Shobogenzo. This collection of three hundred main cases was first published in 1766 under the title Shobogenzo Sambyakusoku (Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Three Hundred Cases), and was known to have provided the raw material for much of Dogen's better known Japanese-language Kana Shobogenzo. Dogen's collection of koans may come as a surprise to students of Zen as Dogen and the Soto school are generally known for the practice of shikantaza, or "just sitting," rather than for koan practice. Nevertheless, a careful study of Dogen's work reveals that he did use koans extensively in his writing and teaching, not only in the Kana Shobogenzo, but most of his other works as well.

There is two different versions available of the Shinji shobogenzo. One translation made by John Daido Loori and Kazuaki Tanahashi and a translation made by Master Gudo Nishijima. Both are translations of the same anthology, that of Dogen's 301 koan stories. Master Nishijima adds a brief comentary to each koan and points out what he consideres the heart of the koan, Master Loori adds a comment, verses and notes to each koan.
Master Loori's book uses an "easier/more free" language than Master Nishijima, but Master Nishijima is perhaps more accurate in his translation of the text.

Those things considered I find them very good on their own accord, but even better in tandem. What Master Nishijima misses, Master loori brings to the surface and vice versa.

Master Loori version

Master Nishijima version

May the force be with you

In the middle


Life is endless. We are all in the very middle of it. We alone are responsible. There is no way out except through it.

–Ajahn Sumano Bhikkhu with Emily Popp, from Meeting the Monkey Halfway

As a very good friend of mine always says,The goal is "here".
But is there an "there"?
And can there be a middle without anything surrounding it?
There is a famous koan which states "please hand that one to me"...

Yaoshan's "this Buddha, That Buddha"

Monastic Zun was at the assembly of yaoshan and was the head altar attendant.
While he was bathing Buddha images, Yaoshan asked him, "have you bathed this one or have you bathed that one?"
Zun said, "please hand that one to me."
Yaoshan stopped.

- Case 86, Dogen's true dharma eye

And it is a very important point.

May the force be with you

tisdag 23 juni 2009

The concept of "our nature"


After you wake up you probably open the curtains and look outside. You may even like to open the window and feel the cool morning air with the dew still on the grass. But is what you see really "outside"? In fact, it is your own mind. As the sun sends its rays through the window, you are not just yourself. You are also the beautiful view from your window. You are the Dharmakaya.
Dharmakaya literally means the "body" (kaya) of the Buddha's teachings (Dharma), the way of understanding and love. Before passing away, the Buddha told his disciples, "Only my physical body will pass away. My Dharma body will remain with you forever." In Mahayana Buddhism, the word has come to mean "the essence of all that exists." All phenomena--the song of a bird, the warm rays of the sun, a cup of hot tea--are manifestations of the Dharmakaya. We, too, are of the same nature as these wonders of the universe.

--Thich Nhat Hanh, Present Moment, Wonderful Moment
From Everyday Mind

This raises an important question, Who are "you"?

Well, his holiness the dalai lama has an interesting answer...

I don’t know the exact position of these Jain schools, but in Buddhism there are two assertions. One assertion is that when you attain nirvana [liberation], then for the rest of that lifetime, the body continues [as do the mind and the self labeled on the continuum of both.] This is known as “nirvana with residue.” But once those appropriated aggregates [of body and mind] that have been obtained from previous karma cease at the time of death, then [with the end of the body] the continuum of consciousness and the self also cease. This is “nirvana without residue.” So at that point there really is no self any more. [The self has come to an end.]

The other assertion, namely that of general Mahayana Buddhism, however, is that there is no reason for there to be a ceasing of the main consciousness. Thoughts that are based on deceptive and distorted cognition come to an end, since there is the opposing understanding that gets rid of their basis. [Correct understanding and distorted cognition are mutually exclusive and so cannot exist simultaneously in one moment of mind.] But there is nothing similar to this that can oppose the clear light mind. Because of that, [individual] clear light minds have no end, and so a self that is labeled dependently on a clear light mind also has no end. Even though the habits of deceptive cognition can come to an end, there’s no reason why a clear light mind should end. Thus, Buddhism has two positions: one that a self has an end and one that it has no end.


The important question to start with isn't whether "a self" has an end or not.
Its whether there is an beginning and what/where that is...

May the force be with you.

The eneryprinciple


"When you look at a cloud, you think of the cloud as being. Later on when the cloud becomes the rain, you don´t see the cloud anymore and you say that the cloud is not there, and you describe the cloud as non-being. But if you look deeply you can see the cloud in the rain, and that is why it is impossible for a cloud to die. A cloud can become rain, snow or ice, but a cloud cannot become nothing, and that is why the notion of death cannot be applied to reality."

- Thich Nhat Hanh

This one of many principles where Buddhism and modern science coincide, the eneryprinciple.
Nothing disapppears, only transforms.

May the force be with you

The concept of "Living Right "


There are two criteria for right livelihood. First, it should not be necessary to break the five precepts in one's work, since doing so obviously causes harm to others. But further, one should not do anything that encourages other people to break the precepts, since this will also cause harm. Neither directly nor indirectly should our means of livelihood involve injury to other beings. Thus any livelihood that requires killing, whether of human beings or of animals, is clearly not right livelihood.... Selling liquor or other drugs may be very profitable, but even if one abstains from them oneself, the act of selling encourages others to use intoxicants and thereby to harm themselves. Operating a gambling casino may be very lucrative, but all who come there to gamble cause themselves harm. Selling poisons or weapons--arms, ammunition, bombs, missiles--is good business, but it injures the peace and harmony of multitudes. None of these is right livelihood.
Even though a type of work may not actually harm others, if it is performed with the intention that others should be harmed, it is not right livelihood. The doctor who hopes for an epidemic and the trader who hopes for a famine are not practicing right livelihood.
- S. N. Goenka, The Art of Living
From Everyday Mind

(my emphasising)

So to live right it is not enough just to live right by yourself, it is equally important to live life so that others can live right. But who are these "others"?

May the force be with you

The concept of "Right Thought"


"And what, monks, is Right Thought? The thought of renunciation, the thought of non-ill-will, the thought of harmlessness. This, monks is called Right Thought."

--Mahasatipatthana Sutta

If there's a "right thought", what is left thought?

May the force be with you

The concept of "Right action"


"And what, monks, is Right Action? Refraining from taking life, refraining from what is not given, refraining from sexual misconduct. This is called Right Action."

--Mahasatipatthana Sutta: The Greater Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness

So in a sense "Right action is more than just "not doing wrong"...

May the force be with you

The concept of "right speech"


"And what, monks, is Right Speech? Refraining from lying, refraining from slander, refraining from harsh speech, refraining from frivolous speech. This is called Right Speech."

--Mahasatipatthana Sutta: The Greater Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness

So in a sense "Right speech" is more than just "no lying"...

May the force be with you

The concept of Satipatthana


Satipatthana is the practice of “Sati”, the maintaining a constant attention on the here and now and is a part of the the “eightfold path”.
Patthana can be translatated as ”placement” or “attachingpoint”.
So Satipatthana can be translated as “to put the attention “ or “attachingpoint of attention.


Found some comments on how you can approach this text or Sati.

In support of a single-method practice, Analāyo (2006), p. 22, comments:

Several [Pali Canon] discourses relate the practice of a single satipaṭṭhāna directly to realization. Similarly, the commentaries assign to each single satipaṭṭhāna meditation the capacity to lead to full awakening. This may well be why a high percentage of present-day meditation teachers focus on the use of a single meditation technique, on the ground that a single-minded and thorough perfection of one meditation technique can cover all aspects of satipaṭṭhāna, and thus be sufficient to gain realization.

Among those teachers who Analāyo uses to exemplify this teaching method are S. N. Goenka and Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo. While justifying such a practice, Analāyo (2006), p. 23, nonetheless adds this caveat:

Thus any single meditation practice from the satipaṭṭhāna scheme is capable of leading to deep insight.... Nonetheless, an attempt to cover all four satipaṭṭhānas in one's practice ... ensures speedy progress and a balanced and comprehensive development.

Thanissaro (2000) writes:

At first glance, the four frames of reference for satipatthana practice sound like four different meditation exercises, but MN 118 (anapanasati sutta) makes clear that they can all center on a single practice: keeping the breath in mind. When the mind is with the breath, all four frames of reference are right there. The difference lies simply in the subtlety of one's focus. It's like learning to play the piano. As you get more proficient at playing, you also become sensitive in listening to ever more subtle levels in the music. This allows you to play even more skillfully. In the same way, as a meditator get more skilled in staying with the breath, the practice of satipatthana gives greater sensitivity in peeling away ever more subtle layers of participation in the present moment until nothing is left standing in the way of total release.

May the force be with you

The concept of "mindfulness"


There are severeal word in Pali and Sanskrit who are often translated in to the English word mindfulness. These terms mean some different thing, as to why confusion may arise when you discuss mindfulness.

The word that is most often translated into mindfuless is Sati/Smriti, which means “to remember” (non-forgetfulness). It simply means that if we decide for ourselves to attach the mind at our present expecience, we will “remember” to hold it there, instead of letting it slip away.

Other words who also is commonly translated into mindfulness is Manisikara, who is the moment of ”pure perception” just before the mind starts to separate, judge and value. In the western interpretation of mindfulness (within psychology) an large emphasis is put on this.

Appamada/Apramada is about being thorough and calculated in your actions and not act överilat and unskillful. This is also an aspect of mindfulness.

Lastly we have Sampajanna/Samprajana which means to see clearly, to separate (skillful from unskillful).

The ability to stay with your experience , to see it clearly, to separate skillful and unskillful, and to act in a favourable are all aspects of “mindfulness”

May the force be with you

måndag 22 juni 2009

Words and letters...


The role of “words and letters” in Zen has often been misunderstood.
For some students, reading and studying the sutras and the writings of the old masters is seen as anathema in Zen practice.
However, even a cursory reading of Zen history reveals the important role that sutra study (and “words and letters”) has had in Zen practice.
Reading the “words and letters” of the old masters such as Ma-tsu Kiangsi Tao-I (709-788)(P: Mazu Daoyi; J: Baso Do-itsu), Huang-po Hsi-yun (d. 849) (P: Huangbo Xiyun; J: Obaku Ki-un) and even that most iconoclastic master Lin-chi I-hsuan (d. 866) (P: Linji Yixuan; J: Rinzai Gigen) shows their deep and profound understanding of the sutras.
Similarly, in later years Japanese masters such as Dōgen Kigen (1200-1253) and Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769) were well-versed in not only the Buddhist sutras but also the writings of the early masters.

So the question arises, is there such a thing as a “Zen canon”?
Given that Zen masters have traditionally disdained depending on “words and letters”, preferring in many cases to teach via bizarre methods such as hitting, silence, non sequiturs, paradox, or shouting, what role do the writings play in Zen practice?
As Steven Heine and Dale S. Wright point out in the Introduction to The Zen Canon: Understanding the Classic Texts, Zen Buddhism has produced “by far the most voluminous and important canon of sacred texts in East Asia…
The variety [of which] is also extraordinary.” (p 4)

Zen literature began in the late T’ang dynasty (618-907) and continues to modern times (note the voluminous writings of modern Zen teachers such as Robert Aitken and John Daido Loori).
It would not be an exaggeration to say that it is largely due to all these “words and letters” that Zen Buddhism has had such success, both in ancient times and in the modern era.


There is no doubt that the magnitude of “zenlitterature” available has had some importance in the spreading of Zen.
The question is what kind of zen?
Furthermore the massive amount of litterature available isn’t all for the better, some is more of the opposite, but you have to have some bad to have some good…
Or do you?

May the force be with you

What is meditation?


What is Meditation?

To meditate is not to empty the mind and gape at things in a trancelike stupor. Nothing significant will ever be revealed by just staring blankly at an object long and hard enough. To meditate is to probe with intense sensitivity each glimmer of color, each cadence of sound, each touch of another’s hand, each fumbling word that tries to utter what cannot be said.

–Stephen Batchelor, from Buddhism Without Beliefs

In a sense everything you do can be meditation.
Some say everything is, but there's the problem with you.
If you are not present it is not meditation.

May the force be with you

Alan watts on youtube...


A video with Alan watts.
Nuff said.
Just enjoy.


May the force be with you

Who's a buddhist?

from a certain point of view everyone is a Buddhist, from another, no one is...

To paraphrase the Diamond Sutra, Chapter 3...

"Eventually all living beings will be led to Nirvana, and yet, even after all have been liberated, from the perspective of a bodhisattva not even a single being will have actually been liberated."

"Why? Because a bodhisattva does not cling to the arbitrary illusions of form, name or phenomena such as an ego, a personality, a self, a separate person, a separate religious tradition, or a universal self existing eternally..."

This is the basis for the saying that one’s Buddha nature is realized at the moment when the desiring self is no longer a self desiring, even a self desiring to become a buddha.

And that is one of the most fundamental pillars of Buddhism.

May the force be with you


David Carradine


This is for David Carradine.
A master in his own accord

Here's some quotes from the tv serie Kung Fu.

Master Po:

Who can know himself well enough to speak for all? Who is so well founded to hear all? The sage says 'Shape clay into a vessel; cut doors and windows for a room; it is the spaces with which make it useful' So we must listen for the spaces between us.

-- Episode No. 55

Young Caine:

Do evil demons exist?
Master Kan:

Do wars, famine, disease and death exist? Do lust, greed and hate exist? They are man's creation, brought into being by the dark side of his nature.

-- Episode No.46

Master Po:

One cannot feel joy unless one can also feel despair. We have no capacity for Good without an equal capacity for Evil

-- Episode No. 36

Master Po:

The undiscerning mind is like the root of a tree--it absorbs equally all that it touches--even the poison that would kill it.

-- Episode No. 19

Master Kan:

See the Way of life as a stream. A man floats, and his way is smooth. The same man, turning to fight upstream, exhausts himself. To be One with the Universe, each must find his true path and follow it

-- Episode No. 11

Young Caine:

Then life must be always defended?
Master Kan:

The thorn defends the rose. It harms only those who would steal the blossom from the plant

-- Episode No. 4

Caine: Is it good to seek the past, Master Po? Does it not rob the present?

Master Po: If a man dwells on the past, then he robs the present. But if a man ignores the past, he may rob the future. The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past.

-- Episode No. ??

Master Kan:

What frightened you?
Young Caine:

[Awoken from his meditation] I heard the Silence, Master.
Master Kan:

You have experienced Oneness [To help Caine understand Master Kan asks Caine about the silkworm]
Young Caine:

The silkworm dies, the moth lives, yet they are not two separate beings but one and the same.
Master Kan:

It is the same with a man. His false beliefs must die, so that he may know the joy of the Way. What you felt in the Silence is real. Something in you is dying. It is called Ignorance.

-- Episode No. 41

And one for the road.
Master Kan: Quickly as you can, snatch the pebble from my hand.
[Young Caine tries to do so and fails]
Master Kan: When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.


Thoughts on "questions for a Buddhist..."


I got this thought on the questions:

A person possessing myriad answers to all those questions would still not know what its like to be a Buddhist.

Yes and no.
But it would show a myriad answers to those questions.
Depending on the intention, the questions can be good, bad, neither and both.
All on the same time.
Perfectly so, even.


Questions for a buddhist...


I've been asked by a student to answer a couple of questions, and i thought i should post them here.

1. Whats the difference (do you think ) in being a Budhist in sweden and a country Where the religion is "bigger"?

In short you can say that there's as many differences as there are buddhists, wherever they may "live".
But another answer might be something like this.
There is more of them!
Other coutries may have an different Institutionalization of Buddhism with more venues and more historical and cultural roots as opposed working with what is available which gives a ore open "relationship" to the buddhists and their practice.

2. Do you meditate? How does meditation work?
There's an variety of meditation techniques, but they all, more or less strive for you to "see reality as it is" or to "change an situation"

3. Do you know a lot of Buddhists?
Yes and no.
Depending on the answer.

4. How does a regular day look for you?
Like most people, except i may meditate more and be more "aware of things"...

5. According to the Buddhist doctrine, you should avoid drugs and such. How does that work for you?
This question refers to the precept of "not misusing drugs", which implies more than just "alcohol", its implying "all the drugs" in "your life"...

6. Do you visit temples regularly? How does it look there? What do you do in temples?
No, and yes.
Not really any "templebuildings" we're i live (temples here being equalized with christian churches and such).
Yes, everything can be a temple.

7. Is your family Buddhists?
No, yes and yes.
No, my mother and father isn't.
Yes, my wife is.
Yes, since "all is one", in a sence, all are Buddhists...

8. Do you celebrate any holidays? If you do, How?
A list of the holidays.


And here's two "more important" one's...






Not really.
And if i do just doing some meditation, amybe some good food, good talking.
You could say "i" celebrate every "moment"

9. According to the Buddhist doctrine, you should not kill. Does that mean you have to be an vegetarian? If so, how does that work for you?

See blogg.

And you dont have to be a vegetarian to be a Buddhist.

10. Do you try to follow all the "rules" in the Buddhist doctrine? If so, How does that work for you?

There an abundance of rules depending on your tradition/taste.

Some of the more important is

1. No killing
2. No stealing
3. No misusing sexuality
4. No speaking untruth
5. Not misusing drugs

To follow them is somewhat fundamental in todays society...

11. Buddhist struggles to attain nirvana. Many find it weird that buddhists want to disappear insted of live on. How do you, as a Buddhist, view nirvana?

See blog

An disappear?
Buddhists dont "disappear", or do they?

And also, Nirvana is a band that was around in the 90's and still are...

12. How do you find living as a Buddhist in Sweden? Is there any difficulties associated with it?

The hardest part might be that it's not really "accepted" and that people may have an view on Buddism thats not quite consistent with it really is.

But replace difficulties with challenges.
Such is practice.
Sometimes you have to take a step out and meet that challenge by actually doing.

Please write your thoughts on the questions.


A recognition?

On the issue of Buddhas body from the Lotus sutra (the chapter on virtuous conduct).

"His body is neither existing nor non-existing,
Neither caused nor conditioned,
Neither itself nor other,
Neither square nor round,
Neither short nor long."

It does not appear or disappear.
It is nor born and does not die."

"It is neither this nor that,
Neither going nor coming.

Part of recognizing what we are includes the understanding that, in striving to "see" things as they are, we also "create" things as they are.

A fundamental notion is that our understanding shapes the reality which we see.

If we look for a deity or a divine purpose, whether named or unnamed, we will surely “see” one everywhere and in every thing we “wish to”..

However, as Buddhists, recognizing that “seeing” cannot be separated from “creating” allows us not only to see, but also to see through.

Just as we see through water by understanding that water in the ocean can be seen as a palace, a string of pearls, a pool of blood, we see through deities and divine purposes.

Whether they be mere idealizations or speculations which exist solely in our thoughts,or whether they extend further into some unknown realm beyond that of our conceptualization, they too are ultimately non-substantial and impermanent.

If they are not to be obstacles on our path, which we live out in this time and this place, we must understand this.

May the force be with you

A theism?

In Buddhism, we have a strange attitude toward theism and universe ...

I would not call us "theists".

And I would not call us "atheists".
We try to see and experience clearly the deep interconnection of all phenomena of this world, try to taste our birth in sentient form, sense a reason and direction to human life and all of creation.

We are not "theists", for we do not ultimately require or cling to a particular “god” or “gods” to run the show.

That's not to say that we can't if we wish.

One can be a Zen Buddhist or Zennist while a Christian, Muslim, Jew or the like.

Sort of.

We neither require a "god", nor push any “god” away.

Unless it’s it’s an omnipotent allcreating god, as that would crumble some of the foundations of Buddhism, or would it?

We are not "theists", because Buddhism doesn’t take up the issue with a god (unless it’s an omnipotent, allcreating god, or?).

Sure, there’s stories about a lot of gods in Buddhist litterature, but that’s another story...

We are not "atheists", as we do not see things as not being run by something.

It’s simply not the issue.

I sometimes hear our attitude compared to that of innocent babes with a deep trust in this source and world that birthed us, that feeds us and which somehow allows us air to breathe.

In dropping our sense of separate self, we trade our limited perspective (as but tiny cogs, pointlessly spinning) for a vision of the whole "Universal Machine" ...

Perhaps what we have is a deep faith in "God" ...

But without the need or demand to know her name, her story or all that she wishes of us.

We place no demands upon her, even the demand that she be a "God".

Or maybe, we all are “God”?

May the force be with you

Its not about the belt.


There's a story about a village, where they measure how good you are at fighting by the width of your belt.
Some had normal belts, some had wide belts.
Some had belts that went from the ankles up to the elbows.
They could hardly walk, but they were VERY GOOD FIGHTERS.

One day a young man came along.
He had only an rope to hold up his trousers.
The people laughed at him who had such a small belt.
He finally challenged the village to a fight, asking for their best fighter.
The crowd parted, and their best fighter tiptoed out.
His belt was so very broad, he could hardly move, but he was A VERY GOOD FIGHTER.

The fight began and the young man ran behind the figther and gave him an gentle nudge.
The fighter fell like an log, and couldn't move and had to give up the fight.

It's not about the belt.


How you can see the world in a piece of paper...


Think of a piece of blank paper.
What do you need to get a piece of paper?

Well, its made of grinded trees.
Tree's need soil to grow in.
And water to get the strength to grow.
You need a lumberjack, who cuts down the trees.
The lumberjack needs a chainsaw to cut down the tree.
The chainsaw needs components.
You need a factory who manufactures the components.
You need raw material to manufacture the components.
You need somewhere to get the components.
You need someone who gets the components.
You need some food for the workers.
You need...
You need...

Get the picture?
And thats one way how you can see the world in a piece of paper


Happy birthday?


In buddhism there is no such thing as a birthday and at the same time there is.
Sounds shocking?

Here the solution.
In Buddhism there's two realities.
There's the perceived world, were you live and dance and eat and eat your birthdaycake.
Then there's the "world as it is", where everything is at it is, and not necessarily as you think it is.

Take such a thing as time.
It's a human invention, maybe conceived to simplify things, but nonetheless, a human invention.
In the "real world" there may be some thing like time, but i don't know.
What i do "know" is that in my "perceived world" there's time.
And yesterday i had an birthday.

Birthday means that in some distant time, i had an birth, and that day that was some years ago, came again yesterday.
Sounds weird?
According to Buddhism there is no yesterday (well there is but it is now, and that means yesterday is today, but don't separate between hot and cold).
All time is "now" (bad wording, but langauage is limiting...).
And if all time is "now", what about "yesterday" and "tomorrow"?
Is today yesterday tomorrow?
But not as you think...

Thats time, what about birth?
Buddhist doesn't believe in an separate soul, so there is no "separate being being born".
There's plentiful of Buddhist texts pointing this out, most famous is maybe "the Heart Sutra's" "theres no birth, no death""
And if there's no separate being being born, what about birthdays?

Well, there's no separate birth.
No "timeline", so no days.
But we're constantly reborn (buddhists believe in rebirth).
And all time is "now".

So, Happy birthday!


Here and there...


Here in sweden there's an childprogram called "five ants is more than four elephants".
In it they sometimes sing a song about the concept "here" and "there".

Here is where you are.
There is where you are not.
Here is always with you.
Here is always with you.

But in reality both here and there is always with you.
If there were no THERE there would be no HERE...

May the force be with you

What is a Teacher?


I often get the question "What is a teacher?"

A teacher is "something that teaches something to something".

It can be a teacher teaching a student how to read or sit.
It can be a stone teaching you not to kick it because it will hurt if you do.
It can be nothing teaching nothing to nothing.
It can even be me teaching you what a teacher is.

The question is, did i teach you this or did you already know it?

May the force be with you

"Bump in the road"


Today we’ll be talking a little about ”the bumps in our lives”.

Doctor Glas, Hjalmar söderberg

We want to be loved; failing that, admired; failing that, feared; failing that, hated and despised.

At all costs we want to stir up some sort of feeling in others.

Our soul abhors a vacuum.

At all costs it longs for contact.

In buddhism our main goal is somewhat the opposite of this, we want to have as little “Dukkha” as possible.

I have spoken of Dukkha before, saying:

"Samsara is when you have the knuckles of your hand put together.

Nirvana is when your palms of your hand is put together.

Dukkha is when you move your hands.

Dukkha is more related towards “the indifference, incompability of things" than "suffering”."

And this is actually what söderberg is talking about, when he puts forth this classical quote in his novel, from an different perspective.

I talked to a friend of mine the other day, who was having trouble about being “dissed” by some of his “friends”, who did not want to have anything with him to do, basically.

I also have some friends who are having troubles with their parent’s growing old and others just having their life being “hard on them”.

It’ s hard sometimes.

I’m not saying it isn’t but I’m also not saying it shouldn’t be.

It’s all in the practice.

Steve Hagen puts it this way in "Buddhism is not what you think":
"According to the Buddhadharma (the teaching of the awakened), our effort is to live fully and compassionately in this world of muddy water without churning it up all the more.

To do this , we only need to realize that whatever comes our way is already of the whole and cannot be done away with. "

Dogen puts it like this in Shobogenzo Genjokoan:

And though it is like this, it is simply that flowers, while loved, fall; and weeds, while hated, flourish.

Try not to cling to the feeling, even though it’s hard, just live with it.

It is what it is, and maybe not what you think it is.

May the force be with you


(Re)incarnation? II


What happens after we die?
Quite often the Buddha just refused to answer all such questions or you could say he answered with his "noble silence".
He had no concern for what happens after death and/or maybe did not know.
The Buddha is said to have given a few different answers to what happens to a Buddha after death, and one of the most often cited is this:

Ven. Malunkyaputta arose from seclusion and went to the Blessed One.
On arrival, having bowed down, he sat to one side.
As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "Lord, just now, as I was alone in seclusion, this train of thought arose in my awareness: 'These positions that are undeclared, set aside, discarded by the Blessed One... I don't approve, I don't accept that the Blessed One has not declared them to me.
I'll go ask the Blessed One about this matter. If he declares to me that 'The cosmos is eternal,' that 'The cosmos is not eternal,' that 'The cosmos is finite,' that 'The cosmos is infinite,' that 'The soul & the body are the same,' that 'The soul is one thing and the body another,' that 'After death a Tathagata exists,' that 'After death a Tathagata does not exist,' that 'After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist,' or that 'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,' then I will live the holy life under him.
Then I will live the holy life under him.
If he does not declare to me that "The cosmos is eternal,"... etc. or that "After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist," then I will renounce the training and return to the lower life.'

[The Buddha answered]:

"Malunkyaputta, did I ever say to you, 'Come, Malunkyaputta, live the holy life under me, and I will declare to you that "The cosmos is eternal,"... etc. or that "After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,"

"No, lord."

"It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison.
His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short...
Until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored...
Until I know his home village, town, or city...
Until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow...
Until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark...
Until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated...
Until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird...
Until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.'
He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.'
The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.

In the same way, if anyone were to say, 'I won't live the holy life under the Blessed One as long as he does not declare to me that 'The cosmos is eternal,'...
Or that 'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,' the man would die and those things would still remain undeclared by the Tathagata.

So, Malunkyaputta, remember what is undeclared by me as undeclared, and what is declared by me as declared.
And what is undeclared by me? '
The cosmos is eternal,' is undeclared by me. '
The cosmos is not eternal,' is undeclared by me.
'The cosmos is finite'... 'The cosmos is infinite'...
'The soul & the body are the same'...
'The soul is one thing and the body another'...
'After death a Tathagata exists'...
'After death a Tathagata does not exist'...
'After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist'...
'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,' is undeclared by me.

And why are they undeclared by me?
Because they are not connected with the goal, are not fundamental to the holy life.
They do not lead to [non-attachment], dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That's why they are undeclared by me.

-Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta





And why did he refuse to answer the question of what happens after we die?
Because it was not important, and somewhat "already implied" in his teachings (see bold section above).

May the force be with you

Walking into it... II


A man walked into "it".
Said "OW!"
And walked off...

May the force be with you

Walking into it...


A man walked into "it".
Said "Shit!"
And wiped it off.

May the force be with you

Bookreview: visdomens energi


En bokrecension skriven för en tidning, lägger den här så länge...

A bookreview written for a magazine, will be available in english someday...

Visdomens energi

Vilka livsproblem har vi något stressade västerlänningar, och varför är vi så missnöjda med den situation vi lever i?

Visdomens energi är en slags vägvisare till hur lamaismen kan hjälpa att nå ett bättre livssituation. Den är ”skriven” av två lamor från Tibet, Lama Yeshe och Zopa Rinpoche.

Jag säger ”skrivit” för egentligen innehåller den ett urval föreläsningar som gjorts av de bägge under sommaren 1974, då dom var på in första turne i USA, och som senare reviderats och getts ut i bokform. Lagom till dess 25-års jubileum ges nu denna bok ut på nytt.

Boken är fylld med visdom och användbara råd, och kan ses som bra introduktion till nyckelprinciperna inom och lamaismens övningar. Med mycket värme och humor förklarar de hur vi med hjälp av meditation kan bli visare och mer upplysta och få bättre kontroll över våra liv.

Egentligen är det inte en bok utan två, där den första delen handlar om hur man ska ”beträda den andliga vägen”. Där det första kapitlet handlar om varför man ska ägna sig åt dharma. Andra kapitlet om hur man ska närma sig ”dharmastudierna”. Och så vidare om hur man kan försöka förstå orsakerna till lidande, missnöje och hur man ska behärska sinnet.

Man tar upp sådana saker som att sittandetinte är det viktiga, utan utövandet. Dom säger vidare att buddhas lära är enkel och rättfram, men att inte alla kan tillägna/lära sig den. Vidare säger dom att orden och lärorna är av en ringa betydelse, det som är viktigt är din egen upplevelse av dharma.

Del två, eller den andra boken, är i allt väsentligt en ”meditationskurs”, där man tar upp olika övningar, sätt att ”tolka” dom och sätt att dra nytta av dom.

Man börjar med att prata om hur man ska sitta och en enkel bön och ett mantra, för att sedan diskutera vad ”andliga övningar” är så bra för. Man fortsätter sedan med att dsikutera varför det är så bra att ha en kropp samt ett sinne. Hela den andra boken har det här upplägget, man får en meditationsform som sedan diskuteras. Boken avslutas med ett kapitel om varför det är så viktigt att förena dharma med vårt dagliga liv samt en kort ordlista och litteraturlista.

May the force be with you


Bookreview: Brad Warner


En bokrecension skriven för en tidning, lägger upp den här så länge...


A bookreview for a swedish magazine, will be available in english someday...

Två böcker till priset av en

Nämner man Brad Warner får man alltid starka känslor (och ibland starka ord…).

Mannen har kallats ”the pornobuddhist”, han skriver artiklar för suicide girls (http://suicidegirls.com/news/contributors/brad_warner/), en sida som kanske inte kan laddas in om du har ”inteförbarngallringsinställningar” på datorn. Men det går även att läsa dom på hans egen hemsida (http://homepage.mac.com/doubtboy/).

Han föddes 1964, har varit bassist i ett punkband, släppt ett antal egna skivor, blivit en zenpräst inom ”dogen sangha” samt skrivit två böcker,

Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies & the Truth About Reality och Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death, and Dogen's Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye.

Den första, hardcore zen, handlar om hur han kom att bli engagerad i buddhism och tar upp en del av dess viktigare delar. Den andra, sit down and shut up, tar upp Zenmästaren Dogens bok Shobogenzo och med hjälp av den ytterligare ett djupt steg ned i buddhismen.

Han beskriver sitt synsätt som ”no bullshitbuddhism”, vilket i stort speglar hans böcker och artiklar, dom är raka, oftast enkla skrivelser om saker som kan verka svåra.

I den första av böckerna, Hardcore zen, så märks det att han varit med i punkscenen, den är full av referat till punklåtar och punkrelatreade tillfällen. Trots detta är det en mycket bra bok. Brad är snabb i vändningarna, kvick i sitt språk och man har ibland svårt att hålla tillbaka ett leende. I kapitel såsom ”gimme some truth” och “The great heart of wisdom sutra” gör han upp med stora buddhistiska begrepp såsom sanning och hjärtsutran. Ett av de mest refererade kapitlen i boken ”Dont worry, it will come… with enlightenment!” pratar han om ”Kensho” och tar upp en händelse som närmast kan beskrivas som ett ”kenshoögonblick”.

I kapitlet ”In my next life i want to come back as a pair of lucy liu’s pants” gör han upp med frågor kring reinkarnation som han fått. Han framhåller även den åsikt som framhölls av kanja odland-sensei i buddism-nu nr 2-2008 ”vi är alla en”, vilket även genomsyrar delar av hans andra bok, Sit down and shit down.

I “Sit down and shut up” märks det att han har kommit en bit I sin utveckling, både som författare och som buddhist. Språket är mycket bättre och hans framhållning av olika buddhistiska begrepp visar på en större förståelse av buddhismen. Det kan även vara så att han har en annan bok att förhålla sig till hjälper till. Utgångspunkten för ”Sit down and shut up” är Zenmästaren Dogens bok ”shobogenzo”, en bok på uppåt 1200 sidor om zenbuddhism.

I kapitel såsom ”why dogen matters” och ”Genjo koan” förklarar han vikten av dogen och hans skrivelser, både ur en personlig och övrig synvinkel.

I kapitel som ”cleaning up your room” och ”evil is stupid” går han in på vårt eget tillstånd och vad vi måste göra för att förbättra vår situation.

Men han är inte utan kontroverser, i kapitlet ” The day they shot a hole in the jesus egg” går han in på att det närmaste en buddhist har till en ”Gud” är ”universum” själv, vilket har startat ett stort rabalder inom buddhistsiska kretsar och även lett till att människor lämnat hans sangha.

Även fast han kan vara en kontroversiell och ibland provokativ skribent, så har han en hel del poänger. Jag tänkte avsluta med ett refererat ur ”sit down and shut up”:s kapitel Zen and stress management: ”If there’s any single point i dont mind repeating until you’re sick to death of it, it’s that there are never any shortcuts.”

May the force be with you


Bookreview: the hermit and the well


En bokrecension ämnad för en tidning, slänger upp den här så länge.

This is a bookreview for a swedish magasine, putting it up here, for the time being...
It's in swedish, but will be able in english someday...

The hermit and the well

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh är kanske en av dagens mest kända munkar. Han föddes 1926 och blev munk vid 16 års ålder i vietnam. Dock bor han nu i ”plum village” i frankrike eftersom han blev ”banned” av det sittande styret i Vietnam 1966. Han har blivit nominerad till nobels fredspris och har varit med att starta upp rörelsen engagerad buddhism, "engaged Buddhism," vilken vävde ihop traditionella meditativa övningar med aktivt ickevåldsinriktad civil olydnad. Han är också en av de mest producerande författarna i vår, över hundra titlar, inom så skilda områden som budhism, poesi, böneböcker och barnböcker.

“The hermit and the well” är en självbiografisk barnbok enligt baksidetexten. Den handlar om hur en liten pojke följer med sin klass på en tur upp i bergen men bestämmer sig för att leta upp eremiten som bor på berget. Medan han går och letar i skogen så hör han ljudet av vatten, och han finner en liten damm. Törstig som han är dricker han lite och fylls av en outsäglig välmåga.

Många år senare, som en gråhårig man minns han händelsen, och här kommer också ”poängen” med hela historien:

” That was many years ago that i climbed that mountain. Now I am an old man. But the image of the well and the sound of dripping water are still alive inside me. You too have met your hermit. Maybe it was a rock , a tree, a star, or a beautiful sunset.

The hermit is the Buddha in you.”

Även om boken är “självbiografiskt” skriven på ett underbart sätt, så är det inte därför jag tycker den är så bra, utan det är bilderna och bildspråket.

Boken är illustrerad av enVo-Dinh Mai på ett underbart sätt med akvareller som nästan verkar levande.

Detta är inte en bok som ska läsas, den ska upplevas.

May the force be with you

När jag dör vill jag återfödas som en chokladkaka.


Egentligen var detta stycke ämnat som en tidningsartikel, men jag lägger ut den här så länge...

For all the english viewers, i'm sorry this piece is in swedish, it is meant to a piece in a paper, but I'm putting it here for the time being, and it will someday be in english for all viewers pleasure...

När jag dör vill jag återfödas som en chokladkaka.

Reinkarnation är något som ofta diskuteras i buddhistiska kretsar, även om det inte är ngt buddhistiskt i grunden. Vi skall i den här artikeln ta en titt på varför reinkarnation inte finns enligt den buddhistiska trosuppfattningen.

Vi börjar med att fråga oss ”vad är reinkarnation?”

Ordet reinkarnation kommer ifrån latinet och betyder "Åter i köttet". Med reinkarnation menas att komma en gång till, oftast refererande till något som kan likna en ”själ”, att Reinkarneras en andra gång eller tredje eller fjärde eller hundrade gång.

Buddhismen säger att detta sätt att se på saker och ting är helt fel.

Betrakta sedan meningen ”Fu sho- Fu metsu” från hjärtsutran. Den brukar översättas som ingen födelse- ingen död, vilket verkar klokt, men är i själva verket ganska missvisande.

Det borde egentligen översättas ”ingen början på existens- inget slut på existens”.

Vad grundar jag då detta på, förutom den direkta översättningen? Och existens av vad?

Existensen som åsyftas är den av ”jaget”.

En av de allra viktigaste principerna inom buddhismen är den om ”icke-jaget” (anatta).

Den här principen är riktad mot illusionen att var och en av oss har ett ”jag”, ett essentiellt ”mig” som består oförändrad hela livet igenom.

Enligt buddhismen existerar ingen sådan entitet.

En person är en konstant föränderlig hög mentala och fysiska faktorer som kallas Skandhas.

Nagasena, en munk på 100-talet f kr., beskrev det hela som en analogi mellan en man och en kärra, där de olika delarna på kärran byttes ut allteftersom.

Precis som att det inte finns ”en ” kärra som framhärdade de olika bytena, så finns det inget enskilt ”jag” som består genom alla förändringar vi genomgår (se tex Milindapanha).

Och om det inte finns ngt existerande jag, vad är det då som reinkarneras?

Vad händer när vi dör?

Buddhister tror inte att ”döden” är slutet på allting.

Om du frågar vad som händer när ”du” dör är svaret på frågan enkel.

Du har aldrig existerat i den formen förut över huvudet taget, så ”du” dog inte.

Det är till och med så att den konstant föränderliga högen som du trodde var ”du” dör och återföds var ögonblick (en sidofakta är att man inom vissa buddhistiska grenar har bestämt hur många ögonblick det går på en sekund..).

Sett till det så inser man ju att om det var några problem kring återfödelse efter döden så måste det ju finnas likartade problem för återfödelse i livet.

Men buddhismen, menar på att det finns inget sådant problem, en persons ”beståndsdelar” förändras konstant under ”livet”, efter döden så formas dom bara till något annat, till och med en chokladkaka.

Principen om ”icke-jaget” gäller inte bara personer utan allting, alla saker är utan, tomma på ett bestående ”jag”.

Precis som att personer är vad dom är, inte på grund av ett ”jag”, utan på grund av olika förhållanden, så är alla saker beroende av definierande, förhållande faktorer.

Se till exempel tidningen du håller i din hand.

Den skulle inte finnas om inte det var för yttre faktorer (någon som läste, höll i den osv) och inre faktorer (papper och trycksvärta mm ) som satts ihop för att forma denna ”tidning”.

Om alla dessa faktorer försvann skulle det inte finnas någon ”tidning” kvar.

Eftersom alla saker uppkommer och kvarstår på grund av sammanträffandet av olika faktorer/villkor, så säger man att världen utmärks av villkorlig samverkan (eller samberoende uppkomst, pratitya samutpada).

Varje ”ting” är vad det är, inte för att den består av ett bestående jag, utan på grund av förekomsten av ett antal olika villkor.

I Avatamasaka Sutran står det ” The mind, the Buddha, living creatures - these are not different things. “. Med detta menas att vi alla är ett, det är ingen skillnad.

Följande är taget ur Buddhism in a Nutshell: The Four Seals of Dharma av Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche:

"His Holiness the Dalai Lama often speaks of this downfall of not understanding emptiness. A correct understanding of emptiness leads us to see how things are related, and how we are responsible for our world. […] Everything in samsara and nirvana—from the Buddha’s head to a piece of bread—everything is emptiness. There is nothing that is not included in ultimate truth. […] All phenomena are empty; they are without inherent existence. This is actually the ultimate view of Buddhism; the other three are grounded on this third seal."
"Everything is emptiness" = allt är sammanlänkat och ömsesidigt beroende; det vill säga allt är, i den meningen, Ett.

Och om allt är ”ett”, hur blir det då med reinkarnationen?

Buddhadasa Bhikkhu har skrivit följande:

" With rebirth, it is the same - they make assertions just as if they had seen the death and the subsequent birth of the same individual with their own eyes ! This misrepresents the Buddha's main message, wich teaches the non-existence of "the individual", of "the self". Even though "I" am sitting here now, there is no individual to be found. When there is no individual what is there to die ? What is there to be reborn ?"

Mäster Dogen använder i ”Shobogenzo” ett annat ordval, men kommer fram till ungefär samma slutsatser:

Firewood becomes ash; it can never go back to being firewood. Nevertheless, we should not take the view that ash is its future and firewood is its past.

Remember, firewood abides in the place of firewood in the Dharma. It has a past and it has a future. Although it has a past and a future, the past and the future are cut off.

Ash exists in the place of ash in the Dharma.It has a past and it has a future. The firewood, after becoming ash, does not become firewood.”

Ok, det finns ingen själ, inget ”jag” och jag kan inte återfödas som människa. Men om jag nu ska bli ngt annat efter det här vill jag bli en chokladkaka, för finns det något bättre än en blandning av choklad och kaka?

Och om någon i fortsättningen vill diskutera reinkarnationen av jaget ska jag göra som sidharta gjorde, hålla käft och stirra på dom tills dom skärper sig och koncentrerar sig på viktigare saker.

May the force be with you



There are some who would say that Buddha did not teach reincarnation but instead spoke of rebirth.

Reincarnation, literally "to be made flesh again", is a doctrine or belief that some essential part of a living being survives deathh to be reborn in a new body. This essential part is often referred to as the spirit, soul or "I".

Rebirth refers to a process whereby beings go through a succession of lifetimes as one of many possible forms of sentient life, each running from conception to death.

It is important to note, however, that Buddhism rejects concepts of a permanent self or an unchanging, eternal soul, as it is called in Christianity or even Hinduism (and therefore reincarnation, which require it).

As there ultimately is no such thing as a self (anatta), rebirth in subsequent existences must rather be understood as the continuation of a dynamic, ever-changing process of "dependent arising" (Pratītyasamutpāda) determined by the laws of cause and effect (Karma) rather than that of one being, "jumping" from one existence to the next.

So, sorry, no reincarnation for you, unless you plan on being a ZOMBIE.

May the force be with you