Rejoicing in the good fortune of others is a practice that can help us when we feel emotionally shut down and unable to connect with others. Rejoicing generates good will.
If right now our emotional reaction to seeing a certain person or hearing certain news is to fly into a rage or to get despondent or something equally extreme, it's because we have been cultivating that particular habit for a very long time.
The Buddha taught that we're not actually in control, which is a pretty scary idea. But when you let things be as they are, you will be a much happier, more balanced, compassionate person.
Sometimes people's spiritual ideas become fixed and they use them against those who don't share their beliefs - in effect, becoming fundamentalist. It's very dangerous - the finger of righteous indignation pointing at someone who is identified as bad or wrong.
I equate ego with trying to figure everything out instead of going with the flow. That closes your heart and your mind to the person or situation that's right in front of you, and you miss so much.
There's something delicious about finding fault with something. And that can be including finding fault with one's self, you know?
According to the Buddhist belief, you can go on and on indefinitely, so you see your life as just a brief moment in time.
As Buddhism moved to the West, one of the big characteristics was the strong place of women. That didn't exist in the countries of origin. It's just a sign of our culture.
As Buddhism moved from one culture to another, it always adapted.
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