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The interplay of experience

(Author's cut from An Introduction to Friendliness, §1 Reflections) It is impossible to have experience without being somehow involved...

Meditation: four basic principles

Formal meditative practice is just a piece (important, but just a piece) in the broader picture presented in the discourses. And how to...

A relational turn

In most standard presentations of the Buddha's teachings, the emphasis lies on the idea that an individual can achieve freedom by relying...

The art of hermenutics

As any pianist would know, there are two boundaries within which any interpretation has to move. On the one hand, one is confronted with...

Everybody can, but not everybody will

The discourses present the teachings of the Buddha as potentially addressed to everybody, although they also make it clear that not...

Top-5 discourses of the Buddha

The Pāli canon contains many thousands of discourses (they are even difficult to count exactly, 8000? 10000? more?), spanning from a few...

By force of taking away

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) said: 'by sculpture I understand that which one does by force of taking away' ('per scultura io...

Neutrality traps

A core business of the practice presented in the discourses is to reach a form of dispassion and emotional neutrality. This means that no...

Belief, truth, and practice

Even superficial familiarity with the history of philosophy and ideas (especially from a global perspective) immediately reveals that...

A day worth living

The term 'awakening' (and even more 'enlightenment') is commonly used in relation to a wide range of diverse experiences, usually...

Yoking and unyoking attention

In Sanskrit and Pāli, yoga literally means 'yoke.' Like the yoke put by farmers on the neck of oxen. In a more metaphorical sense, yoga...

Mental disobedience

Meditation is a training in mental disobedience, based on four main points: (1) Keep the context in mind. Don't focus on things, don't...

Dispassion or dispassion*?

The discourses of the Buddha are fond of emphasising attitudes of dispassion, weariness, absence of desire and craving, equanimity,...

Assume you’re wrong

In They Live (1988, directed by John Carpenter), the world is ruled by an invisible alien elite. Everything looks normal and fine, but it...

Integrating practice in daily life

A common worry that arises in the beginning of practice is how to best integrate it within one's life and circumstances. There are...

Last-breath meditation

Admittedly, death is one of the most scary topics for most people since people are around. In archeological records, fully modern human...

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