The art of playful action

In the beginning of the Bhagavad Gītā (2.50) we encounter the following short definition: yogaḥ karmasu kuśalam, which might be...

Where to start? Where to end?

We might encounter teachings, practices, and other aspects of contemplative traditions in a pretty random way: a Buddha Head looking out...

Seeking freedom

Whatever feeling is felt (pleasant, unpleasant or neutral), do not indulge in craving for the pleasant, or in aversion for the...

Embodiment

In the Udana 3.5 there is this short stanza: “Sati kāyagatā upaṭṭhitā, Chasu phassāyatanesu saṁvuto; Satataṁ bhikkhu samāhito, Jaññā...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Neither my own, nor another's

A core notion in the discourses of the Buddha concerns one's attitude towards experience, and in particular the ability of not...

What is the meaning of life?

In today's Western culture, it's fairly common to raise the question 'what is the meaning of life?' The reason for raising this question...

All realities are suitable for surfing

On one occasion (MN 37), the Buddha is asked to summarize his teaching in a brief statement. And this is what he came up with: sabbe...