Wisdom for Difficult Times
Though some 2,500 years old, Buddhism has always offered wisdom for tough times, and it's as pertinent now as ever. What would happen if we could step back and look how we each might play a positive, peacemaking role — instead of contributing more negativity and stress?
Here are some of the finest examples of Buddhist wisdom for difficult times, from the names you've come to trust — all from the pages of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma. Just click on any article's title to read further.
So much of our suffering — as individuals and as a society — is
caused by fear. In fact, according to Buddhism, fear is at the very root of ego
and samsara. The Shambhala Sun and Omega Institute brought together four
outstanding Buddhist teachers — Judy Lief, John Daido Loori, Sylvia Boorstein,
and Robert Thurman — to discuss the vital practice of working with our fears.
From Pema Chödrön:
What to Do When the Going Gets
Pema Chödrön on four ways to hold our minds steady and hearts open when facing
difficult people or circumstances.
Times of chaos and challenge can be the most spiritually
powerful . . . if we are brave enough to rest in their space of uncertainty.
Pema Chödrön describes three ways to use our problems as the path to awakening
The mind of enlightenment, called bodhichitta, is always
available, in pain as well as in joy. Pema Chödrön lays out how to cultivate
this soft spot of bravery and kindness.
We can suppress anger and aggression or act it out, either
way making things worse for ourselves and others. Or we can practice patience:
wait, experience the anger and investigate its nature. Pema Chödrön takes us
step by step through this powerful practice.
We base our lives on seeking happiness and avoiding
suffering, but the best thing we can do for ourselves—and for the planet—is to
turn this whole way of thinking upside down. Pema Chödrön shows us Buddhism’s
Place Beyond Fear and Hope
Freed from the ups and downs of hope and fear, we can discover our clarity and
energy. Margaret Wheatley sets out some markers for the journey.
When we face difficult circumstances — as so many people do
these days — fear can overwhelm us. Carolyn Rose Gimian shows us how we can discover
the fearlessness of the great meditators — by welcoming fear as a precious
opportunity to open up and let go. And that can make us smile.
Working with Fear:
Questions and Answers
A special online dialogue moderated by Carolyn
Rose Gimian. Come see how others have benefited and how the lessons learned might be applied to your own life.
Prisoner Scott Darnell shares his story of how he found compassion on the
What led the young meditation teacher-to-be to discover loving-kindness, and in one of her darkest hours?
As his marriage falls apart, Gabriel
Cohen obsesses over all the things his wife has done to make him angry. But a
chance encounter with Buddhism shows him the anger is his alone, and never
serves any good purpose anyway.
This teaching from our founder is based on a seminar he conducted in 1979 for teachers in Shambhala training on meditation and the view of warriorship.
For times troubled with everything from Wall Street
meltdowns to very inconvenient truths, Alice Walker gives us her recipe for
A teaching on practices to generate bodhichitta by His
Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Obstacles aren’t to be avoided. When we apply the right
antidotes, they are the path itself. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche diagnoses the
different types of obstacles we face and prescribes the proper remedies.
When life leads us into
disagreements and conflicts, as it often does, we need a way to reach
our goals without creating unnecessary harm. Here, James Gimian and
Barry Boyce show us how we can use the principles of Sun Tzu's The Art of War to work skillfully with the underlying energies that give rise to effective action.
Meditation wasn't the great panacea
Susan Piver had hoped for — fear didn't
just go away. But it did lead her to a surprising discovery.
From Sylvia Boorstein:
In the midst of pain and confusion, we can be alive to the momentary gaps where our minds change
course. In these gaps, compassion, insight, and
humor can arise.
In this Shambhala Sun feature, Steve Silberman
talkes to Sylvia Boorstein about the challenges of life, from a rough
childhood to a post-partum depression, that helped her become such a
beloved teacher — and example — of Buddhist virtues.
Sylvia Boorstein on where safety is really found in a life
with no guarantees.
Sylvia Boorstein addresses a mental affliction we don’t
often talk about in spiritual terms. It’s a big problem for her, and maybe for
Buddhism’s mind-training slogans help us work with all the
challenges of life, from the upheavals of our own emotions to the inevitable
losses and disappointments of this imperfect world. Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche
explains how obstacles can be brought to the spiritual path and become
opportunities for awakening.
Yes, the world may seem particularly dangerous and uncertain
now, says the novelist Charles R. Johnson, but it’s wise to remember that the
ways of history—and the dharma’s response—haven’t changed since the time of the
Real happiness is what we all want, but none of our
strategies for finding it seem to work. Maybe it's the search for happiness
that makes us unhappy. John Tarrant has some thoughts on why the Buddha smiles.
In the Face of Fear: Buddhist Wisdom for Challenging Times
by the Shambhala Sun's Barry Boyce and being released to coincide with
the Urban Retreat, this new book features the greatest contemporary
Buddhist teachers and writers—people
renowned for addressing precisely the problems we’re facing
today—including the Dalai Lama, Pema Chödrön, Thich Nhat Hanh, Chögyam
Trungpa, Sylvia Boorstein, Jack Kornfield, Norman Fischer, Jon
Kabat-Zinn, Sharon Salzberg, and many others.
Click to order In the Face of Fear
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