miércoles, 14 de febrero de 2018

The best of Asia Society every week.
February 13, 2018


How Mindful Meditation Changed Dan Harris' Life

After an on-air panic attack, the ABC News journalist and lifelong skeptic embraced meditation. The discovery changed his life — and gave him the story of his career. 


Why Britain Didn't Democratize Hong Kong

Former Hong Kong Chief Secretary Anson Chan described how mainland China threatened to retake the territory by force if London instituted democratic reforms.


Using Buddhism To Navigate Polarizing Politics

An interview with Rev. Dr. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki about open-mindedness, the obsession with meditation and yoga, and the importance of silence.



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Check Out Our Meditation Courses, Starting March 1

We have three exciting courses starting in a two weeks. Check them out!

Forgiveness: The Art and Science of Letting Go (Mar 1–28)

How do we let go of resentments? How do we forgive others? How do we make sure we aren't letting people off the hook or putting ourselves or others at risk of harm? How do we forgive ourselves? And if we do, are we increasing our risk of making mistakes in the future?
On this 28-day online course our reflections, and Bodhipaksa's guided meditations, will help build the foundations for a mindful and self-compassionate approach to forgiving ourselves and others.

Rectángulo redondeado: Click here now to learn more

Living With Kindness: Lovingkindness Practices for Awakening the Heart (Mar 1–28)

We can become kinder and more accepting of ourselves through practice. We can deepen our appreciation of and care for our friends. We can become kinder and more patient with relative strangers. And we can reduce the tensions between us and those who we find challenging.
Kindness (or metta as it's called in Buddhism) begins with  empathizing with the fact that we are all doing a difficult thing in being human.

Rectángulo redondeado: Click here to learn more

Optimize Your Brain: Awaken Your Full Potential With Meditation (Mar 1–28)

One of the most potent tools for changing the brain—and thus our ability to live happy and fulfilling lives—is meditation.
Hundreds of studies have shown that meditating even for just a few minutes a day has substantial benefits for our wellbeing.
In this 28-day online course we’ll learn how to activate states of calm instead of worry; kindness and compassion instead of irritability and anger; mindful presence instead of distractedness; and joy instead of sadness and despair.

Rectángulo redondeado: Click here to learn more

Guided Meditation

With our compliments, please enjoy the first of the meditations from our forthcoming online course, Optimize Your Brain.

Your bi-monthly dose of Dharma

Embrace your full humanity!

The Buddha’s cousin once asked him what the benefit of living skillfully was. The Buddha answered that skillful living leads to freedom from remorse, which in turn leads to joy. Joy then allows the mind to settle into concentration, and concentration leads to the arising of insight. That’s the path we follow in Buddhist practice. And it all starts with learning to live skillfully.
The word “skillful” (that’s kusala in Pali, for those who are interested) is a fascinating vocabulary choice on the Buddha’s part. He didn’t generally talk about “good” and “bad” actions, although that terminology was, of course, available to him. Instead, he talked about us acting skillfully or unskillfully. Since this may seem like odd language for talking about morality or ethics, as if we’re being asked to perform some kind of trick, let’s take a closer look at what he might have meant by it.
You can think about “skill” as meaning, “actions that can accomplish an aim.” A skilled writer is one who aims to persuade or create pleasure, or whatever her aim might be, and can actually do so. Merely having the intent isn’t enough, or we’d all be good writers! Writing well is a craft, and has to be learned by the intelligent application of trial and error and well as by studying the works of other writers who are themselves recognized as having skill. An unskilled writer may have the same aim as a more skilled one but isn’t able to put those aims into action.
What’s the relevance of this to spirituality? In life, we all have the aim, deep down, of finding peace of mind, happiness, and wellbeing. But do we have the skill to create that kind of life? Here too, just as with our example of a skilled writer, accomplishing this aim is a matter of intelligently approaching life in a trial and error way, while also learning from the life, example, and sometimes personal guidance of those who seem to be skilled at living well.
What stops us from finding peace of mind? We do! We contain skillful tendencies (compassion, kindness, mindfulness, etc) and unskillful tendencies (such as self-centeredness, aversion to discomfort. Both sets of impulses aim to keep us secure and happy, but all too often our unskillful tendencies create suffering for ourselves. We react, and these reactions cause suffering.
Our unskillful instincts advertise themselves as helpful when most of the time they’re not. So our trial and error process consists of observing that unskillful, reactive impulses do not bring happiness and that only a creative life based on living with mindfulness and kindness can achieve that aim.
This is something that we have to work at learning because our unskillful impulses have evolved to protect us. For example, being unpleasant to someone who annoys us is an instinct that evolved hundreds of millions of years ago. If you’re a lizard, and you make a threatening display to another lizard who comes too close to you, you can chase the intruder away, protecting yourself and your food supply. But when the person you’re annoyed with is a colleague or close family member, it’s not possible to remove this person from your life! Your aversion binds you in a conflicted and painful relationship. And so, in many ways, our “protective” instincts end up harming us.
Our more skilful attributes are rooted in our evolutionary biology as well. As mammals, we’ve evolved to value love and connection; a newborn baby’s first need is to be held, monkeys create social binds by grooming each other. We’ve evolved to have empathy; even mice show distress when they see one of their fellows suffering, and rats have been observed trying to free their friends from traps. This too is built into the structure of our brains.
Another part of our mammalian conditioning, however, is the need to establish our position in a social “pecking order.” This can result in us competing, even with friends and family. This kind of inappropriate conditioning goes against our need for connection, warmth, and intimacy.
But we also have a more distinctively human part of our brains — the most recently evolved part of our brains, the neocortex, which is the seat of reason, reflection, and self-awareness. The neocortex allows us to look at our reactive instincts and our more creative and skillful instincts, and to see the disadvantages of the former compared to the latter. It also allows us to change our behavior, so that we choose to let go of unskillful impulses, and instead to think, speak, and act skillfully. In choosing to live skillfully, we’re choosing to live a more authentically human, happier, and meaningful life.
With love,

Rectángulo redondeado: Download the Bodhi Mind iPhone app now