I have often been asked if my mission for The Daily Buddha is to “spread” the teachings of The Buddha far and wide. I think thats relevant but not the only point.
That can be a noble goal but my true heart is in igniting the understanding in people for what is deepest and best within all of us, but which is usually hidden and rarely accessible. Science is a particular way of understanding the world that allows some people to approach what they would otherwise shun, and so can be used as a skillful means for opening people’s minds. By bringing science together with buddhism, we’re beginning to find new ways, in language people can understand, to show the benefits of training oneself to become intimate with the workings of one’s own mind in a way that generates greater insight and clarity.
The wisdom and teachings of The Buddha can bring a sense of meaning and purpose to life, based on understanding the nonseparation of self and other. Given the condition we find ourselves in these days on this planet, understanding our interconnectedness is not a spiritual luxury; it’s a societal imperative.
Three or four hundred years ago, not so long in the scheme of things, people practicing buddhisim did so under fairly isolated conditions, mostly in monasteries. Now the practices of awareness, meditation and presence are being practiced and studied in laboratories, hospitals, and clinics, and is even finding its way into primary and secondary schools.
The people teaching and researching it have in many cases been involved with mindfulness for ten, twenty, thirty, or more years by now. They are not just jumping on some new bandwagon. That in itself is a wonderful phenomenon, as long as it is understood that buddhism and presence are not merely nice “concepts” but an orthogonal ways of being that requires ongoing practice and cultivation.
Peace and Love, Jim