Self is Heavy, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Buddhism now

With thanks to Golden Buddha Centre, TotnesIf we understand our problems, clearly and completely, then we shall be able to do something about them. We need to give adequate attention to them, therefore.

If we look carefully we shall see that there are two kinds of life — there is pure life, the essential part of life, and there is a kind of life which has something extra, something added. This addition is the burden. We need to understand this carefully and see that there are two kinds because most of us blur the two together and confuse them. When we talk about the pure life, life that has nothing extra added, we are talking about nama and rupa, or mind and body. Pure life is just mind and body; that is all there is. But the life that is a burden for itself has something added; a third element is added to mind and…

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Samatha and Vipassana

Buddhism now

Quote: Some people think that samatha isn’t necessary, whilst others think it is absolutely essential. There are arguments about it.

In the Theravada teachings on samatha-vipassanà, they divide meditation ― that English word ‘meditation’ ― into tranquillity and insight (samatha and vipassanà). Now, in Thailand there are all kinds of views about samatha and vipassanà, and within the vipassanà world, there are all kinds of views about how to practise it. Some people think that samatha isn’t necessary, whilst others think it is absolutely essential.

There are arguments about it. Some say you have to get the jhànas(absorptions) before you can do vipassanà (there are certain elements that think like this), and then there are others that say, ‘Well no, don’t do samatha, just straight vipassanà, that’s all that’s necessary.’ Now, teachers speak from their own experience, so this has to be taken into account. It isn’t that all these opinions are wrong or that one is…

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I, in my aloneness, part II – my bicameral mind.

The Why About This

“introspectable mind-space”

At the risk of having lost a few of you. I’d like to explain the bicameral mind.  Julian Jaynes explained this as a different, non-conscious mental schema where volition, in the face of novel stimuli, mediated through a linguistic control mechanism (we made sounds) and experienced as auditory verbal hallucinations. Passing from the right hemisphere of the brain to the left (the introspective thought). He referred to this as man reacting in a bicameral (two chambers involved in creating and accepting a hypothetical idea) manner. The right coming up with an abstract idea and conveying it in an acceptable way to the left side of the brain.

Okay, now having lost the rest of you, I’ll explain. I’m left-handed, placing a stronger emphasis on right brain thinking. Many believe “imagination” (and hallucinations) have their roots there. Point in fact, Julian Jaynes (1920-1997) was an American psychologist…

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