August 1 2013 Buddhism Newsletter
This week I have a review of a wonderful new children's book:
In The Garden of Our Minds and Other Buddhist Stories is a lovely collection of stories featuring a contemporary family with young children learning about Buddhism. It is great for anyone who wants to introduce children to Buddhist teachings.
As I mentioned in my last newsletter, I am also in the process of updating older articles that contain resource and historical information on Buddhism. Here are the latest two updates:
Types of Buddhist Meditation
Meditation is an essential part of Buddhist practice, and there are many different types, ranging from focusing on the breath, to mindfulness, to mandala and mantra meditations.
Branches of Buddhism
Buddhism has many different branches, schools, and lineages. Learn what they are, what countries each are practiced in, and how they differ.
In closing, here is an excerpt from In the Garden of Our Minds, in which the mother of the story is explaining to her two children how Buddha 'seeds' and Mara 'seeds' are all inside each of us:
"A Buddha is someone who is enlightened, who sees things as they truly are. A Buddha is calm, wise, compassionate, patient, and peaceful. A Buddha feels loving-kindness for all sentient beings. We all have the capacity to become Buddhas.
If we tend the Buddha seeds in the gardens of our minds, then we will grow more calm, wise, compassionate, patient, peaceful, and full of loving-kindness...
Mara represents the emotions that get in the way of us helping our Buddha seeds to grow. If you plant Mara seeds in the garden of your mind, you will grow hate, anger, ignorance, fear, and suffering."
The 'seed' metaphor is such a simple one for anyone to use to begin mindfulness practice. If we plant pumpkin seeds, we get pumpkins; if we plant rose seeds we get roses. In the same way, if we plant 'Mara' seeds we get anger, fear, and ignorance. If we plant Buddha seeds, we get patience, equanimity and compassion.
Lisa Erickson, Buddhism Editor
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