Human Nature

‘We can view our human nature as being defiled and deluded, as Augustine might point out. Or we can view our nature as compassionate and loving. So then maybe we should add an “s” and talk about “natures.” I believe it is more skillful to try to get people to focus on and cultivate the positive. In the Therevada sutras, the Buddha describes the nature of the mind this way, “Luminous is the mind, brightly shining is its nature, but it is colored by the attachments that visit it.” [AN 1.49-51] I’ve found that pointing people to their fundamental goodness will awaken it. It is more skillful than pointing out the negative. We are so loyal to our suffering and to seeing ourselves as damaged that it’s very easy to use spiritual practice to reinforce our self-judgement. That doesn’t help people become liberated.’

- Jack Kornfield, Tricyle: The Buddhist Review, Summer 2008.

“There is a misconception that Buddhism is a religion, and that you worship Buddha. Buddhism is a practice, like yoga. You can be a Christian and practise Buddhism. I met a Catholic priest who live in a Buddhist monastery in France. He told me that Buddhism makes him a better Christian. I love that” - Thich Nhat Hanh.

I thought this might be a handy quote for those of you who have been asking whether you can practice Buddhism alongside other religions! 


Namaste: Sacred Perception

‘Each time we meet another human being and honor their dignity, we help those around us. Their hearts resonate with ours in exactly the same way the strings of an unplucked violin vibrate with the sounds of a violin played nearby. Western psychology has documented this phenomenon of “mood contagion” or limbic resonance. If a person filled with panic or hatred walks into a room, we feel it immediately, and unless we are very mindful, that person’s negative state will begin to overtake our own. When a joyfully expressive person walks into a room, we can feel that state as well. And when we see the goodness of those before is, the dignity in them resonates with our admiration and respect.

This resonance can begin very simply. In India, when people greet one another they put their palms together and bow, saying namaste, “I honor the divine within you.” It is a way of acknowledging your Buddha nature, who you really are. Some believe that the Western handshake evolved to demonstrate friendliness and safety, to show that you are not holding any weapon. But the greeting namaste goes a step further, from “I will not harm you” to “I see that which is holy in you.” It creates the basis for sacred relationships.’

- Jack Kornfield, The Wise Heart, Buddhist Psychology for the West.

Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind become still. The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return. They grow and flourish and then return to the Source. Returning to the Source is stillness, which is the way of Nature.

Tao Te Ching, Verse 16

(Source: Tao & Zen Facebook Page)