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Friday, 11 January 2013

With Our Thoughts, We Make the World

New Dawn Magazine: Those of us who grew up in the 1980s were, quite unknowingly, absorbing a healthy dose of Eastern mysticism when we watched the wonderful Japanese television series “Monkey” every weekday evening at 6.30pm. For all of the colour and movement and occasionally risqué language that appealed to my childish mind, I was also, perhaps, taking to heart the wonderful précis of Buddhist philosophy that made up the introduction to each episode: “With our thoughts, we make the world.” This is a quote from “The Dhammapada,” that exquisitely brief text that provides the reader with all of the main ideas to be found across all of the schools of Buddhism. In fact, it is the very first verse of that most fundamental book. It is the construct that informs the Buddhist world-view – all of this, that we so keenly call “reality,” is a product of thought, and so it can be influenced by the shape of our thoughts, and we can begin to craft a new reality through disciplining our process of thought and directing it towards wiser outcomes. Volition and free-will were the points of divergence between Buddhism and the other religious systems of the ancient world, which tended to favour notions of fate and pre-destination. The Buddha taught that karma provided us with conditions only. In every single moment we are free to choose a wise thought and do a wise action. Buddhism is brutal in its advocacy of personal responsibility. Such a point of view seems strikingly modern and rational, though perhaps slightly politically incorrect in this more feeling age...read more>>>...

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