Good morning internet friends! It’s cold here this morning, so with a hot cup of coffee, I’ve sat down to write some more…
Several weeks after I discovered Gary and the Toltec wisdom, I thought surely these ideas must be available in other traditions, and so my relationship with Buddhism began. Instead of following one specific sect of Buddhism (they seem to be country-specific), I cherry picked ideas and teachers from the different lineages. Here is a collection of monks and nuns and dharmas that I follow.
If you don’t have a background on Buddhism (which I didn’t at all), I think Deepak Choprah’s book Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment is a good primer. The Pali cannon (which I haven’t yet read) is the seminal collection of the Buddha’s teachings, written close to 400 years after his death. As I understand, the specific facts of the Buddha’s life are up for interpretation and are sometimes the subject of controversy. Deepak’s book is one such interpretation… but a beautiful one, so I recommend you start there.
Pema Chodron Briefly from Wikipedia: Pema Chödrön is a notable American figure in Tibetan Buddhism. A disciple of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, she is an ordained nun, author, and acharya, senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage Trungpa founded.
There is a lot of material available on Pema – youtube has a ton of videos – but this interview with Bill Moyers is probably my favorite. I did a weekend retreat (online via Omega) lead by Pema a few months ago. I’m not sure if it’s available for purchase, but it was one of the most profound weekends I’ve had in a long time. She introduced a new Shambala meditation (or more accurately, a preparation for meditation) on basic goodness that is really powerful.
Thich Nat Hahn: (pronounced tik nat han) Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist. He lives in the Plum Village Monastery in the Dordogne region in the South of France, travelling internationally to give retreats and talks. (also from Wikipedia). I read a portion of his book Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting through the Storm which I thought was brilliant. I’m going to pick it up again soon.
Ajahn Brahm. He is a Theravada Buddhist monk currently serving as the Abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, in Serpentine, Western Australia. He is also the Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, Spiritual Adviser to the Buddhist Society of Victoria, Spiritual Adviser to the Buddhist Society of South Australia, Spiritual Patron of the Buddhist Fellowship in Singapore, Patron of the Brahm centre in Singapore, and Spiritual Patron of the Bodhikusuma Centre in Sydney. (What would we do without Wikipedia, I ask you!).
I love love love Ajahn Brahm’s videos on youtube. I think the channel officially belongs to the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, but they post new videos of his lectures every week. Ajahn Brahm is adorable and funny and so very endearing – you won’t be able to stop watching.
That’s all for now. Happy Sunday!