Metta

Some years ago I participated in an interfaith course studying the different major religions. Two features of Buddhism particularly stick in the memory. One was of course mindfulness, the other was the practice of Metta, the subject of this post.

As well as being a subject for meditation, the practice of Metta essentially involves projecting ‘loving kindness’ or ‘universal love’ or ‘benevolence’ out to others. In its ultimate essence Metta is beyond ego and concerns of the individual self; its concern is the wellbeing of all, of life itself.

An exercise of my course was to practise Metta while walking, projecting this benevolence to all you meet. This practice does first require you to be mindful.

It is not surprising that the response of people you meet is more positive than when you are immersed in your own concerns. This is, literally, spreading goodwill around the world.

Worth a try, don’t you think?

Featured image is a Japanese representation of Buddha.

 

 

8 Golden Rules for being a Buddhist Stoic.

Wise words from Dr B. Golden rules for living. Buddhist and Stoic wisdom.

Buddha Walks Into A Wine Bar ....

I cannot claim to have any great wisdom, though I HAVE had a lot of defining moments in my long life. Born in relative poverty, wasting early education, then a revelation in education, some great mentors, a great marriage, wonderful children, successful career, many setbacks personal and business, privileged to provide education aid for thousands of underprivileged children, and ….. a carefree retirement because we believed what people told us when we were young! These 8 Golden Rules are based on real experience across our entire lives, they are not theoretical, though you WILL find most of them in the volumes written about Buddhism and Stoicism. We hope you find them useful, but apply your OWN mind to them!

The 8 Golden Rules

  1. Accept that shit happens! You will meet lots of it today, at work, on the bus, on the news, Internet, neighbours, in Starbucks, shit everywhere!
  2. Accept that…

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A Living Manchester Sage

Not I, Not other than I

Review of a book by Russel Williams

A modern sage living modestly in Manchester, UK for many years? How could I not have heard of Russel Williams, living as I do within commuting distance of Manchester and having worked there during much of that time? This essentially humble man has pursued his teaching for many years at the Manchester Buddhist Society, without receiving accolades or wide recognition. Yet he would appear to be the genuine article.

not_i_coverIt is only because Steve Taylor persuaded the now-93-year-old that his tale and teachings should be told that we now have access to them in this fine book Not I, Not other than I, edited by Steve.

The book interweaves the highly improbable-sounding and adventurous early years of Russel Williams’ life with summaries of the realisations and teachings of his later years. The young Williams had a string of perilous experiences, including finding himself in a lion’s cage, living through the London blitz, saving lives from a small boat during the evacuation of Dunkirk, and so on. Improbable but almost certainly true, Williams passed through a rare intensity of experience that was probably necessary for his subsequent spiritual awakening and later undoubted spiritual authenticity.

The essence of his teaching is a simplicity of experience that does not get into verbalisation at all. Steve says in his introduction:

“Russel’s spiritual teachings are very ‘naked’ and pure – that is, they are very free of theories, concepts and categories. This gives his teachings a rare clarity and power. There is no system. There are no rituals or rules to follow, no ideas to take on board. You don’t have to believe anything. You don’t have to accept  anything. You don’t have to become anything. All you have to do is be.”

The teachings are not even actually Buddhist theories, but they are largely consistent with Buddhist teachings about the essential nature of man.

Steve goes on:

“Russel teaches us how to uncover this state – how we can nurture it, and remove  some of the obstacles which stop its expression. He makes it clear that this is our natural state, and that it’s only due to confusion that we have lost access to it. He helps us to remove the confusion, to disentangle our minds from the mess of concepts and thinking habits which cloud them, so that we can become who we really are. In this state, we are naturally one with everything, and with the universe itself…”

This is a fascinating book, which deals well with trying to get over an essentially nonverbal practice. It would be difficult to read it and not come away in some way changed.

Steve Taylor is himself an interesting man who has written a number of books on psychology and spirituality, and is an accomplished poet, so was well qualified to undertake the editing of this book.