"Society" is a creation of the minds of those who inhabit it; it always has been and always will be. Thus, we have always been and will always be empowered to change society for the better.
"Even Tibetan masters are beginning to realize, if you want real devotion and focus, you have to look to the nuns," Tenzin Palmo says.
Many scholars, marked by the schism between Christianity and postmodernity, respond by exploring other spiritualities. Would it not be easier to simply return to Christian spirituality? This is, after all, the spirituality that shaped the West. All westerners still carry it inside, even if in a hibernated version.
At first thought, money seems like a simple concept. But what is its role in different faith traditions?
This morning the chapter I was reading is called "Nonagression and the Four Maras." It talks about the night in which Buddha was to attain enlightenment and he sat under a tree.
The reason I choose to call the eightfold path an advanced teaching is that, while the definitions of each of the practices are relatively easy to teach and understand, their full application and integration takes a lifetime.
We experience ourselves as so very real and distinct, and we are so consumed by desire, that the notion that it is all empty is just confusing. But impermanence is actually a wonderful thing.
Pema's teachings are a rare gift, and what I love most about her is that her success is surely also grounded in the fact that she herself embodies her own advice. "The first step is to develop unconditional friendship with yourself," she taught at a weekend in the Bay Area.
Whether it is the internal or external sense of being "maxed out," what is often helpful is to seek a larger landscape in which to hold one's experience. This is not only a skillful means of coping with difficulty, but it is also an aspect of mindfulness and awareness.
This is an issue of some import as we have entered an era where Buddhist thought is cited for various purposes within our culture. And so, who may speak for the tradition?
In order to be able to view anger as a dysfunctional emotion, we must develop in our lojong meditation practice the conviction that anger is a dysfunctional emotion.
While emotions are transformed in various ways by Buddhist practice, the point is not to eliminate them, but be fully cognizant of them. We welcome each emotion as an opportunity to deepen practice.
Sure, none of us are perfect and human beings are all still learning. But if your learning edge is about respecting women's bodies and managing your own craving to touch people when they don't want to be touched, it is better to do your learning in a different job than as a Buddhist teacher.
This week a friend of mine will walk away from his rapidly growing clothing line. He will switch off his iPhone, turn off his Mac, and drop out from Facebook, Twitter and every other social media. This week my friend will be ordained as a Buddhist monk.
I haven't left the house much over the last couple of days. My sheets are bunched up at the foot of the bed, clothes are strewn all over the floor, and containers of half-eaten soup and Emergen-C scan the wasteland from their perches on desktops and chairs. It's been wonderful.
Whether you struggle with addiction and desire, counsel, teach or study, sit down, rest on the breath, come home to your own tender heart.