Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters


Happy Birthday Buddha!

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

In Japan, the Buddha’s birthday is being celebrated today. Actually, it is the birthday of Siddhartha Gautama (or Siddhata Gotama in Pali), the man that later became the Buddha — the awakened one.

This is a day of gratitude and in Japan, according to Wikipedia, “Japanese people pour ama-cha (a beverage prepared from a variety of hydrangea) on small Buddha statues decorated with flowers, as if bathing a newborn baby.”

So, contemplating the Buddha’s birthday, of which he had 80, what can we consider?

Well, let’s first consider birthdays. Like most holidays, birthdays privilege one day over another and, thereby, run the risk of subverting mindfulness (because all days can be regarded as special). At least once a year we remember we are alive, and awaken to the precious possibility that this life represents. Maybe.

In this sense, every day is our birthday. In fact, every moment is a birthday — a birth into this moment.

Next, let’s consider the Buddha. Who was he? He was not the founder of a religion. Rather, he was a teacher, a guide, or as he liked to see himself, a physician treating the maladies of the human condition. He taught methods to alleviate this suffering, this anguish, the pervasive dissatisfaction that characterizes the human condition.

He did not ask his followers (or his patients) to take these teachings on faith. Rather, he asked them to test these principles for themselves. 2500 years later, we can do the same each time we sit down to meditate.

And the same principles still apply. The Digital Age contains different versions of anxiety than the Axial Age, yet something common connects over millennia. Something is off. If we engage life without mindfulness things are not quite right. The Buddha made this insight accessible, palpable, and most importantly doable.

For this reason, we can celebrate the birthday of this being who gave humanity a dharma — a set of livable truths — that when embraced lead to an enduring and abiding engagement with life and our best look at being happy.

So, Happy Birthday Buddha!

 



Previous Posts

Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
My dharma friend and mindfulness colleague, Elisha Goldstein has a fascinating new book out. It describes the ways that we can harness our own healing power to create natural antidepressants. These five include mindfulness, of course, self-compassion, living in accordance with purpose, play, and a s

posted 12:42:14pm Jan. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Find Your GPS for Success
GPS has become part of our lives. We find it in our cars, our phones, and even in watches (I got one as a gift over the holidays). In any moment, we can know where we are and also communicate that information to others. GPS can be helpful for getting to a destination and lends itself as a metaphor f

posted 11:02:53am Jan. 06, 2015 | read full post »

Getting Past the Tyranny of Should: A Timely Message for the Holiday Season
There are many things we "should" be doing around the holidays. We should be happy, merry, and jolly. We should be with family. We should be the consummate hosts. In the course of the day, we might impose expectations, rules, and agendas on ourselves tirelessly. This is the tyranny of should.

posted 10:36:45am Dec. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Finding the Fall Line: The Technique of Practice
As I was meditating this morning, I came up with a new practice metaphor. There were times when I was clearly in the flow of my body, very attuned the myriad body sensations and there were other moments where I was somewhere else or trying to manage some aspect of the moment, almost as if I was tryi

posted 10:13:53am Dec. 09, 2014 | read full post »

Prime Time, All the Time
An add for television streaming service Hulu states, "Every minute of every day should be considered prime time." This clever quip has a double meaning. On the one hand, it reflects the tyrannical notion that every experience that we have should be exciting, entertaining, and novel. On the other han

posted 9:31:08am Dec. 08, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.