Ring Theory Keeps Foot out of Mouth

Written by Ethan Engel on . Posted in Music


The truth is, no matter how much we care, it's easy to say the wrong thing to people in, or near, a personal crisis. 
So Susan Silk has developed a simple technique to help people avoid this mistake.

It works for all kinds of crises: medical, legal, financial, romantic, even existential. She calls it the Ring Theory.

The guiding principle is simple: Comfort IN, dump OUT.

"There was nothing wrong with Katie's friend saying she was not prepared for how horrible Katie looked, or even that she didn't think she could handle it.
The mistake was that she said those things to Pat. She dumped IN.

Complaining to someone in a smaller ring than yours doesn't do either of you any good. On the other hand, being supportive to her principal caregiver may be the best thing you can do for the patient.

Most of us know this. Almost nobody would complain to the patient about how rotten she looks. Almost no one would say that looking at her makes them think of the fragility of life and their own closeness to death. In other words, we know enough not to dump into the center ring. Ring Theory merely expands that intuition and makes it more concrete: Don't just avoid dumping into the center ring, avoid dumping into any ring smaller than your own."  ....Read more

One Man and his Vow

Written by Ethan Engel on . Posted in Music

Justo-Gallego-cathedral2-550x365Justo Gallego Martinez, an 86-year-old farmer from Spain, has spent the last 50 years of his life single-handedly building a large cathedral in a suburb of Madrid, without any architectural knowledge or construction experience.
Most people thought Don Justo was crazy to take on such an epic challenge, but he never paid any attention to their insults, instead focusing all his efforts on his project. He never had any formal plans for his cathedral, nor did he have the necessary construction materials, but he put his faith in God and knew it would all work out in the end. Martinez has spent every morning for the last half century gathering all kinds of discarded everyday objects as well as building materials leftover by nearby construction companies from their own jobs, and fitting them in his grand design.

15 Points on the Power of Mantra

Written by Tapasyogi Nandhi on . Posted in Music

mandalaTraditionally, in India, the method of conveying awakening consciousness is especially through mantra. In the mystical yogic tradition of the South Indian Siddhars, there is less emphasis in teachings through writings or even oral teachings and much of the wisdom is conveyed through the mantra energy that awakens the inner knowledge.

Mantra recitation can be said to be the mother of meditation. With the recitation of a mantra, the mind immediately focuses on a single thought leading to transcendence (awareness beyond the mind). By reciting the mantra, effortless meditation is enhanced even while doing mundane chores.

Enjoy these 15 points of meditation on mantra...Read more

A Buddhist Perspective on Emotions

Written by Dr. Padmasiri de Silva on . Posted in Music

EmotionalEmotions are generally regarded in the mind of the Buddhist as aspects of our personality that interfere with the development of a spiritual life, as unwholesome states ethically undesirable, and roadblocks to be cleared in the battleground between reason and emotion. In keeping with this perspective emotions are described as states of "agitation" or "imbalance."

While a large number of emotional states discussed in Buddhist texts fit in to this description, are we to accept that all the emotions are of this sort? Within the field of experimental psychology, some accept that emotions can be both organizing (making behavior more effective) and disorganizing. In the field of ethics, the place of emotions in the moral life is a neglected subject, but a few voices in the contemporary world have expressed opinions which bring out the relevance of the psychology of emotions to moral assessment.


Mindfulness Defined

Written by Thanissaro Bhikkhu on . Posted in Music

mindfulness1What does it mean to be mindful of the breath? Something very simple: to keep the breath in mind. Keep remembering the breath each time you breathe in, each time you breathe out. The British scholar who coined the term “mindfulness” to translate the Pali word sati was probably influenced by the Anglican prayer to be ever mindful of the needs of others—in other words, to always keep their needs in mind. But even though the word “mindful” was probably drawn from a Christian context, the Buddha himself defined sati as the ability to remember, illustrating its function in meditation practice with the four satipatthanas, or establishings of mindfulness.

“And what is the faculty of sati? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, is mindful, highly meticulous, remembering & able to call to mind even things that were done & said long ago. (And here begins the satipatthana formula:) He remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... the mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.” — SN 48.10 

Dharma And The Difficult Me

Written by Chris Lemig on . Posted in Meditation

From Chris Lemig's blog The Narrow Way. Check out his introductory column on his travels and quest through India here.

When you meet with difficult people remember: it’s you who needs to change. ~ Anyen Rinpoche

I’m walking down the hill from McLeod Ganj to my house in Jogiwara Village and I’m dreading seeing “him” again.

It’s usually a pleasant walk but somedays…well, it is India after all.

Here’s what I mean:

There are piles of cow shit, rotting trash and potholes filled with what I like to call “sewer-surprise”, that you always have to be on the lookout for. Then there’s the usual cast of a dozen or so beggars who get deep into your personal space when asking for money. Sometimes they’ll walk along with you for twenty yards, poking you in the ribs as they speak in broken but persistent English.

“Please. No money. Only buy milk.”

It’s a bit of scam really. I mean, their situation is desperate, for sure. They are stuck in a cycle of poverty and hopelessness that is only perpetuated by India’s confounding social ills. But the truth is, they ham it up quite a bit.

I once gave a young woman an old ten rupee note.

“Hey. This one is torn,” she said in perfect English. “How do you expect me to buy anything with this? Give me another one.”

It’s that air of entitlement, that assumption that I’m a westerner and am somehow bound by law to give to the poor that irks me the most.


chris stupa photo-e1365353150829-269x300Chris Lemig spent twenty-three years of his life in the dark closet of addiction and self-hatred. After coming out as being gay in 2007, he discovered the teachings of the Buddha and never looked back. He is deeply concerned with issues relating to the mental and spiritual wellbeing of modern culture and is looking for ways to bring happiness and contentment back into our lives. Chris is currently on a yearlong sabbatical in India where he is studying Buddhism and Tibetan language. He writes about his experiences and the practical applications of the Buddhadharma on his blog, The Narrow Way.