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Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox is a weekly podcast that shares how to put the teachings of Buddhism into practice to be happier, more peaceful, or to become the spiritual warrior this world so desperately needs. JoAnn Fox has been teaching Buddhism for 17 years and does so with kindness and humor.

Tracks

Episode 155 - The Heart of Awakening
When we’re being selfish, our actions are motivated by attachment to our happiness, reputation, opinion, expectations being met, etc. As we practiced after the last episode, we again practice cherishing others as an opponent to attachment. This time, however, we try to motivate our practice of cherishing others by a wish for all living beings to be happy and free from suffering. The following story and accompanying verses of the Buddha illustrate how living beings are trapped in a cycle of suffering and uncontrolled rebirth. The escape route is enlightenment. So the motivation for our practice of cherishing others can go as deep as the wish to become enlightened yourself. For who else can point to the escape route?   The Story of a Young Sow   “While residing at the Veluvana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (338) to (343) of this book, with reference to a young sow.   On one occasion, while the Buddha was on an alms-round at Rajagaha, he saw a young dirty sow and smiled. When asked by the Venerable Ananda, the Buddha replied, "Ananda, this young sow was a hen during the time of Kakusandha Buddha. As she was then staying near a refectory in a monastery she used to hear the recitation of the sacred text and the discourses on the Dhamma. When she died she was reborn as a princess. On one occasion, while going to the latrine, the princess noticed the maggots and she became mindful of the loathsomeness of the body, etc. When she died she was reborn in the Brahma realm as a puthujjana brahma but later due to some evil kamma, she was reborn as a sow. Ananda! Look, on account of good and evil kamma there is no end of the round of existences." (Translated by  Daw Mya Tin, M.A.)   The following verses were spoken by Buddha after this discussion with Ananda.   Verse 341: In beings, there flows happiness that is smeared with craving; those beings attached to pleasure and seeking pleasure are, indeed, subject to birth and ageing.   Verse 342: People beset with craving are terrified like a hare caught in a snare; held fast by fetters and bonds they undergo dukkha (round of rebirths) again and again, for a long time.   Verse 343: People beset with craving are terrified like a hare caught in a snare. Therefore, One who wishes to free himself from craving should eradicate craving.   -Buddha, The Dhammapada   May I be a protector for the protectorless  A guide for those on the path A boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood May I be a light in the darkness A resting place for the weary A healing medicine for all who are sick A vase of plenty, a tree of miracles And for the boundless multitudes of living beings May I bring sustenance and awakening Enduring like the earth and sky Until all beings are freed from sorrow And all are awaken —by Shantideva, Buddhist sage 700 A.D., India   We take a practical step in that direction and make the intention to cherish others. With the mantra “May you be happy”, may you be free of suffering”  References with Links   Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=338 Find us at the links below:  https://www.facebook.com/Buddhismforeveryone Join our private group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sanghatalk/ https://www.instagram.com/buddhism.with.joann.fox
42:32 11/17/2022
Episode 153 - Root of Attachment
In this episode and subsequent mindfulness practice, we are working toward severing the root of craving (also known as attachment). What is the root of craving? Suffering is said to have three roots: anger, attachment, and--the root of anger and attachment--ignorance. In particular, the root of craving is ignorance of the way things exist as opposed to how they appear to us. When we crave something, it appears to be inherently good; we don't think our Mind has anything to do with making that object pleasant or desirable. Due to our ignorance, we believe our Mind has nothing to do with making an object desirable. For example, if we become attached to a diamond ring, this attachment ultimately arises from ignorance.    Attachment arises as follows: pleasant appearing object or person + inappropriate attention = attachment   Something we desire manifests like an illusion, and we are the magician. For this process of attachment to be set in motion, ignorance must veil the truth that we make the object appear attractive. We never say, 'Mind, why do you make me have expectations for my birthday to be so great?' We don't protest and think, 'Mind, why do you make that married person appear so attractive? Let's not.'     Yet attachment can't arise unless we give inappropriate attention by dwelling on its good qualities, how it will make us happy, etc. If we continue to dwell in this way, attachment will arise and the illusion will be complete. We will then believe we can’t be happy without that object or person: whether it is wanting a person, a situation to go the way we want, or a diamond ring.   We can stop the attachment equation by giving appropriate attention and using wisdom thoughts to stop attachment in its tracks. For example, we might think, "The only reason I want to keep dating this person is because I am so attached. This relationship is actually toxic for me. If I break up with them, then after a while, my attachment will naturally fade, and they will appear like any other person." Wisdom thoughts can set us free, initiate the return of contentment, and keep our mind peaceful.    This I say to you: Good fortune to all assembled here! Dig out the root of craving  As you would the fragrant root of bīrana grass.  Don’t let Māra destroy you again and again,  As a torrential river [breaks] a reed. (337)    Just as a felled tree grows again  If the roots are unharmed and strong,  So suffering sprouts again and again Until the tendency to crave is rooted out. -Buddha, The Dhammapada   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011. (Link)   Find us at the links below:  https://www.facebook.com/Buddhismforeveryone Join our private group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sanghatalk/ https://www.instagram.com/buddhism.with.joann.fox
40:42 10/30/2022
Episode 152 - Examining Attachment To Our Self
Attachment to the self causes suffering, just as suffering invariably follows attachment to any object. In general, attachment arises when we perceive an object we find attractive and become fixated on it; we exaggerate its qualities until we become glued to the object, so that it is painful if we are separated from it. For example, attachment to self might arise as a fixed sense that we have a certain quantity, like intelligence. We are attached to being perceived as intelligence so that when someone slights our intelligence in some way, we feel pain and might become angry and defensive.    The following experiences come from attachment to our self: anxiety feeling defensive  depression, self-loathing, guilt  pride  defense mechanisms   A suggested mindfulness practice is to watch our mind for a week, attempting to notice when we experience any of the symptoms of attachment to self. Other ways to gain knowledge about your own attachment is to observe what triggered the attachment to arise. Or determine what exactly you're attached to in that moment. Observe any pain or problems this attachment causes. Discover what ways your attachment to self most often arises, In the next episode, we will explore ways to lessen the attachment to self that most often plagues you.    Sorrow grows Like grass after rain  For anyone overcome by this miserable craving  And clinging to the world. (335)*    Sorrow falls away Like drops of water from a lotus  For anyone who overcomes this miserable craving  And clinging to the world.   This I say to you: Good fortune to all assembled here! Dig out the root of craving  As you would the fragrant root of bīrana grass.  Don’t let Māra destroy you again and again,  As a torrential river [breaks] a reed. (337)    Just as a felled tree grows again  If the roots are unharmed and strong,  So suffering sprouts again and again  Until the tendency to crave is rooted out. -Buddha, The Dhammapada   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011. (Link)   Find us at the links below:  https://www.facebook.com/Buddhismforeveryone Join our private group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sanghatalk/ https://www.instagram.com/buddhism.with.joann.fox
42:44 10/25/2022
Episode 151 - The Three Steps To Lessen Attachment
In this episode, we look at a three-step process to lessen attachment. The first step is to notice the craving mind and examine it. The craving mind focuses on its object of desire, exaggerates its good qualities, and fixates on it until it feels it can not be happy without it: it is at this stage that attachment has arisen. We might be attached to a new car, a person, being right, or an experience going the way we want it to. Our mind of attachment makes these things so desirable, imbuing them with attractiveness, and yet the attachment to them sets us up for disappointment, painful longing, or dissatisfaction. Attachment is like tasting honey on the raiser’s edge; the first taste is sweet, but pain is soon to follow.   A three-step practice to lesson attachment Notice the craving mind Loosen the fixation Make offerings   You can meditate on the breath to loosen a fixation. Once you’ve noticed your mind glued to its object of attachment, this meditation frees and settles the mind because it focuses on a completely neutral object—the breath.    Offering a purified version of your object of attachment to all living beings is a profound way to lessen craving and create causes to be free of it completely, eventually. For example, you might be attached to buying a new home. Your mind is fixated on it; you feel you can’t be happy unless you buy a new house, but financially it would be reckless at this time. You could settle your mind and think, “may all living beings have safe and comfortable shelter.” Feel that your offering creates the cause for all beings to have shelter. Giving up your object of attachment now has a universal purpose. Or it might lift you up from the narrow mind of craving to a feeling of connection and love to all living beings. If you're attached to a person for whom its inappropriate, you could think “may all beings experience pure love.” Make the offering a purified version of your attachment.    The craving of a person who lives negligently  Spreads like a creeping vine.  Such a person leaps ever onward,  Like a monkey seeking fruit in the forest. (334)* --Buddha, The Dhammapada   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011. (Link)   Find us at the links below:  https://www.facebook.com/Buddhismforeveryone Join our private group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sanghatalk/ https://www.instagram.com/buddhism.with.joann.fox  
41:21 09/19/2022
Episode 150 - Happiness and Attachment
Once Buddha was staying near the Himalayas in a place where the people were being very poorly treated by three cruel and ruthless kings. Buddha had the thought, ‘I wonder if there is a way to get the kings to treat people better and to rule wisely?’ Mara, kind of a devil figure, observed Buddha having this thought. Mara decided to try and tempt Buddha into ruling as king himself. But Buddha noticed this and said to Mara, “your teaching and my teaching are quite different.” Buddha could not be tempted by power or riches. Then Buddha explained where happiness really comes from is in these verses:   Happiness is having friends when need arises.  Happiness is contentment with whatever there is.  Happiness is merit at the end of one’s life.  Happiness is the abandoning of all suffering.  In the world, respect for one’s mother is happiness,  As is respect for one’s father.  In the world, respect for renunciants is happiness,  As is respect for brahmins.  Happiness is virtue lasting through old age.  Happiness is steadfast faith.  Happiness is the attainment of wisdom.  Not doing evil is happiness. (331–333)   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011. (Link)   Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=331 Find us at the links below:  https://www.facebook.com/Buddhismforeveryone Join our private group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sanghatalk/ https://www.instagram.com/buddhism.with.joann.fox
34:40 09/07/2022
Episode 149 - Friendship and Buddhism
With stories of yogis who spent years practicing alone in isolated mountain caves, it might seem like Buddhism promotes a solitary path. But in reality, Buddha spoke many times of the importance of good friends. Friends that are a good influence on us are essential to our well-being and spiritual development. Once, Ananda said to the Buddha that good friends are half the Holy Life. Buddha replied, “No, Ananda, having good friends isn’t half of the Holy Life. Having good friends is the whole of the Holy Life.”    Buddha also said, “it is better to go alone” than to have friends who negatively influence us. Because we are so easily, almost subconsciously, affected by those we spend a lot of time with, we must choose our companions carefully. In this episode, we look at how vital deep friendships are and the inner qualities of friendship.   In the Sigalaka Sutra, the Buddha named these four types of friend: The helpful friend:   protects you when you are careless looks after your property when you are forgetful is a refuge when you are frightened when some need arises, gives you twice the wealth required   The friend who shares one’s happiness and suffering: reveals their secrets to you, but guards your secrets  would not abandon you when you are in trouble  they would even sacrifice their life for your sake   The friend who points out what is good: discourages you from doing evil or harmful things  enjoins you in doing good things informs you what you have not heard  points out the path of love and compassion   The sympathetic friend:  never rejoices in your misfortune rejoices in your good fortune stops those who speak poorly of you  commends those who speak praise of you   Which of these four types of friends best describes you? What qualities of friendship could you improve? In our weekly mindfulness practice, we can engage in purposeful actions to strengthen our friendships and inner qualities.   If you find an intelligent companion,  A fellow traveler  A sage of good conduct,  You should travel together,  Delighted and mindful,  Overcoming all dangers. (328)    If you do not find an intelligent companion,  A fellow traveler  Of good conduct and wise,  Travel alone,  Like a king renouncing a conquered kingdom,  Like the elephant Matanga in the forest. (329)*    There is no companionship with a fool;  It is better to go alone.  Travel alone, at ease, doing no evil  Like the elephant Matanga in the forest. (330)   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011. (Link)   Wikipedia contributors. (2021, October 21). Kalyāṇa-mittatā. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:38, August 14, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kaly%C4%81%E1%B9%87a-mittat%C4%81&oldid=1051137163 Find us at the links below:  https://www.facebook.com/Buddhismforeveryone Join our private group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sanghatalk/ https://www.instagram.com/buddhism.with.joann.fox  
31:55 08/14/2022
Episode 148 - Mindfulness for a Happy Life
Mindfulness can be used to train the mind: to make the mind more peaceful and see your world differently. Mindfulness, in this way, is used to remember things we’ve learned and intend to put into practice. For example, we may have heard the teaching to gather all blame into one--our mental afflictions. We might agree that there are no external problems or enemies; our problems come from our mental afflictions, such as anger, attachment, ignorance, pride, or greed. To practice mindfulness, we could then determine to recall this wisdom when we start to get angry or upset. Mindfulness is used to remember our determination to practice this wisdom and not blame another person or situation for our unpleasant feelings. This practice helps us let the unpleasant feelings pass without clinging to them and blaming others.  Mindfulness is a powerful tool for creating a happy mind.  Always Rely on a Happy Mind (One of Atisha’s 59 slogans of training the mind.)    The Story of the Elephant Called Paveyyaka   While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (327) of this book, with reference to the elephant, called Paveyyaka.   Paveyyaka when young was very strong; in due course, he became old and decrepit. One day, as old Paveyyaka went into a pond he was stuck in the mire and could not get on to the shore. When King Pasenadi of Kosala was told about it, he sent an elephant trainer to help the elephant get out of the mire. The elephant trainer went to the site where the elephant was. There, he made the musicians strike up a martial tune. Hearing the military airs, the elephant felt as if he were in a battlefield; his spirits rose, he pulled himself with all his might, and was soon out of the mire.   When the bhikkhus told the Buddha about this he said, "Bhikkhus! Just as that elephant pulled itself out of the mire, so also, must you all pull yourselves out of the mire of moral defilements."   Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:   Take delight in mindfulness,  guard your mind well.  As an elephant stuck in mire pulls itself out,  so also, pull yourself out of the mire of moral defilements. —Buddha, Dhammapada, Verse 327:    “If in battle your sword were to fall from your hand, you would without hesitation immediately retrieve it out of fear for your life. Likewise, when you battle the afflictions and lose the weapon of mindfulness (which does not forget the subjective and objective aspects of engaging in what is to be adopted and rejecting what is to be cast aside), you must immediately reapply mindfulness.” —Je Tsongkapa,    Take delight in mindfulness,  guard your mind well.  As an elephant stuck in the mire pulls itself out,  so also pull yourself out of the mire of moral defilements. —Buddha, The Dhammapada   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011. (Link)   Je Tsongkhapa. Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, by Je Tsongkhapa, Volume 2. (Kindle.)Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor, pp 187-197.   Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=327   Find us at the links below:  https://www.facebook.com/Buddhismforeveryone Join our private group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sanghatalk/ https://www.instagram.com/buddhism.with.joann.fox
34:37 08/08/2022
Episode 147 - Be Grateful To Everyone
The practice of Lojong has the literal translation of “mind training.” The great Buddhist master Atisha taught mind training over 1,000 years ago in the form of slogans. These 59 slogans are designed to be practiced in the hustle and bustle of daily life to retrain our minds in the ways of peace, compassion, wisdom, and bodhicitta (the wish to attain enlightenment for the sake of all living beings.) In this episode, JoAnn Fox focuses on the 13th slogan, “Be grateful to everyone.”   Be grateful to everyone. Who does everyone include?  Grateful to those who lift us up Grateful to All living brings Grateful to people we find difficult   A grateful mind is a happy mind. With such a mind, we see the wonders in the world and many possibilities.    Being grateful to those who are kind or help us is easier, but sometimes we forget.    One way to develop gratitude to all living beings is just to consider what we had at our last meal. We didn’t pick the vegetables. We didn’t build the truck that delivered the vegetables. We didn’t build the road the truck drove on or the roads that carry us home each day. We are connected to all living beings and benefit tremendously from them.    With difficult people, we can be grateful for the things we learn from them. Only from those who challenge us can we learn great patience and resilience. They can also show us what we still need to heal. Our mind is like an open wound; others help us to understand that the wound hasn’t healed yet. Gratitude for lessons learned can be a great healer of resentment.   The sluggish and gluttonous simpleton  Who sleeps and rolls about Like a fat, grain-fed hog Is reborn again and again. (325)*   In the past, this mind went wandering  Where it wished, as it liked, and as it pleased.  Now I will retrain it wisely, As an elephant keeper does an elephant in rut. —Buddha, The Dhammapada    References   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindie).Shambala, Boston and London, 2011.   Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=325 Find us at the links below:  https://www.facebook.com/Buddhismforeveryone Join our private group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sanghatalk/ https://www.instagram.com/buddhism.with.joann.fox
31:15 08/01/2022
Episode 146 - Caring For Our Parents
The Buddha taught that certain factors strengthen the karmic results of our actions. One example is that the effects of actions we do toward certain types of people are intensified because of their special relationship to us and the benefits we receive from them. Our parents are one of these types of people, since we have received so much help from them in the past. Buddha, therefore, advised that we try to take care of our parents and cherish them as much as we can. In this episode, JoAnn Fox relates the teachings on this subject in a way that can also begin to heal our experience of our parents if that is needed.   “There is strength in actions directed toward the three jewels, gurus, those who are like gurus, parents, and the like, for, though you direct no intense thoughts toward them and do them only small harm or help, the ensuing misdeed and merit is great.” —Je Tsongkhapa    The elephant called Dhanapālaka  Is hard to control when in rut;  Tied down, the tusker doesn’t even eat,  Remembering the elephant forest. —Buddha, The Dhammapada    References   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindie).Shambala, Boston and London, 2011.   Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=324   Je Tsongkhapa. Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, by Je Tsongkhapa, Volume 1 (Kindle). Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor. Find us at the links below:  https://www.facebook.com/Buddhismforeveryone Join our private group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sanghatalk/ https://www.instagram.com/buddhism.with.joann.fox  
35:13 07/24/2022
Episode 145 - The Nature of The Mind
The word enlightenment is a translation of two Pali words that mean “awakened” and “freed from all fetters.” To become enlightened then means we wake to the true nature of reality, and we free our mind from all the shackles of the delusions, like ignorance, anger, and attachment. The basic nature of the mind is purity. No matter how troubled or deluded someone’s mind is currently, their basic nature is purity. In this episode, we try to get an understanding and an experience of the basic nature of the mind: purity, clarity, and awareness.    “The deep, peaceful clarity of our essential mind is in the nature of love, and in this calm atmosphere the disturbances of hatred and anger have no place. While absorbed in this deep state of awareness, there is no chance for a harmful thought to agitate us. It is not a question of consciously deciding to refrain from anger and behave virtuously; this loving, benevolent feeling arises spontaneously and effortlessly, from the depths of our being.    As this feeling of spaciousness grows and as we become closer to the correct view of nonconcrete non-self-existence, a sense of unity between ourselves and everything else will arise. Instead of feeling suffocated and oppressed by our surroundings — “It’s me against them” — we will feel as if there is room enough for everything in the world. There is space for everything. Within the clear space of nonduality, everything flows freely in a constant process of coming and going, growing and dying, arising and disappearing. Within this expanse of non-self-existent reality, all things function perfectly without obstructing one another. There is no conflict, no confusion, and no separation. Instead of feeling alienated from our environment, from others, or even from ourselves, we share in the experience of universal harmony.” —Lama Yeshe    Excellent are tamed mules, Thoroughbreds, horses of the Indus valley, Tusked elephants and great elephants.  But even more excellent  Are people who have tamed themselves.    Not by means of these animals could one go  To that place not gone to,  Where a self-tamed person goes  By means of a well-tamed, disciplined self. (322–323)* —Buddha, The Dhammapada    References   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindie).Shambala, Boston and London, 2011.   Yeshe, Thupten. Introduction to Tantra. (Kindle). Wisdom Publications, Somerville, 2014. Find us at the links below:  https://www.facebook.com/Buddhismforeveryone Join our private group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sanghatalk/ https://www.instagram.com/buddhism.with.joann.fox  
34:45 07/18/2022
Episode 144 - How To Turn The Other Cheek
Many of the great religious leaders have asked us to practice non-retaliation, to turn the other cheek, and practice nonviolence. The Buddha explained that non-retaliation is not only important for the person who harms us, but for the protection of our self. Buddha once said that if you throw burning coal at someone, you will definitely get burnt. In the same way, when we retaliate in our mind by harboring resentment, we experience that harm by drawing out the suffering we experience. If we retaliate verbally or physically, we create negative karma that will cause us to suffer again in the future. To this point, Buddha once asked this question: if someone gives us a gift but we refused to accept, who owns the gift? When we choose not to retaliate we lay the burden of our own suffering down. JoAnn Fox explains a simple practice for non-retaliation that can be done both in meditation and in daily life. A practice of non-retaliation  Step one: Choose peace. Know that forgiveness of another person is necessary for our own mental peace and sanity. When we forgive others it helps us most of all.  If we’ve already lost our peace of mind and have become angry, the advice is to step away from the situation until we become calm. Step two: Generate Compassion. Try to separate the person from their uncontrolled minds like anger, jealousy, attachment and so forth. These uncontrolled minds are the real enemies of ourselves and others. They destroy our happiness and cause us to harm others.  Also contemplate the ways that the person who harms us is suffering or is causing their own future suffering. We try to generate real compassion for them.  At the end of a meditation: Develop resolve. We make a determination that through the week, whenever we start to think negatively about that person, we will instead move our mind to consider the ways that they suffer. We will try, through mindfulness, to replace our thoughts of anger with thoughts of compassion. Condensed practice: Choose peace, generate compassion.  As an elephant in battle  Endures an arrow shot from a bow,  So will I endure verbal abuse;  Many people, indeed, lack virtue. (320)    The tamed elephant is the one  They take into a crowd.  The tamed elephant is the one  The king mounts.  Best among humans is the tamed person  Who endures verbal abuse. -Buddha, The Dhammapada   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011. (Link)   Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=320
30:18 07/13/2022
Episode 143 - Right Thinking
This episode is the last of a three part series on the ten nonvirtuous actions, and the focus is on actions of mind. Actions of mind you say! Yes, actions of mind do create karma. In fact, mental actions are continuously creating our reality. Our mind can create a heaven or a hell right on earth. Our mind can also create a happy life—or at least 80% happier.   Nonvirtuous actions of mind: covetousness ill will Wrong view   Finding fault in what’s not at fault  And seeing no fault in what is,  Those who take up wrong views  Go to a bad rebirth. (318)    But knowing fault as fault,  And the faultless as the faultless,  Those who take up right views  Go to a good rebirth.  -Buddha, The Dhammapada   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 78 (Link)   Je Tsongkhapa. Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, by Je Tsongkhapa, Volume 1 (Kindle). Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor.
41:33 07/05/2022
Episode 142 - Mindful Speech
  When the Buddha explained the ten nonvirtuous actions to abandon, four are devoted to our speech. Our words are an incredibly powerful tool; they can build ourselves and others up. Or they can tear ourselves and others down. In a sentence they can destroy a relationship, friendship, or employment; such is the power of our speech. In fact, a mindfulness practice of purifying our speech is one that can change our lives completely.    The Four Nonvirtous Action of Speech Lying Divisive speech Harsh speech  Idle chatter    5 Factors of Right Speech: Is it true? Is it beneficial?  Is it kind? Is it spoken with a mind of good will? Is is the right time?   The karmic results of the 4 Nonvirtuous actions of speech which are similar to the cause, explained by Je Tsongkhapa: [as a result of lying] others would slander you a great deal, and they would deceive you;  [as a result of divisive speech] your helpers would not get along and would misbehave; [as a result of offensive speech] you would hear unpleasant and quarrelsome speech; [183]  [as a result of senseless speech] your words would not be respected or understandable, and your confidence would not be unshakable;   Je Tspnkhaoa also explained that abandoning the four nonvirtues of speech is the karmic cause of trustworthy words., “The effect of trustworthy words is that through kind speech, purposeful behavior, and being one whose aims are the same as the disciples’, you gather living beings and mature (teach and guide) them.”   “The word is pure magic, and when you adopt the first agreement, magic just happens in your life. Your intentions and desires come easily because there is no resistance, there is no fear; there is only love. You are at peace, and you create a life of freedom and fulfillment in every way. Just this one agreement is enough to completely transform your life into your personal heaven. Always be aware of how you are using the word, and be impeccable with your word.” —Adapted from The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery. Copyright© 2010 by Miguel Angel Ruiz, M.D., Jose Luis Ruiz, and Janet Mills. Reprinted by Permission of Amber-Allen Publishing, Inc., San Rafael, California   Seeing danger in what’s not dangerous  And not seeing danger in what is,  Those who take up wrong views  Go to a bad rebirth. (317)  -Buddha, The Dhammapada   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 78 (Link)   Je Tsongkhapa. Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, by Je Tsongkhapa, Volume 1 (Kindle). Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor.   Right Speech. Access to Insight (website). https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca4/samma-vaca/index.html   The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery. Copyright© 2010 by Miguel Angel Ruiz, M.D., Jose Luis Ruiz, and Janet Mills. Reprinted by Permission of Amber-Allen Publishing, Inc., San Rafael, California. https://www.thefouragreements.com/the-first-agreement-be-impeccable-with-your-word/
37:22 06/20/2022
Episode 141 - Body Karma
Buddha explained the Ten Nonvirtuous Actions as a way to guide our actions of body, speech, and mind. "Nonvirtuous" means that it brings suffering to us in the future by way of negative karmic results. Yet it is easy to be confused about what is nonvirtuous if everyone around us is doing it or if our society sanctions it. That is why we are encouraged in Buddhism to bring the light of awareness to our actions. To see, in the light of our own wisdom, if our actions are helpful or harmful. The daily mindfulness practice JoAnn Fox suggests begins by contemplating what unskillful actions of body we currently engage in and deciding if we want to abandon them. Over the course of the week, with mindfulness, we observe our thoughts when the impulse to engage in that behavior arises. We try to understand why we engage in that behavior and make an effort to abandon it.    The Three Nonvirtuous Actions of Body: Killing  Stealing Sexual Misconduct   The karmic results of the three nonvirtuous actions of body Killing: a short lifetime. Things in the external environment such as food and drink, medicine, and fruits will have little strength, be ineffective, have little potency and power, or, being difficult to digest, will induce illness. Hence, most living beings will die without living out their expected life spans.  Stealing: a lack of resources. The environmental effects of stealing are that you will have few fruits, the fruits will not be perfect, will change, or will be partially spoiled. There will be severe droughts or torrential downpours. The fruits will dry up or disappear.  Sexual misconduct: an unruly spouse; inability to find a lasting relationship. The environmental effects of sexual misconduct are living where there is excrement and urine, mud, filth, unclean things, many evil smells, misery, and discomfort.   Ashamed of what’s not shameful  And not ashamed of what is,  Those who take up wrong views  Go to a bad rebirth. (316)*  --Buddha, The Dhammapada   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 78 (Link)   Je Tsongkhapa. Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, by Je Tsongkhapa, Volume 1 (Kindle). Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor.
37:20 06/12/2022
Episode 140 - Happiness Training
Where we place our thoughts is how we produce happiness, calm, and peace. The real trap we're all in is believing that we will be happy when_______. Think about how many times we've said this: "I'll be happy when I get my own room. I'll be happy when I can drive. I'll be happy when I can move out. I'll be happy when I can move back in. When I graduate college, I'll be happy, and when I get that great job. I'll be happy when I get married. I'll be happy when I get divorced. I'll be happy when I have kids. I'll be happy when these kids finally leave. I'll be happy when I retire." We're always pursuing something that we think will give us satisfaction we crave.   The Buddha suggested that instead of pursuing this endless cycle of searching, we learn how to make ourselves happy. Then we get to be peaceful and happy no matter the circumstances. This appears elusive to us because our minds are untamed and uncontrolled—so being happy most of the time seems crazy. Yet it is possible, and it’s not a high spiritual attainment beyond our grasp.    JoAnn Fox explains her experience of being able to train the mind enough--by watching our thoughts--to be happy most of the time. We will see our level of happiness increasing by being mindful of our thoughts and rerouting our thoughts in an appropriate direction when they go in the wrong direction. (The wrong direction being thoughts that lead us to dissatisfaction, resentment, anxiety, etc.) JoAnn explains a simple mindfulness technique that anyone can practice for these transformative results.   “Everyone you meet always asks if you have a career, are married, or own a house as if life was some kind of grocery list. But no one ever asks you if you are happy.” --Heath Ledger    Just as a fortified city Is guarded inside and out,  So guard yourself—  Don’t let a moment pass you by.  Those who let the moment pass  Grieve when they’re consigned to hell. (315)  --Buddha, The Dhammapada   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 78 (Link)   Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy .of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=315
36:08 05/31/2022
Episode 139 - How To Purify Bad Karma
There is a way to purify negative karma! Phew. Buddha taught the Four Powers of Purification. The first power is healthy regret. This type of regret stands in contrast to guilt. Healthy regrets teaches us that we should try to not be angry or unkind to ourselves when we experience regret. Regret makes us naturally desire not to repeat that action and the harm we caused. The second power of purification is applying remedies. In this episode, JoAnn Fox shares a traditional method for applying remedies, reciting the mantra of Vajrasattva, Buddha of Purification (see the mantra below.) The third is the power of promise, in which we promise to try to refrain from that harmful action in the future. Finally, the power of reliance is to ask for help to a higher power; for some this could be praying to Jesus or it could be asking the objects of Buddhist refuge (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha) for help. The powers of purification act together or alone. For example, as soon as we regret some harm we have done we start to purify that karma. This practice illuminates Buddhism’s most essential tenet, we can change...Profoundly change.    How to purify negative karma through the 4 powers: Regret Applying Remedies  Promise  Reliance    The short mantra of Vajrasattva, For purification Om Vajra Sattva Hum   Just as kusa grass cuts the hand  That wrongly grasps it,  So the renunciant life, if wrongly grasped,  Drags one down to hell. (311)    A lax act, corrupt practice,  Or chaste life lived dubiously  Doesn’t bear much fruit. (312)*    With steady effort  One should do what is to be done  Because the lax renunciant stirs up  Even more dust. (313)*    A foul deed is best not done—  The foul deed torments one later.  A good deed is best done—  For, having done it, one has no regret. (314)  -Buddha, The Dhammapada References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 77 (Link)   Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy .of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=314   Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, by Je Tsongkhapa, Volume 1. (Kindle). Pages 251-253. Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor.
40:01 05/16/2022
Episode 137 - Being Tender with Our Anger
When Buddha was accused of sexual relations with a young, beautiful woman named Sundari, and his followers were accused of murdering her, Buddha remained unphased. Buddha merely used it as an opportunity to teach about karma. If only we could remain so calm amidst the storms of life! In this episode, we learn about a practice to help us let go of anger taught by Thich Nhat Hanh. This meditation involves a mindfulness of anger: breathing in, I recognize my own anger; breathing out, I smile at my anger.    The Story of Sundari the Wandering Female Ascetic   While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (306) of this book, with reference to Sundari, a wandering female ascetic.   As the number of people revering the Buddha increased, the non-Buddhist ascetics found that the number of their following was dwindling. Therefore, they became very jealous of the Buddha; they were also afraid that things would get worse if they did not do something to damage the reputation of the Buddha. So, they sent for Sundari and said to her, "Sundari, you are a very beautiful and clever young lady. We want you to put Samana Gotama to shame, by making it appear to others that you are having sexual dealings with him. By so doing, his image will be impaired, his following will decrease and many would come to us. Make the best use of your looks and be crafty."   Sundari understood what was expected of her. Thus, late in the evening, she went in the direction of the Jetavana monastery. When she was asked where she was going, she answered, "I am going to visit Samana Gotama; I live with him in the Perfumed Chamber of the Jetavana monastery." After saying this, she proceeded to the place of the non-Buddhist ascetics. Early in the morning the next day, she returned home, if anyone asked her from where she had come she would reply, "I have come from the Perfumed Chamber after staying the night with Samana Gotama." She carried on like this for two more days. At the end of three days, those ascetics hired some drunkards to kill Sundari and put her body in a rubbish heap near the Jetavana monastery.   The next day, the ascetics spread the news about the disappearance of Paribbajika Sundari. They went to the king to report the matter and their suspicion. The king gave them permission to search where they wished. Finding the body near the Jetavana monastery, they carried it to the palace. Then they said to the king, "O king, the followers of Gotama have killed this Paribbajika and have thrown away her body in the rubbish heap near the Jetavana monastery to cover up the misdeed of their teacher." To them the king replied, "In that case, you may go round the town and proclaim the fact." So they went round the town carrying the dead body of Sundari, shouting, "Look! What the followers of Gotama have done; see how they have tried to cover up the misdeed of Gotama!" The procession then returned to the palace. The bhikkhus living in the Jetavana monastery told the Buddha what those ascetics were (doing to damage his reputation and impair his image. But the Buddha only said, "My sons, you just tell them this," and then spoke in verse as follows:   Verse 306: One who tells lies (about others) goes to niraya; one who has done evil and says "I did not do it" also goes to niraya. Both of them being evil-doers, suffer alike (in niraya) in their next existence.   The king next ordered his men to further investigate the murder of Sundari. On investigation, they found out that Sundari had died at the hands of some drunkards. So they were brought to the king. When questioned, the drunkards disclosed that they were hired by the ascetics to kill Sundari and put her body near the Jetavana monastery.  References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 77 (Link)   Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy .of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=305   Hahn, T.N. Taking care of anger. (YouTube). https://youtu.be/9OvLOna5_1A
31:49 05/02/2022
Episode 135 - Buddha-Nature
Buddha asserted that all living beings have Buddha-nature, a consciousness that is the seed of enlightenment. No matter how deluded someone is at this moment, they have within them the potential to become a fully enlightened being. Our nature is essentially pure and good (and empty of inherent existence). Even when it is raining, and clouds completely cover the sun, the clouds do not change the essential light-giving power of the sun. In the same way, the clouds of delusions like anger, greed, and ignorance do not change the pure nature of living beings.    If we are not yet enlightened, then, of course, we will sometimes “malfunction” with anger or other bad habits of mind. Rather than becoming discouraged or feeling like a bad person, we can have compassion for ourselves and try to relate to our Buddha-nature. If we train our minds, we can perfect the following six qualities and become an awakened being, just like Buddha did.    What are the Six Perfections? generosity ethical discipline patience effort  concentration wisdom   From afar, good people     Shine like the Himalayan mountains. Close up, bad people disappear,     Like arrows shot into the night (verse 304) --Buddha, The Dhammapada   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 77 (Link)   Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=304
31:04 04/11/2022
Episode 134 - Good Karma
Have you ever wondered how to practice karma? In this episode, we look at how to practice karma by maintaining mindfulness of the law of karma and acting in accordance with it. The word karma literally means action. Every action is like a seed planted in the field of our mind. Virtuous actions, like those actions coming from the intention of compassion, generosity, love, understanding and so on, plant a seed in our mind that will eventually give rise to happiness in the future. In this way karma shapes our world. The world we are experiencing today has been shaped by our actions of the past. Our world of tomorrow will be shaped by her actions of today and (as well as previous actions.) In the verse from the Dhammapada, Buddha Illustrates the power of virtuous actions.   Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, by Je Tsongkhapa, Volume 1  King of Concentrations Sūtra says: Like illusions, bubbles, mirages, and lightning,  All phenomena are like the moon [reflected] in water.  It is not the case that living beings—who die  And go on to their next lives—are offspring of Manu [the first human at the beginning of the eon].    Yet the karma that you possess does not disappear;  The virtuous and nonvirtuous give rise to their effects accordingly;  This logical approach is sound;  though subtle and difficult to see, It is within the scope of the Conqueror.   Cause of Fame: The cause of consummate lineage is first overcoming pride and then making obeisance and so forth to gurus and the like, and respecting others as if you were their servant.  The effect of consummate lineage is that people carry out your  spiritual instructions without disregard. Cause of Wealth: The cause of consummate power [weath]  is giving food, clothing, and so forth to those who request them; even when they are not requested, giving such assistance; and giving to those who suffer and to recipients who have good qualities but no possessions. The effect of consummate power [wealth] is that through giving you gather living beings and can then help them mature spiritually. People endowed       With faith, virtue, fame, and wealth Are revered       Wherever they go. --Buddha, The Dhammapada References and Links Buddha.The Dammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 77 (Link) Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=303 Je Tsongkhapa. Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, by Je Tsongkhapa, Volume 1 (Kindle). Pages 244-248. Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor.
41:23 04/05/2022
Episode 133 - A Simple Happiness Practice
It could be said that all of the Buddha's teachings are about suffering and how to end suffering. In this episode, we hear the story of a monk who, standing alone in his monastery while the rest of his city celebrated the festival of the constellations, thought: "There can be no one whose lot is worse than mine." Haven't we all had a similar thought before when we were down, thinking our situation was just the worse! To the monk, the Buddha said that everyone suffers. Buddha says it is hard to be a monk; it is hard to be married with a family; it is hard just to live with other people. Ultimately Buddha said that anyone in samsara (with an uncontrolled mind) would experience suffering wherever their circumstances are. The only way to end suffering is to stop the causes of suffering from within--from our mental habits of ignorance, anger, attachment, greed, and so forth.     Understanding that suffering and happiness arise from our mind, rather than external circumstances, we can try to lift our mind back up to happiness as a spiritual practice. I suggest a one-day practice as an experiment. For this mindfulness practice, try for an entire day to keep lifting your mind back up when it becomes tense or unhappy. Utilize thoughts of gratitude or simply your determination to be peaceful and happy all day. I do this practice and find it really works! Just know that sometimes turning your mind back to happiness is easy, like turning a motorbike, but sometimes it is like turning a cruise ship around--it takes a long time.    Verse 302: It is hard to become a bhikkhu;  it is hard to be happy in the practice of a bhikkhu.  The hard life of a householder is painful;  to live with those of a different temperament is painful.  A traveller in samsara is continually subject to dukkha;  therefore, do not be a traveller in samsara;  do not be the one to be subject to dukkha again and again.    -Buddha, The Dhammapada    References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon, Burma, 1986 (Online). Courtesy of Nibbana.com Link: https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=302
31:02 03/23/2022
Episode 132: Cherishing Others, The Basis of All Good Qualities
The Buddha said that the minds of his followers should “constantly, day and night, delight in spiritual practice.” What practice can we weave through our days and use our own life as a spiritual path? What practice can we do at work, at home, with strangers, children, parents, and our partner? Cherishing others is a practice we can do whenever we have an intention; in other words, wherever we are awake. Cherishing others directly opposes our own selfishness, also known as self-cherishing. Cherishing another means that we have the intention: your happiness is important. I myself will work for your happiness.    Cherishing others has so many benefits. It is the basis of all good qualities, and, if practiced until it is our only intention, will lead to enlightenment. Cherishing others solves all problems between ourselves and others. Conversely, selfishness leads to pain and conflict; it is the foundation of all suffering. In this episode, JoAnn Fox explains how to practice cherishing others in daily life. She also guides a short meditation on cherishing those closest to us.    Modern science reveals that cherishing others even has health benefits. A study in The Journals of Gerontology found that “in an ethnically diverse group of older adults, those who gave social support to others experienced much lower rates of mortality compared with those who didn’t offer assistance.”   Cherishing others can also reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. A study in the journal Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science found that people who “practiced a kindness mindset had 23% lower cortisol levels than the average person.” Chronically high cortisol has been linked to health conditions like cardiovascular disease, weight gain, osteoporosis, insulin resistance, and diabetes. So cherishing others is good for your health!  Always wide awake  Are the disciples of Gotama  Whose minds constantly, day and night,  Delight in spiritual practice. -Buddha, The Dhammapada   If you are interested in learning how you can work with JoAnn Fox as a Life/Spiritual Coach, visit https://buddhismforeveryone.com/coaching   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 76   Sweet, Joni (Feb. 2021). How Random Acts of Kindness Can Boost Your Health During the Pandemic. Very Well Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/how-random-acts-of-kindness-can-boost-your-health-5105301    
34:56 03/14/2022
Episode 131 - Harmlessness
The Buddha spoke many times of the importance of practicing harmlessness. The most harmful mind is the mind of anger. The nature of anger is that it wishes to harm its object. Just as the nature of fire is to burn, the nature of anger is to harm. In this episode, we look at the causes of anger and conflict in our hearts. Sometimes we are at war with someone, a family member, a person at work, with society, our government, or a political party. We can understand and touch the war within ourselves. We can lay our conflicts down and experience peace where there was pain and turmoil.    How does anger arise? Anger observes an object it finds unpleasant, dwells with inappropriate attention on the faults of that object. Then anger arises when the mind has become unpeaceful and uncontrolled. The great Buddhist Master Shantideva said there are two reasons we get angry: when we don’t get what we want and when we have to put up with things we don’t want.   Edict of ancient Rome was: “If you want peace, you must prepare for war.” The result of this traditional way of thinking: 2,000 years of war, misery, destruction and annihilation. Millions of serious casualties. In the atomic age it is now high time we reversed this motto: “If you want peace, you must prepare for peace.” This means disarming instead of rearming.” —Dalai Lama    Inner peace in the minds of human beings is the only foundation upon which a last outer peace--a world without war--is possible. The way to heal ourselves and society is the same. Loving-kindness and compassion are the antidotes to anger and hatred. A powerful antidote to anger is to accept people as they are. Another is having compassion for their struggles and personality quirks. We all have a personality quirk or two…Thich Nhat Hanh says that "We are challenged to apply an antidote as soon as anger arises, because of the far-reaching social effects of individual anger."    A profound understanding of interdependence arises when we see others with compassion and take universal responsibility for the correlation between our inner peace and outer, or world peace. The vast web of life is such that the action of one person reverberates across the entire web. Do we have a universal responsibility to end the war within ourselves as an act of nonviolence and peace for the whole world?   Always wide awake  Are the disciples of Gotama  Whose minds constantly, day and night,  Delight in harmlessness. -Buddha, The Dhammapada   If you are interested in learning how you can work with JoAnn Fox as a Life/Spiritual Coach, visit https://buddhismforeveryone.com/coaching   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 75-76   Dalai Lama. Our Only Home: A Climate Appeal to the World Kindle Edition. Disarming instead of rearming. pp. 87  
40:47 03/07/2022
Episode 130 - Mindful of The Body
In this episode we explore mindfulness of the body. Many of us spend our work days sitting in front of a computer, disconnected from our bodies. Sometimes we are in a beautiful place but not really present. Mindfulness of the body can help us become present in our bodies. We can learn how to release tension and stress or remind ourselves be kind to our body.    Buddha taught several types of mindfulness of the body: Mindfulness of the breath Mindfulness of the postures Activities  Impurities  Real nature  4 elements Charnel grounds   Always wide awake  Are the disciples of Gotama  Who constantly, day and night,  Are mindful of the body. -Buddha, The Dhammapada   If you are interested in learning how you can work with JoAnn Fox as a Life/Spiritual Coach, visit https://buddhismforeveryone.com/coaching   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 75-76
35:21 03/04/2022
Episode 129 - Ultimate Refuge
In this episode, we look at the meaning of going for refuge. Typically when we think of refuge, it means a source of protection. Refuge is comfort and safety in the storm. The way a person becomes a Buddhist is by going for refuge to the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Someone enters into Buddhism by seeking a solution to their pain or problems in the Dharma, or the teachings. The refuge we speak of is actually the experience of finding a solution to our suffering through the practice of a teaching. The other two Jewels of Refuge are Buddha--the source of the teachings--and Sangha, the spiritual community that supports our practice.    We have been seeking temporary refuge since we first cried in pain or hunger. The first thing we turned to for refuge was our mother. When we were suffering and could not yet speak, she tried to discover the source of our pain and solve it for us. Since then, we have adopted so many sources of refuge. Some things we have come to turn to in an effort to alleviate our pain may even cause us more confusion and pain.  We can distinguish between temporary refuge and ultimate refuge. Ultimate refuge meets certain criteria: It doesn’t cause any unwanted side effects or more problems It makes us feel peaceful  It predictably makes us feel peaceful everytime we turn to it It addresses the real cause of the problem We can check whether something is temporary refuge by examining how we are trying to solve a certain problem or feel better in a situation. For example, if someone is uncomfortable in a social situation and drinks a lot of alcohol to quell their anxiety-- it may cause a lot of unwanted side effects, from a hangover to some regrettable behavior. By contrast, ultimate refuge is when we turn to wisdom to help us solve our problem or feel better. For example, if a close family member irritates us, we might try to look at the situation differently and develop compassion for them. Everytime we feel compassion for them in a circumstance that would normally annoy us, and our mind remains peaceful rather than upset, we have sought an ultimate refuge. Ultimate refuge, life Refuge in the Three Jewels, is turning inward to solve our problems. We become an inner being, with the tools to transform any external situation.  Always wide awake  Are the disciples of Gotama  Who constantly, day and night,  Are mindful of the Buddha. (296)    Always wide awake  Are the disciples of Gotama  Who constantly, day and night,  Are mindful of the Dharma. (297)    Always wide awake  Are the disciples of Gotama  Who constantly, day and night,  Are mindful of the Sangha. --Buddha, The Dhammapada   If you are interested in learning how you can work with JoAnn Fox as a Life/Spiritual Coach, visit https://buddhismforeveryone.com/coaching References and LinksBuddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 75-76
34:44 02/21/2022
Episode 128 - The Middle Way
  The Buddha sometimes spoke in metaphor to convey very deep and complex truths. In this episode, we examine a beautiful verse that describes how we can attain freedom from suffering and difficulties. In particular, the episode is devoted to understanding the meaning of eternalism and nihilism. This refers to avoiding the extremes of eternalism and nihilism. This wisdom of the Middle Way avoids the extremes of thinking things exist inherently or eternally (i.e., the way things normally appear to us) as well as the other extreme of thinking nothing exists (nihilism). We begin by examining emptiness, which describes how our reality does exist. Emptiness means that nothing exists inherently, eternally, concretely, independently of its causes, conditions, name, etc. The practical application of this is to not readily accept how things appear to us— good, bad, fortunate, unfortunate. Things in our reality don’t exist in a fixed way. We don't fall under the spell of believing that the experiences and people in our life are inherently good or bad.   But things do exist! Buddhism teaches us to avoid a nihilistic view that thinks nothing exists. We do exist, with a name, a body, and ways that we function. Our self and all things exist in dependence upon causes and conditions. Understanding that things are empty, we can change the label we give something, and it changes. We can change the label from “They are a BAD person” to “they are a suffering person,” and the person appears very different. We can also change the way things function. As a person, we can start to function more compassionately, more kindly, or with more integrity, and the ways things appear to us will also change. Because our whole reality is empty, we can change the label of things in our lives or the way we function, and the things that appear in our lives will change. Changing the way we function will greatly impact the names others give us too, HA!   Buddha spoke these words 2,500 years ago:   Having killed  Mother, father,  Two warrior kings,  A kingdom and it's subjects The brahmin, undisturbed, moves on. (295)*    Having killed  Mother, father,  Two learned kings,  And a tiger,  The brahmin, undisturbed, moves on. (295)*  --Buddha,The Dhammapada    If we insert the meaning of the metaphors, it roughly means: Having killed  Craving, conceit  Views of eternalism and nihilism And doubt The spiritual person, undisturbed, moves on from all suffering.    According to Gil Frondsdale, the translator of the Dhammapada we are referencing:    “Mother” refers to craving, “father” to conceit. “ The two warrior kings to metaphysical views of eternalism and nihilism, the kingdom to the twelve sense spheres (āyatana), and the subjects of the kingdom to the passion for pleasure dependent on the sense spheres. “A tiger” is a translation of veyyagghapañcamaṃ, literally, “with a tiger as fifth” or “that of which its fifth element pertains to tigers.” The DhpA commentary describes this as referring to either the five hindrances (sensual desire, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and anxiety, and doubt) or just to the fifth hindrance, doubt.”   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 75-76 and glossary 295* (Link)   Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=294
32:46 02/07/2022
Episode 127 - Embracing The Spiritual Path
The 3 obstacles to effort Procrastination Attachment yo what is non-virtuous or meaningless Discouragement   The toxins multiply  For the insolent and negligent  Who reject what they should do  And do instead what they should not.    But the toxins come to an end  For those who are mindful and alert,  Who are constantly well-engaged  With mindfulness of the body,  Who don’t resort to what they should not do  But persist in doing what they should. (292–293) —Buddha, The Dhammapada   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 75-76 (Link)   Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=292
36:46 01/31/2022
Episode 126 - Forgiveness
To forgive, seek: Your own Freedom. Want your own freedom from pain  Compassion. Compelled by their delusions The Lesson. How can I learn from this?   Forgiveness means stopping the cycle of anger and harm.   On analysis of whether the object has self-control, anger is unjustified. The master Candrakīrti also states: “This is not living beings’ fault, Rather it is the fault of the afflictions.”    But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you. —Jesus, Matthew 5:44   Those who seek their own happiness      By causing suffering for others Are entangled in hostility.      From hostility they are not set free. (Verse 291) —Buddha, The Dhammapada   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link)   Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=291      
38:28 01/25/2022
Episode 125 - Making Positive Habits Stick, The Buddhist Way
The Buddha taught that small, good karmic actions lead to great results in the future, a powerful motivation for making even small positive changes in our lives. In this episode we look at the Four Powers of Effort, a process for making positive changes last. 1,200 years ago, the Buddhist Master Shantideva offered this Buddhist approach to lasting change and building confidence in his Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. The Four Powers of Effort are guiding principles to reaching a goal by aspiring to who you want to become, creating a joyful process for change, and steadfastly sticking to it. The Buddha said that “with effort we have all attainments,” meaning we can do anything we aspire to with enough effort—even attain enlightenment!    The Four Powers of Effort Aspiration. A strong wish is fundamental for accomplishing an important goal. How can we best create a strong wish and harness the power of it fir change?  By visualizing the future self. We decide who we want to become and visualize it, preferably in the quiet of meditation. We imagine what this new identity feels like, what they do each day, and the positive effects they have on others and our selves. For example, if we aspire to meditate every day, we imagine becoming a meditator, the newfound peace, and less anxiety. Or you might imagine becoming a fit and healthy person, and you visualize a future self that exercises most days of the week, feels light in your body, enjoys active pleasures like biking with friends or hiking.    A shift in identity will follow changing our habits, but choosing who we want to become helps us understand what processes we need to adopt in order to become that person. (Emptiness of the self at work here!). The most powerful wishes come when the outcome is meaningful to us and is an expression of our values. Living in accordance with our values is a path toward happiness. Engaging in the positive process is a type of success that can reliably bring us satisfaction. External success may or may not be achieved. External success may not deliver the happiness we believed it would, but acting in accordance with our values will bring us peace whatever the outcome. Outcomes are invariably unpredictable, but good will come if we make positive changes.   “Identity change is the North Star of habit change” —James Clear   Steadfastness. What is the smallest, most manageable step you can take in the next 24 hours to move in the direction of your goal? Very clearly identify the first step, according to your capacity. Plan the step for the following day, and even at a certain time and place. Make the plan specific. The plan, “I will meditate tomorrow” is less likely to be fulfilled than: “I will meditate tomorrow morning after I have my coffee while still sitting at the kitchen table.” Try to make one small step toward reaching your new identity each day. If we diligently put these planned steps into action, from this steadfastness will come a newfound confidence. We will eventually be confident in our new identity because we have performed this activity steadfastly over a period of time.    Joy. Try to make the plan for change a joyful one. We won’t do what makes us suffer for very long! Adopting new habits will be challenging, but the experience can’t be very unpleasant. The spiritual path should be a joyful one if we are practicing correctly. Try to make your plan for change as easy and pleasant as possible, like setting out your meditation cushion the night before if you intend to meditate in the morning.    Rest. Rest is a power of effort. Plan to take rest and have a break. Also, when we have an unexpected rest (when we diverge from our plan or slip up,  don't feel that you have failed, you just needed a little rest from all that willpower!) Steadfastness means we are going in the direction of our dreams, not that we are perfect.   From Atomic Habits by James Clear: I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION].  Meditation. I will meditate for one minute at 7 a.m. in my kitchen.  Studying. I will study Spanish for twenty minutes at 6 p.m. in my bedroom.  Exercise. I will exercise for one hour at 5 p.m. in my local gym.  Marriage. I will make my partner a cup of tea at 8 a.m. in the kitchen.   If by giving up small pleasures great happiness is to be found,  the wise should give up small pleasures  seeing (the prospect of) great happiness. (Verse 290) —Buddha, The Dhammapada   Apply for a free life coaching session: To apply for a complimentary 30-minute life coaching session with JoAnn Fox (for the first 5 that apply in December) visit https://buddhismforeveryone.com/coaching  References with Links Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy of Nibbana.com. For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=290   Clear, J. (2018). Atomic Habits. Avery. https://www.amazon.com/Atomic-Habits-Proven-Build-Break-ebook/dp/B07D23CFGR/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1QMEEZSP01C91&keywords=atomic+habits+james+clear&qid=1640962723&s=books&sprefix=Atomic%2Cstripbooks%2C142&sr=1-1
35:40 12/31/2021
Episode 124 - Mindful of Our Own Impermanence
Our modern culture tends to make us turn away from thoughts about death and even our own aging. Yet death is something that all of us, without exception, will experience. In Buddhism, there is a focus on coming to terms with our own death ans impermanence. This world is not our home,  it is said. We are a traveler destined for other worlds, other lives. By becoming mindful of our own mortality, that the time of our death is uncertain, and even that we might die today, we develop a great urgency for spiritual practice. In this episode we look at the many benefits of and do a meditation on a death. Paradoxically, this meditation gives us a great zest for life, and we can do it quite joyfully.   Benefits of mindfulness of death   Our spiritual practice becomes powerful and pure We engage in spiritual peace  Buddha said that people would never fight or argue if they fully realized they were going to die. Reduced attachment  Gratitude for each moment of our precious human life  An appreciation of human vulnerability that leads to greater compassion for self and others  A diminished anxiety about death, the death of our loved ones, and dying in the world around us. This helps us to support others during their dying process and friends and family who are grieving  A reduced fear of our own death, which can help us die in a state of peace rather agitation  Greater zest for life    Atisha's contemplations on death:   Death is inevitable. Our life span is decreasing continuously. Death will come, whether or not we are prepared for it. Human life expectancy is uncertain. There are many causes of death. The human body is fragile and vulnerable. At the time of death, our material resources are not of use to us. Our loved ones cannot keep us from death. Our own body cannot help us at the time of our death. Only spiritual practice will help us at the time of death.    “Here I will live during the rainy season,  And here during the winter and summer.”  So the fool ponders Unaware of the danger. Intoxicated by children and cattle, That addict Is swept away by Death, As a sleeping village is by a great flood. (Verse 286-287)   Children, parents, and relatives             Are not a protection For someone seized by Death,            Relatives are no protection Knowing this,             The wise person, Restrained by virtue, Should quickly clear the path              To Nirvana, (288-289)   Apply for a free life coaching session: To apply for a complimentary 30-minute life coaching session with JoAnn Fox (for the first 5 that apply in December) visit https://buddhismforeveryone.com/coaching  References and Links Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 73 (Link)
33:02 12/20/2021
Episode 123 - Attachment To Self
In this episode we look at attachment to self. In particular, we try to identify what attachment to self is and how to lessen it so that we experience more peace and light-heartedness. To recognize attachment to self, we can contemplate extreme examples:   Extreme examples of when we feel attachment to self Embarrassment Excessive shame or guilt Reactions to criticism like anger or dismissing the person Strong pride or self-aggrandizement    In general, attachment arises when we perceive an object we find attractive and exaggerate its good qualities until we become glued to the object, such that we feel pain when we are separated from that object. Attachment to self exists because we perceive a fixed self and become attached to this perception of a fixed, inherent self. Some examples of these attached perceptions of self range from “I am a good person,” “I am smart,” and also “I am a bad person,” “I am a loser.    One way to lessen our attachment to self is to recognize that we do not exist as a fixed, inherent self. Just like all things, our self exists as an interdependent phenomena; our self depends upon causes and conditions, labels, and the mind appearing it a certain way. Our self does exist, just not in the way it normally appears, as fixed and inherent. Our self exists like a rainbow appearing in a clear sky. A rainbow arises in dependence upon rain droplets, the rays of the sun, and our location to the rainbow. We can never reach out and touch a rainbow, because it depends on our position in relation to it. Like a rainbow, our self depends on many causes in each moment of perception. Others see only a rainbow when they see us; their perception depends upon their perception, as well as how we appear to function. There is no fixed self to be attached to, to be offended over, embarrassed by, or anxious over!    This is a subtle and complex subject, so the daily mindfulness practice encouraged is to start by just trying to identify our attachment to self when it arises. You can feel the attachment when we are hurt by criticism, anxious, guilty, shameful, embarrassed, or prideful.  The meditation we practice in this episode is called “Taking by means of Compassion, Giving by means of Love” or Toglen. We use our own self as our object of love and compassion. Practicing love and acceptance of our ever-changing, empty self is a powerful way to weaken the attachment to a fixed self that causes us all sorts of problems. Let’s try to practice self-compassion and not take ourselves too seriously. Laugh at ourselves a little, forgive ourselves a lot.    Destroy attachment to self As you could an autumn lily in your fist Cultivate the path to peace The Nirvana taught by the Well-Gone-One. (285) -Buddha, The Dhammapada  Apply for a free life coaching session: To apply for a complimentary 30-minute life coaching session with JoAnn Fox (for the first 5 that apply in December) visit https://buddhismforeveryone.com/coaching  References and Links Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 73 (Link)  
40:18 12/06/2021