Ex Libris Kirkland

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First Written 1991
Genre Nonfiction
Origin US
Publisher Wisdom Publications
ISBN-10 0861719069
ISBN-13 978-0861719068
My Copy online version at vipassana.com/meditation/ mindfulness_in_plain_english.php
First Read July 14, 2017

Mindfulness in Plain English

Buddhism and Xianity have so much in common. The quote about 'finding bitter truths in ourselves' - this is exactly what Xianity teaches about self-examination. I've had pastors who would rephrase that whole thing as 'self-reflection will reveal your idols - things you put before God.'

I've always thought that Christians should put more focus on meditation. Not that I'm any good at it, but there's such a huge overlap between prayer and meditation - we're only teaching the content of prayer without any focus on the actual practice. It seems like this kind of focusing of your attention should be second nature to anyone with any habit of prayer. Or could be, anyway.

Noted on July 14, 2017

I'm reading this book at 3am in short snatches to help me get back to sleep. It's very convincing!

Noted on July 14, 2017

After breathing out, we experience discomfort if we wait too long before having fresh brought in again. This means that every time our lungs are full we must breathe out and every time our lungs are empty we must breathe in. As we breathe in, we experience a small degree of calmness, and as we breathe out, we experience a small degree of calmness. We desire calmness and relief of tension and do not like the tension and feeling resulting from the lack of breath. We wish that the calmness would stay longer and the tension disappear more quickly that it normally does. But neither will the tension go away as fast as we wish nor the calmness stay as long as we wish. And again we get agitated or irritated, for we desire the calmness to return and stay longer and the tension to go away quickly and not to return again. Here we see how even a small degree of desire for permanency in an impermanent situation causes pain or unhappiness. Since there is no self-entity to control this situation, we will become more disappointed.

However, if we watch our breathing without desiring calmness and without resenting tension arising from the breathing in and out, but experience only the impermanence, the unsatisfactoriness and selflessness of our breath, our mind becomes peaceful and calm.

Quoted on July 14, 2017

When we face a situation where we feel indignation, if we mindfully investigate our own mind, we will discover bitter truths in ourselves. That is we are selfish; we are egocentric; we are attached to our ego; we hold on to our opinions; we think we are right and everybody else is wrong; we are prejudiced; we are biased; and at the bottom of all of this, we do not really love ourselves. This discovery, though bitter, is a most rewarding experience. And in the long run, this discovery delivers us from deeply rooted psychological and spiritual suffering.

Quoted on July 14, 2017

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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