Authentic Spiritual Lineage
If a person has genuine spiritual realization, they are authorized to transmit the spiritual teachings. All titles, held-lineages, endorsements, acclamations, life accomplishments, life mistakes, and years spent in training are irrelevant.
If a person is without genuine spiritual realization, they have no such authority. All titles, held-lineages, endorsements, acclamations, life accomplishments, life mistakes, and years spent in training are irrelevant.
Ultimately, true authorization to transmit the spiritual teachings comes from awaking to the timeless truth of emptiness. It seems that some form of spiritual guide is required to effectuate this awakening.
Ven Edo Shonin, Psychological Well-being and Mental Health Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK
Ven William Van Gordon, Awake to Wisdom Centre for Meditation, Mindfulness & Psychological Well-being, Nottingham, UK
Carry your Meditation Cushion with You
When you blow out your candles and stand up from your meditation cushion – that’s when your meditation practice starts. As meditators, we should try not to create a separation between formal meditation sessions and everyday living. In fact, it’s only when a person can retain their meditative awareness whilst, for example, travelling on a congested tube, writing at the computer, or watching the television that they can truly call themselves a meditation practitioner. That’s why some meditation teachers tell their students to carry their meditation cushions with them at all times.
There is a lot of scientific evidence that supports this approach to meditation practice. For example, in the psychological literature there is a concept known as ‘dispositional mindfulness’. Dispositional mindfulness refers to the natural or enduring level of mindfulness a person has rather than a temporary level that expires at the end of a given meditation session. Dispositional mindfulness is therefore sometimes referred to as a person’s ‘trait’ level of mindfulness rather than their ‘state’ level. Studies have shown that people with higher levels of dispositional mindfulness are less likely to be overcome by anxiety or stressful life situations1-3. Similarly, in our own research based on an eight-week meditation and mindfulness intervention known as Meditation Awareness training (MAT)4,5, those participants who best manage to integrate their mindfulness practice into daily living tend to be the ones who show the greatest improvements in overall levels of psychological and spiritual wellbeing.
Ven Edo Shonin, & Ven William Van Gordon,
- Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: Mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 822-848.
- Lakey, C. E., & Campbell, W. K., Brown, K.W., Goodie, A.S. (2007). Dispositional Mindfulness as a Predictor of the Severity of Gambling Outcomes. Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 1698–1710
- Modinos, G., Ormel, J., & Aleman., A. (2010). Individual differences in dispositional mindfulness and brain activity involved in reappraisal of emotion. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 5, 369-377.
- Van Gordon, W., Shonin, E., Sumich, A., Sundin, E., & Griffiths, M.D. (2013). Meditation Awareness Training (MAT) for psychological wellbeing in a sub-clinical sample of university students: A controlled pilot study. Mindfulness. DOI: 10.1007/s12671-012-0191-5.
- Shonin, E., Van Gordon W., & Griffiths M. D. (2013). Meditation Awareness Training (MAT) for improved psychological wellbeing: A qualitative examination of participant experiences. Religion and Health. DOI: 10.1007/s10943-013-9679-0.
The Binds of Ignorance
The Buddhas who realize the illusory nature of all phenomena,
Have limitless compassion for even an insect.
Yet the ignorant beings believing all things to be ‘real’,
Slaughter, maim, and harm without a care in the world. How Amazing!
The Buddhas who abide in the deathless state,
Are ever aware of the preciousness of each moment.
Yet the ignorant beings believing this life to be all,
Mindlessly squander it in pointless pursuits. How Amazing!
The Buddhas who have breached the citadel of primordial wisdom,
Live simply and humbly wherever they dwell.
Yet the ignorant beings steeped in non-virtue and wrong views,
Forever boast of their worldly accomplishments. How Amazing!
The Buddhas who dwell in peace that transcends even Nirvana,
Need witness only a grain of pure faith to bestow their blessings.
Yet the ignorant beings eternally consumed by the fires of the Klesas,
Have corrupt intent and shun the Dharma. How Amazing!
Ven Edo Shonin & Ven William Van Gordon