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What the Buddha thought

A Letter to Bodhizendo about the book of Richard Gombrich

I have just read a book, What the Buddha Thought by Richard Gombrich. Gombrich places the Buddha in his historical times and culture and shows him as a revolutionary religious genius. There was no script and writing during the Buddha’s time; all his teachings were orally transmitted for hundreds of years. It can be easily understood that many of his sayings were not understood by later generations and the commentators often misinterpreted him. Gombrich bases his study on the Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism and shows how the Buddha must have both drawn from existent teachings and also transformed them. Let me pick out a few points...

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Addiction and Grace

Ama Samy about a book of Gerald May

Addiction is a universal human phenomenon. Addiction is attachment that has become obsessive-compulsive behavior. All of us are or have been affected, or rather infected, by some addiction or other. There are substance addictions, activities addiction, relationship addictions and so on. Addiction is behavior driven by imagination and emotions: anger, anxiety, depression, emptiness, envy, guilt, jealousy, lust, paranoia, perfectionism, pleasure, revenge, suspicion, stress and so on. Imagination and emotions feed on each other and provoke the behaviors and the behaviors in turn intensify and aggravate the emotions and fantasies. It is a vicious circle...

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Is God dead?

by Fr. AMA Samy, May 2013

Jesus said, “It is written: ‘One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Mt. 4:4). Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Viktor Frankl, the concentration‐camp survivor, proposed the will‐to‐meaning as more vital than those of pleasure or of power. All these point to the need of meaning for human living. Meaning is the food of the soul. Religions and spiritualities are supposed to offer us worlds of meaning and value. However, in the modern situation organized religions, including Buddhism, have lost their vital meaning to most of the people. Nowadays there is talk of ‘belonging without believing’ or ‘believing without belonging’...

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