A walk in the woods

          It’s becoming possible to walk in the woods again. The slow, ever-so-slow… maddeningly slow retreat of the snow is finally proceeding faster than new additions. Just the other day we got another five or six inches. Even so, layer by layer it’s melting, revealing its past like an archeological dig. Artifacts present themselves in the shape of fallen logs and lichen-covered stones, and evidence in the shape of sunken vole-tunnels and the webby, wispy, grey mold which clings to the edges of the retreating drifts like a miniature polar ice shelf. Peering at the mold up close, I can’t help but think of it as the tiny, woven homes of snow fleas, even though I know that what we call snow fleas are really an arthropod called springtails which live year-round in leaf litter, and spin no silk. We only notice them when they cavort on the warm spring snow. Still, I can imagine that the muddy, moldy, miniature world Continue reading

What do Buddhists believe about the world?

Buddhists believe that the world we experience with our every-day minds is really an illusion. After following the path or the Dharma, we can become enlightened, and understand the true nature of reality. That sort of understanding about the world is said to be a form of “waking up”.  When you wake up from sleep and remember a dream you were having, you realize that the mind that was dreaming was deluded about the true nature of reality: after all, in dreams we can fly and find that our hands have turned into claws or any other fantastic thing. “Waking up” into enlightenment will be like that. We’ll look back on what we experience now in every-day reality as a dream.

 

Buddhists also believe that all sentient beings have a Buddha Nature, and so are capable of awakening. All beings have an inherent compassion for all beings, and practicing the Dharma involves enabling ourselves to touch on that loving kindness all the time. Cultivating loving kindness and recognizing that the true source of suffering is attachment and aversion are the cornerstones to Buddhist practice.