Saturday, March 23, 2013

Generating Merit

I'm in Thailand this week and I've noticed that a lot of my Buddhist co-workers talk a lot about generating merit. For example, they'll say things like, "I'm going to the wat (a Thai Buddhist temple) for a few weeks to generate merit."

The idea behind merit is that when you do good deeds - such as helping clean a meditation center, or walking your neighbor's dog - you are planting the seeds of karma that lead to better outcomes in the future. We call this "merit." According to the idea of karma, generating the right kind of merit will lead to a better rebirth, either in the next moment, or perhaps even in the next lifetime.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Gentleness Toward Myself

I was standing on an ordinary street corner in DC when the change started. Lunch in hand, waiting for the cross-walk to change so I could go back to the office and eat, I was remembering something I said at a meeting, which now seemed embarrassing.

That's when I heard the voice: "You're such a fucking idiot."

"Wait, what?! Where the hell did that come from?" I thought. I was in shock. This voice was familiar, but I had never noticed it before.