Modern Buddhist Thinking

I know, the title promises much more. But here are three quotes, one by Buddha, one by F. M. Alexander, the great but still relatively unknown teacher of a system of poise and mental/physical balance which resembles Buddhist thinking. The third is a blogger quote I just found, simple, good advice.

Noel Kingsley found this quote by Buddha. Wonderful.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought; it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.

Forward and Up posted this quote by Alexander awhile ago. I love it.

You translate everything,
whether physical
or mental
or spiritual,
into muscular tension
– FM Alexander

Let’s face it, we are what we think. Unfortunately, many people believe this means, “we are what we think we are, so act any way you want”.

Of course, this doesn’t mean people should be their own thought police. The key is noticing. The subtle machinations of the mind are far more influential to our quality of life and our actions than we think.

Contrary to popular belief these days, power, appearance and reputation are not the ultimate measure of our worth, though they “get” you things. Virtuous thought and action are still the true measures of a quality person.

With a good foundation of clear self-perception, with awareness of all our thoughts, positive and negative, we can see more clearly who we really are, and improve from the inside out.

One more quote, this time from Buddhist blogger James.

What a difference mindfulness brings to ones state of mind.


7 thoughts on “Modern Buddhist Thinking

  1. Morning David. Good to see you posting again on a regular schedule. I always appreciate the reflective, intelligent and introspective view you share and I never fail to take something away. I like to think of thoughts as the barges that flow down the river of our lives. They come and they go and if we don’t like the ones we see now, we just let them go and some more will be coming around the bend soon. Have a great weekend my friend. 🙂

  2. The older I get, the more important I find it to choose my thoughts. I sometimes wonder how different my life may be had I learned this earlier, but then, that is a thought I wisely choose to let go.

  3. Trée- As usual, your comment is like a little post in itself. Your image of the barge is a good one. And you are right, it’s not the thoughts themselves, but our attachment to or intentional lack of which decides their power. Thank you. Take care. David

  4. Lisa, hello! I often think the same thing and also let it go. I like to call this “flying”, when feeling and thoughts and judgments come up and we can float toward or away from them. Thank you for stopping by.

  5. David,

    I have a bit of trouble with this. Are we what we think, or are we what we do? Or a combination of both?

    Certainly our actions are at least as important in defining us as our thoughts. A man who postulates a good or evil act is substantally different from a man who has actually transferred that postulate into action, even if the one who did not act was prevented from doing so by forces beyond his control.

  6. Bruce, we are a combination of both thought and action. But all action originates in thought or intention. So it is the key to our identity. Those who act upon evil intentions are certainly more evil than those who only think them. Yet, evil intentions, whether acted on or not, will probably color our actions. Good actions with false intentions are not pure and will accomplish less good.

    I grapple with intention all the time. I often feel I am living falsely by acting good when I’m not sure of my intentions. The goal is to head in the right direction. “Fake it until you make it”, as they say in the AA book.

    I checked out your blog and have added you to my links. You are a worthy read.


  7. David,

    I am a hopeless rationalist. I try to do what my reason tells me is good and don’t worry too much about my intentions. Sometimes (rarely) an absolutely sincere act of compassion can produce a less beneficial result than a reasoned response. But I’ll go along with “Fake it till you make it.”

    Because of my rationslism, I probably would not make a very good Buddhist. But I am somewhat of a fellow traveler. A few weeks back I posted an entry on religion on my blog that makes it clear I am much more in sympathy with Buddhism than I am with any of the monothesitic religions.

    Thanks for your kind comment on my blog. I can, really, sincerely return the compliment.

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