Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox podcast

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

JoAnn Fox: Buddhist Teacher

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox is a weekly podcast that shares how to put the teachings of Buddhism into practice to be happier, more peaceful, or to become the spiritual warrior this world so desperately needs. JoAnn Fox has been teaching Buddhism for 17 years and does so with kindness and humor.

126 Episoder

  • Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox podcast

    Episode 123 - Attachment To Self

    40:18

    In this episode we look at attachment to self. In particular, we try to identify what attachment to self is and how to lessen it so that we experience more peace and light-heartedness. To recognize attachment to self, we can contemplate extreme examples:   Extreme examples of when we feel attachment to self Embarrassment Excessive shame or guilt Reactions to criticism like anger or dismissing the person Strong pride or self-aggrandizement    In general, attachment arises when we perceive an object we find attractive and exaggerate its good qualities until we become glued to the object, such that we feel pain when we are separated from that object. Attachment to self exists because we perceive a fixed self and become attached to this perception of a fixed, inherent self. Some examples of these attached perceptions of self range from “I am a good person,” “I am smart,” and also “I am a bad person,” “I am a loser.    One way to lessen our attachment to self is to recognize that we do not exist as a fixed, inherent self. Just like all things, our self exists as an interdependent phenomena; our self depends upon causes and conditions, labels, and the mind appearing it a certain way. Our self does exist, just not in the way it normally appears, as fixed and inherent. Our self exists like a rainbow appearing in a clear sky. A rainbow arises in dependence upon rain droplets, the rays of the sun, and our location to the rainbow. We can never reach out and touch a rainbow, because it depends on our position in relation to it. Like a rainbow, our self depends on many causes in each moment of perception. Others see only a rainbow when they see us; their perception depends upon their perception, as well as how we appear to function. There is no fixed self to be attached to, to be offended over, embarrassed by, or anxious over!    This is a subtle and complex subject, so the daily mindfulness practice encouraged is to start by just trying to identify our attachment to self when it arises. You can feel the attachment when we are hurt by criticism, anxious, guilty, shameful, embarrassed, or prideful.  The meditation we practice in this episode is called “Taking by means of Compassion, Giving by means of Love” or Toglen. We use our own self as our object of love and compassion. Practicing love and acceptance of our ever-changing, empty self is a powerful way to weaken the attachment to a fixed self that causes us all sorts of problems. Let’s try to practice self-compassion and not take ourselves too seriously. Laugh at ourselves a little, forgive ourselves a lot.    Destroy attachment to self As you could an autumn lily in your fist Cultivate the path to peace The Nirvana taught by the Well-Gone-One. (285) -Buddha, The Dhammapada  Apply for a free life coaching session: To apply for a complimentary 30-minute life coaching session with JoAnn Fox (for the first 5 that apply in December) visit https://buddhismforeveryone.com/coaching  References and Links Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 73 (Link)  
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    Episode 122 - Non-attachment

    40:27

    In this episode, we explore attachment and some simple ways to practice non-attachment. The concept of non-attachment is often misunderstood. For example, we still love people even while practicing non-attachment. We still have homes, jobs, and goals even as we lesson our attachment. Non-attachment does not mean being separated from people or things, but changing the way we relate to them. Lessened worry and anxiety, peace of mind, and more enjoyment are only a few of the innumerable benefits that come from non-attachment,   Benefits of non-attachment  Less worry Less anxiety  Greater enjoyment in relationships Contentment and satisfaction  Better mood Less stress  A more peaceful mind   What is attachment? Attachment arises from: Focusing on an object we find desirable, dwelling on it with inappropriate attention until our mind becomes glued to it, such that we feel we can’t be happy without it. Attachment is not desire. We desire many things in a positive, non-attached way, like brushing our teeth. What attachment involves is “sticky desire.” This type of desire is like sticking duct tape to a hairy arm; when it is ripped away it is VERY painful  (like when we are ripped away from our object of attachment).    We experience attachment to: Things Status  People Relationships Children Past  Future  Situations in the present being other than they are And much more…   Cut down the forest of craving, not the real tree;  the forest of craving breeds danger (of rebirth).  Cut down the forest of craving  as well as its undergrowth  and be free from craving.   So long as craving of man for woman is not cut down  and the slightest trace of it remains,  so long is his mind in bondage  as the calf is bound to its mother. —Buddha, The Dhammapada   References with links   Buddha. The Dhammapada:Verses and Stories. https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=283
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    Right Concentration

    33:02

    In this episode we look at Right Concentration, one part of the Noble Eightfold Path. In general, concentration in meditation is single-pointedness on the object of meditation. Like a laser, concentration eliminates distraction. When one attains a state of single-pointed concentration a unique feeling of tranquility accompanies it. Thus, there are two features of concentration: unbroken attentiveness on an object and a feeling of peace that arises with this absorption. When training in concentration, this feeling makes you very clearly aware that your consciousness has become more subtle. It is a beautiful experience, but generally it doesn’t happen every time you meditate. Enjoy it when it does!    Right Concentration is a particular kind of one-pointedness. A sommelier tasting fine wine, a sniper taking aim—both act with superior concentration, but theirs cannot be characterized as Right Concentration.Buddha used the term “Samadhi” to describe the type of concentration he taught. It is exclusively one-pointedness on virtuous objects with the intention to raise the mind to a higher, more pure state of awareness.    The ability to stay with a task without distraction improves study, work, sports, relationships…nearly everything. Buddha compared a mind untrained in concentration as like a fish taken out of water: it flaps about uncontrollably. Bhikku Bodhi said, “Such a distracted mind is also a deluded mind. Overwhelmed by worries and concerns, a constant prey to the defilements, it sees things only in fragments, distorted by the ripples of random thoughts. But the mind that has been trained in concentration, in contrast, can remain focused on its object without distraction. This freedom from distraction further induces a softness and serenity.”    Wisdom arises from [spiritual] practice;  Without practice it decays.  Knowing this two-way path for gain and loss,  Conduct yourself so that wisdom grows. (282)*  -Buddha, The Dhammapada    References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link)   Bodhi, Bhikku. The Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhist Publication Society, 1999, pp 86-90. BuddhaNet. http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/noble8path6.pdf
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    Episode 120 - Right Mindfulness

    28:32

    In this episode we explore Right Mindfulness, one of the Noble Eightfold Path. In general, mindfulness means awareness, presence of mind, or attentiveness. What sets Right Mindfulness apart from secular mindfulness is that it is taught as a skill that supports the Buddhist path to enlightenment. Mindfulness in this context is part of the eightfold path that leads to the realization of the four noble truths and the end suffering. In Pali, the phrase referring to Buddhist mindfulness is samma sati, which translates as “wise mindfulness.”Mindfulness as a factor of concentration helps us stay on our objects of concentration and penetrate the wisdom of reality, emptiness. Mindfulness also helps us to notice and maintain our daily life intentions to be kind, compassionate, and avoid harming others. Mindfulness helps us notice when we stray from Right Speech, Right Action, or Right Livelihood. Wise mindfulness has these particular goals and therefore helps us progress along the spiritual path.  Wisdom arises from [spiritual] practice;  Without practice it decays.  Knowing this two-way path for gain and loss,  Conduct yourself so that wisdom grows. (282)*  -Buddha, The Dhammapada  To apply for a complimentary 30-minute coaching session with JoAnn Fox (for the first 5 that apply) visit https://buddhismforeveryone.com/coaching References and Links Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link) Bodhi, Bhikku. The Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhist Publication Society, 1999, pp 70-85. BuddhaNet. http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/noble8path6.pdf https://buddhismforeveryone.com/coaching/
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    Episode 119 - Right Livelihood

    32:32

    This episode dives deep into Right Livelihood, one of the Noble Eightfold Path as laid out by the Buddha. The Eightfold Path is a spiritual path that leads us to deeper and deeper levels of peace and happiness. Ultimately, following all eight of the Eightfold Path until our mind is purified of ignorance, attachment, and selfishness, leads us to enlightenment. When we talk about a path, it signifies a way that leads us somewhere. For anyone who has ever been given the wrong directions to a destination, we know there are things that lead us in the right direction and also in the wrong direction. When we talk about Right Action, Speech, or Livelihood, Right is meant not as a judgement, but pointing to behavior that leads us toward peace and enlightenment.  Right Livelihood speaks of how we can acquire wealth and work that still leads us toward inner peace and Buddhahood.    Right Livelihood also addresses a deep and pressing question: how do we integrate our spiritual practice with our everyday life? We spend ⅓ of our days at work, and, if we could make our work part of our practice, we would see progress so much more quickly. We would also lessen the stress we often feel at work. Right Livelihood can also increase our sense of curiosity and purpose at work.   First, Buddha explains ways of acquiring wealth that directly lead away from enlightenment and serenity. In the Vanijja Sutta (from the Tripitaka), the Buddha said, "A lay follower should not engage in five types of business.  business in weapons,  business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants,  and business in poison."   Ultimately, Right Livelihood means we try not to avoid causing suffering through our means of obtaining money.  The Buddha mentions five specific kinds of livelihood that cause suffering to others and are therefore to be avoided: dealing in weapons, in human beingsa (slave trade and prostitution), animals (including raising animals for slaughter and meat production) in poisons, and in intoxicants.    The Thai treatise discusses the positive aspects of right livelihood. Rightness regarding: actions persons objects.     “Rightness regarding actions” means that we should fulfill our responsibilities conscientiously, not claiming to have worked longer hours than we did, pocketing what belongs to the company, or idling away time. “Rightness regarding persons” means that we are kind, honest, and respectful to people as we work: to employers, coworkers, employees, and customers. An employer, for example, should pay employees adequately, not overwork them, promote them when they deserve it, and give them adequate rest and vacation. Colleagues should try to help each other rather than compete, and speak kindly to one another and about each other. We should be honest and fair in dealing with customers. “Rightness regarding objects” means that objects being sold should be represented without deceit. With mindfulness, we can check how our work affects our mind. Though most of us have many jobs throughout our life, our mind goes with us to each one. I think it is more important to practice mindfulness and kindness at work than it is to “get ahead.” Our heart and mind will dictate whether we are happy or unhappy. We will not always be at the job we are at currently, but, wherever we go, there we are.    “Our vocation can nourish our understanding and compassion, or erode them. We should be awake to the consequences, far and near, of the way we earn our living." (The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching [Parallax Press, 1998], p. 104) —Thich Nhat Hanh   Watchful in speech and well-restrained in mind, Do nothing unskillful with your body.  Purify these three courses of action;  Fulfill the path taught by the sages. (281)  —Buddha, The Dhammapada   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link)   Bodhi, Bhikku. The Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhist Publication Society, 1999, pp  -56.  BuddhaNet. http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/noble8path6.pdf
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    Episode 118 - Right Action

    26:59

    In this episode we take a deep dive into what Buddha meant by Right Action or conduct. Right Action is part of the Noble Eightfold Path, which lays out the gradual path to enlightenment. Right action means a abstains from non-virtuous actions of body, principally: Killing Stealing Sexual misconduct Abandoning taking life This refers not just to killing human beings, but to refrain from intentionally killing any living, specifically sentient beings means humans, animals and insects.    The positive aspect of abandoning killing is having compassion and kindness toward all living beings. We not only avoid taking life, we have heartfelt concern for the welfare of all living beings. The highest aspect of this is the Bodhisattvas path, with a commitment to attaining enlightenment for the benefit of all living beings so you can have the greatest capacity to help others.    Abandoning stealing (1) stealing (2) fraudulence (3) deceitfulness   Stealing refers to taking what is not one’s own through deceitful actions, cheating, or fraud.  Honesty is the positive counterpart of this, as well as contentment. The most eminent opposite virtue is generosity, giving away one’s own wealth and possessions in order to benefit others.   Abandoning sexual misconduct  To refrain from sexual activity with: Anyone who has a partner Anyone other than your partner of you have one Someone with a vow of celibacy like a monk, nun or priest Someone who haven’t given consent  Someone inappropriate due to convention like a close relative  Someone still under the of their parents, someone too young to give consent    The essential purpose, as was said, is to prevent sexual relations which are hurtful to others.    “The holy life at its highest aims at complete purity in thought, word, and deed, and this requires turning back the tide of sexual desire.” --Bhikku Bodhi   Watchful in speech and well-restrained in mind, Do nothing unskillful with your body.  Purify these three courses of action;  Fulfill the path taught by the sages. (281)  —Buddha, The Dhammapada   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link)   Bodhi, Bhikku. The Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhist Publication Society, 1999, pp 49-54.  BuddhaNet. http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/noble8path6.pdf
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    Right Speech - Episode 117

    37:28

    This episode explores Right Speech, as part of a series on the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path. In the context of the spiritual path, Right Speech is more than just an ethical discipline of behavior. Right Speech is a vital part of purifying our mind so that we can attain spiritual realizations and deeper levels of wisdom. Almost everyone in our modern society engages in some type of unskillful speech. Yet, our speech is so powerful to affect others. If our speech comes from loving-kindness, we can be a mirror that shows someone their beautiful qualities. Conversely,  our words can do great harm--harm that haunts that other person and negative karma that haunts our future. Becoming mindful and positive with our speech will lead to more inner calm,  happy relationships, and spiritual insights.    The four types of non-virtuous speech to purify: Lying Slander Harsh speech (abusive speech, insult, sarcasm) Idle chatter   Watchful in speech and well-restrained in mind, Do nothing unskillful with your body.  Purify these three courses of action;  Fulfill the path taught by the sages. (281)  —Buddha, The Dhammapada   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link)   Bodhi, Bhikku. The Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhist Publication Society, 1999, pp 43-48.  BuddhaNet. http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/noble8path6.pdf
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    Episode 116 - Right Effort

    35:54

    This episode focuses on Right Effort, one part of the Noble Eightfold Path. Buddha repeatedly taught the importance of effort, for realizing the rest of the eightfold spiritual path depends on effort. In this context effort means energy directed toward cultivating the mind. The path begins with an impure mind and a wish to change; the liberated mind is the culmination of the path.what comes between is unrelenting effort. Here we focus on the four powers of effort, which teaches us how to make positive change unstoppable.    Time and again the Buddha has stressed the need for effort, for diligence, exertion, and unflagging perseverance. The reason why effort is so crucial is that each person has to work out his or her own deliverance. The Buddha does what he can by point- ing out the path to liberation; the rest involves putting the path into practice, a task that demands energy. This energy is to be applied to the cultivation of the mind, which forms the focus of the entire path. The starting point is the defiled mind, afflicted and deluded; the goal is the liberated mind, purified and illumi- nated by wisdom. What comes in between is the unremitting effort to transform the defiled mind into the liberated mind. The work of self-cultivation is not easy — there is no one who can do it for us but ourselves — but it is not impossible.   Buddha himself and his accomplished disciples provide the liv- ing proof that the task is not beyond our reach. They assure us, too, that anyone who follows the path can accomplish the same goal. But what is needed is effort,   4 powers of effort  Aspiration. Dream. Wish. You have to develop a strong wish to accomplish an important goal or personal change. Visualize yourself having accomplished it. In your imagination, feel how wonderful it is. Imagine what your life is like having attained this goal/change. Steadfastness. Steadfastly put these planned steps into action. Accomplish your daily goals. Decide what has to be done to accomplish this goal--according to your capacity. Very clearly identify the first step (what you will do tomorrow.) Plan what the steps will be the following day toward realizing your goal. Create a step-by-step plan. Joy. Your plan to change must be a joyful one. We won’t do what makes us suffer for very long! The path toward change will be challenging, but it cannot be very unpleasant. The Buddhist path should always be a joyful one if we are practicing correctly. Rest. Rest is a power of effort. Plan to take rest and have a break. Also, when we have an unexpected rest (when we diverge from our plan), don’t feel that you have failed. Steadfastness means we are going in the trajectory of our dreams, not that we are perfect. Through the steadfast accomplishment of daily actions toward your goal or personal change, confidence will naturally arise. Eventually, you will be familiar with this new way of being. You will have become a new person, with new habits and a new life!   3 Lazinesses (obstacles to effort) procrastination  attachment to what is meaningless or non-virtuous  discouragement    The eight practices of the Eightfold Path are  Right View,  Right Intention,  Right Speech,  Right Action,  Right Livelihood,  Right Effort,  Right Mindfulness Right Concentration.    Right Effort  Inactive when one should be active,  Lazy [though] young and strong,  Disheartened in one’s resolves, Such an indolent, lethargic person  Doesn’t find the path of insight. (280)*  —Buddha, The Dhammapada   References and Links   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link)   Je Tsongkhapa. Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, by Je Tsongkhapa, Volume 2. (Kindle.)Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor, pp 187-197.
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    Episode 115 - Right View

    36:25

    In this episode, we explore Right View connoting the realization of emptiness. Right View is part of the Noble Eightfold Path, laid out by Buddha as the gradual path to enlightenment. All eight parts of the path are practiced concurrently as we move along our spiritual journey. The eight parts are not sequential or practiced one-at-a-time, but you could say that the realization of emptiness is what directly leads to enlightenment. All the other parts are absolutely necessary to prepare and purify the mind until it can realize the true nature of reality, emptiness. Emptiness describes how reality actually exists as opposed to the way it appears. Emptiness does not mean nothingness. When you say your glass is empty and you want a refill, it means your glass is empty of something. Similarly, when Buddha says reality is empty, it means reality is empty of something specific: reality is empty of inherent existence. A chair is empty of existing inherently as a chair, for example. You are empty of existing as “I” (there are countless other beings also perceiving themselves as “I”). We are empty of existing inherently as old, young, a painter, a lawyer, smart, dumb, or any other label we have accepted. These are just mere labels, mere appearances to mind. To explain how conventional reality does exist, Buddha explained that all things are mere labels or mere appearance to mind. Right View then has two parts: the ultimate truth that all things are empty and conventional truth, that all things are mere name, mere label, mere appearance, and impermanent. Conventional and Ultimate Truth are two sides of the same coin. They are the two ways that reality does exist, and not the way things normally appear to us.    We grasp at things as inherently attractive; if we didn’t, we would never get attached. We grasp at things as inherently unattractive; if we didn’t, we would never get upset. We believe our mind’s projections of beauty and ugliness. A traditional analogy to help us understand how conventional reality exists is the magician’s illusion. A magician might conjure the illusion of a ferocious tiger lunging into the audience, and the audience is frightened and crying. The magician, however, is unmoved because he knows it is an illusion. We are like a magician casting an illusion of the reality of our personal world, but believing the illusion we created. We chase attractive illusions and run from unpleasant illusions.    Why does our reality appear the way it does? Our karma causes appearances to be attractive or unpleasant, not the things themselves. The karmic appearances that come from good karma are beautiful or pleasant. Karmic appearances from negative karma are unpleasant or frightening. But these appearances are all just like magician’s illusions--things are not inherently beautiful or unpleasant. Realizing the conventional truth of reality, that things are mere appearances to mind, is like the magician knowing his illusion isn’t real. This knowing magician remains at peace in the midst of illusion.  Similarly, when we understand conventional and ultimate truth, even a little, we have more flexibility of mind to change the way we see things. We can choose to see a difficult situation differently. We can even come to see that challenging situation in a way that we will feel grateful for it. When we understand that reality is empty of existing inherently, it becomes infinitely full of possibilities.    “All created things are suffering.”  Seeing this with insight,  One becomes disenchanted with suffering.  This is the path to purity. (278)*   “All things are not-self.”  Seeing this with insight,  One becomes disenchanted with suffering.  This is the path to purity. (279)*   Links and References   Her Daughter Was Kidnapped by Traffickers. So She Trafficked Herself. Vice World News. https://www.vice.com/en/article/5dbv4a/mother-rescue-trafficked-daughter-bangladesh-india   Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link)   Yeshe, Thubten. Introduction to Tantra. Wisdom Publications; Revised ed. edition (June 10, 2005). (Kindle). Link 
  • Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox podcast

    Episode 114 - Karma Bandits

    37:31

    This episode is dedicated to Right View, one part of The Noble Eightfold Path. Right View has two parts to it: a mundane right view and a superior right view (emptiness).Today we look at mundane right view which adopts the understanding and belief in karma. It is specifically, “right view of the ownership of action” (kammassakata sammaditthi). What does it mean to live mindfully in accordance with the of karma? “All created things are suffering.”  Seeing this with insight,  One becomes disenchanted with suffering.  This is the path to purity. (278)* —Buddha, The Dhammapada The eight parts of the Noble Eightfold Path: Eightfold Path are Right View Right Intention Right Speech Right Action Right Livelihood  Right Effort Right Mindfulness Right Concentration References and Links Bodhi, Bhikku. The Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhist Publication Society, 1999, pp 12-21.  BuddhaNet. http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/noble8path6.pdf Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link)

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