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Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Mar 28, 2020

This episode is about a very old Buddhist practice called ‘transforming adversity into the spiritual path’ and is intended to give quick relief and peace in these challenging times. Our world has changed so much since the arising of the coronavirus pandemic. We can transform our personal struggles and anxiety into the spiritual path by cherishing others. This will bring us inner calm, happiness and solve tension between people.


This practice involves cherishing others in three ways:

  1. Making ourselves calm and relaxed for the benefit of others. Practice the relaxing breathing meditation (see instructions below).
  2. Being mindful of our actions in order to protect those who are at-risk of great suffering from Covid-19.
  3. Cherishing those we are spending most of our time with. In Buddhism love is a verb. We cherish others by behaving in ways and doing things to make them happy or peaceful.


A Simple Breathing Meditation to Relax your Body and Mind

  1. Straighten your back comfortably. Rest your hands in the lap. Close your eyes.
  2. Breathe deeply from the diaphragm, feeling your stomach expand.
  3. Breathe out more slowly than you breathe in. 
  4. Count during your inhalation, starting at one.
  5. Count during your exhalation, also beginning at one and making sure your count is longer during the breath out. This way of breathing has a physiological effect of calming the body.
  6. Continue this breathing meditation until you feel peaceful in your body and mind. 
  7. Breath, enjoy and abide in this peacefulness. More experienced meditators can do this meditation for an extended period. Do it as long as you enjoy it.
  8. At the end of your meditation, breathe out slowly and say inwardly to yourself “calm” “relaxed”. Try to tune your body to these feelings...calm...relaxed. 
  9. Put a little smile on your face. Try to find joy in things.


Whenever you start feeling stressed, you can do this breathing meditation with your eyes open during your daily activities. Do it until you feel relaxed. This might take only a minute or it may take longer. You’ll get better at this calming technique with practice. With enough practice, eventually you can tame your mind and be calm all day. Ideally, meditate every morning to set the tone of your day to one of peace and calm.    


References and Links


Je Tsongkhapa. Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, by Je Tsongkhapa, Volume 2. Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor, pp 173-175.