Zen Blog

This blog collects various internet feeds aimed towards information, experience and technique exchange in support of our shared spiritual journey.....

”Namaste - may the light in me, honor the light in you…”

Create the Space for Change: It’s Your Time to Thrive

Helping people build healthy new habits that improve their lives is more important than ever. Arianna Huffington and her team at Thrive Global are on a mission to end the epidemic of stress and burnout and help people unlock their potential. Their latest effort comes in the form of a book called Time to Thrive: End Burnout, Increase Well-being, and Unlock Your Full Potential with the New Science of Microsteps. We sat down with the books’ author Marina Khidekel to ask her what she found out about the science of thriving. 

Heather Hurlock: In doing your research for Your Time to Thrive, what did you discover are the biggest drivers of burnout?

Marina Khidekel: There’s a collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success. We see this in the beliefs we might associate with “hustle culture” or FOMO — that getting enough sleep is a luxury we can’t afford, or that we simply don’t have the time to recharge our minds and bodies, connect with others and tap into something larger than ourselves (basically, the things that boost our well-being and prevent burnout in the first place). 

Another driver is the belief that a sweeping life overhaul is the only way to make a change. But what the science actually shows is that small, incremental mindset and behavior shifts are more effective and sustainable. We call them microsteps, and they’re at the heart of our behavior change system. As we like to say, they’re too small to fail!

There’s a collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success.

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Bringing the Bard to Tibet

On April 23, 1616, William Shakespeare died at his home, New Place, in Stratford-upon-Avon. While he was a much-admired playwright in his own time, neither he nor his contemporaries could have anticipated the tremendous impact the Bard would have over the following 405 years: his work has now been performed in at least 140 countries and translated into more than 100 languages. Relatively recently, his plays were translated into Tibetan, with Hamlet first published in 2002 and Romeo and Juliet the following year, thanks to the diligent work of Drakdong Tréling Wangdor. 

Wangdor’s translations demonstrate a magisterial understanding of the original plays, including an acute sensitivity to the sonic shift between prose and verse, sometimes missed by other translators. Wangdor renders this brilliantly despite the many dissimilarities between English and Tibetan poetics, which differ in meter, rhyme, and line arrangement. His translations are nevertheless sharply attuned to a Tibetan worldview with sensitivity to Tibetan cultural considerations. In diction, phrasing, and imagery, Tibetan readers will hear Buddhist echoes ringing throughout. At times, the register of his language, particularly when translating verse, has a timbre reminiscent of the Kangyur and Tengyur, the Tibetan Buddhist canon. 

The Buddhist resonance that pervades his Shakespearean translations likely derives from Wangdor’s overarching translation philosophy. He emphasizes the importance of faithfulness to the source text but argues that the translator must convey the meaning of the original in the context of the translated language, even if this is at odds with a literalistic translation. The translator needs to artistically re-create the work, ensuring both that it honors the original and that it stands on its own right within its new cultural framework.      

North American Buddhists often think about the translation of Buddhist texts into English, but far more rarely consider the knowledge flow in the other direction. By looking at the Tibetan reception of one of the most important writers in the Western canon, we can better understand the role of translation in facilitating works written centuries ago, in vastly differing environments, to speak vividly to contemporary audiences. Wangdor’s life and work offers another perspective on the cross-cultural exchange at the heart of translation and can help clarify some of the challenges that arise when rendering Tibetan Buddhist teachings in the West. 

Drakdong Tréling Wangdor was born in 1934, during de facto Tibetan independence. As a child, he rose every day before dawn and chanted the mnemonic formulas of Tibetan grammar, which were composed well over a millennium before and would one day become the foundation for his Shakespearean translations. After completing primary school in Tibet in 1946, he was one of ten students sent by the Tibetan government to study at St. Joseph’s, an English Jesuit boys’ boarding school located in Darjeeling, India. It was there that a teenage Wangdor fell in love with Shakespeare.     

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A 5-Minute Writing Practice to Help You Express Gratitude

When it comes to appreciation, how many times do you say thank you to a clerk or at the end of an email because it’s out of routine, habit, or social norms? It’s not that you’re not appreciative. It’s just that your brain falls into certain patterns of working, and you don’t necessarily notice the details of your experience. The human brain is wired to work fast and well, but to do things quickly, it uses familiar thinking pathways. The practice of appreciation will help you slow down the thinking process long enough to notice what’s around you.

Appreciation is about deepening the connection you feel for what you are grateful for. One of my favorite examples is being grateful for having food to eat. If you’re grateful for the food, you can then be appreciative of what you’re eating, if you consciously pay attention and take the time to notice the flavors, odors, and textures of the food and how it feels to nourish yourself. You can be grateful for things or people in your life without really appreciating them, but it’s difficult to appreciate them and not be grateful. That’s where mindfulness comes into play.

Mindfulness helps bridge the gap between gratitude and appreciation. When you are paying attention to the present moment, with authentic purpose, you can internalize and savor the true value and significance of your experience. The following mindful writing practice will assist you in expressing appreciation.

1. Set a timer for five minutes.

2. Identify an item, person, or concept you rarely notice and write it down. It can be how certain bodily functions work so seamlessly; it can be a person, like the security guard where you work; or it can be the process by which your food got to your table. There are many possibilities.

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Buddha Buzz Weekly: Tibetans Caught in India’s Second Wave of COVID-19 

Tibetan residents in India face vaccine shortages amid rising cases, an upcoming talk addresses Black Buddhism in the US, and Tricycle contributor Charles Johnson is featured in a cartoon anthology. Tricycle looks back at the events of this week in the Buddhist world.

By Amanda Lim Patton and Emily DeMaioNewtonMay 08, 2021

Delek Hospital in Dharamsala, India | https://tricy.cl/3euFrcu

Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week. 

Tibetans Caught in India’s Outbreak of COVID-19 Cases

Tibetan residents in India are caught among the rising numbers of cases as India battles an unrelenting outbreak of COVID-19 infections. On Thursday, the Indian health ministry recorded 410,000 cases in 24 hours, a new global record, with experts suspecting the actual number of infections to be much higher, the New York Times reports. The number of cases is rapidly climbing in Dharamsala, home of the Tibetan government in exile, with nearly 140 Tibetans testing positive since last week. In response to the outbreak, the Central Tibetan Administration issued an urgent appeal to Tibetan communities worldwide to donate to India’s COVID-19 relief measures. According to Radio Free Asia, a shortage of vaccines at Delek Hospital, the largest Tibetan hospital in India, has halted the campaign to vaccinate Tibetans age 18 and older in Dharamsala. Dr. Tenzin Tsundue told RFA that Tibetans should not wait for Delek Hospital to receive more doses: “I urge Tibetans to get vaccinated in government hospitals now if they get the chance.” Further south in Dehradun, capital of the northern state of Uttarakhand, 225 Tibetans have tested positive, including 83 monks from the local Sakya monastery. 

Upcoming Talk Addresses the Emergence of Black Buddhism in the US

A new talk from Buddhist Currents, an ongoing series of conversations focused on critical contemporary issues in Buddhist thought and practice, will illuminate the emergence of Black Buddhism in the US. Led by Dr. Rima Vesely-Flad, the director of Peace and Justice Studies at Warren Wilson College, the talk will explore how the field of Buddhism and Psychology is expanding to recognize intergenerational trauma resulting from slavery, Black Buddhist practices, and the reclaiming of Black embodiedness. The free event will be held on Zoom on May 20 at 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET). 

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Training to Be Relaxed in Stressful Situations

By Leo Babauta

Many of us face things every day that stress us out: overwhelming number of tasks, a big meeting, a project that feels really tough, behind on paying bills, someone is upset at us, there’s a family crisis, the world feels chaotic.

Can we find a way to be relaxed in almost any stressful situation?

Absolutely. It just takes some training. And lots of practice.

Let’s imagine you’re feeling stressed right now, about whatever you need to do, about an interpersonal conflict, about something coming up in the near future …

What is it that’s stressing you out about this? You might start telling me all the details of the situation, or all the things the other person has done wrong … but that’s your narrative about it. The thing that’s stressing you out is the narrative, or how you view the situation or person.

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