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Buddhism – Plain and Simple

The Practice of Being Aware, Right Now, Every Day

By Steve Hagen
10-minute read
Audio available
Buddhism – Plain and Simple: The Practice of Being Aware, Right Now, Every Day by Steve Hagen

Buddhism Plain and Simple (2013) is your no-nonsense guide to essential Buddhist practices. From building awareness to living in the present moment, Buddhism’s most important teachings are explained in a clear and accessible way, and are linked to aspects of everyday life where we need them the most.

  • Spirituality enthusiasts seeking a deeper understanding of human existence
  • Professionals who feel too busy to live in the moment
  • Anyone who wants to stop living in ignorance of basic Buddhist truths

Steve Hagen is a Zen priest, and a teacher of Buddhism. He is also the author of How the World Can be the Way It Is: An Inquiry for the New Millennium into Science, Philosophy, and Perception.

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Buddhism – Plain and Simple

The Practice of Being Aware, Right Now, Every Day

By Steve Hagen
  • Read in 10 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 6 key ideas
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Buddhism – Plain and Simple: The Practice of Being Aware, Right Now, Every Day by Steve Hagen
Synopsis

Buddhism Plain and Simple (2013) is your no-nonsense guide to essential Buddhist practices. From building awareness to living in the present moment, Buddhism’s most important teachings are explained in a clear and accessible way, and are linked to aspects of everyday life where we need them the most.

Key idea 1 of 6

Our misery stems from our inability to see and accept things as they really are.

Do you feel empty and dissatisfied with your life? Do you feel you're missing out on something you can't quite put your finger on? In that case, Buddhism might provide some answers.

Quite often, we suffer because we compare reality to our wishes and expectations; what we should be doing is just being aware of the present moment. But since every aspect of our everyday life is dominated by habits that take us out of the present moment, this can be a very difficult task.

We spend much of our time judging ourselves, others and situations based on what we expect them to be. For instance, if it rains in the summer, we’re unhappy because we expect the weather to be sunny. If we’re not finding new ways to feel disappointed, we’re fixated on petty wishes, coveting a new car, a dream home or a perfect complexion.

All these wishes and expectations are like a veil between us and reality. They keep us from experiencing that cool rain as anything else than the frustrating absence of the weather we expected.

This take on the world makes us unhappy for two reasons: First, we’re hungry for real experiences, and we’re missing out on them unless we appreciate what’s really there. Second, we’re expecting reality to be something it isn’t, and thus setting ourselves up for disappointment.

Buddhism teaches us that we'll suffer as long as we continue to fight change. We see change as another step toward death and we don’t want to die or lose our loved ones. As a result, we’re trapped in a circle of confusion, alarm and dissatisfaction. If so much of our pain is linked to our inability to perceive reality just the way it is, how can we become aware of things as they are?

Buddhism doesn’t advise us to give up control, but rather to acknowledge that we never had it in the first place. Change is an inevitable part of life – we all change from the moment we’re born. We grow, we mature, we age and we die; these processes are out of our control. Just like us, everything and everyone around us changes, too.

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