Welcome to episode four! So today is a fun little holiday diversion. I'm going to talk about the Buddhist answer to everything. A big shout out to the co-hosts of one of my all-time favorite podcasts, The Dharma Realm, Reverend Harry Bridge of the Buddhist Church of Oakland, and Scott Mitchell, the Dean of Student and Faculty Affairs at the Institute of Buddhist Studies. I sort of stole the concept of the Buddhist answer to everything from their February 23rd podcast titled, “The Buddhist Answer for Everything.” I'll give their podcast another little twist, by actually giving an answer.
Have you ever seen that Liberty Mutual commercial with two young guys stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire? One of the guys is on the phone with his dad, holding some sort of tool that is clearly not a lug wrench and says, “Don't worry dad, I know what a lug wrench is!” … and then he looks to the other guy and whispers, “is this a lug wrench?”
And then the other guy, looks a little confused then clearly shakes his head yes. And says, “Mayyybe” in a really good bit of acting that cracks me up every time I see it. So, that is my Buddhist answer to everything: “Maybe.”
I guess that wraps it up for this episode ...
No. Okay. Okay. I'll go on. As it is obvious, now, I'm taking a little break—sort of a holiday break, and Independence-Day break. Yes, Buddhists celebrate Independence Day: We're striving to be independent … independent from suffering, independent from the troubles of our own mind. That's what we're working for here. I'm taking a little break from the Eightfold Path to independence for this episode and the next episode, but I plan on moving to right intention in episode six. But right intention does frame this episode a bit, because the Buddhist answer to everything has something to do with intention.
Since, generally, we don't really know others’ intentions most of the time, and most of the time, we're barely acquainted with our own, “maybe” seems like a really good answer when it comes to intentions. Intention is one of the conditions that contribute to the way things are.
Welcome to episode three of Everyday Buddhism. You know, I think I packed episode 2 with too many concepts. I have this image of listeners mumbling or even shouting: “Just what I thought! Buddhism is a lot of mumbo jumbo!” Yeah, sorry about that. And it can seem like that for sure.
So maybe I wasn't skillful in putting everything together in episode two. Let's start unpacking some of the things in this episode and, if we need more unpacking, I promised to stretch it out over multiple episodes, instead of trying to cram everything in one breath, in one show. We're going to start with the concept of No-Self or Annatta, as I discussed in episode two. Annatta is one of the “three marks of existence” as they refer to it in Buddhism.
The three marks are: impermanence, unsatisfactoriness or suffering, which we talked about the last episode, which is dukkha, and No-Self or non-self. The three characteristics are detailed in the Dhammapada and they are the primary contributors to the things we humans get confused about in our lives. I explained much of that in the last podcast. This is the conditioned existence I kept referring to in episode two and, afterwards I thought that using the term “conditioned existence” didn't really make a lot of sense.
The trick to conditioned existence is that's what our lives are made of. They're made of certain conditions. We exist, of course, so that's the existence part, but the “conditions” part is that our life, our very existence has it conditions on it. Just like a lease, or a rent or a purchase agreement. Everything's got conditions. Our lives do, too. You've been born into an existence that has the conditions of impermanence, some dissatisfaction—or more than a little bit—and a self that's a bit elusive.
It's episode two of Everyday Buddhism. I'm glad you could join me. I hoped you joined me for episode one. Today, I might ramble a bit. I don't know. I have a million things in my mind. I have a few notes. But I'm trying to cover a lot and I'm trying to put it all together ... and it might not all go together. So, I hope you can cut me a little slack and sit back and enjoy. And if it feels like it's getting too deep, don't worry because I'm going to introduce some Buddhist concepts today that if you're not used to them—if you've never had any experience or been introduced to them before—it might seem like I'm digging a little too deep, getting a little too Buddhists-y for you, but it isn't going to be that way. I'm going to relax a little bit and show you how it applies in an everyday way.
On the first podcast, I promised you that there were going to be tools coming from Buddhist teachings that would help make your days better. I hope you put some of what I mentioned last episode into practice. I spent some time discussing one of the most important tools you can use in daily practice and that is looking inside, looking in your own mind for the cause of all the things that bother you or make you unhappy. But before we get deeper into this episode, I want to share another important tool. You can use it as a quick takeaway. Last episode was “Be an Insider” … Look inside. This episode I want you to think about “what is my why?” About a year ago I posted an article on LinkedIn. It was titled, “Have You Lost Your WHY in Your How’s?”
In it I discussed the importance of always remembering your why. Always keeping your why front of mind. This is as true for organizations as it is for individuals. Businesses face a significant risk if they lose sight of their core purpose or lose sight of their main customer. in their preoccupation with new processes, new products, new solutions. And, as a career coach, I immediately identified the fact that my clients lose their why and then it's a critical risk for them, in being successful in their career goals. Many clients come to me convinced that they have only one or maybe two driving needs. They say, okay, I want a better resume and a great LinkedIn profile. These clients come to me from all stages of the career management life cycle: Unemployed and searching … about to be unemployed and searching … Looking to move up … Recently graduated … Or at a major life and career transition.
Wow! Here it is, the first episode of Everyday Buddhism. I am so excited to start this and I'm hoping I will soon hear from some of you that you were excited to subscribe and make this podcast one of your new favorites. My name is Wendy Haylett. I'm a Buddhist teacher, lay minister, and career coach. I coach at the intersection of your career and your life.
Would you like to make every day better? So that's what we're going to be examining in this podcast. Who is this podcast for? Well, it's not necessarily for Buddhists, even though the title is everyday Buddhism. It's more about the every part. It's for everyone. I mean everybody, but especially you and you … the one dealing with overwhelm … and you, the one having too much to do and not being able to start anything … and those of you with unreasonable and ungrateful bosses, coworkers, clients … and those of you dealing with fear and self-doubt about starting something new … and those of you stuck in the past or telling yourself stories over and over again about how you were mistreated, fired, cheated, whatever.
These are the things that make our everydays not always perfect and they're not supposed to be perfect, but these are what make us insecure, angry, anxious. So, the point here is that everyday Buddhism is for everyone. We've all had these issues. I just listed all those problems and issues and we've all had them. We've had many more too. But what does that have to do with Buddhism? Isn't Buddhism a religion? Well, wait few minutes ... I'll get into that when I do a little Buddhism intro to kind of bring everybody up to speed. But really, Buddhism, if anyone knows anything about Buddhism or heard some story about Buddhism or someone talking about Buddhism, what they probably heard is that Buddhism is somehow about suffering. I call that the bad news of Buddhism, but essentially, it's about how NOT to let suffering drag us down.