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Human Parts
A publication about humanity from Medium: yours, mine, and ours.

Buddhism

In Human Parts. More on Medium.

Humans 101

Many of us neglect our own needs to avoid seeming self-centered — and then we wonder why we’re so unhappy

Portrait of a person—wearing a bob haircut, big dark sunglasses, and an orange knitted sweater—looking to the left side of the image in a very dark space. Reflected in the sunglasses is an open window showing a sliver of blue sky on each lens.
Portrait of a person—wearing a bob haircut, big dark sunglasses, and an orange knitted sweater—looking to the left side of the image in a very dark space. Reflected in the sunglasses is an open window showing a sliver of blue sky on each lens.

In my early twenties, the subject of “selfishness” came up frequently in my therapist’s office — specifically, my fear of being selfish. In my attempts to avoid selfishness, I was living in its opposite — and equally self-centered — extreme: self-negation.

My therapist explained it like a thermometer: Boiling hot was selfishness. Freezing cold was self-negation. And somewhere in between, right around the normal body temperature of 98.6 degrees, is a self-caring and responsible zone (which involves moving through a challenging zone of self-doubt that lies between 98.6 and ice).

“I feel like you’re freezing to death. I’m trying to…


If you want to stay sane, you have to accept your negative emotions

I lie in bed wide awake. My heart is racing. It almost feels like it’s crawling up my throat. My breath is shallow and a sense of restlessness is coursing through my body. I can hear every little noise. The dog just got off the couch and is now settled on the floor. Why am I so anxious? I ask myself, as I start going through a mental checklist.

Are the kids okay? Yes, they are sleeping soundly in the rooms next to mine.

Is everything going well with my boyfriend? Yes, he is also asleep right next to me.


My training as a buddhist priest sheds light on the climate crisis

A photo of a hand extending to water with three abstract triangles.
A photo of a hand extending to water with three abstract triangles.

Recently, over six million people around the globe protested climate disaster. On Friday, September 20, 2019 over two million people walked out of their schools or workplaces.

Why? According to scientists, the only way to prevent global temperatures rising above 1.5 degrees is to decrease our carbon emissions by 40% to 50% before 2040. Scientists predict that even two extra degrees of planetary warming will result in a complete disintegration of coral reefs, increased wildfire damage, and put millions at risk of flooding, heat waves, disease, and famine. In addition to reducing emissions, governments must achieve negative emissions in the…


As the Western world adopts Buddhist teachings, some ideas are distorted along the way

When I first started meditating, I encountered the concept of “letting go of your ego” almost immediately. I found it appealing. I gave in to fantasies of “being one with all life” and “finding infinity in the present moment.”

Getting rid of my ego quickly became the main theme in my spiritual growth.

“It is important to see that the main point of any spiritual practice is to step out of the bureaucracy of ego,” advises Tibetan monk and scholar Chögyam Trungpa in his book Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. …


by Shin Yu Pai

Visiting my neighbor Kanjin’s home last March, I noticed a small figure installed on his altar, surrounded by colorful toys and candy. When I asked, he explained the sweets on his shrine were offerings to Jizo — Buddhist guardian of lost children. The conversation blossomed into a longer talk about mizuko kuyo, a ritual that he occasionally performs as the head priest of a Buddhist temple in Seattle. The “water baby” ceremony, which originated in Japan, is performed to support parents who have lost children to tragedy and miscarriage. It allows them the opportunity to give birth to, bond…

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