In the course of writing this book I interviewed a number of Buddhists from different traditions and asked each of them: ‘What difference do you believe your practice makes in your daily life?’ I’ve recorded some of their responses below.
I’d be really interested to know what YOU believe and what YOUR practice is. If you have a moment, fill in the attached form and we’ll post it on this webpage.
Buddhists speaking about Buddhism
I try to spend time every day being rather than doing. I’ve spent too much time in the past rushing around frantically and not enough taking stock, allowing things to get integrated and absorbed properly. So I try to make sure to safeguard some time every day to catch my breath and pause to enjoy the moment – even if this means just sitting quietly on the sofa after work with a cup of tea. I suppose you could say that my formal practice is an attempt to become more aware of the quality of my experience more of the time. E.B. Manchester
There are some times when I manage to get beyond my thoughts and look at deeper structures and patterns and how this relates to what I’ve learnt from Buddhist teachings – but this tends to happen more when I’m on retreat and doing more intensive meditation. J.M. Exeter
My basic practice is trying to establish continual awareness, primarily of my shifting emotional states. Over the last thirty years this has undoubtedly clarified my perceptions, resulted in less self-centred behaviour, and given me greater peace of mind in the adversities and discomfitures of life. It has made me more “easeful” both with myself and with others. The foundation for this round-the-clock practice is a meditation of about an hour each day. It is also reinforced by going on several week-long group retreats and solitary retreats each year. Reading inspiring literature is valuable. Also helpful to me are the several workshops which I facilitate each year. In these I have to clarify my own insights and ideas, and I learn much, in heart and head, from the participants. Finally there is the encouraging and supportive fellowship of the Sangha – my many Dharma friends. T.T.L. Falkirk
Running a small business requires many attributes – a clear sense of priorities, the ability to be focused, to communicate better, to be ‘aware’ of each other, to work together effectively, to think in a lucid and creative way – and there is no doubt that my practice helps here. In more personal terms, I hope I’m a better listener than I used to be and more present in my own life and choices. I don’t earn much money (that’s an understatement) but I feel the way I live is much richer, freer and more balanced than the life I used to have. S.H. Birmingham
My practice give me a feeling of access to an infinite power of compassion which undergirds my life. Many years ago I felt that I was ‘stuck’. I did not have any feeling of progress, and was not even sure if progress was possible. That is when I discovered the teaching of the Infinite Buddha Power, which accepts me just as I am, and this has transformed my life. J.P. Exeter
My practice is very simple. I chant to express gratitude and appreciation for my life, remember my teachers and ancestors, transform my negativity into creativity, and pray for peace throughout the world and the happiness of all living beings. No priests are involved. No elaborate rituals are necessary. No money has to be paid. Ceremony is kept to a minimum. We hold meetings in each other’s homes and try to get involved in the local community, to ‘create value’. That’s what it’s all about in a nutshell. Belief is one thing, but taking action to create value is what really counts. J.P.L. Oxford
My belief is that we can bring out our inherent qualities of wisdom, courage, energy and compassion. We can transform our negative habits and tendencies (‘karma’, call it what you will) and show great proof of the power of this practice in the process. My practice helps me to feel clearer, more confident, more expansive and happier. It inspires me to respect my environment and be more considerate to other people. I guess it informs more or less everything about the way I conduct my daily life – even the way I drive my car! I have been doing it for half my life and, looking back, I can really see the changes it has made not only to me but to everyone around me. S.W. Bicester