Gil Fronsdal explores the Buddha’s teachings on beauty and care, sharing their relationship to karma, meditation, the witness, and the Dharma.
This talk is from the April 15, 2020 Spirit Rock Rock Meditation Center: Living Through Awareness Online Retreat. Gil Fronsdal is the co-teacher at the Insight Meditation Center and the Insight Retreat Center in California. He has practiced Zen and Vipassana since 1975 and has a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Stanford. He has trained in both the Japanese Soto Zen tradition and the Insight Meditation lineage of Theravada Buddhism of Southeast Asia. Gil was trained as a Vipassana teacher by Jack Kornfield and is part of the Vipassana teachers’ collective at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
Walking In Beauty
Sparked by discovering the Navajo idea of “walking in beauty,” which translates most closely to harmony, virtue, natural order, and goodness, Gil was inspired to see if there were any congruently encompassing concepts in Buddhism in relation to the natural world. He was able to find the word “Kalyana,” which generally translates as “good,” but Gil invites us to reframe through the lens of “walking in beauty” in relation to the Dharma.
“When you translate it as ‘beautiful’ it has an affective effect on us. It’s not a philosophical term or an ethical term; it’s an aesthetic term that touches a much wider range of our aesthetic, our sensibilities, our senses.” – Gil Fronsdal
Learn to walk in beauty and peace while decolonizing the mind with Raghu and shaman, John Lockley, on Ep. 355 of Mindrolling
Gardening Your Inner Life (10:55)
One of the primary functions of Dharma practice is so we can become the caretakers of the quality of our inner life. If we expect someone else to be our inner-custodian, we are not only setting ourselves up for disappointment, but we are also limiting the full potential of our own heart, of our own inherent beauty. It is up to each of us to cultivate these potentials and qualities.
“We all have beautiful qualities inside. In some of us, some of those qualities are just still there as dormant seeds. Recognize those seeds are there, begin watering them, let them germinate, carefully attend to them, and watch them grow and develop.” – Gil Fronsdal
Mindfully and meditatively tend to the garden of your heart alongside Jack Kornfield in Ep. 73 of Heart Wisdom
Active Care (22:42)
Gil uncovers the significance behind the concept of “Anukampa,” or “care,” particularly in the Buddhist Suttas, where the word is used in reference to the active act of doing something for the benefit or welfare of others. Through this lens, all acts of care spring out of the foundation of Anukampa.
“What’s interesting about Anukampa, is that it’s an attitude you have, to promote the welfare of other people, in addition to not wanting them to suffer.” – Gil Fronsdal