Live in the Present Moment versus
Prepare for Future Lives:
Are They Contradictory?

by Venerable Thubten Chodron©
Mid-America Buddhist Association (MABA), Augusta, Missouri Sunday, 21 Apr 2002

During a six-day Christian-Buddhist conference at Gethsemane Abbey in Kentucky, Venerable Chodron met with the other Buddist speakers, who came from various traditions, including Theravadan, Zen, and Tibetan. Each of these traditions have tenets that, at first glance, seem contradictory. They can be characterized as:

  • Theravada - "Be in the present moment"
  • Zen - "This is all there is, but the universe is infinite"
  • Tibetan - "The emphasis is on giving up the happiness of this life (& focussing on creating the causes for happiness future lives)in "

Venerable Chodron examines how these statements, seemingly contradictory, can reflect the same basic truth of Buddhism.

[RealAudio files]

Part 1 of 2 [14 min] : Download | Listen

Part 2 of 2: Question & Answer [13 min] : Download | Listen

Questions covered (Start-time for each question is indicated at the end) :

  • Can you still enjoy things without getting attached? Does detachment mean having no fun in your life? [0:33]
  • What is meant by, "If you want to know what your past life was, look at your present body. If you want to know what your future life will be, look at your present mind"? [8:00]



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