Zen Spot #197 — Mindfulness, meditation and ten thousand Eightfold pages April 24, 2018 00:00

Seventy books?

On the second floor of the main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, in the southeast corner of the building, is a quiet room with ceilings that rise at least two stories. The librarians ensure quiet. Homeless men and students occupy the same large wood tables — reading, dozing, writing or hiding from the weather. 

The Religion and Philosophy sections are adjacent. Most of an entire 36" wide shelf is devoted to Eastern practices. At last count, 12 were devoted exclusively to Buddhism. I’ve consumed each of the books. With an average page count of, let’s say 225, my total page count equals approximately 2700 pages. Combine this number with the five libraries I visit most, plus books I’ve purchased, and tomes I’ve read that address multiple religious traditions, a range of philosophical subjects and simple self-help books, my total devotion is well over 10,000 pages — and I couldn’t feel further from being an expert.

Perhaps the feeling lies in my belief that discussion of religion, philosophy and self-help strategies offers little in the way of practical understanding. The devil’s role, being the advocate that counterparts want so badly to play for the simple sake of playing the part, only frustrates me. Often, dogma gets chased and challenged but the most vulnerable part of the human experience is rarely shared: How people live day to day. 

I struggle. After all the reading ,  I try to rely on the Noble Eightfold Path. Characters, parables, quotations, lessons and discourse all lead back to a simple set of directions.

Today, I’m struggling.

The Noble Eightfold Path

  1. Right understanding
  2. Right thought
  3. Right speech
  4. Right action
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration


About DharmaMechanic

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel. The four wheels shown above are among over 600 DharmaMechanic has created over the course of his career. Each has a unique story. If you’d like to read the story of these wheels or purchase a framed 20" x 20" ready-to-hang print, visit SilkDharma.com.

What are The Four Noble Truths?

  1. The truth of suffering
  2. The truth of the origin of suffering
  3. The truth of the cessation of suffering
  4. The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering

What is The Noble Eightfold Path?

  1. Right view
  2. Right intention
  3. Right action
  4. Right speech
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

What is a Dharma Wheel?