Posts by Robert Ilson

A Buddhist Utopia from an Unlikely Source

In the 1890s Rudyard Kipling wrote “The Song of the Cities”, a poem comprising quatrains in which 16 of the chief cities of the British Empire report to London (and/or Queen Victoria).  Most of them, it seems, are doing fine.             A typical example is Singapore’s contribution :- Hail, Mother !  East and West must…

Read More

Metta Meditation from Loving-Kindness to Fellow-Feeling

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. – Whitman, “Song of Myself”                 Four Cardinal Virtues of Buddhism are Metta ‘Loving-Kindness’, Karuna ‘Compassion’, Mudita ‘Empathetic Joy’, and Upekkha ‘Equanimity’.  As with all Buddhist virtues, these are to be applied to oneself as well as to others.  But one, Metta, seems to…

Read More

Two Important (but Rather Overlooked) Episodes in Human History

I Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta — Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion – Samyutta Nikaya 56.11 The End of the Buddha’s First Sermon The Buddha’s First Sermon is a very important event in human history indeed – but fortunately it cannot be said to have been overlooked. In it the Buddha expounds the Middle Way and…

Read More

Of Onions and Anatta

Of all the central notions of Buddhism, anatta ‘no self’ is the hardest to understand. At least it is the most counter-intuitive. Of course I have a self! If I tread on someone else’s toe, I may feel apologetic but I do not feel pain. If someone else treads on my toe I do feel…

Read More