ABSTRACT: We spend our lives being seduced by the outside world, believing without question that happiness and suffering come from "out there." In reality, Buddhist teachings explain that they come from the way we perceive and interpret things, not the things themselves.
This deeply held misconception is at the root of our dissatisfaction, self-doubt, anger, depression, anxiety, and the rest. But our minds can change. By becoming deeply familiar with the workings of our own cognitive processes through introspection and learning to deconstruct them -- truly, by being our own therapists -- we can loosen the grip of these neuroses and grow our marvelous potential for contentment, clarity, and courage, which are at the core of our being.
Venerable Robina Courtin has been a Tibetan Buddhist nun for 35 years. A beloved teacher and power-house personality, the venerable nun is Executive Director of Liberation Prison Project, based in San Francisco (LiberationPrisonProject.org)
A lifeline for people with nothing and no one since 1996, the Liberation Prison Project has supported the spiritual practice of over 15,000 prisoners, mainly in the US and Australia. These days, the project spends $50,000 a month, nearly half of it on salaries and benefits for a full-time staff of ten (eight in the US and two in Australia, including three former prisoners), supported by a team of 150+ volunteers worldwide.
Ven. Robina travels the world, teaching and raising funds, touching countless hearts and minds with her down-to-earth, no-nonsense packaging of the Buddha's teachings, often filled with tasty stories from her own real-life struggles, attachments, and relationships. She is able to put across to her students in and out of prison that change is possible; everyone can learn to develop qualities to be joyful in the face of difficulties -- even on death row.
"Ven. Robina has taught me to look at everything that occurs in my life with a different view," writes one Australian prisoner. "She has given me dignity, courage, and honor."