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EP056 - Annelies van der Heijden - Buddhism in Everyday Life

In this episode of the Regenerar Podcasts, we had a conversation with Annelies van der Heijden. She's deeply involved in Buddhism, which offers insights on how to lead a more peaceful and compassionate life.

Annelies discussed how the world today faces challenges with increasing incidents of unkindness and violence, a concern that Buddhism has addressed for centuries. She introduced the concept of a future time when Buddha Maitreya will emerge, emphasizing teachings centered around love and compassion.

Our discussion also covered the Buddhist perspective on the impermanence of life and how embracing these teachings can enrich our lives, even in Western societies. Annelies stressed the importance of integrating these ideas gently, encouraging reflection rather than enforcing strict beliefs.

She highlighted the significance of intention in our actions, a key aspect of Tibetan Buddhism, and noted the difficulty many in the West face in practicing self-compassion, a concept more naturally embraced in Eastern cultures.

Annelies outlined a three-step path to gaining wisdom in Buddhism: learning, reflecting on what you've learned, and meditating. This process, she explained, allows for a deeper connection with these spiritual teachings.

We delved into the diversity within Buddhism, particularly focusing on the rich array of traditions within Tibetan Buddhism. Annelies noted that it's essential for individuals to find a path that resonates with them personally.

An insightful point from Annelies was the Dalai Lama's advice against trying to convert others to one's own religion, advocating instead for a universal pursuit of happiness.

The topic of mindfulness came up, with Annelies clarifying its profound purpose in Buddhism - refining focus and awareness - as opposed to more superficial interpretations often found today.

We also talked about the distractions and pressures of modern society and the therapeutic need for introspection and balance.

Lastly, we touched on how Annelies' organization is exploring the compatibility between Buddhist teachings and scientific evidence, offering courses for those interested in deepening their understanding of Buddhism.

The episode concluded with a reflection on the positive effects of living according to Buddhist principles, such as cultivating a kind heart and promoting peace both within ourselves and in the world around us.

About Annelies van der Heijden:

Annelies has a background as a dietitian, shiatsu therapist, and yoga instructor. Since 1998, she has been actively involved with the Maitreya Institute and the FPMT organization. In November 2014, she completed FPMT's Basic Program at ILTK, Italy and received her certificate. In June 2015, she became a qualified mindfulness trainer after completing training at CVM in Amsterdam.

Currently, Annelies leads (in English) the Guided Meditation and Discovering Buddhism programs on Monday evenings. She is accredited and also facilitates (in English and Dutch) the Basic Balanced Empathy course of FDCW.

You can know more about FMTP and the activities that are promoted by this institute  following this link: