This is a lovely article from Stephen Batchelor on the benefits of meditation:

“We start to meditate because of individual circumstances and choices. However soon we find that two kinds of goals and aspirations inspire us to persevere on the meditative path. ”

From Stephen Batchelor

I found out that the quote about the burning coal is not what the Buddha said, but instead is from the early 5th century AD sage  Venerable Buddhaghosa, who described anger this way:

“By doing this (giving in to anger) you are like a man who wants to hit another and picks up a burning ember or excrement in his hand and so first burns himself or makes himself stink.”

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