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Can We “Choose” to Be Happy? No—and Yes!

Can we “choose” to be happy? Well, try it right now, and see. Make yourself truly happy. Can’t do it, right? At any given instant, if we are honest about it, we realize that we just feel what we feel.  Sheer willpower can’t make us truly happy.  We can’t flip on happiness like a lightswitch — […]

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Twin Towers Memorial Lights

Music and Poetry in Remembrance of the September 11th Attacks

On this day before the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, I want to share what I think is one of the most moving songs I’ve ever heard about this terrible event that broke our hearts and for a time united people all over the world in our common humanity. The song is called […]

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How Loving-kindness Practice and Meditation Can Help with Military Suicides

NOTE:  This post is a revised and expanded version of an earlier Metta Refuge post of mine called Veterans Day-The Wounds of Combat Can Be Healed.  I wanted to update and repost this particular message, because I was so disturbed and saddened by the news of so many more military suicides this year.  As a recent […]

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Coming to Terms with the Father Who Lives Within You

Although this blog has mainly focused on the Budddhdharma, the teachings of the Buddha, it’s never been limited to that. Over time, I’ve shared skillful spiritual teachings, poems, and even music, that reflect humanity’s quest to come into a complete humanhood. I also strongly feel that the best in Western psychology powerfully complements the wisdom […]

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Chinese Dragon

The Marriage of the Princess and the Dragon-A Dharma Story

I’ve been thinking about “dragons” recently and thought I’d share this wonderful retelling of a Swedish fairy tale by dharma teacher Jack Kornfield from his wonderful bookAfter the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path. We all have our own “dragons” in our hearts. May this simple tale help us […]

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The Buddha on Attachment to Views and Disputations

In Buddhism, Right View is part of the Noble Eightfold Path.  But attachment to views, even right views, is always a hindrance. In The Mind Like Fire Unbound, Thanissaro Bhikkhu comments: “Attachment to views can block an experience of Unbinding in any of three major ways. First, the content of the view itself may not […]

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Veterans Day-The Wounds of Combat Can Be Healed

As an ex-GI, I often find my heart and loving-kindness practice embracing our enlisted men and women throughout the world, and especially those in war zones. War is hell. That’s no cliché, and only those who have been in combat can truly testify to what that phrase means. That’s why around Veterans Day I highlighted the […]

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Hatred Can Never Bring the Changes Our Hearts Long For

“Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.” The Buddha ♥♥♥ “When we attack injustice, cruelty, and suffering with intolerance and loathing, we make the mistake of believing that hatred can generate compassion and goodness.  Hatred is suffering, and can only perpetuate suffering, […]

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Thich Nhat Hanh-Can We Understand the Suffering of our Enemy?

Few people in the world have worked as tirelessly for the cause of peace, individual and collective, as Thich Nhat Hanh. His effort to bring peace—to be peace—began during his days as a young Buddhist monk during the Vietnam War and led Martin Luther King Jr. to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize in […]

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How to Deal Skillfully and Compassionately with Memories

We all have things we’ve done in the past that we regret, and memories of these mistakes can often arise in meditation. Here is a helpful teaching from Thanissaro Bhikkhu that explains what the Buddha said we could do when we are haunted by memories. How to Deal Skillfully and Compassionately with Memories “As for […]

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Prayer and Metta for all beings affected by the BP Gulf oil disaster

Like millions of others in the United States, and around the world, I’ve been keeping a close watch on the tragic situation with the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. I don’t live in the Gulf area, but I’ve tried to help by various forms of advocacy and by getting good, solid scientific and technical information […]

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Moral Self-Protection Grounded in Meditation

Once the Buddha told his monks the following story: There was once a pair of jugglers who performed their acrobatic feats on a bamboo pole. One day the master said to his apprentice: “Now get on my shoulders and climb up the bamboo pole.” When the apprentice had done so, the master said: “Now protect […]

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Krishnamurti on Nonviolence

J. Krishnamurti is a spiritual teacher that I often return to and wrestle with!  Here are some past posts on him: Krishnamurti-An Uncompromising Teacher Krishnamurti-Freedom from the Known Krishnamurti Talks About Nature I always come away the better for my encounters with this remarkable teacher, and I always learn new and skillful ways to look […]

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