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Sacred Scriptures and Gurus Are Not the Final Authority

Anyone who grew up in a fundamentalist or doctrinaire religious environment can tell you how hard it is to to think for oneself and choose one’s own spiritual path. In a child’s mind, the authority of one’s parents becomes totally merged with the authority of her religious teachings and teachers. Because a child is totally […]

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Thich Nhat Hanh – “Contemplation” – Poem and Music

Contemplation A Poem by Thich Nhat Hanh Since the moon is full tonight, let us call upon the stars in prayer. The power of concentration, seen through the bright, one-pointed mind, is shaking the universe. All living beings are present tonight to witness the ocean of fear flooding the Earth. Upon the sound of the […]

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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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Working with The Six Properties in Meditation-Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Space, and Consciousness

For the past few months I’ve really been focusing on “body work” in my dharma practice.  I’ve been working with full-body awareness and vipassana, as well as using deep loving-kindness meditation to embrace mental and physical pains.  This essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu has been especially helpful in getting in touch with the actual feelings of my […]

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The Bodhisattva Vow-the whole thing is hopeless, but we’ll do it

A hazy autumn moon, solitary and full, falls as it may on the winding river ahead.
 There are those who seek perfect clarity,
 yet sweep as you may, you cannot empty the mind. (The Capping Verse to Dongshan and Shenshan Cross the River) “You can’t teach someone to walk a tightrope wire by telling them […]

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Did you know that the Buddha almost didn’t teach the Dharma?

According to the Pali canon, not long after the Buddha attained enlightenment, he mused to himself: “This Dhamma that I have realized is profound, hard to see and hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, unattainable by mere reasoning, subtle, to be experienced only by the wise.” The Buddha then apparently seriously questioned whether he could […]

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The Importance of Alertness and Attention in Developing Concentration

As I have grown in my meditation practice, I have been able to develop deeper and deeper levels of concentration and corresponding insight. And yet, when I’ve read about some of the various deeper levels of jhana (deep concentration, or samatha) I’ve sometimes wondered about my progress and whether I’m going “deep” enough. This great […]

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Ajahn Chah on the relationship of Concentration and Wisdom in Meditation

Ajahn Chah A Taste of Freedom “On Meditation” “When the mind is peaceful and established firmly in mindfulness and self-awareness, there will be no doubt concerning the various phenomena which we encounter. The mind will truly be beyond the hindrances. We will clearly know as it is everything which arises in the mind. We do […]

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Why Buddhist Practice is Deeply Rooted in Mindfulness of the Body

One of the very first teachers I discovered in my dharma practice was Gil Fronsdal. I was always touched by Gil’s gentle, loving approach to the practice, and his wisdom in guiding students to more and more skillful means. Gil has practiced Zen and Vipassana since 1975 and has a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from […]

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Krishnamurti on How to Meditate

While Krishnamurti was not a Buddhist, nor of any other religion, his lectures are, to me, always pure “dharma”—insight into the way things work, into the way the mind works.  These excerpts from various talks of his have been very helpful to me in going deeper into  my meditation practice.  I share them here for […]

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Some thoughts on talent, success, failure and compassion for ourselves

The ego has many traps, but one of the worst is self-identification with one’s talent. If one self-identifies with one’s artistic or creative talent, this inevitably leads to suffering as the ego’s unquenchable needs and desires can never be satisfied by that talent. Indeed, the world is filled with “hungry ghosts” whose attachment to their […]

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How long will it take to bring our Narcissus off the cross?

As I promised in my previous post, I am going to share passages from Stephen Levine’s spiritual autobiography, Turning Toward the Mystery. See: Everyone is Just Trying to Get Born Before They Die I found these passages very helpful in understanding how we identify with our pain and suffering and how letting go liberates our hearts. […]

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Everyone is Just Trying to Get Born Before They Die

In the past year I have my life has been greatly blessed by getting to know the inspired, skillful teachings of Stephen Levine. I highly recommend his A Gradual Awakening, Healing into Life and Death, and Who Dies?—An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying, the latter two being extremely helpful and skillful treatments of […]

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Pema Chodron – Renunciation as saying “yes!” to life

Trungpa Rinpoche once said, “Renunciation is realizing that nostalgia for samsara is full of shit.” Renunciation is realizing that our nostalgia for wanting to stay in a protected, limited petty world is insane. One you begin to get the feeling of how big the world is and how vast our potential for realizing life is, […]

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“Not This, Not That”-A Way to Let Go and Open Up Some Space in Your Heart

As readers of this blog know, from time to time, I like to share insights from non-Buddhist paths that I’ve found skillful in my own life. One of my very favorite non-Buddhist teachers is A. H. Almaas. His “diamond method” of self-inquiry is tremendously skillful, and I find his approach is especially effective at getting […]

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