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Zen Minus Moral Precepts Equals No Zen

In this post I’m sharing an excerpt from one of my favorite books by Zen master John Daido Loori. It’s a Shambhala Publications book titled Invoking Reality — The Moral and Ethical Teachings of Zen. In this short but powerful book Loori Roshi takes head on the prevalent misconception that Zen practice is just about […]

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Why Working with Suffering is Essential to Our Awakening

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Ajahn Sundara, a French-born ordained monastic in the Buddhist Thai Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah. She has been teaching and leading retreats in Europe and North America for 20 and currently resides at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in southeast England. May this sharing inspire you to discover […]

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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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What the Buddha Said about Purity of Heart and the Grasping Self

This passage from the Sutta Nipata of the Pali canon has very special place in many Buddhist hearts.  To me, the teaching is closely related to the beloved passage from the 9th Chapter of  the great Mahayana Diamond Sutra that I recently posted:  See: “Does a Buddha say to himself ‘I have obtained Perfect Enlightenment?‘” I […]

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Metta Phrases for Dealing with Self-Hatred and Self-judgment

I invite new and regular visitors to take a look at my updated and expanded Metta Instruction page.  There you will find many helpful articles you can read online or download—articles such as these: Ajahn Brahmavmso Teaches Loving-kindness Metta—The Healing Power of Visualizing and Radiating Love Toward Others Bringing Metta to Daily Life—A Talk by […]

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Thich Nhat Hanh – A Simple Teaching on Bringing Mindfulness to What Arises

“There are some practitioners who want to bend and twist their breathing the way they think it ought to be. The Buddha said that is not the correct way. You only be aware of your breath and do not try to intervene. You don’t need to do anything, just know. You just observe, you do […]

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What is Our Life About? (poem and music)

Few dharma teachers speak to my heart as does Ezra Bayda. His books Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life and At Home in the Muddy Water: A Guide to Finding Peace Within Everyday Chaos came into my life when I really needed to learn more about the gentle wisdom of opening up to what is […]

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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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A. H. Almass on Sinking Your Boats and becoming the Universal Heretic

As readers of this blog know, from time to time I like to share insights from spiritual paths other than Buddhism—inspiring poetry of Rumi, Kabir, and Mary Oliver: Rumi Poem-“Quietness” and “No Longer Mourn for Me” (music) Kabir-“I Said to the Wanting-creature Inside Me” (music) “The Journey”-A Poem for the New Year by Mary Oliver […]

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Meditation as Medicine-Learning to Be Your Own Breath Doctor

Meditation as Medicine Thanissaro Bhikkhu You all know the old image of the Buddha as a doctor and the Dhamma as medicine. When you come to practice the Dhamma, it’s as if you’re learning to be your own doctor, looking after the illnesses of your own mind. Everyone comes up here wounded in one way […]

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Look at Karma in Terms of What One is Doing Right Now

Karma—It’s About What We Can Do Now An excerpt about karma from “Noble Strategy” by Thanissaro Bhikkhu Karma is one of those words we don’t translate. Its basic meaning is simple enough—action—but because of the weight the Buddha’s teachings give to the role of action, the Sanskrit word karma packs in so many implications that […]

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Skillful Ways to Deal with Your Demons

Recently, on Facebook, I posted a Photo to my Wall with a comment about working with “demons.” As I said at this Photo post: “Demons are not bloodthirsty ghouls waiting for us in the dark; they are the forces we find inside ourselves that fabricate around ego-clinging and that we project “out there” on others, […]

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What to Do in Meditation When You Are Flooded with Mental Pain

Each meditation is so different. Today, as I settled into my breath, I was immediately aware of a great deal of mental pain. The pain didn’t seem to be tied to anything in particular, but was more an existential kind of pain—just “being” felt painful. One I got mentally quiet enough to feel its full […]

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How to Get Started with Sitting Meditation

Because it was free and available online, Buddha Smile by Roberto Vicente, was one of the earliest dharma books I read when I first began investigating Buddhism.  I feel very fortunate that I read his book during my initial discovery period, because the author conveys such a wonderful, joyous sense of the Buddha’s teaching and […]

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Letting Go and Picking Up in Buddhism (with music of Chris Smither)

The following excerpt if from Living Meditation, Living Insight: The Path of Mindfulness in Daily Life by Dr. Thynn Thynn. Dr. Thynn Thynn is a Burmese born retired physician and Dhamma teacher. She is mother of two and is the resident yogi at the Sae Taw Win II Dhamma Center in Northern California. She is […]

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Whose Silence Are You? Thomas Merton Poem and Music

Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk who was well-known as a social activist, writer, and poet.  An deep student of comparative religion, Merton was a keen proponent of interfaith dialog.  He became close friends with prominent Eastern spiritual teachers, such as the Dalai Lama, D.T. Suzuki, and my own heart teacher, Vietnamese Zen Master Thich […]

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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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