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Abandoned Ship

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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Stone Wall 2

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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Featured Image - Desert Thunderstorm

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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The Buddha Teaches Dhamma

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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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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Am I Pleasing Others to Make Myself Feel Loved and Good?

The path of awakening, of liberation, always includes self-observation and self-inquiry. Without them, we tend to repeat the same unskillful ways of thinking and acting over and over again. That’s what is called samsara in Buddhism. In this essay I’m sharing my thoughts and observations on something I’ve struggled with much of my life: a […]

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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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Lit Christmas Tree in Forest Cover Image

A Buddhist Meditation on the “Emptiness” of Christmas

Although my wife and I don’t formally celebrate Christmas in terms of traditional Christian beliefs, we both love this season and the many good associations we have with this time of the year. Some of this is carry-over, no doubt, from our Christian upbringing, but looking past the outward forms of celebration, I think there’s […]

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Life Isn’t Just Suffering-but Clinging Always Is

Here is another great teaching from Thanissaro Bhikkhu.  I have to admit that in my pre-dharma days, I too had the impression that Buddhism was “negative” or “pessimistic.”  Looking into Buddhism for myself and breaking free of the dogmatic beliefs of my religious upbringing, I found the way of the Buddha to be the happiest […]

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Song and Message for those Alone or Bereft on Thanksgiving

As I do every year, I offer this song, “By Way of Sorrow,” to all those who may be alone this Thanksgiving, without family and friends—or maybe even without hope. Please don’t give up! There is a way “home.” The first step may be hope and trust in our own innate capacity to change, to […]

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A Buddhist Grace for Thanksgiving

A Timeless Thanksgiving Message from Thich Nhat Hanh “We like the idea of being thankful to the cosmos, to everything that offers itself to us as food. That is why in Plum Village we organize a Thanksgiving Day, and we address our thanks to four objects: first of all to our father and our mother, […]

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Acacia Tree at Sunset

D. H. Lawrence-Song of a Man Who Has Come Through

Song of a Man Who Has Come Through by D.H. Lawrence Not I, not I, but the wind that blows through me! A fine wind is blowing the new direction of Time. If only I let it bear me, carry me, if only it carry me! If only I am sensitive, subtle, oh, delicate, a […]

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Kahlil Gibran-A Tear and a Smile

A Tear and a Smile By Khalil Gibran I would not exchange the sorrows of my heart For the joys of the multitude. And I would not have the tears that sadness makes To flow from my every part turn into laughter. I would that my life remain a tear and a smile. A tear […]

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Thich Nhat Hanh Smiling

Yes, God is Gay-and Straight, and Black, White, and a Flower!

The spate of suicides and deaths of gay and lesbian young people reported in the news recently has broken my heart and the hearts of many.  But these tragic stories are but the tip of the iceberg: In in “Death of California youth puts focus on rise in antigay bullying,” the Christian Science Monitor wrote: […]

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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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