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Self-criticism

The Importance of Taking the “Should” out of Spiritual Practice

The more one does one’s spiritual practice with a sense that it should be done, the more one creates a sense of self. And the greater the sense of a self trying to become “spiritual” or “liberated,” the more suffering we experience. We suffer both when we “fail,” and we suffer when we “succeed,” either way reinforcing […]

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Sun on Red Dried Flowers and Bowl

Non-resistance and the Art of Resisting without Resisting!

In Buddhism, nature of non-resistance is truly non-dual, but I think this this non-dual nature is misapprehended sometimes. Paradoxically, non-resistance doesn’t necessarily mean no resistance! Non-resistance is more like the martial artist Bruce Lee’s “fighting without fighting.”  Or better yet—and maybe pet owners can relate to this—it’s more like the resistive nonresistance of a cat, […]

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Stefano Unterthine Monkeys

To Know the Dhamma is to Know Your Monkeys!

Here is an short excerpt from a wonderful teaching called “Still, Flowing Water” by the great Thai Forest Tradition teacher Ajahn Chah.  As usual, the dharma talk shows Ajahn Chah’s great wit, his sense of humor, and the depth of his insight into human nature and the Buddhadhamma. Do you know your “monkeys”? “Some people complain, […]

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Take Time to Be Present Before You Rush Off to Do

Take time to be present before you rush off to do. One of the skillful Zen koans is “What is this? ” It doesn’t mean looking at something and saying, “That’s a chair. ” It doesn’t mean identifying where you are, i.e, “What is this? This is my front room. This is a mountain trail, […]

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Hakuin Ekaku - Hotei on a Boat

Some Helpful Suggestions on Working with the “What is this?” Koan

Recently, I have been focusing on working with the Zen koan, “What is this?” This is not really a question to be answered with the conceptual mind or mental analysis, but more of a way of being with things with an openness and inquisitiveness into “what is.” This “What is this?” path or practice is […]

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Water Drop and Ripples

What Am I Doing Right Now? And Why Does it Matter?

In this essay Thanissaro Bhikkhu analyzes the profound importance of understanding the nature of our intentions and the actions that arise out of those intentions.  In many ways, as he points out, this issue is at the very heart of the Buddha’s teaching—looking deeply into intention, into cause and effect, and seeing how to “unbind” […]

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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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Dharma Nuggets Screenshot 1

Announcing “Dharma Nuggets” for Metta Refuge!

I am absolutely delighted to announce the creation of a new sister blog—an ancillary blog, actually—to Metta Refuge.  It’s called Metta Refuge Dharma Nuggets and can be found here: Metta Refuge Dharma Nuggets Here’s what it looks like: I created this new support blog because I wanted a way to post more often but with […]

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Fantasy Clouds

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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Wave

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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Featured Image - Desert Thunderstorm

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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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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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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Oak and Wildflowers

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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