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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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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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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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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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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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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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Poem-Mary Oliver-The Hermit Crab

The Hermit Crab Mary Oliver Once I looked inside … the darkness ……of a shell folded like a pastry ………and there was a fancy face— or almost a face— …it turned away ……and frisked up its brawny forearms ………so quickly against the light …and my looking in ……I scarcely had time to see it, ………gleaming […]

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A Buddhist Mantra based on the Prayer of St. Francis

Here is a mantra I often work with during the day. It’s an adaptation I made of the much-loved Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. (St. Francis is my favorite Christian saint, among other things, because of his love of animals, and especially birds!  See: The Compassion of the Swans) In Buddhism, working with a […]

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“I Thank You” – e.e. cummings – Poem and Music

This my favorite e.e. cummings poem.  Though it’s been a friend for over 40 years now, it still makes my heart soar, “which is natural which is infinite which is yes!” (If you are curious as to why a “Buddhst” blog would have posts with references to God in them, you might want to take […]

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A Poem about the “severe gift” of Grief

I’ve been reading a lot of the poetry of Wendell Berry lately, and this excerpt from his poem “Rising” came to mind this morning as I thought of all those we have lost through war and other tragedies. Although the poem speaks of the burdens we carry in our hearts over loved ones lost, it […]

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Kabir-“The Time Before Death”-Poem and Music

Although my path is not the path of theism, I have greatest respect for those who follow this path with love, integrity, and compassion. My own teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, has always sought an ecumenical approach with various spiritual traditions: See: Thich Nhat Hanh on Buddhism, Mindfulness, and the Holy Spirit Buddha and Christ—Let the […]

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Thich Nhat Hanh on Buddhism, Mindfulness, and the Holy Spirit

“We can touch the living Buddha. We can also touch the living Christ. When we see someone overflowing with love and understanding, someone who is keenly aware of what is going on, we know that we are very close to the Buddha and to Jesus Christ.” Thich Nhat Hanh One of the things I love […]

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The Sufi Mystic and the Punjabi Rock Musician (audio)

From time to time, I like to share insights from other traditions to broaden the scope of Metta Refuge.  I am quite fond of the Sufi mystics and poets, such as Rumi: Rumi—Learn the Alchemy True Human Beings Know Taking Care of Our Heart Donkey This Being Human is a Guest House Today, I want […]

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The Mind like Fire Unbound-the Fire Metaphor for Nirvana

In an earlier post, The Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta-the Buddha on the Nature of Existence and Nirvana, the Buddha explains how nirvana is like the extinction of a flame. The ascetic wanderer Vacchagotta can’t understand what happens after death to one who attains nirvana, or complete Unbinding. Does he still exist? Does he not exist? Does he […]

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