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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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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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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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Sogyal Rinpoche on God and Emptiness

A recent discussion with a friend on Facebook about the nature of the Absolute, brought to mind something I had transcribed years ago from a CD, but had forgotten about. So, I thought I’d dig it up from my dharma archives and share it here on my blog. The passage is from a talk by […]

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Choose life! Choose love! Choose to live!

“Most people can look back over the years and identify a time and place at which their lives changed significantly. Whether by accident or design, these are the moments when, because of a readiness within us and a collaboration with events occurring around us, we are forced to seriously reappraise ourselves and the conditions under […]

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New Year Message from Thich Nhat Hanh on Suffering

“The New Year is a great opportunity to begin anew. Because many people look at the new year, the year to come, with hope. “I will do better next year,” you promise yourself…Of course we have made mistakes. Of course we have been not very skillful. Of course we have made ourselves suffer. Of course […]

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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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Meditation is About Our Whole Life, not Just the Inner Workings of the Mind

In this essay, I want to look into how we can broaden and deepen our understanding of meditation, so that it encompasses more of our life and isn’t just something we do “on the cushion.”  I’ve found the meditation instruction of J. Krishnamurti especially helpful in gaining this broader view, and so I share some […]

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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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Veterans Day-The Wounds of Combat Can Be Healed

As an ex-GI, I often find my heart and loving-kindness practice embracing our enlisted men and women throughout the world, and especially those in war zones. War is hell. That’s no cliché, and only those who have been in combat can truly testify to what that phrase means. That’s why around Veterans Day I highlighted the […]

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Hatred Can Never Bring the Changes Our Hearts Long For

“Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.” The Buddha ♥♥♥ “When we attack injustice, cruelty, and suffering with intolerance and loathing, we make the mistake of believing that hatred can generate compassion and goodness.  Hatred is suffering, and can only perpetuate suffering, […]

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Thich Nhat Hanh on Loving Ourselves by Looking Deeply into Ourselves

SELF-LOVE From Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh “Until we are able to love and take care of ourselves, we cannot be of much help to others.” We begin practicing this love meditation on ourselves May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit. May I be safe and free from injury. […]

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