Tag Archives: attention
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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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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Vermeer 3

Holy as the Day is Spent-Thich Nhat Hanh on the Holiness of Mindfulness

This excerpt below is from “The Blooming of the Lotus: the Nature of No-birth and No-death.” It’s a dharma talk  given by my heart teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh on May 3, 1998  in Plum Village, France. It is followed by the beautiful and profound song, “Holy as the Day is Spent” by Carrie Newcomer from […]

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The Buddha Teaches Dhamma

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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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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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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Meditation on Rock

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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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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Grand Canyon Storm

Working with The Six Properties in Meditation-Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Space, and Consciousness

For the past few months I’ve really been focusing on “body work” in my dharma practice.  I’ve been working with full-body awareness and vipassana, as well as using deep loving-kindness meditation to embrace mental and physical pains.  This essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu has been especially helpful in getting in touch with the actual feelings of my […]

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Double Helix

The Importance of Alertness and Attention in Developing Concentration

As I have grown in my meditation practice, I have been able to develop deeper and deeper levels of concentration and corresponding insight. And yet, when I’ve read about some of the various deeper levels of jhana (deep concentration, or samatha) I’ve sometimes wondered about my progress and whether I’m going “deep” enough. This great […]

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