Tag Archives: awakening
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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Walking Meditation - Bhikkhu

The Importance of Compassion in Assessing Our Dharma Progress

Never condemn your past from the standpoint of some new spiritual understanding or breakthroughs. Never look down on who you once were. Never disparage “the old man” or the “old woman,” to use a biblical phrase, who you may now feel was so wrapped up in illusion, in grasping needfulness, in impossible yearnings and beliefs. […]

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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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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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Milky Way Star Field

“Not This, Not That”-A Way to Let Go and Open Up Some Space in Your Heart

As readers of this blog know, from time to time, I like to share insights from non-Buddhist paths that I’ve found skillful in my own life. One of my very favorite non-Buddhist teachers is A. H. Almaas. His “diamond method” of self-inquiry is tremendously skillful, and I find his approach is especially effective at getting […]

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96 Featured Image

Why it’s Important to Know What Mindfulness Is and Is Not

Mindfulness Defined by Thanissaro Bhikkhu What does it mean to be mindful of the breath? Something very simple: to keep the breath in mind. Keep remembering the breath each time you breathe in, each time you breathe out. The British scholar who coined the term “mindfulness” to translate the Pali word sati was probably influenced […]

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Cumulus Tower Sunset

The Truth of Silent Illumination

Silently and serenely one forgets all words; Clearly and vividly That appears… When one realizes it, it is vast and without limit; It is Essence, it is pure awareness. Singularly reflecting in this bright awareness, Full of wonder in this pure reflection… Infinite wonder permeates this serenity; In this Illumination all intentional efforts vanish. Silence […]

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J83-304814

Spiritual Practice and Learning to Surrender (w/music)

Here are some insights on surrender from various spiritual teachers, paths, and poets that I have found comforting and inspiring.  At the end, I share a moving instrumental piece by pianist Solomon Keal from his beautiful album Peace of Heaven. Some of us have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, before we let go, and […]

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Wings to Awakening-An Anthology from the Pali Canon

For the student who wants to dig deeply into the Buddha’s teachings, “Wings to Awakening” is one of the best anthologies available because of its very specific focus on the “how” and “what” of the Buddha’s Awakening. As its author, Thanissaro Bhikkhu writes in the Preface: Many anthologies of the Buddha’s teachings have appeared in […]

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Do You Hear the Call of the Wild Geese?

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you […]

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Dogen Poem-I Awaken to the True Path

Drifting pitifully in the whirlwind of birth and death, As if wandering in a dream, In the midst of illusion I awaken to the true path; There is one more matter I must not neglect, But I need not bother now, As I listen to the sound of the evening rain Falling on the roof […]

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