Tag Archives: equanimity

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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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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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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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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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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Some thoughts on talent, success, failure and compassion for ourselves

The ego has many traps, but one of the worst is self-identification with one’s talent. If one self-identifies with one’s artistic or creative talent, this inevitably leads to suffering as the ego’s unquenchable needs and desires can never be satisfied by that talent. Indeed, the world is filled with “hungry ghosts” whose attachment to their […]

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Am I Pleasing Others to Make Myself Feel Loved and Good?

The path of awakening, of liberation, always includes self-observation and self-inquiry. Without them, we tend to repeat the same unskillful ways of thinking and acting over and over again. That’s what is called samsara in Buddhism. In this essay I’m sharing my thoughts and observations on something I’ve struggled with much of my life: a […]

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How Letting Go Helps Us See the Truth of Non-duality

Ayya Khema is a highly-skilled Theravadan teacher who brought a remarkable love and light to her service as a nun in the Theravadan tradition. I highly recommend her book Who is My Self? A Guide to Buddhist Meditation.  It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read on developing deep concentration and insight (samatha and […]

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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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The Marriage of the Princess and the Dragon-A Dharma Story

I’ve been thinking about “dragons” recently and thought I’d share this wonderful retelling of a Swedish fairy tale by dharma teacher Jack Kornfield from his wonderful bookAfter the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path. We all have our own “dragons” in our hearts. May this simple tale help us […]

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Ways to work with fear rather than avoiding it

One of the great dharma resources in the Boston area is the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center: The CIMC Guiding Teachers and Teachers are (left to right) Larry Rosenberg, Narayan Liebenson Grady, and Michael Liebenson Grady: Below are some excerpts from a summary of a 1997 talk by Michael Liebenson Grady on how to deal skillfully […]

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Training the heart by seeing what is and letting go

Here is more on “Training the Heart” by Ajahn Chah.  It is a follow-up and further development of yesterday’s teaching: Train your heart!  Don’t just follow its moods! May this teaching help liberate your heart and awaken the mindfulness and presence that lead to liberation and freedom! Training the heart by seeing what is and […]

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Are things bothering you or are you bothering things?

Here are some great insights from Thai Forest teacher Ajahn Chah about how to deal skillfully with distractions in our meditation and in our lives. Learning Concentration Ajahn Chah “In our practice, we think that noises, cars, voices, sights are distractions that come and bother us when we want to be quiet. But who is […]

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