Tag Archives: liberation

Don’t be fooled! There is a Way and We Can Walk It!

Mere belief and mental agreement with some metaphysical view—nirvana, emptiness, non-duality, the “way of no way,” the Tao, the “pathless path,” and all the other terms and concepts of spirituality — don’t do, pardon the language, a damned thing to change anything in us or in the world! The emptiness of Buddhism, for example, is not just a metaphysical view that […]

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The Buddha’s Teaching When a Beloved Disciple Passed Away

This beautiful sutta from the Pali canon tells the story of what happened after the beloved disciple and arahat Sariputta passed away.  Sariputta—(Sāriputta (Pāli) or Śāriputra (Sanskrit)—was a truly remarkable student of the Buddha’s, and along with Ananda, was considered his greatest pupil. As Nyanaponika Thera writes of him in The Life of Shariputra: “Shariputra..was […]

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The Skill in Looking at Emptiness as a Mode of Perception Rather Than a Worldview

Few words in Buddhism are more well-known, and more debated historically among Buddhists, than the word “emptiness.”  What do we find about “emptiness” in the Pali canon, the oldest records we have of the Buddha‘s teachings?  In this essay Buddhist monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu explains how Theravadan Buddhists understand the word in terms of these earliest […]

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The Buddha’s Warning Against Getting Caught in Doctrines

The following conversation was reported to have taken place between the ascetic Dighanaka and Gautama the Buddha.  This recounting is from the book Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. ♡♡♡ Dighanakha asked the Buddha, “Gautama, what is your teaching? What are your doctrines? For […]

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Chaos Theory and Buddhist Views of Causality

Samsara Divided by Zero by Thanissaro Bhikkhu “The goal of Buddhist practice, nibbana, is said to be totally uncaused, and right there is a paradox. If the goal is uncaused, how can a path of practice — which is causal by nature — bring it about? This is an ancient question. The Milinda-pañha, a set […]

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A. H. Almaas on Emptiness and The Void

In the “Diamond Approach” of A. H. Almaas, there are many similarities, yet profound and important differences between this path and Buddhism, perhaps particularly Theravadan Buddhism.  Almaas envisions, and speaks from his experience, of “something” beyond “the void” or “emptiness” of traditional Buddhism—that which he calls “Essence” or “Being.” When Almaas speaks of “Essence” or […]

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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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What the Buddha Said about Purity of Heart and the Grasping Self

This passage from the Sutta Nipata of the Pali canon has very special place in many Buddhist hearts.  To me, the teaching is closely related to the beloved passage from the 9th Chapter of  the great Mahayana Diamond Sutra that I recently posted:  See: “Does a Buddha say to himself ‘I have obtained Perfect Enlightenment?‘” I […]

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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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Dhamma and Non-duality-A Theravadan Point of View

“Where I think the teaching of the Buddha, as preserved in the Theravada tradition, surpasses all other attempts to resolve the spiritual dilemmas of humanity is in its persistent refusal to sacrifice actuality for unity. The Buddha’s Dhamma does not point us toward an all-embracing absolute in which the tensions of daily existence dissolve in […]

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The Thorn in Your Heart

The Thorn in Your Heart Selections from the Attadanda Sutta of the Sutta Nipata (935-939) (948-951) [Translation and comments by Andrew Olendzki] Fear is born from arming oneself. Just see how many people fight! I’ll tell you about the dreadful fear that caused me to shake all over: Seeing creatures flopping around, Like fish in […]

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The Buddha’s Self Check-How Are You Doing?

The passage below from the Samyutta Nikaya is one of my favorites from the Buddha, because every time I enter deep concentration in meditation, the truth of what he says is demonstrated to me again and again. Every time you see that any form, feeling, perception, fabrication, even consciousness itself, is not yours—is not who […]

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Nirvana is a Verb, Not a Place

A Verb for Nirvana by Thanissaro Bhikkhu “Back in the days of the Buddha, nirvana (nibbana) had a verb of its own: nibbuti. It meant to “go out,” like a flame. Because fire was thought to be in a state of entrapment as it burned — both clinging to and trapped by the fuel on […]

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Yes-Buddhism Teaches Forgiveness!

Reading discussions on blogs and various web sites about Brit Hume’s assertion that Christianity is much better suited to forgiveness than Buddhism, I was struck by two things: 1) How sure some Christians were that Christianity had a special  monopoly when it comes to forgiveness 2) And how unfamiliar some people defending Buddhism seemed to […]

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