Tag Archives: wisdom

The Difference Between Compassion and “Idiot Compassion”

Don’t Misinterpret! Pema Chodron Don’t impose the wrong notion of what harmony is, what compassion is, what patience is, what generosity is. Don’t misinterpret what these things really are. There is compassion and there is idiot compassion; there is patience and there is idiot patience; there is generosity and there is idiot generosity. For example, […]

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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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How the Buddha looked at the “What is a Person?” Question

A recurring theme in Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s writing is his stress on how important it is to understand what kinds of questions the Buddha answered, and refused to answer, in his teachings. Many people think his new way of using the Pali word “khandhas” was the answer to the question, “Who am I” or “What is […]

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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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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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Zen Minus Moral Precepts Equals No Zen

In this post I’m sharing an excerpt from one of my favorite books by Zen master John Daido Loori. It’s a Shambhala Publications book titled Invoking Reality — The Moral and Ethical Teachings of Zen. In this short but powerful book Loori Roshi takes head on the prevalent misconception that Zen practice is just about […]

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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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Does a Buddha say to himself “I have obtained Perfect Enlightenment?”

Buddha then asked, “What do you think, Subhuti, does one who has entered the stream which flows to Enlightenment, say ‘I have entered the stream’?” “No, Buddha,”  Subhuti replied. “A true disciple entering the stream would not think of themselves as a separate person that could be entering anything. Only that disciple who does not […]

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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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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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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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Ajahn Chah on the relationship of Concentration and Wisdom in Meditation

Ajahn Chah A Taste of Freedom “On Meditation” “When the mind is peaceful and established firmly in mindfulness and self-awareness, there will be no doubt concerning the various phenomena which we encounter. The mind will truly be beyond the hindrances. We will clearly know as it is everything which arises in the mind. We do […]

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