Yearly Archives: 2011


A Question of Devotion

Perhaps the most obvious similarity between the representatives of the world religions at this interfaith symposium is their sweet devotion to their practices, faith, and gods. I must say that I feel a bit like the odd person in this group in this regard, because my relationship to the Buddha is not obviously one of [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:58-08:00March 29th, 2011|Emotions, Enlightenment, The Buddha|

Vipassana–Buddha’s contribution

One of the most obvious element of meditation that Buddhism brings to the table at the interfaith symposium is the practice of insight meditation (vipassana). At this interfaith symposium, each mystical tradition offered meditative practices, but most seemed to be within the category of practices that Buddhism would define as concentration training. When we use [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:58-08:00March 28th, 2011|Enlightenment, Meditation|

Christian Meditation and Silent Prayer

Perhaps the richest moments for me at this interfaith symposium have been dialogs with Rolf Fernandez, who lived as a Franciscan monk for over 40 years and now serves in the capacity of a lay minister.  His down to earth devotion to the divine, acceptance and friendliness toward all whom he meets, and disciplined daily [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:58-08:00March 27th, 2011|Meditation|

Kabbhalah: Jewish Mysticism

At this interfaith symposium, I attended an inspiring presentation by the scholar, Daniel Matt, on Kabbhalah, which is a form of Jewish mysticism that seems to address contemplations of nothingness and being, emptiness and fullness, the divine and the incarnate. It was fascinating to listen to their descriptions of nothingness, which at moments sounded remarkably [...]

2011-03-26T11:37:54-07:00March 26th, 2011|Uncategorized|

Disciplined Relaxation—a yoga vacation

I have been invited to attend an interfaith symposium at a Shivananda Ashram. As the Buddhist representative I give talks and workshops and may participate in the activities of the ashram to whatever extent that I wish. I am quite impressed with their disciplined schedule. Every day starts with a program of morning meditation, chanting, [...]

2014-11-11T21:32:11-08:00March 25th, 2011|Body, Daily Life Practice|


In our recent day long program we worked with the practice of forgiveness using three phrases: If I have hurt or harmed you, knowingly or unknowingly, through thought, word, or deed, I ask for your forgiveness. If you have hurt of harmed me, knowingly or unknowingly, through thought, word, or deed, I forgive you. If [...]

Memorizing Suttas

Readers who have studied the suttas with me will know that I often ask students to memorize passages from the texts. By selecting a passage that resonates with us, working with it, reciting it daily, and reflecting upon it, we engage more actively with these teachings. Then we enjoy hearing what each person set to [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:58-08:00March 9th, 2011|Sutta Study|

What is enlightenment?

The term Bodhi, in the language of ancient Buddhist scriptures, is usually rendered into English as enlightenment, awakening, lofty or liberating knowledge. Awakening implies a waking up from being lost in distorting perceptions and unknowing, to see and know experience exactly as it is actually occurring. The term awakening is quite appropriate, given how much [...]

2011-03-09T00:44:31-08:00March 9th, 2011|Enlightenment|

It is all about relationships

Meditation teachers often ask their students, "and what is your relationship to that?" If there is a painful sensation in meditation, we look not only at the physical sensations of pressure, burning and sharpness, but also how the mind relates to it. Is the way of knowing pain affected by aversion? If there is a [...]

2011-02-27T22:13:16-08:00February 27th, 2011|Daily Life Practice, Mindfulness Practice|

Contemplating the cycle of dependent arising

I just spent three marvelous days contemplating and discussing the cycle of dependent arising with 20 students. The topic invites the reflection that nothing exists separately or independently. Everything related to mind and matter arises due to causal conditions, and it ceases when those causal conditions cease. It might seem easy enough to agree with [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:58-08:00February 22nd, 2011|Investigating body and mind, Not-Self|

Practicing Renunciation in Lay Life

Happiness comes when we let go, not when we hold on. Do you sometimes feel the joy that comes with simplicity—the ease and sense of sufficiency discovered when you are without all your stuff, perhaps when you are traveling or camping? Renunciation brings joy by lightening our burdens. Recently some students have expressed interest in [...]

A balanced use of wealth

Dhamma practice is not limited to how we feel the breath when meditating. How we handle money and wealth is also an important part of our dhamma practice. We can bring wisdom into our financial and consumer activities—how we earn, how we invest, how we spend, how we save, and how we give. The Buddha [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:58-08:00January 26th, 2011|Daily Life Practice|

Count your blessings

I asked our Cultivating Joy class to count their blessings this week–to recognize and make a list of the many wonderful and fortunate events that fill their days. It may sometimes seem that our lives are routine, dull, or even tinged toward the grumpy, depressing, or hopeless side of things. In contrast, the suggestion to [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:58-08:00January 15th, 2011|Daily Life Practice, Loving Kindness and Compassion|