The Buddhist Parable of the Mustard Seed: Grief, Loss, and Heartbreak

Most Christians will know the Parable of the Mustard Seed, wherein Jesus describes the Kingdom of God as like a mustard seed in that it is tiny but grows into a great tree.Buddhism, too, has its Parable of the Mustard Seed, but here the story is quite different. Kisa Gotami In the Buddhist story a young woman -Kisa Gotami- follows a rather fairy-tale like path from birth in a poor family to a marriage to the only son of a wealthy family. She was not treated well by the wealthy family of … [Read more...]

Facing Election Results with Buddhist Practices of Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity

Well, we certainly do live in interesting times, don't we? One truth that has been exposed by the recent election is the chasm that has opened up in the American electorate. Some hoped that after Nov 8 that divide would be closed and we could go back to life as usual. That hasn't happened. I wrote just before the election on this topic, but was reminded of it today so I'll send it out again, minus the pre-election thoughts. Now the vote is behind us. Political leadership is in transition. We … [Read more...]

Day 1 after the election, solidarity and kindness

A LOT of feelings came up for me Tuesday night. After teaching meditation, I turned on my phone to see a text from my girlfriend reading, "I'm pretty freaked out right now." I noted it as I walked to my car, unsure then (around 9pm MST) of what was going on exactly in the election.When I got home it was a clear, crisp night. I took a deep breath outside of my car. I looked at all of the stars I could see. So many brilliant bits of light sent to us from the distant past.A shooting star … [Read more...]

A Buddhist pause in the election madness: A Quick Guide to Loving-Kindness Meditation

A guest post by Tom ClementsEditor's note: As this year's election season winds down, here's a pause from our political discussions with little help from across the pond. Meditation, like any skill, requires a lot of practice and perseverance. It’s not what many of these self-help guides and relaxation tapes will have you believe. You don’t switch off your brain by imagining yourself on a Bahamian island with white sandy beaches and warm turquoise waves lapping at your feat. It’s firstly a p … [Read more...]

The Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness: 8 Helpful Tips

A guest post from Janet MillerYou don’t have to be a Buddhist (or a hippy) to practice mindfulness, and you don’t have to spend hours sitting on the floor in meditation. Practicing mindfulness is simply bringing awareness to yourself and your existence. By practicing mindfulness in your life, you can feel more focused, less stressed, and more happy. Here are eight ways to introduce mindfulness into your life.1. Mindful BreathingThe breath is a common object of meditation, and … [Read more...]

4 Myths about Meditation

As mindfulness continues its spread across the Western world, along with it has come a myriad of myths and misunderstandings.Here are some of the most common myths, dispelled, for those interested in mindfulness practice.Meditation is about clearing the mind of thoughts. This is probably the widest and most pernicious myth around meditation. After a very long time meditating, it might be possible that some period of time, maybe just a few seconds, is free of thoughts. For days, we … [Read more...]

What is Attention? Can Mindfulness Help? See “The Science of Meditation” Summit

I am fortunate enough to have a tiny bit of spare time now to tune in to Shambhala Mountain's wonderful summit on "The Science of Meditation" with presenters ranging from the wonderful Susan Piver to Patheos contributor Rick Hansen and a list of the who's who of meditation, mindfulness, and Buddhism research and practice. If I understand correctly, the videos from every day will be up and available to the public for two full days, so the one below, for instance, will still be available until … [Read more...]

Venerable Dr. Yifa on stilling the mind with meditation

In the following video, one of my wonderful teachers, Ven. Yifa, discusses the Buddha's teaching on the effect of meditation on the mind.The mind is like a pool of water. Quite often it is filled with mud that is constantly stirred up. If we look at the reflection of the moon in such water, the image is distorted. So too when we look out at the world with a muddied mind.Similarly, the pond might have surface ripples and agitations that distort the moon. And again, our mind is like this: … [Read more...]