A Zen Monk’s Letter to Adam Lanza

Calligraphy : Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

Dear Reader —————What if you wrote a letter to Adam Lanza : what might you say ?Here's one, from a young man who grew up at 22 Lake Road, Newtown, Connecticut. Born Douglas Bachman, he's now a Buddhist monk, named Phap Luu, teaching applied ethics and the art of mindful living to students and school teachers. He lives in Plum Village Monastery, in Thenac, France.   Dear Adam,Let me start by saying that I wish for you to find peace. It would be easy just to call … [Read more...]

Step Into the Clouds

Juggling bricks? The Practice: Step into the cloud. Why?I had a lightbulb moment recently: I was feeling stressed about all the stuff I had to do (you probably know the feeling). After this went on for a while, I stepped back and kind of watched my mind, and could see that I was thinking of these various tasks as things, like big rocks that were rolling down a hill toward me and which needed to be handled, lifted, moved, fended off, or broken into pebbles. As soon as I dealt with one … [Read more...]

Hold Wants Lightly

What do you want? The Practice: Hold wants lightly. Why?Getting caught up in wanting - wanting both to get what's pleasant and to avoid what's unpleasant - is a major source of suffering and harm for oneself and others.First, a lot of what we want to get comes with a big price tag - such as that second cupcake, constant stimulation via TV and websites, lashing out in anger, intoxication, over-working, or manipulating others to get approval or love. On a larger scale, the … [Read more...]

OPEN LETTER : Taking a Stand Against Islamaphobia

BOSTON / LOS ANGELES — This Open Letter comes to us via Joshua Eaton, a journalist writing about Buddhism, religion and politics, poverty, and the American South. He is also a Tibetan translator. Also, Rev. Danny Fisher, a professor and Coordinator of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Department at University of the West (and no stranger to Patheos) collaborated on it in key ways.The letter's motivated by recent news reports, as well as a long-standing, deep-rooted sense of social justice. This being R … [Read more...]

Drop Tart Tone

Feeling a little sour? The Practice: Drop tart tone. Why?Tone matters.I remember times I felt frazzled or aggravated and then said something with an edge to it that just wasn't necessary or useful. Sometimes it was the words themselves: such as absolutes like "never" or always," or over-the-top phrases like "you're such a flake" or "that was stupid." More often it was the intonation in my voice, a harsh vibe or look, interrupting, or a certain intensity in my body. However I did … [Read more...]

Lower the Pressure

Is it truly urgent? The Practice: Lower the pressure. Why?Things come at us with so much urgency and demand these days. Phones ring, texts buzz, emails pile up, new balls have to be juggled, work days lengthen and move into evenings and weekends, traffic gets denser, financial demands feel like a knife at the neck, ads and news clamor for attention, push push push PUSH.On top of these external pressures, we deal with internal ones as well. These include all the inner "shoulds," … [Read more...]

See Beings Not Bodies

What happens when you look at someone? The Practice: See beings, not bodies. Why?When we encounter someone, usually the mind automatically slots the person into a category: man, woman, your friend Tom, the kid next door, etc. Watch this happen in your own mind as you meet or talk with a co-worker, salesclerk, or family member.In effect, the mind summarizes and simplifies tons of details into a single thing - a human thing to be sure, but one with an umbrella label that makes it … [Read more...]


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