What we are trying to do on the Buddhist path is overcome the things that hinder us. The dharma is our path, but we are carrying everything along on the path with us. This includes our difficulties. Everything is part of the path and nothing is separate. We are, in a very real way, part of the dharma already. This is a joyous and wonderful thing to realize. We try to soften our attachment to the self through the discipline… Read more

To take refuge is to strive for freedom. We take refuge in the Buddha as our example. We take refuge in the Dharma as our journey. We take refuge in the Sangha as our companionship. Our goal is to develop as people on the Buddhist path, dharmic people. We want to realize the illness of our suffering and to try to attain the health of the other shore, enlightenment. We can develop wisdom and discipline in order to overcome our… Read more

Mahayana Buddhism is sometimes called the Great Vehicle. It’s also called the Bodhisattva Path. Bodhisattva means Enlightenment Being or Awakened Being. The path that I advocate, the path that I teach about, is the Bodhisattva Path. It’s a powerful and difficult journey. The ideal of the Bodhisattva is what we are trying to live up to. The Bodhisattva Path is founded on the idea of Buddha Nature. The idea of Buddha Nature is that it’s not “out there” as something… Read more

Part of what we’re trying to do on the Buddhist path is to tame our minds. I suppose one doesn’t have to be Buddhist to want to train their mind. When we pay attention we learn that much of what our minds are doing is a damn dumpster fire. We want to tame our minds so we can manage our discursive thinking, our internal gossip, and our constant scheming about the future. With meditation we can learn to make our… Read more

Practicing the dharma is powerful and it can bring us great benefit. When we are practicing we are engaging in a different way of thinking and seeing the world. I don’t mean to say that we are seeing the world in a magical or supernatural way. We are seeing the world in a way that’s beyond delusion. We are engaging the truth, reality as it really is. When we tune in to the dharma, we are entering the stream. The… Read more

Our purpose on the Buddhist path is to come to an understanding of anatta, or no self. I’ve heard the claim made that that is really the core of the Buddhist path, the thing that all the rest stems from. When we understand anatta intuitively, then there is the end of suffering and delusion. Attachment to the self is strongly rooted in us and a difficult thing to wrestle with. It’s the root of our suffering and delusion, so we… Read more

photo by Moyan Brenn, flickrcc There are a few obstacles that often come up in meditation practice. I’m going to go over what the most common obstacles are and a few strategies for how to manage them. Here are six common obstacles. 1.Laziness:This is a lack of appreciation for the path. It a difficulty getting to the cushion for our practice. Sometimes we look for excuses to avoid meditating because we are lazy. 2.Forgetfulness: This is simply forgetting to practice…. Read more

The second episode of “The Story of God” season 2 is about concepts regarding heaven and hell. Like the first episode, Morgan Freeman and the producers had to stretch things a bit to find a way to include Buddhism. In this episode Freeman travels to the jungles of Cambodia to a place called Angkor Wat (City of Temples), the large religious monument in the world. It’s been a Buddhist temple for hundreds of years, prior to that it was a… Read more

The second season of “The Story of God”(airing January 16th on National Geographic) is about “chosen ones”. It purports to be about people who were chosen by God (for example: Moses), but that doesn’t make much sense in a Buddhist context. The first segment of the first episode of the season starts with a Buddhist family. Morgan Freeman goes to visit a family of Tibetan immigrants in Minnesota. The only child in this family is a nine year old boy… Read more

photo by Hartwig, Flickr cc Ikkyu is a big inspiration to me. He didn’t settle down. The Zen culture in the 1400s in Japan may have been different than the Zen culture here and now, but maybe in a lot of ways it was the same. He burned his Enlightenment certificate because he saw people in the temples who seemed fake, just going through the motions, just trying to get the most promotions and the best temple positions, instead of… Read more

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