The Four Brahmaviharas, or Divine Abodes, are often translated as ‘the immeasurables’ or ‘the ‘immeasurable minds’. When these four qualities are cultivated they are said be a powerful antidote to negative mind states. These teachings are found in several different Buddhist texts, including the Metta Sutra. A very similar list is found in the non-Buddhist spiritual text “The Yoga Sutras” by Patanjali, which was written a few centuries after the rise of Buddhism. The Brahmaviharas represent a method for engaging… Read more

The most important teaching for walking the bodhisattva path is the six perfections. The six perfections free us from delusion and lead us to Awakening. This is, above all else, the path to awakening that I really connect with. If we practice the six perfections in our lives, then we can dwell in Enlightenment. This is, to me, the central point of Buddhism. The six paramitas (usually translated as perfections) are a teaching of Mahayana Buddhism. They are said to… Read more

I’ve noticed that some people seem to think that compassion should be conditional. They think that if someone got themselves in trouble, we shouldn’t feel compassion for them. Or, even worse, we shouldn’t be kind. I disagree with that position. I think compassion is the highest virtue and I strive to feel it toward everyone, regardless of circumstances. This is the Bodhisattva view. I’ll share some examples. I’ve heard people say that we shouldn’t feel sorry for drug users who… Read more

Facebook just informed me that today, March 20th, is the first day of spring. I had no idea. I don’t really follow such things. I’m sure my pagan friends knew. Some of their practices involve celebrating the seasons. I’d like to make the case for Buddhists celebrating the seasons too. It doesn’t feel like Spring. The last few days I’ve had to fight the urge to turn on the heater. The kids and I have been sleeping under two blankets… Read more

  I’ve learned something important since I started leading the Zen group at the Rime Center. I’ve been reading about Zen philosophy and history for a long time. Studying this subject dominates my free time. I don’t know why, but I am one to get really excited about reading a Zen text, even reading the same ones over and over. And I spend a lot of time writing about Zen philosophy too. What I’ve learned though, in leading a Zen… Read more

The first time I heard someone refer to himself as a Bodhisattva I thought it was weird. Okay, I still think it’s weird. But I thought of it as inappropriate or wrong. I thought it was like a Christian referring to themselves as a Saint, or a pagan referring to themselves as a Goddess. When I thought of Bodhisattvas I thought of figures like Manjushri and Kuan Yin, cosmic sort of beings. Examples for us to follow, unrealistic ideals for… Read more

Ikkyu said, “Like a vanishing dew, a passing apparition or sudden flash of lightning – already gone- thus should one regard one’s self.” He was echoing the Diamond Sutra, which is a foundational Zen text. In the Diamond Sutra the Buddha says, “All composed things are like a dream, a phantom, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning. That is how to meditate on them, this is how to observe them.” Ikkyu was taking that concept from the Diamond… Read more

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