February 2, 2017

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

January 21, 2017

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

January 19, 2017

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

January 11, 2017

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

December 21, 2016

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

October 14, 2016

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August 22, 2016

Bodhi, or awakening, is present in all of us. In a sense it could be said that we’re all Bodhisattvas, or Enlightenment beings, because we all have this awakening as our true nature. In the case of most of us our minds are obscured by delusion and ignorance, so we don’t see our true nature as Enlightened. When we start to penetrate this delusion and recognize our true nature, stages of actualization appear. Bodhicitta is where it starts. This is… Read more

July 18, 2016

The Lotus flower is a beautiful plant. It lives in the water. It often comes out of water that’s muddy and unclean. But with great beauty, it blooms. This is a common symbol in Buddhism. You can see it all over the place in Buddhist art. It’s really common for images of Bodhisattvas to be seen sitting on giant lotus flowers, and maybe holding small ones too. One of the most well known mantras “OM MANI PADME HUM” means “the… Read more

July 6, 2016

His holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is celebrating his 81st birthday in Dharamsala today. Formerly both the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people, he fled to India in 1959 to escape the Chinese occupation of Tibet. He is the leader of one specific school of Tibetan Buddhism, but since the exile he has done his best to represent all of the Tibetan people. He is an advocate for nonsectarian approaches to Buddhist practice. Since his exile he has… Read more

June 14, 2016

The First Noble Truth is that Life is Suffering. I think a lot of us convert Buddhists come to the path because we suffer. It’s not that Buddhism can be reduced to a simple self help program, it’s just that sometimes people that are having a hard time are drawn to it. Of course, we all have a hard time in life sometimes. But I think Buddhism has something special to offer in that regard. Part of the Buddha’s story… Read more

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