This story takes place in 2009. We sat in the upstairs shrine room. My best friend since childhood, the other Daniel, had come with me. It was the two of us and a room full of strangers. I hadn’t really been going to the Rime Center long enough to make friends or even acquaintances, really. But I wanted to take Refuge Vows anyway. I had been studying and practicing Buddhism on my own for years before I first set foot… Read more

I go to  a lot of training classes for my job. We have refresher training, where we learn things that we already know. We also spend a lot of time learning new processes and procedures. I’m sure a lot of people have situations like this in their jobs. I don’t like it…a lot of people don’t like it. Going to additional training is like going to an office meeting. I just want to get back to doing my work. Not… Read more

We think of the Buddha as this grand spiritual teacher, but what if he wasn’t? I picture the Buddha as a practical person. He was a lot more interested in what we can do in our lives than in complicated doctrines. That seems obvious. He came up with this unique idea, the truth of suffering and how to overcome it. He was an innovator. He was followed by a series of teachers who turned his ideas into a religion and… Read more

There are times in life when we put all of our attention on something and we just can’t seem to stop thinking about it. Often our fixations are based on things we wish we could have right now. Food, money, and sex are big examples. The comedian John Callahan said, “Sex is like air; it’s not important unless you aren’t getting any.” It steals lots of our attention sometimes. Sometimes we also fixate on things we don’t want or wish… Read more

Back in 2015 someone from the Open Heart Project reached out to me to ask me if I was interested in being a teacher through the  Daily Dharma Gathering service. I had no idea what any of that was. Her name was Janet and she had been following my writing for over a year before reaching out to me. So, I’ve been teaching with the Open Heart Project for two years and it’s been a wonderful experience. What is it? The… Read more

A reader asked me a question and I thought I’d answer it here. Reader says: “I have trouble recognizing it when I am causing my own suffering with my thoughts. How can I realize that sooner?” This is a great question. Sometimes in life we don’t realize when the things we’re doing are harmful to us. We have this tendency to realize later that we were making a mistake, or lots of mistakes, and making things worse for ourselves. Or,… Read more

I went to volunteer at Harvester’s with a Buddhist group that goes there every month. Harvesters is a local charity here in the Kansas City area that distributes food to needy people throughout the area. It’s a big charity that does a lot of good here. Anyway, there’s a Buddhist group from the Rime Center that goes there every month to volunteer. It’s a good way to serve our community, to represent Buddhism, and to just do work that needs to… Read more

39. When studying Sutras, if you don’t reflect on your true nature at the same time, it will do no good. This isn’t about just learning the words. It’s about putting the Dharma into practice. 40. The Buddha said, “Everything is on fire, burning with the fire of impermanence.” And at another time, “We are all burning in the flames of suffering.” Anyone who studies the Dharma should listen to these words. We are on fire, so we must practice… Read more

29. If you know that thoughts are illusions then you’re already free. What need is there for practice? Free of delusion, you’re already Enlightened. We have innate wakefulness, we are said to be Enlightened already. Our discursive thoughts are sometimes described as flowers in the sky, in other words, imaginary. So Sahn is telling us that we become Enlightened by realizing we are Enlightened already. 30. Beings can dwell in complete stillness, with nothing moving, no coming and no going…. Read more

17. Meditation practice is like tuning strings. It shouldn’t be too light or too loose. Overexerting ourselves can cause problems. Lazy practice keeps us ignorant. Practice with a calm and clear mind, attentive and serene. This makes me think of working out. It’s not a good idea to spend hours and hours at the gym every day. But, if we just go when we feel like it, without a routine or plan in place, we probably aren’t going to see… Read more

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