August 28, 2020

I want to talk about the four foundations of mindfulness today.   This is based on a talk that was given by the Buddha. It’s sort of important because the things we call mindfulness meditation or insight meditation are really based on this talk. The teachings of the four foundations are really present in all of Buddhism and also in what we call modern mindfulness, where they try not to say the word Buddhism and try not to talk about… Read more

June 17, 2020

The Barrier That Has No Gate Case 2. Baizhang and the Fox* Every time Baizhang gave a dharma talk, a certain old man would come to listen. He usually left after the talk, but one day he remained. Baizhang asked, “Who is there?” The man said, “I am not actually a human being. I lived and taught on this mountain at the time of Kashyapa Buddha. One day a student asked me, ‘Does a person who practices with great devotion… Read more

June 10, 2020

The Barrier That Has No Gate.  Case 1.  A monk asked Master Zhaozhou, “Does a dog have Buddha Nature?”  Zhaozhou said, “NO!”   Zhaozhou was a teacher that was known for simple answers. He was thought of as a quiet man. He said simple things, but they were often powerful. If we take his answer literally, we have to say a dog doesn’t have Buddha nature. But we can’t do that. Buddhist teachings, especially in the Mahayana tradition of which… Read more

June 3, 2020

“The Great Way is gateless, Approached in a thousand ways. Once past this checkpoint You stride through the universe.” -Wumen The Wúménguān is the most popular collections of koans in the zen tradition. Many of the central stories of the old masters are included in the collection. The 48 cases were compiled by master Wumen (1183 – 1260) for teaching at a retreat. He claimed that the text, including the title, were thrown together without much thought and the koans… Read more

May 22, 2020

A few months ago I took my seven year old stepson to meditation with me. I don’t take kids to meditation unless they ask to go. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that would NEVER take a child to a meditation event and I do understand that. But I believe that, as mindful parents, we should share the practice with them if they’re interested. Some people believe kids can’t really get much benefit from meditation practice and… Read more

May 20, 2020

This is a list of five things we talk about that tend to get in the way of our well-being. These are the things that often make it more difficult to be mindful and aware in our lives.   Attachment; craving and chasing after pleasure all the time. Aversion; resistance to pain, hatred and resentment about our experience Restlessness; anxiety, the inability to settle down Sloth; laziness, procrastination Doubt; believing we can’t handle any of this   These are the… Read more

May 18, 2020

The world has stopped. Well, it hasn’t really. But a whole lot of things have. My kids are out of school for the year. This year school ended during Spring Break. I’m not sad about this time at home with them, but I’m nervous about going back to work. I’m working from home, and I’m one of the lucky ones. Some people are having to go to work during an outbreak. Other people have lost their jobs. It’s a really… Read more

May 15, 2020

I did a series of daily talks during the Covid-19 lockdown. I wanted to do something during this crisis, something to try to help others (and myself). At first I thought it might be too ambitious to give talks every day, but I made it work and I’m pretty proud of the series. I had intended for it to end right at the end of the lockdown here in Kansas City, but the lockdown has been extended. I’ll try something… Read more

August 28, 2019

I heard this story from Bodhidharma’s childhood recently and I wanted to share it. As a child, Bodhidharma was the third son of a king in south India. His father was deeply interested in Buddhism. The king invited a famous dharma teacher named Hannyatara to the palace to give teachings many times. One day the king was really impressed with a teaching and he gave Hannyatara a beautiful jewel. Hannyatara showed this jewel to the sons of the king. The… Read more

August 20, 2019

I’m here to provide encouragement because we could all use some. The truth is that meditation is hard and you have to work at it. People that are trying to sell you things may try to convince you that it’s easy. It’s not. What’s easy is finding ways to avoid doing it. I think of it as like flossing. It’s something we know is good for us that we don’t really want to do. Having a plan helps in a… Read more

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