Long Journey to a Bow

Overcoming the last great obstacle to awakening: the conceit of self By Christina Feldman When news of the impending death of a beloved and esteemed teacher swept through the village, well-wishers gathered to pay their last respects and honor him. Standing around the master’s bedside, one by one they sang his praises and extolled his virtues as he listened and smiled weakly. “Such kindness you have shown us,” said one devotee. Another extolled his depth of knowledge, another lamented that never again would they find a teacher with such eloquence. The tributes to his wisdom, compassion, and nobility continued until the … Continue reading Long Journey to a Bow

The Burden of Awareness 

When we face suffering, we have the choice to focus on the love we see as much as the pain. By Ayesha Ali Last June, 60 percent of respondents in a USA TODAY poll characterized George Floyd’s death as murder. As of March 2, that number has since dropped to 36 percent. The poll also found that 4 percent of respondents in June were unable to describe his death; now, 17 percent are undecided. I did not expect this. Yet I carry within me a deep knowing of this country and its history, so I cannot hold surprise. Instead, I feel the burden of … Continue reading The Burden of Awareness 

Hopelessness and the Continued Use of Deadly Force

People march for Black life. But who marches for the principle of non-harming and non-killing?  By Zenzele Isoke While mourning the life of Daunte Wright, yet another Black man killed by a Minnesota police officer, people in the Twin Cities are now waiting for a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial. Chauvin’s killing of George Floyd sparked massive, multigenerational peaceful protests, the burning and destruction of cities and neighborhoods, and citizen-led attacks against police and governmental structures, banks, and local businesses in and around the Twin Cities, helping to initiate a long-overdue 21st-century reckoning with the ugly and death-dealing reality of race and anti-Blackness … Continue reading Hopelessness and the Continued Use of Deadly Force

May All Beings Be Happy

A lovingkindness meditation By Kevin Griffin Metta (lovingkindness) is that sense of openness when we feel connected to everyone and everything in the world. In some ways, it’s a natural outgrowth of mindfulness practice and just the general cultivation of happiness in our lives. When the Buddha talks about lovingkindness, he’s clearly pointing to something different from what we usually call “love.” In fact, his teachings point to the problems with selective love, and how that leads to clinging and ultimately suffering as things change. The Metta Sutta tells us to spread love over the entire world to everyone, no matter what we think … Continue reading May All Beings Be Happy

ZEN IN THE TRENCHES

by Gary Z McGee, Self-inflicted Philosophy Waking Times “You ask, ‘what is Zen?’ I answer, ‘Zen is that which makes you ask the question.’ Because the answer is where the question arises. The answer is the questioner himself.” ~Daisetz Suzuki Zen is ultimately undefinable. It’s paradoxical. It’s a feeling; a meditation on opposites and interconnectedness intermittently. It’s a bridge between the unanswerable question and the unknowable answer. Even more cryptic: it’s No-mind meditating the mind into mindfulness. No matter what Zen really is, the meditator attempting Zen is Zen. Or perhaps they are Zenning and Zen is actually a verb disguised as a … Continue reading ZEN IN THE TRENCHES

The Nature of the Mind

Understanding the qualities of the mind is essential to mahamudra practice, a kind of meditation that points to the emptiness of all phenomena. By H.E. 12th Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche When we meditate, we wonder: what is the mind? What is consciousness, or awareness? In some ways the mind may seem unreal. It is not something tangible. The mind is not composed of the physical elements of earth, water, fire, or wind. But if the mind is not tangibly real, how is it that we are able to think and feel and do all the things that we do each day?  In … Continue reading The Nature of the Mind

Tangerine Meditation: Thich Nhat Hanh’s Simple, Profound Mindfulness Practice to Magnify Your Capacity for Joy

How to see the universe in a small orange orb. BY MARIA POPOVA My poet friend Marie Howe gives the students in her ecopoetry class a lovely assignment: At the outset of the semester, each young poet is asked to name the animal they find most repulsive, then to learn everything they can about it — scientifically, historically, culturally. By the conclusion of the course, they have to write a poem about it. Inevitably, the creatures previously regarded as remote and abstract othernesses, caricatured by a few loathsome features, are gradually rendered interesting by the thousand small details of their being, complex … Continue reading Tangerine Meditation: Thich Nhat Hanh’s Simple, Profound Mindfulness Practice to Magnify Your Capacity for Joy

Awakening Together

Enlightenment: it’s not just for monastics. By Mindy Newman and Kaia Fischer The monastic community’s commitment to spiritual practice provides a model of the awakening life. For this reason, it’s natural that lay practitioners often feel reverence for them. Out of this admiration, however, can arise a misunderstanding—that only nuns and monks are capable of real progress on the path. But the Karmashataka Sutra, also known as The Hundred Deeds Sutra, paints a very different picture. It shows us that spiritual realization is not solely the province of monastics. In the stories of this sutra, monastics and lay practitioners advance toward awakening together. Many of these narratives, called avadanas, … Continue reading Awakening Together

Has Mindfulness Made Me a Bitch?

First there is confusion, then there is a smug bitch, and then—there is nothing. By Laurie Fisher Huck Recently, on a Buddhist-based news feed I follow, where people diss each other to an alarming degree, someone complained about the “I’m better than you because I’m so spiritual” vibe prevalent in some circles. Then the complaint came closer to home: A friend told me she found me to be “too Buddhist and aloof.” The proximity of these two events gave me food for thought: Has mindfulness made me a bitch? “Bitch” is a very popular word in our colloquial lexicon these days. … Continue reading Has Mindfulness Made Me a Bitch?

To Drink Tea Is to Taste the Earth

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel reflects on drinking tea as meditation practice. By Zenju Earthlyn Manuel Orchids in pots along the windowsill bloomed weeks ago. Air seeps into the bedroom. The blossoms dance. I yearn for heat. A hot spring running alongside the house would be perfect. Tea will do. I sniff the steam of oolong. The tiny cup is hot. The tea will soothe the animal in me that wants to growl when it doesn’t get what it wants. The sound of tea being poured grabs hold of the beast. If there’s nothing to have, there’s still the listening, the simplicity of … Continue reading To Drink Tea Is to Taste the Earth