Blog posts

Miazong’s Dharma Interview

Miazong’s Dharma Interview, 12 century From “The Hidden Lamp” Before Miaozong became a nun, she used to visit Master Dahui Zonggao’s monastery to study with him, and he gave her a room in the abbot’s quarters. The senior monk, Wanan, did not approve. Dahui said to him, “Although she’s a woman, she has outstanding merits.” … Continue reading Miazong’s Dharma Interview

Ohashi awakens in a Brothel

Ohashi Awakens in a Brothel – 18th century Ohashi sold herself to a brothel to support her impoverished family after her samurai father lost his position. She served diligently and became a poet and calligrapher, but she was plagued by sadness for her former life. Later she met Hakuin, who advised her that enlightenment was … Continue reading Ohashi awakens in a Brothel

The Red Thread of Passion

  Koan by Chinese master Sung-yuan (Shogen, d. 1202) In order to know the Way in perfect clarity, there is one essential point you must penetrate and not avoid. The Red thread of passion between our legs that cannot be severed. Few face up to the problem, since it is not at all easy to … Continue reading The Red Thread of Passion

Do not misuse Sexuality

This is one of Buddhism grave precepts. It’s really quite an important one because of the enormous power and drive of our sexual urges. This power is what makes sex fantastic and also what can make it hurtful or damaging. It’s powerful. If there is a misuse of this power, we can hurt ourselves and … Continue reading Do not misuse Sexuality

Entering Mindfulness of Feelings

Liberation through Feelings These are notes from Chapter 11 in Joseph Goldstein’s book Mindfulness. The purpose of these teaching is freeing the mind from suffering. It is about liberation not just: Getting more comfortable in our lives Or sorting out our personal histories These might be helpful But this exploration is about the larger questions … Continue reading Entering Mindfulness of Feelings

The Corpse in Decay

These are notes on the end of Chapter 10, mindfulness of physical characteristics, in Joseph Goldstein’s book Mindfulness. The last section of mindfulness of the body is the contemplation of corpses in various states of decay. Buddha’s contemplation in the sutta is: Again, monks, as though he were to see a corpse thrown aside in … Continue reading The Corpse in Decay

Mindfulness of “I am”

Continuing to study Mindfulness by Joseph Goldstein.   These are notes on the middle part of Chapter 10, “Mindfulness of physical characteristics” “Conceit” in its Buddhist usage, refers to the deeply rooted sense of “I am”, “I was”, or “I will be.” This is the last of the veils of ignorance that needs to be removed … Continue reading Mindfulness of “I am”

Post Election Practices #2

I have been studying and writing again about Jizo Bodhisattva.  Again and again, this archetypal energy inspires me.  I found it particularly inspiring in helping me practice during the current political climate.  If you are in my tribe of politics, the situation right now is disappointing, paralyzing, depressing or worse, as each of us reacts … Continue reading Post Election Practices #2

Mindfulness of the elements

These are notes from Joseph Goldstein’s book Mindfulness, the second half of Chapter 9, Mindfulness of activities. The elements Again, monks, one reviews this same body, however it is placed, however disposed, as consisting of elements thus: ‘in this body there are the earth element, the water element, the fire element, and the air element.’ … Continue reading Mindfulness of the elements

Mindfulness of Activities

This is a continuation of notes from Joseph Goldstein’s book Mindfulness, Chapter 9: Mindfulness of activities: Again, monks, when going forward and returning one acts clearly knowing; when looking ahead and looking away one acts clearly knowing; when flexing and extending one’s limbs one acts clearly knowing . . . when eating, drinking, consuming food, … Continue reading Mindfulness of Activities

Mindfulness of body postures #2 – selflessness

Continuing the study and notes from Joseph Goldstein’s book Mindfulness, Chapter 8, the second half. Mindfulness of postures can support the understanding of the three characteristics. Impermanence, anicca Dukkha, suffering Selflessness, anatta Under selflessness Who is walking?  Who is lying down? We can begin to explore the impersonal nature of existence An important stage of … Continue reading Mindfulness of body postures #2 – selflessness

Mindfulness of body postures – Working with fear and dread

These are notes taken from Joseph Goldstein’s book Mindfulness, Chapter 8: Mindfulness of Postures Again, monks, when walking, one knows “I am walking”; when standing, one knows “I am standing”; when sitting, one knows “I am sitting.”; when lying down, one knows “I am lying down”; or one knows accordingly however one’s body is disposed. … Continue reading Mindfulness of body postures – Working with fear and dread

Post Election Practices

Someone from the sangha asked me how to do tonglen in the circumstances that we are presently facing. To practice tonglen in a crisis is quite radical and hard to do. But who said Buddhist practice was easy? How can we react without pouring more kerosene on the huge bonfire of hatred and aversion that … Continue reading Post Election Practices

Mindfulness of Breathing #2

These are my notes from studying the end of Chapter 7 in Joseph Goldstein’s book “Mindfulness.” They are the second half of Mindfulness of Breathing. In the Satipatthana sutta, there is a series of progressive instructions regarding the breath, which is the first of the contemplations on the body. Why mindfulness of breathing is so … Continue reading Mindfulness of Breathing #2

Mindfulness of Breathing #1

These are notes from Joseph Goldstein’s book “Mindfulness.” This is the first part of Chapter 7 – Mindfulness of Breathing. This sutra has many avenues to take that will lead to awareness. Buddha had a great range of skillful means, tailoring his teaching to the particular audience or person he was addressing. It is helpful … Continue reading Mindfulness of Breathing #1