Blog posts

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

Satipatthanas sutta refrain

These are notes from Joseph Goldstein’s book “Mindfulness.” These notes are from Chapter 5 on Contemplating the Four Foundations. There is a refrain that occurs 13 times in the sutra. An abbreviated version is thus: In this way, in regard to the body (feelings, mind, dhammas) one abides contemplating the body (feelings, mind, dhammas) internally, or … Continue reading Satipatthanas sutta refrain

Mindfulness, the Gateway to Wisdom

Continuing with notes from Joseph Goldstein’s “Mindfulness” book. We are working with the section on the four qualities of mind: Ardency, Clearly knowing, mindfulness, and concentration. Mindfulness is much more than what our pop-culture thinks of it, which is simply something about returning to the present moment. The media often says- this was a Zen … Continue reading Mindfulness, the Gateway to Wisdom

Clearly knowing

Notes from Joseph Goldstein’s book “Mindfulness; a practical guide to awakening” Clearly knowing is one of the four qualities of mind: Ardency, Clearly knowing, mindfulness, and concentration. Clearly knowing – Sampajanna This is translated in different ways as clearly knowing, clear comprehension or fully aware. This is a quality of mind that encourages mindfulness to … Continue reading Clearly knowing

Intention and Vow, New Years

For the past many years, Clouds in Water starts the New Years off with an Intention and Vow Workshop. It was my answer to the failure, year after year, of my New Year’s Resolutions. Does Zen allow future goals? i.e. if you live in the present moment, can you have a future goal? Concurrently, there … Continue reading Intention and Vow, New Years

Practicing with Terrorism

Am I terrorized?  That’s what the extremists want.  They want the “other”, the West, to be paralyzed by fear.  My husband told me a quote from the paper that the extremists said, paraphrased something like this:  “The West is afraid of death.  We are going to win because we are not afraid of death.”  This … Continue reading Practicing with Terrorism

Four Noble Truths as Tasks

In studying the Four Noble Truths recently, I ran across some new terminology. We could say that the Four Noble Truths are four tasks- The Four Noble Tasks. These tasks need to be accomplished in order to find the peace and confidence the Buddha invites us to experience. In this teaching, there are three phases … Continue reading Four Noble Truths as Tasks

Projections and Essence

How can we understand a verse like this? From the Lankavatara Sutra XXXII: Nothing exists at all And these are nothing but words Studying the Lankavara sutra is bringing together a lot of the ideas I have repeated in my teaching over the years. I have often taught that language is the not the essence, … Continue reading Projections and Essence

Eight levels of Consciousness

One mindfulness practice is to be aware of what is coming through your sense gates. It is the awareness of eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. We become more present to what is happening — the objects of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts. For each organ and object, there is a mind consciousness, … Continue reading Eight levels of Consciousness