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Thursday, 19 April 2012 04:54

The Buddha Walks Into A Bar

There’s a standard American joke that goes, “A man walks into a bar…” and proceeds to have a short story ending with a punch-line. To get this post started right, I’ll finish the joke:

Published in Meditation Blog

Last November, I had coffee with Linda Lantieri, who has an amazing track record for bringing mindfulness and emotional intelligence to kids in really challenging inner city schools. She serves as the Director of The Inner Resilience Program whose mission is to cultivate the inner lives of students, teachers and schools by integrating social and emotional learning with contemplative practice.

Published in Meditation Blog
Friday, 13 January 2012 23:43

The Freedom of an Open Question

I am always looking for books on the Buddhist view on emptiness and that I can give to my non-buddhist friends, or people who are just starting on the path, whenever they asked about the Buddhist view.

Years ago, one of my friends at work, an incredibly intelligent, intellectual former professor, asked me for two books. I  based on what I knew about him, I gave him Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind and a translation of a traditional book on reasoning and philosophy. He liked Suzuki Roshi and couldn’t get past the first few pages of Chandrakirti.  The problem is that traditional texts on emptiness are written for people who are already Buddhist and often assume quite a scholarly education. Even most of the contemporary ones are too.

So I really wanted to read Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyal’s book, "The Power of an Open Question: The Buddha's Path to Freedom". I asked her for a copy, offering to review it here. She agreed. Then I panicked. She’s a friend, what if I hate the book? I don’t know if that is an open question, but that is the one I had when I started to read the book.

But after reading her “personal koan”, I started to forget about my question and ponder hers. Most of us try to ignore the inevitable and spend our lives trying to grasp what cannot be grasped and then suffer the discontentment that follows or worse.

Published in Meditation Blog
Saturday, 10 December 2011 22:35

When Things Fall Apart

What a relief!  The last eclipse of the year occurs today. But there’s more to come next year! 

An eclipse can trigger sudden, irrevocable change in your life that comes about due to external circumstances.

Yikes!  Unexpected change.  The kind of change that can make your head spin in disbelief and leave your knees knocking loudly.

Fortunately, every eclipse doesn’t effect every person so dramatically. 

But still, you can’t escape change forever.  There’s also the unfolding of karma - the fruition of your past actions - which can also twist your world around in abrupt and surprising ways.

Change will arrive in this lightning-like way at some point in your life.  What will you do?

Published in Meditation Blog
Wednesday, 05 October 2011 02:06

Really Reading Some Good Books

I have been traveling a lot lately (a lot of time spent on the NYC subway too!). I loaded up my Ipad with some books and here are mini-reviews of three of the best. One is about how the universe is based on awareness not sub atomic particles, another about how meditation can help you be a better healthcare professional and the last one is an extraordinary book of practice advice and autobiography by one of my teachers, Adeu Rinpoche.


Published in Meditation Blog