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Three Marks of Existence, or Three Factors of Human Experience?

| June 26, 2017 | 0 Comments
Three Marks of Existence, or Three Factors of Human Experience?

Introduction Along with the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, one of the core beliefs of Buddhists is the notion that there are three basic characteristics or “marks” of existence – dukkha (suffering), anicca (impermanence), and anatta (not-self). In the Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta and other discourses the Buddha avoided entering into a debate over […]

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Practice Circle: Make Practice Your Whole Life

| June 23, 2017 | 0 Comments
Practice Circle: Make Practice Your Whole Life

Those of you who have joined us at Practice Circle lately know that we have been working with the Tibetan Lojong text, fifty-nine slogans that present seven points of training the mind. There have been countless commentaries on the Lojong text; the one we’ve been working with is Norman Fischer’s wonderful Training in Compassion: Zen […]

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Tragedy Led Me To The Dharma

| May 24, 2017 | 3 Comments
Tragedy Led Me To The Dharma

I sometimes think the deaths of my parents led me directly into Buddhism. When I was fourteen years old my dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He was in his early 50s. I remember when he told me. He had been having stomach problems for a while and he saw a doctor and they found […]

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On Mettā

| May 21, 2017 | 5 Comments
On Mettā

Where do the instructions for mettā practice come from? The suttas give relatively little instruction on what actually to do, beyond generating universal good will that we find in the Mettā Sutta (Sn. 143-152), and the practice of focusing on each direction, in an oft-cited pericope: [W]ith his heart filled with lovingkindness, he dwells suffusing […]

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Strong Determination: My Goenka Retreat

| April 5, 2017 | 1 Comment
Strong Determination: My Goenka Retreat

Meditators and nonmeditators alike questioned me with raised eyebrows about my decision to attend a 10-day silent retreat at one of S.E. Goenka’s vipassana meditation centers. Admittedly, I questioned myself as well. A single reading of the procedures and rules led me to refer to the retreat as meditation bootcamp. At the retreat, students are […]

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Buddhist Activism and Quietism

| February 6, 2017 | 10 Comments
Buddhist Activism and Quietism

Many of us are looking for the right way to engage with contemporary political concerns. What does Buddhism have to teach us? A couple of recent articles have taken this question in opposite directions. In “Let’s Stand Up Together”, Bhikkhu Bodhi argues that Buddhism has a number of important ethical lessons to teach that rise above simple notions […]

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What Is Dependent Arising?

| January 29, 2017 | 8 Comments
What Is Dependent Arising?

I said that dependent arising is both very simple, and very complex, but always helpful, and worth the effort to understand. Let me start with the very simple. It Really Is Simple Dependent arising says that we come into the world with certain drives that cause us to build a view of the world and […]

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