Practices

  • Fifteen Good Years

    Fifteen Good Years
    I first traveled to Ladakh in the western Himalaya 15 years ago, after being invited by a lama I met on the beach in front of my apartment in Chicago, Sonam Kunga Rinpoche, the previous autumn. He was concerned about...

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  • An Unusual Sutra Revealed

    An Unusual Sutra Revealed
    The Avatamsaka Sutra. This is sometimes known as the “encyclopedia of Buddhism” because it reveals the splendid and mysterious realm of the Buddhas. Shakyamuni Buddha uttered this sutra to all the sages in heaven and on earth soon after he attained Buddhahood. The sutra tells...

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  • Creating Space

    Creating Space
    As my husband Jason and I prepared to welcome Adelaide into our lives nearly ten months ago, I thought about the kind of home we wanted to create for her. I didn’t want to make a nursery in the ordinary sense, buying a crib and furniture. Instead, I reflected on ...

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  • Is Merit-dedication Allowed in Pristine Pure Land Buddhism?

    Is Merit-dedication Allowed in Pristine Pure Land Buddhism?
    By definition, bodhisattvas are those who follow the Buddhist path in order to deliver other sentient beings from suffering. In the spirit of altruism, they transfer all the merits and virtues obtained through their own practice, either meditative or non-meditative...

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  • When Good Intentions Are Directed by Wrong View

    When Good Intentions Are Directed by Wrong View
    When we inadvertently hurt someone, in order to justify that our intentions were pure we often tell ourselves that we didn’t do anything wrong and that our motivation is all that matters. While in some cases this may be true, we are often misled by false assumptions, and in an ...

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  • Walking the Motherhood Walk

    Walking the Motherhood Walk
    While my husband and I waited for the birth of our daughter nine months ago, I spent much of my pregnancy contemplating how I would incorporate my aspirations as a mother, nearly 20 years’ experience as a teacher, and my ongoing discipline as a Buddhist practitioner ...

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  • Lilac Meditation

    Lilac Meditation
    I remember biking home one day when I noticed the lilacs in bloom. I stopped and got off of my bike just to smell them, and smiled. This was a new thing for me, but the combination of the long winter and the pale glow of their particular hue, closer to blue ...

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  • Confusion, Doubt, and Misunderstanding in the Exclusive Practice of Amitabha-recitation

    Confusion, Doubt, and Misunderstanding in the Exclusive Practice of Amitabha-recitation
    Practitioners following the Path of the Great Vow in Pure Land Buddhism as classified by Master Shandao take exclusive Amitabha-invocation as their main practice. By exclusively practicing Amitabha-recitation for the remainder of their lives, they are assured rebirth in...

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  • Practicing Dharma in Daily Life

    Practicing Dharma in Daily Life
    In the morning when you wake up, visualize the Buddha on the crown of your head and think, "How fortunate I am that so far I have not died. Again today I have the opportunity to practice the Dharma. I again have the opportunity to take the essence of ...

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  • Mudra: Understanding the Buddha’s Hands

    Mudra: Understanding the Buddha’s Hands
    The hand gestures, or mudra, assumed by figures of the Buddha and other deities are some of the most fascinating aspects of Buddhist iconography. Similar to the graceful hand gestures used by performers of traditional Indian dance, mudra are often the key...

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  • Dealing with Pleasure

    Dealing with Pleasure
    There are many statements in Buddhist literature that make pleasure sound like something we should totally avoid. It might take some careful reading to recognize that the threat isn’t pleasure itself, but an unmindful response to it. Pleasure in its various forms is...

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  • Learning to Receive

    Learning to Receive
    Generosity is a fundamental trait that is celebrated by all of the world’s religions. December means Christmas for my family, so I’ve been thinking about generosity and giving, especially in light of the Buddha’s teachings on this subject: ...

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  • Interconnected Consumption: Practicing a Mindful Lifestyle

    Interconnected Consumption: Practicing a Mindful Lifestyle
    Perhaps you are reading this editorial on your mobile phone and are looking to upgrade to a new model. The Fairphone, made by a Netherlands-based social enterprise of the same name, is a worthwhile option. Conceived as technology produced with...

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  • Buddhism for non-Buddhists

    Buddhism for non-Buddhists
    Buddhism makes up the world's fourth largest world religion and one of the oldest. Religion in general has been slowly decreasing in many countries around the world as society changes and technology advances, but Buddhism has been one of the strongest ...

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  • The Hidden Meaning of "Sincere Mind"

    The Hidden Meaning of
    “Sincere Mind” is the first of the “Three States of Mind,” in other words, “Sincere Mind,” “Deep Mind,” and “Mind of Merit-Dedication and Aspiration towards Rebirth.” The Contemplation Sutra says that sentient beings who resolve to be reborn in Amitabha’s Pure Land,...

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  • Opening the Heart to Difficult People

    Opening the Heart to Difficult People
    He smiled though, and as I smiled back, I felt something much stronger than just liking him. I still wouldn’t seek Rick out for friendship, but I realized I loved him as much as any other being. Compassion had overcome my personal dislike and opened my heart to...

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  • Beopjeong Sunim’s Korean Way of Tea

    Beopjeong Sunim’s Korean Way of Tea
    When I was a nun at the Seon temple Songgwangsa, I would often take a walk up the steep hill that led to Bulilam, the hermitage of Beopjeong Sunim (1932–2010). Venerable Beopjeong was a renowned writer who had retired to this small hermitage ...

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  • Learning from Venerable (Pangjang) Kusan Sunim

    Learning from Venerable (Pangjang) Kusan Sunim
    I arrived in Songgwangsa (one of the oldest Seon, or Zen, temples in South Korea) in 1975 on the first day of the biggest ceremony of the year, the commemoration of the death of national master Bojo. The next morning, Haemyong Sunim (Robert Buswell) took a young...

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  • Bathing the Buddha - A Vesak Ritual

    Bathing the Buddha - A Vesak Ritual
    Later in April and early May, people across the world will celebrate Vesak in many different ways, but they are bound together by a special commemoration in honoring the young Gautama. One particular ceremony during this festive time is called: “Bathing the Buddha”.

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  • Buddhist Life: The Stages of Enlightenment

    Buddhist Life: The Stages of Enlightenment
    The different stages that lead to Enlightenment are described in terms of which fetters or bonds are abandoned, and these fetters are divided into lower and higher classifications. There is also, in many schools of Buddhism, an additional specification...

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  • Looking for Refuge in all the wrong places

    Looking for Refuge in all the wrong places
    In Buddhism, taking refuge is no longer expecting external things to bring ultimate or lasting happiness.

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  • Four sublime states of mind

    Four sublime states of mind
    Here brahma means sublime or noble as in brahmacariya (sublime life); vihāra means mode or state of conduct, or state of living. They are also termed appamaññā (limitless, boundless), because these thoughts are radiated towards all beings without limit or obstruction...

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  • Buddhist Singing Bowls

    Buddhist Singing Bowls
    At our parish during Lent, a Buddhist singing bowl is used at the start of Mass in place of the gathering or entrance song. According to one popular resource (Wikipedia), singing bowls are "used as a support for meditation, trance induction and prayer." On the Internet several websites...

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  • Celebrating Ten Years of Mindfulness

    Celebrating Ten Years of Mindfulness
    Today's a big anniversary: ten years. For ten years I have been practicing Vipassana (Theravada) Buddhism, like that found in Thailand. The core of my Buddhist practice (and I hope that if I practice enough I will get good at it) is mindfulness meditation: 30 minutes, every day,...

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  • Superior Love through Superior Dhamma

    Superior Love through Superior Dhamma
    Because we are human beings, none of us are perfect. We all come with a baggage of deficiencies. We can cope with our own deficiencies but we cannot tolerate someone else’s. This is the human condition. Once we start living with another person, our own deficiencies and those of our...

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  • Mind and Matter (Nama-Rupa)

    Mind and Matter (Nama-Rupa)
    “What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind.” According to Buddhism, life is a combination of mind (nama) and matter (rupa). Mind consists of the combination of sensations, perceptions, volitional activities ...

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  • The Six Realms of Existence in Buddhism

    The Six Realms of Existence in Buddhism
    The six-realm system is often depicted as a 'wheel of life' (shown to the right), especially in Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism. Theravada teachings typically define only 5 realms. Various schools of Buddhism also define other sub-realms within these, and other types of realms ...

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  • The 7th Lunar Month, Is it an auspicious month or not?

    The 7th Lunar Month, Is it an auspicious month or not?
    The 7th lunar month is regarded as the Ghost Month by the Chinese since the Tang Dynasty. The Ghost Festival (Zhongyuan) is observed on the 14th day of the month and the Ghost Day is on the 15th day, the full moon day of the month. On this month the gate of Hell realm is open ...

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  • Hard butt courtesy of my Buddhist friends

    Hard butt courtesy of my Buddhist friends
    Buddhism, which some practitioners refer to as a belief system, lifestyle, philosophy, or other concepts -- but not a religion. Is, in my opinion, an admirable all-of-the-above. In the East, not New York City -- the Far East -- Buddhism is referred ...

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  • How to become a Buddhist

    How to become a Buddhist
    It is not essential to go to a temple to be a Buddhist. First and foremost believe in the Tripple Gem, Buddha (Lord Buddha himself), Dhamma (his teachings), & Sangha (His disciples) This is how you pray: Namo Thassa Bhagawatho ...

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