Practices

  • Beginner Zen Books

    7/9/2021 10:42:53 AM
    Beginner Zen Books

    ​There are truckloads of books about Zen, but many assume the reader already knows something about Zen.

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  • Three Turnings of the Dharma Wheel

    6/19/2021 7:33:03 AM
    Three Turnings of the Dharma Wheel

    It is said there are 84,000 dharma gates, which is a poetic way of saying there are infinite ways to enter the practice of the Buddha dharma. And over the centuries Buddhism has developed an enormous diversity of schools and practices. 

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  • What Does "Samsara" Mean in Buddhism?

    6/2/2021 8:44:44 AM
    What Does ``Samsara`` Mean in Buddhism?

    In Buddhism, samsara is often defined as the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Or, you may understand it as the world of suffering and dissatisfaction (dukkha), the opposite of nirvana, which is the condition of being free from suffering and the cycle of rebirth. 

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  • The Nyingmapa School

    5/17/2021 10:27:46 AM
    The Nyingmapa School

    The Nyingma school, also called Nyingmapa, is the oldest of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism. It was established in Tibet during the reign of the Emperor Trisong Detsen (742-797 CE), who brought the tantric masters Shantarakshita and Padmasambhava to Tibet to teach and to found the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet.

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  • Buddhism and Sexism

    5/14/2021 10:31:06 AM
    Buddhism and Sexism

    Buddhist women, including nuns, have faced harsh discrimination by Buddhist institutions in Asia for centuries. There is gender inequality in most of the world's religions, of course, but that's no excuse. Is sexism intrinsic to Buddhism, or did Buddhist institutions absorb sexism from Asian culture? Can Buddhism treat women as equals, and remain Buddhism?

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  • Buddhists advised not to release animals for Vesak

    5/12/2021 9:02:05 AM
    Buddhists advised not to release animals for Vesak

    Singapore -- The Singapore Buddhist Federation and other experts are encouraging devotees to not release animals to mark Vesak Day, but to consider alternatives instead, including going vegetarian.

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  • An Introduction to the Fourth Buddhist Precept: Truthfulness

    5/10/2021 10:20:09 AM
    An Introduction to the Fourth Buddhist Precept: Truthfulness

    The Buddhist Precepts are not rules everyone must be compelled to follow, such as the Abrahamic Ten Commandments. Instead, they are personal commitments people make when they choose to follow the Buddhist path. The Practice of the Precepts is a kind of training to enable enlightenment.

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  • The Six Perfections of Mahayana Buddhism Guides for the Practice of Mahayana Buddhism

    5/7/2021 10:48:49 AM
    The Six Perfections of Mahayana Buddhism Guides for the Practice of Mahayana Buddhism

    The Six Perfections, or paramitas, are guides for Mahayana Buddhist practice. They are virtues to be cultivated to strengthen practice and bring one to enlightenment.

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  • The Two Truths in Mahayana Buddhism

    5/3/2021 9:23:19 AM
    The Two Truths in Mahayana Buddhism

    What is reality? Dictionaries tell us that reality is "the state of things as they actually exist." In Mahayana Buddhism, reality is explained in the doctrine of the Two Truths.

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  • Zazen: Introduction to Zen Meditation

    4/28/2021 10:35:02 AM
    Zazen: Introduction to Zen Meditation

    You may know there are two primary schools of Japanese Zen, called Soto and Rinzai. Rinzai Zen is associated with formal koan contemplation, whereas the Soto meditation practice is called shikantaza -- "just sitting." If you ever study formally in one of those schools, this distinction will be very important. 

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  • Bodhicitta: Practice for the Benefit of All Beings

    4/26/2021 9:18:17 AM
    Bodhicitta: Practice for the Benefit of All Beings

    The basic definition of bodhicitta is "the desire to realize enlightenment for the sake of others." It is also described as the state of mind of a bodhisattva, usually, an enlightened being who has vowed to remain in the world until all beings are enlightened. 

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  • Buddhism and Equanimity Why Equanimity Is an Essential Buddhist Virtue

    4/19/2021 10:20:28 AM
    Buddhism and Equanimity Why Equanimity Is an Essential Buddhist Virtue

    The English word equanimity refers to a state of being calm and balanced, especially in the midst of difficulty. In Buddhism, equanimity (in Pali, upekkha; in Sanskrit, upeksha) is one of the Four Immeasurables or four great virtues (along with compassion, loving kindness, and sympathetic joy) that the Buddha taught his disciples to cultivate.

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  • Emptiness in Taoism and Buddhism

    4/16/2021 9:16:46 AM
    Emptiness in Taoism and Buddhism

    Taoism and Buddhism have a lot in common. In terms of philosophy and practice, both are nondual traditions. 

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  • Rebirth and Reincarnation in Buddhism

    4/14/2021 10:10:48 AM
    Rebirth and Reincarnation in Buddhism

    Would you be surprised to learn that reincarnation is not a Buddhist teaching? "Reincarnation" normally is understood to be the transmigration of a soul to another body after death. 

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  • Nirvana and The Concept of Freedom in Buddhism

    4/12/2021 10:14:29 AM
    Nirvana and The Concept of Freedom in Buddhism

    The word nirvana is so prevalent for English speakers that its true meaning is often lost. The word has been adopted to mean "bliss" or "tranquility." 

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  • Madhyamika. School of the Middle Way

    4/9/2021 9:37:36 AM
    Madhyamika. School of the Middle Way

    Many schools of Mahayana Buddhism have an inscrutable quality that can be both compelling and maddening to non-Buddhists.

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  • The Twelve Links of Dependent Origination

    4/7/2021 10:01:10 AM
    The Twelve Links of Dependent Origination

    Central to Buddhist philosophy and practice is the principle of dependent origination, sometimes called dependent arising. In essence, this principle says that all things happen through cause and effect and that they are interdependent. 

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  • What Does Buddha Dharma Mean?

    4/5/2021 10:00:39 AM
    What Does Buddha Dharma Mean?

    Dharma (Sanskrit) or dhamma (Pali) is a word Buddhists use often. It refers to the second gem of the Three Jewels of Buddhism—Buddha, dharma, sangha. The word often is defined as "the teachings of the Buddha," but dharma is really more than just a label for Buddhist doctrines, as we shall see below.

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  • Bodhisattva Vows

    3/26/2021 10:59:00 AM
    Bodhisattva Vows

    In Mahayana Buddhism, the ideal of practice is to become a bodhisattva who strives to liberate all beings from the cycle of birth and death. The Bodhisattva Vows are vows taken formally by a Buddhist to do exactly that. The vows are also an expression of bodhicitta, the desire to realize enlightenment for the sake of others. 

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  • The Three Poisons. The Unwholesome Roots of Our Unease

    3/17/2021 8:39:13 AM
    The Three Poisons. The Unwholesome Roots of Our Unease

    In the center or hub of the iconic Buddhist image of the Wheel of Life, or Bhavachakra, usually you will find a picture of a pig or boar, a cock, and a snake, The energy of these creatures turns the wheel of samsara, where unliberated beings wander and experience birth, death, and rebirth, around and around.

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  • Buddhism and Morality. An Introduction to the Buddhist Approach to Morality

    3/15/2021 9:17:52 AM
    Buddhism and Morality. An Introduction to the Buddhist Approach to Morality

    How do Buddhists approach morality? Western culture seems at war with itself over moral values. On one side are those who believe one lives a moral life by following rules handed down by tradition and religion.

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  • Buddhism and Evil

    3/12/2021 9:13:38 AM
    Buddhism and Evil

    Evil is a word many people use without thinking deeply about what it signifies. Comparing common ideas about evil with Buddhist teachings on evil can facilitate deeper thinking about evil. It is a topic where your understanding will change over time. This essay is a snapshot of understanding, not perfect wisdom.

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  • Dakinis: Goddesses of Liberation in Buddhism

    3/5/2021 10:36:52 AM
    Dakinis: Goddesses of Liberation in Buddhism

    Among the wisdom teachings of Vajrayana Buddhism are many reminders to not be fooled by appearance. What can seem frightening and even monstrous is not necessarily evil, but can be there for our benefit. Nothing illustrates this principle better than dakinis.

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  • The Buddha's Path to Happiness: An Introduction

    2/26/2021 9:44:26 AM
    The Buddha`s Path to Happiness: An Introduction

    The Buddha taught that happiness is one of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment. But what is happiness? Dictionaries say happiness is a range of emotions, from contentment to joy. We might think of happiness as an ephemeral thing that floats in and out of our lives, or as our life's essential goal, or as just the opposite of "sadness."

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  • Fifteen Good Years

    2/6/2016 10:31:10 AM
    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

    2/6/2016 10:31:10 AM
    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

    2/6/2016 10:31:10 AM
    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?

    2/6/2016 10:31:10 AM
    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

    2/6/2016 10:31:10 AM
    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

    2/6/2016 10:31:10 AM
    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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