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Faces

By | 4/24/2022
On the mind's screen
Faces unknown are seen
Strangers from the past nameless to my conscious mind
Strangers from the future whom I might meet sometime
Or just random images in meditation time.

Tearful Liberation - Day 10

By | 4/24/2022
The New Year’s Eve party across from our campsite continued well into the early hours of the morning and the sounds of the live band and the revelers were intermingled with the chants in the courtyard. This was probably the first New Year celebration I had spent alone and in a quiet manner. I reflected on the relevance of “the party’s over when the music stops” to my condition coming into the camp having lived for all these years in ignorance, reveling in the party of my unaware and indulgent consciousness.

Reflections on the Noble Eightfold Path in Practice and Daily Life, Part 3 of 4

By | 4/24/2022
This third installment of my four-part essay on the Noble Eightfold Path explores the cluster of factors that fall under the umbrella of samādhi. Samādhi is commonly understood in this tradition as collecting and calming the mind so that it can be focused on the observation of reality for the purpose of cultivating wisdom/insight. However, it can more broadly be defined as the calm abiding of mind and body.

Reflections on the Noble Eightfold Path in Practice and Daily Life, Part 2 of 4

By | 4/8/2022
Sīla is not merely about moral and ethical considerations; it is also spiritual in nature, the very foundation on which any strong practice is built. It is interesting to note that the tenets of sīla are not intended as commandments. Rather, sīla is undertaken as a “training.” The Buddha seems very clear about the importance of sīla, which comprises three of the eight steps of the Noble Eightfold Path. So in conformity with that teaching, our tradition gives great importance to maintaining sīla in our lives.

Equanimous Mind - Day 9

By | 4/8/2022
At this stage, I was now completely convinced that hard as it may be, I would continue to put in every effort humanly possible to maintain the practice of Vipassana meditation when I resumed my regular life. The significant changes in my energy level, concentration power, attention span, creativity, mind-body coordination, temperament, and numerous other faculties I had experienced through the use of this technique were palpable, especially when I didn’t even know that such a big delta was even available as headroom for potential improvement.

Riding the Waves of Samsara

By | 4/8/2022

On birth waters giving
way to ruptured membranes

the waves of samsara

Crying with pain
not knowing
what is to gain

riding the waves of samsara

Buddhaful

By | 4/8/2022
Buddhaful
MosaamiMosaMosamimi

Surrender

By | 3/27/2022
There is no way to sit and meditate hour after hour without renouncing, surrendering. Surrendering to the process itself. To continue to hold on to the mind is an ordeal. There is no way to attend to stillness while clinging to the mind, this wild animal pulling in all directions.

Leaves of Gold

By | 3/27/2022

Leaves of gold shine 

on the fresh white snow

and my heart soars as my boots sink.

Reflections on the Noble Eightfold Path in Practice and Daily Life, Part 1 of 4

By | 3/27/2022
In November of 2018, I gave a talk on the Noble Eightfold Path at an Annual Old Student Meeting at Dhamma Patāpa, a center in rural Georgia in the tradition of SN Goenka, or Goenkaji as he is affectionately known. My intent was to present a perspective about how the Eightfold Path intersects with our meditation practice and daily lives, based on my teaching experience, practice, and reading over the decades in this tradition.

Contemplation

By | 3/20/2022
Contemplation
Patrick Given-Wilson

Saturated with Awareness

By | 3/20/2022
As a spring-fed pond wells up with water from its cool depths,
and also receives rain from above
sent by the rain-god from time to time,
so that the rain from above and the spring water from below
mingle,
this pond will become washed through and radiant with fresh
water.

Following Dreams with Equanimity - Day 8

By | 3/20/2022
I lunched quickly and went back to my room to think through a few questions I intended to ask at 12:30 pm after the formal Q&A session open to all students was over, as I had prearranged a private meeting through the server managing the course. I headed up eagerly to the Dhamma Hall at 12:20 pm so I might get an extra minute or two with him in case he wasn’t meeting with another student and I could also catch the tail end of the official Q&A period.

Opening the Cage

By | 3/5/2022
Opening the Cage
Andrée François

The Rabbit's Foot: Personal Responsibility as a Step towards Liberation

By | 3/5/2022

When I was a child I believed, as did many my age, that carrying a rabbit's foot in my pocket had the power to bring me luck. I never left home without my precious lucky charm, and I would close my eyes while rubbing the fetish, hoping that my latest wish would come true. This ritual was not unlike the fervour I put into my evening prayers, kneeling with my hands folded: "God, please let me have a new pair of skates for Christmas!" or "God, please don't let my mother find out I broke her mirror!"

At some point I had to face the fact that my prayers were rarely answered, and so the rabbit's foot eventually ended its career at the bottom of a trash can along with my declaration: "That thing doesn’t work!"

My Mind

By | 3/5/2022

My mind races and rides
through its maze byzantine
as it reads the blogs and views
of people on the news.

Golden Bamboo

By | 2/20/2022
Golden Bamboo
Aleksei Gomez

Mind Metamorphosis - Day 7

By | 2/20/2022

I reflected on all the positive benefits that I had drawn with only a week of employing the Vipassana technique and how seismically my mindset and behavioral orientation was tilting in a new and positive direction. I then started to think about what it would be like when I returned to my life as a consultant, with clients and colleagues, and with my friends and family who had all known and experienced me previously in a certain way.

A case in point—I had come to a fairly informed conclusion that I would find it easy to give up alcohol because I had discovered that my preexisting logical basis to consume it to relax the mind was flawed at its core, if I was also to believe that continuous happiness can only be achieved through a highly vigilant and equanimous mind, which runs counter to consuming substances that can overpower or numb the senses. I reckoned most of my family wouldn’t mind my resolve to abstain from drinking, but certain friends, colleagues and clients might find it more than a bit odd and potentially off-putting or anti-social in its appeal.

In Service to Circumstance

By | 2/20/2022

The Buddha's inheritance
is enlightenment's imminence 
in a lineage of eminence 
and unequaled benevolence.
The path that he represents 
is walked in full confidence 
by disciples of excellence 
beyond all comparisons.

Flying Anyway

By | 2/6/2022
Flying Anyway
Christine Joly

Learning Trust and Connection at Pigeon's Cave

By | 2/6/2022
Driving along what could barely be called a road, a group of children and teens noticed us—some waved exuberantly; most looked astonished. The occasional motor bike, scooter, or jeep might pass through here from time-to-time, but a van filled with a dozen people from around the world was certainly a first for them. When the not-quite road came to an end, we all hopped out, excited to stretch our legs and start our walk through this exquisite valley and up the mountain side to the Pigeon’s Cave, a remote haunt that the Buddha used to retreat to from time-to-time.

Surprising Resolve - Day 6

By | 2/6/2022
I had been impressed with the teaching methods thus far: explaining theory after self-observed experimentation, progressive learning, preparing the mind for complex tasks through acceleration of mental faculties, the totally immersive nature of the program, among various other subtle aspects like the unidirectional, clock-wise garden walks to avoid eye contact with other students. This impression led me to trust that there must be some deep rationale for surprising us with having to make a determination to achieve a fairly audacious and seemingly impossible goal. If I had known something like this would be expected of us by this stage in the program, I would have built up my resolve by achieving a smaller goal like sitting in the same position for at least half an hour in previous days.

Hut by the Stream

By | 1/22/2022

An Ode to Vipassana Centres

By | 1/22/2022
It can be overwhelming to think about the unfairness of life, the complexity of its problems, the impossibility of solutions, and the ignorance, irrationality, pettiness and selfishness of humans, myself included. But it helps to remember Vipassana centers, places that do makessense. Places that seem too good to be true. Unrealistic. A system, an environment, an organization that I would never believe to be true without first-hand experience.

Webu's Meditation Hut

By | 1/22/2022

 


Dedication: I think of Webu’s sick-bed inside his dwelling, the renovated meditation hut next door that we could share. Beyond a  devotional exercise, which is present, the following explores an underlying feeling of strangeness, or perhaps it’s an unfamiliarity that doesn’t feel strange, or unpleasant to experience. It reaches into a gratitude that wants to be precisely expressed.

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