Finding the Path

Among the tasks or “yogi jobs” a participant can volunteer for during silent retreats at the Insight Meditation Society, a Buddhist meditation center in rural Massachusetts, the most resonant in every sense is that of bell ringer. Before dawn and before every meditation session during the day, the bell ringers walk around the grounds andContinue reading “Finding the Path”

Meryl Streep Sutra

On Saturday, I raced from a Buddhist monastery to see Meryl Streep in her landmark portrayal of the former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. How could I have guessed that these wildly disparate activities would go so well together?  I presented the scholar monk Bhikkhu Bodhi with copies of Parabola’s gorgeous new “Burning World” issue,Continue reading “Meryl Streep Sutra”


“Monks, all is burning,” the Buddha taught in his “Fire Sermon.”  A fresh translation of this ancient teaching by scholar monk Bhikkhu Bodhi is the opening piece in Parabola’s upcoming “Burning World” issue, and for good reason.  In little more than 300 words, he describes the root cause of the overwhelming global challenges we faceContinue reading “Disenchantment”

Christmas in October

As I write this, I am struggling to get a good fire going in the woodstove.  We are in the middle of a freak October snow storm—the third freak storm since August—and we have no lights, no heat, and no running water since we depend on a well. A few months ago, during Hurricane Irene,Continue reading “Christmas in October”

Sitting with the Na’Vi

In response to my last post about the film Avatar, someone commented that the film reminded him of the feeling of community with others and with all life that he had growing up in the country.   Recently, I realized that it is just this sense of communing with life that comes rushing back vividly whenContinue reading “Sitting with the Na’Vi”