Tagged Bodhicitta

Be Like Scrooge

This path of awakening is a process. The truth we seek is not a concept or philosophical formula. It is a felt experience of living, of consciously joining our experience, whether it is grief or laziness or anger, feeling it and seeing it from the inside. The truth begins to appear in those moments when…

Image from a Japanese scroll which describes the realm of the hungry ghosts and how to placate them. Currently housed at the Kyoto National Museum, artist unknown.

Angry Ghosts

One night when my mother was a little girl growing up in the panhandle of western Nebraska, she was driving with her father when she saw, far off in the plains, a cross burning in the middle of a circle of Klu Klux Klansmen. The sight filled her with terror. Her parents came from Denmark…

Intention

Why do you sit? Why are you drawn to the spiritual path? It can be interesting sometimes to ask this question when you sit–not pushing for an answer but making space for it, the way you would listen closely to a very shy or quiet person. Asking this question can be very useful as we…

The Power of Giving Up

“When you can’t go up, down, or sideways, then practice really begins,” said the revered meditation master Ajahn Chah. Life is challenging. Sometimes the demands on us are so great that we go into commando mode. We plot and plan and mentally rehearse the operations to be executed, the trips from here to there and…

The Sunlight of Awareness

“The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty, “ taught Mother Teresa.  “Loneliness is the most terrible poverty.” Every year in Japan, the ancestors are remembered and hungry ghosts are fed in a ritual called Oban.  I once experienced a Western Soto Zen version of this practice, including among the hungry ghosts all those beings that society rejects and those parts of ourselves that we forget or abandon or try to hide. But how are we to feed the hungry ghosts? Early Buddhist tradition describes the use of spells and also service to the living. …

Life Preserver

I dreamed I was being carried along by life like a leaf on a stream.  In the dream I was wearing the royal blue dress I wore at my daughter’s wedding in England last November, which seemed strange because moments before I was holding my daughter’s tiny hand as we walked down steep brownstone steps in Brooklyn.  As I floated by someone standing on the shore told me my hair looked good and that was nice but hardly enough to make a life. Here’s the kicker:  I woke up realizing that I hadn’t been dreaming and that I actually am—that…