Tagged Buddha

Ivan Aivazovsky, Between the Waves, 1898

On Being Nobody…and No One

How deeply we fear being nobody. One way to think of the ego is as a defense against pain, particularly the pain of being no one. It shores us up, reminding us that we are somebody. We update our internal resumes and narratives constantly. We seek new skills and go on self-improvement regimes of all…

Holy Week

This is Holy Week, a good time to reflect on what it can mean to be part of a greater wholeness. It is also Passover, celebrating liberation from bondage. Strange as it may sound, being still is also a way of coming to a new wholeness, a way of feasting on your life, realizing that…

George Inness, The Home of the Heron, oil on canvas, 30 by 45 inches, The Art Institute of Chicago, Edward B. Butler Collection, 1893

Giving Thanks

“Today we have gathered and see that the cycles of life continue.” Adapted from the Mohawk, this Thanksgiving greeting to the world offers thanks to the People, to Mother Earth and all her plants and herbs and creatures, to the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Waters, the Four Winds, and the Teachers. In the…

Share the Light

The Buddha had no plans to teach after he became enlightened. Isn’t that interesting? He planned to abide peacefully and at ease. Undoubtedly he beyond pleasant when someone happened to cross paths with him. But he had no plans to try to convey the great shift that had taken place inside him. And who could…

Impermanence

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on,” writes Robert Frost In three words I can sum up the aim of mindfulness meditation. Being with change. “See that sign for the David Barton Gym?” asked the woman walking ahead of me on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. “What a…

Bonfire, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A Formal Feeling Comes

“After great pain, a formal feeling comes,” writes Emily Dickinson.  “The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs.” After a great shock or loss or change, a stillness comes. We sit still and receive life without leaning forward to grasp at it or commenting on it—think of the way a king or queen receives visitors. We have…

A Shared World

“Therefore, Ananda, Be Islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves. . . .” As he lay dying, the Buddha gave this advice to his beloved cousin and disciple Ananda. I thought of it as I stood in a security line in the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, just after a male security guard gestured…

Being Still

The good news is my voice is back. The bad news is my voice is back. As I reported last week, I have been without a voice of late, just whisper, sometimes soft, sometimes rasping. I had my hair cut last week and the din of the hair dryers and music and conversation was too…

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, which opens with a fresh translation of the Buddha’s Fire Sermon and a contemporary commentary by Ven. Bodhi.  I also stayed to hear his weekly lecture on the earliest Buddhist teachings.  This particular Saturday, he spoke about the traditional teachings on renunciation or letting go.…