Islands in the Stream

“Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves….” As he lay dying, the Buddha gave this advice to his beloved disciple Ananda. Most of us are so, so tired of being islands right now, isolated from others, watching video streams. Yet when the Buddha spoke of being an island he didn’t mean being cutContinue reading “Islands in the Stream”

The Practice of Not Knowing

  At times, I wish I had more funny things to say to buoy spirits. But this particular time doesn’t lend itself to humor. Nor is it a time for self-improvement. It’s a time of collective sorrow and grief and fear, a time for sheltering in place (those of us who can) and waiting forContinue reading “The Practice of Not Knowing”

A Light in the Darkness

The dark season is here in the Northern Hemisphere. And maybe it is dark for you in multiple ways. You may fear the future. It can be a comfort and a guide to remember that all beings, including the Buddha, faced the darkness of the unknown. After many years and lifetimes of effort, after leavingContinue reading “A Light in the Darkness”

Thanksgiving as a Practice

“Today we have gathered and see that the cycles of life continue.” The Mohawk Thanksgiving greeting to the world is an extraordinary act of consciousness. They gathered (and still gather) together to notice and honor the living world around them. They offer thanks to the People, to Mother Earth and all her plants and herbsContinue reading “Thanksgiving as a Practice”

The Beauty of Being All There

One day in downtown Manhattan, I walked behind a man who laughed, block after block. There would be little lulls when the laughter would glide into happy sighs but then a fresh gale of laughter would kick in, sometimes coupled with jogging and even skipping. At first, this public display of wild happiness delighted theContinue reading “The Beauty of Being All There”

What Are You?

Soon after he attained enlightenment, the Buddha went walking. He was probably wild to stretch his legs because he was sitting under his tree for forty days, according to legend (some scholars believe this not a literal number but an ancient expression for “a very long time”—forty days in the desert, at sea, under theContinue reading “What Are You?”