“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on,” wrote 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 aContinue reading “Impermanence”

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 haveContinue reading “A Formal Feeling Comes”

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 gesturedContinue reading “A Shared World”

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 tooContinue reading “Being Still”

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”