Blog Posts

Prayers for One Towards Whom We Feel Anger and Outrage

At Bright Way, we’ve been discussing the Brahmaviharas lately, particularly goodwill (metta) and compassion (karuna). One of the main questions we’ve been addressing, naturally, is how to deal with anger and hatred – our own, as well as that of others. When someone is actively causing harm, what does it mean to feel goodwill and compassion for them? (I address that question in detail here.) Last Tuesday we did an exercise to explore what authentic goodwill might look like...

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Calling on the Power of Compassion

Many Buddhists throughout history have prayed to Kanzeon, the bodhisattva of compassion, for succor. That kind of prayer continues today. Kanzeon is also known as Avalokiteshvara, Kannon, and Guan Yin. Sometimes portrayed as male, sometimes as female, she’s hands-down the most popular of the Buddhist archetypal bodhisattvas. One of the standard Soto Zen daily chants is called the “Universal Gateway Chapter” (of the Lotus Sutra), which states: “If floating on a vast sea,...

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The Middle Way Between Self-Centered and Do-Gooder

Most Zen teachers I know will readily admit to you that when they offer a teaching, it’s usually something that they need to remember as much as anyone. With that disclaimer, then, I can write this post without sounding like I’m criticizing everyone else for being self-centered while I’m so nobly free of self concern! The Buddhist path, from the beginning, has been called the Middle Way. What that means is we try to avoid extremes, which are generally paired and dualistic,...

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Why Your (Real) Happiness Benefits Others

When we practice real happiness, we wake up. We notice everything – and not just what we can see and hear in our immediate environment. We notice the state of the world, and the state of our heart. We recognize calls to respond, and then our best response naturally arises. We recognize what’s ours to do, and we’re free to do it because we’re not caught up in our own misery, or in pursuing conditional happiness.

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Zazen as Practicing Great Ease and Joy

Sometimes, when I find zazen challenging or dull, I engage it as a practice of trying to be completely joyful and at ease in this moment – just the way life is right now: in this body, with these aches, bad habits, and unfinished projects, in this moment’s confusing world that is so beautiful and terrible at the same time. This approach contrasts with practicing zazen in order to achieve joy and ease. When I’m meditating in order to obtain a result (such as relief from...

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Changing Reality With Positive Thinking

Much of the time we observe the world around us and pass judgement on it. Something we observe may appear good, bad or neutral, but we usually feel like we are simply drawing a conclusion from the data of our experience. We may qualify our judgement by acknowledging it is “just” our opinion or preference, but usually we have a sense that we can’t do much about our opinions and preferences. We either like something, or we don’t. We believe people can usually be trusted,...

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Events for week of June 1, 2020

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Tuesday Practice: ONLINE

June 2 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Wed 3rd
Thu 4th

Online – Zazen & Chanting Practice

June 4 @ 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Fri 5th

Online – Zazen & Chanting Practice

June 5 @ 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Sat 6th

Online – Zazen & Chanting Practice

June 6 @ 7:30 am - 8:30 am

Just Sitting – ONLINE

June 6 @ 8:30 am - 9:30 am

Saturday Sangha Meeting – ONLINE

June 6 @ 9:30 am - 10:30 am
Sun 7th

Sunday Practice – ONLINE

June 7 @ 9:30 am - 12:15 pm

Dharma Talk – ONLINE

June 7 @ 11:15 am - 12:15 pm