Teacher’s Blog

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, or we don’t. We are...

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