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The Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. I think many connect with the *jewel* or treasure aspect of the Buddha and Dharma, but Sangha? The Buddha taught the Dharma as an experiential path. His advice is to try it for ourselves, rather than taking his or anyone else's word for it. 

It is Sangha that moves Buddhism beyond a study or philosophy to something lived and alive. But you have to practice or it doesn't work. Sangha is where you perfect your practice with others doing the same thing.

We come just as we are. Working on practices, not being people who are already perfect. The Sangha accepts us and supports us so that we can become more honest with ourselves and others. We learn to accept ourselves AND others. We accept our humanity, together.

 
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In the 4th of the "talking with my teachers" series, I am talking with Rev. Satya Robyn, a priest in the Amida Order, about how the whole of messy humanity is met by the divine when we relax our sense of control and know that life accepts us just as we are.

Satya talks of her journey from atheist to psychotherapist and Pureland Buddhist priest. And how she was "grabbed" by Amida, the celestial Buddha of Infinite Light and Life, the Buddha of acceptance and compassion. She describes the simplicity of Pureland Buddhism and the practice of the Nembutsu, where in saying the name we open a little portal of connection to the compassion and wisdom of Amida Buddha.

I know you'll delight in Satya's beautiful ways of communicating the heart and soul of spiritual practice, Buddhism, Pureland Buddhism, refuge, and—yes—the "f" word or faith.

 

 
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Meditating on death is a traditional Buddhist practice. In this podcast, we'll talk about how thinking about our own and others' death can help us live more fully. All the things that keep us busy and entertained might help us forget about the certainty of death, but it won't help us escape it.

Reflecting on death can help us remember that the "shiny" things we find attractive and desirable will soon lose their appeal. We can try to avoid the suffering the thought of death brings or we can look at it directly and make ourselves familiar.

I offer an Everyday-Buddhism approach to death meditation that does not include spending a night in Tibetan charnel grounds or even your local cemetery. Instead, reflect on the lives that go before us and feel the realness of live and death through visits to legacy.com.

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The "Eastern Way" of psychology offers a profoundly different paradigm than Western psychology. Join me as a talk with Gregg Krech, one of the leading authorities on Japanese Psychology in North America, about this difference.

Using the Buddhist concept of "skillful means", Japanese psychology offers methods to master the skills of acceptance, attention, co-existing with unpleasant feelings, and self-reflection. Rather than talking it out, we can develop skills to cope more effectively with anxiety, depression, anger, shyness, procrastination ... you name it!

Ultimately based on the practical, we can learn how to focus on our purpose and an appropriate response to the needs of each situation, rather than a reaction to our feelings—removing our feelings from the position of "Director" in the play of life.

 
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In a listener-requested podcast I relate how the story of releasing cows from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering, helped me find freedom from suffering over a series of minor personal losses and disappointments...and freedom FROM the losses themselves.

We each have "cows" we're grasping onto. According to Thich Nhat Hanh, our biggest "cows" are our narrow ideas of happiness. We suffer because of grasping to those ideas. Every one of us has cows to be released.

We continue to suffer until we are able to release the very ideas themselves. Join me as I tell me story about finding freedom from the suffering of loss—and from the losses themselves—by digging my lotus roots into the mud of life, to become relaxed and tender, instead of rigid.

   
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Tibetan Buddhism seems mysterious, intriguing, and sometimes scary. In this episode I talk with Frank Howard of the White Lotus Buddhist Center in Rochester, New York—continuing my series of "Talking with My Teachers"—who explains that it's not as mysterious as it seems and it's certainly not scary!

As Frank explains, there is only ONE Dharma and Tibetan Buddhism is a sort of a misnomer. It is Buddhism, containing all Buddhist forms, but also the Vajrayana or Mantrayana path. Like the Mahayana path, motivation is the most important part. The motivation of kindness and compassion through the Bodhisattva path of benefiting all beings.

Listen as we talk about motivation, faith as confidence, our weaknesses and their antidotes, and how "Buddhism is completely practical and makes your life better."

 
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In this first of a special series of episodes dedicated to honoring my teachers, I have a conversation with the spiritual head of The Bright Dawn Center of Oneness Buddhism, Rev. Koyo Kubose. It is with Bright Dawn and my Sensei, I learned how bring Buddhism into the everyday.

Listen as we discuss what the Bright Dawn Center of Oneness Buddhism and its Lay Ministry program is all about, from Rev. Koyo's perspective ... its historical influences, its mission, vision, and special niche as a program bringing the Dharma to everyone in an ordinary, everyday way.

We'll talk about the balance of gratitude, humility, ambiguity, uncertainty, perfect studentship, and — most importantly — naturalness, in Bright Dawn and it's lay ministers, as they bring the Dharma to the people.

 

 
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Join me for a special episode in honor of Bodhi Day, celebrating Shakyamuni Buddha's enlightenment. The long nights of December are marked by numerous celebrations using light as a symbol.

Bodhi Day can be adopted as a holiday for your own personal or family "culture." Light symbolizes a rekindling of the spiritual impulse and a turning toward awakening, toward enlightenment.

Bodhi Day is a time to celebrate our own awakening to the spirit of our Buddha Nature that is lighting our path with wisdom and embracing us with compassion. Happy Bodhi Day!

 
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In this episode I'll talk about my uneasy relationship with the 5 Precepts. Do they produce more questions—and more confusion—than answers? Do they cause more suffering than they prevent? I'll explore how, if looked at as rules and "thou shall not's", they set up barriers between Right View and the Dharma I believe the Buddha taught. And they can also separate people from each other and themselves, if they feel like failures.

When we work with the precepts, we do so with the understanding that "self" and "other" are delusions. There is nothing external to us acting as an authority. Clearing up ignorance is what alleviates suffering. This requires working with ourselves on a very deep and intimate level—honestly evaluating our own motivations and thinking deeply about how our actions will affect others.

Don't look "out there" for permission or an authority who will reward or punish us for breaking the "rules." This concept of ethics in the 5 Precepts is not one based on a transactional experience, but is firmly anchored in the non-dual perspective central to Buddhist philosophy.

 
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In this podcast we're going to talk about "Right Intention" or how to be less of a jerk. Trying to be less of a jerk requires action ... not just thinking.

We typically have trouble self-correcting, because we do things habitually or from a reactionary pattern. We never actually see ourselves doing them, until we complete the action. Being mindful is the process needed to accomplish change.

Discover the "magic power" of equanimity and learn about Thich Nhat Hanh's 4 practices of right intention.

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