I live in LaSalle County, Illinois. It’s a land dominated by cows, cornfields, American Legions and giant churches. There’s a bar for every corner, two churches for every bar, and 20 banks for every church. My neighbor’s rooster sometimes wakes me up in the morning, and last week my mom had to usher a small […]
I was reading an article by someone who attended an SN Goenka Vipassana retreat in the Himalayas. The article was about what it means to be Awake. The author asked us to focus on the breath for a few minutes. If we drift away from the breath into a daydream, or if we’re distracted by […]
The Heart Sutra is one of the most Buddhisty Buddhist texts, and it’s one of the cornerstones of Zen. It’s one of the shortest Sutras ever written because it’s kind of a summary of all the various Prajnaparamita scriptures (including the Diamond Sutra). It’s a popular part of Zen liturgies and serves as a nice […]
We’re very sure of ourselves and our interpretations of reality considering that we’re naked ground monkeys. We can’t see infrared with the naked eye, or hear 25 kHz with the unaided ear. No matter what we do, we’re never going to experience totality to its maximum. It’s beyond our senses. But, we can experience totality […]
2,600 years ago (give or take a century), a man took a dump. It was an impressive dump. A perfect BM. So perfect that everyone marveled at it and decided to put it in a shoe box for safe keeping. When it dried out, they painted it gold and put it on an altar. They […]
A huatou is a question that we’re trying to answer without the intellect. It’s like a koan, but sexier. Huatou practice depends on Great Trust, Great Doubt, and Great Determination.
All the world’s adrift, like an empty boat on an endless sea. And not just the world. Galaxies. Universes. Cells. Even black holes. All that moves in time and space. It’s not a wild drift. It turns like a clock face, perpetuating an uninterrupted cycle of rise, stabilize, decline, dissolve and re-arising. Inside and out […]
Sometimes, I forget that I have bipolar disorder. Sometimes the shifts and swings are so gradual and nuanced, so smoothed out by practice that I don’t even notice them. Other times, well, they’re front and center. They rampage, they grip me like a vice. Monday night was great. I was up, I felt so energized […]
It’s like this: We have a beam of white light. Well, that’s how it appears, anyway. Then we hold up a prism, and a full array of colors come shooting out the other side. Anatta (not-self) is just like that. It seems like there’s someone in our bodies and minds running the show, like the […]
We can’t define ourselves, others, and life based on comparisons because there’s always another side to it that calls BS. Even my lifelong depression takes a hit when I ask, “Depressed compared to what? Anxious compared to what?”
Who am I when I suspend these comparisons? What do I feel? What do I want? Am I suddenly a happy, handsome, famous writer? No, but suddenly that isn’t as important anymore. But not important compared to what?
The path to freedom from suffering is essentially a path of freedom from the view, “I’m suffering.”