Tag Archives: buddha

introducing zen-log

9 Feb

As a way to keep myself on track with my meditation I decided to record my sessions on my blog. This is mostly for me so I can hold myself accountable and write about anything interesting that comes up during meditation.

If you are uninterested in such things, feel free to ignore any posts labeled zen-log.

If you are a fellow meditator, feel free to have a look. I welcome any guidance that you may wish to offer.

the tectonic plates are shifting

2 Jan

I’ve been really cranky lately and I apologize. It’s no fun for anyone, especially me.

It’s just that I’ve been getting angry at everything. I feel like a bunch of repressed anger has started to bubble up from deep inside my core. The more of this stuff that pushes through the surface the bigger the cracks get, and then there’s room for more to bubble up.

Some of you probably know what the Buddha said about anger. I’ll paraphrase it: Anger is like a hot coal. You grasp it with the intention of hurling it at someone else, but you end up burning yourself.

But anger can also be a very useful emotion because it is what compels people to change things in their lives. Where you run into problems is when you’re angry about things that you have absolutely no control over. I would venture to guess that this would apply to most of the things we get angry about on a given day.

Some people also say that anger is a secondary emotion; that it only occurs in response to some other emotion, like sadness or pain. I can see how most of my anger comes from a place of pain or rejection, but can I do anything about that? Probably not. Not now at least. I can’t make all the assholes in the world be nice. I can’t go back in time and stand up for myself when I should have.

When you really get down to the brass tacks, I’m mostly just pissed at myself. For not turning out to be the person I thought  I should. For letting other people make me feel small. For being afraid. No, especially for being afraid. Luckily for me there is something I can do about that.

there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in

18 Aug
Image by Lynn Park

Image by Lynn Park

Like many people, I’m turning to my spiritual side in a time of turmoil. I’ve called myself a Buddhist for a few years now. I’ve joined Zen centers and gone on retreats and practiced meditation on and off. Now, I’m committing myself to a regular meditation practice.

I’ve started reading a lovely book by Susan Piver called The Wisdom of a Broken Heart. It has been very helpful for me. It looks at dealing with a breakup from a Buddhist slant, but could be helpful to people of any faith as it is not overtly dogmatic or religious. This Buddhist viewpoint tells us that it is best to acknowledge and allow ourselves to feel what we are feeling. We should lean into the pain without grasping on to it or pushing it away. Piver gives suggestions for a meditation practice and useful exercises peppered with personal anecdotes and observations about love and the human heart. I’m not usually into anything too new-agey, but this book is just right. Piver brings the good news that with a broken heart comes the opportunity for total transformation. She writes:

Although it is tremendously disorienting on one hand, on another, you will never see so clearly as you do when your heart is broken. If you’ve ever wanted to get at the truth about your life, your character and destiny, the depth of your friendships, you can choose to see these things now.

Something else that she brings up that I wholeheartedly agree with is that when one has a broken heart one has a unique opportunity to feel emotions more intensely and to empathize with others more completely.

When your heart is broken, sadness begins to soften you whether you want it to or not. Your normal defenses are gone. When you think of the pain you feel, the tears come. A sad movie or song could make you cry, but so could a happy one; the poignancy of any genuine emotion is inescapably touching. When you see that others are in pain, you cry for them, too. The world actually seems alive in a way it never had before – every moment seems laden with meaning.

…Heart break presents a very important choice: you can either open to it and allow it to soften and strengthen you, or you can fight it tooth and nail and turn away from it, which is tantamount to giving it permission to harden your heart.

In my experience this is utterly and completely true, and I intend to take full advantage of it.


9 Apr

I’ve fallen off the Buddhism wagon.  I didn’t want to, but it just sort of happened.  So many things have been taking up my time and I haven’t really been taking care of myself very well.

I need to figure out a way to devote some time to my own well-being.  And I need to stop being nervous about it and go to the Zen Center that’s near Bellefonte.  I’m just attached to my old center in NC, which is very un-Buddhist of me.

the buddha

8 Apr

The PBS documentary The Buddha is now available to watch on their website, in case you missed it on tv last night…or don’t have tv, like me.  It’s very exciting for me to see something that I believe in showcased like that.  Buddhism hasn’t been terribly visible in this country until recently.  Thank you, Tiger.

You should watch it, especially if you don’t know anything about the Buddha or Buddhism.  They interviewed some very insightful people and the graphics are beautiful.  Even though my interpretation of Buddhism is very nontraditional, I think it gives a good overview of Buddhism and dispels a lot of the preconceptions or erroneous ideas people have about it.

Hey, maybe it will make for fewer Dharma-Burgers.  A humble practitioner can hope, can’t she?


14 Mar

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

The Buddha

p.s. i love you

14 Feb

Come live in my heart and pay no rent.

~Samuel Lover

Valentine’s Day is a cliché, but so is hating Valentine’s Day.  I am guilty of the latter.  Even as an elementary school kid it caused me anxiety.  Although, I do like those little messenger heart candies.

I won’t go on about all of the obvious reasons why people dislike Valentine’s Day.  You’ve heard them before.  I’m a romantic;  I really am.  But this holiday just reminds me of my inadequacies.  Always has, and I don’t need any help in that department.

In Buddhism there’s the concept of loving-kindness, or mettā.  It’s sort of a universal love.  A compassion and love, without attachment or condition, for all people and all beings.  It’s easy to love someone we “fall in love” with.  It’s much harder to have love for everybody, nigh impossible perhaps.  But, I think it would benefit us all to cultivate this kind of love a little more.  We need a little more universal love, not just love for “our own.”  We need Mettā Day.

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples..  no need for complicated philosophy.  Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

~His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama

the greatest love of all

10 Feb

Whitney Houston was right.  To continue with the love theme for this month, here’s a quote from the big guy:

You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.

~The Buddha

mr. happiness

25 Jan

This monk in Japan is combining rap with Buddhism to attract more young people. Not a bad idea at all. But, it’s a little irritating how many times they use the words “religion” and “faith” during the report.


19 Jan

Courtesy of The Worst Horse

my brain has no game

7 Jan

Meditation is hard. But, it can be hard for lots of different reasons. It varies from day to day. Sometimes you’re tired and you’re trying to stay awake. Sometimes your leg is asleep or your back hurts and it’s distracting you. Sometimes you just can’t concentrate (monkey mind).

I’ve been having an anxiety problem lately. Trying to get through the whirlwind of obsessive thoughts has proven difficult. Last night, every time I would let go for a second I felt a sense of fear and the thoughts would come rushing back in. It’s as if I’m afraid to be alone with myself, without all of those pointless thoughts to distract me. It’s like I’m on a bad date with my brain; it gets freaked out by the awkward pause so it blurts out something nonsensical.

tiger as an unredeemable buddhist baddie

6 Jan

You may have seen Brit Hume’s comments about Tiger Woods already.  But if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat.

Whether he can recover as a person depends on his faith. He’s said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be: Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.

This clip has been going around the Buddhist websites lately.  Fortunately for Hume, Buddhists tend to refrain from mud-slinging.  Personally, I can’t help but comment.

  1. The comparison is faulty from the beginning because many of us don’t consider Buddhism to be a “faith” like other religions.
  2. Of course Christianity offers more redemption than Buddhism.  For redemption you need a redeemer.  We don’t have redeemers, gods, deities, etc.
  3. Forgiveness is another story.  Buddhism is all about forgiveness and compassion.  I’d say compassion is the most important principle in the entire Buddhist philosophy.  We seek forgiveness from the people that we have wronged and from ourselves.
  4. Maybe Brit is right about Tiger’s public image.  Maybe he needs to “get right with God” in order for the public to believe that he’s a changed man and like him again.  I think we should leave the guy alone and let him deal with his personal issues in private, where they belong….and yet I feel the need to blog about it.
  5. I don’t think it makes any difference which religion Tiger follows.  Everyone makes mistakes.  I won’t whip out the names of all of the Christian public figures that have been involved in sex scandals in recent years.
  6. Converting to Christianity will not make him a great example to the world.  Actually following the advice of any of the major world religions, Buddhism included, would have prevented his “bad behavior” in the first place.  And Christianity is not necessary in order to be a loving, compassionate, admirable person…….um hello, Ghandi.

the habits of happiness

26 Dec
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