In this commentary on a traditional Guru Rinpoche visualization, the contemporary Dzogchen master Tulku Thondup Rinpoche reveals the deep nontheistic essence of Vajrayana practice. We receive the true blessings of the enlightened ones when our mind and theirs become one.
Ezra Bayda, Judith Simmer-Brown, and Kamala Masters discuss how to identify obstacles in your practice, apply antidotes that work, and deepen your meditation in the process.
Zen priest and professional facilitator catherine toldi examines the painful conflicts that can arise in sanghas and offers practical advice on how to deal with them.
After caring for his ailing mother for nine years, Ajahn Viradhammo reflects on self-sacrifice and the importance of cultivating a strong and expansive heart.
One thing that comes up a lot for me is the limitation of personality. There’s something about it that doesn’t change very much.
by Andrew Olendzki
In classical Buddhist teaching, meditation (samadhi) has always been sandwiched between integrity (sila) on the one hand and wisdom (pañña) on the other. Indeed, this is what makes it Buddhist. As a technology for the attenuation of consciousness, meditation had been practiced by yogis for centuries before the Buddha, but in his hands it became a tool for the deep transformation of character that results in liberation of the mind from the toxins that cause suffering.
My teacher died twenty-two years ago. Since then I have maintained my connection to the sangha and still practice in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. But that’s only two of the three jewels. Am I doing myself and the tradition a disservice by trying to practice Buddhism without a guru? Would I be better off opting for another practice—perhaps secular mindfulness—that I can do without a teacher?
Zenkei Blanche Hartman:Certainly I think practicing the Buddha Way without a teacher is better than not practicing at all. However, you have not said anything about why you want to practice without a teacher. Do you live in a location where there are no teachers available? Does it feel somehow disloyal to your original teacher for you to work with a new teacher? Have you asked this question of your deceased teacher in your heart during meditation?
Sumi Loundon Kim presents a new model for family-centered dharma communities.
Ed Gensho Welsh, a longtime member of the Zen Community of Oregon, posted the following on BuddhistGeeks.com:
In the USA, many couples start attending church after having a baby. And most churches have the resources to support them. In American Buddhism, the pattern appears to be the opposite: have a baby and disappear. But then, do most sanghas offer the support that churches do? The answer to Ed’s question is no—most Buddhist communities whose membership consists primarily of American Buddhist converts have not created ongoing ways for the whole family to participate.
Reviewed by Annabella Pitkin
Imagine opening a book about what we would today call Buddhism and reading that it is an Egyptian religion and that the Buddha was a former Egyptian priest exiled from his country during a Persian invasion twenty-three hundred years ago. Or think of reading, in a different treatise on the Buddha, that “We are compelled therefore to believe... that Buddha and [the Norse god] Woden are the same deity, and consequently that the theology of the Gothic and Saxon tribes was a modification of Buddhism...”