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Blind Men and Elephant story

This version of this famous story comes from In the Buddha’s Words:  An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon, Bhikkhu Bodhi, ed. (Boston:  Wisdom, 2005). Commentary Though the Buddha’s story was about other sects, his point is a general one. …

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2 Zen Monks

This version of this classic Zen story is from T. P. Kasulus’s Zen Action Zen Person (The University of Hawaii, 1981). (On Thursday evenings I lead a meditation group at a nearby prison.  Usually, after two 35-minute rounds of fomal seated zazen, which…

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Story about The Buddha and Kisagotami

This is the famous story of Kisagatomi as retold by The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D., in The Art of Happiness (N.Y.:  Riverhead, 1998).  After this experience, Kisagotami joined the Buddha’s Sangha [community of practitioners].  

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Story about The Buddha and the farmer

This very short story of The Buddha and the farmer comes from Steve Hagen’s Buddhism Plain and Simple [N.Y.:  Broadway, 1997].  I recorded it on SpeakPipe; you may need to turn up the volume.

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Success or Mastery — Which is More Important?

“Success” and “mastery” must be understood before the question can be answered. I’m here using the concepts in an ordinary, but regimented, way. One way to explain the difference quickly is to use the ancient symbol of the cross, two straight…

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The Work

Unlike [physical] pain, suffering is optional.  The question is: ‘What’s the best way to reduce or eliminate suffering?’ There’s no one way that works best for everyone.  There are a number of methods and the one that is most effective…

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How Does Consciousness Relate to Living Well?

Getting past form consciousness is the secret to living well. The terminological confusion surrounding the idea of getting beyond form consciousness is regrettable.  Frankly, in large part because of the confusing welter of different words and phrases, it took me…

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Rising Above Thought

Rising above thought is all about liberation from thought prison. Are you living in thought prison? Almost certainly, the answer is ‘Yes.’ How can you tell? Are you addicted to thoughts? Are you compelled always to be thinking? Are you…

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Your Life Story

Your life story will end with decline and death. That’s not being morbid; it’s being truthful. It’s the same for me and everyone else. The relevant question is: “How should we respond?” We instinctively react with fear. We fear death….

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Expectancy

Living well is living without expectancy. This means living without psychological waiting, without thinking about (imagining, hoping for) a better future. In other words, living well is sometimes characterized as living without depending upon thought (“no-thought”). We often miss life…

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