Buddhist Teachings

  • The Universe in a Single Spoon Paid Member

    Wash the dish. Totally. Hold nothing back. Feel the warmth of the water. Look at the reflection of the light on the surfaces of things. Let your fingers touch the sides of the knife blade, the flat of the spatula, the rim of the dishpan. Don’t think about things. These thoughts are merely distractions and diversions from what it is you’re really doing. Feel what you are actually holding in your hands. Feel the genuine energy of your body as it engages in this activity. Notice the different materials that your dishes and utensils are made from. Concentrate on simply washing, rinsing, and drying each spoon and plate, and you will begin to develop your own individual style of handling things. More »
  • Finding Freedom in Letting Go Paid Member

    Letting go of fixation is effectively a process of learning to be free, because every time we let go of something, we become free of it. Whatever we fixate upon limits us because fixation makes us dependent upon something other than ourselves. Each time we let go of something, we experience another level of freedom. - Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche, from Tricycle, Fall 2004 Read the complete article here. Sign up for the Daily Dharma or Tricycle Community Newsletter More »
  • Stress: A Weekend Retreat with Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman Paid Member

    It goes without saying that our lives are filled with stress—many translators use "stress" as the English translation of dukkha, as in the first Noble Truth. For the benefit of the stressed-out among us—and who isn't—Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman are offering a weekend retreat on stress at Menla Mountain Center near Woodstock, New York. The dates are September 25th-27th, 2009. From the flyer: More »
  • Become Aware of Awareness Paid Member

    The goal of attention, or shamatha, practice is to become aware of awareness. Awareness is the basis, or what you might call the “support,” of the mind. It is steady and unchanging, like the pole to which the flag of ordinary consciousness is attached. When we recognize and become grounded in awareness, the “wind” of emotion may still blow. But instead of being carried away by the wind, we turn our attention inward, watching the shifts and changes with the intention of becoming familiar with that aspect of consciousness that recognizes Oh, this is what I’m feeling, this is what I’m thinking. As we do so, a bit of space opens up within us. More »
  • "The Most Important Insight of the Buddha" Paid Member

    I read the following quote this weekend: "The single most important or most basic insight of the historical Buddha is the claim that who we are and what we think exists is a function of our mind and its cognitive powers. In other words, it is our mind and our uses of it that determine how we see and understand our self, the world, and other things." - Stephen J. Laumakis, An Introduction to Buddhist Philosophy This is from a textbook describing Buddhism in relation to competing schools of thought in ancient India, and I suppose I don't really disagree, but something about it rubbed me the wrong way. I guess it's because it's taking Buddhism purely as a philosophy and missing out on the experiential part of practice. More »
  • The path doesn’t save all its pleasure for the end. You can enjoy it now. Paid Member

    When explaining meditation, the Buddha often drew analogies with the skills of artists, carpenters, musicians, archers, and cooks. Finding the right level of effort, he said, is like a musician’s tuning of a lute. Reading the mind’s needs in the moment—to be gladdened, steadied, or inspired—is like a palace cook’s ability to read and please the tastes of a prince. Thai forest monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu teaches the joy of effort by explaining that "the path doesn’t save all its pleasure for the end. You can enjoy it now." Read the rest here. [Image: Explosions in the Sky, David Poppie, 2007, mixed-media collage, 24 x 24 in.] More »