insights

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    The Theater of Reflection Paid Member

    When we’re watching a movie in the theatre, we can relax and enjoy the show because we know it’s an illusion. This magical display that we’re watching is the result of a projector, film, light, screen, and our own perceptions coming together. In separate momentary flashes of color, shapes, and sound, they create an illusion of continuity, which we perceive as characters, scenery, movement, and language. What we call “reality” works much the same way. Our ability to know, our sense perceptions, the seeds of our past karma, and the phenomenal world all come together to create life’s “show.” All of these elements share a dynamic relationship, which keeps things moving and interesting. This is known as interdependence. More »
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    Time Revisited Paid Member

    Usually we think of time in the common sense, as a stream running from the past through the present to the future. We think that way because we base our idea of time on the law of cause and effect. If someone hits you, you feel pain, so your human consciousness creates an idea of time that connects the past, present, and future. Then you believe that time is passing quickly and is characterized by the continuous existence of separate beings. More »
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    Taking a Stand Paid Member

    Boundaries play an interesting and sometimes complicated role in developing compassion. They are like the stake and wires that are used to help keep young trees rooted and growing straight. Early on in our practice or when we’re faced with difficult, new challenges, a lack of healthy boundaries can lead to our compassion being blown away before it’s had a chance to take root. As we develop, though, boundaries held too tightly can stifle our compassion and keep it from reaching maturity. In the process of developing compassion, we need to become skillful at knowing when to apply boundaries and when to relax or release them. More »
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    Don't Get Mad, Don't Get Even Paid Member

    This article is featured in Tricycle Teachings: Anger. Sustaining and supporting members can download the e-book for free here. “To bear disgrace and insult” is the most important virtue a person can possibly cultivate, because the ability to forbear is enormously powerful, since a moment of anger can destroy an entire lifetime of merits. More »
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    When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Bites Paid Member

    Some years ago, my first Buddhist teacher got permission for me to do a retreat in Korea that is usually attended only by monks. I was the only layperson there, an American at that, and we took a vow not to move while sitting. There was a great deal of ego involved. I felt as if I were sitting there holding the flag. The official American meditator of the Olympic games.At the beginning of one morning sitting, after the first minute or so, I was bitten by a mosquito. This is a rather ordinary event, but it marked a major turning point in my practice. I am actually deeply grateful to that Korean mosquito. She was just doing her job, of course. She was being a mosquito. But the bite really started to itch. I didn’t think I could stand it. There I sat, with 58 minutes between me and the opportunity to scratch. More »
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    How a Tomato Opened My Mind Paid Member