Devotion

Forms include chanting, pilgrimage, honoring one's teachers and the teachings, and deity worship
  • Lost in Capitulation Paid Member

    A life-affirming Buddhism that teaches us to find happiness by opening to the richness of our everyday lives. That's what we want—or so we're told by the people who try to sell us a mainstreamlined Buddhism. But is it what we need? And is it Buddhism? More »
  • Turning Intention into Motivation Paid Member

    Framing our days between intention setting and joyful dedication, even once a week, can change how we live. It's a purposeful approach of self-awareness, conscious intention, and focused effort—three precious gifts of contemplative practice—by which we take responsibility for our thoughts and actions and take charge of our selves and our lives. As the Buddha put it, "You are your own enemy / and you are your own savior. " More »
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    Making the Sangha Whole Again Paid Member

    In Buddhism, the standard phrase to refer to the transition of becoming a monastic is “to go forth from home into homelessness.” The Pali term for “going forth,” pabbajja, is now also used to mean a monastic candidate’s first ordination by which one becomes a novice monk (samanera) or nun (samaneri). From there, a candidate can pursue higher ordination as a fully ordained monk (bhikkhu) or nun (bhikkhuni), one who follows the full extent of the Vinaya, the Buddhist monastic code. More »
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    The Benevolence of the True Teachers Paid Member

    Such is the benevolence of Amida’s great compassion,That we must strive to return it, even to the breaking of our bodies; Such is the benevolence of the masters and true teachers,That we must endeavor to repay it, even to our bones becoming dust.Hymns of the Dharma-Ages, 59. More »
  • A Pilgrimage Among Friends Paid Member

    Chances are you have never heard of the Kumbh Mela. Any coverage of the event on Western television is usually given short shrift, the name translated with a shrug as “The Festival of the Pot.” A crowd shot, and some mention of how many people attended, given in millions. Indians themselves record the numbers in lakh or chror—for in a country of over a billion people isn't it more useful to count in multiples of a hundred thousand or ten million? On the television screen you might see ten seconds of local color: hoards of Naga Babas, warrior ascetics with streaming dreadlocks, storming into the waters clad only in marigolds and ashes. And you think, "How exotic!" but you can have no notion of the event itself. More »
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    The Crown Exit Paid Member

    Last winter I made a pilgrimage to Bodh Gaya for an intensive phowa course with Ayang Rinpoche. This practice, he explained, "is the quickest and most direct path for ending the cycle of rebirth." It involves learning to transfer consciousness out of the body through the crown of the head at the moment of death. Ayang Rinpoche, a Tibetan tulku of the Drikung Kagyu lineage, teaches phowa courses throughout the West and Asia. I had taken this course with him in New York City two years ago. It was extremely detailed and complex, and I had difficulty digesting it. I was also looking for an excuse to go to India. I had not returned since 1974 when I had first taken refuge vows and spent New Year's Eve at the stupa in Bodh Gaya. More »