Teachings and Texts

  • Dharma 101 Paid Member

    Dharma 101 is a sampling of the questions that commonly arise in the course of practice. In some cases, Buddhist teachers themselves identified the questions they most frequently hear from students. To those, we brought experiences from workshops, retreats, and classes—and asked some questions of our own. While the inquiries may sound familiar to many dharma practitioners, the responses may not. This may point to a difference in view or understanding between teachers. Or it may indicate a difference in tradition. More »
  • The First Teachings Paid Member

    THE FIRST TIME I heard my Buddhist teachers explain the Four Noble Truths—beginning  with "life is dukkha" (unsatisfying, painful by its very nature, unreliable even when it is pleasant because it is always  changing)—I thought, "They're telling the truth. These people are talking about exactly what I'm worried about. They know what the real problem is. And they promise a solution." More »
  • The Merit of Becoming a Monk Paid Member

    THE BODHISATIVA NAGARJUNA [2nd-century Indian adept] asked himself, "If we follow even the [Buddhist] precepts for laymen we can be born in the celestial world, attain the way of Bodhisattvas, and realize enlightenment. Why, then, is there any need to follow the precepts for monks?" In answer to his own question he replied, "Although it is true that both laymen and monks can realize enlightenment, there is a difference in the relative difficulty each encounters. Because laymen have to make a living, it's difficult for them to devote themselves completely to Buddhist training. If they attempt to do so, their livelihood will be endangered, while if they do the opposite, they must necessarily neglect their practice of the Way. To attempt to do both at the same time is not an easy matter. More »
  • The Buddha's Robe Paid Member

    I AM SEWING MY FIRST RAKUSU—the rectangular bib-like garment that is worn by Zen Buddhists. It is formally conferred during jukai, the ceremo­ny of taking refuge in the Buddha and receiving the precepts. Unlike many people I know, I have never wanted a rakusu. I do have a narrow black doth band (a wagesa) that I received during my first jukai many years ago, but I keep it folded in a comer of my drawer—my sock drawer. Some­times I feel a pang of remorse that for so long l have allowed it to lie among my socks, socks that slide along the floor and gather dust balls and the smell of sweat and leather. But the truth is that hidden among my socks there are also a few family jewels: an amber bracelet from Poland, a black onyx crucifix that belonged to Great-Aunt Maria, my mother's moonstone bracelet. More »
  • From "Teachings on Mindfulness" Paid Member

    And how, monks, does a monk abide contemplating the body as body? Here a monk, having gone into the forest, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty place, sits down cross-legged, holding his body erect, having established mindfulness before him. Mindfully he breathes in, mindfully he breathes out. Breathing in a long breath, he knows that he breathes in a long breath, and breathing out a long breath, he knows that he breathes out a long breath. Breathing in a short breath, he knows that he breathes in a short breath, and breathing out a short breath, he knows that he breathes out a short breath. More »
  • Being Natural Paid Member

    Let it go and be spontaneous,Experience no going or staying. Accord with your nature, unite with the Way, Wander at ease, without vexation.     More »