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Buddhism Teacher

"A Buddhist is primarily a person in search of a satisfying life while pursuing enlightenment and practicing compassion and loving kindness"

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Archive for the ‘Buddhanature’ Category

Snakes in the Grads

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Graduation CapLast month I attended the high school graduation ceremonies of my grandson, Kai, where one of his teachers at Westmark School, Lauren Roedy, gave the graduation address. I was so moved by it, in fact my eyes rained a bit, that I asked her if she would send it to me and permit me to share it with you in this Newsletter and website blog. She agreed and included the following note:

I start my classes off with three deep breaths every day. I


Becoming Mindfulness

Friday, May 27th, 2011

The practice of mindfulness is one of Buddhism’s antidotes for getting rid of frustrations, anxieties and suffering, so common to those of us who have not yet discovered that there is no need to experience these avoidable consequences of life.

raftMindfulness means being focused on each present moment of one’s existing experience or activity; not only occasionally or when meditating, but at all times. When one practices mindfulness the aim is to become mindfulness; to constantly be mindful of and in the present. If the purpose of our meditation is to be the present moment, not just to be aware of it, then the practice of it is no longer necessary.


Sharing Our Joys and Sorrows with Friends

Monday, March 21st, 2011

What would life be like without friends? Not too good, at best. Even some of our relatives wind up also being our friends. Although, I don’t have any brothers or sisters, I have had a lot of cousins, even second and third ones, who have been kind of like siblings to me; and some of them were among my closest friends. I also have some non-relatives who have been my most beloved and cherished friends for many decades; a few for over half a century. Over the years we’ve shared our joys and sorrows with each other; we’ve laughed and cried (a little) together, and we’ve stayed connected. In many ways, we’ve been dependent on each other and have given support and comfort whenever needed. But isn’t that what friends are for?

Back in 1982, Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager wrote a song in answer to that question; Dionne Warwick’s recording of it is an all-time classic.


The Art of Suffering

Friday, January 14th, 2011

It now has been a dozen years since I read The Art of Happiness, co-authored by Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama from Tibet and Howard Cutler, M.D., the psychiatrist and (now) best-selling author, from Phoenix, Arizona.

Dalai Lama


Warm Wishes for a Wonderful 2011

Friday, January 14th, 2011


Since our last communication, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the first of January have been here and left, and we are left with only memories of those celebrations and commemorations. On Thanksgiving Day I paused and thought about how fortunate and thankful I am to be writing blogs and newsletters to friends all over the globe, and receiving comments and emails back expressing friendship, loving kindness and a feeling of oneness through our BuddhismTeacher sangha. (more…)

Enjoying Your Trip down the Yellow Brick Road

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow the Yellow Brick Road.
Follow the Yellow Brick, Follow the Yellow Brick,
The Wizard of Oz

Follow the Yellow Brick Road.


Walking the Path of Vipassana

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Who doesn’t like a treat? But even better than a treat is a retreat; and that’s what I just came back from . . . a 10-day meditation retreat at Yosemite. I felt somewhat like Prince Siddhartha Gotama must have felt when he sat down under a tree 2500 years ago, experienced vipassana, and became the Buddha. I know I didn’t become a Buddha, but I do feel like I experienced some vipassana, some insight or enlightenment.

WalkwayAs said by S. N. Goenka, the re-discoverer of this ancient vipassana method of meditation, “The technique of vipassana is a simple, practical way to achieve real peace of mind and to lead a happy, useful life; vipassana means ‘to see things as they really are’, through self-observation.” A part of seeing things or better, feeling things as they really are (some things are so small they can’t be seen) includes becoming sensitive to the ever-changing, constantly dying and birthing of kalapas, those tiny microscopic particles that make up the basic units of matter and come into and out of existence many thousands of times per second. Feeling them leads to discovering and hopefully eliminating, or at least lessening, one’s own sangkaras, those nagging desires for things to satisfy one’s senses or to get rid of the things one doesn’t like or want. Sangkaras are what really cause all of our problems in this life: we don’t get all the things we want, we don’t want all the things we get, and we think life is all about satisfying those desires.


Along Came a Spider

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

A few mornings ago, I had a reminder of how good it feels when we help others and share with them our love and other little things we have lying around. That morning, when I turned on the shower preparing for my daily water-cleansing ritual, I spied a little black, short-legged spider skidding along the bottom of the tub seemingly not knowing how she arrived at the predicament she was in. Because of the nature of her body and the slipperiness of the tub, she was unable to get out of it and her dilemma.

Being a Buddhist and committed to encouraging life not ending it, I view all life as precious, including creepy crawlers. So I immediately had compassion for her. But I found myself in a predicament, too: how to help the spider out of the tub and her situation and proceed with my shower with only me getting wet and not this tiny reflection of consciousness.


The Giver and the Getter

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Does it seem like in recent months more and more people are asking you to share with them your possessions or your money? Does your mail box seem to be overloaded with requests from non-profits, charitable organization and political parties? Do you notice an increase in the number of people standing with their hand out in front of the super market and at stop signs? To give or not to give, that is the question.monks

A lot of people and organization these days are having a tough time making ends meet; churches, temples, mosques and gurdwaras, are no exceptions. I don’t know of any religion that doesn’t encourage the practice of giving. It’s one of Buddhism’s Five Precepts. Usually these are stated in the negative: no killing, no lying, no drugs or alcohol, no improper sex and no stealing, But stated in the positive they are: encouraging life, speaking the truth, consuming nourishing food and drink, treating everyone with respect, and giving generously. But who is really the giver and who is the getter?


Them, Us and You Equal Me

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

In a world that seemingly grows smaller as we grow older, it becomes easier to experience and understand our connectedness and dependence on others, many others. In Buddhist teachings, this realization translates into realistic and enlightened thinking about the nature of oneself and winds up in the conclusion that actually there is no oneself at all, there is only parts of the whole. In other words, we are not only interdependent and interconnected; we are one.

And not only is our conviction to our separateness a delusion, it is a harmful conclusion and leads us into acting upon this false belief. It leads us into taking the poisons that make us sick. Buddhism calls this sickness dukkha, which means suffering and that includes pain, frustration, anxiety and just plain unsatisfactoriness. How does thinking of ourselves as separate have the consequences of poisoning ourselves and making ourselves sick?