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September 12, 2012
There is a Buddhist meditation practice called Tonglen. In Tibetan, tong means “sending out” and len means “receiving.” So Tonglen is known as the practice of sending and taking, or of exchanging self for other. Instead of inhaling what makes us feel good and exhaling what makes us feel bad, this practice asks that we do the opposite. We breathe in the suffering of others by visualizing it as dark, hot, sticky soot and smoke coming into our lungs. We breathe out what is positive in the form of air that is light, bright, clean, and cool. In this way, we volunteer to take in some portion of the world’s suffering and offer up to it whatever good we possess.
On this date eleven years ago, I decided to drive into Manhattan. Continue
My heart (and everyone’s heart) goes out to the citizens of Aurora and beyond. We all want to do something to help. I decided to repost this piece in case it’s useful.
September 12, 2011
There is a Buddhist meditation practice called Tonglen. In Tibetan, tong means “sending out” and len means “receiving.” So Tonglen is known as the practice of sending and taking, or of exchanging self for other. Instead of inhaling what makes us feel good and exhaling what makes us feel bad, this practice asks that we do the opposite. We breathe in the suffering of others by visualizing it as dark, hot, sticky, soot and smoke coming into our lungs. We breathe out what is positive in the form of air that is light, bright, clean, and cool. In this way, we volunteer to take in some portion of the world’s suffering and offer up to it whatever good we possess.
On this day ten years ago, I decided to drive into Manhattan. Continue
What does it mean to “set an intention?” Is it about trying to attract all the things you want? Well, sort of. And not at all. The video above says more.
This video is an example of the dharma talks I send out twice a week to members of the Open Heart Project. Also included is a 10-minute meditation video. Please sign up!
Some thoughts on some of the most basic misconceptions and nutty side trips we all make when it comes to meditation We can’t hear these things too many times.
And now, without further ado, please do not: Continue
Last week, we discussed two of the three aspects of the awakened mind—compassion and wisdom. Today I’d like to offer a (very) few thoughts on the third quality—power.
When we think about the quality of power, I’m sure many things come to mind. Some are positive—the certainty of a strong ruler or the beneficence of a saint. Some are not so positive—the authoritarianism of, say, teachers or bosses, or those who have influence over us due to wealth, beauty, or position.
However the Buddhist view of power has nothing to do with becoming a ruler or a saint (not that there is anything wrong with that), nor is it about authority, influence, or control. The Buddhist definition has more to do with the ability to see clearly. Continue
I want to speak to you about the most controversial, incendiary notion in the entire world, the one that, if you are looking to cause a commotion, disturb the status quo, or get into a fight, is the thing you should say.
Are you ready?
Are you sure you’re ready?
All beings are basically good.
There, I said it. Continue
The Open Heart Project is designed to help you find your unique path with meditation as a support. Whether you are a Christian, Jew, Atheist, or none of the above, meditation provides a powerful foundation from which to explore your world. No one has to be (or pretend to be) a Buddhist to receive this support.
However, sometimes members of the OHP ask me questions about Buddhism, which I love. One of the more regular questions I get is, “What does it mean to become a Buddhist? How do you actually do that?” Continue
This past Monday, I went to hear a talk from the wonderful Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Tsoknyi Rinpoche who has a new book called Open Heart, Open Mind. I haven’t read it yet, but it sounds great. And I loved what he had to say about it.
He started out by saying that when he first came to the West to teach, he really focused on (and I’m paraphrasing here) explaining the essential points of the dharma as clearly as possible. People picked up on this very quickly, he said. But something wasn’t quite right. They seemed to comprehend the outer meaning but not, as he phrased it, the “heart meaning.” He realized, he said, that in the West cognitive ability is very, very strong—but emotional comprehension is weak. In the East, he continued, heart energy is good. People are more likely to feel happy and the focus on “getting things done” may take a back seat. For us, it is the opposite, even, he hinted, extremely so. And when cognitive capability is emphasized and emotional intelligence is not and it’s all married to a fear-based education system that encourages accomplishment over all things—it can be quite difficult to understand and apply the dharma. Continue
At the end of meditation or yoga practice, it is common for the teacher to bow. Maybe you bow back, maybe you don’t, but it’s worth taking a look at the gesture in any case.
Bowing has actually become a semi-normal part of pop culture. I’ve seen politicians bow after making a speech, actors on sitcoms bowing to indicate some kind of affinity with yogadom, and pals who bow as a way of saying “hello”, “goodbye”, “good point”, or “awesome”.
While some might think of bowing as indicating an affinity for the worlds of eastern thought, others of us may find it a bit questionable, like, “why should I bow to you?” Isn’t bowing some kind of subservient gesture? Continue