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Last Build Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2017 22:50:59 +0000

 



Meditators Under the Microscope

Sat, 16 Dec 2017 19:39:00 +0000

Great read about the science of mindfulness: What we know, what we don’t know, and what the future holds. Especially interesting is the move in neuroscience concerning the conversion of states into traits. Source: Meditators Under the Microscope

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The Rohingya Muslim refugee crisis 

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 05:15:12 +0000

It’s worthy for us to consider how Myanmar, with its Buddhist leanings, might appropriately adjust policy relating to the Rohingya Muslims in a more compassionate way. Source: The Rohingya refugee crisis is the worst in decades – Daily chart

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Dalai Lama: Our Future Is Very Much in Our Hands – The New York Times

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 17:42:33 +0000

Thought this was worthy of humanity’s consideration… Within each of us exists the potential to contribute positively to society. Although one individual among so many on this planet may seem too insignificant to have much of an effect on the course of humanity, it is our personal efforts that will determine the direction our society […]

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We’re Back!

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 16:50:39 +0000

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How Mindfulness Propelled USA Olympic Water Polo Player Merrill Moses To The Olympics

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 22:00:28 +0000

It’s one thing to play in a single Olympic Games–but add a second and then a third opportunity and then you wonder how Team USA Water Polo goalkeeper Merrill Moses, 38—and on the cusp of turning 39—remains physically sharp and mentally prepared to play a game where the majority of […] Source: How Mindfulness Propelled […]

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My Meditation Binge, in a Nutshell

Sat, 30 Apr 2016 03:27:01 +0000

In a city full of fitness and wellness tribes, it can be seemingly impossible to break into a new one — but not when it comes to joining the growing group of meditators. Last week, a New York Times article explored the “mainstream business practice and a kind of industry in its own right” that meditation has […]

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Be Aware

Mon, 07 Mar 2016 01:50:10 +0000

Thought this was interesting: “There are no nouns in the universe, only verbs. Everything is energy, nothing is real”, said Chopra in his opening remarks. Summarizing enlightenment, he said, “Be aware. This is the key to waking up.” Similarly, Tolle remarked, “Consciousness is where experience occurs. I am consciousness. Simply knowing that and slipping into […]

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What Happens When Your Guru Disappears? – The Daily Beast

Tue, 01 Dec 2015 00:38:47 +0000

I thought this was interesting. No one is immune to this kind of thing, especially teachers. It’s worth the read. What happens when the guru up and quits? The controversial American spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen did just that about two years ago, and his disappearing act became an enduring mystery in the New Age world. In […]

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Oops…

Mon, 30 Nov 2015 08:30:33 +0000

Sorry it’s taken so long to get back into the swing. Truth be told, we’ll be catching up for a while. The past couple of years have been interesting with growth on the part of Sangha participation and yet there’s been a steady withering away of our online presence. This is most likely because we […]

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Pointing Toward Enlightenment

Tue, 04 Mar 2014 08:10:06 +0000

Consectetuer arcu ipsum ornare pellentesque vehicula, in vehicula diam, ornare magna erat felis wisi a risus. Justo fermentum id. Malesuada eleifend, tortor molestie, a fusce 
a vel et. Mauris at suspendisse, neque aliquam faucibus adipiscing, vivamus in. Wisi mattis leo suscipit nec amet, 
nisl fermentum tempor ac a, augue in eleifend in venenatis, cras sit […]

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Calamity’s Twin

Thu, 27 Feb 2014 08:07:38 +0000

Consectetuer arcu ipsum ornare pellentesque vehicula, in vehicula diam, ornare magna erat felis wisi a risus. Justo fermentum id. Malesuada eleifend, tortor molestie, a fusce 
a vel et. Mauris at suspendisse, neque aliquam faucibus adipiscing, vivamus in. Wisi mattis leo suscipit nec amet, 
nisl fermentum tempor ac a, augue in eleifend in venenatis, cras sit […]

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The Realm Beyond Right and Wrong

Tue, 25 Feb 2014 08:07:38 +0000

Days after the Boston bombing, Michael offered this talk about how all of us have the capacity to cling and become unconscious. He also points out that we all have the ability to move past clinging so that we can truly "run again" by looking outside of ourselves and by looking inside. The look inside, […]

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Cool Communication With Those That Are Hot

Tue, 04 Feb 2014 08:07:37 +0000

Consectetuer arcu ipsum ornare pellentesque vehicula, in vehicula diam, ornare magna erat felis wisi a risus. Justo fermentum id. Malesuada eleifend, tortor molestie, a fusce 
a vel et. Mauris at suspendisse, neque aliquam faucibus adipiscing, vivamus in. Wisi mattis leo suscipit nec amet, 
nisl fermentum tempor ac a, augue in eleifend in venenatis, cras sit […]

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Stillness. Wisdom. Compassion.

Sat, 24 Aug 2013 19:18:41 +0000

Join us.

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Come join us.

Tue, 20 Aug 2013 14:58:08 +0000

Come join us., a photo by Butsu Sho on Flickr.

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Meditation Is No Fad. It Could Make Your Career…

Thu, 27 Jun 2013 01:39:48 +0000

The recognition of meditations professional application, in my view, is such a welcome sign. I should also say that I’ve enjoyed my experiences at Wisdom 2.0 conferences. My only concern with the article centers around the suggestion in the piece that the “code” of “enlightenment” is something that some teachers say can be cracked. While […]

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Spiritual But Not Religious

Thu, 16 May 2013 14:54:34 +0000

Cool article… There can be little doubt that traditional religious frameworks are no longer speaking to new generations as they have in the past, especially in the West. In a recent article in the LA Times, Philip Clayton, Dean of Faculty at Claremont School of Theology, writes that the fastest growing religious group in the […]

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Come join us…

Fri, 03 May 2013 14:05:51 +0000

Spring 2013 Day-long Intensive The Power of Vulnerability Saturday, May 11, 2013 GREEN GULCH FARM ZEN CENTER This one-day sitting will involve sitting and walking meditation, Dharma talks, Q & A and, by request, private interviews with Michael. Confirmation will be sent to you when your $80 payment is received. Click the link below and you will be taken […]

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What do we do with criticism?

Thu, 25 Apr 2013 01:58:18 +0000

Commuter Zen #98

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What should I do with intense craving?

Wed, 10 Apr 2013 15:50:29 +0000

Commuter Zen #97

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Springtime at San Francisco Zen Center

Wed, 03 Apr 2013 20:52:20 +0000

Springtime at San Francisco Zen Center, a photo by Butsu Sho on Flickr.

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Come Join Us…

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 15:42:19 +0000

Spring 2013 Day-long Intensive The Power of Vulnerability Saturday, May 11, 2013 GREEN GULCH FARM ZEN CENTER This one-day sitting will involve sitting and walking meditation, Dharma talks, Q & A and, by request, private interviews with Michael. Confirmation will be sent to you when your $80 payment is received. Click the link below and you will be taken […]

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Retreaters

Tue, 19 Mar 2013 21:35:36 +0000

Retreaters, a photo by Butsu Sho on Flickr.

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Mother Teresa: Product of Hype?

Wed, 06 Mar 2013 18:37:03 +0000

Watching this story play out should be interesting. A new study by Canadian academics says Mother Teresa was a product of hype who housed the poor and sick in shoddy conditions, despite her access to a fortune. The Times of India, reporting on the controversial essay, wrote that the authors asserted Mother Teresa saw beauty in the […]

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Don’t Attach to Non-Attachment

Wed, 06 Mar 2013 17:31:22 +0000

Lew Richmond offers up a great article on the Huffington Post: “Emptiness” is a central teaching of all Buddhism, but its true meaning is often misunderstood. If we are ever to embrace Buddhism properly into the West, we need to be clear about emptiness, since a wrong understanding of its meaning can be confusing, even […]

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Come Join Us…

Tue, 05 Mar 2013 22:33:51 +0000

Spring 2013 Day-long Intensive The Power of Vulnerability Saturday, May 11, 2013 GREEN GULCH FARM ZEN CENTER This one-day sitting will involve sitting and walking meditation, Dharma talks, Q & A and, by request, private interviews with Michael. Confirmation will be sent to you when your $80 payment is received. Click the link below and you will be taken […]

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How do we best meet avoidance when it doesn’t move

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 22:39:50 +0000

Commuter Zen #96

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How did you get here?

Fri, 08 Feb 2013 19:11:56 +0000

Commuter Zen #95

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Embracing Both Sides

Fri, 08 Feb 2013 18:29:55 +0000

I was glad to read this short piece by Joe Perez. Actually, I’m usually glad to read whatever Joe writes, but I’ve been concerned lately with what I’ve seen expressed in spiritual circles in terms of embracing simplicity as the answer to complex issues. This applies to all areas of our day-to-day lives: politics, relationships, […]

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ISmile340 – The Componentry of Awakening

Fri, 18 Jan 2013 16:40:37 +0000

The most contagious thing this flu season is not a viral infection. Rather, the most contagious thing in any season is unconsciousness. Unfortunately, vaccines for unconsciousness are hard to come by. However, consciousness itself is in infinite supply. Tapping into this helps all of us inspire helpfulness and generosity, two critical components of any authentic […]

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Upcoming Day-long Retreat in Marin

Fri, 11 Jan 2013 16:18:15 +0000

Winter 2013 Day-long Intensive No Such Thing As A Mistake Saturday, February 9th, 2013 GREEN GULCH  FARM ZEN CENTER We only have a few spots left! This one-day sitting will involve sitting and walking meditation, Dharma talks, Q & A and, by request, private interviews with Michael. Confirmation will be sent to you when your $80 payment is […]

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How do we get out of a meditation rut?

Thu, 10 Jan 2013 17:10:08 +0000

Commuter Zen #94

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What’s the best way to get out of our own way?

Mon, 07 Jan 2013 17:10:30 +0000

Commuter Zen #93

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Dialogs With My Teacher #72

Thu, 20 Dec 2012 16:33:25 +0000

May 3, 2011 Student: Have you ever forgotten more than you thought you could forget? Michael: Interesting question, but could you get a little more specific? Student: Well, something weird has been occurring in that I thought I knew what mind was, but in turning back to itself, there is such emptiness that no description […]

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Join Us for Our Winter 2013 Day-long Intensive

Wed, 19 Dec 2012 23:16:10 +0000

No Such Thing As A Mistake Saturday, February 9th, 2013 GREEN GULCH  FARM ZEN CENTER This one-day sitting will involve sitting and walking meditation, Dharma talks, Q & A and, by request, private interviews with Michael. Confirmation will be sent to you when your $80 payment is received. Click the link below and you will be taken to our […]

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The Avoidance and the Fury

Sat, 15 Dec 2012 22:44:10 +0000

As a parent, a citizen and a human being, I weep for the little ones of Newtown, Connecticut. I mourn for their families, their friends and I weep for us, as a people, who keep enduring these senseless incidents. The Newtown tragedy cuts deep for any of us that are parents since we can’t help but […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #71

Thu, 13 Dec 2012 22:03:57 +0000

May 3, 2011  Student: What is jealousy? Michael: It’s a brutal celebration of separation. Student: Nice. Michael: Is that all you wanted to talk about? Student: No. I’m dealing with something pretty brutal and yet, at the same time, interesting… and it ties into jealousy. Michael: Want to share? Student: Sure. We got robbed yesterday. […]

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Double the Power of Your Generosity

Mon, 10 Dec 2012 17:15:00 +0000

Your Gift Will Be Matched December 2012 Dear Friends, We have exciting news! One of our members has generously offered to match any donation up to five-thousand dollars made between now and December 31st. This means that your power as a donor has just been doubled. Please think of  the impact you can make by taking […]

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Breaking Through the Dharma Wall

Thu, 06 Dec 2012 19:46:13 +0000

Ben Hutchison’s piece for The Under 35 Project is a great reminder of how our path unfolds when we are no longer caught by the path itself. In practicing Buddhism, in whatever form or lineage you choose, there is going to be loss and disappointment. As Dogen writes in Genjokoan, “flowers fall amid our longing and weeds […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #70

Thu, 06 Dec 2012 00:21:29 +0000

Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching. ___ April 27, 2011  Student: Since our last talk, it’s like everything, on the one hand, is easier and makes more sense. It’s like I’m […]

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A New Bodhisattva Path?

Mon, 26 Nov 2012 23:12:06 +0000

How might a Buddhist most effectively respond to the many pressing (often scary) issues facing humanity today? It’s not very bodhisattva-like, for example, to merely cloak oneself in “non-attachment” when an “appropriate response” is to be helpful to all beings. So how might one best walk this tightrope? How might a practitioner of today most […]

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Getting Back to the Great Matter

Wed, 21 Nov 2012 19:20:59 +0000

Barbara O’Brien offers us an interesting take on how contemporary Buddhism runs the risk of getting watered-down. In Zen monasteries, a flat board is hung near the meditation hall, next to a mallet. This is the “han.”  Striking the han with the mallet calls everyone to meditation. Traditionally, these words are inscribed on the han: Great is […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #69

Wed, 21 Nov 2012 18:53:27 +0000

Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching. ___ Apr. 19, 2011 Student: So the last few days have been amazing and I’ve held off talking about it because I wanted things to […]

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Christianity Enriched by Buddhism

Fri, 16 Nov 2012 18:13:43 +0000

Susan Stabile offers us an interesting read over at the HuffingtonPost: … Buddhism has helped me understand in a richer way some of the truths of Christianity. Although expressed in different terms, many of the truths of Buddhism have resonance in Christianity (another subject I explore in some detail in “Growing in Love and Wisdom”). The […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #68

Fri, 16 Nov 2012 16:15:21 +0000

  Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching.   ___ Apr. 1, 2011 Student: Where is freedom in commitment? Michael: Mine or yours? Student: Is there a difference? Michael: Ah, very good. […]

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We Need Your Help…

Thu, 15 Nov 2012 00:30:34 +0000

Two Simple Words…   November 2012 Dear Friends, It was important to us that this email not to get lost in the shuffle since we, as a community, wanted for you to hear two simple words: Thank you. For over a decade, the Infinite Smile Sangha has been able to offer podcasts and videos of […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #67

Tue, 13 Nov 2012 00:29:32 +0000

  Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching.   ___ March 31, 2011 Student: If someone said to you, “You must have more patience with the Universe than I do,” what would […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #66

Mon, 05 Nov 2012 20:45:52 +0000

Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching. ___ Mar. 29, 2011  Student: How are any of us to know for sure what we are supposed to do in life? Michael: I don’t […]

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Blasphemy laws have no basis in the Quran

Thu, 01 Nov 2012 17:00:56 +0000

This is from the “Do Not Become The Unconsciousness You Seek To Avoid” file. Regardless of our tradition (and yes, this includes Buddhism), clinging to scripture or practice can distort sacred teachings. Ali Khan Mahmudabad’sexplores the blasphemy laws of both Pakistan and Indonesia in this morning’s Guardian. Believers are urged in the sixth chapter of […]

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Mindfulness Helps You Become a Better Leader

Sun, 28 Oct 2012 23:13:13 +0000

Former chair and CEO of Medtronic, and now a Harvard management professor, Bill George has this to say about mindfulness: The practice of mindful leadership gives you tools to measure and manage your life as you’re living it. It teaches you to pay attention to the present moment, recognizing your feelings and emotions and keeping […]

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Take a break and join us…

Fri, 26 Oct 2012 16:15:01 +0000

Winter 2013 Day-long Intensive No Such Thing As A Mistake Saturday, February 9th, 2013 GREEN GULCH  FARM ZEN CENTER This one-day sitting will involve sitting and walking meditation, Dharma talks, Q & A and, by request, private interviews with Michael. Confirmation will be sent to you when your $80 payment is received. Click the link below and you will […]

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Vimalakirti: Buddhist Bad-ass

Fri, 26 Oct 2012 16:03:28 +0000

For those into Buddhist bad-assery, no one compares to the lay practitioner, Vimalakirti. It’s one of my favorite, old-school reads. The Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra, also called the Vimalakirti Sutra, probably was written nearly 2,000 years ago. Yet it retains its freshness and humor as well as its wisdom. Modern readers especially appreciate its lesson on […]

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Right Speech and the Election

Mon, 22 Oct 2012 19:31:14 +0000

Thought this series of talks was particularly timely as the presidential election approaches. Enjoy. “The Buddha,” Vishvapani says, “emphasized the importance of practicing Right Speech on the Eightfold Path. But then again, the Buddha wasn’t on Twitter. In this day and age, we’re constantly communicating, not only through face-to-face interactions but also through texting, emailing, […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #65

Mon, 22 Oct 2012 18:40:23 +0000

Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching. ___ March 10, 2011  Student: If we are always already love, why does a felt sense of it follow on the heels of understanding? Michael: […]

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Does spirituality support Awakening?

Fri, 19 Oct 2012 15:25:51 +0000

Commuter Zen #92

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The Buddha Between the Sheets

Fri, 19 Oct 2012 04:30:36 +0000

Interesting piece from Darren Littlejohn: Many people still see Buddhists only as robe-wearing monastics who have given up worldly things like sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. But there are different kinds of Buddhists. Some are celibate renunciates like the Dalai Lama. When asked on a recent TV interview if he ever thought about women, […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #64

Wed, 10 Oct 2012 22:33:35 +0000

Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching. ___ February 15, 2011 Student: Is there ever any leaning from one person on another in a deeply conscious relationship? Michael: Relationships that are truly […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #63

Thu, 04 Oct 2012 18:21:43 +0000

Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching. ___ February 25, 2011  Student: How can the realization of stillness inform, say, a long-standing argument one person has with another? Michael: It depends. For […]

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Bangladeshi Muslims Attack Buddhists

Sun, 30 Sep 2012 15:01:40 +0000

May all beings be compassionate and wise in the face of clinging… COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh — Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims angry over an alleged derogatory photo of the Islamic holy book Quran on Facebook set fires in at least 10 Buddhist temples and 40 homes near the southern border with Myanmar, authorities said Sunday. The […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #62

Wed, 26 Sep 2012 23:18:43 +0000

Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching. ___ February 23, 2011 Student: Can it be said that as long as something is changing, a story is involved? Michael: Yes. As long as […]

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Love Poem No. 1 from The English Kabbalah

Fri, 21 Sep 2012 15:48:16 +0000

By Joe Perez I am not In love. Love is Of Me. Love is Upon Me. Love is Above Me. Love is Below Me. Love brings Me Alive. Love begins With Light. Love descends To Delight. Love begins With a Lie: That Light Precedes The “I.” Of: A preposition Expressing the Relationship of Part and […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #61

Fri, 21 Sep 2012 14:10:42 +0000

Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching. ___ February 22, 2011 (#61) Student: Why does “other” show up out of oneness? Michael: It’s a great question. Why is there anything at all? […]

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Join us. There are a few spots left…

Fri, 14 Sep 2012 16:30:29 +0000

CULTIVATING FEARLESSNESS OCTOBER 12-14, 2012  MOUNT MADONNA CENTER This weekend retreat will offer an approach to living fearlessly. Each day will involve sitting meditation, walking meditation and dharma talks followed by Q&A, as well as practice interviews with Michael. Cost & Registration: Depending on your lodging choice, the total cost per person including meals ranges […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #60

Fri, 14 Sep 2012 14:59:31 +0000

February 14, 2011  Student: Under what conditions could death be characterized as a distraction? Michael: Death is merely a return to truth. But our interpretation of death is almost always a distraction to this offering. So I’d say that both avoidance and celebration of death serve as distractions if either works to soften the full […]

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Wellbeing and Neuroscience

Fri, 14 Sep 2012 04:53:01 +0000

Thought this was interesting. Perhaps obvious, but interesting. Jock Gilchrist, The Review: Meditation has been a central component of religious traditions for millennia. Various methods exist, but it generally consists of quieting the mind to achieve a state of relaxation and clarity. Buddhists use it to cultivate virtuous qualities like compassion and equanimity because in […]

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Conservatives and Liberals Have Different Brains, Same Mind

Wed, 05 Sep 2012 18:29:49 +0000

Fine. Interesting. But best not to attach. Maybe the studies are correct and there are brain variences of statistical significance between the two ideologies. But it’s all still just mind. ABC News ran this story about a recent meta-analysis of brain research (from ProCon.org) on Republicans and Democrats – the emerging understanding is that there […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #59

Mon, 03 Sep 2012 17:18:04 +0000

February 10, 2011 Student: My mother is dying and there’s all sorts of interesting and tragic family stuff going on. It’s amazing and heart-breaking all at once. So my question is: how might any of us deal most constructively with the loss of a loved one? Michael: This must be so tough. While there’s no […]

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Buddhism in China: An Enduring Legacy on View at the Freer | Around The Mall

Sun, 02 Sep 2012 15:28:15 +0000

Would love to see this exhibit… Though Buddhism was not native to China, curator Stephen Allee says it wasn’t a hard sell. “It’s a religion of salvation, and so it had great popularity and appeal,” he says. As curator of the Freer Gallery‘s new exhibit, “Enlightened Beings: Buddhism in Chinese Painting,” Allee points out that […]

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What happens when we start witnessing the Witness?

Fri, 31 Aug 2012 04:33:08 +0000

Commuter Zen #91

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Dialogs With My Teacher #58

Thu, 30 Aug 2012 00:10:41 +0000

Feb. 8, 2011 Student: When we say that whatever is happening is the Universe expressing itself in utter perfection, isn’t this also a thought or story that we can cling to? Michael: Absolutely. That’s why we don’t stop practicing. We find that the deeper our practice goes, the more we have the compulsion to keep […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #57

Wed, 22 Aug 2012 15:45:29 +0000

January 13, 2011 (#57) Student: If every single thing that arises is the Infinite seeing itself, what does that say about evil acts? Michael: Evil acts are the embodiment of individual or collective unconsciousness. They vary in degree, but they all are sourced from a fear of loss. And as we’ve discussed, actions sourced from […]

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Esalen Debates Its Own Future

Tue, 21 Aug 2012 14:22:35 +0000

The New York Times offers this interesting story about how Esalen, as it approaches its 50th anniversary, is adjusting to the aches and pains of age. Is it still relevant? Esalen’s leaders say they are tweaking the institute’s balance between the personal and the social with an emphasis on the latter so they can present […]

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Empty Your Cup

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 14:27:49 +0000

A nice reminder… Scholar Tokusan, who was full full of knowledge and opinions about the dharma, came to Ryutan and asked about Zen. At one point Ryutan re-filled his guests teacup, but did not stop pouring when the cup was full. Tea spilled out and ran over the table. “Stop! The cup is full!” said […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #56

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 03:53:15 +0000

January 12, 2011 Student: Does an awakened response come before thought or does an awakened response come after the thought is acknowledged, and not believed? Michael: An awakened response is one that isn’t caught by anything. So thoughts aren’t ever the issue. Rather, presence allows us to see if we are caught by thought. If […]

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Join us for our Fall 2012 Weekend Retreat

Fri, 10 Aug 2012 15:10:40 +0000

CULTIVATING FEARLESSNESS OCTOBER 12-14, 2012  MOUNT MADONNA CENTER This weekend retreat will offer an approach to living fearlessly. Each day will involve sitting meditation, walking meditation and dharma talks followed by Q&A, as well as practice interviews with Michael. Cost & Registration: Depending on your lodging choice, the total cost per person including meals ranges […]

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Look At That Story

Fri, 10 Aug 2012 15:06:11 +0000

If you’re finding that the stories you tell yourself are limiting your experience, Leslie Gossett’s piece at Shambhala Sun Space  is worth a read: “If only I had done this… If only I had the strength to do… If I could just stop buying into my storyline, then I could really find peace.” This is […]

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To Our Muslim Brothers and Sisters

Tue, 07 Aug 2012 13:52:53 +0000

In the service of a conscious evolution of interfaith dialog, here’s Danny Fisher‘s open letter on Islamophobia. July 31, 2012 San Francisco, CA USA — As disciples of the Buddha who live in the West, we would like to take the holy month of Ramadan as an opportunity to express our growing concern about Islamophobia, both within […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #55

Mon, 06 Aug 2012 16:05:35 +0000

January 10, 2011 (#55) Student: What is the most enlightened way to communicate with someone who is very difficult? Michael: The same way I’ve suggested that you speak to someone who complains a lot; listen deeply and speak from a place of open generosity. Student: But what if they’re totally narcissistic and seemingly uninterested in […]

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Bill Clinton: Meditator.

Fri, 03 Aug 2012 14:54:33 +0000

While I’m happy for the former presidents choice, I can’t help but wonder how a meditation practice might have affected his choices during his presidency. …in his latest bid to improve his well-being, the Democrat has hired his own personal Buddhist monk to help him learn how to meditate properly. via Bill Clinton turns to […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #54

Sun, 29 Jul 2012 17:00:30 +0000

January 6, 2011 (#54) Student: If there is no self, who sets goals and where do these goals come from? Michael: Goals arise just as all else arises: from Emptiness. They also eventually die back into Emptiness. This basic rule applies to everything, including the self who sets goals in the first place. An appropriate […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #53

Mon, 23 Jul 2012 15:23:33 +0000

January 4, 2011 (#53) Student: Can you explain what you mean when you say that our spiritual transition can get ugly when glimpses of the Infinite start to show up? Michael: When the egoic you, or small self, sees that the Infinite You, or Big Self, exists, things can get a little crazy. First, the […]

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Buddhism in the US Surges

Fri, 20 Jul 2012 15:55:37 +0000

This near doubling in the number of self-identified, US Buddhists since 2007 is interesting: A new study by the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life estimates that between 1 and 1.3 percent of the United States population—between 3 and 4 million people—identifies as Buddhist, a dramatic increase from a 2007 Pew survey that found only about .7 percent of the […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #52

Mon, 16 Jul 2012 23:00:06 +0000

December 28, 2010 (#52) Student: What is the difference between knowing and believing? Michael: Both are activities of the mind that can be useful. If, for instance, you know something, you generally have some kind of evidence to back up your mental position. With belief you don’t need the same evidence. In fact, very often, […]

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Which Style of Meditation is Right?

Fri, 13 Jul 2012 19:12:22 +0000

Thought this was cool… SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY Meditation’s variations can frustrate or enlighten To the uninformed observer, meditation looks simple: Sit still, seek inner peace, repeat. But meditation can be practiced in a variety of forms, each of which can invoke frustrating or enlightening experiences among different meditators, according to a study from San Francisco State […]

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How do we best watch the mind?

Thu, 12 Jul 2012 22:05:48 +0000

Commuter Zen #88

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Fall Weekend Retreat

Wed, 11 Jul 2012 16:00:49 +0000

Come join us… Cultivating Fearlessness October 12-14, 2012  MOUNT MADONNA CENTER This weekend retreat will offer an approach to living in this way. Each day will involve sitting meditation, walking meditation and dharma talks followed by Q&A, as well as practice interviews with Michael. Cost & Registration: Total cost per person including retreat, meals and […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #51

Mon, 09 Jul 2012 15:51:29 +0000

Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching. ___ December 14, 2010 Student: Where there is love, there can be no fear, right? Michael: I’d agree with that statement as long as the […]

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So what is mastery?

Thu, 05 Jul 2012 03:15:44 +0000

Commuter Zen #87

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Dialogs With My Teacher #50

Tue, 03 Jul 2012 23:27:33 +0000

Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching. ___ December 4, 2010 Student: My teenager keeps asking me what “there is only this very Awareness” means and doesn’t seem content with: “it means […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #49

Tue, 26 Jun 2012 15:40:45 +0000

Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching. ___ November 23, 2010 (#49) Student: It feels like my spiritual path has changed from kind of a desperate yearning into a “no big deal.” […]

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The Dharma of Getting Dumped

Thu, 21 Jun 2012 15:52:57 +0000

Kristin Luce offers up a great piece on one of life’s universal miseries… So here’s the humiliating truth: I was just dumped. I can’t even hate him because he did it so kindly and with such matu Take my advice: Don’t ever get into a relationship with a mature man. Seriously. It will strip you […]

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Wed, 20 Jun 2012 16:13:35 +0000

William Quinn asks the question, “What’s an American Buddhist,” then offers up a good article that addresses it. The crux of his point is this: North American Buddhists are likely to create their own traditions and schools of thought, but they should do so with the awareness that they are forging a new Buddhist culture, […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #48

Tue, 19 Jun 2012 21:01:19 +0000

Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching. ___ November 22, 2010 (#48) Student: It seems like the spiritual path evolves like this: first you follow the pointers, then there is direct experience, […]

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Why the Young Are Losing Their Religion

Tue, 19 Jun 2012 20:02:30 +0000

A student at Duke offers up this interesting article in the Huffington Post: Newspapers and op-ed writers have noted that more and more members of the younger generations are turning away from Christianity. As a college student, I can tell you that from personal experience, this is true. The statistics are correct. Fewer college students […]

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Dialogs With My Teacher #47

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 02:12:50 +0000

Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning the Summer of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching. ___ November 17, 2010 (#47) Student: How does practicing silence lead to being in the world as Silence? Practicing silence, it seems, is very different […]

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The “You’re Not Special” Commencement

Fri, 08 Jun 2012 17:58:49 +0000

What? I’m not special? This, from the Washington Post, is an excerpt of Wellesly High School’s most recent commencement address, delivered by David McCullough, Jr. (yes… it’s that David McCullough’s son). The whole speech, in context, is worth a read.   “Walt Whitman tells me I’m my own version of perfection! Epictetus tells me I have […]

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