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Nov 28, 2014

Join us for our second Year of Going Deeper,

yogd2015Join us for a series of thirteen meditation events throughout 2015. We’re calling this our Year of Going Deeper.

There is no fixed charge for these events; they’re all by donation.

  • Practice reminders delivered by email. (Three to seven per week).
  • Meditation guidance and links to guided meditations.
  • Optional meditation events: watch live on video, or catch the archive later.
  • Online community: share your experience, receive support and encouragement.

There is no fixed charge for these events. Participation is by donation.

Our Year of Going Deeper includes events for all levels of practice, whether you’re a beginner interested in learning basic techniques or a more experienced meditator interested in cultivating deep meditative states and insight.

Please share this news …

Nov 22, 2014

Buddhism, vegetarianism, and the ethics of intention

smile pigOne of the most attractive things about Buddhism is that it considers ethics to be based on the intentions behind our actions. This perspective is radical in its simplicity, clarity, and practicality.

When our actions are based on greed, hatred, or delusion, they’re said to be “unskillful” (akusala), which is the term Buddhism prefers over the more judgmental terms “bad” or “evil” — although those terms are used too, albeit mostly in the context of poetry. By contrast, when our intentions are based on mindfulness, compassion, and wisdom, they’re said to be skillful (kusala).

For many people accustomed to systems of morality based on commandments, rewards and punishments, the Buddhist ethical perspective …

Nov 18, 2014

The third arrow

Darts on targetThe first arrow: Think of a time someone said something hurtful to you, and let’s try to break down what happened. A comment was made, and you probably experienced actual physical pain, most likely in the solar plexus or heart. (When the hurt is particularly strong, we sometimes say it feels like we’ve been punched in the gut, don’t we?)

What went on was that some fast-acting part of your brain believed you were being criticized or marginalized, and so identified the comment as a threat to your wellbeing. That part of your brain then attempted to alert the rest of the mind to this threat by sending signals to pain …

Nov 07, 2014

Technology-assisted meditation

www.choosemuse.comHopefully I’ll soon be trying out a demo model of the Muse headband, which according to the makers is like a heart rate monitor for your mind. In other words it gives you real-time feedback by detecting your brain signals during meditation, the same way you might use a gadget to monitor your heart rate during physical exercise.

Apparently this can help us to train the brain to be more focused, attentive, and calm. I’ll let you know how I get on. (In the meantime we’ve joined Muse’s affiliate program so you’ll see ads promoting it in our sidebars.)

At the recent Buddhist Geeks conference, where I gave a presentation, there were …

Nov 06, 2014

Karma: it’s not just intention

Young woman walking in the streetThe other day I wrote about how karma isn’t the mystical and external “cosmic force” that many people think it to be — a force that impersonally metes out rewards and punishments. In a crude form this amounts to thinking things like this: if you do good things the sun will shine on your picnic, and if you do bad things it’ll rain.

Instead, karma (according to the Buddha) is to do with the ethical status of our intentions and how those naturally lead to our becoming more mired in suffering or freed from it.

Karma is psychology: do this, and you’ll feel that. Karma is about how your …

Nov 05, 2014

“When the Anger Ogre Visits,” by Andrée Salom

anger ogreSome weeks ago I read this book with my kids (a six-year-old boy and an almost-eight-year-old girl) several times now, and they enjoyed both the story and the images. But the book became especially relevant recently when my son developed the habit of kicking and punching his sister. That’s a phase a lot of kids go through, but it’s especially worrisome because he’s taking karate classes, and at some point he’s going to be able to do some serious harm.

So last night, when my son was getting mad, we picked up the book again, and read through it. he wanted to read the book out loud himself, and he was able …

Nov 05, 2014

An open letter to President Obama from the Buddhist Teachers Network

"Official portrait of Barack Obama" by Pete Souza, The Obama-Biden Transition Project - http://change.gov/newsroom/entry/new_official_portrait_released/. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Official_portrait_of_Barack_Obama.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Official_portrait_of_Barack_Obama.jpgTO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
from the BUDDHIST TEACHERS NETWORK

URGING YOU TO ADDRESS ANTI-MUSLIM VIOLENCE AT THE UPCOMING ASEAN MEETING IN BURMA/MYANMAR

Dear President Obama,

We as 381 Buddhist Teachers in America represent a large community that is deeply concerned about the growing anti Muslim violence in Myanmar and across Asia, and the plight of the 1.3 million Rohingyas, many forced to live against their will in inhumane internment camps and permanent ghettoized communities. We know you have been supportive of all Burmese people and have encouraged peace and reconciliation …

Nov 02, 2014

Check out Stoic Week 2014

stoicism

Stoic Week 2014 is an online international event taking place from Monday 24th to Sunday 30th November. The week is part of a multi-disciplinary project called Stoicism Today, which is helping to revive the ancient philosophy of Stoicism in modern life.

I’ve mentioned stoicism on this blog before, in articles based on quotes by Marcus Aurelius, who I’ve described as “the original Western Buddhist” because of stoicism’s striking similarities …

Oct 31, 2014

Another great self-compassion resource

hands holding heart-shaped leavesThis morning I shared some resources I’d put together on the subject of self-compassion, but I just realized that there’s another great resource of mine that I can point you to. It’ll be especially ideal if you can’t make it to my November 22 workshop at the NY Insight Meditation Center, or a good primer if you can.

This resource is a video presentation on “How to Stop Beating Yourself Up,” on En*Theos Academy, which is a kind of Netflix for spirituality and personal development.

This class presents my latest teaching shared in a fun, high energy, 30-minute video format (you can also download MP3s and a PDF for …

Oct 31, 2014

How to stop beating yourself up

Marmorherz“How to stop beating yourself up” is a workshop I’m teaching at the New York Insight Meditation Center on November 22. In this workshop I’ll be introducing, step-by-step, the skills of self-compassion. If you live in the area I hope you’ll be able to join me. Click here for more information on the workshop.

But we have a world-wide community here, and most of you won’t be able to attend.

I hear from a lot of people around the world who create suffering for themselves through self-criticism and self-hatred, and so I want to share some articles on self-compassion that I hope will be helpful. (And if you do live near NYC, …