Three ways to cultivate patience in 2012

January 9, 2012

Therese Borchard: Ah patience. How do we cultivate you without driving ourselves more crazy?

Being that my new year’s resolution is to be more content with living with the questions in my life versus rushing towards the answers, I found useful the advice in Allan Lokos’s new book, Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living.

Lokos is the founder and guiding teacher of the Community Meditation Center in New York City, and the author of Pocket Peace: Effective Practices for Enlightened Living.

Here are the three themes that I found most helpful in his book.

1. See things as they are.

Writes Lokos:

In the …

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New books for new thinking in a new year

January 9, 2012

I thought to write about books to ring in the New Year last Sunday, but my column was due almost a week ahead and I was still enjoying all the wonderful holiday treats hanging around my home. Not to mention the parties, the bowl games and champagne.

But now that the New Year is here and I’m in diet/resolution mode, I’m ready to share my collection of, shall we say, new thinking books, the ones we hope will shape us up physically and mentally.

Let’s start with a master. The Dalai Lama continues his dialogue with scientists and experts with the Mind and Life …

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The Best Buddhist Writing 2011

January 2, 2012

Another year passes and it’s time for another issue of The Best Buddhist Writing, 2011, from Shambhala Publications. This is the seventh edition of what has become an annual treat of good writing for those who do not — or cannot — subscribe to the many Buddhist magazines or buy the many Buddhist books published each year.

The editor of the series, Melvin Mcleod, who is also the editor of The Shambhala Sun, does his typically nice job, with the assistance of his fellow editors at the Sun, of selecting a representative sampling of writing from many well-known and lesser-known writers and teachers. The usual names are here, the names that sell … Read more »

The Buddha Is Still Teaching: Contemporary Buddhist Wisdom Selected and Edited by Jack Kornfield

December 20, 2011

“In these pages you will find the Dharma … Dharma is kept alive by those who follow the path,” writes Jack Kornfield, the beloved American Buddhist teacher and co-founder of Spirit Rock meditation Center, near where I live in San Francisco.

For the past two months I have had this little book in my messenger bag, a compilation of selections that Kornfield tells us will “bring the Dharma eloquently to life for us in our own time, place and culture.” Indeed it is full of inspiration, and has been a treat to open it, never knowing what treasures will await on the page, as I ride the train during evening rush hour, as I relax … Read more »

“One Minute Mindfulness,” by Donald Altman

October 25, 2011

A few years ago I came across and reviewed a book called Eight Minute Meditations. Then I saw a book called The Five Minute Meditator. Then The Three Minute Meditator. Now we have One-Minute Mindfulness.

This isn’t at all a bad thing. The perception that meditation is only useful in large doses does tend to put some people off of establishing a practice, and much can be accomplished in a short space of time. Mindfulness is an activity that takes place moment by moment, as we observe our experience unfolding. Each moment brings an opportunity to choose between reactivity and creativity, negativity and positivity, habit or freedom. Mindfulness actually takes place … Read more »

With a rebel “om”

September 23, 2011

Hannah Guzik: Those who stumble into ZanZilla yoga studio Tuesday night might think a punk rock concert’s about to start. But instead of head-banging to music, the tattooed will sit and quietly meditate.

They’re dharma punx, and they’re making meditation hip for Generation X.

“Unlike most Buddhist groups, where you’re likely to see gray hair and some kind of Indian costume, at these meditations you’re much more likely to see tattoos, piercings, shaved heads and dyed hair,” said Noah Levine, author of Dharma Punx: A Memoir. “It’s definitely a modern American youth movement.”

Levine, who started the movement when his…

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“The Best Buddhist Writing 2010,” edited by Melvin McCloud

March 31, 2011

best buddhist writing 2010When I began reading mainstream Buddhist writings and familiarized myself with the prominent Buddhist teachers in the United States, I regularly bought Shambhala Sun, Tricycle, Turning Wheel, and eventually Buddhadharma. In 2004 the first of the yearly Best Buddhist Writing collection came out and I read it cover to cover. At that point I was simply grateful for the resource, and I didn’t even mind rereading the articles I had already seen in the magazines. Besides, the anthology included many book excerpts that inspired me to run out to my local bookstore.

Title: The Best Buddhist Writing 2010
Author: Melvin McCloud (Ed.)
Publisher: Shambhala
ISBN: 978-1-59030-826-4

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Zen master: Religion distracts from universal truth

March 18, 2011

As they say, the more you do it, the more it happens. No one may relate to this better than Zen master Miao Tsan. If you have ever experienced a “Zen moment,” you can perhaps imagine how Tsan must feel, since he made a habit of these moments that now comprise his existence.

Master Tsan, the abbot of Vairocana Zen Monastery in California, who spent 20 years as a monk searching for enlightenment, teaches internationally through lectures and guided meditations that religious institutions and traditions only allow for harmful patterns that distract us from the universal truth.

He relates the idea in his book Just Use This Mind: Follow the Universal Truth of Oneness of Read more »

“The Brightened Mind,” by Ajahn Sumano Bhikkhu

March 11, 2011

The Brightened MindAjahn Sumano is a Chicagoan who worked in the corporate world before becoming a Buddhist monk and living in a cave in Thailand for 15 years, intensively practicing meditation. You’d therefore expect him to have a deep understanding of meditation, and The Brightened Mind suggests he has.

Unfortunately, just as Sumano had to go through his corporate phase before he hit his meditative years, so do we. Almost the whole first half of the book has a “marketing” feel to, it where you’re constantly told about the benefits meditation will bring, without any meditation actually being taught.

Title: The Brightened Mind
Author: Ajahn Sumano Bhikkhu
Publisher: Quest Books
ISBN: 978-0-8356-0899-2

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Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal

February 18, 2011

About to turn thirty, Conor Grennan planned a year-long trip around the world. He started his trip with a three-month stint volunteering in the Little Princes Orphanage in war-torn Nepal. What was supposed to be just a three-month experience changed Conor’s life, and the lives of countless others.While playing on the roof of the orphanage, Conor was approached by a woman who would turn out to be the mother of two of the wards. Over hours of conversations with her, Conor learned the truth about the kids he’d come to love. Many of the little princes were not orphans but rather had been taken from their homes and families by child traffickers. In addition to … Read more »