Steve Jobs on death

October 5, 2011

I’m sad that Steve Jobs has died. No one has had as much effect on the computer industry as he has. His company, Apple, has transformed the way we relate to computers.

I only recently learned that Jobs was a Buddhist. According to his Wikipedia biography, he went to India in the 1970s and came back a Buddhist. In 1991 his wedding ceremony was performed by a Zen priest. He was a very private man, and I don’t think he talked much about his religion.

I thought a fitting tribute would be Jobs own words, from his 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, in which he eloquently discusses how an awareness of death and impermanence … Read more »

This precious human birth

April 25, 2011

When one of Sunada’s best friends from college lost her brother recently, it served as a wake up call for her. It was a reminder that life is short, and there really is no time to lose.

My friend Cecily recently lost her brother to illness. He had just turned 50 the week before he died. She is devastated.

Cecily is one of my best friends from college. We’ve known each other for 32 years. It’s that rare kind of friendship where even if months pass without connecting, we still pick right up where we left off. We’ve never lived anywhere near each other since graduation, but we’ve stayed in touch through all our ups … Read more »

“Lessons For The Living,” by Stan Goldberg

October 1, 2010

lessons for the living

Given the fact that we’re all going to die, it’s remarkable how little thought most of us give to the actual process of dying. In Lessons For The Living Stan Goldberg seeks to illuminate this most universal of experiences by sharing the lessons he learned during his time as a hospice volunteer.

Title: Lessons For The Living
Author: Stan Goldberg
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 978-1-59030-676-5
Available from: Random House,, and

What drew Goldberg into volunteering was the discovery that he himself was living with an incurable cancer. Part memoir and part practical guide, this book should be of interest to us all, and in particular … Read more »

Dharma in Hell: The Prison Writings of Fleet Maull

September 28, 2010

dharma-in-hellIn a sense we all live in a prison, but a life of literal confinement can force us to confront our existential situation — and our need for change — with unflinching honesty.

As the subtitle indicates, this is a collection of writings; of the nine chapters comprising the body of this text five appear to be written while the author was still in prison. A sixth chapter appears to have been composed within two weeks of his release. The remaining three chapters recount the nature and experience of the author in relation to practicing the Buddha’s path.

Title: Dharma in Hell: The Prison Writings of Fleet Maull
Author: Fleet Maull

Read more »

Joliet hospice to break ground on labyrinth

August 16, 2010

The Joliet Area Community Hospice Home will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for a labyrinth and meditation garden at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday on the hospice property, 250 Water Stone Circle, off of McDonough Street.

The public is invited.

Funded by a $25,000 grant from Harrah’s Joliet Casino & Hotel, the labyrinth and surrounding garden design were developed by Joliet Junior College Professor Greg Pierceall and his horticulture students. The event will begin with refreshments, followed by a short program at 10 a.m.

“Hospice provides a professional, caring service at a most difficult time of life, while allowing for comfort and support for numerous families,” said Darren VanDover, senior vice president and general manager of Harrah’s Joliet … Read more »

“The Heart of the Buddha,” by Chogyam Trungpa

July 29, 2010

heart of the buddhaTrungpa Rinpoche was a deeply flawed man, but an inspiring teacher. A new book gives Suriyavamsa a chance to reflect on Trungpa’s genius, and on the visceral and striking teaching it gave rise to.

I remember studying with my teacher Sangharakshita in a group of Triratna Buddhist centre teachers a couple of years ago. He expressed his admiration for Chogyam Trungpa and, using Gurdjieff’s distinction between the narrow saint and the broad genius, considered Trungpa to be a flawed genius of intelligence, flair and imagination. Sangharakshita went on to encourage us all to become ‘geniuses’ – to be broad and other regarding, and to develop the many diverse talents necessary to spread the Buddha’s teachings.… Read more »

Yoga, meditation helps heal grief

March 8, 2010

People cope with the death of a loved one in different ways.

A local woman is using mind-body therapies such as yoga, meditation and journaling to help grieving folks cope with the loss.

Heather K. Whittington holds a master’s degree in thantology, the study of death and dying, from Hood College. She is also a Certified Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner.

She combined her professional training in both to launch Mindful Grief at Mind-Body Therapies, 5 N. Bentz St., Frederick . Services include Yoga for Grief classes, group relaxation workshops and private Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy sessions.

“Grief is a physical reaction to loss that causes emotional, physical and behavioral responses that creates more stress,” … Read more »

The Blue Poppy and the Mustard Seed, by Kathleen Willis Morton

October 1, 2009

Blue Poppy and the Mustard SeedThere can be few things more painful than the death of a child. Can Buddhist practice help us cope even with this level of suffering? Siddhisambhava reviews a new book chronicling loss and letting go.

The Blue Poppy and the Mustard Seed is the tragic story of Kathleen Willis Morton and her husband, Chris having a longed for baby boy who dies seven weeks later. The story is extraordinarily difficult to read sometimes because it’s so painful. It’s also a very tender book, so you don’t want to rush it.

It’s hard to write about grief well. In writing The Blue Poppy, Morton joins a canon of grief and bereavement literature that has some … Read more »

The Best of Inquiring Mind: 25 Years of Dharma, Drama, and Uncommon Insight

March 23, 2009

Best of Inquiring Mind

Title: “The Best of Inquiring Mind: 25 Years of Dharma, Drama, and Uncommon Insight”
Author: edited by Barbara Gates and Wes Nisker.
Publisher: Wisdom Publications (2009).
ISBN: 0-86171-551-9
Available from:

As the exceptional, essential new anthology The Best of Inquiring Mind: 25 Years of Dharma, Drama, and Uncommon Insight underscores for us, Inquiring Mind journal has been both a vital and heroic effort in English-language Buddhist media.

At a quarter-century in age, the biannual is one of the longest-standing publications for Dharma practitioners in North America—a survivor, a keeper, and an example. As publisher Alan Novidor so aptly puts it in his preface, the journal is generally regarded … Read more »

Ursula K. Le Guin: “Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; re-made all the time, made new.”

December 10, 2008

Ursula K. Le GuinEverything’s impermanent, but rather than be depressed by this fact we can use it to our advantage. Bodhipaksa looks at the Buddhist practice of developing lovingkindness and offers six lessons that can help us keep love alive.

Buddhism teaches that everything’s impermanent, which can seem like a real downer until you look more closely into what that means. At first glance it can seem rather depressing: I’m impermanent, and everything I love is impermanent too. I’m going to die. Everything I love is going to die. Love itself is impermanent. Oh, oh! Here comes bleak existential despair!

But the fact that everything is impermanent is actually the most wonderful thing about life. If anything about … Read more »