Dharma Teaching Articles
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Fundamentals of the Path
Five Guidelines for Inner Safety
If we truly wish to see what is arising in the mind, we must create a suitable inner environment. Here are five ways.
Letting the Waves Pass Through
Equanimity is about letting the waves of experience be fully felt. To do this, strengthen your capacity of attention.
The Inside of Giving
It's not just giving that matters, but how we give. Buddhist teachings offer many useful reflections to refine our giving.
How Do You Know?
There are many ways of knowing, some more reliable than others. It's good to know how we know.
Even the qualities we are developing through practice, such as mindfulness and ethics, will change along the path. Mindfulness is not a single thing that we accumulate more of. How is your practice changing over time?
Letting Something Different Happen
Unvarnished guidance on getting unstuck -- at any stage of the path.
The Power of Feeling Tone (Part 1 of 2)
Not understanding this fundamental aspect of experience leads to untold suffering
The Depth of Feeling Tone (Part 2 of 2)
Feeling tone is broadly of two types -- sensual and spiritual. Neither is reliable, but the latter serves our path. Can you distinguish them?
Fitness in Conversation
An unusual angle on Wise Speech.
Starting and Ending with Respect
The sincerity that combines clear knowing with not knowing -- a powerful support for practice.
Cultivating a Change of View
Practice expands the mind in wonderful and helpful ways. What kind of mind can hold it all?
All We Encounter is Our Mind
All of experience arrives through our mind; realizing this, we can start to relax. The mind becomes simpler through practice, until even "cultivation" is seen through.
Learning to expand one's notion of time beyond the "personal time" that feels oppressive is the doorway to a timeless freedom. Not just for us, but for society.
Explorations Toward Anatta
How we begin exploring views beyond the personal, limited self.... necessary steps, but not the final arrival
Getting through the Door
Life brings us a series of encounters, each one a "door." How can we get through each door with little or no suffering -- maybe even with joy? Attention and care matter.
Thank you for Your Great Effort
A way to release some parts of the mind that are holding us back in subtle ways.
Finding the Dharma in Any Experience
Anything is a door to the Dharma. Meeting experience with calm or with action can help allay the fear of suffering.
Discovering how your own mind is not an innocent observer of experience -- and what you can do about it. Sankharas can be reshaped.
"Seeing clearly" means removing the dual lenses of societal expectations and past habits.
The Ecology of Wisdom
This multifaceted quality has three interconnected forms, all of which should be strong and balanced.
Why enlightened people resemble a broken bell.
Intention and Effort
Wanting to Be Free
Is it OK to want liberation? Isn't wanting the cause of suffering? There are skillful desires. In fact, liberation likely requires that you want it.
The Fruit of Steady Effort
Repetition in practice is vital to fully develop certain fruits. We don't know in advance how a certain practice will bear fruit. Part of faith is to just let practice unfold (could be cross-listed with Faith below).
View, intention, and effort inform how things unfold. What did the Buddha say about beginnings?
Sometimes we can design our own practices. Sometimes it's better to just follow traditional ones. The key is whether we are releasing our preferences and ego, or reinforcing them.
How Much Effort?
We certainly must make effort on the path. Sometimes a lot, sometimes a little, and sometimes none at all. How does this work?
Setting a Course from the Inside Out
Intention matters. But it's more subtle than you think.
Practice as a Process of Alignment
Aligning body, speech, and mind is important work. It begins with the many levels of intention, from this moment to the overarching aim of our life.
Making the Precepts Our Own
The traditional five abstentions are very, very good. However, with some deep reflection, it is possible to make the precepts distinctive for our own path.
Nourishment and Denourishment
How to replace the five hindrances with the seven factors of Awakening. Good food for the heart.
Inspiration, Faith, Letting Go, and Intimacy with the Dharma
Intimacy with the Teachings
Developing an intimate relationship with the written texts of Buddhism is multidimensional, fruitful, and sometimes surprising.
The Dharma of Surrender
It helps to stop requiring that the teachings immediately "apply to your life." When we release such transactional ideas, the teachings work more deeply into our heart.
Constructing Our Awakening
Trying to control our path or our awakening process is bound to fail. We need to learn to relax into the path's unfolding, which takes both faith and discernment.
Transcendent, Immanent, and Non-Existent
Buddhist teachings and practices are aimed at the end of suffering, not its mere reduction. Settle for nothing less.
Head and Heart Together
The quality of saddha (faith, confidence, or conviction) has cognitive, devotional, and motivational dimensions. And it is essential for liberation.
Finding Inspiration in Ancient Stories
What do you care about so deeply that you won't stop looking until you find it? The great masters offer inspiration to us in our unique quest.
Making Our Own Refuge
There may be far more ways to evoke a sense of refuge than you realize.
Working with the subtle energies of the body is a rich and powerful realm of practice.
Radiation Practice as Both Cultivation and Letting Go
Radiation of the Brahma-viharas strengthens the mind in the right way to let go. If you only practice "straight mindfulness," this is a great expansion of repertoire.
Analytical Mind Series
Thoughts in Meditation -- Skillful and Unskillful
What is "the analytical mind"? We can use skillful thoughts to reduce the intensity of unskillful ones.
Moving Toward the Mind of Dharma
We can use the cognitive mind in ways that are actively beneficial. Through practice, we develop a "mind of Dharma" that sees in terms of the teachings.
Dharma investigation is different from thought-based analysis. We need to learn the distinction between these, and be willing to trust other ways of knowing besides our cognitive mind.
Clarifying / Redefining Terms
Bypass -- A Fuller Understanding
A deliberate, perhaps provocative, redefining of this term. The essence of spiritual practice is skillful bypass. Doing so will naturally uproot the unskillful kind of bypass. Learn to discern the difference.
The Freedom of Mastery
Popular (and political) ideas of "freedom" generally refer to the "freedom of license" -- being able to do what we want. The Buddha had a very different idea of freedom.