Caregiving, compassion, and the spirituality of addiction

The Buddhist path in its entirety is a discipline of sobriety, a discipline which demands the courage and honesty to take a long, hard, utterly sober look at the sobering truths about existence.–Bhikkhu Bodhi

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Opening to vulnerability

Chris Rand

This practice is really about deeper and deeper love. That’s what my teacher Doug says. It’s true, I know, but there are so many walls up still. It’s quite difficult to plow straight into the heart. And it’s much easier to just keep it all nice and intellectual, even in the practice itself — to somehow divide mind from heart. But, that’s just not how things actually are. And it catches up with you.

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Solitude and the mirror of relationship

reflecting solitude

by Ebru Sidar

A commenter on a previous post asked “I wonder if you have read the story of the great Zen master Bankei?” And then proceeds to tell the story: “He was on retreat for 10 years and nothing changed in his life. One day he discovered his own Unborn Buddha mind at the age of 26. From that time on he taught only that. He told others all the retreat and practices are basically meaningless. They are all just ‘Zen devices’. Retreat or no retreat makes no difference. The only people qualified to teach the Dharma are those who have experienced it directly, and then they do not teach. Those who know, do….those who do not know, teach.”

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The dangers of expectation

From what I can tell, expectation is one of the more wily of mind states. Dangerously close to the Christian concept of the devil, in fact. What I mean by that is, expectation – and its cousins (it’s greed and aversion all wrapped up into one), are single-handedly the greatest single source of suffering I can point to in my experience. For much of my late twenties and early thirties, I would have said that expectation in terms of the love relationship was the number one, number two arrow and it was, but now I see it’s trickier than that.

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This is my charnel ground

Now when a man is truly wise,
His constant task will surely be,
This recollection about death,
Blessed with such mighty potency.¹

from the Visudimagga

“[W]hen one is actually dying it is a bit late to begin thinking seriously about death. We should familiarize ourselves with the thought long before we hope it will happen! And besides, even for the young and strong, it can still come with unexpected suddenness. Mors certa — hora incerta, ‘Death is certain — the hour is uncertain.’ To bear this in mind is for the Buddhist an important aspect of Right Understanding. And therefore the Buddhist practice of Meditation on Death — not very popular in the West — should be encouraged.”²

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