Sutras

The Bhaddekaratta Sutta: The Sutra on Knowing the Better Way to Live Alone

The Bhaddekaratta Sutta is one of the many teachings the Buddha gave over the course of his 19 three-month practice periods at the Jetavana Monastery. It conveys the essence of a self-sufficient practice and way of existing - not clinging to the past or living for the future but diligently dwelling in current stability and… Continue reading The Bhaddekaratta Sutta: The Sutra on Knowing the Better Way to Live Alone

Marilynne Robinson
Book Excerpts

What Science Can’t Talk About: “the Tears in Things” – Marilynne Robinson

The standoff between science and religion, argues Idaho-born writer Marilynne Robinson, is often based on a 'selective or tendentious' reading of religious writing, which she frequently defends in her work. In this extract from an essay called 'Reclaiming a Sense of the Sacred', originally published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Robinson challenges the notion… Continue reading What Science Can’t Talk About: “the Tears in Things” – Marilynne Robinson

Book Excerpts

“If you’ve really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options.” – David Foster Wallace from This is Water

This now renowned commencement address given at Kenyon College back in 2005 has become one of David Foster Wallace's most impactful and widely shared essays. The core message - about waking ourselves up from our default modes and making choices about our lives and what we choose to pay attention to - is a crystallisation… Continue reading “If you’ve really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options.” – David Foster Wallace from This is Water

American Poetry, Poetry

Jane Hirshfield’s Ode to Optimism and Resilience

"Poetry itself is an instrument of resilience," Jane Hirshfield wrote more than a decade ago when referring to her poem 'Optimism' for the Washington Post. Poetry, she continues, reflects "life's continuing embrace of its own implausible, risky existence." A residential Zen student of many years, Jane Hirshfield's work embodies a continuing sense of wonder and… Continue reading Jane Hirshfield’s Ode to Optimism and Resilience

Author Q&A

Author Q&A – Cuong Lu

Author Cuong Lu is a student of Thich Nhat Hanh and has worked for many years as a prison chaplain. His book, The Buddha in Jail, brings together his experiences in this field over the years and paints a picture of how his work and practice come together. In a short interview with The Dewdrop,… Continue reading Author Q&A – Cuong Lu

Book Excerpts

Practicing Behind Bars

Cuong Lu's book, The Buddha in Jail, is a collection of 52 stories and vignettes from his experiences working as a prison chaplain. The stories are meant to broaden our perspectives, not just about others but also about ourselves, and they get to the root of human goodness. This excerpt, the 18th story in the… Continue reading Practicing Behind Bars

American Poetry, Lyrics, Poetry

The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton – John Darnielle

"To take somebody's adolescence away is to deny that person some of the closest looks at God's face that we ever get on this planet," said songwriter John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats in reference to his song The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton. The song is an ode to the integrity of adolescent ambitions,… Continue reading The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton – John Darnielle

Book Excerpts

Being Intimate with the Essence of the Teacher’s Practice

This biographical snippet, taken from the introduction of Tenshin Reb Anderson's book Being Upright, tells a bit of the story of how he met his teacher, Shunryu Suzuki, and what the first days of their teacher-student relationship were like. Anderson says of the drive he had to be near his teacher, "I would make myself… Continue reading Being Intimate with the Essence of the Teacher’s Practice

Book Excerpts

The Draw of the Dark Ages – Rachel Cusk

'Division is also an aspect of unification,' writer Rachel Cusk at the beginning of her memoir, Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation. Here she is talking about the Dark Ages and the nature of their fragmentation in contrast to the two civilizations that bookended them. It's a question, she says, of unity versus compartmentalization, of diversity and flourishing in… Continue reading The Draw of the Dark Ages – Rachel Cusk

American Poetry, Book Excerpts, Poetry

W.S. Merwin – Variation on a Theme

“I think there’s a kind of desperate hope built into poetry now that one really wants, hopelessly, to save the world.” These were the words of former Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin whose work reflected his lifelong concern and respect for the natural world. Merwin moved to Hawaii in 1977 in order to study Zen Buddhism,… Continue reading W.S. Merwin – Variation on a Theme

Koans

Ordinary Mind is the Way

This koan is an exchange between Master Nansen and his student Joshu that would have taken place in China around the 9th century. Their dialog concerns the nature of the Way and how to attain it. Nansen advises his student that ordinary mind is the key, but that it is not something he can seek… Continue reading Ordinary Mind is the Way