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

Book Excerpts

‘The Only Thing You Have to Fear is Fear’ – Ram Dass on the Anxiety of Extinction

In 1961, Ram Dass famously collaborated with Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, Aldous Huxley, and Allen Ginsberg, to carry out pioneering research on research psilocybin, LSD-25, and other psychedelic chemicals. This experience led Ram Dass, who was then an academic called Dr Richard Alpert, into a lifelong inquiry into the human condition and its mysterious psyche.… Continue reading ‘The Only Thing You Have to Fear is Fear’ – Ram Dass on the Anxiety of Extinction

Book Excerpts, Transcribed Audio

“I’m Finding Out that Who and What I am is Vastness Itself” – Deneen Fendig and Duncan Trussell Talk About Active Dying

In March 2013, comedian and Podcast host Duncan Trussell broadcast one of the most touching episodes of his show, a conversation with his mother, Deneen Fendig, who was close to death after a long battle with cancer. Fendig, clearly an influence on Trussell's rambunctiously curious outlook on life, is lucid and uplifting as she talks… Continue reading “I’m Finding Out that Who and What I am is Vastness Itself” – Deneen Fendig and Duncan Trussell Talk About Active Dying

Indian Texts, Sutras

"What is the Middle Way that Leads to Self-Awakening?" Buddha's First Talk Setting the Wheel of Dharma in Motion

The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta recounts the very first talk the Buddha gave to a small group of his friends after he became enlightened. The story goes that he initially wanted to refrain from trying to articulate his experience that started under the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, but that upon meeting his former spiritual companions at the… Continue reading "What is the Middle Way that Leads to Self-Awakening?" Buddha's First Talk Setting the Wheel of Dharma in Motion

Book Excerpts

“The Violence in Our Minds Manifests in the World” – Thich Nhat Hanh on Smiling Away Your Anger

"Author Cuong Lu recently told me that the greatest lesson his teacher Thich Nhat Hanh gave him was to believe in him: "He kept trusting me. That was his power, his insight and his love." What I find comes across in Thich Nhat Hanh's books is that same sense of confidence, but on a global… Continue reading “The Violence in Our Minds Manifests in the World” – Thich Nhat Hanh on Smiling Away Your Anger

Book Excerpts

“We are born in mystery, we live in mystery, and we die in mystery” – Huston Smith

“The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder,” wrote Huston Smith, one of the 20th centuries most prominent scholars of world religion in his book, Beyond a Post-Modern Mind. And it's wonder that primarily comes across in his autobiography called Tales of Wonder: Adventures Chasing the Divine, in which he gives… Continue reading “We are born in mystery, we live in mystery, and we die in mystery” – Huston Smith

American Poetry, Poetry

Black Earth – Marianne Moore

Poet Marianne Moore once said, 'Poetry watches life with affection,' a sentiment echoed in her poem Black Earth, which featured in a 1924 collection called Observations. In the poem, Moore imagines herself - affectionately - as an elephant, with thick skin 'cut into checkers by rut upon rut of unpreventable experience' that conceals the 'beautiful… Continue reading Black Earth – Marianne Moore

Dogen, Japanese Texts, Texts

“When you release it, it fills your hand; when you speak it fills your mouth” – Dogen’s Bendowa

Last week we published the Jijuyu Zanmai, which is the second part of the first half of Master Dogen's Bendowa, the first text to be written in casual Japanese to explain the Zen Dogen had learned in China under Master Rujing. This text is the very first part of the Bendowa that precedes the Jijuyu… Continue reading “When you release it, it fills your hand; when you speak it fills your mouth” – Dogen’s Bendowa

Dogen, Japanese Texts, Texts

Jijuyu Zanmai – Master Dogen’s Self-Receiving and Employing Samadhi

The Jijuyu Zanmai is the second section of the first part of Dogen's Bendowa - 'The Endeavor of the Way' and concerns the experience of zazen itself. The whole text of the Bendowa is held in high esteem as being Dogen's best and most comprehensible explanation of his understanding of Zen and the Dharma. There are… Continue reading Jijuyu Zanmai – Master Dogen’s Self-Receiving and Employing Samadhi

American Poetry, Poetry

Behind Me – dips Eternity – Emily Dickinson

The term between eternity and immortality - our lives - is the subject of Emily Dickinson's poem number 721. It's a gentle vision of life melting and disappearing into a drift and the being itself a 'miracle' as she refers to it in the last verse. She also uses the image of the moon reflected… Continue reading Behind Me – dips Eternity – Emily Dickinson

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