Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet by Joan Halifax (Author), Rebecca Solnit (Foreword


Standing at the Edge is an evocative examination of how we can respond to suffering, live our fullest lives, and remain open to the full spectrum of our human experience.

Joan Halifax has enriched thousands of lives around the world through her work as a humanitarian, a social activist, an anthropologist, and as a Buddhist teacher. Over many decades, she has also collaborated with neuroscientists, clinicians, and psychologists to understand how contemplative practice can be a vehicle for social transformation. Through her unusual background, she developed an understanding of how our greatest challenges can become the most valuable source of our wisdom―and how we can transform our experience of suffering into the power of compassion for the benefit of others.

Halifax has identified five psychological territories she calls Edge States―altruism, empathy, integrity, respect, and engagement―that epitomize strength of character. Yet each of these states can also be the cause of personal and social suffering. In this way, these five psychological experiences form edges, and it is only when we stand at these edges that we become open to the full range of our human experience and discover who we really are.

Recounting the experiences of caregivers, activists, humanitarians, politicians, parents, and teachers, incorporating the wisdom of Zen traditions and mindfulness practices, and rooted in Halifax’s groundbreaking research on compassion, Standing at the Edge is destined to become a contemporary classic. A powerful guide on how to find the freedom we seek for others and ourselves, it is a book that will serve us all.

Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D., is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She is Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She received her Ph.D. in medical anthropology in 1973 and has lectured on the subject of death and dying at many academic institutions and medical centers around the world. She received a National Science Foundation Fellowship in Visual Anthropology, was an Honorary Research Fellow in Medical Ethnobotany at Harvard University, and was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress.

From 1972-1975, she worked with psychiatrist Stanislav Grof at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center with dying cancer patients. She has continued to work with dying people and their families, and to teach health care professionals and family caregivers the psycho-social, ethical and spiritual aspects of care of the dying. She is Director of the Project on Being with Dying, and Founder of the Upaya Prison Project that develops programs on meditation for prisoners. She is also founder of the Nomads Clinic in Nepal.

She studied for a decade with Zen Teacher Seung Sahn and was a teacher in the Kwan Um Zen School. She received the Lamp Transmission from Thich Nhat Hanh, and was given Inka by Roshi Bernie Glassman.

A Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order and founder of Prajna Mountain Buddhist Order, her work and practice for more than four decades has focused on engaged Buddhism. Her books include: The Human Encounter with Death (with Stanislav Grof); The Fruitful Darkness, A Journey Through Buddhist Practice; Simplicity in the Complex: A Buddhist Life in America; Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Wisdom in the Presence of Death; and her forthcoming, Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet to be released on May 1, 2018.

Standing At The Edge

Roshi Joan Halifax introduces her new book “Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet”

Is Nothing Something? BY THICH NHAT HANH

Thich Nhat Hanh answers children’s questions.

Children have a special place in the Plum Village tradition of Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. There are special practices, vows, and programs designed especially for children and teens, and Thich Nhat Hanh often fashions the first part of his dharma talks with them in mind. He regularly takes questions from children, and by and large adults can identify with what they ask. Children may be smaller and younger and they may have a funny way with words, but their questions reveal that they, like adults, are grappling with the human condition. What follows are real questions from children and Thich Nhat Hanh’s insightful answers from a new illustrated book, Is Nothing Something? “I always try to give an answer that offers the best of myself,” Thich Nhat Hanh says. “I am much older than the children who asked these questions, but when we sit and breathe together, it seems that we are the same.” —Andrea Miller

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is energy. This energy helps us enjoy what is happening right now. Mindful energy can bring us a lot of joy. It helps us suffer less and learn from our suffering. A good way to get some mindful energy is to close your eyes and breathe easily. Just pay attention to your breath. If you can enjoy your in-breath and out-breath, you are creating mindful energy.

What should you do if someone feels bad and you want to comfort that person and make him or her feel better?

One of the simplest and most loving things you can do for someone who feels bad is just to be with them and breathe with them. You can say, “I am here for you.” You are offering your presence, which is the most wonderful gift you can offer another person.

What do you do when you’re scared?

Usually, when we’re afraid, we try to run away from whatever scares us. When I am scared, I breathe deeply and calm myself. I try to stop my thinking and just breathe. This always helps me. Every time I have an upset stomach, I fill a hot water bottle and I put it on my stomach. In five minutes, I feel much better. My mindful breathing is like a hot water bottle for my mind. Every time I apply mindful breathing to my fear, I get relief.

Is nothing something?

Yes. Nothing is something. You have an idea in your head of nothing. You have an idea in your head of something. Both are things that can create either suffering or happiness.

Why do I sometimes feel lonely and that no one loves me?

Sometimes the people around you are distracted and may forget to express their love. But if you feel like no one loves you, you can always look outside at the natural world. Do you see a tree out there? That tree loves you. It offers its beauty and freshness to you and gives you oxygen so you can breathe. The Earth loves you, offering you fresh water and delicious fruit for you to eat. The world expresses its love in many ways, not just with words.

How can I love someone who likes different things than me?

To love is to discover. If you keep on loving another person, you will keep discovering wonderful things about that person. You can enjoy the differences because it would be boring if everyone were the same. Even if the other person has a quality that doesn’t seem lovable, you can practice loving that person anyway, just as they are, and not how you wish they were.

How can I remain calm when I see so many bad things in the world?

Whenever I see violence or cruelty, it still makes me angry. We all get angry sometimes. But we can learn to take care of our anger. If we look closely, we can notice that people who are cruel have a lot of suffering inside. When we see this, we can be compassionate, and help the situation by creating peace, even if what is happening around us is not very peaceful. We can use our breath and our mindfulness to transform the energy of anger into the energy of compassion. When we have the energy of compassion, we can do a lot of things to help people suffer less.

From Is Nothing Something? by Thich Nhat Hanh, (c) 2014 by Unified Buddhist Church. Reprinted by arrangement with Parallax Press, Berkeley, California.

Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home: A Memoir By Natalie Goldberg


A powerful memoir from Natalie Golderg–the woman who changed the way writing is taught in this country–sharing her experience with cancer grounded in her practice of writing and Zen.

Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home begins at the grave of Katagiri Roshi, Natalie’s Zen teacher, in Japan. Twenty years after Katagiri’s death and Natalie’s return to New Mexico, she is permanently settled in Santa Fe with her partner, Yukwan. Except that, as Buddhism teaches us, nothing is permanent. Natalie learns that she has CLL, a potentially fatal form of blood cancer.

For two years, Natalie dances with her cancer–visiting doctor after doctor, attempting treatment after treatment. Nothing helps; in fact, one of the treatments only feeds the cancer and encourages its growth. Then Natalie’s partner, Yukwan discovers that she, too, has cancer–breast cancer–as well as an off-the-charts oncotype score that requires her to have surgery immediately. The cancer twins, as Natalie calls herself and Yukwan, now must each navigate her own illness, carve out her own cancer territory. Each can provide only limited emotional and physical energy for the other. And, somehow, they both need to find a way to stay together, to stay in love–and to heal.

As the title expresses, Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home is so much more than a cancer memoir. Through a direct and grounded narrative, Natalie illuminates a path through illness: that we need to be in love with the lives we have, to embrace the dark and the light in our lives. For Natalie, writing and painting represent the light, and her cancer takes her deeper into her art practices. Balanced with a Zen practice that helps to her face death, this book is a moving meditation on living life in full bloom.

Natalie Goldberg lived in Brooklyn until she was six, when her family moved out to Farmingdale, Long Island, where her father owned the bar the Aero Tavern. From a young age, Goldberg was mad for books and reading, and especially loved Carson McCullers’s The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, which she read in ninth grade. She thinks that single book led her eventually to put pen to paper when she was twenty-four years old. She received a BA in English literature from George Washington University and an MA in humanities from St. John’s University.

Goldberg has painted for as long as she has written, and her paintings can be seen in Living Color: A Writer Paints Her World and Top of My Lungs: Poems and Paintings. They can also be viewed at the Ernesto Mayans Gallery on Canyon Road in Sante Fe.

A dedicated teacher, Goldberg has taught writing and literature for the last thirty-five years. She also leads national workshops and retreats, and her schedule can be accessed via her website: nataliegoldberg.com

In 2006, she completed with the filmmaker Mary Feidt a one-hour documentary, Tangled Up in Bob, about Bob Dylan’s childhood on the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. The film can be obtained on Amazon or the website tangledupinbob.com.

Goldberg has been a serious Zen practitioner since 1974 and studied with Katagiri Roshi from 1978 to 1984.

Natalie Goldberg reads from her memoir Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home, 8 July 2018, The Bookstore, Lenox, MA.

Gone, but here BY DONNA QUESADA


Donna Quesada, author of The Buddha in the Classroom, reflects on birth, death, losses, and gains.

After our 13 year-old poodle passed away last year, we couldn’t yet bring ourselves to give away his toys. After losing a loved one—whether human or pet—there’s a part of the mind that tricks itself into believing that the deceased one still cares about the material items left behind. Rather than do anything at the time, my husband tucked them away in a plastic storage bin.

The other day when I was putting sheets away, a hedgehog with a gnawed nose caught my eye. Soon I was finding all sorts of treasures—like the old tractor my son used to play with as a child and the tattered old baby blanket he dragged around until he started kindergarten.

There is a tendency to confer a different significance to these two different kinds of discoveries. The first event recalls a beloved pet that has passed away, and in its sense of finality, tends to evoke sadness. The second involves the belongings of a boy who has simply become a man and, as it isn’t shrouded with that same quality of finality, stirs up an agreeable sort of nostalgia.

While each of us will respond in our own personal ways to the challenging events of our lives, much has to do with our interpretations of them. My point is merely to suggest that with greater contemplation, the difference between events, such as the ones I’ve shared, is less distinct than imagined.

When I said goodbye to Simba on that day last year, it was not the same little doggy that once chewed those stuffed animals. And the man that came up to visit last weekend is not the same person that dragged that old blanket around until we’d hid it, 15 years ago. Neither are here, yet, in uncountable ways, both are infinitely here.

Birth and death, birth and death! When my Zen teacher repeats these words, it is because they reveal a great truth about existence. Neither is what we believe it to be. And despite the concrete definitions we accept by convention, neither is definable and neither refers, objectively, to any specific event. Those two words reveal the reality of life’s continuum.

We celebrate the occasion of a baby’s birth as a singular event and we mourn the death of a loved one as a final farewell to life. But both birth and death are present, unceasingly, at every moment of every life. We might only notice when we look back and note all the change that has taken place over time, or when something shakes us to such a degree that we’re thrown into shock — when we’re sure nothing will ever be the same again. But it’s at any moment that nothing will ever be the same again.

I recently saw a documentary about the American spiritual teacher, Ram Dass. In one scene, a young woman shares a dream in which she asks her recently deceased fiancé if she will ever find someone else to love. “This was small peanuts,” he replies, “and when you find that love, I’m part of it.” At this, Ram Dass breaks down at the power of the message and through tears, whispers “Yum, yum, yum, yum.”

As I write, a little terrier with bushy eyebrows nudges my Mac so that he can squeeze himself under it and rest in my lap. And when I’m not home, he sleeps in Simba’s old bed—a symbol of the sense in which Simba passed life on to this little dog we call Marcel. When my husband and I brought him home from the pound, there was never any thought of “replacement.” It would have been superficial to think that way. We will love many times during the course of our lives, our friends, our children, our pets and our lovers—we love them as they change and we love them in different ways at different times. Like the waves in the ocean, each life is beautiful and unique in its own way and like the waves, each will one day dissolve into the sea of life from which it came and from which it was never really separate. One wave rises up and falls and is succeeded by the next. It is a never-ending continuation.

When a loved one passes away, we need to fill something in, where it says, “time of death.” But death happens in stages. I remember the day I got the call about my grandmother. Her heart had finally stopped. But in a very real sense, she had already been lost to us for many years. The mental and physical decline happened in imperceptible steps, but it was too subtle and we are both too distracted and too reluctant to notice.

I refold some of the sheets in the storage shed and reflect on this process. When did that sweet doggy stop chewing these toys? And my beloved grandmother—could I name the day when she first stopped recognizing me?

We draw a thick black line between birth and death, as we draw lines through all of reality. But, like lines drawn in sand, they’re arbitrary, sketchy lines. Now here, now there, and the waves of time wash them away. After a lifetime of seeing the world in segments, the divisions seem just as real as the sun shining in our eyes: mind and body, right and wrong, east and west, humanity and nature.

But life and death, in reality, form a continuum, like a round of voices in mellifluous harmony, where one voice disappears into another, and the break is indiscernible. When did you become an adult? On the day of some random demarcation called a birthday? Or, similarly, when did you become a painter, or a doctor—at some point during those long hours in Urgent Care as an exhausted intern? After passing the most monstrous exams? After drawing blood for the first time? After saving a life for the first time? How do you know when you’ve saved a life? Maybe we’ve all saved a life.

Where do we ever draw the line?

Source: Lions Roar

A NEW BUDDHIST PATH : Enlightenment, Evolution, and Ethics in the Modern World by David R. Loy

David R. Loy addresses head-on the most pressing issues of Buddhist philosophy in our time.

What is the meaning of enlightenment—is it an escape from the world, or is it a form of psychological healing?
How can one reconcile modern scientific theory with ancient religious teachings?
What is our role in the universe?

Loy shows us that neither Buddhism nor secular society by itself is sufficient to answer these questions. Instead, he investigates the unexpected intersections of the two. Through this exchange, he uncovers a new Buddhist way, one that is faithful to the important traditions of Buddhism but compatible with modernity. This way, we can see the world as it is truly is, realize our indivisibility from it, and learn that the world’s problems are our problems. This is a new path for a new world.

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Why Buddhism and the Modern World Need Each Other

The highest ideal of the modern West has been social transformation: to restructure our societies so that they are more just. The most important goal for Buddhism is to awaken (the Buddha means “the Awakened”): personal transformation. Dr. David Loy explores how we need both, not just because these ideals complement each other, but because each project needs the other if it is to be successful.

Dr. David Loy is a writer, scholar, and Zen teacher in the Sanbo Kyodan tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism. Dr. Loy’s recent research has focused upon the encounter between Buddhism and modernity, exhibiting special concern regarding social and ecological issues.

Learn more about Harvard Divinity School and its mission to illuminate, engage, and serve at http://www.hds.harvard.edu.

Henry Shukman on “No Seer No Seeing …Nothing…” The Moment that Still IS !” 

Published on Jul 24, 2017

Based on his own direct experience of “dying without dying,” Henry Shukman (a Sanbo Zen teacher) talks about … the moment that still IS … … where there is no seer … nothing but pure awareness … even the question “what is ‘reporting’ this” is rendered irrelevant or unnecessary ..

It is the pivotal “turning point of a human lifetime” … the “extraordinary shift {that} is possible for us … without a theistic context” … the “greatest opportunity of all opportunities – to be a human being” … enjoy!

This short-video clip is from an upcoming full length feature film on a conversation between Henry Shukman and Chris Hebard about Zen and more.

This clip and the upcoming film is a Stillness Speaks production (https://www.stillnessspeaks.com) in association with Mountain Cloud Zen Center. It is produced by Chris Hebard (Pruett Media : http://www.pruettmedia.com/) and Henry Shukman (Mountain Cloud Zen Center : https://www.mountaincloud.org/). Filmographer (including video editing) is Jonathan Mugford (jonathan.mugford@gmail.com).

Video clip copyright holder is Stillness Speaks & Pruett Media LLC, and it is freely made available to Mountain Cloud Zen Center.

David Loy – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview


Published on Apr 22, 2017

Also see https://batgap.com/david-loy/

David Robert Loy is a professor, writer, and Zen teacher in the Sanbo Kyodan tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism.
He is a prolific author, whose essays and books have been translated into many languages. His articles appear regularly in the pages of major journals and Buddhist magazines. He is on the editorial or advisory boards of the journals Cultural Dynamics, Worldviews, Contemporary Buddhism, Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, and World Fellowship of Buddhists Review. He is also on the advisory boards of Buddhist Global Relief, the Clear View Project, Zen Peacemakers, and the Ernest Becker Foundation.”
For more details about his teachings, visit his website or his YouTube channel. He also has an extensive audio/video library on his website.

5 Practices for Nurturing Happiness by Thich Nhat Hanh

The great Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh suffered a serious stroke in November of 2014…
We join practitioners around the world in sending our prayers and good wishes for his continued recovery. Thich Nhat Hanh’s life is inspiring, his benefit great, and his teaching, like the dharma itself, profound and practical.

We all want to be happy and there are many books and teachers in the world that try to help people be happier. Yet we all continue to suffer.

Therefore, we may think that we’re “doing it wrong.” Somehow we are “failing at happiness.” That isn’t true. Being able to enjoy happiness doesn’t require that we have zero suffering. In fact, the art of happiness is also the art of suffering well. When we learn to acknowledge, embrace, and understand our suffering, we suffer much less. Not only that, but we’re also able to go further and transform our suffering into understanding, compassion, and joy for ourselves and for others.

One of the most difficult things for us to accept is that there is no realm where there’s only happiness and there’s no suffering. This doesn’t mean that we should despair. Suffering can be transformed. As soon as we open our mouth to say “suffering,” we know that the opposite of suffering is already there as well. Where there is suffering, there is happiness.

According to the creation story in the biblical book of Genesis, God said, “Let there be light.” I like to imagine that light replied, saying, “God, I have to wait for my twin brother, darkness, to be with me. I can’t be there without the darkness.” God asked, “Why do you need to wait? Darkness is there.” Light answered, “In that case, then I am also already there.”
One of the most difficult things for us to accept is that there is no realm where there’s only happiness and there’s no suffering. This doesn’t mean that we should despair. Suffering can be transformed.

If we focus exclusively on pursuing happiness, we may regard suffering as something to be ignored or resisted. We think of it as something that gets in the way of happiness. But the art of happiness is also the art of knowing how to suffer well. If we know how to use our suffering, we can transform it and suffer much less. Knowing how to suffer well is essential to realizing true happiness.

Healing Medicine

The main affliction of our modern civilization is that we don’t know how to handle the suffering inside us and we try to cover it up with all kinds of consumption. Retailers peddle a plethora of devices to help us cover up the suffering inside. But unless and until we’re able to face our suffering, we can’t be present and available to life, and happiness will continue to elude us.

There are many people who have enormous suffering, and don’t know how to handle it. For many people, it starts at a very young age. So why don’t schools teach our young people the way to manage suffering? If a student is very unhappy, he can’t concentrate and he can’t learn. The suffering of each of us affects others. The more we learn about the art of suffering well, the less suffering there will be in the world.

Mindfulness is the best way to be with our suffering without being overwhelmed by it. Mindfulness is the capacity to dwell in the present moment, to know what’s happening in the here and now. For example, when we’re lifting our two arms, we’re conscious of the fact that we’re lifting our arms. Our mind is with our lifting of our arms, and we don’t think about the past or the future, because lifting our arms is what’s happening in the present moment.

To be mindful means to be aware. It’s the energy that knows what is happening in the present moment. Lifting our arms and knowing that we’re lifting our arms—that’s mindfulness, mindfulness of our action. When we breathe in and we know we’re breathing in, that’s mindfulness. When we make a step and we know that the steps are taking place, we are mindful of the steps. Mindfulness is always mindfulness of something. It’s the energy that helps us be aware of what is happening right now and right here—in our body, in our feelings, in our perceptions, and around us.
With mindfulness we are no longer afraid of pain. We can even go further and make good use of suffering to generate the energy of understanding and compassion that heals us and we can help others to heal and be happy as well.

With mindfulness, you can recognize the presence of the suffering in you and in the world. And it’s with that same energy that you tenderly embrace the suffering. By being aware of your in-breath and out-breath you generate the energy of mindfulness, so you can continue to cradle the suffering. Practitioners of mindfulness can help and support each other in recognizing, embracing, and transforming suffering. With mindfulness we are no longer afraid of pain. We can even go further and make good use of suffering to generate the energy of understanding and compassion that heals us and we can help others to heal and be happy as well.

Generating Mindfulness

The way we start producing the medicine of mindfulness is by stopping and taking a conscious breath, giving our complete attention to our in-breath and our out-breath. When we stop and take a breath in this way, we unite body and mind and come back home to ourselves. We feel our bodies more fully. We are truly alive only when the mind is with the body. The great news is that oneness of body and mind can be realized just by one in-breath. Maybe we have not been kind enough to our body for some time. Recognizing the tension, the pain, the stress in our body, we can bathe it in our mindful awareness, and that is the beginning of healing.

If we take care of the suffering inside us, we have more clarity, energy, and strength to help address the suffering of our loved ones, as well as the suffering in our community and the world. If, however, we are preoccupied with the fear and despair in us, we can’t help remove the suffering of others. There is an art to suffering well. If we know how to take care of our suffering, we not only suffer much, much less, we also create more happiness around us and in the world.

Why the Buddha Kept Meditating

When I was a young monk, I wondered why the Buddha kept practicing mindfulness and meditation even after he had already become a buddha. Now I find the answer is plain enough to see. Happiness is impermanent, like everything else. In order for happiness to be extended and renewed, you have to learn how to feed your happiness. Nothing can survive without food, including happiness; your happiness can die if you don’t know how to nourish it. If you cut a flower but you don’t put it in some water, the flower will wilt in a few hours.
We can condition our bodies and minds to happiness with the five practices of letting go, inviting positive seeds, mindfulness, concentration, and insight.

Even if happiness is already manifesting, we have to continue to nourish it. This is sometimes called conditioning, and it’s very important. We can condition our bodies and minds to happiness with the five practices of letting go, inviting positive seeds, mindfulness, concentration, and insight.

1. LETTING GO

The first method of creating joy and happiness is to cast off, to leave behind. There is a kind of joy that comes from letting go. Many of us are bound to so many things. We believe these things are necessary for our survival, our security, and our happiness. But many of these things—or more precisely, our beliefs about their utter necessity—are really obstacles for our joy and happiness.

Sometimes you think that having a certain career, diploma, salary, house, or partner is crucial for your happiness. You think you can’t go on without it. Even when you have achieved that situation, or are with that person, you continue to suffer. At the same time, you’re still afraid that if you let go of that prize you’ve attained, it will be even worse; you will be even more miserable without the object you are clinging to. You can’t live with it, and you can’t live without it.

If you come to look deeply into your fearful attachment, you will realize that it is in fact the very obstacle to your joy and happiness. You have the capacity to let it go. Letting go takes a lot of courage sometimes. But once you let go, happiness comes very quickly. You won’t have to go around searching for it.

Imagine you’re a city dweller taking a weekend trip out to the countryside. If you live in a big metropolis, there’s a lot of noise, dust, pollution, and odors, but also a lot of opportunities and excitement. One day, a friend coaxes you into getting away for a couple of days. At first you may say, “I can’t. I have too much work. I might miss an important call.”

But finally he convinces you to leave, and an hour or two later, you find yourself in the countryside. You see open space. You see the sky, and you feel the breeze on your cheeks. Happiness is born from the fact that you could leave the city behind. If you hadn’t left, how could you experience that kind of joy? You needed to let go.

2. INVITING POSITIVE SEEDS

We each have many kinds of “seeds” lying deep in our consciousness. Those we water are the ones that sprout, come up into our awareness, and manifest outwardly.

So in our own consciousness there is hell, and there is also paradise. We are capable of being compassionate, understanding, and joyful. If we pay attention only to the negative things in us, especially the suffering of past hurts, we are wallowing in our sorrows and not getting any positive nourishment. We can practice appropriate attention, watering the wholesome qualities in us by touching the positive things that are always available inside and around us. That is good food for our mind.

One way of taking care of our suffering is to invite a seed of the opposite nature to come up. As nothing exists without its opposite, if you have a seed of arrogance, you have also a seed of compassion. Every one of us has a seed of compassion. If you practice mindfulness of compassion every day, the seed of compassion in you will become strong. You need only concentrate on it and it will come up as a powerful zone of energy.

Naturally, when compassion comes up, arrogance goes down. You don’t have to fight it or push it down. We can selectively water the good seeds and refrain from watering the negative seeds. This doesn’t mean we ignore our suffering; it just means that we allow the positive seeds that are naturally there to get attention and nourishment.

3. MINDFULNESS-BASED JOY

Mindfulness helps us not only to get in touch with suffering, so that we can embrace and transform it, but also to touch the wonders of life, including our own body. Then breathing in becomes a delight, and breathing out can also be a delight. You truly come to enjoy your breathing.

A few years ago, I had a virus in my lungs that made them bleed. I was spitting up blood. With lungs like that, it was difficult to breathe, and it was difficult to be happy while breathing. After treatment, my lungs healed and my breathing became much better. Now when I breathe, all I need to do is to remember the time when my lungs were infected with this virus. Then every breath I take becomes really delicious, really good.

When we practice mindful breathing or mindful walking, we bring our mind home to our body and we are established in the here and the now. We feel so lucky; we have so many conditions of happiness that are already available. Joy and happiness come right away. So mindfulness is a source of joy. Mindfulness is a source of happiness.

Mindfulness is an energy you can generate all day long through your practice. You can wash your dishes in mindfulness. You can cook your dinner in mindfulness. You can mop the floor in mindfulness. And with mindfulness you can touch the many conditions of happiness and joy that are already available. You are a real artist. You know how to create joy and happiness any time you want. This is the joy and the happiness born from mindfulness.

4. CONCENTRATION

Concentration is born from mindfulness. Concentration has the power to break through, to burn away the afflictions that make you suffer and to allow joy and happiness to come in.

To stay in the present moment takes concentration. Worries and anxiety about the future are always there, ready to take us away. We can see them, acknowledge them, and use our concentration to return to the present moment.

When we have concentration, we have a lot of energy. We don’t get carried away by visions of past suffering or fears about the future. We dwell stably in the present moment so we can get in touch with the wonders of life, and generate joy and happiness.

Concentration is always concentration on something. If you focus on your breathing in a relaxed way, you are already cultivating an inner strength. When you come back to feel your breath, concentrate on your breathing with all your heart and mind. Concentration is not hard labor. You don’t have to strain yourself or make a huge effort. Happiness arises lightly and easily.

5. INSIGHT

With mindfulness, we recognize the tension in our body, and we want very much to release it, but sometimes we can’t. What we need is some insight.

Insight is seeing what is there. It is the clarity that can liberate us from afflictions such as jealousy or anger, and allow true happiness to come. Every one of us has insight, though we don’t always make use of it to increase our happiness.
The essence of our practice can be described as transforming suffering into happiness. It’s not a complicated practice, but it requires us to cultivate mindfulness, concentration, and insight.

We may know, for example, that something (a craving, or a grudge) is an obstacle for our happiness, that it brings us anxiety and fear. We know this thing is not worth the sleep we’re losing over it. But still we go on spending our time and energy obsessing about it. We’re like a fish who has been caught once before and knows there’s a hook inside the bait; if the fish makes use of that insight, he won’t bite, because he knows he’ll get caught by the hook.

Often, we just bite onto our craving or grudge, and let the hook take us. We get caught and attached to these situations that are not worthy of our concern. If mindfulness and concentration are there, then insight will be there and we can make use of it to swim away, free.

In springtime when there is a lot of pollen in the air, some of us have a hard time breathing due to allergies. Even when we aren’t trying to run five miles and we just want to sit or lie down, we can’t breathe very well. So in wintertime, when there’s no pollen, instead of complaining about the cold, we can remember how in April or May we couldn’t go out at all. Now our lungs are clear, we can take a brisk walk outside and we can breathe very well. We consciously call up our experience of the past to help ourselves treasure the good things we are having right now.

In the past we probably did suffer from one thing or another. It may even have felt like a kind of hell. If we remember that suffering, not letting ourselves get carried away by it, we can use it to remind ourselves, “How lucky I am right now. I’m not in that situation. I can be happy”—that is insight; and in that moment, our joy, and our happiness can grow very quickly.

The essence of our practice can be described as transforming suffering into happiness. It’s not a complicated practice, but it requires us to cultivate mindfulness, concentration, and insight.

It requires first of all that we come home to ourselves, that we make peace with our suffering, treating it tenderly, and looking deeply at the roots of our pain. It requires that we let go of useless, unnecessary sufferings and take a closer look at our idea of happiness.

Finally, it requires that we nourish happiness daily, with acknowledgment, understanding, and compassion for ourselves and for those around us. We offer these practices to ourselves, to our loved ones, and to the larger community. This is the art of suffering and the art of happiness. With each breath, we ease suffering and generate joy. With each step, the flower of insight blooms.
Source: lionsroar

At Home In The World: Stories and Essential Teachings From A Monk’s Life by Thich Nhat Hanh (Author)

This collection of autobiographical and teaching stories from peace activist and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is thought provoking and inspiring. Collected here for the first time, these stories span his life. There are stories from his childhood and the traditions of rural Vietnam. There are stories from his years as a teenage novice, as a young teacher and writer in war torn Vietnam, and of his travels around the world to teach mindfulness, make pilgrimages to sacred sites and influence world leaders.

The tradition of Zen teaching stories goes back at least to the time of the Buddha. Like the Buddha, Thich Nhat Hanh uses story–telling to engage people’s interest so he can share important teachings, insights and life lessons.

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Finding Your Inner Peace & Peace Of Mind – Spiritual Teachers – Teaching by Thich Naht Hanh

Thich Naht Hanh teaches us how to become mindful of breathing in our everyday lives. Through meditation and being mindful one can become free from pain and suffering and learn true wisdom through insight.

Thích Nhất Hạnh ; born October 11, 1926 is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist. He lives in the Plum Village Monastery in the Dordogne region in the South of France, travelling internationally to give retreats and talks. He coined the term Engaged Buddhism in his book “Vietnam: Lotus in a Sea of Fire”. A long-term exile, he was given permission to make his first return trip to Vietnam in 2005.

Nhất Hạnh has published more than 100 books, including more than 40 in English. Nhat Hanh is active in the peace movement, promoting non-violent solutions to conflict and he is also refraining from animal product consumption as means of non-violence towards non-human animals.

Love’s Garden: A Guide to Mindful Relationships by Peggy Rowe-Ward (Author), Larry Ward (Author)

A collection of real-life Buddhist love stories, with commentary and guided exercises for couples developed by Peggy Rowe-Ward and Larry Ward, senior students and ordained Dharma teachers in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. These personal stories, from couples of a range of different ages and experiences, illustrate how Buddhist principles can help couples navigate any stage of their relationship.

It took the authors some good living and good loving before they realized that the love that they were seeking was already present and available in the depths of their hearts and mind. Love does not depend on anything that is happening “Out There” and is not dependent on anything “he” or “she” might do. It depends on our own willingness to look within and to act. This insight is a result of practicing the teachings of the Buddha on right diligence and right effort. The authors have been studying and practicing with Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and they are happy to report that the practices work.

In Love’s Garden the authors offer key practices such as “The Three Keyes” (see excerpt) for the transformation of suffering and the establishment of happiness. These practices have helped them see each other’s happiness as their own. They share stories and illustrations from their own life and also and those of their friends and students.

“The practice is not difficult. We simply need to get in touch with and nourish the practices that are helping us to experience peace. And then we need to stop doing the things that keep us from experiencing peace.” Larry Ward

Foreword by Thich Nhat Hanh

Peggy Rowe Ward received Dharma teacher Transmission form Thich Nhat Hanh in 2000 at Plum Village, France. She has a Doctorate in adult education and a Master’s degree in counseling psychology. She has published in professional adult education journals on women’s stories of coming into voice, Her doctoral publications are connected to community centered dreamwork. She has had short essays published in In Our Own Voice (1992) and in The Mindfulness Bell. She co-authored Making Friends with Time (2000) with Tracy Sarriugarte.

Larry Ward has celebrated over 30 years as a Christian minister. He received Dharma teacher transmission from Thich Nhat Hanh in 2000 in Plum Village, France. Larry was an executive director in an international organization engaged in human development programs in 52 countries. He has lived for extended periods in Hong Kong, India, and the Caribbean. He has published articles and poems for Emerging Lifestyles, Edges, and The Mindfulness Bell magazines. In 2006 he was commissioned by the United Nations to write a paper on mindfulness and leadership.

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Love’s Garden

http://www.MyMommyManual.com Interview with author Peggy Rowe Ward on her book Love’s Garden: A Guide to Mindful Relationships. Introduction by Zen Master, Thich Naht Hanh

Words From Silence: An Invitation To Spiritual Awakening ~ Leonard Jacobson


This powerful book reveals the basic tenets of Leonard Jacobson’s approach to spiritual awakening and enlightenment. Each page is a lyrically beautiful expression of an essential truth. Zen-like in its simplicity, it communicates directly with the heart and soul of the reader, gently inviting a response from the deepest levels of Being. This book is best read cover to cover, and then picked up again from time to time, choosing passages at random. The words in this book are powerful. They can inspire you towards your own awakening or they can act as a guide for those already on the path. Some of the words need to be meditated upon. They are like Koans. The meaning is not always obvious. Each reading will elicit different responses from the reader, sometimes challenging, sometimes provocative, sometimes deeply reassuring and affirming. This book is suitable for newcomers as well as experienced seekers on the spiritual path.

Author’s note:

It has been twenty-five years since Words from Silence was first published and at least 30 years since I wrote it. My teaching has evolved over the years and I felt that it would be appropriate to update the book. This revised edition contains most of the content from the first edition, but I have added some additional passages to enhance the flow of the book.

My words are not directed towards your mind or that part of you that understands. The truth is beyond understanding, and it arises from the silence at the center of your Being. It is equally available to each one of us as we become present. This book is intended to encourage, support and inspire you to become more present, and then you will know from your own experience what I am writing about.

The world is at a crucial stage. The opportunity exists now for man and woman to evolve in consciousness. It is as if God has extended to each of us an invitation to participate in a great awakening. This book is a part of that invitation.

Leonard Jacobson ♥ Awakening to Presence

Zen & the Kingdom of Heaven by Tom Chetwynd (Author)

“Let us guard the mind with all diligence from thoughts that obscure the soul’s mirror; for in that mirror Jesus Christ, the wisdom and power of God the Father, is luminously reflected. And let us unceasingly seek the Kingdom of Heaven inside our mind. Indeed if we cleanse the eye of the mind, we will find all things hidden within us. This is why our Lord Jesus Christ said that the Kingdom of Heaven is within us, indicating that Divinity dwells in our minds.” –Saint Philotheos of Sinai, circa ninth century.

In this provocative and very human work, Tom Chetwynd tells the story of how his skeptical first encounters with Zen Buddhism led him to discover the rich-but largely forgotten Christian tradition of pure contemplative prayer. Chetwynd explores the surprisingly Zen-like teachings of the Desert Fathers and other Christian meditation masters whose practice stems from the very first Christian communities–and perhaps Jesus Christ himself.

Tom Chetwynd is the author of many books on dreams, myths, and symbols, including The Dictionary for Dreamers and The Age of Myth: The Bronze Age As the Cradle of the Unconscious. He lives in London, England.

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Mindfulness A to Z: 108 Insights for Awakening Now by Arnie Kozak (Author)

A sweeping field guide to the practice of mindfulness.

From Acceptance to Zafu, Mindfulness A to Z offers a wealth of inspirational advice and practical instruction on how to bring mindfulness fully into your life. In each entry, Dr. Kozak combines his personal insights and expert guidance on all aspects of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness A to Z presents a multifaceted look at living mindfully in our hectic world, whether dealing with internal conflict, such as fear of missing out, technical problems, such as how to meditate comfortably, or everyday joys such as finding your smile.
Whether you devour the whole book in one sitting, or read an entry a day, Mindfulness A to Z will be a great resource for building better practices in your daily life.


Long before mindfulness was fashionable, Arnie Kozak, was studying, practicing, and teaching mindfulness and Buddhist psychology. Beginning with a journey to India in the 80’s, Arnie began his lifelong practice in mindfulness meditation. Intent on finding a way to bring the practical healing attributes of mindfulness he began incorporating these techniques in his private practice.

In 2002 Dr. Kozak created Exquisite Mind in Burlington, Vermont as a vehicle that could expand the value of mindfulness to larger audiences including professionals and corporations, health care providers, public groups and, most recently with Exquisite Mind Golf, amateur and professional golfers. His first book, Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants: 108 Metaphors for Mindfulness (Wisdom Publications, 2009) is a thoughtful, funny, and inspiring translation of mindfulness practice through the inventive use of metaphor applicable to our daily lives. It has been translated into three languages.

His second book, The Everything Buddhism Book, is an accessible introduction to the Buddha’s wisdom and the Buddhist traditions. The Everything Guide to the Introvert Edge and Mindfulness A-Z: 108 Insights for Awakening Now are forthcoming books. Arnie’s ability to translate ancient healing traditions into pragmatic applications suitable for modern lifestyles through the use of metaphors have made him a contributing voice in the Mindfulness Revolution.

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A to Z Promo

Published on Sep 23, 2015

An introduction to my latest book, Mindfulness A to Z: 108 Insights for Awakening Now

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness Author, Teacher and Therapist – Dr. Arnie Kozak

Holistically Speaking interviews Dr. Arnie Kozak, Mindfulness Author, Teacher and Therapist, Burlington, Vermont

The Wonder of Presence: And the Way of Meditative Inquiry by Toni Packer (Author)

In this compelling collection of talks, interviews, and letters, Toni Packer provides a comprehensive overview of the path of meditative inquiry—a nondenominational approach to spiritual growth that emphasizes the direct experience of the present moment. “The immense challenge for each one of us,” Packer writes, “is can we live our lives, at least for moments at a time, in the wonder of presence that is the creative source of everything?” She shows how we can transform fear, anger, guilt, and attachment to our self-image through simple, direct awareness. Having recently lost her husband of fifty years, Packer also speaks with candor and tenderness about the convulsions of a grieving heart and the peace that undivided awareness can bring.

Toni Packer began studying Zen in 1967 with Roshi Philip Kapleau (author of The Three Pillars of Zen ) at the Rochester Zen Center and was eventually named his successor. Seeing the potentially destructive effects of relying too much on tradition, however, she did not accept the position. Packer is strongly influenced by the teachings of Krishnamurti and has turned away from the traditional forms and hierarchies that are prevalent in many Buddhist schools. Her approach is appealing to many Westerners who find institutionalized practices such as chanting, bowing, and burning incense to be alien and unnecessary.


Toni Packer (1927–2013) began studying Zen at the Rochester Zen Center in 1967 with Roshi Philip Kapleau (author of The Three Pillars of Zen). She taught and led retreats at Springwater Center in Springwater, New York.

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Toni Packer interviewed by Joan Tollifson

Emptiness is NOT nothing – teaching from Thich Nhat Hanh.

“Emptiness is not nothing.” Thich Nhat Hanh talks about emptiness – the root window of perception (HERE) within the I AM HERE teaching.
I AM HERE is a system of teaching presently being introduced world-wide by Dr. Bart ten Berge and Georgi within the Chashymie School of Inner Growth of the International School of Spiritual Psychology (ISSP).

Jack Kornfield: Awakening To Pure Consciousness


By Jack Kornfield: In the next chapter we will examine consciousness in its particle-like nature…

For now, let us consider the unbounded sky or mirror-like nature of consciousness. We need to be practical. Our first task is to learn to distinguish the mirror-like nature of consciousness from its content, our sense perceptions and thought. When we learn to distinguish consciousness from the states and experiences that color it, we are freed from reactioning to each passing state.

While studying Buddhism in college, I tried a little meditation on my own. But it was unfamiliar and I was unsuccessful because I didn’t know what I was doing. It wasn’t that I was afraid of silence or of some terrible darkness that I would find inside, though these are common misunderstandings of meditation. It was that my body would get uncomfortable and my mind would spin out in a million directions. When I got Ajahn Chah’s teaching, the practice became gradually clearer. He taught me to relax and feel my breath carefully, which helped focus and quiet my mind. Then he taught me just to mindfully notice the stream of thoughts and sensations without reacting to them as a problem. This took some practice.

Finally he taught the most important lesson, to rest in consciousness itself. As his own teacher Ajahn Mun explains, “We become the witnessing of experience, abiding in pure consciousness or awareness.” He goes on, “We can notice the distinction between consciousness and all the transient states and experiences that arise and pass away within it. When we do not understand this point, we take each of the passing states to be real. But when changing conditions such as happiness and unhappiness are seen for what they are, we find the way to peace. Most people lump everything together as the mind itself, without distinguishing between the temporary states of mind and the knowing of them. If you can rest in the knowing, the pure consciousness, there’s not much more to do.”

Does resting in consciousness mean we are simply checking out of the world, or withdrawing into navel gazing? Not at all. Resting in the knowing is not the same as detachment. When I look back at my own life I can see my struggles to discover this truth. Because of the conflict and unpredictable violence in my family, there were many times I wanted to run away but couldn’t. To cope with the trauma, at times I became depressed, angry or cynical. But as a primary protection, I developed the capacity to detach myself from what was happening. Detachment came naturally to me. I used it to become peaceful within myself and to try to calm those around me. Of course, these patterns persist and now I do it for a living.

So when I began Buddhist practice, shifting my attention to rest in consciousness felt familiar, natural. It seemed similar to my strategy of detachment. But gradually I discovered how wrong I was. My detachment had been a withdrawal from the pain and conflict into a protective shell. It was more like indifference. In Buddhist psychology indifference is called the “near enemy” to true openness and equanimity, a misguided imitation. To rest in consciousness, I had to unlearn this defensive detachment and learn to feel everything. I had to allow myself to recognize and experience the feelings and thoughts, the conflicts, the unpredictability of life in order to learn that I could trust the openness of consciousness itself. Ajahn Chah invited us to rest in consciousness and allow every experience in a fearless way. To rest in consciousness is the opposite of contraction and fear. When we rest in consciousness we become unafraid of the changing conditions of life.

In the monastery Ajahn Chah would point us back to rest in the pure knowing, consciousness itself. Sometimes he would notice that we were caught up in a state of worry or anger or doubt or sorrow. He would smile with amusement and urge us to inquire, Who is doubting? Who is angry? Can you rest in the consciousness that is aware of these states? Sometimes he would instruct us to sit at the side of a person who was dying, to be particularly aware of the mysterious moment when consciousness leaves and a person full of life turns into a lifeless corpse. Sometimes he would say, “If you are lost in the forest, that is not really being lost. You are really lost if you forget who you are.”

This knowing or pure consciousness is called by many names, all of which point to our timeless essence. Ajahn Chah and the forest monks of Thailand speak of it as the Original Mind or the One Who Knows. In Tibetan Buddhism it is referred to as Rigpa, silent and intelligent. In Zen it is called the mind ground or mind essence. The Hindu non-dual tradition speaks of this as the timeless witness. While these teachings may sound abstract, they are quite practical. To understand them we can simply notice the two distinct dimensions to our life, the ever-changing flow of experiences, and that which knows the experiences.

Perhaps we can better understand this through a story of a Palestinian named Salam, one of my good friends. I met Salam when I was doing some teaching for the hospices of the Bay Area. He was able to sit with the dying because he had no fear of death. In the late 1960’s and 70’s Salam lived in Jerusalem as an activist and a journalist. Because he was writing about creating a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem and the establishment of a Palestinian state, he was regularly arrested. He spent nearly six years in Israeli prisons. He was frequently interrogated and periodically beaten and tortured. This happens on every side in war.

One afternoon after he had been badly beaten, his body was lying on the floor of the prison and he was being kicked by a particularly cruel guard. Blood poured out of his mouth, and as the police report later stated, the authorities believed he had died.

He remembers the pain of being beaten. Then, as is often reported by accident and torture victims, he felt his consciousness leave his body and float up to the ceiling. At first it was peaceful and still, like in a silent movie, as he watched his own body lying below being kicked. It was so peaceful he didn’t know what all the fuss was about. And then Salam described how, in a remarkable way, his consciousness expanded further. He knew it was his body lying below, but now he felt he was also the boot kicking the body. He was also the peeling green paint on the prison walls, and the goat whose bleat could be heard outside, he was the dirt under the guard’s fingernails—he was all of it and the eternal consciousness of it all with no separation. Being everything, he could never die. All his fears had vanished. He realized that death was an illusion. A well-being and joy beyond description opened in him. And then a spontaneous laughter arose at the astonishing folly of humans, believing we are separate, clinging to nations and making war.

Two days later, as Salam describes it, he came back to consciousness in a bruised and beaten body on the floor of a cell, without fear or remorse, just amazement. His experience changed his whole sense of life and death. He refused to continue to participate in any form of conflict. When he was released, he married a Jewish woman and had Palestinian-Jewish children. That, he said, was his answer to the misguided madness of the world.

This excerpt is taken from the book, “The Wise Heart” VIEW HERE
Source: Jack Kornfield

The Wise Heart Chapters 1 through 4

Published on Nov 7, 2014

Introductory Announcement at 0 minutes and 0 seconds

The Wise Heart: Introduction at 0 minutes and 35 seconds

Chapter 1: Nobility at 13 minutes and 33 seconds

Sacred Perception at 20 minutes and 57 seconds

Chapter 2: A Psychology of Compassion at 28 minutes and 44 seconds

Chapter 3: Who Looks in the Mirror? at 41 minutes and 45 seconds

The Two Dimensions of Consciousness at 49 minutes and 1 second

Chapter 4: The Colorings of Consciousness at 1 hour 0 minutes and 30 seconds

Healthy and Unhealthy Mental States at 1 hour 7 minutes and 25 seconds

Nonduality in the Zen Tradition ~ Kazuaki Tanahashi

Published on May 13, 2015

http://www.scienceandnonduality.com/

An excerpt of the Interview with Kazuaki Tanahashi featured in the SAND Anthology vol. 5.

Kazuaki Tanahashi, born in Japan and active in the United States since 1977, is an artist, writer, and worker for peace and the environment. Kaz’s one-stroke paintings, multi-color Zen circles, and calligraphy have been in solo exhibitions throughout the world. His publications include Brush Mind, Penetrating Laughter: Hakuin’s Zen and Art, Lotus, and Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dogen’s Shobo Genzo. Also, The Heart Sutra: Exploring Wisdom Beyond Wisdom is forthcoming from Shambhala Publications. He is the founding director of A World Without Armies and a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science.

We Walk the Path Together: Learning From Thich Nhat Hanh And Meister Eckhart by Brian J. Pierce (Author)


Through reflections on the Vietnamese Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh, and the medieval Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart, writer Brian Pierce reveals the benefits of openness as a spiritual practice. By drawing analogies between Christian and Buddhist teachings, he identifies the common ground on which to grow in compassionate understanding and interfaith dialogue.

Blending Christian tradition with the concrete spiritual practices of Buddhism, this work emphasizes the importance of seeing with a contemplative and compassionate vision. By sharing accounts of individuals who transcended their own suffering to embrace a more compassionate and understanding view of others, Pierce celebrates the moments of harmonious communion that draw us together.

This beautifully written book is a model for respectful listening and a spiritual resource for prayerful meditation and scholarly study.

Brian J Pierce is a Dominican friar who currently serves as Promoter of the Dominican Family in Latin America and the Caribbean. He is the author of Saint Martin de Porres.

Read Inside

The Teachings Of Meister Eckhart

Eckhart discusses the profound teachings of his namesake, the 14th-century German mystic Meister Eckhart.

30 Life Changing Lessons to Learn from Thích Nhất Hạnh

Here are 30 Life Changing Lessons to Learn from Thích Nhất Hạnh:

Enjoy. VIEW HERE

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