farmhouse

Reaching the summit

He was born the son of a poor farmer in Northern Thailand … he died 60 years later, his only possession the robe on his back. Even so, more than a million people came to his funeral, including the king and queen of Thailand. He changed the lives of tens of thousands, teaching them to conquer their fears, endure suffering …

The open heart knows only connection

This is from Ezra Bayda’s “Being Zen.” James was seventy-six years old when we met, dying from lung cancer and heart failure and confined mostly to lying in bed. Although he was very weak, he would always try to be friendly and pleasant. He would even force himself to stay awake so that he would not appear to be rude. …

Walking-meditation

When walking becomes a sacred act

The practice of mindful walking, saysThich Nhat Hanh, is a profound and pleasurable way to deepen our connection with our body and the earth. We breathe, take a mindful step, and come back to our true home. Read on and learn how to. Many of us walk for the sole purpose of getting from one place to another. Now suppose …

Zen in everyday life

I seem to keep a lot of things on my mind. Thinking about work and worrying about my job security, wondering about my relationship with family and friends, trying to figure out where to invest my money, having to buy a new set of tires for the car, engrossed in the war on terrorism, seeing that all my buddies are …

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Beyond meditation there’s zazen

Is zazen simply one more form of meditation? Most people might conclude it is but some Zen masters disagree. They argue that zazen, done regularly, has powers beyond that of meditation. Zazen can (a) increase your powers of concentration, (b) provide a platform for experiencing satori (or profound truth) and (c) enable us to use these states in our daily …

Fisherman (1)

The Zen fisherman

A monk spent years in a mountain monastery meditating. In the deep beauty and silence of nature he attained deep insight and peace. Then time came for him to leave the mountain and return to the marketplace. He soon found himself amid noise, distraction and squalor. He was jostled by a rude man in the street and anger flared up …

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The man who never turned back

Gudo was the emperor’s teacher of his time. Nevertheless, he used to travel alone as a wandering mendicant. Once when he was on his way to Edo, the cultural and political center of the shogunate, he approached a little village named Takenaka. It was evening and a heavy rain was falling. Gudo was thoroughly wet. His straw sandals were in …

meditation

Regular meditation has tremendous impact on health

Somehow we all know that relaxation is good for us. Now the hard science has caught up: a comprehensive scientific study showing that deep relaxation changes our bodies on a genetic level has just been published. What researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered is that, in long-term practitioners of relaxation methods such as meditation, far more ”disease-fighting genes” were active, …

Why it’s important to ‘only don’t know’

Zen master Seung Sahn became a legend in America through his energy and his wit. He answered hundreds of letters from Zen students with the now-famous “Go straight, only don’t know.” Why? In a particularly prescient passage he explains why: Zen is very simple … What are you? In this whole world everyone searches for happiness outside, but nobody understands …

Calming the mind

Some people think that the purpose of meditation is to stop the mind. They sit, and they try. Soon they get into a fight with their mind, a fight that they lose. Frustrated, they give up. Do you recognize yourself in this scenario? Calming the mind is a more appropriate goal, and a good way to do it is by paying attention to …