Xu Yun in the monastery

A most incredible leader

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Note: The following was written by Kuan Xiu, a student of the legendary Xu Yun, in an incredible account of how Xu Yun lived to be 101 despite being bombed by the Imperial Japanese Army, tortured by Mao’s Communist cadres, and facing seemingly insurmountable debt. Read and learn …. My Master’s name, Xu Yun, is translated into English as “Empty …

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The moment I ceased to exist

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I saw him walking toward me and there was nowhere to escape. I was forced to greet and talk to this person with whom, it should be said, I had nothing in common. We exchanged inconsequential pleasantries and then he asked my help on a problem he was having. As he talked I realized that I had had this same problem myself. It …

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Mind over arrow

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After winning several archery contests a young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull’s eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot. “There,” he said to the old man, “see if …

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Should you be worried about the meaning of life?

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“My dog doesn’t worry about the meaning of life.” So begins Charlotte Joko Beck’s classic book Everyday Zen. This simple statement began my fascination with Zen years ago. I had already had direct experience of what Joko was talking about. For roughly 10 years I walked, day and night, with our dog, Bo. During that time period I had suffered a …

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Does your past exist the way you remember it?

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Michael Gregory, the mindfulness expert and ordained monk whose meditation group is in Sarasota, has given the subject some thought and here is his answer: “Your past is your memory of the past only, not exactly accurate, only a subjective version. Accept that you are not objectively right. The past is present moment historical revisionism, at best. Free yourself of the …

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Breathing as meditation

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“Last night I had quite the dream.  The thrust of the dream was that I was suffocating. I could feel the air shutting off. And, at the same time, I was aware I was breathing. I’d dived into some liminal space between sleep and waking, where the dream was driven by the reality of my pneumonia, but another part, a …

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Reaching the summit

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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

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Ezra Bayda tells us in his book “Being Zen” the story of James, who was 76 years old when they 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 …

Walking-meditation

When walking becomes a sacred act

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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

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Tu Huang tells us: 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 …