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How the Dalai Lama handles stress

It’s only a small exaggeration to say that no one on earth has had the stress of the Dalai Lama, after having escaped Tibet, crossing the Himalayas at night in the middle of winter, chased by a cadre if Chinese soldiers. But he has devised his own method for dealing with stress. He describes it like this: One of the …

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A Buddhist New Year

Bodhisattva is the Sanskrit term for anyone who, motivated by great compassion, has a wish to attain buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. Our wish for the new year is that we all adopt the Dalai Lama’s bodhisattva vow: “Every day, think as you wake up: Today I am fortunate to have woken up. I am alive. I have …

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The two dogs story

The great British playwright George Bernard Shaw told the story of a Cherokee elder who once described his own inner struggles in this manner: “Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he …

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A simple red leaf

In his very short commentary on the Heart Sutra, the Heart of Understanding, one chapter is called “Happy Continuation.” Here, Thich Nhat Hanh comments on the line from the Heart Sutra in which the Bodhisattva Avalokita says: “Hear, Shariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness. They are neither produced nor destroyed.” Reflecting on this, Thich Nhat Hanh writes: One autumn day, …

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No objective world

Once there was a monk who specialized in the Buddhist precepts, and he kept to them all his life. Once when he was walking at night, he stepped on something. It made a squishing sound, and he imagined he had stepped on an egg-bearing frog. This caused him no end of alarm and regret, in view of the Buddhist precept …

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If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break

James Ishmael Ford’s latest book of the above title challenges our view of the world and offers a newer view more in line with Zen and the teachings of the old masters. Ford, the only American to be ordained a Zen priest and a Unitarian minister, asks us to remember the story of a Zen master who holds up a …

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To save one sentient being

This is our quote of the week: “When you accept everything, everything is beyond dimensions. The earth is not great nor a grain of sand small. In the realm of Great Activity picking up a grain of sand is the same as taking up the whole universe. To save one sentient being is to save all sentient beings. Your efforts …

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Of frogs and eggs

Once there was a monk who specialized in the Buddhist precepts, and he kept to them all his life. Once when he was walking at night, he stepped on something. It made a squishing sound, and he imagined he had stepped on an egg-bearing frog. This caused him no end of alarm and regret, in view of the Buddhist precept …

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Five minutes to brain health

Starting in your 20s, your brain starts to wither—but you can change that. Only five minutes a day can do so much to help create the space your active brain needs. Zen space. A healthier brain is good reason to start a meditation practice if you haven’t begun already. So what first steps can you take? Find a meditation style …

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Buddha Standard Time

In a way, Buddhism is a profound study in time and time management, because the better you manage your mind and spirit, the less hold time has on you. Every moment can be lived fully, free and unconditioned, and every moment holds infinite possibilities and opportunities for a fresh start. Every moment of heightened consciousness is precious beyond price, for …