This is a love letter to everyone who has helped contribute in some way to my being able to go on a week-long meditation retreat at KarmeCholing next week. I don't just mean the people who donated to my online effort to raise the funds necessary to go on retreat, though my gratitude to everyone who donated even $3 is immense. I am also in love with every single person who has helped me get to this point on my path.
Holy crap. It’s still cold outside. May I remind the seasons that it is now April, that flowers are waiting to bloom, children are ready to play outside and that all my sweaters are in dire need of cleaning.
In the class I am co-teaching with Ethan Nichtern and Miles Neale on Buddhism and Psychology: Spiritual Awakening NOT Spiritual Bypassing at the Interdependence Project, there has been a good deal of discussion — and some debate — about the dual nature of spiritual practice. Like most things in life it is two-sided: it can cultivate kindness and wisdom or be implicated in disturbing scandals. Lest we assume, as some do, that this is a thing of the past, here is a link to a recent troubling scandal involving a venerated Zen master.
Many friends and I have all checked out this great smartphone app called Insight Timer, which lets you keep really good track of meditation sessions and connect with other meditators around the world. IDP has several online groups on this application -- including the one called Daily Sit IDP, which already has a lot of members -- which have come together very quickly. If you have the app, please join our group.
Last week was not so much fun, let me put it that way. In case you’re just tuning in now, I was struggling a great deal trying to figure out whether or not to take my Buddhist refuge vow this past weekend. Since the vow was taking place right in the middle of Passover, it brought up a lot of questions for me about my Jewish identity, and I felt anxious all week as I tried to decide.
In this post, "Maladjusted Buddhism," on Patheos.com, blogger Nathan Thompson argues that Westerners who have converted to Buddhism are too tied to psychology and its focus on bringing everything toward a norm. Psychology, he says, works with individuals to help them adjust to mainstream norms and to modify behaviors that fall outside of the norm. Buddhism, he says, should challenge the mainstream norms when those norms are unkind or unwise.
Recorded live at IDP in NYC in February 2013, Ethan Nichtern discusses the nature of guilt, why it's so prevalent in our culture, and how we can transform it from a hindrance into a support for our practice and intentions.