I am intrigued by how we can live the 'holy life' as lay people. How do we erase the imaginary line between formal sitting practice and the rest of our lives? How can we bring full engagement to formal and informal practice? Is it possible to embody, in our lives, the understanding and insight that comes with intensive training? And can we live our lives in a way that expresses and continues to deepen our realization? These questions fuel my practice and my teaching.
I place a lot of emphasis on the Buddha's teaching about mindfulness of the body. The body is a powerful dharma gate. I encourage people to deeply investigate the body and use it as a place of recollection in daily life.
Our individual and cultural habits, our confusion, all require a sincere and ongoing commitment to spiritual life and practice. In order to mature our 'layastic' practice, we need to develop a palette of practices: mindfulness, loving-kindness, inquiry, reflection, precept practice, service, sutta study, etc.
I believe passionate engagement is the foundation of the spiritual path. Spiritual life blossoms when mindfulness is woven with a heartfelt sense of loving-kindness and compassion. With warm mindfulness as the basis of practice, our attachment to identity, roles and experience begins to loosen. As our experience and understanding matures, faith develops. This nourishes a devotion to practice which further deepens our insights.
It is precious to be born in the human realm and have an opportunity to practice and awaken. May we appreciate our inheritance and bring to life the teachings of the Buddha.
The function of 'samadhi'-concentration, unification, absorption, jhana, in the service of awakening. How samadhi is cultivated, sustained and practiced traditionally as well as personally. What arouses and sustains ones investigative awareness in formal meditation and life? The joy of samadhi.
The function of 'dhamma vicaya'-Investigation in the service of awakening. How investigation is understood traditionally as well as conventionally. What arouses and sustains ones investigative awareness in formal meditation and life.
Aging brings many surprises. We can develop a ‘big picture’ that includes the wisdom of equanimity and relaxation. This wisdom of not clinging or letting go is fundamental to the Buddhist goal of awakening. It also can arise as we age, let go of everything, as we see that we can’t actually hold on to anything. The freedom of letting go is part of the fruit of practice and aging.
Mindfulness of death is both personal and impersonal. Eugene gave a picture of his experience of death and it’s relationship to his personal practice that included his time as a hospice volunteer/trainer, as a son caring for his dying parents, and, his near death experience. He also outlined Buddhist teachings about death in the Theravada and Zen lineages.
Maranasati leads to being real and being grateful for both life and death. As we mature and deal directly with the truth of death we value life and the preciousness of existence. This reality brings gratefulness of all that is given–– our bodies, hearts, minds, the earth, sky, universe and each moment.
Anathapindika was one of the foremost householder followers of the Buddha. As he is dying Sariputta and Ananda go to comfort him. Seeing his imminent death they offer teachings never before given to householders. He receives the radical teachings of not clinging, letting go of all experience and waking up.