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.
Things are not what they seem Nor are they otherwise - Buddha
This talk explored the role and dynamic of paradox in Buddhist teaching and practice. We looked at the paradox inherent in the experience of the three characteristics -- anicca (impermanence), dukkha (suffering) and anatta (self and not self). As we relax with the paradoxical experience the three characteristics become portals to awakening.
The skillfulness of not-knowing is part of practice and the contemplative experience. We are released from the limitations of the known with the inclusion of not-knowing. The skill and art of not-knowing becomes one of the doorways to awakening, realization and the continued maturation of our understanding. As the Zen monk/poet Ryokan said, "I do not know others. Others do not know me. Not knowing each other we naturally follow the way."