Buddhism

I am currently training for Ordination into the Triratna Buddhist Order and Community. Here is a collection of experiences, reflections, and discoveries along this rewarding and challenging path.

Why Buddhism? You can learn more about the history of my Going for Refuge here.

Brahma Viharas for Activists

A couple of years ago I wrote about the Brahma Viharas (aka the Four Divine Abodes, aka the Four Immeasurables) and their Near Enemies. If you’ve never heard of these concepts, I highly recommend that post as a more thorough introduction and overview of what they’re all about. If you’re already somewhat familiar with them, …

Like Rechungpa, I have a lot to learn

Apparently I need to read this book, ha: Rechungpa is a promising disciple, but he has a lot to learn, being sometimes proud, distracted, anxious, desirous of comfort and praise, over-attached to book learning, stubborn, sulky and liable to go to extremes. Source

Calling on Akshobya: a Puja for people experiencing anger

As someone who experiences anger and indignation quite strongly, I’ve been digging around for Buddhist approaches to handling these challenging emotions. Of all the Buddhas in Triratna’s mandala, it seems that Akshobya is the appropriate one to call upon at such times… though I can’t think of a time when Imperturbability or Mirror-like Wisdom would …

Generosity and the giving of time: a talk for Buddhist Action Month

As part of our Buddhist Action Month series on Generosity, this week I gave this talk on Generosity and the giving of time. The official description from the Auckland Buddhist Centre’s website is below (thanks Mary Anna for writing these up!)… but it actually ended up shifting into something a bit more esoteric once I …

Both / And: on the experience of existing as woman of color in the Triratna Buddhist movement

The world today is very different from that in which Buddhism originated and flourished… The challenge Buddhists face today is to find ways of communicating and practising the Dharma that are truly effective in these new circumstances. The situation seems to call for renewal in the Buddhist world, faithful to the Buddha’s own teaching, yet …

Compassion for all beings is compassion in action: Viveka on The Buddha as Social Revolutionary

Lately I’ve been wondering if my belief that I’m acting on behalf of other beings is actually a form of delusional spiritual bypassing. How can we balance the energy needed to do our own work to address our own delusions, and the energy and work to support the liberation of all beings? I posed the …

Reflections on Death and Impermanence: a talk for the Four Reminders series

Last Monday for the Auckland Buddhist Centre’s online Dharma Night I gave this talk, Reflecting on death and impermanence, as part of our series on the Four Reminders. Here’s the official description from the Auckland Buddhist Centre’s website (with thanks Mary Anna for writing these up): At this time we are facing dramatic and unexpected …

Opening the doors of the heart – a beautiful talk on kindness from Mary Grace Orr

It’s now been ten years since I attended my first Buddhist meditation retreat. The topic of the six-day retreat at Spirit Rock Meditation Center was Opening the Doors of the Heart, and we spent the majority of that time in glorious silence, whether sitting on our cushions, walking mindfully through the Fall-crispy-grass on the hills, …

Experiments in being an advocate for diversity and inclusion: what keeping quiet for a while has taught me

In most of the spaces I inhabited in Northern California, I had the privilege of being surrounded by very well-trained advocates for racial, class, gender, and a number of other forms of diversity and inclusion. The workshops, classes, community, and work events I frequented were excellently facilitated by people adept at leading the group through …

A yoga sequence to cultivate compassion from Chelsea Jackson Roberts

I found this lovely heart-opening yoga sequence several months ago while putting together a class on the Heart Chakra: Since then, I’ve incorporated it into just about every class I teach, and it’s become my go-to movement practice… so I figured it was about time I shared the love! It’s quite accessible in that it is easy …

Examples of change from Milarepa

I’ve been appreciating this doorway through which to ponder the transitory nature of life: More about Milarepa More on the context of this particular performance, and the origin of this particular arrangement

Four reminders in two songs

As I get deeper into my Buddhist studies, I’m increasingly seeing things through the lens of its teachings. While I have no interest in claiming anything as “Buddhist” when I notice resonance, I do feel a bit like the proverbial little boy who, when given a hammer, starts to see everything as a nail! Consider …

How “Mindful Emotion: a Short Course on Kindness” influenced my decision to become a Mitra

Back in May, Vajrajyoti forwarded me a request from Windhorse Publications, the publishing company that publishes Sangharakshita’s writing, and almost all of the books written by Triratna Order Members. They were asking if people would create a short a video explaining how one of their books had influenced their lives. So I made this video …

My personality throughout my existences (and a new guide to business financing!)

A ritual often performed at the Auckland Buddhist Centre includes the following lines: My personality throughout my existences… I give up without regard to myself For the benefit of all beings. I’ve been thinking about my various existences because the company I work for just published a really useful resource, A guide to financing your …

The power of commitment

One of my Buddhist teachers, Guyhasiddhi, shared this quote in a class a few weeks ago: Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment …

Every weekend can be a three-day weekend: my journey to a four-day work week

As of this week, I officially work Tuesdays through Fridays. Standard eight-hour days, but only four of them. Every weekend is now a three-day weekend, and I am thrilled! This wasn’t a decision that I took lightly, and the process revealed a few surprises. It took several months from the time I started thinking about …

If the Buddha wrote a bio

You might have seen these books: If the Buddha Dated, If the Buddha Married? I loved the section in If the Buddha Dated on writing a dating profile that might attract an appropriate mate. Author Charlotte Kasl takes the reader through the various versions that you might write, starting with one that’s basically a laundry list …

My favorite mindfulness app is Pocket (or: how to stay focused AND always have excellent reading material on your person)

Insight Timer is my first recommendation when people ask me about meditation or mindfulness apps, but it’s not actually the one I use most frequently. When it comes to actively strengthening the muscles of focus and attention, Pocket — yes, the app that lets you save articles and videos from the web to check out later — …

The problem with sharing poetry on the internet: how to properly cite poems found online

I’ve been taking Buddhism classes at the Auckland Buddhist Centre almost nonstop since the beginning of the year, and on top of that, have been reading a lot of books by / about / for people committed to living Buddhist practices more fully. One of the unexpected results of this activity is that I am …

Focus on Five – a system for practicing a more balanced, contented life

You’ve probably seen at least one version of this advice floating around the internet: “Three Hobbies” has always bothered me, for two reasons. The first is that for those of us running our own businesses, the distinction between a hobby and a business is super important. If you want to write off your business expenses …

There are many truths: on multiple perspectives and (too many?) modes of communication

Whatever it is that I’m tapped into right now reminds me a LOT of a similar period I went through back in 1998 (dropped out of University; went to Australia to chart my OWN path; “discovered” art symbols God yoga Buddhism and so many other things that remain very important in my life…) I still …