Category: Brahma Vihara practice

November 2015 full moon – gratitude

A few slightly random reflections on Gratitude “These two people are hard to find in the world. Which two? The one who is first to do a kindness, and the one who is grateful and thankful for a kindness done.” AN 2.118  As the three-month retreat at IMS comes to a close, there’s a definite

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Three new and interesting books for experienced meditators

I’m currently working my way – slowly! – through three new books that may be of interest to experienced meditators:  Seeing That Frees: Meditations on Emptiness and Dependent Arising Rob Burbea 10 October 2014 Hermes Amara Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas Leigh Brasington 13 October 2015 Shambala Compassion and Emptiness in Early

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December 2014 full moon – wisdom and compassion

This December full moon I happen to be assisting James Baraz with a seven-day retreat in the Yarra Valley, outside of Melbourne, Australia.  Those of you who are familiar with James’ teaching know that he infuses the traditional mindfulness practices that lead to insight, with the “heart practices” known as the four brahma vihara: kindness/metta,

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November 2014 full moon – Right Effort and the Middle Way

Last month, I wrote about the quality of viriya, sometimes translated as “heroic energy,” and how at times, just signing up for a retreat can seem to kick-start an inner process where qualities such as determination, dedication, commitment, effort, and trust begin to deepen – even before we actually arrive at the retreat itself. Also

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September 2014 full moon – equanimity part 2

Equanimity: Evenness of mind Last month I wrote a bit about equanimity, and how the possibility of not holding on to changing experiences can offer a sense of ease, even in the middle of difficult circumstances.  So this quality of equanimity can be a kind of refuge, but – at least in my own experience

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August 2014 full moon – Equanimity

Gain/loss, status/disgrace, censure/praise, pleasure/pain: these conditions among human beings are inconstant, impermanent, subject to change. Knowing this, the wise person, mindful, ponders these changing conditions. Desirable things don’t charm the mind, undesirable ones bring no resistance. His [or her] welcoming and rebelling are scattered, gone to their end, do not exist. Knowing the dustless, sorrowless

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July 2014 full moon – Hatred never ceases by hatred …

          Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed. This is an ancient and eternal law. quoted in “The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times” by Pema Chödrön 2001 Hatred never ends through hatred.  By non-hatred alone does it end.  This is an

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Danish retreat with Joseph Goldstein and Uffe Damborg, June 2014

A view of Kerteminde harbour Just wanted to share a few photo souvenirs from this retreat, which took place last week on the outskirts of Kerteminde, an old fishing village a couple of hours from Copenhagen.  The retreat was led by Joseph Goldstein and Uffe Damborg, who have known each other for over forty years,

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Brene Brown on shame, vulnerability and compassion

Australian echidna not enjoying having its photo taken Recently I’ve offered a couple of retreats and courses exploring the theme of “Transforming Poison into Medicine – working with the mind’s difficult energies.”   That phrase about “poison and medicine” was borrowed from a chapter in a book by Pema Chodron, an American nun in the Tibetan

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