Karuna-virus

In the Buddha’s teachings, karuna is a Pali word that means compassion. There’s a lot going on around the world right now, and due to coronavirus, many people are navigating intense suffering on multiple levels simultaneously: The suffering of health challenges, food insecurity, financial distress, longer-term economic uncertainty, separation from friends and family – or having to be with friends and family in ways that … Continue reading Karuna-virus

Continuing compassion

[Forest and wildlife officer Lachlan Clarke checks a koala for injuries – photo courtesy of the Guardian] In my last newsletter and last post here, I’ve been exploring compassion as a resource to navigate all the various global challenges happening right now. Just today there was a moving photo essay about all the efforts that are being made to help koalas injured in the recent … Continue reading Continuing compassion

Compassion for all beings affected by the Australian bushfires

Season’s greetings from Waipu, New Zealand I’m unexpectedly having to spend more time here in New Zealand, after my nine-day retreat outside of Sydney over New Year was just cancelled due to the bushfires in Australia. The Blue Mountains has been a kind of second home to me, so I’ve been staying in contact with friends there who have been sending me heart-breaking reports of … Continue reading Compassion for all beings affected by the Australian bushfires

Readers suggestions for taking action in relation to climate change

Many thanks to all the people who sent in suggestions in response to my last newsletter. Below are a few highlights, and I plan to keep updating this from time to time. Bike path, Auckland, New Zealand Speaking of New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand is on the ‘right side of history’ as MPs pass zero-carbon bill 2019-11-07 This landmark climate legislation has … Continue reading Readers suggestions for taking action in relation to climate change

Insight Meditation Society 2020 Registration Now Open

Just letting you know that the Insight Meditation SOciety in Barre, Massachusetts, has just announced its 2020 retreat schedule and registration is now open. Based on previous years, most retreats tend to get fully booked within a few days, so if you’re interested in practising at IMS, best to register as soon as you can to avoid missing out. I’m scheduled to teach a five-day … Continue reading Insight Meditation Society 2020 Registration Now Open

¿ Hope ?

I arrived back in New South Wales just as the 16th Sakyadhita International Conference for Women in Buddhism was happening in the Blue Mountains, and I was fortunate to be able to attend a keynote address by Roshi Joan Halifax on the theme of “Wise Hope.” Her reflections on the differences between optimism, pessimism and what she refers to as “Wise Hope” struck a chord. Since … Continue reading ¿ Hope ?

Retreat as rebellion

Resisting the tyranny of productivity Over the last few months, I’ve been having conversations with students – and with myself! – about what feels to be the increasingly relentless busyness of our lives. People often say to me that they don’t have time to meditate every day, and they certainly don’t have time to go on retreat, because of work or financial or family pressures. … Continue reading Retreat as rebellion

Christchurch mosque shootings

Again and again and again we need to understand … HATRED NEVER ENDS THROUGH HATRED.  BY NON-HATRED ALONE DOES IT END.  THIS IS AN ANCIENT TRUTH. The Dhammapada: Teachings of the Buddha translated from the Pali by Gil Fronsdal 2008 Whether you are a Muslim, or an ally, this is a moment to show up for those in New Zealand who need our active support. … Continue reading Christchurch mosque shootings

January/February 2018 super blue blood moon – Buddhist visual art and architecture

This month, I felt the need for some inspiration of the senses, so I’ve decided to set up a webpage dedicated to visual art that’s either been created by practising Buddhists, or features images or sculptures of the Buddha, or evokes meditative states. Below are just a few samples I’ve found recently.  There are larger images and more info on the new webpage here: https://jill0shepherd-insightmeditation.com/buddhist-inspired-visual-art-and-architecture/Continue reading January/February 2018 super blue blood moon – Buddhist visual art and architecture

January 2018 full moon – re-set

Sydney Insight Meditators 2018 New Year’s retreat

meditators - Rena drawing
Drawing by retreat participant Rena Czaplinska Archer

Making positive changes

The New Year is traditionally a time to try to make positive changes for the year ahead.  And yet most of us have had the experience of starting out with a rush of good intentions, only to find ourselves collapsing back into old habits very quickly.

Having recently finished teaching a seven-day retreat over the New Year, the same pattern can be seen after a period of intensive practice.  Many people experience a wave of inspiration, and have the intention, post-retreat, to renew their commitment to meditating on a daily basis.

Yet again, these intentions often don’t last very long.  The momentum of daily life re-asserts its hold on us, and we’re soon back where we started.  When one retreat participant was recently asked on their retreat registration form to describe their daily practice, they wrote that it mostly consisted of “looking at their meditation cushion and feeling guilty!”

Establishing and/or maintaining a daily meditation practice

Most of us can probably relate to that description, at least at times.  So this month, I’d like to focus on some strategies for establishing or maintaining a daily meditation practice.

Continue reading “January 2018 full moon – re-set”