A woman in her fifties recently told me about a dream she had had. In the dream she was at a party and saw a tall, attractive man in his early thirties standing alone with a drink in his hand. The woman went over to talk to the man; in the dream she was young again and single, and this situation meant a possible romantic opportunity. With a winning smile, she tried to engage the man in conversation, only to find that his gaze had alighted elsewhere, and with a curt nod and a polite smile, the man excused himself … Read More
I remember a remarkable episode of the old Bill Cosby show, in which Dr. Huxtable and his wife surprise Dr. Huxtable’s father on his birthday with the gift of an all-expenses trip for two to Paris. His father is touched, grateful, and a trifle embarrassed.
“We can’t go,” he says sheepishly to his son. “Why not?” Dr. Huxtable says. “You’ve always wanted to go to Europe.”
“Well,” the father says, “I’m used to getting up in the morning, getting the New York Times from the front porch, and sitting… Read More
The “thought of enlightenment,” or bodhicitta, is a key doctrine of Great Vehicle Buddhism.
Basically it refers that moment in your life when your perspective widens to embrace the big picture, and to ask the big questions. Why am I here? Why is anything here? What is life all about? Why is there evil in the world? Why do people suffer? Is it possible to change the world? And then follows the earthshaking realization that it might be possible to find answers. And we begin our spiritual search, which in Buddhism is called bodhicitta in the Zen tradition is … Read More
I believe there is a Yoga of Aging. The word “yoga” has come to mean the various classes and workshops that people go to for stretches, postures, and the associated benefits to health and energy. Since it was first introduced here early in the 20th century, yoga has grown tremendously and is now an integral part of the cultural landscape. But the word originally included the entirety of spiritual practices developed in ancient India; the physical yogas so popular today are only one of them.
Meditation is another yoga. The word itself is related to the English word “yoke” … Read More
We all worry. That is our human condition. Without our exceptional ability to think about a future problem, and come up with ways to deal with it or resolve it, we would not have survived the evolutionary process. And worry is a kind of affliction too, an unpleasant or unwholesome state of mind. Many of us may seek out the Buddhist tradition or meditation because we think it can offer us a method for attaining a state of mind where there is no worry. We are all finding out that Buddhism does not offer that; as a matter of fact, … Read More