The Bodhisattva’s Five Paths

According to Mahayana texts, there are five paths, or stages, that can be described to explain the spiritual journey. From taking vows, to generating the urge to attain enlightenment to help others, to complete realization, these 5 paths are said to really explain the journey for us. I’m going to describe them as well as I […]

Opening the Sky Door: Vipassana Meditation

When people talk about meditation they’re usually talking about one kind, and that’s Shamatha, or concentration meditation. I’m going to present another kind that’s often done alongside Shamatha. It’s called Vipassana, or Insight Meditation. Shamatha provides ground for Vipassana and the two are equally important. I’m not going to present Vipassana as superior to Shamatha. […]

The Seven Factors Of Enlightenment

This is one of the oldest Buddhist teachings. These are the seven things considered most important qualities in helping us on the path. Buddhism is full of lists because lists are easy to remember. This is one of the most important lists and it’s emphasized in just about every Buddhist tradition. You’ll notice that some […]

Lotus

The Lotus flower is a beautiful plant. It lives in the water. It often comes out of water that’s muddy and unclean. But with great beauty, it blooms. This is a common symbol in Buddhism. You can see it all over the place in Buddhist art. It’s really common for images of Bodhisattvas to be […]

The Zen Method of Awakening

All things are connected and impermanent. The world is a reflection of the mind and the Zen method is nothing other than an effort at an intuitive understanding of these facts. There is nothing else to it. The mind realizes its own essence and in this way no longer perceives itself and the outer world […]

Springtime

  Facebook just informed me that today, March 20th, is the first day of spring. I had no idea. I don’t really follow such things. I’m sure my pagan friends knew. Some of their practices involve celebrating the seasons. I’d like to make the case for Buddhists celebrating the seasons too. It doesn’t feel like […]

Kensho: A Glimpse of Awakening

Kensho is something we talk about in the Zen tradition. It represents the mystical experience, the experience of oneness, of seeing our true nature, emptiness, the absolute, whatever you want to call it. Some lineages talk about it a lot and some talk about it a little. It’s important to not attach to these experiences. There […]

First There is a Mountain…

A famous, historical Zen teacher named Qingyuan Weixin had a saying… At the first level on the path he saw mountains as mountains and rivers as rivers. On the second level of the path he saw that mountains are not mountains and rivers are not rivers. And at a third level he saw once again mountains […]

What is Enlightenment?

Enlightenment So, what is Enlightenment? Enlightenment is simply coming to an intuitive understanding of our true nature, the delusion of the self, the oneness of all things. When we can dwell in this experience, that is Enlightenment. In the Ch’an tradition we say that everyone is Enlightened already because this is our fundamental nature. We […]