Opening What is Closed

"Meditation has to do with opening what is closed in us, balancing what is reactive, and exploring and investigating what is hidden. That is the why of practice. We practice to open, to balance, and to explore."
Breath Sweeps Mind edited by Jean Smith

Skillful Means

" 'Skillful means' is a phrase often found in Buddhist literature referring to the particular methods and practices used to help people free themselves from the bonds of ignorance. As skillful means we can employ whatever is useful, whatever is truly helpful. For each of us at different times, different traditions, philosophical constructs, and methods may serve us, either because of temperament, background, or capacities. For some the language of emptiness may be as dry as the desert, while for others it may reveal the heart-essence of liberation."
One Dharma

The Method is Mindfulness

"In the One Dharma of emerging Western Buddhism, the method is mindfulness, the expression is compassion, the essence is wisdom. Mindfulness, the method, is the key to the present. Without it, we simply stay lost in the wanderings of our minds. Mindfulness serves us in the humblest ways, keeping us connected to brushing our teeth or pouring a cup of tea."
One Dharma

Acquisition and Accumulation

"Why do we invest so much energy in acquisition? There may be many psychological underpinnings of this behavior, seeing it as compensatory action, even at times compulsion, for some deeper lack. But we can also understand the force behind this habit of accumulation in a simpler way, namely, the profound influence our consumer society has on our minds. It continually reinforces desires and wanting, often co-opting spiritual values to do so. A recent automobile advertisement shows a handsome young couple standing in front of a new car, surrounded by all the latest consumer delights. The caption reads, 'To become one with everything, you need one of everything.' "
One Dharma

Embracing Doubt Strengthens Faith

"If we use faith to push doubt aside, we construct a defensive wall to keep out any unsettling questions, to keep from having to acknowledge our own fears and uncertainties. The inclusiveness of faith lets us be with whatever arises, investigating the very nature of doubt itself and whatever other difficulties arise. By embracing doubt skillfully we strengthen faith."
One Dharma

Doubt is Seductive

"Doubt is very seductive because it comes masquerading as wisdom. We hear these wise-sounding voices in our minds trying to figure out the dilemmas, difficulties, and paradoxes of our experience through thinking about them. But thinking can take us only so far. It's like trying to know the experience of music by reading a book about it or the taste of a good meal by looking at the menu. We need some other way to understand the nature of doubt, so we can address its concerns appropriately."
One Dharma

The Ten Unwholesome Actions

"The ten unwholesome actions, then, are three of body: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct; four of speech: lying, harsh words, gossip, and useless talk; and three of mind: covetousness, ill will, and wrong view. The Buddha highlighted these for us out of his compassion and care. They are dangers. They do harm, causing suffering to others and having a deleterious effect on our own happiness. Reading the Buddha's admonitions to refrain from these actions is like coming across a sign on the beach saying, "Danger. Strong Undertow." We were walking along the beautiful beach about to dive into the inviting ocean when we encountered the life-saving warning. This is the Buddha as lifeguard, putting up the notices."
One Dharma

Repaying Our Parents Gift

"The Buddha commented that we carry our parents on our shoulders for the rest of their lives and still not repay the gift of our precious human birth. Although our culture doesn't value parental respect to the degree that Eastern cultures do, cultivating gratitude opens many doors in the relationship."
One Dharma

Actions for the Good

"Generosity, morality, respect, service, listening to the Dharma, and meditation — these are actions for the good. Each one is a practice that can be cultivated and further refined, becoming the causes for our own happiness and the happiness of others. These acts for the good become our gift to the world."
One Dharma

Sloth and Torpor

"There are some classical Buddhist teachings about hindrances, one of which is called sloth and torpor. This hindrance is not simply sleepiness, dullness, or tiredness. It is a deep tendency to retreat from difficulties rather than advancing into them. We can use our sense of unworthiness as an excuse to retreat from life, from advancing in human maturity and spiritual progress. At one point in my practice, I reminded myself to 'Choose the difficult.' This mantra helped me to work with this particular hindrance of sloth or laziness."
Transforming Suffering by Donald W. Mitchell and James Wiseman

Developing Equanimity

"Once a visiting teacher asked me to check out the most gruesome videos I could find for him. Although I found the request rather strange, he said the videos provided a way for him to consciously put himself in a disturbing situation to see if he could stay free within them. Rightly done, this could be a very strong practice in developing equanimity."
Hooked! edited by Stephanie Kaza

The Heart of Spiritual Endeavors

"Love, compassion, and peace — these words are at the heart of spiritual endeavors. Although we intuitively resonate with their meaning and value, for most of us, the challenge is how to embody what we know: how to transform these words into a vibrant, life practice."
A Heart Full of Peace

Send Loving Wishes

"As an experiment, the next time you are doing an errand, stuck in traffic, or standing on line at the supermarket, instead of being preoccupied with where you're going or what needs to be done, take a moment to simply send loving wishes to all those around you. Often, there is an immediate and very remarkable shift inside as we feel more connected and more present."
A Heart Full of Peace

Hindrances Can Enrich Our Lives

"If we work with them, hindrances will enrich our lives. They have been called manure for enlightenment, and some teachers speak of them as 'mind weeds,' which we pull up and bury near the plant to give it nourishment. Our practice is to use all that arises within us for the growth of understanding, compassion, and freedom."
Seeking the Heart of Wisdom with Jack Kornfield

The Greatest Gain

"This wisdom opens up to us the possibility of simplicity in our lives, of what the Buddha called 'the greatest gain' — contentment. We are so conditioned to want more, to think that we will be happier if we accumulate more money or possessions, more honor, fame, power, sex, and so forth, that we burden ourselves with acquisitions, both material and psychological. The underlying rationale of this wanting mind is that fulfillment will make us happy. If we stop to reflect upon our situation, we can see that the attitude of wanting more simply leads to greater craving and frustration."
Seeking the Heart of Wisdom with Jack Kornfield