Buddhism

Kyudo OgasawaraKyudo Ogasawara, photo by Incanus Japan

Greatness and Humility

The Art of the GameI have been reading a marvelous essay on Zen swordsmanship by D.T. Suzuki in the book Zen and Japanese Culture. Swordsmanship teaches coherence, elegance, and purpose. Like most sports, it can—at its best—be employed as a powerful tool for human development. As we approach the Super Bowl, what might we expect from sports that leave lasting injuries on its participants and feed the national ego as […]

Matthieu RicardMatthieu Ricard © David Ulrich

A Patch of Blue Sky

Excerpts from an interview with Matthieu RicardThe full text of this interview appeared in Parabola magazine Vol. 37, no. 2, Summer 2012, titled Alone and Together. DU: Matthieu, we are trying to understand how a larger intelligence is available to us, and how we can come together to contact this intelligence. Philosopher Jacob Needleman asks: “How to come together and think and hear each other in order to touch, or […]

© Hengki Koentjoro

Lives of Quiet Desperation

:Healing our world for the childrenWe the people” begins the Declaration of Independence. I can think of no more relevant phrase today in response to the 27 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Something unites us all: perhaps it is our common humanity, the similarity of our DNA, our inner spiritual roots. I really don’t know. But our collective body is palpable, real, and knowable as […]

sally-mann-01© Sally Mann

The Yoga of Dying

If we want to be reborn—to be open to truth, to experience greater wholeness, and to awaken to the fullness of life—we must die to the known and the familiar, everything that keeps us enslaved in our present condition.  As many of us find ourselves unwilling to let go and even cherish who we think we are, one of our teachers use to say that you cannot make an omelette […]

Alan ArkinAlan Arkin © Suzanne Arkin

Broadening the Arc of Devotion

An Interview with Alan ArkinAlan Arkin has been a major star of stage, screen, and  television for nearly fifty years. Best known for his  roles  in such films as Wait Until Dark, Catch-22, Edward Scissorhands, and Little Miss Sunshine (an Oscar-winning role), Arkin is also a master teacher. Along with his ongoing work as an actor/director/writer, he has taught retreats at The Omega Institute, Bennington College, and Columbia College. I […]

Makapu‘u Point, Honolulu, HI © David UlrichMakapu‘u Point, Honolulu, HI © David Ulrich

Accepting Impermanence

Death as an AdvisorDeath has an interesting way of waking us up to life. Last week, our cat Mimi was hit by a car and passed away peacefully, suffering a blow to the spine. We miss her little squeaks, affectionate disposition, and even her mischievousness. We’ll miss having to shift around in bed, so as not to disturb her or roll over her (amazing how something less than 10 pounds […]

Becoming Whole: Education and Ecstasy

Seven Principles of Contemplative EducationIn what way do we cultivate the intelligence of the mind, the wisdom of the body, and the knowing of the heart? Where and how do we learn to make well-reasoned, responsible, and ethical decisions? Did you learn this in school? I certainly didn’t. And . . . why not? We must face the facts. They are staring us in the face, with a wrinkled gaze. […]

The Reenchantment of Vision

Opening the Gates of PerceptionWhen I was growing up, we hungered for the sight of the soul—to witness the invisible, slender threads that interweave all things and to search for a connection to the underlying sacredness and mystery of life. Many of us took drugs. A lot of them. I didn’t. I meditated. Either way, we longed for a taste of the infinite. “This is how one ought to see, […]