Author: Alex Chong Do Thompson

President Trump is a Buddha Helping Me on the Path Toward Enlightenment

  By Alex Chong Do Thompson   My jaw clenches as I read the headline, “White House Says Cutting Meals On Wheels Is Compassionate.” A fire burns in my chest as I continue reading, and soon it feels like I can barely breathe. “So we can spend 14 billion on a wall, but we can’t feed old people,” I scream at my laptop. My breathing becomes rapid and adrenaline pulses through my muscles. I want to punch something. I want to burn things down. Angrily, I standup and begin pacing around the room. Cursing under my breath, I imagine...

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The Reality is that Enlightenment is Simple, but My Ego Wants it to be Hard

  By Alex Chong Do Thompson   Enlightenment is one of the great mysteries of spiritual practice. Do we attain enlightenment or do we realize it? Is it a higher plane of existence or a deeper understanding of our ordinary existence? More importantly, how do you know if a teacher is truly enlightened? These are all questions that I’ve wrestled with throughout my time as a meditation practitioner. Different traditions answer these questions in different ways, so I doubt a final consensus will ever be found. As a result, I’ve come to think of enlightenment as just another concept...

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What if You Were Buddha?

  By Alex Chong Do Thompson You wake up with a start and realize that you aren’t in your bedroom. In fact, you have no idea where you are. Your heart starts pounding in your chest, and you feel dizzy as you look around the room. It’s a prison cell; you’re lying on a bare mattress in the corner. As you look out the bars of your cell, you see people dressed in orange jumpsuits walking around in a courtyard; they seem confused. You walk out into the courtyard and begin speaking with some of them. You quickly realize...

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The Faces of Meditation: Alex Chong Do Thompson

  By Alex Chong Do Thompson   This photo was taken in a park near my house, and the poster is a protest sign that I’ve carried previously during demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline. I believe strongly that practice doesn’t stop when we leave the cushion, and blending protest with my meditation helps me to live the dharma even as I work to learn more about it. As a result, I often find myself meditating in public spaces (parks, street corners, train stations, etc.). This is very different from four years ago when I practiced only inside of Zen centers...

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First World Problems & the Loss of Human Connection

By Alex Chong Do Thompson A few years ago, it was common to see people complain about #firstworldproblems. For example, someone may have posted on social media, “My phone charger won’t reach my bed. So I can’t check my messages in the morning without getting up. #firstworldproblems”. It was a way for people to complain about things while simultaneously admitting that they really didn’t have anything to complain about. It’s a goofy saying. It makes light of the fact that there are people in the world with legitimate problems like lack of food or unsafe living conditions. I hope people...

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