Author: Daniel Scharpenburg

Just Being Here: How Mindfulness is Helpful {Eightfold Path}

  By Daniel Scharpenburg “Mindfulness is helpful everywhere” ~ the Buddha When we say mindfulness, we’re really just talking about being here, experiencing this moment, rather than being somewhere else mentally. It’s a mind that experiences and observes what’s happening, but also doesn’t get dragged out of the moment by judgments or reflections. The word that’s translated as mindfulness is sati, and it has connotations with memory, i.e., remembering to be here now. It involves being able to be fully present and also having an awareness of what’s going on around us. How often are we really in this moment?...

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Those Who Do Not Pick and Choose {The Eightfold Path}

  By Daniel Scharpenburg   “The great way is not difficult for those who do not pick and choose.” That’s how the classic Zen text Faith in Mind begins. I think it’s a statement on Right View. It has increasingly become one of my favorite texts. It was written by Sengcan, the third zen patriarch. A word about that term, faith. I think we have a lot of baggage around that word sometimes. Because of that word I have to put the text into context in the development of Buddhism in China. In Sengcan’s time there was a really...

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In All Activites: Practice, It is All Sacred {Lojong Teaching}

  By Daniel Scharpenburg This is important to remember because people get confused and lost sometimes. The path of the Bodhisattva isn’t something we’re just doing on the cushion or in the temple. Well, maybe it is, but it isn’t supposed to be. It’s supposed to be something we are working with in every part of our lives. I think this barely requires explanation, but I’ll try anyway. There’s an old image I used to hear about. It was the image of a guy who goes to a brothel on Saturday night and has a really good time, staying up...

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Objects and Poisons are Seeds of Virtue {Lojong Teaching}

  By Daniel Scharpenburg This is part of the Lojong teachings. I think it’s a little more confusing than some of the previous slogans, so I’ll make sure I try really hard to unpack it well. Objects refers to people. I know that’s confusing, but maybe it helps to refer to English class—the distinction between subject and object? We’re talking about other people who are the focus of our attention. In the context of this slogan, people are described as coming in three categories: friends, enemies, and neutrals. I’d rather describe them as people we like, people we don’t...

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The Practice of Tonglen: Sending & Receiving with the Breath {Lojong Teaching}

  By Daniel Scharpenburg The first time I heard about tonglen practice I thought it sounded really weird. I don’t connect with visualization type practices very well a lot of the time, so when I read that this was (sort of) a visualization practice I assumed it wouldn’t mean much to me. I was wrong. Tonglen is called the practice of sending and taking. It’s a sitting meditation practice. You sit and visualize inhaling the suffering as a black smoke and exhaling a clear blue light. We are imagining that we are taking suffering into ourselves and transforming it...

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