Author: Daniel Scharpenburg

Lojong: Training the Heart and Mind

By Daniel Scharpenburg Almost two years ago I was given the title “Gegan” (teacher) and trained to teach lojong practice at the Rime Center. I spent a lot of time preparing, studying and learning. It was all very exciting, and I appreciate all opportunities to contribute to the flourishing of the Dharma in the ways that I can. Then I was asked not to teach it; they had suddenly decided to go another way. I don’t teach at the Rime Center now. I suppose there’s a lesson in there somewhere about impermanence and expectations. Maybe there’s a lesson about praise...

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Showing Kindness Even When You Don’t Agree (& Don’t Feel Like Being Kind)

  By Daniel Scharpenburg I want to talk about a thing that happens a lot in life. We see people and we don’t meet them with kindness, with an open heart. We sometimes reserve our Bodhisattva intention. But that’s not what we’re supposed to be doing, and we come up with all sorts of excuses for this. “She brought this upon herself.” “He is wrong about this issue that is important to me.” “She has this irritating trait.” “He just didn’t try as hard in life as me.” Or “That person is just too different from me. They aren’t part...

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The First Buddhist Teaching: The Four Noble Truths

  By Daniel Scharpenburg The Four Noble Truths are the beginning of Buddhism. They are the first thing the Buddha taught, and sometimes we have to go back to these fundamental teachings over and over. I’m going to go through them one by one here. The Truth of Suffering As long as we’re living in delusion, our lives are full of suffering. If we examine our suffering deeply, we can see that in usually comes in three forms. The are usually called: Pain, Change, and Being. Pain: Pain is an inevitable part of life—not just physical pain, but emotional pain...

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Equanimity in Adversity: A Zen Story about Wild Horses

  By Daniel Scharpenburg There’s an old zen story I really like and I want to share it with you here. There is speculation that it’s a daoist story that the zennists appropriated, but for our purposes here that doesn’t matter very much. It’s about expectations and equanimity in the face of adversity. It’ll be obvious that it’s my re-telling and paraphrasing and not necessarily the most accurate version of the story. There was this poor old farmer. He had a single horse and a teenage son and one day his horse ran away. A bunch of neighbors came over to...

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Awake in the City

  By Daniel Scharpenburg I guess I’m changing things a bit around here. When I started writing a column here I was an ambitious zen mystic. I thought I’d write about crazy obscure Buddhist teachings all the time. I thought I’d become known as a master—maybe even start my own zen order. The truth is that the world needs another zen order like I need a hole in my head. I’ve said from the beginning that I’m on the Bodhisattva path, not on the monk/priest path. My purpose isn’t to be a role model or to establish a temple....

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