Author: John Pendall

Sticks & Stones May Break Bones, But Words Can Hurt Us Too

  By John Pendall   American Buddhists, well, we tend to botch Right Speech. We tend to use our words carelessly, like casually dropping warheads into our neighbors’ swimming pools. Words are a powerful medicine, but like any medicine, they can also be poisonous. Right Speech is kind; it’s pleasing to hear, and it brings people together. We know it when we hear it, and we can know it as the words are fleeing between our lips. The point, though, is to know whether we’re engaging in Right Speech or not before we start speaking. We rationalize our acidic words...

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Please Guru Responsibly

  By John Pendall I know that the self is a collection of aggregates, or an illusory appearance of absolute emptiness, or the Dharmakaya but, it’s also kind of a useful thing to have around. It might even be something worth defending. It feels good to be myself again. There seem to be a few circumstances that draw aspiring gurus out of, well, wherever it is they hang out when they aren’t badgering someone—I assume some kind of insane asylum that has floating open house holidays. Gurus can be bloodthirsty, and they come out in droves (like sharks smelling chum)...

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Walking the Lone Buddha Path

  By John Pendall (Author)   “I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in And stops my mind from wandering Where it will go… “And it really doesn’t matter if I’m wrong I’m right Where I belong I’m right where I belong Silly people standing there who disagree and never win And wonder why they don’t get in my door.” – Lennon/McCartney As I find myself turning about again, planting my feet on the loner Buddhist Path I was born to travel; these are the parting words I’m offering to all the Paths that I wasn’t predisposed to...

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Retreats, The Good, the Bad & the Controversy: 4 Buddhists Walk into a Facebook Chat {Interview}

By John Author   Following up on the death of Megan Vogt, I felt compelled to interview some TTB columnists so that we could prevent something like this from happening again. Megan developed psychosis after enduring a 10-day S.N. Goenka Vipassana retreat. She leapt from a catwalk under the Norman Wood Bridge, fell through a 120-foot void and met the rocks below (see previous story here). Retreats can be difficult for even seasoned meditators, so they shouldn’t be taken lightly. I conducted this interview via a popular social network’s chat feature. JOHN AUTHOR: So I was thinking about writing an...

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The Darker Side of Meditation: Please Meditate Responsibly

  By John Author For centuries, Zen teachers have told us that practice is about the Great Matter—life and death. Don’t take that as hyperbole and gloss over it with typical Western conceit. Meditation can save lives… it can also end them. Out of all the articles I’ve written, this one might be the most deficient in giggle-worthy material. It might also be the most important. This was written with the intent to spread awareness and save lives. Megan Vogt lept from a catwalk under the Norman Wood Bridge, fell through a 120-foot void and met the rocks below. Megan...

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