Author: John Pendall

I Know I Will Trust the Way Again, Just Not Right Now

  By John Author I don’t want to die. Death and the rapid fleeing of time and opportunity weigh on me at times. The Diamond and Heart Sutras say that death is a perception and nothing more. It’s a noble teaching that offers me potential freedom from suffering, but I can’t entirely convince myself that it’s true despite the various insights and experiences I’ve had. No matter what, I’m always brought full circle to the world of flesh and blood. In this world, you and I are very real, isolated and impermanent but continuous. In this world, we’re born,...

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Deadbeat Buddha

  By John Author  Siddhartha Gautama was a deadbeat Dad. How does that make you feel? We don’t talk about that very often because, unlike ancient Indians, modern Westerners don’t look too fondly on abandoning your wife and child in the dead of night to seek spiritual liberation. I’ve even omitted it from the Buddha’s story a few times when discoursing with non-Buddhists—I’m sure many of us have. He’d just had a son that he, while undoubtedly amidst a state of overwhelming existential depression, named Rahula which means “fetter.” When his son was born, he didn’t feel what most fathers...

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Letting Go of Linear, Absolutist Thinking.

  By John Author The mind is big. Like really, really big. “How big is it?” Imagine the biggest thing possible. Now multiply that by a gajillion. It’s so big that it doesn’t take up any space at all. It’s like what the TARDIS asked the Doctor on an episode of Doctor Who: “Are all people like this?” “Like what?” “Bigger on the inside.” The mind is the sole creator and destroyer of your entire world; it’s the substance of your reality. Emptiness is its nature, and activity is its function. By activity, I mean everything you experience, whether...

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Trusting the Way: How a Cynical Die-Hard Atheist Became Buddhist

By John Author Dana asked me, “How did you get into Buddhism?” The short answer is, “Curiosity.” It was a burning, insatiable need to understand everything in the universe, to answer every question without compromise or good enoughs. If curiosity is the function of Prajna, then I’ve been overflowing with Prajna my entire life. I was the annoying, “Why?” kid who exasperated his parents and annoyed his teachers. I used to play a game where I’d ask, “Why?” give an answer and then ask, “why?” again. I’d do that until I ran out of answers  until there was a...

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Dharma in a Superstore Parking Lot (Even without a Bodhi Tree)

  By John Author I was standing outside work the other night, enjoying the crisp air during my lunch hour, then—seemingly out of nowhere—she materialized. She was bundled in layers of mismatched clothes hiding all but her weathered, but youthful, face. A wind-worn backpack seemed to protrude from her spine. What few possessions she had, she housed in a road-weary stroller. Yes, it wasn’t a shopping cart, it was a stroller. The wheels didn’t squeak so much as weep. I’ll never forget the sound; a lonely and desperate whine reminiscent of gray scaled post-apocalyptic movies like The Road. She was talking...

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Buddhism For Dudes