Is “Feeling” True Attainment?

It is common for beginners in meditation to mistake different mind-states for true attainment, true insight into their original nature. When the clouds of confusion and stress first start to clear during the development of our practice, we naturally experience a lightening, a calmness, and various states of bliss that feel markedly different than the way we experienced life before practice. And this is a wonderful thing! What can be problematic is that often people to mistake this lightening of their mental burden to be true attainment or breakthrough. And students can become attached to these varying mind-states – –

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The Purposes of Buddhism

What is Buddhism? What is the reason for sitting Zen? The answer is very simple — wake yourself up from “the matrix” and help all beings. This is the claim of the opening chapter for Dae Soen Sa Nim’s classic, “The Compass of Zen” (Shambhala, 1997). It’s very clear — not a complicated explanation. We don’t practice Zen to relieve stress (although that happens, as a happy by-product), or to get better focus for our work (although that happens, as a happy by-product), or to become productive or more creative (although these do happen, as happy by-products). We do not

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Role Model

Having started this twice-daily livestream here in Zen Center Regensburg, I have found my role model. A guy’s gotta have role models, folks. And this is definitely him — but not in the way he might wish. This is how America mangles and destroys the compassion-teachings of an enlightened spiritual beggar who lived 2000 years ago. May I never be so successful with the teachings of the one who started teaching 500 years earlier. In the name of our Lord. AMEN.

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Empty I, True I

When we say that what people understand to be their self is illusory, or “empty,” people freak out a little bit a lot. It seems like such a cold, hard, alien view to imagine. And then what really fries the whole understanding for them completely is when you try to let them know that this “emptiness” is just a word for “completely full, without-any-separation, all-encompassing, the-everything, total substance.” But it is very easy to understand that possibility, at least conceptually, even without sitting long retreats in some icy mountain valley. (Although the conceptual level of understanding will never truly substitute

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My Carbon Sins

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