Articles by " Jan"
25 Oct
Posted in: Activism, Poems
By    Comments Off on Don’t Go Back to Sleep

Don’t Go Back to Sleep

from Rumi:

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
between two worlds, which touch.

The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.


from me:

The election is twelve days away.
Don’t go back to sleep.

24 Oct
Posted in: Practice, Resources, Suttas
By    Comments Off on Bring Light

Bring Light

FULL MOON REFLECTION from Forest Sangha:

One who transforms old and heedless ways
into fresh and wholesome acts
brings light into the world
like the moon freed from clouds.

— Dhammapada v. 173

“It would be a great pity if we viewed all our ‘old and heedless ways’ merely as troublesome tendencies that we had to get rid of. Just as recycling of material objects is sensibly recognized as more skilful than casually throwing things away, likewise a lot of wisdom and goodness can be found in that which previously caused us to suffer.

Arrogance is always offensive, but once purified and no longer held as who and what we are, can be transformed into self-confidence.

Stubbornness is always unattractive, but once purified and not seen as ‘self’, can manifest as resolute determination.”

23 Oct
Posted in: Poems
By    Comments Off on There are Hundreds of Ways

There are Hundreds of Ways

Today, like every other day,
we wake up empty and frightened.
Don’t open the door
to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love
be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways
to kneel and kiss the ground.
— Rumi

22 Oct
Posted in: Talks
By    Comments Off on Far More Interesting and Mysterious

Far More Interesting and Mysterious

I’ve been listening to some of Phillip Moffitt’s old talks this weekend and came across this little gem:

Your world becomes richer — far more interesting and mysterious — if, when you open that door, you feel “hand-ness” opening a door. So different than just getting somewhere.

With mindfulness of the body, you are present for the mystery of your own existence as embodied consciousness!

— from Beginner’s Mind: The Bio-Suit

19 Oct
Posted in: Sangha at Large
By    Comments Off on What We See When We See

What We See When We See

Yesterday morning I was startled to see a sparkle of light on the wall in a corner of my dining room. (So I took this photo.)

It made me think of a story Carol Wilson used to tell about one time when she was visiting the nuns in Burma, all the photos she took of them had circles of light around their heads and shoulders. When she showed the pictures to the nuns, they were delighted because they recognized the spots of light as devas (basically, the Buddhist equivalent of angels).

Of course, Carol’s American companion said it was just the sun refracting off the lenses in the camera.

I like the nun’s version better.

How wonderful it must be to see every sparkle of light as the manifestation of heavenly beings.

Yesterday I could see right away that the lights on the wall in my dining room corner were reflections of the sun off the little mirrors on my Buddha statue on the opposite wall. (see photo below)

Still, light is pretty amazing. It’s both a wave AND a particle…so who knows, maybe it’s also a deva!

18 Oct
Posted in: Poems
By    Comments Off on Each Day, As If It Were…

Each Day, As If It Were…

Another poem from Pome:

Imaginary Conversation
by Linda Pastan

You tell me to live each day
as if it were my last. This is in the kitchen
where before coffee I complain
of the day ahead—that obstacle race
of minutes and hours,
grocery stores and doctors.

But why the last? I ask. Why not
live each day as if it were the first—
all raw astonishment, Eve rubbing
her eyes awake that first morning,
the sun coming up
like an ingénue in the east?

You grind the coffee
with the small roar of a mind
trying to clear itself. I set
the table, glance out the window
where dew has baptized every
living surface.

17 Oct
Posted in: Suttas
By    Comments Off on Truly Good Fortune and Gain

Truly Good Fortune and Gain

I’ve been reading the suttas — one a day — for about six years now…I’m almost done!!!..and came across this one today:

“…you should recollect your own generosity thus: ‘It is truly my good fortune and gain that in a population obsessed by the stain of miserliness, I dwell at home with a mind devoid of the stain of miserliness, freely generous, openhanded, delighting in relinquishment, devoted to charity, delighting in giving and sharing.’

When a noble disciple recollects her generosity, on that occasion her mind is not obsessed by lust, hatred, or delusion; on that occasion her mind is simply straight, based on generosity. 

“A noble disciple whose mind is straight gains inspiration in the meaning, gains inspiration in the Dhamma, gains joy connected with the Dhamma.

When she is joyful, rapture arises. For one with a rapturous mind, the body becomes tranquil. One tranquil in body feels pleasure. For one feeling pleasure, the mind becomes concentrated. 

“This is called a noble disciple who dwells in balance amid an unbalanced population, who dwells unafflicted amid an afflicted population.

“…you should develop this recollection of generosity while walking, standing, sitting, and lying down. You should develop it while engaged in work and while living at home in a house full of children.


An excellent suggestion! And it says the same for “recollecting one’s own virtuous behavior.” Ditto.

(from The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha, in The Book of the Elevens, translation by Bhikkhu Bodhi, with gendered pronoun change by me. AN 11:11.10, 11:12.7)

16 Oct
Posted in: Poems
By    Comments Off on How Seemingly Simple

How Seemingly Simple

Happiness is Harder
by Jane Hirshfield

To read a book of poetry
from back to front,
there is the cure for a certain kind of sadness.

A person has only to choose.
What doesn’t matter; just that

This coffee. That dress.
‘Here is the time I would like to arrive.’
‘Today, I will wash the windows.’

Happiness is harder.

Consider the master’s description
of awakened existence, how seemingly simple:
Hungry, I eat; sleepy, I sleep.
Is this choosing completely, or not at all?

In either case, everything seems to conspire against it.

15 Oct
Posted in: Resources, Teachers
By    Comments Off on If Buddhists had Godmothers…

If Buddhists had Godmothers…

The November issue of Lion’s Roar magazine (not the on-line version, but the print version that’s available right now at Whole Foods) has a great feature article on Mirabai Bush  — who was my first meditation teacher and is now my encourager, listener, inspirer, and loving friend…. in other words, if Buddhists had godmothers, she’d be mine!

The article begins:
“In 1972, Mirabai Bush traveled overland to India, planning to stay for two weeks. Then one day on a street in New Delhi, she happened to meet a young woman named Sharon Salzberg, who told her about an upcoming meditation course with the Vipassana teacher S.N. Goenka. It was going to be his very first retreat for Westerners.

“”I had never even sat cross-legged before,’ Bush remembers. ‘But it was like having wine and cheese in Paris, something you’re supposed to do. ‘We’re in India, so let’s try meditation!’

“Though Bush signed up for the Goenka retreat on a whim, it had an enormous impact on her. Indeed, it impacted the whole burgeoning spiritual movement in the West. Many of the students in attendance went on to become influential spiritual voices in America, including Buddhist teachers Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein, psychologist and best-selling author Daniel Goldman, and spiritual icon Ram Dass.

“Today, Mirabai Bush may not be as famous as some of the other meditators at the seminal retreat. But in the forty-five years since then, she has been at the forefront of the spiritual revolution in the Western world, helping to shape and lead it.

“Over the course of her long career, Bush has framed the meditation practices she first learned in India so they are applicable and accessible to people in the modern world. As cofounder of The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, she has helped introduce mindfulness into diverse fields–social engagement, the tech industry, higher education, and more.

“She was a key contributor to Search Inside Yourself, a groundbreaking employee program at Google, and a founding member of the Seva Foundation, which has given the gift of sight to four million people in Asia.

“She has co-authored books relating contemplative practice to education, neuroscience, and organizations. Her new book, Walking Each Other Home: Conversations on Loving and Dying, is a dialogue with her close friend Ram Dass.

“As Bush explains it, love has been the guiding force in her life work. Many years ago, Neem Karoli Baba, her Hindu teacher, taught her to love everyone. ‘That has been a central practice for me–trying to do it, failing, trying again, seeing where my resistances are.

“‘What does it mean,’ she asks, ‘to discover this central place of love in others and create environments where we can all be loving?'”


Check it out!

12 Oct
Posted in: APP, Study
By    Comments Off on YAY!!!


My DPP and CDL dharma buddies Carolyn, Alice, Helen, and I (and probably others who I haven’t heard from yet) all got accepted into the next cohort of Spirit Rock’s Advanced Practitioner Program (APP2).


As posted on Spirit Rock’s website:
“APP2 is intended for senior students of the Dhamma who want to explore the liberation teachings of the Buddha through practice, study, inquiry, and interactive exercises.  It is a year-long program consisting of three retreats and is intended for those who have completed programs like Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP), Community Dharma Leader Program (CDL), Heavenly Messengers (HM), or an equivalent.”

The retreats are:
* Nature of Awareness, April 15 – 23, 2019 (8 nights), led by Phillip Moffit, Guy Armstrong, Susie Harrington, Anushka Fernandopulle, Brian Lesage with Dawn Scott assisting.

“Awareness is the heart of sentient life, the central faculty that reveals the phenomena of our experience. Usually, in both meditation and daily life, we pay most attention to phenomena and less to awareness itself. This retreat is an opportunity to focus on the nature of awareness and to explore this mysterious, innate capacity for knowing. This practice can open the door to emptiness, profound understanding and great freedom.”

* Emptiness and Liberation, November 12 – 20, 2019 (8 nights), led by Gil Fronsdal, Susie Harrington, JoAnna Hardy, Brian Lesage with Dawn Scott assisting.

“This retreat is a further development of a senior students retreat on Emptiness previously held at Spirit Rock. While retaining the teachings on emptiness, this retreat will add more direct pointing to the steps toward liberation as described by the Buddha as well as ancient and contemporary meditation masters. We will introduce and explore teachings and practices that lead to awakening through talks, readings, reflections, guided meditations, and group discussions.”

* Radiant Mind, Peaceful Heart, April 2 – 10, 2020 (8 nights), led by Venerable Bhikkhu Analayo, Guy Armstrong, Susie Harrington, Anushka Fernandopulle, Brian Lesage with Dawn Scott assisting.

“This third retreat of the program will focus directly on the topic and practices leading toward liberation. Joining the teaching team will be Venerable Bhikkhu Analayo, a foremost scholar and practitioner who will share through presentation and practice instructions, the Buddha’s instructions on Compassion and Emptiness, pointing to full liberation. There will also be interactive study and practice sessions throughout the week, with a period of intensive practice in the depth of the retreat. This retreat will include sessions on how to continue these practices and supporting each other once the program has ended.”