Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Statement of Faith

The state of Texas has requested a "statement of faith" in confirming tax exempt status. It occurred to me that you might like to know how I responded.

Statement of Faith

“Our Statement of Faith” is based on the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths. These are not articles of belief or doctrine, but experiential truths to be verified by each person through inquiry and practice.

The Four Noble Truths

The first noble truth is the truth of dukkha. It means that affliction or suffering is a fact of all human life.

The second noble truth is the truth of samudaya. It means that together with affliction, thirst or longing arises.

The third noble truth is the truth of nirodha. It means that whatever arises can be contained, and that this containment is essential to healthy living. Note that nirodha does not mean either suppression nor mindless venting; in its original usage the term referred to banking a fire, so that its energy can be used in safe and healthy ways.

The fourth noble truth is the truth of marga. It describes the path or characteristics of healthy living. The eight characteristics of the path suggest a life lived in alignment with reality; the term “right” here means just that: congruent with truth. Marga consists of right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right meditation.

We are indebted to Michael Brazier’s The Feeling Buddha for this presentation of the four noble truths.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Question for this moment

What is the universe discovering about itself that can only be learned or known through this/my/your/our experiencing?

How are you answering this question? Or do you prefer Mary Oliver's:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Rio Grande Zen

For readers in the Rio Grande area, there is a new sitting group following the teachings of Joko Beck. The address is:

Rio Grande Zen Sangha
6000 Rusty Nail Drive
Brownsville, Texas

The board for the Rio Grande Zen group includes Ed Miller, Suzanne and James Lovegren.

If you are in the area, please stop in! You can find information about the sangha here:

We send a warm Texas welcome to this new sangha!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Ongoing developments

There are a few new developments that we are discussing for Ordinary Mind. I mentioned Sunday that we may extend the Thursday evening sitting to allow two sitting periods, by beginning at 7:30 instead of 8:00. If you have an opinion about that, please let me know by email. We will probably have two 30-minute periods with kinhin (walking meditation) between, followed by tea and informal discussion.

We have also had a request to add another evening sitting. It may be possible to offer this in conjunction with an introduction to meditation class, if there is enough interest, either on Tuesday or Wednesday evening.

We are also discussing offering a two-day sesshin, probably some time in September, over a weekend. A sesshin is an intensive or retreat that provides an opportunity to deepen your practice through meditation, simple work practice, dharma talks, and individual practice discussions with teachers. Sitting together with others in this simplified space and schedule provides a clearing in our busy lives to enrich our practice. We support each other through our sincere practice and shared silence. If you have any questions or suggestions about this practice opportunity, please let me know. In the months before the sesshin, we will offer two introductory half-day sittings following the Sunday program so that you may experiment with extending your zazen practice in this way.

So, as you can see, we would like to expand our offerings in ways that can best support your practice and your aspirations. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.