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Buddhism and Aging

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Fri, April 13 2012

Buddhism and Aging

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Suzuki Roshi says the essence of Buddhism is that "Everything changes." It was much easier for me to ignore that fact when I was young.

Fleda Brown's picture
Poet and writer Fleda Brown reflects on the gatherings of her weekly meditation group, speaking to you as one who has long practiced meditation but still comes to the practice with a learner’s mind.

Nirvana at a Carolina Bus Stop

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Nirvana at a Carolina Bus Stop
Mon, March 26 2012

Nirvana at a Carolina Bus Stop

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It wasn’t quite so spring-like yesterday here in Northern Michigan, back to slightly more “normal” temperatures. It’s spring break week around here, which may account for a smaller group for meditation last night.

Fleda Brown's picture
Poet and writer Fleda Brown reflects on the gatherings of her weekly meditation group, speaking to you as one who has long practiced meditation but still comes to the practice with a learner’s mind.

Nirvana and Spring Peepers

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Nirvana and Spring Peepers
Mon, March 19 2012

Nirvana and Spring Peepers

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The weather here in northern Michigan is amazing! Scary but amazing.

Fleda Brown's picture
Poet and writer Fleda Brown reflects on the gatherings of her weekly meditation group, speaking to you as one who has long practiced meditation but still comes to the practice with a learner’s mind.

Are Rainbows "Real"?

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Are Rainbows “Real”?
Mon, March 12 2012

Are Rainbows "Real"?

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RainbowsI l

Fleda Brown's picture
Poet and writer Fleda Brown reflects on the gatherings of her weekly meditation group, speaking to you as one who has long practiced meditation but still comes to the practice with a learner’s mind.

The Art of Compassion

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The Art of Compassion
Mon, March 05 2012

The Art of Compassion

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Art MuseumOur l

Fleda Brown's picture
Poet and writer Fleda Brown reflects on the gatherings of her weekly meditation group, speaking to you as one who has long practiced meditation but still comes to the practice with a learner’s mind.

So, What Do Buddhists Mean By Rebirth?

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So, What Do Buddhists Mean By Rebirth?
Mon, February 27 2012

So, What Do Buddhists Mean By Rebirth?

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We had a class in Eastern Religions from the local college our sangha yesterday. It was a treat to have these newbies to the practice get a sense of what it is to sit and to participate in a sangha.

Fleda Brown's picture
Poet and writer Fleda Brown reflects on the gatherings of her weekly meditation group, speaking to you as one who has long practiced meditation but still comes to the practice with a learner’s mind.

Your Brain on Meditation

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Your Brain on Meditation
Mon, February 20 2012

Your Brain on Meditation

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Your Brain MeditationY

Fleda Brown's picture
Poet and writer Fleda Brown reflects on the gatherings of her weekly meditation group, speaking to you as one who has long practiced meditation but still comes to the practice with a learner’s mind.

Cutting-to-the-Chase Meditation

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Cutting-to-the-Chase Meditation
Thu, February 16 2012

Cutting-to-the-Chase Meditation

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Cutting to the Chase Meditation

Fleda Brown's picture
Poet and writer Fleda Brown reflects on the gatherings of her weekly meditation group, speaking to you as one who has long practiced meditation but still comes to the practice with a learner’s mind.

Too Lazy to Write Poetry

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Too Lazy to Write Poetry
Mon, February 06 2012

Too Lazy to Write Poetry

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Poetry CartoonOur local sangha had our four-hour block meditation yesterday--people coming and going, with a number of us staying and sitting the whole time. Plus our 30-minute snack time afterward, which is gradually creeping into the realm of an actual meal, so much food!

Since we had no discussion group to tell you about, I thought for today I’d offer a few more poems you may not know. Here are two from Ryokan (1758-1831), a Japanese Buddhist hermit who spent much of his time writing poetry and doing calligraphy. His poetry is simple and inspired by nature. He loved children, and supposedly sometimes forgot to beg for food because he was playing with the children of the nearby village. Ryōkan refused to accept any position as a priest or even as a "poet."

Too lazy to be ambitious,
I let the world take care of itself.
Ten days’ worth of rice in my bad;
a bundle of twigs by the fireplace.
Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment?
Listening to the rain on my roof,
I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.

And another:

The man pulling radishes
pointed the way
with a radish.

Fleda Brown's picture
Poet and writer Fleda Brown reflects on the gatherings of her weekly meditation group, speaking to you as one who has long practiced meditation but still comes to the practice with a learner’s mind.

All Kinds of Attachments

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All Kinds of Attachments
Mon, January 30 2012

All Kinds of Attachments

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Needle and ThreadWe had a small group in our local sangha for our discussion last time, but a larger one when it was time for meditation, with a light and dry snow drifting down outside, which is what it’s doing now. I’m thinking of Billy Collins’s poem, “Shoveling Snow with the Buddha,” You can hear him read it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCrDVIfoKYY

We read and discussed the chapter, “Liberation Through Nonclinging,” in One Dharma.

Goldstein touches somewhat lightly on the skandas, or aggregates that form consciousness out of “direct cognizing of the object itself,” as he puts it, and then goes on to explain how our minds get clouded with ignorance. What does he mean by “ignorance,” you ask?  Here are his words:

“It is when we are caught up in wanting, attachment, fear, or aversion, when we are lost in thoughts of past and future.” Notice his words CAUGHT UP IN and LOST IN. Of course we do want, and dislike, and  think of the past and future. The ignorance comes in when we don’t REALIZE what’s going on. But when there is that little gap of awareness, that we’re free from the being caught up in, free from the lostness.

Goldstein quotes the Buddha: “Nothing whatsoever is to be clung to as ‘I’ or ‘mine.’ Whoever has heard this truth has heard all the Teachings, whoever practices this truth has realized all the Teachings.” Goldstein calls this the essential unifying experience of freedom.

“Suffering is rope burn,” says Goldstein. We try to hold on, and it hurts.

Fleda Brown's picture
Poet and writer Fleda Brown reflects on the gatherings of her weekly meditation group, speaking to you as one who has long practiced meditation but still comes to the practice with a learner’s mind.

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