Vajrapani Institute
6th of December 2016

The Poetry of Giving

Carl Wheeler was a generous man. He was also a humble man, so if he were still with us, he would probably blush at receiving such public praise. Having read and digested the underlying intent of these words, however, my hope is that he would have let it go. Generosity can sometimes be about letting…

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The Gift of Time

The gift of time, attention, presence. Listening. Being. In the traditional Buddhist texts, the presentation of the paramita of generosity includes several components: giving of material things; giving the Dharma; giving protection, or fearlessness; and sometimes the generosity of loving-kindness is included. How do we offer loving-kindness to others? With our time. With our attention.…

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26th of November 2016

Buddhism and the Path of Service

In November, Vajrapani invited me to do a “webinar” for their Buddhisminaction.org program (still available online here), and the topic was “The Path of Service and How Not To Help.” Most of my material is sourced from Dr. Isa Gucciardi, founder and director of the Sacred Stream Center in Berkeley, and Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche. For…

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4th of September 2016

The Refuge of Simplicity

People often ask me why I decided to ordain as a Buddhist nun. “Why did you choose to give up so much?” they ask. “Isn’t it hard? Why do you have to give up pleasure in order to be a nun?” The answer is simplicity. From March 2000 to July 2006, I lived mostly in…

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Healing Into Simple Living

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” These words were first published back in August 1973 by E.F. Schumacher, a British economist with a deep interest in Buddhism. They surely ring as true today…

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8th of June 2016

Millennial Perspectives on Spirituality

We live in a culture that idolizes and glamorizes youth, but being young in today’s world is not always easy. Stress, self-hatred, self-consciousness and confusion in the face of the seemingly limitless possibilities new technologies have made available to us are just a few of the challenges facing the millennial generation. And our mainstream consumerist…

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Youth and the Three Dimensions of Social Space

Young Muslims from North America and Europe leaving home to join ISIS, much to their parents’ alarm. Several years ago, college students joining the Occupy movement in large numbers. Urban youth joining street gangs with strict codes of honor and loyalty. Do these phenomena have anything in common? Recently I’ve been investigating the work of…

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1st of June 2016

Spirituality for Kids “Lama Yeshe Style”

According to the Buddhist worldview we have all been reincarnating since beginningless time, a rather mind-bending thought! Nevertheless, even though this means we come into the world with a great deal of preconditioning, and not as “blank slates,” it is well-known that the influences we are exposed to in childhood and the habits we form…

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29th of May 2016

The Power of Teen Camp

The following article appeared as part of Vajrapani Institute’s 2015 Annual Report The 2016 Vajrapani Teen Camp will be its eighth official year. However, it started two years before that, with “teen tracks” taking place during Family Camp. Within this ten-year span, huge shifts in technology and access to drugs/alcohol have created an extremely challenging…

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28th of May 2016

Transforming Adversity

A key Mahayana Buddhist approach to eradicating problems is the practice of Thought Transformation (Lojong in Tibetan). This practice, when viewed without some understanding of Buddhist ideas, can seem quite bizarre and even counterproductive. It is a practice and theory where one uses problems, difficulties and challenges as an actual practice to overcome unhappiness. It…

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