Category Archives: Modern Life Applications


Dec 2014 The pain of injustice after the shooting death of an unarmed young black man and the legal verdict echoes so many similar incidents in the United States over a long history of racism and violence in our country. The verdict and its meaning is somehow unsurprising and heartbreaking. And heartbreaking in how unsurprising it is.

The dharma lens that can perhaps help is the Four Noble Truths. There is dukkha — pain, suffering, unsatisfactoriness in individual experience and in society. There is a cause for this, so let us explore this and try to address the root causes of racism, violence, militarism, and fear. Hatred and delusion manifest in many ways, and there are many ways to work on the individual, organizational, systemic and societal levels.

Let us hold ourselves and others with much compassion. Let us give ourselves a moment to feel the pain before rushing on. May we learn to love and respect each other and ourselves. May we move towards justice with radical love. May we apply our energy to creating change in this unjust system.

Pedestrians and Protecting Life

May 2014 A specific application of mindfulness that will help us all is in the area of walking and the area of driving. There has been an increase in pedestrian accidents and deaths in many cities. Our constant connection to our phones and checking emails and texts while driving and crossing the street might be a contributor. Another cause could be our impatience and stress while driving. Either way please pay attention in these circumstance, for your own benefit and the benefit of other forms of life!

Living Simply

Apr 2014 Living simply is one of the things I learned from my time in monasteries and retreat centers. Buddhist monastics are the masters of this, having only the possessions of one robe and one bowl. As lay people we accumulate more things, and may need more things, but the principle of living simply is one that we can also apply to our lives.

What stuff do we have that we do not need or use? Through generosity we can donate that to someone who might need it, and create more space in our life. The spaciousness that comes from having less and clinging less is a great benefit to one’s life.

One idea I heard to see what things you really need:  pack up all the things you have in one room, and then take them out as you use them. The things that remain in the boxes after a few months might be the things that you can part with now!

Summer LGBTQ Weddings

Sept 2013 This summer I have had the honor of attending three weddings— none of which would have been legally recognized last year as they were all same-sex couples. Each celebration was unique, beautiful, and reflected the special attributes of each couple. Love comes in so many ways, and it was a joy to be part of these special days. Here’s to continuing to remove the obstacles to recognizing love, in ourselves and in our societies.

rainbow heart

Your Body and the Elements

Mar 2013  One of the interesting contemplations you can do is recognizing your body as nature. The elements of earth, air, fire, water (or solidity, movement, heat, and liquid) can be felt directly in the body and seen in nature. Our bodies are made of these elements, supported by these elements, constructed by these elements. You can read my piece Urban Elements  on doing this contemplation in an urban setting. I recently saw this dynamic wind map of the United States which shows the movement of wind currents over the country. It is mesmerizing to watch, but maybe can also help us to get in touch with the constant movement in our own body at the same time.

Who Do You Think You Are?

Jan 2013 Who do you think you are? When you were younger, what was your idea about what you would be like now? And who will you be in the future?This is related to the concept of tanha bhava, or craving for becoming, in the Buddhist teaching.

Here is an interesting article with some studies about how people see their identity as fluid in the past but fixed for the future.  Perhaps due to fear of the unknown….

Grief is Dynamic

Sept 2012 The death of a loved one, particularly a child, can be one of the hardest things to deal with in life.  For those who have suffered from such a loss in their life, I would like to share the blog of a dear friend Catherine Murray whose young son died of leukemia at age seven. She has begun posting her reflections here on grief, healing, and being a mother to her two remaining sons. As she writes “grief is dynamic”. May this help to ease the hearts of those who feel they are suffering alone.