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Zen Story: The Holy Man

Zen Story: The Holy Man

    Word spread across the country about the wise Holy Man who lived in a house atop the mountain. A young man from the village decided to undertake the difficult journey to visit him. When he arrived at the house, an old servant opened the door and greeted him. “I have traveled long, and now I would like to see the wise Holy Man,” said the young man. The servant smiled and led him inside. As they walked through the house, the man from the village looked around eagerly in each...

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Zen Story: The Tea Warrior

Zen Story: The Tea Warrior

    On a mountain lived a famous tea master. His skill in this art was unsurpassed, and many came from faraway to sit at his tea house. One day an impatient samurai burned his tongue on the master’s green tea. Enraged, he challenged the master to a duel.  As the warrior drew his sword, the master turned to his young apprentice.  “I have done nothing but make tea my whole life. This duel is surely my end. The tea house is yours, my student.” The student cried out.  “No...

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A to Z of Zen

A to Z of Zen

    “There is no need to have a deep understanding of Zen.” – Shunryu Suzuki Zen is deceptively simple – beneath each supposed paradox is a simple truth waiting to be discovered. We don’t have to look; we simply have to see what’s already there. Here are 26 simple explanations of some common Zen principles to help you understand and practice this philosophy of balance and emptiness in everyday life.   Ajari is a Japanese term of respect for Zen masters, meaning...

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Zen Story: Real Power

Zen Story: Real Power

    During the countryside wars, a general swept from town to town, conquering each place with ease. In one particular town, the general discovered that everyone had fled just before his army arrived – everyone except the Zen master.  Curious about what sort of man this was, the general visited the temple himself. Inside, the Zen master remained still, and refused to bow or even move out of the general’s way.  When it was clear the Zen master would not defer to the general’s...

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10 Thoughts on Spirituality

10 Thoughts on Spirituality

    The search for deeper existence is a common in many of our lives. In our seeking, words of wisdom may help us navigate the journey within. Here are 10 insights on human spirituality, collected from diverse philosophies, religions, teachers and traditions. Go slowly, allowing yourself time to reflect on each individual thought before moving to the next.   1. Jesus That which you seek is already here, but you do not recognize it. (The Gospel of Thomas)   2. Buddha  No...

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Knowledge – A Sufi Folktale

Knowledge – A Sufi Folktale

  There once lived a scholar who had to journey across a huge river. It was a long, slow trip and the scholar soon got bored. He called out to the boatman. “Let’s talk, boatman. What languages have you studied? Do you know about grammar and phonetics?” he asked, introducing a subject in which he had formidable expertise. The boatman shook his head. “No sir,” he replied politely, “I have no use for such tools.” “What a pity,” said the...

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Awakening the Spirit

Awakening the Spirit

    Many of us explore spirituality with the hope of discovering something meaningful about the nature of our existence. Through meditation practice and rituals, we may begin to approach greater self-knowledge and understanding over time. This concept of “awakening” or “enlightenment” is a major element in many world religions. And while these religions can vary greatly in their teachings, many times we are surprised at how similar their messages really are. Here are four...

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Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh

  To the world, he is Thich Nhat Hanh. To his students, he is simply Thay.   This humble, soft-spoken character is one of the most venerable architects of the current global peace movement- a Buddhist monk from a small Vietnamese town whose writings, speeches and actions have reverberated throughout modern society. Born as Nguyen Xuan Bao near Central Vietnam in 1926, Thich Nhat Hanh entered a Buddhist monastery at age 16, where he was trained to lead a quiet life of contemplative...

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Pema Chodron

Pema Chodron

    Long before she became a Buddhist nun, a world-recognized meditation teacher or a best-selling spiritual author, Pema Chodron was simply Deirdre Blomfield-Brown. Born in 1936 in New York City, Pema’s earliest experiences indicated an ordinary life of family, school and traditional career paths. She attended Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut, grew up on a countryside farm with an older brother and sister, and graduated from University of California, Berkeley....

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A short video on Happy Buddha

A short video on Happy Buddha

Happy Buddha, or Budai, is based on a wandering monk who lived centuries ago. Often called Laughing Buddha, his signature smile is symbolic of pure contentment and joy. Happy Buddha is considered a symbol of good luck, and it is thought that rubbing his big head or belly brings fortune and wealth. Happy Buddha also represents enlightened awareness- his cloak, walking stick and traveling bag are reminders to pay attention to the journey before us, instead of only focusing on the...

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