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How to Cultivate Resilience in Tough Times - Lions Roar
It’s easy to convince ourselves that meditation is hard. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not unusual tofindmeditation difficult, but the practice itself can be easier than rolling off a log. All you have to do isstay there, so to speak. But first you have to get there.
Lion’s Roar’snew special publication,Meditation Made Simple, helps you do just that. With inspiration and easy-to-follow-guidance from the experts, you’ll learn how to develop your meditation habit — and make it stick. It’s a perfect guidebook for people learning to meditate, or for those who want some helpful support and inspiration.
In this Weekend Reader, you’ll find three meditation practices you can try out (or try again) right now to experience meditation afresh. May these three practices awaken your beginner’s mind. (And:there’s lots more where these came from!)
—Rod Meade Sperry, Editor,Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Guide+ Lion’s Roar Special Editions
In today's fast-paced world, stress and anxiety have become common companions. At the same time, the Buddhist practice of mindfulness has emerged in the mainstream as a popular tool to reduce stress and enhance productivity — even at work.
In aconversationonThe Lions Roar Podcast, Stacy McClendon, a teacher at the Common Ground Meditation Center in Minneapolis with a background in social work, discusses the profound impact of mindfulness on transforming our approach to work.
As she shares in the episode, the pandemic caused many people to change the way they think about work, with remote work prompting many to wonder if their jobs were really “worth it.” Are we spending the majority of our lives on emails and worrying about arbitrary quotas? Is there a way to make a livingandenjoy life at same time? Will it always be a trade off of one for the other?
"Now with this integration of home life and work life, there's a sensitivity to what’s actually nourishing,” says McClendon. “There’s no longer eight hours at work. It's 10, 12, 15 hours. It's all at home. It's all blended together. So is this work — maybe that I've trained for, or that I dreamed about — truly nourishing?” It’s a tough question, but one worth asking.
One way to transform our work is to explore the difference between what we do for a living andhowwe do it. Right livelihood, as traditionally defined in the Buddha’seightfold path, means engaging in work that doesn’t create harm, a challenging task in an era where a number of large corporations rely on underpaid labor, yet also offer employee benefits that you and your family may need.
Below, in Tami Simon’sexplorationof the eightfold path, she suggests that we each have an inner drive to contribute generously for the benefit of others. However, this doesn't necessarily mean we have to engage in world-changing endeavors like developing cures for disease; even small contributions, she writes, can be profoundly impactful.
And too, right livelihood doesn’t necessarily mean your hobby or passion should be your job, or that your job isn’t the “right” calling. In “How Our Work Can Help Us Find Freedom,” Lion’s Roar contributor Naomi Matlow shares how you can practice the dharma while also making a living. “Your life is a full expression of your personal calling,” she writes, “and freedom is even available when paying off the mortgage.”
—Sandra Hannebohm, AV Producer, Lion’s Roar
Halloween is just around the corner. In my neighborhood, front lawns are adorned with a haunting array of ghosts, pumpkins, and spiderwebs, prepared for an evening of eerie enchantment.The Halloween we know began as Samhain, a pagan festival that signaled the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. It celebrated the introduction of darker days ahead and marked the time of year where it was thought the veil between the physical and unseen world was the thinnest. In Mexico, Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, celebrates those who have passed on. Families encourage visits from the spirit world by setting up altars for their departed loved ones, decorating them with photos, offerings of favorite foods, and flowers.In Buddhism, there too are Halloween corollaries to be found in unseen beings, multiple realms of existence, and even hungry ghosts. There also exists a deep appreciation for the mysteries and wisdom found within life’s more shadowy aspects.As the three stories below will tell you, Halloween brings with it the opportunity to reflect on and even celebrate the darker side of life. Beyond the traditions of costumes and candy, it reminds us of the delicate balance of life and death, light and dark, and the great lessons of both.—Lilly Greenblatt, Digital Editor, Lion’s Roar
Autumn has fully embraced us, marking the onset of my favorite time of year: the harvest season. As my world transitions inside, the cooler seasons usher in more shared meals with family and friends. Evenings are spent processing the bounty from the garden as the oven warms up the house. As Gesshin Greenwood writes below: “In meditation we sit with whatever feelings rise: pain, boredom, joy, restlessness. Eating is a practice in the same way.” The meals we eat each day are such an integral part of our lives, but amongst the business of life, they can sometimes feel like routine chores. The three pieces below remind us of the magic of food, dining, and the ways we can celebrate these small moments in our days. Each meal we cook and eat brings with it the opportunity to practice mindfulness, calling us to appreciate each hand that took part in bringing food to our table. As the days grow shorter this season, I hope you, too, can embrace the beauty of these moments, and savor every bite.—Martine Panzica, Assistant Digital Editor, Lion’s Roar
A few years ago, when I was preparing to enter a traditional three-year retreat, the other retreatants and I had the good fortune of meeting Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. We met him during a weeklong festival, where many high-ranking rinpoches, lamas, and hundreds of practitioners gathered to pray for the flourishing of the dharma and for world peace.
I remember thinking about how approachable he was. There were none of the hierarchical barriers I’d encountered with other prominent teachers. Even at this busy gathering, we were able to talk to Mingyur Rinpoche directly. The other retreatants and I were granted a private audience, and as we all sat around him, he offered us advice for our retreat.
Contrary to what you might expect, his advice was not about the elaborate practices we’d be engaging in or even meditation. His advice was straightforward and personal; he instructed us to do our best to get along with each other. While at first glance this might seem too basic, I think it gets to the essence of who we should aspire to be. It doesn’t matter how much retreat we’ve done, or how good we are at elaborate practices and rituals. If those practices don’t translate to being kind to others, then we are missing the mark.
The new, November 2023 issue of Lion’s Roar highlights Mingyur Rinpoche’s teachings. Below, you’ll find three pieces from the issue: an in-depth with him about his personal struggles with anxiety and panic attacks, a transformational teaching on the practice of Dzogchen, and a guided practice with step-by-step instructions to help us experience the true nature of mind.
Mingyur Rinpoche has inspired many practitioners. His approach to teaching and his understanding of the dharma reflect the humanity of his experience, because he talks openly about his own life and practice. Mingyur Rinpoche is one of those rare teachers who not only embodies the Buddha’s teachings, but who is also able to communicate them in a clear and direct manner.
—Mariana Restrepo, Associate Editor, Lion’s Roar
Big Mind. True Nature. Basic Goodness. Ultimate Reality. Whatever you call it, theFall 2023 edition ofBuddhadharma: The Practitioner's Guideis hereto illuminate the essential Buddhist concept of buddhanature. Think that this concept is simply beyond you? This issue may very well change your mind.
Features include Lopen Karma Phuntsho of Tsadra Foundation’s Buddha-Nature project on“Why Buddhanature Matters”; Vanessa Zuisei Goddardon how the famous Mu-koan helps us see the nature of reality; Rev. Blayne Higa on the founder of Shin Buddhism’s“spiritual insight of imperfection and radical acceptance”; Karl Brunnholzl on howNagarjuna and Maitreya spoke of buddhanature and emptiness; and meditations andreflectionsfrom Margarita Loinaz, Tsokyni Rinpoche, Lama Palden Drolma, Guo Gu, Myokei Caine-Barrett, Qalvy Grainzvolt, and other wise teachers and spiritual friends. Plus:an interviewwith Insight Meditation Society cofounder Joseph Goldstein,Buddhadharma on Books,exclusiveonline reading, and more.
Have a look inside, and thank you for your practice!
—Rod Meade Sperry, Editor, Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Guide + Lion’s Roar Special Editions
Clarity & Calm: An Interview With Mingyur Rinpoche - Lions Roar
In this exclusive interview, Mingyur Rinpoche tells Lion’s Roar’s Andrea Miller how he learned to befriend his anxiety. We all have an innate well-being, he says. And we can all experience it. From the November 2023 issue of Lion’s Roar magazine.
For me, when it comes to bearing the suffering caused by dying and death, Buddhism has been like my grandmother, who was the only person I trusted to ask when I was a child, “Why did my father die?” With tears in her eyes, her big arms wrapped around my little body, she held me, and answered with empathy, wisdom, and nurturance.
Buddhist teachings on being with dying, when practiced, are like being held in an empathetic, wise, and comforting embrace by a council of unknown and known elders who have already seen the countless joys and sorrows in life, and therefore are prepared to help us be with the reality of profound loss, with equanimity.
Lion’s Roar’s free online summit beginning October 12,Death, Love, and Wisdom, explores these teachings through the lens of esteemed Buddhist teachers, chaplains, educators, and pioneers in Buddhist-informed end-of-life care.
Buddhism, when we are immersed in its ancient teachings and practices on being with death and dying, positions us to be beneficiaries of the legacies of teachers throughout the centuries and in various lands, including contemporary forms in the West, and as such puts us in the streams of being held in the wise and compassionate embrace of a council of great-grandparents. No matter how old you are now, can you accept your inescapable vulnerability, like a small grandchild dealing with a painful mysterious loss, and allow yourself to soften into and be held in wisdom’s embrace?
Siddhartha Gautama, before he became known as the Buddha, was said to have experienced the reality of illness and death long after his contemporaries had already faced these facts many times. As such, Siddhartha, like many of us, was a late bloomer. He had been protected from knowing about humanity’s existential threats. This part of the Buddha’s story is so relatable and explains why Buddhism is the progenitor of many of the world’s leading experts on the compassionate and wise care of dying people.
In this Weekend Reader, we offer you a few teachings from a contemporary council of Buddhist elders featured inDeath, Love, and Wisdomwho, through their decades of life, teaching, and leadership, are living members of the council of grandparent compassion and wisdom. You’re never too old, or young, to benefit from their teachings and if you think now is not the right time to confront your true impermanent nature, I’ll end here by recalling the "Evening Chant," with which Zen practitioners end their day of temple practice:
—Pamela Ayo Yetunde, Associate Editor,Lion’s Roar
Pema Chödrön's Wisdom for Waking Up to Your World - Lions Roar
Throughout your day you can pause, take a break from your usual thoughts, and wake up to the magic and vastness of the world around you. Pema Chödrön says this easy and spacious type of mindfulness practice is the most important thing we can do with our lives.
In mindfulness meditation, you’re trying to stabilize and calm your mind. With some dedication, you will begin to discover that this calmness or harmony is a natural aspect of the mind, which mindfulness meditation practice helps develop and strengthen. Eventually, you will be able to remain peacefully in your mind without struggling.
“Calmness, a natural aspect of the mind?” you ask. “Remaining peacefully in my mind without struggle? Are you serious?”
This may seem like a tall order, but as the late teacher of Zen, mindfulness, and peace, Thich Nhat Hanh, encourages the reader in “The Practice of Mindfulness”: “You don’t have to wait 10 years to experience this happiness. It is present in every moment of your daily life.”
It’s easy to become swept up by worries about the future or regrets of past mistakes, forgetting where you truly belong. “Our true home is in the here and the now,” continues Thich Nhat Hanh. “Life is available only in the here and the now.”
The three teachings by Thich Nhat Hanh featured below offer a series of exercises that will help you release tension, harness compassion, revere life, and become more mindful.
May they help you find your way back to the present moment this weekend — your true home.
—Ross Nervig, Associate Editor,Lion’s Roar
Mindfulness is the energy that helps us recognize the conditions of happiness that are already present in our lives. You don’t have to wait ten years to experience this happiness. It is present in every moment of your daily life. There are those of us who are alive but don’t know it. But when you breathe in, and you are aware of your in-breath, you touch the miracle of being alive. That is why mindfulness is a source of happiness and joy.
Detox Your Mind: 5 Practices to Purify the 3 Poisons - Lions Roar
We all experience moments of heightened perception, when it seems the universe has a message for us, one that is filled with profound but inexpressible meaning. suddenness, the sense of being taken by surprise, before ego has a chance to put up its barriers, is often important here. Any of the five bodily senses can open this door for us. The sense of smell, in particular, is well-known for arousing deep-buried memories, which, if we let go and do not grasp at them, can open up the dimension of timelessness. such experiences are often intensely emotional, and we should not forget that in Buddhism the mind too is a sense-organ, whose objects are thoughts, feelings, memories, and so forth. These too can act as symbols.
Through the gateway of our senses, we can enter a realm infinitely wider and deeper, where the limitations of time and space dissolve and the whole universe is present in one moment, in one single point.
The Dharma of Distraction - Lions Roar
It goes a lot deeper than how many times a day you check your phone. According to Buddhist teacher Judy Lief, distraction is the very foundation of ego, the way we protect ourselves against both the pain of life and the open space of awakened mind. You could even say that letting go of all distraction is the path to enlightenment.
How to Practice Chanting - Lions Roar
How to Trust Your Basic Goodness - Lions Roar
Painting by Vicky Alvarez.
How to Be Kind to Yourself - Lions Roar