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Yōshin

I met Sasaki Roshi only once before he died. After a day of sitting at his Los Angeles Zen temple, Rinzai-ji, everyone was getting ready to go home, content to know that the Roshi, now 106 years old, was on the premises, resting. As we were about to leave, his inji (personal assistant) ran out…

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Musings on Concentration and Stillness, Part I

Concentration is like gravity. We know gravity causes objects to be attracted to each other but we don’t know exactly how it does that. Concentration can induce a state of deep mental stillness, but we don’t know how it does that either.   Probably no term is more ubiquitous in the meditation and awakening lexicon…

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Embodied Teaching

When Mindfulness in Schools Really Works   If you’re connected to elementary education in any way, you’ve probably heard the buzz about mindfulness in schools by now: “Increases test scores! Reduces disciplinary issues!” You may have even seen videos of kids talking about their emotions and how much it helps them calm down to spend…

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Musings on Concentration and Stillness, Part II

Part I ended with a discussion of Culadasa’s translation of samadhi to include the ability to “control the scope of attention” in order to find a “stillness at the core of your moment-to moment experience.” Part II discusses other translations of samadhi that move increasingly in the direction of stillness. Another book dealing with concentration…

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Mindfulness and Psychology I: Attachment Theory

The insight meditation movement in the West has from its beginning had a close affiliation with psychology. Many notable teachers such as Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach have doctorates in psychology. In a book chapter written in 1988, Gil Fronsdal observed that at Spirit Rock, the well-known Bay Area meditation center founded by Kornfield and…

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