The Universe Doesn’t Care About Your Purpose (NY Times Opinion Piece)

An indifferent universe also offers us a powerful and compelling case for living justly and contentedly because it allows us to anchor our attention here. It teaches us that this life matters and that we alone are responsible for it. Love, friendship and forgiveness are for our benefit. Oppression, war and conflict are self-inflicted. When we ask what’s […]

Fushimi Inari and Osaka, or Is This Orange or Red?

The famous Fushimi Inari temple was our destination Thursday, with Osaka gluttony planned for Friday. Fushimi is famous for its large number of torii gates. They are all painted in what I would call a vibrant orange. It just so happens that this vibrant orange is the same color that is called “red” by the […]

Fevered Dreams in Tokyo

I’m writing this from the shinkasen, or bullet train, hurtling at 170 miles per hour towards Kyoto. It’s day two or so of our journey to Japan and this first 48 hours have been like a fevered dream — more real than real and hard to shake once you’re awake. I’ve dreamed of visiting Japan […]

Sangha as Post-Breakup Cohabitation

That awkward period when you’re no longer in a relationship with someone, but you still have to live together — ever been in that situation? If you haven’t, it’s a period of time that is marked by “in-your-face” and subtle complexities: Are we both allowed in the bathroom at the same time? Should you wish each other […]

The Clothes Hamper as Practice

This was written for the Phoenix Shambhala Center blog. My name is Stuart, your Culture and Decorum representative, and I have a confession: I’m a very messy person. And I can also confess that it was my messiness that, in a Shambhala sense, provided an opportunity for wakefulness and for an on-going practice of kindness. […]

Brush Stroke at the Zendo

I am continuing my journey on the path of contemplative arts, this time in Santa Fe at the Upaya Zen Center. Since the Shambhala Art intensive I’ve done brush strokes after many of my sittings, and recently I’ve started to copy characters from Kaz Tanahashi’s book, The Heart of the Brush. Since Shambhala does not have a calligraphy program and […]