Category: Guiding Teacher Letters

Samadhi: The arising of the five jhanic factors and the abandoning of the five hindrances

Samadhi: The arising of the five jhanic factors and the abandoning of the five hindrances   The Buddha teaches that the mind is radiant and pure, but as we all know, this essential clarity and freedom of mind is often

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What is our practice?

Dear Friends, Mindfulness is the practice of opening to and understanding the moment just as it is, whether we are practicing sitting meditation, cooking dinner, or advocating for justice. To begin we make the necessary effort to calm the mind

Engaging this Messy World with the Wisdom of Non Attachment

Quotes: History, despite its wrenching pain cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. —Maya Angelou Mindfulness must be engaged. Once there is seeing, there must be action. —Thich Nhat Hanh Not everything that is

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Wisdom and the Activity of the Mind

Dear Common Ground friends, There is no worse danger than a mind without mindfulness and no greater protection than being clearly aware of the mind and its activity. Wisdom reflects back the activity of our mind. Without wisdom we remain

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Generosity as Trustworthy Medicine

Dear Friends, From the Buddha’s point of view, generosity, or dana, is a foundational and essential spiritual practice. Without the enlivening and liberating experience of generosity, our lives remain limited by our self-centered views, fears, and greed. The Buddha understood

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The Experience of Dukkha

Dear Friends, The Buddha pointed to an awakening and freedom that arose out of a deep understanding of dukkha – the experience of stress, dissatisfaction, or suffering. Although the experience of dukkha is unpleasant, understanding dukkha is paradoxically liberating. This

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The Conditional Nature of our Intentions and Actions

Dear Friends, Through his practice, the Buddha awakened to the conditional nature of the mind and all experience. Taking up the Buddha’s insight powerfully undermines the mind’s tendency to grasp and struggle with experience. Both wisdom and ignorance arise due

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Afflictive States of Mind

Dear Friends, Living a skillful and happy life depends on what we pay attention to and how we pay attention. The Buddha tells us that by regularly giving careless and unwise attention to afflictive mind states, we cause them to

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The Experience of Compassion

Dear Friends, Although we can probably agree that compassion is a good idea, there might be confusion about what the actual experience of compassion is. Buddhist practice emphasizes a clear connection with each moment as it arises. This intimate connection

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The Mind’s Attachment to Complexity

Dear Common Ground Friends, One of the greatest challenges to mindfulness practice is the mind’s attachment to complexity. It is as if the mind has learned to equate simplicity with danger, and mental proliferation as some form of safety. When

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