I heard the crack of thunder as it whipped across the sky and prepared myself for the downpour to come. I was sitting cross-legged in a tiny wooden kuti that was nestled among the tall trees and rugged rocks on land that was part of a remote forest monastery in Northern Thailand. As I sat […]
There was another time when one of my teachers — the abbot on a temple just outside of downtown Los Angeles — pulled me aside to tell me something important. I was expecting him to share enlightening words with me. In a way, his advice proved to be wise, albeit unexpected. He wanted to remind […]
“Don’t pat the feet! We need them to be dry!” Those were the stern words that the abbot of a forest monastery said to me as I was drying his feet and the feet of monks who had just cleansed them with water before entering the meditation hall. Drying the feet of monastics was the […]
I saw blood in the kitchen. My grandmother (奶奶) had cut her finger while julienning vegetables. As a child, I couldn’t believe how it was possible. I had seen my grandfather (爷爷/爺爺) finely dice vegetables with alacrity as he prepared stir-fried dishes for his hungry grandson. Never once did I see him cut himself.
A simple solution was the right solution to my meditation problem. But the principle of simplicity when applied on its own can lead to reductionism that ironically makes finding the solution to a problem even more difficult and complex. That’s because following a basic principle cannot provide a complete picture of reality. Simplicity must be […]
A direct experience of death speaks to the heart in a way that philosophical musings never can. There was a time when I was struggling with my meditation during a stay at a forest monastery on the East Coast of the United States. I was experimenting with a wide assortment of techniques to calm my […]
I’ve never been fond of horses. They’re beautiful animals, but riding on them is an uncomfortable experience. They can also be dangerous. My karate teacher was knocked unconscious when he was violently kicked by his horse. When he eventually regained consciousness, that experience led him to reflect on the precarious nature of life. It’s what […]