What Does It Mean To Take Refuge in the Three Jewels?

What Does It Mean To Take Refuge in the Three Jewels?

I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the Dharma, I take refuge in the Sangha… Familiar words to anyone who has spent time in a Buddhist context, but not easily understood. What are these “Three Jewels,” the cornerstones of a spiritual life according to Buddhism? What does it mean to take refuge in something? Is it just an old religious tradition or some sort of blind faith? The idea of “taking refuge” is so important in Buddhism that you can say the definition of a Buddhist is someone who takes refuge in the Three Jewels. Refuge taking...

5 Essential Steps to Integrate Insights From a Meditation Retreat Into Daily Life

5 Essential Steps to Integrate Insights From a Meditation Retreat Into Daily Life

So you’ve just completed a meditation retreat. Congratulations! Take a deep breath and rejoice in your accomplishment. What’s next? After a retreat, you might find yourself with more questions than answers. Maybe you’re not sure how to integrate what you’ve discovered into your daily life, or where to go from here in your spiritual practice. If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned from experience about how to make the post-retreat landing as smooth as possible, and to make the insights you gained in retreat a part of your everyday life....

Is It All In My Head? An Introduction To The Mind-Only School, Part 1: Mind-Only In Context

Is It All In My Head? An Introduction To The Mind-Only School, Part 1: Mind-Only In Context

Imagine you’re a brain in a jar. Just a brain, in some mad scientist’s lab, hooked up to a bunch of wires that stimulate your sense faculties, creating an illusion of reality. Would you have any way of knowing what you are? This is the thought experiment that first comes to mind when hearing about the Mind-Only school of Buddhism. It seems like it says that nothing exists, it’s all just an hallucination and I’m alone in my head. In fact, Mind-Only is a fascinating and profound lineage. Emphasizing strong practice and direct experience, it made great contributions to Buddhist...

An Introduction To The Mind-Only School, Part 2: Key Tenets of Yogācāra

An Introduction To The Mind-Only School, Part 2: Key Tenets of Yogācāra

Are there any objects other than objects of perception? If I am always changing, how does my karma stay with me? Where does the ego come from? These are questions that spiritual seekers have been grappling with for millennia. The Mind-Only school of Mahayana Buddhism offers a profound and coherent response to these issues and many others. In the last article in this three-part series, I presented a high-level overview of the Mind-Only, also known as Yogācāra. In this article, I invite you to go deeper into the central teachings of Yogācāra. Let’s take a look at the most important...

10 Ways To Get Inspired For Meditation When You Don’t Feel Like It

10 Ways To Get Inspired For Meditation When You Don’t Feel Like It

Are you supposed to do your daily meditation now and you just… don’t want to? Maybe you know you should but you don’t really feel why you wanted to in the first place. Doing just about anything else seems more appealing. Don’t worry it happens to everyone. It’s not the end of your meditation career, just another flavor of it. Try a few of these tips for getting motivated and re-energized for meditation. Soon enough, you’ll be back in the flow. Create the right setting If inspiration isn’t coming from within, find it in your environment. Clean up the space where you meditate and...

How to Reduce Back Pain From Long Sitting During Meditation: The Complete Guide

How to Reduce Back Pain From Long Sitting During Meditation: The Complete Guide

I think it’s safe to say that all of us who do meditation retreats have experienced at least stiffness or a few twinges in the back. Human bodies aren’t designed to sit like statues for hours on end. For some, these issues come and go. For others, however, especially those with previous injuries, back pain can be a debilitating problem during a retreat. It’s very hard to meditate when all you can focus on is the pain in your spine! Fortunately, back pain doesn’t have to be the end of your spiritual career. In this article, let’s take a closer...