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{ Category Archives } Skillful Means

Karma/Vipaka in Blog Comments

Look, I’m doing an actual Buddhadharma post. I had a piece at PJM a few days ago on Brit Hume and Tiger Woods.  Now, that attracted a number of, um, interesting commenters, including one guy from My Old Home Town (extra credit to anyone who catches that literary reference) who I’ve run into off and […]


Metta practice

I have to admit that I don’t take this whole unemployment thing well. I’m not actually in any financial trouble, in fact this ought to be like a vacation — full pay and benefits until mid-September, followed by significant severance if I haven’t rejoined Sun somehow — but I still don’t do it well. What’s […]

Karuna and Jesse Helms

The thing was, he’d answer anyone‘s questions: a thief, a murderous warrior, an untouchable, a whore. Finally, someone asks him — maybe Sariputra, the perpetual straight man — how it is that he can be calm and not judge these people?


The Bodhisattvas are great tricksters, Sacrificing their own purity to save all sentient beings. But their words only cloud the glass. Better they had kept their mouths closed. (From Broken Koans; I’m betting he didn’t understand.)

Change Your Mind, Change Your Brain

Matthieu Ricard at Google.


As I’ve said before, someday I’m going to write a piece on “How to Translate Sanskrit Without Sounding Like a Total Goon.” After studying Buddhism for forty years, I really have started to think that the way we translate Sanskrit and to some extent Chinese gets in our way more than it helps. Now, that’s […]

How to Wake Up: Gautama’s Eight Step Program

When Gautama realized his Enlightenment, as I’ve written about before, he “saw through” the whole problem he’d set out to solve: why do things suck so? Why is everyday life so unsatisfactory? Technically, why is there duhkha? The answer he saw is called the Four Great Truths. Go ahead, follow the links, it won’t hurt […]


The neatly racked pool balls wonder, “Have I been racked before? Is there a game after this game?”

The Universe in a Pool Parlor

Among all the words used around Buddhism that make understanding Buddhism difficult, two of the worst are “karma” and “illusion”. I’m going to talk first about karma, and yes, I’m going to use the same pool game metaphor I used in the essay I had on Pajamas Media. Think about playing pool, and just for […]

The Fourth Great Truth: How to Wake Up

Our story so far: Gautama, the World-Honored One, Sage of the Shakya clan, drop out, has devoted years to understanding the source of frustration, unsatisfactoriness, suffering, dukkha; one morning, upon seeing the Morning Star, he saw through suffering to the source of suffering, realized that suffering is something that comes about through our own thoughts, […]