Precious Life: Precious Teacher

Lately when people ask, “How are you?” instead of responding with “good,” I say, “fortunate.” I thought about this. Just “good”, when either I am doing well or not, doesn’t truly represent my present state. I am though, fortunate. Fortunate to live where I do, to be in loving relationships, to have the health I have, to have access to such vast inner and outer resources. I am fortunate to have encountered such a teacher as the Venerable Geshe Sopa at Deer Park. In my recent book, I offer 11 core principles of the zero point agreement, one which is … Continue reading

Good-bye In This Context

It was a week ago that the Venerable Geshe Sopa took his last breath. I have not had a chance to make it to Deer Park to join in with others to chant and pray. In my heart I say good-bye to Geshe-la “in this context.” I am sad that such a beautiful teacher has left us, and grateful for all the teachings I received and for all the teachings and guidance he left for the whole of humanity. He will be missed in this context. This is how I say good-bye to those in my life, “Good-bye in this … Continue reading

Your Lasting Freedom & Happiness

This fifth “lesson before the lesson” completes the introductory teachings from Nagarjuna, Letters to a Friend, Verse 14 (see past blogs) by Geshe L. Sopa. On Monday I offer the 2nd teaching on Creating the Causes and Conditions of True and Lasting Happiness, a lesson taken from Shantideva, Bodhicaryavatara (chapter 4, verse 18). (My translation of Geshe-la’s words continue to be in blue). My commentary and spiritual writing prompts follow the lesson.  You don’t need spiritual teachings to help you be temporarily happy in this lifetime. For such temporary happiness you don’t need to study or practice the Dharma. If you are hungry, you know … Continue reading

Ajatashutru’s Freedom from Anger and Attachment

This is the fifth piece in the Venerable Geshe Lhundup Sopa’s introductory teachings, the “lessons before the lessons.” Commentary and spiritual writing prompts follow his lesson. Ajatashutru, who was a cousin of the Buddha, was under the influence of very strong attachment. This story is a good example because it shows us how even a relative of the Buddha can be under the influence of a strong mental delusion. He began to compete with the Buddha for recognition. In this story Ajatashutru met up with a companion in evil, Devadatta, who ignited more aggression and more anger in him, until he … Continue reading

The Transformative Power of Regret

This is the fourth piece in the Venerable Geshe Lhundup Sopa’s introductory teachings, the “lessons before the lessons.” We are still on the verse taken from Nagarjuna, Letters to a Friend.  (For first three blogs click back to previous articles.)     “Whosoever was negligent previously But later became attentive and careful, Shines forth like the moon freed from clouds, Just like Nanda, Angulimala, Ajustastru, and Udayana.”                                                —Nagarjuna, Letters to a Friend, Verse 14 (Leslie Kawanura) After his … Continue reading

A Skeptic Awakening at the Foot of One Sage, 2.

This is the next piece in the Venerable Geshe Lhundub Sopa’s introductory teachings, the “lessons before the lessons.” We are still on the verse taken from Nagarjuna, Letters to a Friend. After his teaching, I offer up a commentary, along with some exercises.  Whosoever was negligent previously But later became attentive and careful, Shines forth like the moon freed from clouds, Just like Nanda, Angulimala, Ajustastru, and Udayana  —Nagarjuna, Letters to a Friend, Verse 14 (Leslie Kawanura)   Making Use of Your Basic Intelligence Most of us have the opportunity for liberation because, unlike all other sentient beings, we humans have … Continue reading

The Zero Point Agreement

This article is taken from my upcoming release titled: The Zero Point Agreement: The Door to Freedom and Lasting Satisfaction. All true and lasting happiness is based on this one principle. When you are in agreement with this principle, happiness and contentment will be the result. No matter what your spiritual base, no matter what you are practicing, without this agreement your spiritual practice and its achievements will be fragile and ephemeral at best. When you are not in agreement with this principle, difficulty and unhappiness will ensue. This agreement will be found within the core of all the major … Continue reading