dharma on and off the cushion

buddhist practitione's guide to meeting the world

An Introduction to Life as a Buddhist — Both On and Off the Meditation Cushion

I write from a buddhist practitioner's point of view on life issues of work, livelihood, career, activism, community and relationships.

I'm not looking to explain how to practice and study buddhism (there are plenty of great sources for that), rather to help bring buddhist wisdom to everyday life circumstances — for myself and for others.

I'm eager to share any wisdom I've learned over 20-plus years of buddhist study and practice. I've been a western-style “householder” in the sense that I've lived as a normal member of the secular world — i.e., holding down a job, maintaining a career, developing community, navigating relationships, etc. — while maintaining my spiritual life through a regular buddhist practice and study, a habit I continue to this day.

My focus is on how to join together these two seemingly separate parts of our lives: on the one hand, how simple the realization can be on the spiritual path, at least on a mental or intellectual level — the cultivation of wisdom and compassion, peace and serenity through meditation and contemplation; on the other hand, putting spiritual perspective to work into the rest of our lives, so filled with complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty.

I realize being “spiritual” is easier said than done in this world of ours today. I'm here to offer some sensemaking to help frame understanding and inform action.

Some of the topics I look forward to covering:

  • How to create community
  • How societal changes increasingly point to the power and prevalence of wisdom and compassion as “life skills”
  • Environmental perspectives of buddhist life — how to address climate change and environmental destruction
  • How to draw upon spiritual practices when they matter most — in the face of violence, hatred, intolerance, racism, injustice and inequalities of all kinds
  • how to relate what's going in with greater depth of wisdom and skill

In truth, the two aspects of life — the spiritual and secular — aren't two at all, but rather they are one. But this is a rather ultimate view, and I hope to be able to shed light on how to achieve such a joining together, on more practical and meaningful and relevant levels.

My purpose is take responsibility for my own learning — I'm still trying to figure it all out. Nothing is so powerful as getting it wrong. Putting words into writing is a form of active learning.

I look forward to covering practical aspects of living a spiritual life in these confusing times. I intend to share authentically and through my heart. I hope to inspire through my own learning, study and practice, so as to be of genuine help to others.