wisdom files

This is a living “library” comprised of suggested readings for Sangha and the frequently-referenced texts used in our practice, which I have also linked throughout my various writings over the years. It is certainly not intended to be comprehensive.

Rather it reflects my personal approach to this spiritual path of study and practice — informing what I teach and how I facilitate the rich conversations that support our learning and growing together as a spiritual community.

 

Foundational Wisdom Teachings

3 Jewels/3 Refuges: The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

The Three Jewels | Buddha 101
Taking Refuge | Plum Village
The Three Refuges (Audio) | Plum Village

4 Noble Truths: There is Suffering, There are Causes of Suffering, There is an End of Suffering, The Noble Path is the End of Suffering

The Buddha’s Four Noble Truths | Sylvia Boorstein
True Love + the 4 Noble Truths | Thich Nhat Hanh
What Are the 4 Noble Truths? | Melvin McLeod

4 Foundations of Mindfulness: Contemplation of Body, Contemplation of Feeling, Contemplation of Consciousness, Contemplation of Mental Objects

Embodied Practice: 4 Foundations of Mindfulness | 3 Jewels Yoga
Embodied Practice: Sutra on Mindful Breathing | 3 Jewels Yoga
Transformation and Healing: Sutra on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness |         Thich Nhat Hanh

5 Mindfulness Trainings: Reverence for Life, True Happiness, True Love, Loving Speech + Deep Listening, Nourishment + Healing

5 Mindfulness Trainings | Plum Village
— For A Future To Be Possible | Thich Nhat Hanh
     2 versions: Commentaries on the 5 Mindfulness Trainings [1993]
                         Buddhist Ethics in Everyday Life [2007]

5 Spiritual Faculties: Trust, Wisdom, Mindfulness, Concentration, Diligence
Perspectives on the 5 Spiritual Faculties | 3 Jewels Yoga

8-Fold Path: Skillful Understanding, Skillful Intent, Skillful Speech, Skillful Action, Skillful Livelihood, Skillful Effort, Skillful Mindfulness, and Skillful Concentration
I have a particular fondness for the use of the word “skillful”  here; various translations of the Buddhist Canon also describe these eight practices of the “Middle Way” as “right” or “wise.”

Contemplations on Skillful Understanding + Thinking  | 3 Jewels Yoga
Contemplations on Skillful Speech, Action + Livelihood  | 3 Jewels Yoga
Contemplations on Skillful Effort, Mindfulness + Concentration  | 3 Jewels Yoga
The Eightfold Path | Buddha 101
The Way to End Suffering | Bhikku Bodhi
Discourse on the Middle Way | Plum Village
Beyond the Self: Teachings on the Middle Way | Thich Nhat Hanh

 

The Dhammapada

— Annotated + Explained | Max Müller + Jack Maguire
Access to Insight
— BuddhaNet
— Gil Frondsal


Insights on Practice + Study

On Sangha + Spiritual Friendship

— Creating Inclusive + Welcoming Buddhist Sanghas in the U.S. | Mushim Patricia           Ikeda
— The Fertile Soil of Sangha | Thich Nhat Hanh
— Gathered + Rooted | 3 Jewels Yoga
— Good Spiritual Friends | 3 Jewels Yoga
— The Sangha Without Thich Nhat Hanh | Matt Gesicki
— The Suchness of Sangha | 3 Jewels Yoga

Works by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

— Tell Me Something About Buddhism

Works by Thich Nhat Hanh

— Breathe, You Are Alive!
— Friends on the Path: Living Spiritual Communities
— Living Buddha, Living Christ
— Zen Battles: Modern Commentary on the Teachings of Master Linji
[alternate title: Nothing To Do, Nowhere To Go]


Related Eastern Wisdom Teachings

Bhagavad Gita
— Annotated + Explained | Shri Purohit Swami + Kendra Crossen Burroughs
— Stephen Mitchell

Tao Te Ching
— 
Annotated + Explained | Derek Lin
— Stephen Mitchell


Radical Bodhicitta Reading History

In 2014, I facilitated a community-based dialogue entitled Toward Wholeness on the intersections of spirituality, identity (ability, race, culture, gender, sexuality) and embodied awareness. Sangha deepened its inquiry and study of our complex embodied experiences with the study of Zenju’s book, The Way of Tenderness, in the winter of 2015. Contemplations on how we are seen, heard, felt, understood, cared for and supported — and cultivate the capacity to extend such care to others — have become integral to Sangha’s practices of healing, transformation and liberation.

3 Jewels Yoga Sangha
— Body As Nature Series
Transformative Love Series
Embodying Refuge, Resistance, Resilience + Radical Self-Expression Series

Buddhist Peace Fellowship
— Gender Dysphoria and The Dharma
— White Privilege + the Mindfulness Movement

Everyday Feminism
— 9 Ways We Can Make Social Justice Movements Less Elitist + More Accessible
— I’m Not a Person with a Disability. I’m a Disabled Person.

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
— I Can Breathe: A Meditation Surviving Acts of Hatred
— The Way of Tenderness

Relevant Magazine
— 4 Misconceptions About Mental Illness + Faith
— How Church Can Lead Racial Reconciliation
— Why Are Sunday Mornings Still So Segregated

The Body Is Not An Apology
— Did You Do Any of These 6 Activities Today? Then You Have Class Privilege
— Lucky To Be Alive: The Everyday Ways We Tell People with Disabilities They Should Not Be Here
Nobody Bothers To Ask: The Challenges of Being Sexual in disabled/trans/genderqueer/etc..Body

angel kyodo williams
 Radical Dharma
— Social Justice + Buddhism

 Tim Wise
— Fighting the Normalization of Inequality 

Larry Yang
Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity + Community
— Directing The Mind Towards Practices in Diversity
— Remembering What It Means To Be Gay
— Toward A Multicultural Buddhist Practice

 

 

Updated 15 February 2019

words to live by | mushim patricia ikeda

Great Vow for Mindful Activists

Aware of suffering and injustice,
I,
[tara scott], am working to create
a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.
I promise, for the benefit of all,
to practice self-care, mindfulness, healing, and joy.
I vow to not burn out.

Burnout and self-sacrifice, the paradigm of the lone hero who takes nothing for herself and gives everything to others, injure all of us who are trying to bring the dharma into everyday lay life through communities of transformative well-being, where the exchange of self for other is re-envisioned as the care of self in service to the community. The longer we live, the healthier we are; the happier we feel, the more we can gain the experience and wisdom needed to contribute toward a collective reimagining of relationships, education, work, and play.

~Mushim Patricia Ikeda
I Vow Not To Burn Out via Lion’s Roar
related gem: spirituality, social justice + healing spaces
3jewels-radicalrest

Elder Wisdom: Ruby Sales | On Being with Krista Tippett

Terence Crutcher. Another innocent, unarmed black man was assasinated. Unarmed. In need of help. In the middle of the highway.

Gunned down. On film. Demonized for simply existing. By another white cop.

Real talk: I don’t have enough skillfulness to see beyond the savagery of this act. The savagery of white cops who are authorized to wage war on black and brown bodies without repercussion, on a whim of a notion hastily stitched together by any misperceived glimpse of what?! suscipious movements or weapons?! direct or implied threat?!

Nope, plain and simple: their hate-fear and our melaninated skin.

I sat down to have lunch, inhaled the fragrant broth, and exhaled tears. In that moment I touched the amorphous and unameable feeling, which had been building for days (at turns, subdued by moments of refuge with beloveds and then piqued by a few personal and familial woes): A quiet deep-down hum of dread.

Dread…that we are doomed to the misery of oppression and supremacy no matter how many good white folks divest of their racism, bias, and fear and leverage their privilege to enter into the good work of liberation and justice. Dread that systemic change is too slow, that the real and apparent need for the transformation of millions of hearts and minds is inconceivable.

Dread that if I hear one more story like this, I won’t find my way back to the center from the cliff’s edge of my compassion.

I needed to hear this today. It had been in my queue of Must-Listen-To’s, and I woke to a text from my dear (white) friend telling me that she was in the middle of listening to it this morning. I was meant to hear it. So I sat with my dread and tears and listened deeply to the voice of elder wisdom.

It was salve and comfort — as nourishing as my steamy bowl of spiced broth and noodles. A touchstone to what holds most heart and meaning for me in building an inclusive spiritually-centered community of refuge where we can restore our wholeness, commit to nurturing skillful relationships, and engaging in practices that bring about reconciliation.

The dread dissipated. Still I make room for its return.

Thankful for these gems of wisdom from human rights activist and public theologian Ruby Sales.

Cry of Liberation: Black Lives Have Always Mattered

Let me just say something about Black Lives Matter. Although we are familiar with it within a contemporary context, that has always been the cry of African Americans from the point of its captivity, through enslavement, through Southern apartheid. And Northern migration and de facto segregation was the assertion that black lives matter in a society that said that black people were property, in a society that said that black lives did not matter.

Spiritual Crisis of White America

there’s a spiritual crisis in white America. It’s a crisis of meaning, and I don’t hear — we talk a lot about black theologies, but I want a liberating white theology. I want a theology that speaks to Appalachia. I want a theology that begins to deepen people’s understanding about their capacity to live fully human lives and to touch the goodness inside of them rather than call upon the part of themselves that’s not relational. Because there’s nothing wrong with being European American. That’s not the problem. It’s how you actualize that history and how you actualize that reality. It’s almost like white people don’t believe that other white people are worthy of being redeemed.

And I don’t quite understand that. It must be more sexy to deal with black folk than it is to deal with white folk if you’re a white person. So as a black person, I want a theology that gives hope and meaning to people who are struggling to have meaning in a world where they no longer are as essential to whiteness as they once were.

Love, Outrage + Redemptive Anger

...love is not antithetical to being outraged. Let’s be very clear about that. And love is not antithetical to anger. There are two kinds of anger. There’s redemptive anger, and there’s non-redemptive anger. And so redemptive anger is the anger that says that — that moves you to transformation and human up-building. Non-redemptive anger is the anger that white supremacy roots itself in. So we have to make a distinction. So people think that anger, in itself, is a bad emotion, and it’s where you begin your conversation.

I became involved in the Southern Freedom Movement, not merely because I was angry about injustice, but because I love the idea of justice. So it’s where you begin your conversation. So most people begin their conversation with “I hate this” — but they never talk about what it is they love. And so I think that we have to begin to have a conversation that incorporates a vision of love with a vision of outrage.

And I don’t see those things as being over and against each other. I actually see them — you can’t talk about injustice without talking about suffering. But the reason why I want to have justice is because I love everybody in my heart. And if I didn’t have that feeling, that sense, then there would be no struggle.

On Human-ness: Universality + Particularity

What it means to be humans. We live in a very diverse world, and to talk about what it means to be humans, is to talk with a simultaneous tongue of universality and particularities. So as a black person to talk about what it means is to talk about my experience as an African American person, but also to talk about my experience that transcends being an African American to the universal experience.

So I think it — we’ve got to stop speaking about humanity as if it’s monolithic. We’ve got to wrap our consciousness around a world where people bring to the world vastly different histories and experiences, but at the same time, a world where we experience grief and love in some of the same ways. So how do we develop theologies that weave together the “I” with the “We” and the “We” with the “I?”

HEAR HERE [for deep listening]: Ruby Sales | “Where Does it Hurt?”
READ [for clear-seeing]: Transcript 

 

 

On “Revolutionary Mothering” | The Laura Flanders Show

Celebrating the transformative power of compassionate parenting and mentoring! Bowing to mothers and all others who honor the humanity of the little ones in our lives.

 

dhamma for mama*

In this, my 6th year of motherhood, I am celebrating my power to radically design a life for my child that does not conform to anyone else’s standards or conventions. I am crafting a life that resists the call to pass on legacies of unexamined dysfunction and empty rituals embedded in played-out cultural traditions shaped and sullied by the whims of industry, technology, politics and religion. Shrugged off and unquestioned… because, well, it’s always been done that way.

Long before I imagined myself a parent, I stood in line at a roti shop on Washington Avenue in Brooklyn and chewed on the island wisdom I overheard from an elder:

Yuh doh raise chil’run. Yuh raise cattle and corn. Yuh teach chil’run an lead ’em…

I recall nothing else about that moment — what sparked his statement, who he was speaking to (if anyone at all…because in my experience with my…

View original post 249 more words

#MarchMindfulness2016: A Glorious Renewal | “Overcome” by Laura Mvula ft. Nile Rodgers

Glorious. This is not a word I encounter often. It’s alluring — in tone and sensation. So I was more than curious to watch Laura Mvula’s video after my dear friend described it in this way when sharing it with me recently.

Stunningly glorious! And absolutely resonate with the spirit of #MarchMindfulness:
To overcome the madness with mindfulness.
To tend to ourselves with deep care and clear understanding so that we can share our gifts and transform our unskillfulness.
To amplify the good as we face the realities of suffering.
To recognize that fueling ourselves with compassion and fostering deep listening to expand our understanding and cultivate authentic connection helps us to disrupt the normalization of hate, apathy, greed, and oppression in the world.

Abide in energy of mindfulness — expand your capacity to soak in the power of hope and renewal.
Hold on to the aspiration to experience all that is glorious in this world. 

Remember, no action is too small! Shine Bright. 


 

‘Overcome’ Lyrics

When your heart is broken down
And your head don’t reach the sky
Take your broken wings and fly

When your head is heavy, low
And the tears they keep falling
Take your broken feet and run

With the world upon your shoulders
Nowhere left to hide
Keep your head up carry on

It ain’t no time to die
Even though we suffer
Come together we pray

Round the mountain all God’s children run
Round the mountain all God’s children run
Round the mountain all God’s children run
Round the mountain all God’s children God’s children run run round the mountain run
Round the mountain all God’s children God’s children run run round the mountain run
Round the mountain all God’s children run

#MarchMindfulness2016: Reduce The Noise | LetWhyLead.com

Reducing the “Noise” — or practicing mindful consumption, which we Buddhist practitioners celebrate as part of the 5 Mindfulness Trainings — enables us to filter out content that triggers our anger, fear, judgment, resentment, and overall suffering.

No, this is not about AVOIDING everything. However, staying #woke (i.e. informed, conscious, enlightened, culturally competent) also means staying sane!

The benefits of pressing pause on the flood of external information:

We have space to reflect, listen deeply and respond skillfully (thoughts/feelings/actions) and are better able to water the seeds of compassion, skillful understanding, and authentic connection!

letwhylead

JOIN 3 Jewels Yoga TO GENERATE COMPASSION, UNDERSTANDING + CONNECTION!

RSVP + SHARE THE LINK BELOW for the 2nd half of this month-long celebration: 3 Jewels Yoga | March Mindfulness 2016

___________

‪#‎ShiningTheLight‬: Read the full article from Let Why Lead – 9 Practical Ways I Reduce Noise In My Life

 

for clear-seeing: “I Am Light”| India.Arie (Lyric Video)

I am grateful to my friend + fellow teacher Ann Lapo for reminding me of this beautiful song on Saturday!  It was a timely meditation and perfect accompaniment to the first dharma discussion of our Toward Wholeness series on Inclusion, Freedom + Belonging, so we had to share it with Sangha the following day. (We actually played it twice!)

May We Love Ourselves Whole,
Embracing Sacred Shadow + Blessed Light.
May We Learn to See the Holy in the Darkness.
May We Feel Free to Shine Bright.

 

 

HEAR HERE [for deep listening]: The Resilient World We’re Building Now | On Being with Krista Tippett

“In the last year and a half, from the black community in and of itself, as we say “black lives matter,”
you see the light that comes inside of people to other communities that are like, I’m going to stand on the side of black lives.
You see people literally transforming. And that’s a different type of work. And for me, that is a spiritual work.
It’s a healing work and we don’t have it codified. There’s no science to it. Really, it’s — we are social creatures.
Human to human, if you take a moment to be with somebody, to understand the pains they’re going through, you get to transform yourself.”
~ Patrisse Cullors, #BlackLivesMatter Co-Founder

Listen to the podcast: The Resilient World We’re Building Now

for clear-seeing: On The 4 Nutriments + “8 Reasons Why I Don’t Want to Hear About Your Diet” | Everyday Feminism

“Regardless of my health status, I deserve respect at this size, which includes the right to make my own decisions about my body…

I’ve learned that the consequences of that weight cycling include greater risks for eating disorders, health problems, depression, lower self-esteem, and weight gain. So, when you keep talking about your diet, I’m just no longer interested.” ~ Judith Matz

3jewels.winterimmersion.beauty

SHINING THE LIGHT

I had a similar conversation a few days ago upon observing the pattern of an individual in my circle who is trapped in this very same cycle of dieting despair and weight loss triumphs. And on any given occasion, we will be subjected to the litany of foods they are abstaining from and the fitness program du jour they are “trialing” through in an effort to get their high school body back. I empathize with the struggle and am saddened and exhausted by the virulent self-loathing that fuels some folks’ mission to “improve” their health. So I was AUMing + AMENing when a dear friend, who is a registered dietitian, posted this article from Everyday Feminism.

In 8 Reasons Why I Don’t Want to Hear About Your Diet, Judith Matz , LCSW, breaks down the top frustrations of clients who are tired (like me) of being subjected to the mindless and harmful chatter about food, weight, and dieting that holds no regard for the deeply private struggles of others. More important, Matz offers ways to reframe these triggering conversations and to cultivate compassion and understanding for the multitude of experiences we have with our bodies.

The Buddhist Perspective

The 5th Mindfulness Training – Nourishment + Healing – reminds us to be aware of the suffering that arises from our unskillful consumption of the 4 Nutriments*: not just of Food but of Sense Impressions, Volitional Thought/Intentions, and Consciousness.

So how does it serve us to participate in conversations about the body that breed contempt, anxiety, frustration, and shame?!

What are skillful ways to discuss health and wellness?

_____
*Note: In the Pali canon, the four nutriments are outlined in the Puttamansa Sutta, which I must warn, is a gruesome tale.

updated 7 april 2016