Blog

May Newsletter – Sharing Resources

May Newsletter – Sharing Resources

This time has been a great opportunity to further our practice through exploration and study. Subscribers to The Mountain Gate have been sharing on-line courses, articles and videos and this newsletter consolidates these resources. We'll also post the links on...

read more
Mindfulness of Breathing

Mindfulness of Breathing

There are many forms of meditation. Within Buddhism, the main focus is developing and cultivating mindfulness and moment-by-moment awareness, achieved through training and practice. According to the Buddha, there are are four aspects to be cultivated called the...

read more
Right Livelihood – Eightfold Path

Right Livelihood – Eightfold Path

The Eightfold Path is the Buddha's guide to enlightenment.  Right Livelihood is the fifth element of the Path, and is grouped with Right Speech and Right Action to form the "moral discipline" (read: ethical conduct or harmonious practice) portion of the...

read more
Right Action – Eightfold Path

Right Action – Eightfold Path

The Eightfold Path is the Buddha's guide to enlightenment.  Right Action is the fourth element of the Path, and is grouped with Right Speech and Right Livelihood to form the "moral discipline" (read: ethical conduct or harmonious practice) portion of the path. Right...

read more
Right Speech – Eightfold Path

Right Speech – Eightfold Path

The first two elements in the Eightfold Path, Right View and Right Intention, help set the initial understanding and attitude. The next three elements - Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood - are grouped together under the theme of moral discipline. "Moral"...

read more
Right View – Eightfold Path

Right View – Eightfold Path

Right View While all eight elements in the Eightfold Path work together and support each other's development, it's necessary to start with a sense of direction. Right view takes on the role of compass as we strive to eliminate suffering and achieve enlightenment...

read more
Right Intention – Eightfold Path

Right Intention – Eightfold Path

Right Intention Right Intention is the second factor in the Noble Eightfold Path, and can even be more important than sitting zazen for several hours a day. Right intention is the application of mind needed to live and respond to the true nature of reality, seen by...

read more
The Eightfold Path – Overview

The Eightfold Path – Overview

The Eightfold Path - An Overview One interesting aspect of Buddhism is its focus.  It does not aspire to explain the beginning of the universe, as other religions attempt to do with the concepts of almighty gods, along with our relationship to those gods as the path...

read more
Nekkhamma: Freedom from Lust, Craving, Desire

Nekkhamma: Freedom from Lust, Craving, Desire

In Buddhism, the Pali word Nekkhamma is translated as 'renunciation' in English, which means to relinquish, reject, or disown something. Similarly, Christians may take up this discipline during the period of Lent when they choose to give up something. Broadly...

read more
Ordinary Mind is The Way – Koan

Ordinary Mind is The Way – Koan

Koans are Catalysts Koans (KO-ahns) are paradoxical questions and stories that defy our usual, heavily conditioned approach to answering questions using thought and words. The answer gained through the understanding of the koan is not expressed in thought or words,...

read more
Cultivating Unshakeable Faith

Cultivating Unshakeable Faith

Often times when the word faith is mentioned, it is assumed that its context is religious. Particularly in monotheistic religions, faith is referred to as something one has in a god; so for instance, many people have faith in the power and providence of God to help...

read more
Shikantaza – Just Sitting

Shikantaza – Just Sitting

Shikantaza translates as, quite simply, "just sitting".  Shikantaza is the central practice of Soto Zen Buddhism. In this practice, there is no requirement for focusing on an object or idea when seated in a meditative posture. Instead, the practitioner sits with full...

read more
The Essence of Mind

The Essence of Mind

In zen practice what is often mentioned is the idea of "no mind" or "not-thinking". It seems an impossibility to not think -- with all the information we are exposed to, the scheduling of our day-to-day, the incidents we face in our lives -- surely, we need to think...

read more
The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

The Six Paramitas (Perfections)

The Six Paramitas (Perfections) Mahayana Buddhism (the dominant form of Buddhism) initially developed six paramitas or perfections early on in its history. The Perfections are virtues to be cultivated and practiced on the path to realizing enlightenment. The list was...

read more
Not Knowing & Zen Practice

Not Knowing & Zen Practice

Born in 1904, Shunryu Suzuki was a Japanese Zen master who settled in San Francisco in 1959 and was instrumental in introducing Zen practice to the western world. A phrase of his, 'Not Always So' became the title of a book, the publication of a series of his lectures...

read more
The Five Hindrances

The Five Hindrances

The Buddha taught that there are five mental states called "the five hindrances" that negatively impact our ability to free our mind. The Five Hindrances are: Sensual desire (desire for sensory things) Ill will (negative feelings towards others and oneself) Sloth and...

read more
Zazen: The Heart of Zen Practice

Zazen: The Heart of Zen Practice

In Zen Buddhism, the heart of the practice is zazen, or seated meditation. Zazen is the vital meeting point of body, breath, and mind, and provides a way for inquiry into the nature of reality. It is a simple practice with the potential to bring great joy and clarity...

read more
The Vimalakirti Sutra

The Vimalakirti Sutra

The Vimalakirti Sutra tells of an enlightened lay practitioner who debates a host of Buddhist disciples and bodhisattvas. Bodhisattvas are those Buddhist practicioners who are able to reach nirvana but delay doing so in order to save other suffering beings....

read more
The Heart Sutra

The Heart Sutra

One of the major daily chants at the Zen Mountain Monastery is the Heart Sutra, considered by many as capturing the essence of Buddhism in several short verses and well crafted lines. I was drawn to study this Sutra because of its seemingly high emphasis on negation...

read more