New Years Retreat with the Saranaloka Nuns

8 01 2012

Two week New Years meditation retreat with the Saranaloka nuns, December 26, 2011 through January 8, 2012, at the Angela Center in Santa Rosa (pictures).





Jhanas Retreat at Cloud Mountain

10 01 2011

This year’s retreat: two weeks of silent meditation at Cloud Mountain in Washington, with Stephen Snyder and Tina Rasmussen (pictures).

January 2011





Ways I Have Been a Bad Meditator

2 02 2009

[Originally published — with pictures — at Killing the Buddha]

I have scratched the itch on my ear.

I have swallowed repeatedly.

I have thought about eating a piece of dark chocolate.

I have written this list while on retreat.

I have moved my leg because I couldn’t endure the pain in my knee.

I have wondered whether I left the oven on.

I have tried to remember the date of my niece’s birthday.

I have tried to slow my breathing.

I have looked at my watch before the meditation bell rang.

I have thought about whether to register for a retreat this coming summer.

I have thought about sending my sister a book on meditation.

I have thought about kissing the woman sitting on the cushion to my left.

I have thought about shushing the heavy-breathing man on the cushion to my right.

I have wanted the teacher to notice how well I am meditating.

I have wanted to ring the bell at the end of the group sitting.

I have wondered how the teacher can really meditate while constantly checking if it is time to ring the bell.

I have been angry with my mother for talking too much at the last family gathering.

I have missed my old girlfriend.

I have remembered why I broke up with my old girlfriend.

I have thought I can’t date anyone who isn’t a meditator.

I have been angry at the guy who parked his truck in front of my apartment and left the diesel engine running.

I have listened to the sound of the rain.

I have worried if I closed the windows of my car.

I have wondered if living in the moment means I don’t have to put money in a retirement account.

I have hated the way the teacher pronounces words with an “l” in them.

I have wondered why I find it charming when Tom Brokaw does that.

I have thought about eating a piece of dark chocolate.

I have imagined going to Stockholm to accept the Nobel Prize in meditation.

I have thought about how my goddaughter laughs when I turn her upside down.

I have wanted this feeling of joy to continue.

I have tried to remember other ways I have been a bad meditator.

I have been bored and ended my meditation early.

I have focused on the rising and falling of my stomach while breathing when I was trying to focus on the sensation of my breath going in and out at my nostrils.

I have decided meditation retreats are a waste of time.

I have opened my eyes to look if the teacher’s eyes are open.

I have been angry about that parking ticket when I left my car for only two minutes.

I have wondered if I could ever complete this list.

I have been annoyed at the bird outside that won’t stop cawing.

I have wondered whether it is time to buy a new meditation cushion.

I have thought about making up items for this list.

I have hated the swallowing noises the person next to me keeps making.

I have decided I will never achieve enlightenment.

I have thought about how I don’t believe in reincarnation.

I have loved the smell of sandalwood incense.

I have wanted to give a dharma talk.

I have wanted to be egoless enough to not want to give the dharma talk.

I have told myself I am a bad meditator.





New Year’s Meditation Retreat at Spirit Rock

1 01 2009

A seven-day New Year’s silent meditation retreat with Gil Fronsdal and several other teachers (pictures).

December 2008-January 2009





Meditation Retreat at Jikoji

31 05 2008

Memorial Day 2008 meditation retreat at the Jikoji Zen Center in the hills above Saratoga (pictures). More pictures, from fellow participant Elliott Wright, are here.

May 2008





The Confessions of a Bad Buddhist

22 05 2007

The real world offers many challenges to an aspiring Buddhist. These are just some of them.