One People One Planet – My Experience Corresponding with a Sex Offender

A few weeks ago, I received a letter from a state prison addressed to my Buddhist center. A prisoner was seeking a Buddhist practitioner to correspond with so I wrote back, introducing myself. As a precaution, I used my work address as a return address. Nelson (not his real name), had been in prison for decades. In his second letter, he told me he wasn’t ready to tell me what he was in for, and I didn’t give it much thought, writing back that during our countless lives across the infinity of time, we’ve all done terrible things in the past, but that we all – every living...

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Stepping into the Circle of Healing

As the fourth of July will be upon us after a few more moon circuits about the Earth, and Americans will again celebrate the summer holiday known as Independence day, I’d like to suggest that while it is wonderful to celebrate the cultural, scientific, technological, artistic, educational, athletic (the list could go on and on)…achievements of Americans – the time has arrived – some would say with a grave sense of urgency – that we as planetary citizens, no longer cling to archaic notions of independence but instead recognize how interdependent our world has become. Of course, for many...

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Chilling out the Rice

A few weeks ago, I wrote an op-ed piece for my college newspaper urging the school to have a more transparent discussion on divestment from fossil fuels. Concluding that piece, I called global warming, “the greatest problem in human history”. Okay, I confess, perhaps I did employ a bit of hyperbole aimed at shaking listeners out of their complacency. There is actually a much deeper problem which I’ll address in a bit. Even when the sky seems to be falling in our world, it’s important not to lose our bearings by focusing exclusively on everything that is wrong, reminding ourselves –...

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Earth Medicine

Six years ago, I wrote a blog urging people to drive less and consider the needs of the Earth and future generations that will inherit it, trumpeting the fact that I had given away our one family car. Now we are back up to a one car family again and I realize how difficult it would be for most families to exist in this society without one. Groceries, work, school events for the children, home maintenance projects, volunteer work, and the occasional hiking trip outside the city – there’s always something and although I’ve seen some pretty cool bike trailers in Seattle’s ever expanding bike...

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First Relax and Release Your Mind

As a community acupuncturist, I have the privilege of trying to help people with their health problems. But as I’ve often commented, I try not to see myself as a Helper – a medical professional reeking with the white coated doctor syndrome. With his superior intellectual knowledge, he stands on his ego pedestal looking down at you. Not very empowering or healing. A good acupuncturist or doctor is a good listener first and foremost, so if any of what I have to share – and I do like sharing a lot – rubs you the wrong way. Feel free to ignore it, delete it, or otherwise forget it. Several years...

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Journey to Kailash

This is a story about a pilgrimage I undertook in late summer of 2001- a journey to a mountain in one of the most remote corners of the Earth in an area considered by Buddhist tradition to be “the navel of the world”. As always with pilgrimages though, the journey is not merely a story of epic bus and train rides or the joys and challenges of living out of a backpack with meager food, sleeping in dusty dog houses, encountering stunningly beautiful mountains and friendly natives. Pilgrimage is ultimately an inner journey, an unfolding of the hidden pathways of the mind – the...

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