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Titles with Brief Descriptions

This page lists each title with a brief description. Elsewhere a Table of Contents separates writings into four areas. A Index of Topics lets you search for a specific topic. Other writings can be found in the sermon archives of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento.

* Titles preceded by an asterisk (*) have been recently added.

 

A - B

Acceptance: Accepting who we are, how life is, and the support of a wise community. (Part of the Cultivating Grace collection found under Talks and Articles)

Annotated Table of Contents: An annotated table of contents offers an overview of the book. (Found under Books )

Attunement not Attainment: The universal is found in the particular, not in the general. (Found under Books )

Awareness Jhanas (11/4/2014): Jhanas are stages of direct understanding. Together they describe how the mind-heart naturally unfold toward greater wellbeing. (Found under Videos )

Awareness Meters: Getting in touch with vedana and tanha. (Found under Books )

Befriending the Demon: An enraged drunk, an aikido student, and an elderly Japanese gentlemen meet on a commuter train in Tokyo. (Found under Stories and Vignettes )

Beginning the Journey (2014): A brief description of Beginning the Journey. (Found under Books )

Beginning the Journey: The basic meditation instructions you'll need in order to get started. (Part of the What is Meditation series found under Talks and Articles)

Beginnings (Chp 2): A brief description of Buddha's Map. (Found under Books )

Beyond Reason: The apophatic is was a spiritual practice that makes Zen koans seem simplistic. It as popular in Europe for a 1000 years and helped people experience reality beyond the limitations of intellectual reasoning. (Part of the Selflessness series found under Talks and Articles)

Booism: A whimsically serious look at the relationship between joy and fear and the "boo" in Buddhism. (Found under Stories and Vignettes )

Buddha's Map (2013): A brief description of Buddha's Map. (Found under Books )

Buddha's Map Description: A brief description of Buddha's Map. (Found under Books )

 

C - D

The Case for Equanimity: When peace ro wellbing show up, remember to savor it. (Found under Blogs )

* Centering Home (2010): Collection of talks given between 2000 and 2010 on spirituality, Buddhism, Unitarian Universalism, and life. (Found under Books )

Channeling: There are ways we can know things that have nothing to do with the mind or the senses. Figuring out why this works is less important than finding a balanced way to work with it to cultivate insight. (Part of the Selflessness series found under Talks and Articles)

172 Cognitive Biases: If you think 5 hindrances are a lot of trouble, take a look at the multitude of mind distortions scientists are documenting. (Found under Talks and Articles )

Confession and Forgiveness: We all do things that fall short of our highest values. Sharing these with a good hearted friend helps reconnect us with life. Forgiveness meditation then has more power. (This talks is also included in the Forgiveness Series.) (Part of the Cultivating Grace collection found under Talks and Articles)

Confession and Forgiveness (11/7/2014): The distractions and distortions that arise naturally in the mind can be viewed as crossed intentions, spiritual trainers with Asperger's, or as a split between self and other. 11 specific hindrances are explored. (Found under Videos )

Consciousness: What is It Anyway?: Consciousness is the way we process information and assign meaning to it. It clarifies or distorts everything we experience. I can be distinguished from awareness and perception. (Found under Essays and Q and A )

Crunchy Knees and Mindfulness: Being forced to use crutches changed how I saw the world. (Found under Blogs )

Dependent Origination (11/5/2014): The Buddha's Map of the natural, impersonal laws that govern how the mind-heart operate. (Found under Videos )

Dissolving: At the higher end of meditation practice, self gradually fades. (Part of the Selflessness series found under Talks and Articles)

A Duck, Equanimity, and Disinterest: A duck riding the wave has found religion. (Found under Blogs )

 

E - F

Ease and Irrational Joy: Consider all phenomena to be a dream. Be grateful to everyone. Don't expect a standing ovation. These are a few ways to cultivate ease and irrational joy. (Part of the Cultivating Grace collection found under Talks and Articles)

Easing Awake: Waking up is not easy. Without ease it is impossible. (Found under Blogs )

Engaging Precepts Mindfully: How the sense of not only evolves in individuals but also in the human species as a whole. (Found under Books )

The Evolving Self: How the sense of not only evolves in individuals but also in the human species as a whole. (Found under Books )

Field Guide Description and TOC: A brief description of the Meditator's Field Guide and Table of Contents. (Found under Books )

Forgiveness and Luminosity: Approaching forgiveness from the perspective of finding that soft, luminous core in everyone. (Part of the Forgiveness collection found under Talks and Articles)

Forgiveness Meditation (Bhante): Bhante Vimalaramsi gives a clear and succinct description of forgiveness meditation. (Part of the Forgiveness collection found under Talks and Articles)

Forgiving Others: Forgiving is not the same as forgetting or letting our guard down. But it essential for releasing ourselves from the prison of resentment. (Part of the Forgiveness collection found under Talks and Articles)

Forgiving Ourselves: Rather than resolving to do better each New Year, we'd do better to forgive ourselves first. (Part of the Forgiveness collection found under Talks and Articles)

Forgiving, Patience and Confession: Confession to a good hearted friend makes forgiveness of ourselves easier. (This talk is also listed under Cultivating Grace.) (Part of the Forgiveness collection found under Talks and Articles)

Forgiving Is Possible: Considering the power of forgiveness in situations where it seems impossible. (Part of the Forgiveness collection found under Talks and Articles)

Forgiving and Reconciliation: It takes two people working together to reconcile. But it is possible to forgive without the help of other. (Part of the Forgiveness collection found under Talks and Articles)

From Stubbornness to Ease (Chap 1): Autobiography of my meditation practice including key elements of the "Easing Awake" or "Metta Vipassan " meditation practice the Buddha taught. (Found under Books )

Fuzzy-Don't-Know Mind: How to work with a sluggish mind. (Found under Essays and Q and A )

 

G - H

Gifts and Vulnerabilities: Angulimala: The story of a mass killer who was a healer illustrates how our dhamma gifts are connected to our damma vulnarabilities. (Found under Books )

Is God Real?: Who is wise enough to answer this question? What do they say? (Part of the God(s) and Consciousness series found under Talks and Articles)

* God(s) and Consciousness (2011): How the development of consciousness effects our understanding of what is ultimately most real and important in life. (Found under Books )

The Guest House: A Rumi poem evocative of relaxing into difficulties rather than fighting them. (Found under Stories and Vignettes )

Guidance: Using our relational sensitivities to listen deeply to life. (Part of the Selflessness collection found under Talks and Articles)

Hindrance Attacks: Hindrances are imbalances in the mind-heart that show us exactly what needs attentions. (Found under Blogs )

Hindrances (11/2/2014): The distractions and distortions that arise naturally in the mind can be viewed as crossed intentions, spiritual trainers with Asperger's, or as a split between self and other. 11 specific hindrances are explored. (Found under Videos )

Hindrances Like the Back Door: Getting in touch with vedana and tanha. (Found under Books )

* 1. Hindrances Overview: Part 1 is an overview of how to relate to the hindrances wisely. (Part of the The Demon's Blessing series found under Talks and Articles)

Hindrances Want to Retire: Hindrances what to retire just as we'd like them to. They just don't know how to do it. They need our kind help. (Found under Books )

How to Use This Field Guide: Overview of this Field Guide. (Found under Books )

 

I - J

I Spam, Therefore I Am: Perhaps we'd rather complain about nonsense in our heads or struggle against meditative hindrances than risk the oblivion of nibbana. (Found under Blogs )

Ill Will and Kindness: The precepts are not commandments but tools for living with less ill will and more kindness and awareness. (Found under Blogs )

Individual and Universal Metta: When it's helpful to send out metta in all directions, when it's helpful to send it to a spiritual friend, and why. (Found under Essays and Q and A )

Inner Glow: The Buddha's meditation cultivates an mind-heart like a glowing light rather than a focused beam. We cannot control the mind and observe it at the same time. (Part of the What is Meditation series found under Talks and Articles)

Interspecies Friends: When we relax our human-centric focus, we live in a vast web of many kinds of creatures including pets, squirrels that eye us from the lawn, birds that watch us from the branches. We aren't alone. (Found under Blogs )

Introduction: To say, "God created it," raises the question of who or what created God? How can we explore these questions in ways that are grounded in our day-to-day reality? (Part of the God(s) and Consciousness series found under Talks and Articles)

It Ain't Personal (11/6/2014): If suffering is the incurable disease of life, the Buddha's treatment plan gets rid of the patient: if there is no one to suffer, there is not suffering. (Found under Videos )

Jackie's Way-Cool Glasses: Children's story about hi tech glasses that give lots of information and leave us a little blind. (Found under Stories and Vignettes )

Josie and the Turkey: A mean stupid bird turned out to be courageous and caring. (Found under Stories and Vignettes )

Joy: The First Jhana (Chp 10): Joy is the essence of the first jhana or stage of the Buddha's meditation. (Found under Books )

 

K - M

Karma, Guilt, and Freedom: "Bad karma" is transmitted by tension. "Good karma" is transmitted by ease. (Found under Talks and Articles )

Kindness: Given the vastness of time and space and the finiteness of our lives, only kindness makes any sense. (Part of the Cultivating Grace collection found under Talks and Articles)

Kindness and Wisdom Practice (2015): A brief description of Kindness and Wisdom practice. (Found under Books )

The Lake: A poem evocative of aspects of the eighth jhana. (Found under Stories and Vignettes )

Little Mind, Big Mind: An exploration of the spaciousness of mind-heart that arises when we let go of the content of our experience and be with the awareness itself. (Found under Talks and Articles )

A Lively Talk with Trees: Deep and genuine ease may be the best measure of sanity: seeing the world as it is. (Found under Blogs )

Meaning of Life: Life has no ultimate meaning. It just is. (Found under Essays and Q and A )

Meditation Instructions (11/1/2014): Opening retreat talk covers the basic instructions for kindness and wisdom meditation. (Found under Videos )

Meditator's Field Guide (2017): A brief description of the Meditator's Field Guide and the Table of Contents. (Found under Books )

Is Mett Less Peaceful: In the beginning, the metta practice may feel less peaceful but in the long run it is more stable. (Found under Essays and Q and A )

The Mind Needs a Job: The difference between one-pointed meditation and wisdom meditation has a lot to do with what kind of job you give the mind in meditation. (Part of the What is Meditation series found under Talks and Articles)

Moral Compass / Ethical GPS: It's not easy to live cleanly in the world. (Found under Blogs )

 

N - R

Naturally Deluded: "Cankers, "effluence," "pollutants," and "taints" are not to be feared or defeated. (Found under Essays and Q and A )

Nested Dolls and Depth Meditation: Seeing Dependent Origination as a set of nested dolls makes it a powerful tool in meditation. (Found under Essays and Q and A )

Nuisances: Looking beyond the hindrances to subtle tendencies that come with being human. (Found under Talks and Articles )

Object of Meditation: Awareness itself is the focus of Easing Awake meditation. (Found under Essays and Q and A )

Poke Him in the Eye: Meditating with the desire to get even with someone is tricky business. (Found under Blogs )

Precepts and the 7 Rs (11/8/2014): The distractions and distortions that arise naturally in the mind can be viewed as crossed intentions, spiritual trainers with Asperger's, or as a split between self and other. 11 specific hindrances are explored. (Found under Videos )

Presence Isn't Freedom: Wisdom takes more the living in the moment. It also takes wisdom. (Found under Blogs )

Questions and Answers (11/1/2014): First day questions about the meditation practice. (Found under Videos )

Recipe for a Human: A whimsically serious look at how essential fear is to human nature. (Found under Stories and Vignettes )

Recognizing 2 Species of Intentions: Some intentions are like plans for the future. Subtle intentions are inclinations in the moment. (Found under Books )

Relaxing Into: The key to contentment is not controlling difficulties but relaxing into them. (Found under Blogs )

* 6 Rs and 5 Ss: How the sense of not only evolves in individuals but also in the human species as a whole. (Found under Books )

 

S

Second-Hand Wisdom: The more we try to get someplace, the slower our progress. The more we're content with what is and seeing how it works, the faster we change. (Found under Blogs )

Selflessness Grows Out of Self Care: Selflessness can be more easily seen in infants. (Found under Books )

Shadows in the Mirror: The experience of selflessness often arises spontaneously. (Part of the Selflessness series found under Talks and Articles)

Slippery Fish: Introduction to Field Guide (Found under Books )

Smiling: Smiling is a surprisingly powerful support for meditation. (Found under Essays and Q and A )

* 2. Specific Hindrances: Part 2 gets into the nitty-gritty of 11 specfic hindrances. (Part of the The Demon's Blessing series found under Talks and Articles)

Spiritual Literacy: The most popular view of God in the West is an infinitely perfect Santa Claus. This represents a case of spiritual arrested development. We can do better. (Part of the God(s) and Consciousness series found under Talks and Articles)

Stages of Consciousness: Consciousness is the way we interpret and understand our world. It matures in discernable stages with each new stage encompassing and going beyond the ones that preceded it. (Part of the God(s) and Consciousness series found under Talks and Articles)

Stones and Hindrances: Hindrances are as organic and impersonal as a stone. How they effect us depends on how we relate to them. (Found under Blogs )

Summary table, diagram, and reflective questions: Overview of the stages of consciousness and how they relate to different images of gods. (Part of the God(s) and Consciousness series found under Talks and Articles)

A Sweet, Kind Aliveness (Intro): Waking up is not easy. But without ease, it is impossible. (Found under Books )

 

T

Taking Refuge: A discussion of refuge in general and the three Buddhist refuges in particular. (Found under Talks and Articles )

Talking GPS, Implants, and Consciousness: The next higher levels of consciousness may be driven by computer-brain interface. (Found under Blogs )

Three Essential Practices: Three practices that give Buddhism its distinctive flavor. (Found under Books )

Three Refuges: A quick explanation of the three refuges. (Found under Essays and Q and A )

Three Winged Bird: A hawk captures a pigeon. (Found under Stories and Vignettes )

Thriving in Difficult Times (Chp 5): Moving from surviving to thriving even when times are rough. (Found under Books )

The Trap of Getting Free: The desire to get free takes us out of the moment, which is the only place freedom is found. (Found under Books )

Trusting the Mind: There's no need to push the mind into a spiritual mold. It just doesn't work. (Found under Blogs )

Turning Toward: The essence of Buddhism is learning to turn toward the waves rushing toward us. (Found under Blogs )

Turning Toward (11/3/2014): The Four Ennobling Truths describe Buddhism not as a religon, philosophy, or spirituality as much as a way of quietly and unflinching turning toward whatever comes along. (Found under Videos )

Turning Toward: Four Ennobling Truths: The Four Ennobling Truths encourage us to turn toward whatever life brings, soften any tension we experience, realize that the deep peace come from releasing desire rather than satisfying it, and cultivating a path that helps us experience these for ourselves. (Found under Talks and Articles )

Two Snakes and a Butterfly: Snakes make love and a butterfly dies. What we have in common with them is far greater than our difference. We're part of it all. (Found under Stories and Vignettes )

 

U - W

Unconscious Happiness: When wellbeing is not dependent on doing, fixing, avoiding, getting, or getting rid of anything. (Found under Blogs )

A Vote for Kindness: No Unchanging Self: The Buddha didn't say we have no self, only that we have no unchanging self essence. Over the long term, we don't exist in any enduring way. From this perspective, only kindness makes sense. (Found under Books )

When Desire Fades: Why would anyone ever want anything to be different than what it is? (Found under Blogs )

When Reactivity Trumps Wisdom: Finding contentment in wisdom while living in a tumultuous word. (Found under Blogs )

Whose Running the Show: Pure awareness is with us all the time. (Found under Blogs )

The Widening Circle: Who is included in our circle of caring? Who is "us" and who is "them?" When asking, "What is most ultimately real or most important in life?" do we look for answers inside ourselves, in how we relate to the people and things, or in the external world itself? These questions define a matrix map of different images of God, gods, Spirit, and meaning. All are legitimate. (Part of the God(s) and Consciousness series found under Talks and Articles)

Wisdom: The Buddha's meditation rests on the healing power of pure awareness. This generates love, kindness, and wisdom. (Part of the What is Meditation series found under Talks and Articles)

Wise Acceptance and the 7 Rs: Some acceptance is wise, other acceptance is foolish. The "seven Rs" help separate them." (Found under Talks and Articles )