Thursday, February 26, 2015

Remembering Ruth Denison


The great Dharma teacher Ruth Denison passed away at 3am this morning (PST), ten days after having a severe stroke. She was accompanied as she left us by a small loving group of close students, friends and carers.

For me I am on the one hand sad that she has moved on, but on the other hand I feel so extraordinarily blessed and grateful that she chose to share her gifts and insight with the world.

While Ruth was not my first teacher, she is my "Root Teacher," the one I first took refuge with and embarked on the path in a serious way. I know this because she told me. "I am your root teacher, I am Ruth!" She delighted in the fact that in her lovely German accent 'root' and 'Ruth' sounded identical.

It is likely that many of you reading know little or nothing about Ruth. This is because unlike many teachers of our age she focused on the joy of spreading the Dharma personally. Despite the fact that she is a key figure in the development of Buddhism in the West, she chose not to promote herself, but instead to focus on a very intimate style of teaching. She didn't write books or go on press tours. There was no ego at all. Just determination, honesty and a wicked sense of humor.

I would love for more people to know about the great work Ruth did. If you would like to know more, this Spirituality and Health article is a good starting point. There are also many pictures, audio and video links at the site "RuthDenison.com", maintained by local teacher Robert Beatty. Robert was with Ruth when she died, so I am sure there will be more tributes posted there. I can also highly recommend the book "Dancing in the Dharma" by Sandy Boucher. This gives great details of Ruth's extraordinary life and contribution.

Above all I want to say to Ruth: Thank you, for all you gave us. You will always be in our hearts.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Metta Letter: Losar, Our Teachers and Bunnies

If you are not on the 'Metta Letter' mailing list you can read the latest tiny newsletter by clicking here. You can also subscribe to future mailings here. I promise to keep them short, interesting and infrequent!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Metta Meditation - For A Friend [AUDIO]

In this meditation we look a little deeper at cultivating Metta for a friend. The full audio, including a 30 minute guided meditation is below.



If the embedded audio player above doesn't work for you, please click here.

If you want to read more, there is an older post with some extra pointers here.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Generating Metta for Ourselves [UPDATED with AUDIO]

The full audio for this meditation is now available below.



If the controls above don't work for you, please try clicking here.

In this meditation we explore generating Metta (Lovingkindness) for ourselves. The passage I quote is by Bhante Gunaratana:

We must start the practice of loving-kindness with ourselves first. Sometimes some of you may wonder why we have to love ourselves first. Wouldn’t that amount to self love and lead to selfishness? When you investigate your own mind very carefully, however, you will be convinced that there is no one in the whole universe that you love more than yourself. The Buddha said, “Investigating the whole world with my mind never did I find anyone dearer than oneself. Since oneself is dearer than others, one who loves oneself should never harm others” One who does not love oneself can never love another at all. By the same token one who loves oneself will feel the impact of loving-kindness and then can understand how beautiful it is if every heart in the whole world is filled with the same feeling of loving-kindness.
You can find the full article that it comes from here.

Mindfulness Meditation [AUDIO]

For this week's meditation we contemplate the subject of Mindfulness. The complete audio of the meditation and introduction is below. If you want to skip straight to the meditation itself it is at the Ten Minute mark.



If you cannot use (or see) the audio controls above,  please click here. Note that this is a little different to the audio I have been posting up to now -- I have run out of space in SoundCloud, so I am researching other options. For now hopefully this plain link will work for you. Let me know if you have any issues with this.

I posted the text to the passages I read in a previous post.

    Metta, Chris.