From Practical Buddhism to Truth-Level Buddhism

By Rev. Marvin Harada

In my mind, there are two levels of Buddhism. The first level is “practical Buddhism.” We all begin with this first level. In this first level, we ask questions like, “What can Buddhism do for me in my life? Will it make me happier? Will it make me more serene? Will it make me a better person?” We might even ask very practical questions like, “Will it lower my blood pressure? Will it ease my stress and anxiety? Will it help me to be more successful in my work?”

The Other Power Rainbow

by Rev. Jon Turner.

As human beings, we are of two minds.  The first mind can be thought of as the small mind.  This is the mind that judges and filters all of our experiences as good or bad.  It narrates our lives.  Just like in a movie trailer, in a very deep voice: “In a world, where Reverend Jon Turner is a super hero, he struggles fiercely to make things right.”    However, this small mind cannot really be trusted.  

What is Life?

by Rev. Jon Turner.

Frank Sinatra once said, “I believe George Harrison’s hauntingly beautiful song is one of the greatest love songs ever written, and it never even says ‘I Love You’”. The song he was referring to is Something from the album Abbey Road.  Sinatra is correct but this song also has another meaning. On one level it is a romantic love song, but on another it is a deeply religious confession.

Reflections on the Parable of the Two Rivers and the White Path

by Rev. Marvin Harada.

Buddhism is rich with parables and stories used to communicate or express the teachings. One of the most famous parables, is the parable of the Two Rivers and the White Path, by Chinese Pure Land Master Shan-tao, or Zendo in Japanese. Shan-tao composed a most graphic and powerful parable, based on his own spiritual existential experience.

Make a Wish and Blow Out the Candle

by Rev. Jon Turner.

Siddhartha Gotama led the life of a sheltered and pampered royal.  He was a prince in line for his father’s crown.  One day he ventured out beyond the castle walls, and for the first time he saw the realities of life: growing old, becoming sick and dying.  For the first time, he realized that his royal lineage would not protect him from these events.  During that same adventure outside that castle he met a monk.  He was radiant and unconcerned with the future.  He seemed to have found a way of living beyond the extremes of life and death.