Dharmic Strategies For Empaths

. . . when you yourselves know: ‘These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,’ enter on and abide in them.

Kalama Sutta: The Buddha’s Charter of Free Inquiry (translated by Soma Thera)

While there now exists an entirely new (spiritual) paradigm for empaths, or energetically sensitive beings, (some of which my version of is included herewithin,) can anything be drawn from the Early Buddhist Texts as strategies for those where the characteristic of anukampa, or empathy, significantly impacts their day to day experience?

Empathy in the context of this article means deeply feeling what another is feeling. Experiencing what another is experiencing — at the least, experiencing the most predominate experience(s) of another — to the point where, temporarily, very little difference seemingly exists between the one empathing and what, or who is being empathed. The caveat being there is really no way to know exactly the entirety of another’s experience. Additionally, there often seems to be very little choice involved whether or not to empath.

This is all lovely and wonderful if only the positive and pleasant was all that was being empathed. So naturally, this article mostly addresses what’s being empathed and perceived as negative, unhelpful, unskillful, unwise and unwholesome without intending to attract more nor push it away.

Perhaps a (still somewhat broad) guiding question to further narrow this enquiry: How can we aim towards the highest, fullest, most total, and most complete currently accessible versions of the wisest, most wholesome, skillful, ideal and optimal perceptions, views and responses for empathic experiences and phenomena? (And perhaps eventually going and incorporating beyond even this?)

And without paving another way to be down on ourselves for falling short of what’s mentioned, all this also intends to provide options to cultivate and develop greater balanced empathy while ending (programmed) victim/victimizer mentality.

But first some background and context questions.

Continue reading “Dharmic Strategies For Empaths”

Breath: Questions for Contemplation; Perceptions and Practice Ideas

After jotting down intuitive information and collecting odds and ends of teachings on breath for quite some time, I’ve finally compiled the first part into a video (along with an MP3 audio version) and include a (tran)script below:

Breath: Questions for Contemplation; Perceptions and Practice Ideas MP3 audio version [MP3 file download]

Disclaimer: it may be wise to find a balance with this material for whatever it may bring up: intrigue, fear, relief, breakthrough, novelty, overwhelm, overkill, irrelevancy, etc. One can pause the video at anytime for contemplation. 

Or instead of viewing as study and practice instructions just sit back and take this in as a display of possibilities — letting the material resonate with whatever strikes as vital. 

However you’re called to receive this presentation please take what is skillful, wise and useful/helpful and leave the rest. Also, this presentation could easily become outdated and/or refuted. 

For any questions posed in the material it is encouraged to engage each question the following four ways, both internally to yourself, and to me with any counter-questions for both of our benefit:

  • answer directly
  • answer with analysis (and elaboration after deconstructing)
  • answer by counter-question(s)
  • do not answer, or give no response

In addition to this public presentation the private portion may be given if working with me, or may be released later. Much of what’s public is aggregated from other public sources while the private includes material I’m unsure of what portion is public and what portion is not.

Both the public and private presentations primarily address the breath through approaches, observations, conjecture, perceptions, practice ideas, and inquiries ranging from simple, commonplace, practical, and broad overviews to the bizarre, obscure, esoteric, and minutia while sometimes these categories overlap.

Overall, a basic bare awareness of breath is primarily needed. Again, this presentation is not to overwhelm, for overthinking, for comparison, or judgement. Rather, to enhance the likelihood of maintaining and/or prolonging bare awareness of breath for/during breath practices.

Questions for Contemplation

  • What if this was the first time noticing breath? 
  • What is more important than breath in this moment?
  • What effects are the breath having right now (on any and all levels you have access to inside and outside)?
  • How is your relationship with your breath in this moment?
Continue reading “Breath: Questions for Contemplation; Perceptions and Practice Ideas”

Podcast | Healing Journeys & Self-Awareness With Bo Bissett

On May 17th, healing guide Bo Bissett joined me virtually from Taiwan to talk about primarily about healing, including: Bo’s story of multiple car accidents and addiction; the importance of love in healing and how to heal. Other topics include: why more people don’t realize they’re on a healing journey; self-sabotage; subconscious programs; self-confidence vs egotism; routines and habit patterns.

Bo’s website AmoNiClear.com and social media links:


Audio only version

Audio: Healing Journeys & Self-Awareness With Bo Bissett

Podcast | Kate Heartsong: Changing Our World With Confidence

On April, 25th author and confidence coach Kate Heartsong and I spoke to some of the ins, outs and hows of healing and interrelating.

Kate Heartsong is the empowering and life-enhancing author of two books, Humanity’s Cry for Change – Actions You Can Take to Create a New Earth and Deeply We Are One. She is also the “Confidence Coach”, a workshop facilitator, coauthor, public speaker and Reiki Master/Teacher.

For over 20 years, Kate has been receiving profound insights while meditating. She is passionate about supporting her clients, audiences and readers with these insights, along with the wisdom from her vast life experiences and education.

Kate also empowers people to realize that as they do their own inner work, they also contribute to creating peace worldwide. Her quote says it best: “Peace within, peace on earth.”

We also discuss:

  • encouragement and empowerment
  • acknowledging greatness
  • what’s most important now and/or long term individually and collectively?
  • healing
  • calmness and holding space
  • Kate’s massive release while grieving the loss of her mother
  • physical effects of emotional healing
  • acknowledging pain as compassion
  • my past confusion of confidence with egotism
  • two confidence training practices
  • goodness
  • worth
  • honor and respect
  • kindness and compassion
  • various real life examples of interconnectivity
  • the energetic nature of all things and phenomena
  • the vibratory nature of the heart
  • how speech and emotions affect our reality
  • mindfulness, consciousness and awareness
  • we’re all doing the best we can, if we could do better we would
  • drilling more deeply into and unfolding (loving-)kindness and compassion
  • ways for businesses to create sustainable, collaborative and holistic systems for the well-being of all
  • generosity

Check out, follow and reach out to Kate online via her:

Facebook ~ LinkedIn ~ Twitter ~ Instagram and website JoyfulRadiance.com

Audio: How To Confidently Change Our World With Kate Heartsong

An Integrating Presence Meditation: Investigating The Challenge Of Breath Curiosity — May 15, 2022 At Fat Cat Longevity (And Insight Timer Live)

This recorded and now edited meditation — from Sunday, May 15th at Fat Cat Longevity [https://facebook.com/freyflow] downstairs next to Peace Love Coffee at Mary’s House of Healing on Main St in St Charles, MO and on Insight Timer Live — explores how and why it’s so challenging to find the breath interesting then maintain such an interest to be with the breath and be the breath. Sometimes just asking this question can be enough to let everything else fall away in order to be with the breath as meditation object (without needing or wanting any answers). The question of why all this is important is also posed as well as exploring various dimensions of breath.

[Some Insight Timer live participants mentioned very low audio. I responded that if what was recorded could be salvaged I’d post the audio without it going out as a podcast but I’ve changed my mind since after editing it’s OK.]

An Integrating Presence Meditation: Investigating The Challenge Of Breath Curiosity

Mary’s House of Healing
524 South Main Street
Downstairs at Fat Cat Longevity next to Peace Love Coffee…
St. Charles, MO (63301)

Sunday, May 15th 2022 — 10:30am – 11:15am

Door opens: 10:20am — Door closes: 10:35pm

Or join via Insight Timer Live: https://insig.ht/bG3gV0Q6Qob

Cost: Fat Cat Longevity price packagesmonthly membership or generosity inspired donation

Podcast | Studying And Practicing With “The Iddhipāda-Vibhaṅga Sutta — An Analysis Of The Bases Of Power”: A (Type Of) Situational Awareness (3 of 7)

While I reference some non-Buddhist material most everything in the notes and podcasts for this series on The Iddhipāda-Vibhaṅga Sutta are solely my effort to relate considerations, questions, experiences, explorations, suggestions, interpretations and practices involved and associated with this sutta.

This series comes via seven categories/blog posts/podcasts:

  1. Introduction; the key encapsulation/encoding/summary paragraph of the whole sutta which includes and weaves in the four powers; and a reading of one of two translations for the sutta
  2. Unpacking of the hindrances and the other of two translations for the sutta
  3. A (type of) situational awareness
  4. 32 parts of the body
  5. Perceptions of night, daytime and light
  6. “Psychic Powers,” practice combinations and miscellany
  7. Summary, findings, observations and comparisons

In more detail, the four Iddhipāda — sometimes translated as bases of psychic power, bases of power, base of spiritual power, wings to success, or roads to power — are:

  1. chanda: desire; enthusiasm; purpose
  2. viriya: persistence; energy; effort; will
  3. citta: intent; consciousness; knowing mind; mental development; devoting mind to; heart-mind
  4. vīmaṃsā: investigation; inquiry; discernment; discrimination; interest; intelligent curiosity; [(perhaps a new contribution, or for chanda:) balanced and helpful enthrallment, fascination]; feedback and fine tuning, adjustment; learn from doing

Along with aiding our even mundane accomplishments and mastery, perhaps the Iddhipāda play a significant role in approaching will — the way one decides on and initiates action — and at the core of The Iddhipāda-Vibhaṅga Sutta is an analysis of will along with instructions for its training, development, and use.

This third part of the series addresses a type of situational awareness mentioned within the sutta. In the first portion I speak without notes while I reference the notes below in the other portion.

This type of situational awareness is in regards to the following portion:

“There is the case where a monk’s perception of what is in front & behind is well in hand, well-attended to, well-considered, well-tuned [‘penetrated’] by means of discernment.”

Or translated:

“And how does a mendicant meditate perceiving continuity: as before, so after; as after, so before? It’s when the perception of continuity is properly grasped, attended, borne in mind, and comprehended with wisdom by a mendicant. That’s how a mendicant meditates perceiving continuity: as before, so after; as after, so before.”

The first translation seems to emphasize space more while the latter emphasizes time.

I speak some to the second translation although I practiced mostly in regards to the first translation. Some comments cross-correlate to each other.

Can this include internal (physicality) as well? If so, this simplifies to include all as in a field, a dhamma field, with perhaps various specific fields within the dhamma field such as the bio-field and perceptual field.

Drilling further into “well in hand, well-attended to, well-considered, well-tuned [‘penetrated’] by means of discernment”:

  • OK to admit to having little clue as to what these mean then asking what they mean and how to go about them
  • Well in hand — What does “well in hand” mean? To take it literally for practice — since I don’t usually wear (a) ring(s) — I’ve used a tumbled, polished gemstone snugly between two fingers that seemed to bring more awareness to having something in hand on the physical level. How to do this without an actual hand? Perhaps contact with attention, mindfulness and awareness. Maybe even etheric or imagined hands when viable and called for.
  • Well-attended to — if referencing how one would attend to someone in everyday life for how would one attend to “perception of what is in front & behind,” would one just say, “do it yourself, I can’t be bothered”? No. We find out what is needed, when and how.
  • Well-considered — would it be possible to take a radical approach — especially to the internal organs very challenging to discern and continue being aware of — by assigning a temporary working ego to what needs practicing with and mastering and cranking it up to 11 so it’s dripping with neediness, entitlement, victimhood and co-dependency like so much we already encounter in life with the intent to transition into with worthiness as a replacement with the caveat of doing so only if this will not detrimentally affect speech and actions? [It occurred to me after writing and recording this that it seems more helpful to do this if still healing through neediness, entitlement, victimhood and co-dependency instead of rehashing or (re)creating these]
  • Well-tuned [‘penetrated’] by means of discernment
  • The Three Characteristics of Existent — inconstancy, stress and not-self — applied to all of these

Going back to the second translation, “…the perception of continuity is properly grasped, attended, borne in mind, and comprehended with wisdom.” How would one verify if one’s wisdom is in accordance with the truth of how this actually is, especially on various relative reality levels? Are there formal teachings for continuity? Who are the wise ones to consult on this? If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound? How do you know? How does (various degrees of) presence, consciousness and the observer effect influence continuity? And could what’s in front and behind also be somehow related to what’s arising and passing; (perhaps a type of pivot point between) past and future?

Below is my scribble representing various techniques I mention in this episode for practicing with the sutta, especially the situational awareness part

scribble representing various techniques I mention in this episode for practicing with the sutta, especially the situational awareness part

After recording and publishing I came across this commentary:

“As before so after; as after so before.” This should be understood: (1) by way of the meditation subject; and (2) by way of the teaching.

(1) By virtue (vasena; abhinivesa) of the meditation subject is called “before,” and arhathood is “after.” A monk who, after interpreting the root of meditation subject, does not allow investigation to fall into the 4 undesirable conditions (overly lax, etc.) goes on to attain arhathood; he is called one who dwells “as before, so after.”

(2) By way of teaching, the head-hairs are “before” and the brain is “after” (among the solid parts in the contemplation of the body).

A bhikkhu who cultivates his meditation from beginning to end without sliding into the 4 undesirable conditions is called one who dwells “as before, so after.”

Samyutta Commentary (SA 3:258) on: yathā pure tathā pacchā, yathā pacchā tathā pure “As before so after; as after so before.”

Audio: Studying And Practicing With “The Iddhipāda-Vibhaṅga Sutta — An Analysis Of The Bases Of Power”: A (Type Of) Situational Awareness (3 of 7)

Another Buddhist forum post shutdown: (Buddhist) origin of tobacco and its relation to Native American use(?)

Another closed forum post, this time closed with an extremely brief reason given of it not being specific enough.

Full question/post titled “Buddhist origin of tobacco and its relation to Native American use“:

Can anything wholesome, helpful, wise and skillful be mentioned about the (Chinese and/or nearby regions) origin(s) of tobacco and how it may and/or may not relate to tobacco use among Native American people — especially the types of tobacco Native Americans approve of now and throughout the known past?

Context from https://bodhiactivity.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/the-defects-of-tobacco-and-smoking-dudjom-rinpoche/ on this topic:

Approximately a hundred years after Buddha Shakyamuni’s parinirvana, a Chinese demon, maddened with obsession, spoke these dying words:

“Through my body I wish to lead the beings of this earth to lower realms. Bury my body intact and eventually a plant, different from all others, will grow out of my remains. Merely by smelling it, people will experience pleasure in body and mind, far more joyful than the union of male and female. It will spread far and wide until most of the beings on this earth will enjoy it.”

And a description from a talk https://www.pathgate.org/index.php/audio-teachings-by-lama-dondrup-dorje/18-old-audio-teachings/104-old-the-buddhist-perspective-on-tobacco on the topic:

Lama Dondrup Dorje gives a teaching based on the Terma and prediction of Chogyal Ratna, Sangay Lingpa, Rinzin Godem, Dundul Dorje and other great masters. The teaching explains the origin of tobacco and other drugs, the negative influences of the Four Maras, and the harm caused by tobacco, which brings war, famine, disease and chaos to the world, and separates those who are users of tobacco from ever attaining any understanding of the Dharma, leading them to take rebirth in the lower realms.

Various comments include(d):

  • tobacco’s use as allowable “medicine”
  • what the relationship (and/or lack of relationship) between Buddhism and tobacco is
  • if the plant mentioned was actually cannabis not tobacco; plants being void of intrinsic evil
  • opium dens
  • being about Terma in Nyingma tradition en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terma_(religion) with the term ‘Chinese demon’ perhaps a confusion from the terma’s Tibetan originator believing tobacco came from the east and unaware of its origins in the Americas.

And my comment after it being closed (not available there publicly):

Looking at the comments I feel it [the question] is taken as plenty specific just not neatly able to wrap up due to its metaphysical nature and the world’s current lack of metaphysical knowledge, or suppression of such knowledge. Even if it is not specific there are plenty of questions and vaguenesses to be derived and cleared up from the source material I’ve included

The intent being to explore truth within the context of subtle, often overlooked topics without disrupting harmony and concord. If allowed to speculate, perhaps the multiple political and cultural sensitivity involved influenced the decision to close it, and maybe for the best?

If tobacco prevents understanding the Dharma could tobacco also waylay other things positive and/or negative: “to-back-owe” [pun on “tobacco” — to back, or support, or reinforce what’s owed; and/or to go back to owing; and/or to be indebted (to forces or spirits involved with tobacco who provided a seeming benefit for the tobacco user and want some kind of compensation)]?

Another Shutdown

I asked:

How is Buddhism related and/or involved in what’s happening in Burma/Myanmar? Attempting to innerstand what’s going on in Burma/Myanmar by way of Buddhism there

Some topics/comments mentioned before shut down and subsequent deletion via bot:

  • killing of Rohingya Muslims by Buddhists in Myanmar
  • military coup and now civil war[s] between the military and local militias
  • “Radical Buddhism”

Podcast | Ghosted, Ignored, Canceled? More Grist To Nourish All

I described this (now edited) April 29th Insight Timer live event as follows:

Let’s explore what can be done to transform, transmute and turn ghosting and being canceled into nourishment to support the well-being and awakening of all

Cancel Culture definitions:

a social environment in which publicly boycotting or withdrawing support for people, organizations, etc. regarded as promoting socially unacceptable beliefs is widespread practice

Cancel culture or call-out culture is a contemporary phrase used to refer to a form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – whether it be online, on social media, or in person. Those subject to this ostracism are said to have been “cancelled”. The expression “cancel culture” has mostly negative connotations and is used in debates on free speech and censorship.

Ghosting (behavior) definitions:

Stopping all communication with a person

Ghosting, also known as simmering or icing, is a colloquial term which describes the practice of ending all communication and contact with another person without any apparent warning or justification and subsequently ignoring any attempts to reach out or communication made by said person. The term originated in the early 2000s, typically referring to dating and romantic relationships. In the following decade, media reported a rise in ghosting, which has been attributed to the increasing use of social media and online dating apps. The term has also expanded to refer to similar practices among friends, family members, employers and businesses.

the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication

Example: “I thought ghosting was a horrible dating habit reserved for casual flings”

After a disclaimer and the above definitions the approach is three-fold:

  1. what this feels like
  2. psychology involved
  3. perceptions, responses and action

But before this I mention:

  • not Johnny Depp trial related
  • frequency/how often
  • duration
  • some real life examples:
    • canceling stand off of who can cancel who before getting canceled [event example]
    • ignored at workplace
    • indifference from folks at neighborhood park
    • of me ghosting temporarily (partly as experiment) then explaining later, resulting in frustration toward me and my temporary (inverted) satisfaction


  • abandonment
  • neglect
  • desperation
  • neediness
  • light despair
  • empathing this?
  • rejection


  • misunderstanding (IG behavior example: follow many, rarely on for reciprocating likes, follows, messages, post and scroll for couple minutes)
  • triggers
  • expectations
  • separation
  • is/was this a good fit?
  • thought and emotions beforehand?
  • golden question: how can this be an opportunity?
  • can you invite more; invite absurd, imagined, feared extremes?
  • exception of victim/victimizer (abuse/abuser) cycles
  • put oneself in the other’s shoes
  • soliture, disentanglement, seclusion, disengagement, renunciation vs. isolation, loneliness, not belonging
  • (lack of) appreciation involved with frustration
  • social and professional status, worthiness, ego
  • power (plays), respecting power of shadow as expression of consciousness

Perceptions, responses and action:

  • being tested
  • compost, mulch, fertilizer
  • Four nutriments:
    • Physical food (kabalinkahara)
    • Sense impression (phassahara)
    • Volitional thoughts (mano sancetanahara)
    • Consciousness (vinnanahara)
  • anicca — inconstancy, changeability
  • separation (from 5 daily reflections)
  • the eight vicissitudes or worldly winds
  • real, authentic inclusivity
  • prompt, clear, concise communication
  • podcast guests example — chat instead of dismissing, not responding
  • balancing kindness with boundaries
  • aware of people pleasing
  • being superficiality agreeable in social situations — when someone says let’s meet/talk again soon (my podcast example)
  • integrity in word, honesty, kindness, boundaries, and forgiveness and resolve when falling short
  • a way into this: what are you leading with, what do you want to lead with, and find out what would be most effective to lead with. (Mine is truth at expense of awkwardness. Example of joking about malfunctioning light)
  • expressing views upfront (example of me working on not holding back until end)
  • welcoming; ease of coming/going
  • authentic recognition, acknowledgement, honor, respect

Takeaways: Cancel Culture can be a clearing; can teach us how much we value keeping our word; how uncertain life is; and how many things falling away can serve us well

Audio: Ghosted, Ignored, Canceled? More Grist To Nourish All

Podcast | Death Contemplation And Meditation

The description for the the April 14th “Death Contemplation & Meditation” Insight Timer live event:

Unwise, unskillful choices can come from an unconscious fear of death. The most profound contemplations and meditations on death protect us and help us appreciate every moment

Some revised notes:

  • it’s springtime, why death?
  • disclaimer: loss of loved ones, graphic detail
  • uncertain and somewhat muddied sourcing on some of the stories and quotes
  • intent to align with truth of the way things are now, not with death (as some teachings say we were once in the far ancient past able to incarnate at will without womb births)
  • maybe a few masters who won’t, but most must eventually shed body in our current reality
  • paraphrasing a remembered quote with unknown origin: “The greatest ill of mankind is seeing death all around and thinking it really doesn’t apply to me”
  • terror management theory — defense mechanisms: push (death) off into future or pretend it doesn’t affect me. “Not me, not now”
  • death culture, CORPorations
  • eating flesh, vegetarianism, life force, decay
  • most profound meditation: “Of all the footprints, that of the elephant is supreme. Similarly, of all mindfulness meditation, that on death is supreme”
  • most of us don’t know time, place or how the body will pass and many don’t want to know
  • extremes of:
    1. no negativity, pretend it doesn’t exist
    2. morose, bleak, dark, death obsessed
cloud atop a rainbow smiling with words “we’re all going to die” is a funny way to perhaps combine the above two extremes about death

Benefits of Death Contemplation And Meditation:

In/for (formal) meditation practice:

‘…can be practiced when mental hindrances and other negative mental states are significantly affecting the progress of one’s meditation which in some meditators can even lead to terminating the meditation practice altogether.’ . . . ‘can be practiced as the powerful antidote to laziness, lethargy and lack of motivation while creating a sense of heedfulness, urgency, motivation and energy in the meditator to continue with the meditation.’

via https://drarisworld.wordpress.com/2018/12/01/four-protective-meditations-caturarakkha-bhavana-in-theravada-buddhism

Meditation on death and loving-kindness may protect against any harmful actions of nihilists since they resonate with death and the energy of loving-kindness may be a reprieve from their bleakness.

via https://integratingpresence.com/2021/10/23/wisdom-snippets-some-of-what-the-four-protective-meditations-deter
In the bigger picture of life:
  • after death, what will happen to any and all we find so important now like diagnoses, challenges with body, over-planning, striving, perceived problems, quarrels, etc.?

“There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.”

via https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.01.budd.html
  • prepare for death
  • realize the deathless, nibbana
  • easier to forgive
  • more alive
  • tranquility, calmness, peace
  • priorities clearer
  • can help with grief: lends composure and understanding
  • two friends recently lost parents. Denny Miu’s death wisdom:

‘…the dying really needs final resolution which many family members inherently are incapable of delivering mainly because they confuse dying with mourning. Dying peacefully is about letting go whereas mourning is about not letting go. This discrepancy actually creates tremendous arguments among family members when the timing is the most critical which doesn’t help. To let a love one die peacefully in front of your eyes require great discipline and self-abjection. Try to enlist your family members so that their conversations with the dying are centered around Say Love, Say Sorry, Say Thanks and Say Good Bye. Keep focusing on these and keep uncovering issues that have been buried for decades which are inevitably preventing the dying one from finally letting go.’


‘Pregnant with her second child, she was returning to her parents’ home, along with her husband and small firstborn child, to give birth. Along the way, a great storm blew up, and she asked her husband to provide shelter for the family. As he was cutting grass and sticks to build a shelter, a snake bit him and he died of the poison. Unsheltered, and wondering at her husband’s long absence, Patacara gave birth and had to spend the night sheltering both her children against the rain and wind with nothing more than her body. The next morning, she found her husband dead. Distraught, she decided to return to her parents’ home. However, a river — swollen from the rain of the previous night — ran across her way. Unable to carry both children across the river, she left her first-born on the near bank and waded through the raging current carrying her baby. Placing the baby on the far bank, she turned back to fetch her first-born. A hawk, seeing the baby, took it for a piece of flesh, and swooped down on it. Seeing this, Patacara raised her hands and tried to chase it away, but to no avail: The hawk picked up the baby and carried it off. Meanwhile, her first-born — seeing his mother raising her hands — took it for a signal to cross the river. As he jumped into the raging current, he was carried off to his death. Overwhelmed with grief, Patacara returned to her parents’ home, only to learn that it had burned down from a lightning strike in the previous night’s storm. Her parents and brother were at that moment being cremated on a single pyre. At this point, she went mad and began wandering around half-naked. Only on coming into the Buddha’s presence did she recover her senses. He taught her the Dhamma, and eventually she ordained and became an arahant.’

via https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/thig/thig.10.01.than.html

THERE was a rich man who found his gold suddenly transformed into ashes; and he took to his bed and refused all food. A friend, hearing of his sickness, visited the rich man and learned the cause of his grief. And the friend said: “Thou didst not make good use of thy wealth. When thou didst hoard it up it was not better than ashes. Now heed my advice. Spread mats in the bazaar; pile up these ashes, and pretend to trade with them.” The rich man did as his friend had told him, and when his neighbors asked him, “Why sellest thou ashes?” he said: “I offer my goods for sale.”

After some time a young girl, named Kisa Gotami, an orphan and very poor, passed by, and seeing the rich man in the bazaar, said: “My lord, why pilest thou thus up gold and silver for sale?” And the rich man said: “Wilt thou please hand me that gold and silver?” And Kisa Gotami took up a handful of ashes, and lo! they changed back into gold. Considering that Kisa Gotami had the mental eye of spiritual knowledge and saw the real worth of things, the rich man gave her in marriage to his son, and he said: “With many, gold is no better than ashes, but with Kisa Gotami ashes become pure gold.”

And Kisa Gotami had an only son, and he died. In her grief she carried the dead child to all her neighbors, asking them for medicine, and the people said: “She has lost her senses. The boy is dead. At length Kisa Gotami met a man who replied to her request: “I cannot give thee medicine for thy child, but I know a physician who can.” The girl said: “Pray tell me, sir; who is it?” And the man replied: “Go to Sakyamuni, the Buddha.”

Kisa Gotami repaired to the Buddha and cried: “Lord and Master, give me the medicine that will cure my boy.” The Buddha answered: “I want a handful of mustard-seed.” And when the girl in her joy promised to procure it, the Buddha added: “The mustard-seed must be taken from a house where no one has lost a child, husband, parent, or friend.” Poor Kisa Gotami now went from house to house, and the people pitied her and said: “Here is mustard-seed; take it!” But when she asked Did a son or daughter, a father or mother, die in your family?” They answered her: “Alas the living are few, but the dead are many. Do not remind us of our deepest grief.” And there was no house but some beloved one had died in it.

Kisa Gotami became weary and hopeless, and sat down at the wayside, watching the lights of the city, as they flickered up and were extinguished again. At last the darkness of the night reigned everywhere. And she considered the fate of men, that their lives flicker up and are extinguished. And she thought to herself: “How selfish am I in my grief! Death is common to all; yet in this valley of desolation there is a path that leads him to immortality who has surrendered all selfishness.”

Putting away the selfishness of her affection for her child, Kisa Gotami had the dead body buried in the forest. Returning to the Buddha, she took refuge in him and found comfort in the Dharma, which is a balm that will soothe all the pains of our troubled hearts.

The Buddha said: “The life of mortals in this world is troubled and brief and combined with pain. For there is not any means by which those that have been born can avoid dying; after reaching old age there is death; of such a nature are living beings. As ripe fruits are early in danger of falling, so mortals when born are always in danger of death. As all earthen vessels made by the potter end in being broken, so is the life of mortals. Both young and adult, both those who are fools and those who are wise, all fall into the power of death; all are subject to death.

“Of those who, overcome by death, depart from life, a father cannot save his son, nor kinsmen their relations. Mark I while relatives are looking on and lamenting deeply, one by one mortals are carried off, like an ox that is led to the slaughter. So the world is afflicted with death and decay, therefore the wise do not grieve, knowing the terms of the world. In whatever manner people think a thing will come to pass, it is often different when it happens, and great is the disappointment; see, such are the terms of the world.

“Not from weeping nor from grieving will any one obtain peace of mind; on the contrary, his pain will be the greater and his body will suffer. He will make himself sick and pale, yet the dead are not saved by his lamentation. People pass away, and their fate after death will be according to their deeds. If a man live a hundred years, or even more, he will at last be separated from the company of his relatives, and leave the life of this world. He who seeks peace should draw out the arrow of lamentation, and complaint, and grief. He who has drawn out the arrow and has become composed will obtain peace of mind; he who has overcome all sorrow will become free from sorrow, and be blessed.”

via https://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/btg/btg85.htm

“But as to the mendicants who develop mindfulness of death by wishing
to live as long as it takes to chew and swallow a single mouthful …
or to live as long as it takes to breathe out after breathing in, or to breathe in after breathing out—these are called mendicants who live diligently. They keenly develop mindfulness of death for the ending of defilements.

So you should train like this:
‘We will live diligently. We will keenly develop mindfulness of death for the ending of defilements.’
That’s how you should train.”

Excerpt from:
Numbered Discourses 6
2. Warm-hearted
19. Mindfulness of Death (1st)

Meditation on Death (heavily inspired by the Bhikkhu Analayo meditation below)

Letting go of:

  • Name & Identifications
  • Possessions
  • Loved ones

Losing control of Body:

  • Feels heavy — earth element
  • Leaking water, thirsty — water element
  • Cold feet and hands; coldness creeping to heart — fire element
  • Labored breathing — air element

Body starts decomposing:

  • Insects, animals, worms
  • Bones falling apart

(Reading of:) The Nine Cemetery Contemplations from the mindfulness of the body portion in the Satipatthana Sutta — Four Foundations of Mindfulness:

(1) And further, monks, as if a monk sees a body dead one, two, or three days; swollen, blue and festering, thrown in the charnel ground, he then applies this perception to his own body thus: “Verily, also my own body is of the same nature; such it will become and will not escape it.”

Thus he lives contemplating the body in the body internally, or he lives contemplating the body in the body externally, or he lives contemplating the body in the body internally and externally. He lives contemplating origination-factors in the body, or he lives contemplating dissolution factors in the body, or he lives contemplating origination-and-dissolution-factors in the body. Or his mindfulness is established with the thought: “The body exists,” to the extent necessary just for knowledge and mindfulness, and he lives detached, and clings to nothing in the world. Thus also, monks, a monk lives contemplating the body in the body.

(2) And further, monks, as if a monk sees a body thrown in the charnel ground, being eaten by crows, hawks, vultures, dogs, jackals or by different kinds of worms, he then applies this perception to his own body thus: “Verily, also my own body is of the same nature; such it will become and will not escape it.”

Thus he lives contemplating the body in the body…

(3) And further, monks, as if a monk sees a body thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to a skeleton with some flesh and blood attached to it, held together by the tendons…

(4) And further, monks, as if a monk sees a body thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to a skeleton blood-besmeared and without flesh, held together by the tendons…

(5) And further, monks, as if a monk sees a body thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to a skeleton without flesh and blood, held together by the tendons…

(6) And further, monks, as if a monk sees a body thrown in the charnel ground and reduced to disconnected bones, scattered in all directions_here a bone of the hand, there a bone of the foot, a shin bone, a thigh bone, the pelvis, spine and skull…

(7) And further, monks, as if a monk sees a body thrown in the charnel ground, reduced to bleached bones of conchlike color…

(8) And further, monks, as if a monk sees a body thrown in the charnel ground reduced to bones, more than a year-old, lying in a heap…

(9) And further, monks, as if a monk sees a body thrown in the charnel ground, reduced to bones gone rotten and become dust, he then applies this perception to his own body thus: “Verily, also my own body is of the same nature; such it will become and will not escape it.”

Thus he lives contemplating the body in the body internally, or he lives contemplating the body in the body externally, or he lives contemplating the body in the body internally and externally. He lives contemplating origination factors in the body, or he lives contemplating dissolution factors in the body, or he lives contemplating origination-and-dissolution factors in the body. Or his mindfulness is established with the thought: “The body exists,” to the extent necessary just for knowledge and mindfulness, and he lives detached, and clings to nothing in the world. Thus also, monks, a monk lives contemplating the body in the body.

via https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nyanasatta/wheel019.html
  • this very skeleton, the one subject to the last stages of decomposition, is in the body now
  • could be last breath, if not one breath closer to death
  • (option to maintain) full body awareness and can continue meditation

May you know and align with the truth of the way things really are and may it bring you great happiness

closing blessing
Audio: Death Contemplation And Meditation

I received permission to post the following comment about this podcast sent to me (with minor editing tweaks since it was likely created via speech-to-text):

I like the way you put the disclaimer in the front because sometimes when people read the title of a message like this it could cause triggering and the concept of death everybody has a little bit of a different spin on it so it was good that you did that I think.

I agree with you that you mentioned it there was probably a time when people maybe in a higher frequency range with a more etheric body could perhaps come and go without having to be born.

in the story about Emil and Friends it is mentioned that Emil’s mom learned to come and go and take her body with her. I got the impression that meant she could materialize and come and visit and dematerialize and go back to the other side of the veil without a lot of rigmarole.

and I believe there are some people like them that are probably still on Earth they can do these things of course they’re going to be on the down low I would suspect.

as I just think about it, if you had all the abilities to do things like this you wouldn’t get any peace at all, everybody would want you to solve their problems like the stories you heard about in the Bible with Jesus; anyway I digress.

and you mentioned Denny. I feel that it was a burden to care for his father and it was stressful to see his father deteriorate as we would be with anybody who has a sickness that brings them to death. I experienced this with my second wife.

I also feel that because of the world we’re born into we have been conditioned to look at death as something that’s not good.

also when you consider what happens a person dies [when] they stop breathing you can tell the life is out of them they start to decay yeah so there’s some things that could be triggering to people when they think about death. but as you mentioned earlier and I agree with that death wasn’t always viewed that way.

I suspect because we’ve vibrated at a very low level and we’re thick as a brick so to speak the process of transitioning from the side of the veil to the other has some what some may consider negative characteristics associated with it like rotting, decomposing. at a higher vibrational level one could just possibly turn into dust and blow away into the wind and it could be that simple.

I’m like near the end of your meditation portion of the video now you’re right it can be very triggering.

it’s like when I see a broken car with transmission fluid and the oil leaking out and it’s all beat up and nuts and bolts and pieces yeah I can look at that from a detached perspective. but when it’s another human with flesh and blood those details do affect me my feelings are more intense I guess that’s because that’s what I am (or perceive that’s what I am). although ultimately the broken down car and the rotting human are pretty much one of the same in a sense.

there’s an author named Michael Newton. he’s a bit like Dolores Cannon. he was a hypnotherapist and he would regress people back, not only to pass lives, but before they incarnated on the other side of the veil, he would go back that far.

and his book is basically a lot of case studies that he did with people as he was regressing them. some of the feelings exhibited by these people during the moment of their death are as follows:

back in the cowboy and Indian days a woman was shot in the neck with the arrow and she remembers blood coming out of her throat all over her new dress her husband holding her and then she says I’m getting the hell out of here and and was above the body looking down all this she didn’t actually feel any pain though.

another account of a young man 35 years old and he died suddenly and he had a wife and two kids and he was really angry because he wasn’t prepared; he felt that he was going to neglect his family and those were his feelings.

there was one woman who was burned at the stake and she said to herself before they burned her I’m going to show them I’m not going to scream or anything but then when the fire started she left the body before she felt the heat and the body was screaming and crying and having a fit and she’s looking above the body looking at herself going through all this.

and last week I heard an account from a channel that was describing a death of somebody, a world war II fighter pilot and when he was shot down he just remembered seeing a flash then he was on a runway then he saw two (pilots) of the people he knew who were dead earlier so he knew he wasn’t alive anymore. and he would think where he wanted to be and people he wanted to see and he was just there and that was one of the things he mentioned that he thought was interesting.

I’ve also heard accounts for people didn’t even know they were dead like in the movie The Sixth Sense where the kid says I see dead people.

this meditation that you did was deep and there might be some courageous souls who would take it to that level after they die or before I guess this is before you die. I just am not able to wrap my head around it yet or to have thoughts about it.

but thank you for taking the time to go there and to contemplate these things.

. . . [*]Just a correction on what I stated about the woman who got shot in the neck with an arrow.

She felt a lot of pain. I’m reading the book for a fourth time.

As a matter of fact some of the people who experienced pain when they died when they reincarnated into the next life that pain followed him go figure.

Ask Anyone Anything? Live With Whom? Minor “Ask Us Anything” Restart?

The description for this now edited April 26th Insight Timer live event:

A few teachings on inquiry and investigation while also reviewing and asking your suggestions for the monthly “Ask Us Anything” show format fellow Insight Timer teacher Denny K Miu and I started in September 2020 to determine a potential restart, recreation and/or transmutation

To focus on the core inquiry teachings in the podcast version a call-in via Wisdom app is edited out as well as my multiple repeats of the changes surrounding the monthly Ask Us Anything shows. This is based mostly on the following past blog posts (while only including minor relevant feedback/audience comments during the show):

Audio: Ask Anyone Anything? Live With Whom? Minor “Ask Us Anything” Restart?

Listen to the full unedited replay (without needing to join or download anything): https://join.wisdom.audio/A6kK

Podcast | Friendship: The Whole of the Spiritual Life

The description for the brief April 20th Insight Timer live event with the same title as this blog post was a sutta snippet:

Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, “This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie “Don’t say that, Ananda. Don’t say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life…


Some (rough) notes:

  • talk prompted by insight timer back and forth about friending limitations (for teachers)
  • best advice I’ve been given
  • past talk “how to find (meditation) teachers”
  • can teachers and parents be friends?
  • buddha asked about family members ordaining and he abandoned wife who was soon expecting child
  • not fond of “spiritual” & “holy” and what about “lord”
  • what is “the holy life”? . . . beyond the base program
  • why are friends so important? support, encouragement, empowerment, and for me: conduct, respect
  • regular friendships can be transactional
  • what is a good friend at any stage?
  • Characteristics of a good friend (from AN 7:35):
    • gives what is hard to give
    • does what is hard to do
    • endures what is hard to endure
    • reveals secrets to you
    • keeps your secrets
    • does not abandon you in misfortunes
    • when you are down and out, does not look down on you
Audio: Friendship: The Whole of the Spiritual Life