Yama and Mara: Hindu and Buddhist personifications of Death, a hypothesis

February 17, 2015 in buddhism, dharma, yoga by seanfeit

Both Buddhism and Hinduism personify Death in the form of a deity. The two traditions’ imagination around this figure naturally has many overlaps, but I’m suddenly thinking about some that I can’t find any reference to in the scholarly literature. The correspondence is about the role of Death as Teacher, as appearing in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad, and the role of Māra
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“You are the music while the music lasts”: Improvisation, practice, silence, research

January 4, 2015 in art, buddhism, dharma, theory by seanfeit

  [As a New Year’s offering, here’s an essay from a few years back that weaves between Zen and music improvisation, touching briefly… maybe absurdly briefly… on the nature of time and space, which I was reminded of in a recent conversation that touched on the great Zen koan, “Joshu’s MU”.] “There is a Zen riddle that replies to its
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I have seen the yogi and he is us: Patañjali and the consolations of ambiguity

June 5, 2014 in dharma, meditation, theory, yoga by seanfeit

One of the marks of a great text seems to be that it can be deeply important to wildly different people from cultures separated from each other by vast distances of time and space. A theater company in Kolkata establishes a reputation for cutting social realism by putting on Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, while a British director in France hubristically (and with some success) attempts to stage the entire Mahabharata. A Japanese director who traces his lineage
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Devotion and doubt: race, religion, and postmodern kirtan

May 23, 2014 in bhakti, buddhism, dharma, social action, yoga by seanfeit

After a long day of sessions, feeling with clients/students through the morass of feelings and confusions that seem to be the near-universal experience of being human around here, I light a dry leaf of white sage, shake off the fire, and walk slowly around the practice room both clearing the air and honoring the images and statues that live there. I love these
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Saffron-washing part 2: Response to Thich Nhat Hanh

April 2, 2014 in buddhism, dharma, social action by seanfeit

Several folks have posted this Thich Nhat Hanh (TNH) interview to me, after my recent dip into the Google-Mindfulness-Buddhism-Capitalism debate following the Wisdom 2.0 protest. There’s a good debate about it on Be Scofield’s Facebook wall, and a smaller one on mine after this post, and I don’t need to repeat many of the elements of the discussion in those
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Mindfulness the Google Way: well-intentioned saffron-washing?

February 22, 2014 in buddhism, meditation, social action by seanfeit

For the last few years there’s been a growing uproar in San Francisco rooted in dismay and anger over ballooning rents, historically high eviction rates, and other markers of the intense gentrification that has been happening for 15 years or so — if I choose the tech boom of the 90s as a convenient recent historical marker. The recent acceleration
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“I am not my body”: a response to Matthew Remski

February 5, 2014 in buddhism, dharma, theory, yoga by seanfeit

This writing originated in a comment at the bottom of this great blog post of Matthew Remski’s, in which he continues to unpack the implications in this phrase, “I am not my body”, which first surfaced when used by Cameron Shayne as somehow yogic justification for his rant about how “No Problem!” it should be for him to have sex
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Inner and outer gaze in dharma and art practice

November 23, 2013 in art, buddhism, dharma, meditation, theory by seanfeit

I tell you that there is no making an end of suffering & stress without reaching the end of the cosmos. Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception & intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the
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Announcing the Piedmont Yoga Studio meditation program!

November 16, 2013 in buddhism, meditation, yoga by seanfeit

Dearest community, I’m excited to announce the Piedmont Yoga meditation program, the most integrated meditation offering of any Bay Area yoga studio (that I know of)! For thousands of years, meditation has been integral to the practice of yoga. When the practices of āsana (postures) and prānāyāma (breath) were developed, they were thought of as complementary to stillness, cultivating the
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I let a song go out of my heart: an ear worm gets me thinking about karma

October 21, 2013 in buddhism, dharma, yoga by seanfeit

This morning, walking up the steps of Sproul Hall at UC Berkeley, through the crisp fall air, I heard a fragment of melody, whistled, in the distance. I only heard a handful of notes, but recognized it as the distinctive dorian mode hook in “Eleanor Rigby” — the part where the words are “…picks up the rice in the church…”. It
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