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David Nichtern
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Blog Entries by David Nichtern

Work, Sex and Money -- The Dharma of Everyday Living

(3) Comments | Posted December 29, 2011 | 10:36 AM

I graduated from Columbia College (English major) in 1968, and had been working professionally as a musician for several years. In the fall of 1970, I decided that I needed further training in music and so I got in my car and drove up to Boston for my first semester...

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5 Seducers That Steal Our Awareness and Contentment

(11) Comments | Posted November 16, 2011 | 6:15 PM

I was having dinner Sunday night with a dear old friend, a singer-songwriter of some repute, and I happened to mention the recent film by Martin Scorsese about George Harrison, "Living in the Material World." Somehow this led to a discussion about fame, and whether it was a blessing or...

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Mindfulness Can Give Your Brain an Edge

(15) Comments | Posted October 10, 2011 | 8:16 AM

When we practice mindfulness meditation, one of the first things we notice is how un-mindful we are. It is like going back to the gym and realizing how out of shape we have become. It can actually be a little irritating. We might think, "I don't know about this meditation...

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The Debt Ceiling And The Law Of Karma

(146) Comments | Posted July 28, 2011 | 8:30 AM

What is the law of karma?

In Buddhism, the law of karma describes how causes and effects interact in our world. The point of understanding how karma works is to see the nature of things as they are, beyond any kind of delusion or wishful thinking.

What does the...

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Why We Need More Compassion and Less Greed

(30) Comments | Posted June 20, 2011 | 8:32 AM

Last week Cyndi and I found ourselves in Hamburg, with a two day respite between teaching yoga/meditation workshops in Berlin and Copenhagen. What a beautiful and wonderful city!

Hamburg is one of the biggest ports in the world (seventh to be precise) and is also a major center of commerce...

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How to Meditate Through Strong Emotions

(43) Comments | Posted May 24, 2011 | 8:29 AM

In mindfulness meditation practice, we are instructed to rest our attention on our breathing as a way to focus and stabilize our mind. This is an ancient and time-honored approach that clearly has relevance for those of us living in the modern world -- who...

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Are Conflict and War Inevitable?

(26) Comments | Posted May 10, 2011 | 2:44 AM

If you study history, it seems that conflict and warfare are part of the very fabric of our human existence.

To understand the basis of conflict, all you really need to do is study two people living together. Sooner or later, even if they have the best of intentions,...

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The Ripple Effect of Common Courtesy

(82) Comments | Posted April 26, 2011 | 9:00 AM

From the Buddhist point of view, there is always a relationship between cause and effect; this notion is expressed in various teachings about karma. As we interact with the world, we plant various seeds that will ripen and grow either right away, soon enough or some time in the future....

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Contemplating Our Relationship to the Natural World

(29) Comments | Posted April 6, 2011 | 1:27 PM

Some people would say we human beings are the custodians of this planet Earth and the natural world. Many ancient traditions (Asian and European) have held the view that the role of the leader (king, queen, etc.) includes harmonizing human life with the rest of the natural world.

In...

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Facing the Tsunami: Understanding the Strength and Fragility of Human Life

(26) Comments | Posted March 17, 2011 | 8:50 AM

My wife, Cyndi Lee, landed at Narita Airport near Tokyo at almost the exact time the earthquake hit last Friday. She had come to Japan to lead a yoga teacher training program in Tokyo, and then a public program the following weekend in Osaka.

At the very moment she...

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Raising Power and Energy to Meet the Challenge of Living

(27) Comments | Posted March 2, 2011 | 7:45 AM

In Tibetan Buddhism, there is a popular notion called lungta (Tbn) or windhorse (English). The central image of windhorse is a powerful horse that can fly through the air, representing strength, vitality and energy that can meet and transform obstacles.

The image of a flying horse is a cross-cultural...

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Scheduling Your Life

(8) Comments | Posted February 9, 2011 | 7:45 AM

When asked how we could possibly find time for our meditation practice in the midst of our oh-so-busy lives, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche used to respond (in his best Tibetan/Oxonian English accent), "Shed-you-ling".

These days, time is, arguably, many people's most precious commodity. How we choose to "spend" our time is...

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Sudden Death -- A Buddhist View of the Tragedy in Arizona

(173) Comments | Posted January 12, 2011 | 12:09 PM

In the Buddhist tradition we are trained to contemplate, rather than ignore, the reality and the meaning of death.

It is considered a certainty that all of us will die one day and that we do not know the time or place of that occurrence. When we come to...

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Cultivating Balance and Equanimity Through Life's Ups and Downs

(42) Comments | Posted January 3, 2011 | 7:09 AM

At Buddhist seminary near Vancouver in 1980, I requested a personal interview with my teacher, the late Tibetan meditation master, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. I had been going through some hard times and was hoping for some direct, pithy advice.

We sat and talked for a while, and then he looked...

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Are You Losing the Race Against Time?

(27) Comments | Posted December 20, 2010 | 8:21 AM

It seems that almost everyone I know feels that they are racing against time, even those of us who are meditation teachers! Our world is rich and diverse and there are so many things we want to see and do and squeeze into our lives while we are able.

...
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Recovering the Joy in Your Life

(27) Comments | Posted December 8, 2010 | 8:40 AM

Saturday morning I was walking from my apartment in downtown New York up to OM yoga to lead a weekend workshop. As I often do walking through New York streets, I popped in my ear buds and my iPhone and listened to some ripping solid bluegrass music, in this case...

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Cutting the Chains of Karma: How to Change Negative Habits in 5 Steps

(51) Comments | Posted November 29, 2010 | 8:17 AM

Sometimes our "negative" habits (like anger, pride, jealousy, craving etc.) seem to come up like a cyclone out of nowhere. Often we might feel powerless to change them, let alone even notice that we are in the grip of what the Buddhists would call a "klesha" attack. "Klesha" may sound...

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Tibetan Buddhism's Insights Into Virtual Reality

(121) Comments | Posted November 11, 2010 | 8:20 AM

During a recent tour of Buddhist monasteries in Sikkim and Bhutan, I found myself reading Ray Kurzweil's The Singularity is Near, a whopper of a book about the imminent fusion of biological and technological intelligence.

Along with his description of what would essentially be a new species of being, Kurzweil...

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Health Care and the Mandate for Compassion

(60) Comments | Posted October 29, 2010 | 9:34 AM

In the midst of my taiji lesson with Sat Hon, we paused (as we sometimes do) and chatted for a moment. In this case, what was on my mind was my ailing mother-in-law and my recent experience with our health care system. Sifu ("teacher" in Chinese) simply said that if...

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3 Levels of Tolerance and What They Mean for Bullying

(81) Comments | Posted October 11, 2010 | 8:18 AM

Lately there's been a lot of discussion about childhood, adolescent and young adult bullying in schools. The bullying can take the form of psychological, emotional, physical and, more recently, cyber abuse. Last week, Tyler Clementi, a young gay man and Rutgers University freshman, committed suicide after his roommate secretly videotaped...

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