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Mack Paul
I'm a native Oklahoman. I was attracted to Buddhism from a young age, mainly because I was liked Zen aesthetics. I took up yoga in 1976 after I was offered a spinal fusion for a strained back. I'm 63 now and my back feels better than it did then. I took up meditation to help me with stress related illnesses from my work as a special ed teacher. I mostly learned from the books of Thich Nhat Hanh.

Entries by Mack Paul

To Self Or Not To Self -- The Meditative Question

(0) Comments | Posted July 11, 2016 | 1:10 PM

It is actually possible to enjoy life even when things aren't going your way. But, this appreciation depends on whether or not you have a healthy sense of not self. A healthy not self depends upon a realization that suffering is entirely impersonal and beyond control, not your fault and...

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American Heartbreak

(0) Comments | Posted July 9, 2016 | 12:21 PM

Orlando, Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and now Dallas. America has had its most heartbreaking month since 9/11. The killing of two black men by police and the subsequent killing of five police officers could serve as a wake-up call telling us exactly where our mutual distrust, suspicion, and outright hostility toward...

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Fear Of Suffering

(0) Comments | Posted July 6, 2016 | 11:11 PM

We are afraid of our emotions and we fear them for good reason. Human history is liberally punctuated by devastating spasms of violent, predatory behavior that leaves fear and trauma in its wake. And, even in peaceful times, we are always vulnerable to the pain of illness, death, and inconsolable...

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Why Meditate?

(1) Comments | Posted April 18, 2016 | 2:40 PM

When we decide to learn meditation it is a good idea to have a really clear idea about what we are doing. There is no reason for sitting more complicated than that we feel stressed and unhappy and want to feel better. I think we mostly understand this but when...

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Okies in Israel- A Secular Eye in the Holy Land

(4) Comments | Posted January 21, 2016 | 9:02 PM


When my wife and I told people we were going to Israel, they were concerned that we'd travel to such a dangerous part of the world. At tines, we wondered as well why we just didn't go to say, Italy. I consoled myself, and told people that I live...

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Organic Religion

(2) Comments | Posted July 15, 2015 | 4:09 PM

Life just flows and flows. We try to break it up or nail is down through language but language never quite gets it. It isn't just one thing then another but one thing and another, all together as just one thing.

The Buddha articulated his views on suffering into a...

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Listening and Seeing -- American Sniper

(2) Comments | Posted February 2, 2015 | 1:28 PM

In the first Dirty Harry movie we are entertained with the sight of Harry educating a citizen on a fundamental problem in human relations. With a wave of the .44 magnum to emphasize the seriousness of the issue, Harry poses a rhetorical question -- "You don't listen good, do you...

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Salvation, Enlightenment, and the Dream of Thought

(0) Comments | Posted August 5, 2014 | 11:32 AM

"The kingdom of heaven is within you."

"Be a lamp unto yourself."

Jesus and Buddha both instruct us to look inside. This is very direct instruction which happens to be the exact opposite of how we actually live. We always look for something outside that we...

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Thinking Up a Suffering Self

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2014 | 9:09 PM

"Meditation is the understanding of what is without trying to change it or make it go away." -- Krishnamurti

Oddly enough, I once heard Billy Graham say much the same thing. I was driving around OKC about a month after the the Murrah Building bombing when...

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Zendo

(0) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 11:08 AM

"If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up till he sees all things through the narrow chinks of his cavern." -- William Blake

I got in my car and headed out for...

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The Buddha, Science, and Religion

(24) Comments | Posted November 4, 2013 | 5:12 PM

"This is the supreme thing in Buddhism; this law of nature is the Buddhist God. The law of nature is an impersonal God. Because Buddhism, in fact has a God, it is a religion." -- Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

The Buddha was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, raised in...

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Mindfully Crazy

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2013 | 9:06 AM

"Meditation practice is simply moving from a life of hurting myself and others to a life of not hurting myself and others." -- Charlotte Joko Beck

When I was young I had a job driving a truck for the Salvation Army. One day, another driver and myself were resting at...

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From Mindlessness to Mindfulness: Meditation in Action

(11) Comments | Posted July 15, 2013 | 3:14 PM

"Have you ever noticed, when you're driving, that anyone driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone driving faster than you is a maniac?" -- George Carlin

So I'm driving through my neighborhood, and this idiot in a big pickup is going 20 miles per hour where everybody knows...

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Feeling - Story = Meditation

(7) Comments | Posted May 27, 2013 | 8:00 AM

The most important thing you can learn from the Buddha is that reality is non-negotiable. Everything that you have and everything you will have, you're going to lose. You'll never be rich enough, and you'll never be famous enough. You can't have enough family, and you can't have enough friends....

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One Thing

(2) Comments | Posted April 29, 2013 | 12:20 PM

The world is made up of stuff and life as we know it is a constant interaction with stuff. You wake up in the bed, put on the clothes, turn on the coffee machine, eat the breakfast, go to the work, deal with the people. You look at them just...

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The Magic of No Self

(58) Comments | Posted April 9, 2013 | 5:18 PM

We don't like to suffer, and we take personally when we do. We have definite ideas about how things should be, and we don't like that they aren't. The Buddha's genius was his simple recognition and articulation of the obvious reality that people experience life as unsatisfactory and impermanent. Everyone...

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Meditation Is Medicine

(3) Comments | Posted February 21, 2013 | 12:47 PM

I think my favorite Zen story is about an exchange between Hui Neng, the fifth Chinese patriarch who lived about 1,400 years ago, and Wo Lun, a monk who wants to demonstrate his spiritual attainment. Wo Lun tells Hui Neng this:

"Wo Lun has skillful means
Enabling him to...

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Does the Mind Stop Thinking?

(20) Comments | Posted February 6, 2013 | 4:35 PM

The Dalai Lama said that Buddhism is not a religion, but a science of mind. Buddhist practices are based in the remarkably simple observation that life is marked by dissatisfaction and impermanence. Dissatisfaction and impermanence are clearly the fuel the runs our economy. The Buddha taught that there is no...

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