Posts Tagged ‘Heart Sutra’

English: A tangerine close-up. Español: Fotogr...

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What an exciting day for mindfulness and Buddhism. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this NY Times article.

It’s great to see that mindfulness is going mainstream and that more and more people are looking at it as an option, whether as a spiritual practice or for relaxation.

My hope is that as it becomes more mainstream, it does not lose its deepest meaning. I think some who practice DBT and CBT do not always use mindfulness in the spirit in which it was created as a practice.

In Mindful Eating:  A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food, Dr. Jan Chozen Bays, says, “Mindful eating replaces self-criticism with self-nurturing. It replaces shame with respect for your own inner wisdom”.

So many of us turn to food for comfort and nurturing, reaching for that big bowl of mac and cheese that reminds us of that bowl that mom had waiting for us after school.  That one we poured our hearts out over, telling her all about our school day.

As adults, we chase that good, warm, gooey feeling, like an addict chases their first high.  We have a bad day, put on our favorite sweater, turn on the tv and did into that bowl before realizing, it’s all gone.  And we still feel hollow and frustrated.

But when we start to add mindfulness into our lives, into our daily moment to moment experiences, we become present to what “is” and the fullness that moment contains.

Bays says, “In fact there are two essential aspects of becoming mindful as we eat. They are slowing down and eating without distractions.”

I remember, shortly after learning about meditation in college, we got to read Peace in Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh.  It was time to try something besides counting my exhales.  And tangerine meditation was the next practice.

I have such a fondness for this practice and I have clients that remind me of their first experience with it several years after they leave group.

If you’ve never tried this, Google tangerine meditation, go get yourself an organic orange, tangerine, etc. and see the miracle of mindfulness yourself.

You will never hear the words orange or tangerine without the hairs on the back of your neck standing up as you remember the intimate experience of savoring the whole sensation.

Another way I like to start off my mindful eating meditation is to start off with The Five Contemplations. If you don’t remember them from one of my previous posts, here they are again:

The Five Contemplations

This food is the gift of the whole universe: the earth, the sky, and much hard work.

May we eat in mindfulness so that we are worthy to receive it.

May we transform our unskillful states of mind and learn to eat in moderation.

May we take only food that nourishes us and prevents illness.

We accept this food in order to realize the path of understanding and love.

Wherever you are in your practice, whether you are counting your exhales, using your mala, walking, or kneeling on your bench, try bringing mindfulness into your day.  Most of us have at least three meals a day and what a wonderful way to get time to practice in; a great way to make sure you spend some time mindfully every day.


Want to know even more, check out Savor:  Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Dr. Lilian Cheung and Thich Nhat Hanh.

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English: Pink Lotus

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I found this brilliant recording of gate gate paragate.  Enjoy your listening meditation.

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I found this brilliant version of gate gate paragate parasamgate, bodhi shava chanted with a guitar.  I would love to have this on a continuous loop for a long meditation.

There are a few seconds of outside noises at the end of the track.  I found myself immediately thinking, “how can I get rid of that” and then remembered being at the Shambhala Center in Milwaukee for a day long retreat.  They reminded us that sitting is about pushing nothing away. . . it’s about touching sensations, sounds, thoughts, and feelings lightly and letting them evaporate.

I thought this was a great track to do that with.

Notice what your response is. . . do you tighten up?  stop breathing?  do you get annoyed?  where do you feel that in your body?  do you run away with the feelings that come up?

If we meditate to cultivate presence and compassion, we will not always be on the cushion or in a silent cave when we are fostering bodhichitta.  If we are to be a caregiver or a compassionate companion for ourselves as we journey, there will most likely not be silence in the world or in our hearts/minds. . . allow yourself to stay with the words, the meaning of the chant. . . going, going, gone to the other shore beyond.

For the whole Heart Sutra, check out one of my previous posts.

Play lightly with this track and allow yourself to just notice. . . not even label, just be with your self as things arise.

It is all practice for being there in life for the ‘full catastrophe of life’.

May you new year bring a sense of renewed hope and congruence in your life.


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Here is a recording from Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hahn’s monastery in France,  in which the monastics chant the Heart Sutra…. a topic for future discussion.  The last lines are:

Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha

which Edward Conze attempted to render the mantra into English as: “gone gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, O what an awakening, all hail!”


It is a lovely version of the of the chant.  Listen to it and allow anything to arise in you, in response to it.

Check back for the blog entry about The Heart Sutra that will follow soon.

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