Infinity’s Clinic: Contexts of Healing

Infinity’s Clinic: Contexts of Healing

“Who is the person who made all the words?”

(Question from an 8-year-old child in a poetry group that used Pablo Neruda’s Book of Questions for prompts, with permission)

Do you remember when you first considered the concept of infinity as a child? More to the point, do you remember where you stopped? Maybe you were sitting in a little chair seeing primary colors on a rug beneath you and maybe your still chubby fingers laced and twirled in your lap as you listened. Maybe a teacher explained, here we are in school in this neighborhood in this town or city or village in some kind of state within a country. And this country is on a continent surrounded by vast bodies of water but on a whole planet that orbits the sun with other planets in a solar system among billions of stars in a galaxy. But there are even more billions of galaxies and maybe the teacher stops there but your child imagination could go on to feeling a realm of space with blackness as thick as honey and then you can’t go any further so you snap back, in a split second contracting all those concentric realms and landing heavily in your own body, wondering what’s for snack or where you left your stuffed animal or pencil.

The capacity and necessity of pushing the edges of boundless imagination are what separates a religion from a devotion. Religion’s domain is the infinite, not just the important. This difference is why Buddhism as a religion provides unlimited capacity for human evolution while even the grandest of bound processes and understandings hits a ceiling.

That statement may partly reflect the trajectory of my own life. I moved from an immersion in the deepest views of Western psychology to Buddhism in my own development but the opening I feel now is not just an accumulation of direction and effort. It is such a profound switch of context that I am pretty sure I am walking in a different world that maybe only kindergartners can really glimpse.

The world of Western psychology of the twentieth century felt like a playground to me in my early training as a psychologist. The breadth of approach seemed vast and inclusive. There were behaviorists literally putting babies in white boxes and psychoanalysts writing about the infant’s raw splitting of the world into good and bad. There were experiments and comparisons and free association and ‘word salads,’ when that process went awry.

There was the elegant and poetic depth of psychoanalytic theory, looking so hard at what made people we recognize emerge out of blobs of helpless babies. We needed ‘mirroring’ from our caregivers to learn our contours and we needed heroic journeys to the collective unconscious to find the ‘bright shadows’ of our interiority. D. W. Winnicott reminded us of the quick of life, saying “…only out of non-existence can existence start (1).” There seemed no end of domains and methods of exploration.

I hit an end though and it wasn’t sudden like the snapback of a child’s infinity imagination. It was gradual. Why were my patients, in carefully and lovingly crafted psychoanalytic therapy, staying somewhat broken? Why did everything have a half-life and keep getting better in 50% chunks without ever reaching a real breath of freedom? Why was I caught in cycles that made me feel like a sock revolving in the dryer? Why did I complain so much in my journals? Why were relationships so snarly?

I am not saying that I know the answer to any one of those Whys. I just rarely ask questions like that these days. I am my own worst experiment, so this is my measure. What kind of questions come up and how freely do they bounce around?

“The mind of the great sage of India
Is intimately communicated from West to East …”

(From the poem Sandokai, “The Merging of Difference and Unity” by Sekito Kisen, 8th century Zen Master)(2)

The traditional direction of Buddhism’s spread is in an Eastern direction, and it is said that each major geographical step brought a new iteration of the religion. Buddhism originated in India and moved to Southeast Asia and Tibet, then China, and then Japan, and the new regions and times led to different schools. The schools incorporated and expanded the original teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, and while there were schisms and sects and controversies, a core body of belief unifies the religion.

The core beliefs are held in the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-Fold Path, lists of profound tenets and operational practice guidance. The essence is usually expressed in two majorly expandable phrases: non-self and interdependent origination. Non-self, so easily misunderstood, means that there is no singular, immutable entity that is a self in any being. Interdependent origination, so deceptively simple, is the essential law of causation that all phenomena are conditioned by other phenomena. Putting these two concepts together is to say that all that is exists in a dynamic motion of interaction without beginning or end. The phenomenal universe is a vast meeting place of events with no truly definitive boundaries in space or time.

This was a revolutionary stance in a culture with a belief in a core unchanging soul and a rigid priest class with exclusive access to spiritual knowledge. Buddha taught that the self is a useful concept with momentary and multifaceted manifestations in the universe of mental and material action. Each person owns their own exploration and development as a being.

This dizzying philosophy is anchored in a mission. The Four Noble Truths outline the mission, and the mission is down to earth and plain: to eliminate suffering.

  • The First Truth is the acknowledgment of the suffering brought about by the philosophy. It is disconcerting and unsatisfying for humans to live in such a changeable and uncontrollable universe.
  • The second truth is the mechanism of the first truth’s existence. We suffer because of clinging to realities we construe as either permanent or the way we think they should be.
  • The third truth is the idea that Truths One and Two actually can be resolved in some way.
  • The Fourth Truth lays out the way to this resolution in the Eight-Fold Path.

The Eight-Fold Path is called Eight-Fold and not Eight-Step because every aspect interacts with every other aspect. The list (Buddhism is a very list-bound, vertically-thinking religion) is: Right View, Right Intentions, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. The list incorporates three aspects of practice. It starts with a correct mental setup for insight and orientation, proceeds through ethical precepts for living decently among others, and ends with mental training needed for consciousness and wisdom development. This cursory overview shows how many points of entry the religion offers, and how each point, whether philosophical or moral or emotional, offers vast depths for potential exploration.

The poem quoted above, Sandokai, itself has been seen as a summary of Buddhist focus by many practitioners. It describes interactivity of the relative and absolute worlds, the conditioned world that we recognize and the infinite universe beyond. But the poem starts with the lines about the religion itself moving through person-to-person transmission, which is its method. The direction shifted and the orientation modified when the West discovered Buddhism.

The early history of Buddhism was a story of Buddhists traveling, walking the Silk Road or navigating the East China Sea. The first step when things stopped going to the East and turned to the West, was when Europeans came to Asia and observed Buddhists in their own lands. This step was about outsiders looking in, not Buddhists spreading out.

Although the look in was imperialistic and missionary in focus, Buddhism tended to impress early non-Buddhists. Marco Polo in the 13th century, the Jesuit priest Francis Xavier in the 16th century in Japan, and even Louis XIV’s envoy to Siam, now Thailand, in 1678 (the person who introduced the West to the term ‘nirvana’), all wrote about the religion in positive terms. Even Friedrich Nietzsche in 1888 described Buddhism as the only religion that doesn’t break promises because it doesn’t make any (3). It is easy to imagine early explorers coming upon both the elegance of early Buddhist monasteries and the composure of Buddhist monastic demeanor and realizing there was some powerful and transcendent force at work.

Buddhism intrigued Europe and in the 18th century a society called the “Asiatick Research Society” was established with a journal of articles from travelers who had met Buddhists all over Asia. It wasn’t until 1844 that a French philologist named Eugene Burnouf explained that all these reports of exotic practices from Southeast Asia to Tibet, China and Japan represented different schools of one religion, based on the teachings of one person from India.

In the words of an early sutra, “one neither delights in nor asserts nor clings to that which makes one subject to concepts characterized by the prolific tendency.” In the words of Bhikkhu Nanananda, one simply takes in what is simply there in the sensory world, “transcending the superstitions of the grammatical structure (3).” This is a tall order and intense discipline.

“America the Buddha Full”

(chapter title from Buddhism: A Concise Introduction by Huston Smith and Philip Novak)

Buddhism did not move directly to America from Europe. Instead, Buddhism mostly came straight to the states from Asia for a few reasons. One reason was a Japanese Zen interest in teaching Buddhist practices in this fertile ground. Americans were eager to learn meditation and what it meant in a Zen understanding. Many Americans know of Shunryu Suzuki, author of what is practically the Zen American bible, Zen Mind, Beginners Mind (1970), founder of the San Francisco Zen Center, and teacher of many students who fanned out across the country to open Zen training centers. Shunryu Suzuki often told students that he came to America to teach one thing and that was the poem Sandokai.

An earlier generation of Japanese influence had already hit America after an influential gathering in 1893 in Chicago, the World Parliament of Religions. Many Americans became curious about Buddhism, and Soyen Shaku, a Zen Buddhist priest in Japan, sent over several students. One of these students, D. T. Suzuki, became a prominent translator of Buddhist texts and introduced America to Buddhist concepts through writings in the 1920s and 1930s. D. T. Suzuki met the renegade writer Alan Watts, journalist Philip Kapleau, monk and theologian Thomas Merton, the rising Beat writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, and composer Jack Cage in America. Every connection was like kindling to the cultural and artistic flame of Zen reality in America, which has burned ever since.

Around the time Zen Centers were being introduced to America, the Dalai Lama was forced to flee Tibet and students met him in Dharamshala India and then came to the states. This brought Tibetan Buddhism to America in the 1960s and 1970s. Another group of students became influential founders of the Vipassana school in America by studying in Thailand and India with Theravadan (a school that is based on the oldest of Buddhist teachings) and Thai forest-dwelling monks. This group, including Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, and Sharon Salzberg, landed in America and established the well-known Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts and (Jack Kornfield), the more widely embracing Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California.

If Europe intellectually appreciated Buddhism, America whole-hearted gobbled it up. The earliest influences, from the days of the Asiatick Society, directly shaped Emerson and Thoreau. Intellectuals and psychoanalysts in the first half of the twentieth century, notably including Carl Jung, explored broader meanings of human consciousness due to Buddhist exposure. The Beat generation spread the message with the poetry of Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac’s novel Dharma Bums, and Robert M. Pirsig‘s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which popularized the phrasing of Zen with anything.

The first wave of Buddhism in America was intriguing and exotic, but the latter years of the twentieth century showed the practices taking hold. American ‘sanghas,’ or Buddhist communities, tend to formally sit in meditation together and often engage in some of the other rituals that are usually only in the domain of monastic life in Asia, such as chanting, prostrations, lighting incense, or walking meditations. Many solo practitioners develop their own rituals of meditation, with or without Buddhist religious context.

It is impossible to estimate how many gatherings of Buddhist practice there currently are in this country. In 2012 there were 2,854 different Buddhist congregations in America (4), and Wikipedia currently lists 102 major centers of Buddhism by states, but there is an estimate of 350 Theravadan monasteries alone in America (5). With the recent wave of teaching on Zoom, American Buddhists are gathering in ever widening numbers of communities.

The main reason Buddhism did not become just another intellectual or art era in the states is because Americans saw that meditation actually works to make people feel better, and on almost any scale, from homeopathic five-minute sittings to 10-day Vipassana retreats. Most American Buddhist converts, estimated to be about a third of the Buddhists in the states, entered through the practices. The huge body of research showing benefits focuses on meditating, not Buddhism.

A current Google search indicates that there are 4.2 million Buddhists in America and close to 38 million people who have at least tried meditating recently. A Los Angeles Times report in 2018 said that 14.2% of Americans had tried meditating in the last year, compared to 4.1% in 2012. The practices are proliferating wildly while the base of the religion grows steadily.

The gulf between the practices and the religion are vivid when statements like this appear on popular websites (the is no longer a practice reserved solely for those seeking spiritual enlightenment. It has now become a trendy, mainstream activity.” It is a good thing to be popular and for many people to try meditation, but there is so much further we could go if we didn’t encapsulate it in such stock phrases. However it is viewed, “intimately communicated” or not, Buddhism is here to stay in America.

“Devoting yourself to being taken over by something is a religious act.”

(Sojun Diane Martin Roshi, teaching)

I entered the Buddhist world to do research on meditation. I plopped down on a black cushion at a place that was conveniently located. I found it interesting and I went back. I found it curious and I went back again. I felt a shift in the local orientation of my mind and not just a rearrangement of its contents, and I was hooked.

Twelve years later I received transmission as a lay teacher in the Soto Zen tradition. That year brought me quite a few unexpected and difficult experiences. The transmission was a change I signed up for, but I had no idea what it would really mean. I was used to such developments in Buddhism. When you crack open your living status in the world, there is no predicting the variety of events that will flood into the space. Equanimity in response does not mean there is no reaction, but that all of it is held with an evenness of gaze. It’s not so easy.

What happened in those twelve years? Inch by inch I was making space for allowing a force I will never comprehend to work on me. I have been through millions of moments of doubt, questioning my compliance to the unknown. My training in psychoanalytic theory gave me a basis for pathologizing the entire enterprise. Some of my psychologist friends reminded me of that periodically. The changes I experienced were gradual and subtle. They are only definable to me in retrospect and a continuous writing practice helps clarify what a continuous Buddhist practice initiates.

The initial arena of most perceptible change was emotional. Psychological theories of emotional development seem to only take us through a kind of adolescence of living with our human feelings. For humans, emotions are first tied to physical needs and regulation in a prolonged world without cognition, where the self is not separated from the environment. Once we are toddlers and physically mobile, emotions can start to be experienced as processes within bodies that are distinct from each other. The little child pulls on the pants leg of an adult and momentarily feels frustration, unnamed but with air around it and with sensation inside.

Once we develop language, we encapsulate feelings with words and attached evaluations and parameters. Maybe the adult says to the toddler, “Don’t be so pushy,” and now frustration has a name and an ambiance of disapproval.

When abstract thought develops in young children, these variables can be internally manipulated. Maybe the child recoils and stops tugging, or maybe they make a game and push the swing set at the park really hard. Once children enter social worlds outside the family, comparison starts. The universe as first presented has variations and other people do other things with feelings. This awareness is the dawn of subjectivity.

In adolescence and adulthood, the social base of emotional information rivals the original base and grows over the contours and impressions of what emotion meant formatively. We develop huge data bases of experiences for evaluating how we feel, but those original shapes still exert their influence, causing interactions to sometimes click like jigsaw puzzle pieces and sometimes repel like magnets of the same pole.

Emotional maturity can proceed further than this description. Spiritual maturity alters the moment-to-moment experience of emotion. Emotion does not stop, nor does it begin to be very logical. It becomes an essentially different event with a cushioning layer of mindfulness around the experience. Reactivity can be observed, and as the laws of physics teach us, that observation inevitably changes the field.

One of the most common human problems and reports in psychotherapy is a reactivity that does not seem to match circumstances. Little things can sometimes cause big and physical emotional reactions, and sometimes we bypass phenomena that are larger or more truly significant in our lives. This is easily seen in an overview of news reporting. We are in danger of extinction as a species, yet we are riveted to inanity in political discourse. These newsworthy processes are related on a deeper level, and both are important, but our attention and efforts don’t seem proportional to the concrete issues. This also happens continuously on a personal scale.

The cushion of mindfulness that is developed in meditation is a buffer and an alarm system. As a buffer, the quick realization, not of the logical error of my reaction but of the natural tendency to it, is soothing. And as an alarm, I hear myself more. My tone of voice, sarcastic or kind, sharp or soft, is obvious to me. My split-second fantasies, disastrous, embarrassing, or victorious, are also noted and not swept up in the next moment’s wishful ignorance. These altered motions of emotional flow are useful. They don’t make everything smooth, but they make my wake into a ripple from a splashing chop.

Buddhism takes emotion seriously and in my mode of suffering in life, I do too. A great deal of Buddhist writing examines feelings as human carriers of causation.

Classical Buddhist mindfulness training examines feeling second only to body awareness. I have found personally and professionally that the total body experience of emotion is the messiest and richest vehicle of human life.

I am very grateful for this mode of change in my existence. I believe any long-term practitioner would have a different description of the changes they see looking back in time. The Buddhist religion is very personal and, like snowflakes, there are no two paths that are truly alike. The religion also doesn’t advocate pursuing change but facilitates noting reality boldly and seeing what does happen. It helps to try to describe what is happening, for my own appreciation and for kindling ideas in other people.

“If you want to realize true nature, you cannot set aside what it is to be a human being.”

(Shodo Harada in Not One Single Thing (page 206), paraphrasing Hakuin, a famous 18th century Zen master)

There are many schools of Buddhism in America and most of the canon is available in English. I grew up in a Soto Zen orientation in Buddhism but have spent a great deal of time in the Theravadan school because of my interest in the Abhidharma, a portion of the original canon that is understudied by lay people. The Abhidharma lays out the science of the Buddha’s enlightenment in an astronomical body of lists and matrixes of consciousness interacting with universal laws of nature. The word ‘Theravadan’ means “doctrine of the elders” and this branch of Buddhism has persisted in Southeast Asia in the original language of the first texts of Buddhist study.

Abhidharma study and Zen training are viewed as contradictory practices by some Buddhists. Zen is very poetic and lyrical, like the element of air to the Abhidharma’s structural earthiness. But they both help me let go. They are both predicated on the truth of emptiness in all the meetings we experience and then reify. They both keep jarring my presumptions and unloading my busyness. The monasteries may use different languages and slightly different forms, but they both encourage the weird balance of discernment and acceptance that is Buddhism.

Where these schools differ in expression most profoundly to me is in their descriptions of the end points of our paths of practice. They seem to express a different goal, which affects trajectory in every moment. The Theravadans describe ‘nibbana’ (The Pali work for “nirvana” which is a Sanskrit word used in English) as ultimately ending the stream of consciousness that has circulated in ‘samsara,’ the worlds of cause and effect, for countless eons. Nibbana is a state of purification of all the bases of suffering and human conditioning of reality.

The Pali word ‘nibbana’ derives from the word “extinction,” and it was related to fire management in Buddha’s culture, where that was an everyday concern. Buddha used vernacular language and Ajahn Buddhadasa, a Thai scholar, reported that it might be common to say once rice has boiled, you need to let it ’nibbana’ for a while so you can eat it (6). There is some controversy about just how complete the extinguishing can be, but many sutras describe the Buddha’s physical death as a perfection and an entire end of his conscious existence in the conditioned universe of life and death.

Other slightly later schools of Buddhism, grouped under the heading Mahayana (a Sanskrit word meaning “greater vehicle”), are more focused on developing the stream of consciousness for the personal and greater good of all beings. The idea of the Bodhisattva vow is emphasized, the vow to stay in samsara until every last being is enlightened or liberated.

Western science and psychology give us a different measure altogether. The study of the mind from within the minds that we ultimately must use reveals a more immediate definition to the reduction of suffering. We are in these lives and want to live them well and to feel well. We are set up as organisms to drive in that direction no matter where our more spiritual vision takes us.

The Western psychological view that is closest to Buddhist theory is the psychoanalytic school. Not everyone in this school of psychology practices classical Freudian psychoanalysis but the school’s understanding of people still rests on some basic principles that Sigmund Freud brought to common knowledge. Foremost is something that seems obvious now and was to Buddha: we are not consciously aware of most of our own mental processes. Second was the important fact that people attending carefully to others’ states is healing and this is the basis of the talking cure that Freud described and that has evolved into the world of psychotherapy.

Psychoanalytic theory and Buddhist psychology agree in a goal to reduce suffering in both its personal and interactive manifestations. Both see suffering expressed in emotions and symptoms that are contagious in relationship. Suffering, according to both philosophies, is caused by mental construction that can be barred from awareness and that obscures plain reality. Both viewpoints emphasize that improvement requires depth exploration of consciousness to unlock clarity. As Seiso Paul Cooper says in The Zen Impulse and the Psychoanalytic Encounter, “In their purest forms both Zen and psychoanalysis have the capacity to confront and deconstruct habitual unconscious structuring activities that can lead to a life lived fully and with compassion (page 14).”

How total can the cure of suffering be? I appreciate the gains made in depth psychotherapy. I like the Mahayana generosity and I like the Theravadan purity. It is all inextricably linked. I have found that linkage to be the biggest surprise of my own Buddhist development. I have not felt like there was a choice to be made. Feeling better spreads as much as feeling badly and only expands the capacity for action based on empathy, generosity, and compassion. It’s automatic. This is the essential gift of practice.

The broader the conceptualization of cure, the broader the possibilities, but we rarely think beyond what is available to the human mind, mostly because we are thinking from the base of this type of mind. In the Abhidharma there is a list of Realms of Consciousness Beings. There are 31 types of beings defined by the consciousness possibilities in their make-ups, and what consciousness can touch upon largely defines the potentials of experience or actual worlds of existence. There are far more actual types of minds than we usually consider.

The Human Realm is number 5 of 31 in increasing order of consciousness purity and expansiveness. We have a ways to go. The human world, dictated by parameters of the human mind, is understood by Buddhism to be a realm with a very wide range of moral and developmental possibilities. Within the confines of our sensory and mind mechanics, we can experience extreme hell zones or transcendent breakthroughs. As humans we can always see more than we can do, but we can also do more as time and practice proceed, and that is encouraging.

Buddhism has introduced practices to the West and America that are beneficial in ways that are drastically needed as an antidote to materialistic and competitive cultures. But Buddhism is a religion and placing our situation within the context of other planes of reality, within infinity, changes the operations profoundly. How so?

  • W. Huntington writes, “Dualistic knowledge divides; nondualistic knowledge contextualizes,” in The Emptiness of Emptiness (page 266). Psychoanalytic theory may be dualistic and break up components of reality of mind from within the mind itself. There is great utility in this. The thorough and unflinching look at human dynamics provides a basis for the individual’s comprehension of their relative reality and for providing person-to-person help in therapy.

The contextualizing view takes all of this and remembers the eerie truth that we don’t know where it really began or where its edges are. Like the child sitting in a little chair contemplating infinity, as humans we can only imagine so far, but the broader the context within which we place awareness, the more accurate we are. We are using a broader field of input for our base of operation.

The infinite imagination does more though than stretch our potential for precision of consciousness action. It reminds us that we did stop somewhere and that there simply is more than we, as humans, can imagine. This is sobering, humbling, and liberating at the same time. The perspective of perspective reminds us that our consciousness is framed as the living beings that we are, and as Shodo Harada said, we cannot get around that fact, but we can sometimes, in our best and most vivid moments, feel that an unbounded capacity is contained here.

The translation of the wonderful poem Sandokai that I first learned in my Zen sangha ends with the imperative lines,

“I humbly say to those who study the mystery,

Don’t waste time.”

Those who study the mystery are those who recall how much there is beyond knowing, who can allow the unseeable infinite as the field of exploration. And the best we can do for cure within that field is to value our lives, value our experiences no matter what they are. The clinic is always open, the best stance is remaining open, and the endpoint is not a point, but limitless possibility.


(1) Fear of Breakdown, page 107, Int’l. Rev. Psycho-Anal. (1974) 1, 103 – 107.

(2) The complete text of the poem Sandokai, in the final translation of Zen master Shunryu Suzuki, is below.

Oneness of One and Many
The mind of the great sage of India
was handed down closely from west to east.
People may discriminate the dull from the keen,
but in the true way there is no Ancestor of North or South.
The true source is pure and stainless.
The branching streams flow in the dark.
Clutching at things is delusion.
To recognize the truth is not always enlightenment either.
The five sense gates and the five sense objects
are interdependent and absolutely independent;
interrelated endlessly,
yet each stays in its own position.
Things have various natures, various forms.
There is good and bad taste, sound, and feeling.
In darkness, superior and inferior cannot be distinguished;
in brightness, the duality of pure and impure is apparent.
The four elements resume their nature
as a child has its mother.
Fire is hot, wind blows,
water wets, and earth is solid.
For eyes there is color and form, for ears there is sound,
for the nose there is smell, and for the tongue there is taste;
Each being comes out from the root
as branches and leaves come out from the trunk.
But both root and end should return to their original nature.
The words we use are different—good and bad, respectful and
mean—but through these words we should understand
the absolute being or source of the teaching.
Within brightness actually there is utter darkness;
but you should not meet someone just with darkness.
Within darkness there is brightness
but you should not see others only with the eyes of brightness.
Darkness and brightness stand with each other
like one foot forward and the other behind in walking.
Everything—all beings—have their own virtue.
You should know how to apply this truth.
Things and emptiness are like a container and its cover
fitting together,
like two arrows meeting head-on.
When you listen to the words, you should understand
the source of the teaching.
Don’t establish your own rules.
If you don’t practice in your everyday life as you walk,
how can you know the way?
The goal is neither far nor near.
If you stick to the idea of good or bad, you will be
separated from the way by high mountains or big rivers.
Seekers of the truth,
don’t spend your time in vain.

Compilation from talks and from private discussions

with Suzuki Roshi, posted on the website of the San Francisco Zen Center

(3) Huston Smith and Philip Novak (2003). Buddhism: A Concise Introduction. Harper San Francisco, page 124.

(4) Are these “the most Buddhist cities in America”?

by, Lion’s Roar staff, November 13, 2012

(5) U.S. has about 350 Theravada Buddhist temples

Chicago Tribune. July 24, 2011

(6) Ajahn Pasano and Ajahn Amaro (2009). The Island: An Anthology of the Buddha’s Teachings on Nibbana. Abhayagiri Monastic Foundation, Redwood Valley, CA, page 39.


Bows and gratitude to

  • Sojun Diane Martin Roshi
  • Sally Turner and Charlie Rossiter, kind readers.
  • Rick, Tara, Chris, Clay, and Zane, my heartbase.