Posted in meditation, mindfulness

Mistakes

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. I’ve done many things that have harmed myself and also may things that have harmed others. That’s a really difficult thing for anyone to wrestle with. But when we start a mindfulness practice, when we start seeing ourselves clearly, then we see the good and the bad.

Ram Dass said, “You can no longer deceive yourselves as sincerely as you did before.”

I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’m sorry to anyone that I’ve ever harmed. I spent a lot of my life being a very negative and a very selfish person. That’s a hard thing to admit, but it’s the truth. And I believe in being honest with you.


I carry a fair bit of emotional baggage around the deaths of my parents. It impacted me deeply (as it would anyone) I’ve always thought I was lucky that I didn’t fall into drug addiction or some self destructive impulse. But what I did fall into was….not realizing my potential. I’m really only now realizing what a mess I made of my 20s and 30s. That’s not an excuse for any of the mistakes I’ve made, but it definitely had a big role in shaping who I am. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that if you had known me a few years ago you’d be thinking “Why would anyone take advice from him on anything?”

I was the most negative person around it took many many years of meditation practice to change that.

We need to practice kindness but we also need to remember to give ourselves kindness too. We have to reflect on our baggage and see what we really need to put down.

That’s why our meditation practice is so important. We need to learn to put down our baggage so we can live more fully. We need to learn to see things clearly so we can make the best decisions for ourselves. And we sure as hell need to cultivate compassion. It’s in short supply in the world today.

We don’t meditate to be good at meditating. We meditate because it helps us in our day-to-day lives. It’s also only one tool in our arsenal. We need to eat vegetables, spend some time outdoors, relax, and tell our friends that we love them. All of these things help us unleash our full potential.

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Want to practice meditation with me?

I’m teaching a class the first three Sundays in October. It’s not too late to sign up.


Introduction to Zen Mind:

https://www.floweringlotusmeditation.org/event-details/introduction-to-zen-mind-a-mini-course-in-three-sessions-with-beth-herzig-and-daniel-scharpenburg

Posted in buddhism

New Online Class

https://www.facebook.com/events/551185558989715

Introduction to Zen Mind Mini Course

October 4-11-18, 2020 | Zen Meditation is about seeing the truth by learning to be fully present in this moment. In this mini-course we are going to talk about awakening from the daydream of life, putting down our baggage, and transforming our suffering through present-moment awareness.

PAY WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD

Time & Location

NOTE: All times are Central (CDT)

Zoom Link will be provided.

Sunday October 4th  7:00pm – 8:30pm

Sunday October 11th 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Sunday October 18th 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Click here to sign up:

https://www.floweringlotusmeditation.org/event-details/introduction-to-zen-mind-a-mini-course-in-three-sessions-with-beth-herzig-and-daniel-scharpenburg

About the Teachers

Daniel Scharpenburg is a meditation teacher, writer, and podcaster. In his day job he’s a union labor activist. Daniel’s goal is to bring meditation practice and Buddhism to people in a practical way that they can apply to their everyday lives. He teaches in small gatherings and retreats.

Scharpenburg has been practicing Buddhism and meditating for more than twenty years, with many different teachers. He spent time teaching at the Open Heart Project and at the Rime Buddhist Center before becoming an independent teacher. He was appointed a lay dharma teacher by the International Chan Buddhism Institute  and was named a Lineage Holder in the Lay Caodong Chan Tradition. He also received meditation teacher training from the Rime Buddhist Center and from the Anchor Meditation Center.

Daniel is a co-owner of the website The Tattooed Buddha. His work has appeared in the publications Lion’s Roar, Elephant Journal, Patheos,and The Mighty.

Beth Herzig is a true “citizen of the world,” having lived in 3 U.S. States, 9 different countries on 4 continents by the time she completed her B.A. degree in English at Delta State University in Cleveland, MS. She now resides in Madison, MS with her two intelligent, beautiful daughters.

Besides being a small business owner and full-time mother, Beth has volunteered for many years with the Girl Scouts, where she is currently a Troop Leader and Service Unit Manager. She also volunteers her time and services generously to many other causes which are important to her.

Beth leads group meditations throughout the Jackson, MS, metro area and on-line. She is trained as a Meditation Leader in the Shamatha tradition. She completed Susan Piver’s Meditation Instructor Training (MIT), and has studied meditation and dharma practice with many renowned teachers, at Flowering Lotus and elsewhere. Beth has served on the Board of Directors of Flowering Lotus since 2017. She is currently Flowering Lotus’s Retreat Director, managing both residential and on-line meditation retreats throughout the year.

Posted in koans, podcast

Wild Fox Koan (podcast)

Daniel and Alicia talk about Baizhang and the Wild Fox.  I invited my soon-to-be wife Alicia Marley onto the podcast again to talk about the second koan from the Gateless Barrier Collection. This is an odd koan with some magical things going on and the lesson might be a little hard to find.  Our conversation ended up taking us pretty far afield from talking about the koan and we ended up asking questions like “is chanting important?” and “Can meditation make you a better criminal?”

if you want to support this podcast by making a donation you can do so by clicking here: paypal.me/danielscharpenburg 

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Posted in koans, podcast

Koans! The Dog Koan(podcast)

Daniel and Alicia talk about Zhaozhou’s Dog.

I invited my soon-to-be wife Alicia Marley onto the podcast to talk about the first koan from The Gateless Barrier collection. She has no knowledge of zen koans, so I was wondering if her beginners perspective would help make things clear.

In this episode we talk about the title “The Gateless Barrier” (sometimes called The Gateless Gate, sometimes called The Barrier That Has No Gate) And we talk about the Koan that is called “Zhaozhou’s Dog”

 Download here:

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Google

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if you want to support this podcast by making a donation you can do so by clicking here: https://paypal.me/danielscharpenburg

 

Go like my Facebook Page: https://facebook.com/dscharpy

I wanted to recommend someone else’s podcast too. If you’re interested in podcasts about koans, go listen to Knot Zen:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/knot-zen/id1489124156

Posted in buddhism, podcast

Buddhist Protest w/ Alex (Podcast)

I had Sensei Alex Kakuyo on the podcast again to talk about current events.

Alex is a lay Buddhist minister and author of Perfectly Ordinary: Buddhist Teachings for Everyday Life. He also writes a blog called Same Old Zen.

Download here:

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Spotify

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

If your favorite platform isn’t one of these four, search for “Sharpening the Mind” and let me know if you don’t find it. Also, please subscribe.

You can also just listen in your browser here:

 

You can learn about Alex here: thesameoldzen.com

And you can buy his book here: Perfectly Ordinary

Alex teaches in the Bright Dawn Tradition, which you can learn about here: Brightdawn.org

 

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if you want to support this podcast by making a donation you can do so by clicking here: paypal.me/danielscharpenburg

Go like my Facebook Page: facebook.com/dscharpy

Posted in buddhism

Interview with Alex Kakuyo (Podcast)

I had my first long distance podcast guest. Sensei Alex Kakuyo is a lay Buddhist minister and author of Perfectly Ordinary: Buddhist Teachings for Everyday Life.

Download here and please subscribe:

Anchor

Spotify

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

If your favorite platform isn’t one of these four, search for “Sharpening the Mind” and let me know if you don’t find it. Also, please subscribe.

 

You can learn about Alex here: thesameoldzen.com

And you can buy his book here: Perfectly Ordinary

Alex teaches in the Bright Dawn Tradition, which you can learn about here: Brightdawn.org

I first “met” Alex because I saw his writing at The Tattooed Buddha, which you can see here: The Tattooed Buddha

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if you want to support this podcast by making a donation you can do so by clicking here: paypal.me/danielscharpenburg

Go like my Facebook Page: facebook.com/dscharpy

Posted in buddhism, videos

37 Practices of a Bodhisattva Series

37 practices of all bodhisattvas

I did a series of daily talks during the Covid-19 lockdown.

I wanted to do something during this crisis, something to try to help others (and myself). At first I thought it might be too ambitious to give talks every day, but I made it work and I’m pretty proud of the series. I had intended for it to end right at the end of the lockdown here in Kansas City, but the lockdown has been extended.

I’ll try something else next. Putting out this material has been good as far as giving me something to do, bringing something positive into the world when so many people are struggling with what’s going on.

What’s a Bodhisattva?
A Bodhisattva is someone who is trying to unleash their potential for mindfulness and compassion. We’re on the Bodhisattva path because we’re trying our best.

This text “the 37 practices of a Bodhisattva” is a concise text written by a Tibetan teacher in the 14th century named Tokme Zangpo. It’s a summary of how we should behave as we are on the path to awakening. It’s like a list of 37 tips to help keep us on track.

Going through these every day has been enormously meaningful and helpful to me. I want to teach a class on this text at some point and I’m hoping an opportunity for that will appear.  

So, I am sharing all of the videos here.

You don’t have to watch all of these and you don’t have to watch them in any order.

These teachings are offered free of charge, but if you feel compelled to make a donation to support this work, you can click here:

donate

  1. Make Life Meaningful
  2. Attachment and Hatred
  3. Abandoning Negative Places
  4. Giving Up Concern For This Life
  5. Bad Company
  6. Relying on a Spiritual Friend
  7. Taking Refuge
  8. Lower Realms and Virtue
  9. Happiness is Like a Dewdrop
  10. What Use is Our Own Happiness?
  11. A Mind Intent on Benefitting Others
  12. When Someone Steals
  13. If Someone Tries To Cut Off Your Head
  14. Bringing Disgrace Onto the Path
  15. Bringing Harsh Words Onto the Path
  16. Bringing Ingratitude Onto the Path
  17. Bringing Defamation Onto the Path
  18. Bringing Decline Onto the Path
  19. Bringing Prosperity Onto the Path
  20. Bringing Anger Onto the Path
  21. Bringing Attachment Onto the Path
  22. Free From Delusion
  23. The Object of Attachment
  24. The Object of Aversion
  25. Training in Generosity
  26. Training in Discipline
  27. Training in Patience
  28. Training in Diligence
  29. Training in Concentration
  30. Training in Wisdom
  31. Examine Your Confusion
  32. The Faults of Others
  33. Honor and Status
  34. Giving Up Harsh Words
  35. Negative Emotions
  36. Mindfulness and the Benefit of Others
  37. Conclusion

 

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Visit my YouTube Channel to hear  Talks!

If you’d like to support my work, please consider making a donation.

And go check out my Podcast The Kansas City Meditation Podcast

 

 

Posted in meditation

A Calm and Even Mind in the Pandemic

The world has stopped.

Well, it hasn’t really. But a whole lot of things have. My kids are out of school for the year. This year school ends at Spring Break. I’m not sad about this time at home with them, but I’m nervous I’ll go back to work before summer.

I’m working from home, and I’m one of the lucky ones. Some people are having to go to work during an outbreak. Other people have lost their jobs.  

It’s a really scary time.

But the worst thing to me is probably the uncertainty. We don’t know when this lockdown will end.

I’ve tried to encourage myself by encouraging others, so I’ve been doing videos every day on my Facebook page (facebook.com/dscharpy). I’m teaching from a text called “The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva.” I haven’t had the opportunity to teach a class on Buddhism in a long time and this is sort of scratching that itch for me, although I’d like the chance to do an in-person version and I’m hoping an opportunity like that appears.

Anyway,

There’s a virtue we talk about in Buddhism called Equanimity. It’s learning to face the storms of life with a calm and even mind. It can be a tremendously difficult thing to cultivate and it’s an area where our meditation practice helps us a great deal.

Equanimity is what helps us when everything is going wrong. Equanimity is what stops us from falling apart in an outbreak, when we feel trapped at home. Bad things come and go in life. There are little disasters and big disasters and life seems full of them. Equanimity is what gives us the ability to say, “Right now it’s like this, what can I do to make it better?” instead of always saying, “Why is this happening to me?”

When people talk about the benefits of meditation practice, they often focusing on attention, or clarity. Equanimity sometimes gets left out. But it’s so important and so needed. The truth is that when we’re better at paying attention, when we’re mindful, when we see the world around us clearly, not taking things so hard comes naturally. We learn how to grow that space between stimulus and response so we can hold the question, “What can I do right now?”

When we feel like we’re going to fall apart, we really need the space for that question.

We’re faced with a disaster right now. I told my kids to keep journals because they’re living through a big historical event and the won’t really understand the implications until later. This outbreak is big and there will be consequences for many years to come.

Returning to stillness is our hope for weathering this storm. If you have a meditation practice, don’t let the disruption to your routine make you stop. And if you don’t have one, it’s a good time to start.

We need more mindful people right now.

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Visit my YouTube Channel to hear  Talks!

If you’d like to support my work, please consider making a donation.

And go check out my Podcast The Kansas City Meditation Podcast

 

Posted in bodhisattva

Awakening in the Outbreak

I had a new plan all set up.

I had a new time and place set up for a weekly meditation group and I was cautiously excited about it. I was going to start in early April and hoping people would find me.

Now everything in the city is shut down and I’ve had to cancel that group until further notice. It was pretty discouraging when I realized I’d have to do it.

I don’t know if I’ll end up starting that group or not. The truth is I’m not sure my city needs another meditation community. There are a lot of meditation communities in Kansas City.

There’s just not one that has me teaching. I wonder sometimes if that’s as important as I think it is. That’s not the right word. I don’t think it’s important. I just feel like I have something to contribute as a teacher.

Anyway,

I’m home now. I’m one of the lucky ones sent home from work with pay during this crisis. My kids are home too. School has been canceled for at least a month, so they’re having the joy of watching their teachers teach in videos and doing assignments on their iPads. (I think the North Kansas City School District is doing a good job dealing with this situation. Everything they’re doing for “virtual school” seems to be working)

 

But the thing I really wanted to tell you about is this: I’m teaching online.

I’ve gotten inspired. I’m giving teachings every day. I say it’s to inspire and help others, but really it’s to inspire and help myself.

I’m doing live videos on my facebook page every day.

This is helping me keep it together and if it’s helping anyone else, I think that’s great. I’m giving talks on “The 37 Practices of All Bodhisattvas”

This is a text in 37 parts and I’m doing a dive into each one. We all need connection and encouragement right now. So come and let’s encourage each other.

It’s going to be 37 talks for 37 days, if I can keep up with it. I’m really inspired by the teachings in this text and I think you will be too.

As of this writing I’ve done 7 of them. You can go back and find the old ones, or start where you are, it makes no difference.

https://www.facebook.com/DScharpy/

follow my page and you should get notified when I go live.

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I’m also recording the audio for my podcast, so I’m dropping a new podcast episode every day.

If you’re interested in just audio, check out:

RSS Kansas City Meditation Podcast

 

The version of the text I’m using for these talks is called “Illuminating the 37 Practices of A Bodhisattva” and you can get it here if you’re interested:

Illuminating the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva

and if you’d rather not get on facebook, you can also see the videos on YouTube here:

Daniel Scharpenburg YouTube Channel