Essays are short pieces of writing that were self-published independently. For essays published in periodicals, see articles. For essays published in edited collections by various authors, see papers. For essays published in books by the same author, see excerpts. For essays published as booklets, see booklets.

We, moderns but especially Americans, have a fundamental misunderstanding of cognitive development: we assume that higher-level functioning is always desired and so disparage and neglect fundamental cognitive skills.

I would say that the Nikāyas and Āgamas give us a “historical-realistic perspective” on the Buddha, while the Mahāyāna sūtras give us a “cosmic-metaphysical perspective.”

A good sutta is one that inspires you to stop reading it.

A tour of pre-modern, Buddhist bridges and a comment on the deeper roots of engaged Buddhism.

he believed in nothing but himself. Actually, this is neither Buddhism nor Chan

Bodhisattvas who genuinely take the bodhisattva vow of ethical discipline do nothing but act for the benefit of beings, either directly or indirectly, but unless one is skilful in benefiting these beings, no matter how much one does, it might not benefit beings, but could actually be a direct or indirect cause of harm.

You might wish to drink the nectar of calm abiding…

it may be America’s destiny not to make Buddhism perfect but to make it banal

Ajahn Geoff explains how the monastic institution works by creating an economy of gifts.

A short essay on what the path is to become a Theravada Monastic.

the time for discovering Buddha directly, you must remain alone

A beautiful sermon on the value of monasticism.

It’s interesting to walk through the graveyards of towns, and see that for the first few years after a person dies there may be a head stone, maybe someone remembers, but after twenty, thirty, or forty years, they could bulldoze the graves because the land is so valuable and plant somebody else in there. So even your head stone just crumbles to dust. All record of you living here is gone, because no one remembers who you were or what you did. Isn’t that beautiful? So why not do that right now? Bulldoze this idea of who you are

If a sensation of itchiness intervenes and the yogi desires to scratch because it is hard to bear, both the sensation and the desire to get rid of it should be noted, without immediately getting rid of the sensation by scratching.

We wouldn’t say “this is proof of reincarnation,” but I would say it’s strong evidence of something like it.

The inspiring (and frustrating) story of one modern, South Indian reformer who turned towards Buddhism as a refuge from exploitation.

this paper aims for a philosophically more nuanced discussion of the case for and against eating locally. I assess, in turn, locavore arguments based on environmental preservation, human health, community support, agrarian values and political concerns

Mansplaining is not a universal flaw of the gender, just the intersection between overconfidence and cluelessness where some portion of that gender gets stuck.

There is no single “swiss-army knife” technique that works equally well at all times; instead, we must carefully examine our present conditions and determine what practice is most relevant.

Doctor, if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world

An intriguing (re)definition of religion, science, and culture.

Furtwängler’s Bach is no smug or mindless adaptation of Bach to the style of Wagner. It is a reaffirmation of the presence of Bach in Wagner and the simultaneous, reciprocal presence of Wagner in Bach.

It is inescapable that, whatever the reading, according to the early texts the Buddha did not have “normal” genitals. And the only reading actually supported by a canonical text is that the Buddha was intersex, and his genitals looked like a woman’s.

During my first weeks with my teacher, Ajaan Fuang, I began to realize that he had psychic powers.

Kammaṭṭhāna meditation should be practised so as to reach Nibbāna, thereby escaping from all kinds of misery

while the Theravādins have preserved the clearest and best-understood early texts referring to the in-between state, their philosophical posture prevented them from investigating and describing this in any detail. For that we shall have to listen to the other schools, starting with the Puggalavādins and Sarvāstivādins, as passed down through the Chinese and Tibetan traditions.

I swear, you will wake–
& mistake these walls
for skin.

Reverend Sirs, I would like the reverend bhikkhus and bhikkhunis—as well as the laymen and laywomen—to listen to these passages frequently and to ponder on them.

A fascinating series of open letters between Ajahn Geoff and Bhikkhu Bodhi on the subject of “just war.”

Forget you. This is about waiting

A defense of abortion and IVF rights from the Buddhist perspective.

I give you back 1948.