life as guru…

There is only one teacher.

What is that teacher?

Life itself.

~ Charlotte Joko Beck

there’s a teaching in Buddhism that we can approach life in a way that everything is workable. we can engage our life in a way that whatever we are experiencing can be worked with as a way to go deeper, to learn, to let go, to wake up.

what we are experiencing can actually be the fertilizer for our growth, for our steadying of mind and our opening of heart. others like Ram Dass and Richard Rohr have called this “grist for the mill.”

what life gives us can be used for our benefit and the benefit of others. life itself gives us the material to wake up to our life.


#life #teacher #guru #path #practice #EngagedBuddhism #Zen #enso #calligraphy #JinpaLhaga #JMWart #art

simplicity is key…

simplicity is key.

in our discomfort, we often overfill our plates. the more we have or the busier we are, can seem to be better.

however, these can be distractions from actually engaging with our lives in a way that is authentic, revealing, clarifying, and that transforms pain and allows for healing.

the superfluous additions to our material possessions and an overbooked calendar can add unnecessary complications and chaos to our lives which can bring more suffering. the imbalance brings stress, exhaustion, less connection – more suffering.

simplicity allows for life.

it is refreshing and allows for natural cycles and patterns to be seen. it allows wisdom to reveal herself. it assists in calming and steadying our minds, and opening our hearts.

we’ve heard it said, “less is more“ right?

i’ll gladly take more of less!



#simplicity #harmony #balance #wisdom #Ryokan #path #practice #EngagedBuddhism #JinpaLhaga

Happy Birthday Pema Chodron!

Happy 85th Birthday to Pema Chödrön!

her down to earth, no nonsense, humorous writing has had a significant imprint on my practice and life. as has been the case for many people across a diverse audience, not just Buddhists.

i often share her quotes in my posts. The Wisdom Of No Mistake is a great book for people just coming to a meditation practice.

ironically it wasn’t one of the first books of hers that i read, but it has become a mainstay that i return to often.

may her practice and teaching continue to bring benefit for many years to come!


#PemaChodron #meditation #path #practice #Buddhism #JinpaLhaga

circle of compassion…

No one lives outside the walls of this sacred place, existence.

~ Saint Francis of Assisi

who stands outside of our circle of compassion? can we imagine a circle of compassion where no one stands outside it it?


#sacred #life #compassion #AllPeople #AllLife #interdependence #EngagedBuddhist #Zen #enso #JinpaLhaga #JMWart

July 4th – may we be what we espouse to be…

the wise and poetic words of Langston Hughes on this July 4th.

may everyone have a safe and enjoyable holiday with family and friends. and in some moment, some quiet moment beyond the celebration may we look deeper with open hearts.

the ideals and principles of this country are worthy of celebration, but as a country, we have not yet reached the ideals espoused and etched in our Constitution. we have not arrived with everyone, for everyone.

yet, the ideals espoused are worth the reach, worth the work, worth the sacrifice. worth defending against destructive forces within and without, and against authoritarianism.

i encourage everyone to read Mr. Hughes’ full poem. it challenges with hard truths, yet inspires with a deep call to action.

in Buddhist circles, some say “Happy Interdependence Day” as a recognition that we are all in this together and no one can nor should be left out.

imagine if people lived in a recognition of the truth of interdependence, the truth of our interconnection with each other and all life?

people wouldn’t have had the need to flee oppressive rule in another country only to come to this land and then colonize and oppress a people who had called this land home for thousands of years before. we must recognize and heal this harm, we must end the pattern of harming.

we have a lot of work to do, but the ideals and principles espoused in the premise of this country and in our Constitution, yet to be realized, must continue to be our goal and our work for ALL people.


#July4th #InterdependenceDay

the light inside…

when we say “let go” we are not saying “push away.” it isn’t a form of aversion. rather it is an antidote to attachment.

when we say “let go” we mean, release your grasp. stop holding onto fixed, rigid views. it is a different approach to life where we stop attempting to manipulate, dominate, or control.

instead, we relax our relationship to our thoughts and we open our hearts. when we do this, our underlying nature (our true nature), one of light, love, gentleness, and intelligence shines through.


#LetGo #trust #light #love #intelligence #OpenHeart #path #practice #EngagedBuddhism #art #JMWart #JinpaLhaga

an open heart is the best teacher…

it’s been a little over a week since i joined in my first post-vaccinated pandemic gathering to celebrate a dear friend and teacher Laura Whitten as she retired from over 3 decades of teaching. it was so inspirational to be in that space, to hear testimonials to the beneficial influence she has had on so many lives. to bear witness to all the love.

i know in my high school experience, she was a safe space, a place of open hearted love – sometimes tough and fierce, sometimes warm and gentle, but always open and ready to dive in and do whatever was necessary to benefit her students. love does what it needs to do.

i know i was extremely fortunate to have a few teachers in my life who filled this space. it really makes a difference for the better. teachers need to be celebrated more! the value of a teacher and the benefit they have on their students cannot be overestimated or over celebrated.

i want to share the enso/calligraphy art i gifted, because i think its message can apply to our lives as well. i will borrow from the message i shared on the back of the art:

when we live with an open heart, when we teach with an open heart, we are teaching others how to be more human. they are learning how to be a presence of unconditional love, a space of safety, and beneficial force for others in the world.

additionally, when we ourselves practice having an open heart, we are welcoming life and those around us to teach us how to be a more beneficial force in the world, in this life, and to be more human. so, with an open heart we are both teacher and student. in this way, an open heart is the best teacher.

grateful to Laura and all incredible teachers out there changing lives and life for the better. true bodhisattvas! may i too live and teach in such a way. ❤️🙏🏻


#teachers #OpenHeart #benefit #bodhisattvas #education #learning #path #practice #JinpaLhaga #JMWart #art #enso #calligraphy #zen

the universe…

felt moved this evening by the great mystery of this place, this life. had the sudden urgency to paint my own rendition of the famous Zen art of the circle, triangle and square. the original art is by the Japanese Zen Master, Sengai Gibon from the Edo period. the piece was not titled by Sengai, but has often been titled by others as Maru-Sankaku-Shikaku, or in English as The Universe.

here we are.


#universe #life #mystery #gratitude #path #practice #EngagedBuddhism #Zen #calligraphy #art #enso #Sengai #JinpaLhaga #JMWart

love vow for life…

may we embody love.

may we abide in love.

may we align with love.

may we let go

into the flow

of love.


oof! love.

so much to say. i’ve written three versions of commentary to my verse above. here’s the shortest:


it isn’t attachment.

it is much more spacious, vast, and resilient than we think.

it leaves no one out (including ourselves).

it is who we fundamentally are.

may we live it as so.


#path #practice #love #life #presence #OpenHeart #EngagedBuddhism #JinpaLhaga