This web site invites inquiry into early Buddhism, especially the relational or interpersonal practices and potentials found in the Pali suttas, along with corollaries of those early practices in contemporary life and practice.
Such inquiry inevitably involves some engagement with scholarship, but by intention it is also personal, ad hoc, and a bit haphazard—reflecting the opportunities, teachings, and experiences that come to me. Read more about this project.
Ānanda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, Ānanda said to the Blessed One, "This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie."
"Don't say that, Ānanda. Don't say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life."
—Upaḍḍha ("Half") Sutta, SN 45.2
discussion:"Great work, Martha! I loved the video of Shinzen Young—very insightful. I do believe improv is a way of life, not about being funny. If everyone took just one improv class the world would be a better place, guaranteed."
on "Improvisation As a Spiritual Practice"
- "The similarity of improv and no self is striking. ... It is so difficult to act without the inner judging ego, but I believe the freedom that results must be exhilarating! And terrifying, like jumping off a cliff. And, I hope, a lot of fun! "
on "Improvisation as a Spiritual Practice"
Category: 21st century relational practice
[I wrote this in 2015 for a group of college students. But the need to wrangle attention runs through all of life: museum-going is just another instance of practice in daily life.] Visiting a museum is sometimes hard work—at least, … Continue reading
I have been doing some improv this fall—as a spiritual practice. Standard principles of improv include: stay in the present moment, listen carefully, do not get tangled up in your ego, keep letting go of your idea from a second … Continue reading
On five Tuesdays in April and May (2013) I led Dharma Contemplation for a group of seven meditators, reading passages from the Pali suttas. Continue reading
My friend Liz and I led a series of interfaith dialogues this spring, using the protocol of Greg Kramer’s Dharma Contemplation and reading texts from a variety of world religions. Continue reading
Suppose for a moment that play were a root from which mindfulness develops—its immediate precursor, or most archaic form—and that root shared by accomplished meditators, children, and animals. What would that mean? How might it change our ideas of play? … Continue reading
I have been remembering my first encounter with Insight Dialogue and thinking about how my understanding of that practice has grown and shifted over the years. (Insight Dialogue, as some readers will know, is an interpersonal meditation practice in which … Continue reading
Eight participants (including myself) met in my small apartment on six Tuesday evenings in September and October (2012) for an experiment in Dharma Contemplation. (See here for my planning and intentions for this group.) For simplicity’s sake, I announced this … Continue reading
I’ve begun an experiment: facilitating group dialogic meditation using a text—using Greg Kramer’s Dharma Contemplation method—and doing so primarily as a way of conveying certain meditative skills. Dharma Contemplation is a meditative method engaging a text in four stages, a … Continue reading