Author Archives: Martha Lee Turner

G. C. Pande’s Stratigraphic Criteria

Overview and critique of the methods presented by G. C. Pande for separating the Pali suttas into early and late material. Continue reading

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Paying Attention: How to Endure Spending Time in an Art Museum

[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

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Getting the (Working) Mind to Empty

Personal productivity expert David Allen describes a type of distractibility very familiar to meditators—and diagnoses it as stemming from the attempt to manage too commitments in short term memory, which is poorly suited to the task. He thinks we can get to concentrated clarity and “flow” by managing those commitments outside the mind, in an external system reliable enough that the mind can trust it. Continue reading

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Improv, Dress Up, and Deity Yoga: Playing With Identity

I got interested in improv when I saw a connection between it and certain forms of meditation that work to deconstruct the sense of a solid and permanent self—particularly, deity yoga. Continue reading

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Improvisation As a Spiritual Practice

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

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Reading the Suttas with Dharma Contemplation

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

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Dharma Contemplation Now Available as E-book

Greg Kramer’s book Dharma Contemplation: Meditating Together With Wisdom Texts (Orcas, WA: Metta, 2011) is now available for e-readers in EPub and Mobi formats! Continue reading

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Dharma Contemplation for Interfaith Dialogue

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

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Play As a Root of Sati (Mindfulness)

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

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Meditating at the Edge of Reactivity

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

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Experiment Using Dharma Contemplation: First Series

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

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About This Project

So, who am I, publishing this stuff? And what on earth do I think I’m doing? Short answer: I’ve been thinking and wondering, in recent years, about the role of relationship in Buddhist practice, both early and contemporary. Somewhere in … Continue reading

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The Scent of Green Papaya

This movie presents a young Vietnamese girl who habitually meets the world with bright, steady, clear attention and just a trace of a Buddha-like smile. Continue reading

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Experiment Using Dharma Contemplation: Planning

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

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Pali Flashcards for Lily de Silva’s Primer

Here’s a deck of flashcards for Lily de Silva’s Pali Primer. They work in the flashcard program Anki, which is the best free/open source flashcard program I could find. (I’d be interested to know if you have another favorite.) Anki … Continue reading

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Lighting Up The Night: Mahagosinga Sutta, MN 32

It was a dark and stormy retreat afternoon. My mind was dull, my body sagged. Suddenly, I remembered Mahāgosinga Sutta, MN 32. Continue reading

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Half of the Holy Life: Upaddha Sutta, SN 45.2

This web site draws its name from the Upaḍḍha Sutta, a conversation between the Buddha and Ānanda. (The word upaḍḍha itself means “half.”) Ānanda exclaims about the value of friendship, and the Buddha responds by describing two ways in which … Continue reading

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