Author Archive for Michael Greenleaf

Michael Greenleaf Email: info@samadhicushions.com
Website: http://blog.samadhicushions.com

Michael Greenleaf is an Acharya, or senior teacher, in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition. He also volunteers his time at the non profit Samadhi Cushions, working on marketing and internet issues. Michael is a member of the core faculty for Mukpo Institute, a residential program of meditation practice and study at the retreat center Karme Choling in Northern Vermont. Michael writes to share and loves to hear from his readers, appreciating every comment that is posted in response to his blog.

Posts by this author:

Jose Marti

Warriorship in Cuba: Part II

The oft quoted Jose Marti Continued from Part I: The next day our van and driver met us at our hotel in Old Havana to take us to the south side. On the way there was the usual stream of vintage American cars from the 1950’s. (Their original motors long gone, these cars were now powered by engines from Hyundai and Mercedes.) The traffic included noisy diesel trucks, and along the shoulder of the busy boulevard, the occasional donkey pulling a wooden wagon full of people and goods.  Near our (relatively) posh ... continue reading
Cuba Warriors, Part I

Warriorship in Cuba: Part I

Arrival in Havana–Fidel Photo Op “So, today you will enjoy a kosher lunch, followed by a trip to the synagogue…” our guide looked at us blankly, waiting for a reaction. Jeanine Greenleaf, the President of Samadhi Cushions and I, her husband, were in Cuba, traveling under the auspices of Shambhala. Our granddaughter Camille, a high school senior with four years of Spanish, would serve as a translator. Jeanine’s daughter Isabelle and our younger granddaughter Sophie would join us from France. As French citizens, they didn’t need a special purpose to visit Cuba, but ... continue reading

Seven Reasons to Tell the Truth

I have two teenage granddaughters. Recently, one of them found herself in trouble. Then she lied about it. Her trouble deepened. Fully acknowledging the mysteries of transitioning to adulthood, as well as the hypocrisy of those who claim to utter only the truth, I nevertheless felt moved to put in a plug for things as they are. There is much that could be said, but no time to say it. For all of us, choices between the truth and something else are being made everyday. “Life will go better for you ... continue reading
Nat King Cole

Mom, Buddha and Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole’s 1943 breakaway hit Straighten Up and Fly Right is based upon a folk tale his preacher father liked to tell. In the story, a buzzard offers to take fellow animals for a ride, only to toss them to their death once airborne. The buzzard then dines on the carrion. After watching his jungle friends take the ride and bite the dust, a monkey hops on. Hip to the buzzard’s plan, the monkey employs his tail to choke the buzzard before the scavenger can do him in. In ... continue reading
Meditation Circle

Meditation: Waiting to Connect

It was 1975. My Buddhist meditation teacher was coming to NYC. I wanted to see him. I also wanted my Aunt and Uncle, who lived near my boarding school in rural PA, to be able to appreciate him as well. Besides, I didn’t really know the city and could use some help getting there. A high school senior, I had been practicing on my meditation cushion for several years. Aunt and Uncle were skeptical. This was before the Dalia Lama, before karma was in Merriam Webster’s. If Buddhism wasn’t a cult, it was certainly foreign. ... continue reading
OUR-BLOG-AUG-B

A Buddhist Institute: Students Welcome

A while back in this blog we reported on a graduation ceremony of sorts for students in a residential program of meditation and study at Karmê Chöling here in Northern Vermont. The Buddhist Institute, which includes a month of meditation, runs in both the fall and spring semesters and is known as the Mukpo Institute–after the family name held by Chögyam Trungpa and his son and dharma heir, Sakyong Mipham. While not monastic, this is a kind of ‘temple-stay’ at a Buddhist institution that goes beyond spiritual tourism.  It represents a commitment ... continue reading
Meditation Red Flags

Meditation Practice:10 Red Flags

Some “Red Flags” that might mean it’s time to  look deeper into your discipline of meditation: 1.  Sitting on your meditation cushion, you give yourself only one option: feeling good. As for the other stuff—more or less your life—you take the attitude that it’s somehow all behind you. 2.  In any given session, the number of times your mind meets the now corresponds with the number of times your smart phone vibrates. 3.  Your meditation is anxious. After all, it’s about time you were a better person. 4. Having decided that you are fine just as you were, you meditate ... continue reading
Quick Roasted Brussels sprouts

A Secret Shared

Tonight I have to be at the meditation center. Our little study group, all long-time practitioners of Buddhist meditation, will meet at 5:30. With our teacher’s blessing, 8-10 of us are reading and discussing sacred “terma,” or “hidden treasure” texts from the Shambhala tradition. The road to this study group was long. Many years of dedicated meditation practice, contemplation, retreats, and funds were required. Perhaps this is why we are so few. Students of meditation, we are also school teachers, engineers, bookkeepers, artists, Internet geeks, business executives, nurses, parents, and grandparents. The ... continue reading
The Path of Meditation

The True Refuge

According to my meditation teacher, to practice meditation is to be vulnerable, requiring the discipline of simplifying and slowing down. This journey takes intelligence and a willingness to acknowledge our connection to others. Sitting on our meditation cushion, we are exposed. Our willingness to be exposed is an expression of strength. Of course security is important and meditation requires relaxation. But if we are left alone for a minute, and we give our discursiveness a rest, inevitably we begin to feel. To feel what we are feeling is to be human. ... continue reading
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Remembering My Self

April 1st Barnet, Vermont We remember here Acharya Michael Greenleaf, a senior teacher in Shambhala and a co-founder of the wildly successful Mukpo Institute. The Acharya’s road to revered ‘would-be Master’ was not easy or anticipated. As a boy, he mercilessly harassed his one sibling, a younger brother. Both smarter and more sensitive than Michael, Tony suffered this abuse with dignity. Later, Michael would take credit for “introducing my brother to the Buddhist path of patience and loving kindness.” By the age of 13, a growing intuition told Michael that his destiny lay in ... continue reading