Your weekend reader, from the publishers of Lion's Roar and Buddhadharma.

WEEKEND READER
Sometimes, it’s all too easy for us to look at the great Buddhist teachers who inspire us and end up discouraged: How can we ever measure up? But that’s what not what these teachers want. They want us to take the pressure off, to enjoy ourselves, and make that enjoyment part of our practice. May their friendly counsel lighten, and enlighten, you. —Rod Meade Sperry, editor, LionsRoar.com  
 
Photo (detail) by Mark Daynes
In this exclusive Lion’s Roar interview, Thich Nhat Hanh encourages us to be gentle with ourselves and let our practice develop naturally.
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“There are two things,” says Thich Nhat Hanh, “to be and to do. Don’t think too much about to do—to be is first. To be peace. To be joy. To be happiness. And then to do joy, to do happiness—on the basis of being. So first you have to focus on the practice of being. Being fresh. Being peaceful. Being attentive. Being generous. Being compassionate. This is the basic practice.” [...]
 
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Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche on cultivating genuine cheerfulness.
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We don’t have to regard meditating as a somber activity; we can think of it as sitting there and being cheerful. We are using a technique to build clarity, strength and flexibility of mind. In training our mind in pliability and power, we’re learning to relax, to loosen up, so that we can change our attitude on a dime. Strength of mind and pliancy are the causes and result of cheerfulness.

When we rise from our meditation seat, we can continue the practice of cheerfulness as we bring it forth into our day. When we’re about to sink into a depression or indulge in discursiveness, we can entertain the notion that cheerfulness is an endless possibility, one that gives us the option of moving forward in any situation, instead of being oppressed by it. [...]
 
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Sylvia Boorstein offers guidance for recovering from confusing distress and restoring your mind-state to one of comfort.
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I am trying to cultivate a mind like a GPS, ever vigilant to where I am and unwavering in clarity about my destination, all the while never losing its patience and never challenging my confidence. The Return Home icon on my mind GPS would automatically reroute me to Mindful (for clear seeing), Concentrated (for confident stability), and Wise Effort. [...]
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