My Father Is Dying

Somewhere around 2004 or so—I no longer remember the exact year—my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. We’d been wondering why his legs had been feeling weak, and at first had thought he might have cervical spinal stenosis (a condition in which the spinal cord becomes compressed in the neck). But when the tell-tale cogwheel […]

Your Neighbor Is An Alcoholic, Redux

Photo: peteSwede

My patient smiled a toothless grin and told me, “I feel fine, doc.” But he was far from it. His liver enzymes had risen into the thousands, his skin was a pasty yellow I didn’t need the benefit of sunlight to see, and his albumin (a protein whose level indicates the liver’s […]

Transitioning To Illness

Photo: David Paul Ohmer

Sickness, in Buddhism, is considered one of the four inescapable sufferings of life. I’ve described some of my own misadventures with it in a previous post, Overcoming The Fear Of Death, in which I faced two potentially life-threatening problems. I recovered from both completely without any residual or long-lasting harm […]

The Importance Of Having A Mission

Photo: jurvetson

We’re all meaning-seeking creatures, rousing ourselves up out of bed on different days for different reasons—one day to pass a test, the next to help a troubled friend, the next to run errands—but always motivated to participate in each day by some kind of purpose. But if we plumb deeply enough into […]

The Double-Edged Sword Of Attachment

Photo: Snake3yes

Several weeks ago, my now 15-month-old son developed a fever to 103.5 F. Usually a champion sleeper, that night he woke several times with a frenetic look in his eyes and a jerkiness to his movements that frankly unnerved me. The heat coming off his little febrile body almost made me start […]

What Compassion Is

Photo: pedrosimones7

The other day I was out walking my son in his stroller (my now constant occupation) when a homeless woman approached me asking for money. I’d seen her before in the neighborhood many times, including behind our condominium using drugs. I turned down her request and continued walking, to my chagrin, as […]

Your Neighbor Is An Alcoholic

Photo: peteSwede

My patient smiled a toothless grin and told me, “I feel fine, doc.” But he was far from it. His liver enzymes had risen into the thousands, his skin was a pasty yellow I didn’t need the benefit of sunlight to see, and his albumin (a protein whose level indicates the liver’s […]

Changing Poison Into Medicine

Photo: Beverly & Pack

What’s the worst problem you have right now? Have you lost your home? Your job? Are you worried you might? Have you watched your savings diminish before your eyes as I have mine? Or are you facing a terrible illness?

From the Buddhist perspective, all people are endowed with the […]