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Author Archives: Maia

Changes at The Jizo Chronicles

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Changes at The Jizo Chronicles



Dear friends,

Over the past few months, I have been gradually bringing together material from all of my websites (this one, the Liberated Life Project, and Five Directions Consulting) into one new website, This is in part to make my life easier and in part to more clearly communicate what I offer.

What does this mean for The Jizo Chronicles? This website will continue to stay up, but I will no longer be posting new articles here and will not be sending messages out through this list.

I encourage you to sign up for my main mailing list so I can let you know when I’ve published new articles, as well as share my teaching and travel schedule. When you sign up, you’ll receive my monthly e-letter (comes out with every full moon), and very occasional other updates. That mailing list will replace this one as my primary means of staying in touch with you.

Older articles and features (like the “quote of the week“) will be archived here for your reference. There’s a lot of good stuff here, going back to when I first started this blog in 2009. I’ve had a wonderful ride with this site, and I am honored that it was named the “Buddhist Blog of the Year” back in 2010 by the Blogisattva Awards. Here are a few of the most popular articles as well as some of my favorites, to give you a quick reference to the archives:

Thank you for being a loyal reader of The Jizo Chronicles. I do hope you’ll continue to follow me on my new site, and that we’ll have a chance to connect with each other both virtually and in-person at some point down the road.





Maia’s Feb 2015 e-letter

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Temple door, Thailand / photo: Maia Duerr

Temple door, Thailand / photo: Maia Duerr

How to Find Your Hidden Treasure

Over the last few years, I’ve been re-visiting my love affair with magic, only now I understand it in a new way.When I was a kid, I wanted to be a magician. My little friends often invited me to do magic tricks at their birthday parties; I even had an old, cast-off brown suitcase where I stashed all my magical accoutrements – the wand, scarves, cups and balls, a deck of cards, and much more! With a big black magic marker, I wrote on the outside of the suitcase: “The Great Duerrini.”

Here’s what I believe: Magic happens when we take another look at something that’s been there all along and see it in a new way. Magic happens when we tap into that just-below-the-surface stream of wisdom and joy that is continually running.

Recently I got a wonderful email from a brilliant young woman, Firyal, who graduated from my “Fall in Love with Your Work” program last year. She’s worked in the nonprofit and foundation sector, with a focus on immigrant issues. She also has a love for contemplative practice.

During a transitional period in her employment, Firyal gave herself the gift of a three-day personal retreat, with yoga, meditation, and a deep dive into some of the explorations that were planted during “Fall in Love with Your Work.” She described it as a “truly transformative” experience, one which has given her much more “clarity and ease in flow of next steps” related to her career. Here’s what she wrote me:

Who would’ve thought that the very thing I’m interested in building a livelihood around (connections around intentional space and contemplative practice in community development) is what I created for myself! Oh universe — you’re so unsneaky, if only we paid attention!!

So often the thing that we most love to do, that we do so naturally we don’t even think about it and it feels like play — that is our hidden treasure. It’s definitely the key to creating a livelihood that sings – I’ve seen that over and over in my own life and with the people who take “Fall in Love with Your Work.” But it’s the key to so much else as well.

If you’re feeling a bit lost and adrift in your life, may I suggest that the pathway out may be easier than you think. What you are seeking is not far, not far at all. In fact it is right under your nose. All it requires is that you make space for it to reveal itself, and that you pay attention. The universe really is “un-sneaky.” Thank you for that, Firyal!

In freedom,




Re-Connection and Renewal
Interested in bringing mindfulness into your workplace? Re-Connection and Renewal (R+R) workshops and retreats are designed to do just that. Along with Katya Lesher, I offered a one-day R+R workshop Spiritual Directors International and for staff of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Get in touch with me to learn more about how you can bring a custom-designed R+R to your group or organization.

June 2015: Retreat at Upaya Zen Center
Katya Lesher and I will be co-leading “Re-Connection and Renewal: A Women’s Weekend of Mindful Nourishment” at Upaya Zen Center, June 26-28, 2015. I’d love to have you join us here in beautiful Santa Fe.


The Enlightened Teacher: Vignettes to Guide Your Practice by Dr. Patty Lee

The Art of Focused Conversation: 100 Ways to Access Group Wisdom in the Workplace, edited by R. Brian Stanfield

Mankiller: A Chief and Her People by Wilma Mankiller

Waking Up to Your Life in 2015

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Waking Up to Your Life in 2015



Dear friend of the Jizo Chronicles,

I wanted to let you know about a new program I’ve created that you may be interested in…

Waking Up to Your Life” will support you to establish or deepen a practice and learn how to apply that practice in a powerful way that helps you to have healthier relationships, more fulfilling work, and deeper engagement with our world.

Katya Lesher and I will be your guides for this journey — both of us have many years of experience as meditation practitioners and we are deeply dedicated to supporting others to realize the many gifts of having a practice.

Because this is the first time we’re offering “Waking Up to Your Life,” this first cohort will be limited to 15 people. We have set up an application process to make sure that the program will be a good fit for what you are seeking. We are accepting applications through Monday, January 5, and there are still a few spaces left.

If this feels right to you, we’d love to have you join us! To learn more please visit this web page:

If you’re ready to apply right now, you can find the application here.

many blessings for the new year,


Holiday Greetings from Maia

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Holiday Greetings from Maia


“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach….

Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely…

To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these — to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both – are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity….Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.”

~ Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes 

As this year draws to a close, I am so grateful for your support of The Jizo Chronicles. There is so much going on in our world these days… and your bright light is needed now more than ever. I take great comfort in knowing we are on this journey together, each of us contributing what we can toward a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

I hope you consider giving yourself a gift during this holiday season! Here are two ideas for you:

  • Visit the Liberated Life Project Marketplace over on my ‘other’ website and see which one of the creations or services there speaks to your heart… maybe an intuitive reading to help shine some light on your direction, or maybe a set of hand-made prayer flags to bless your home… and so much more.
  • If you want to commit to establishing or deepening your meditation practice in the new year, please consider the new three-month program that Katya Lesher and I are offering: Waking Up to Your Life. We are accepting applications for the inaugural version of this program until January 5 (the program starts on February 1).

Wishing you and your loved ones a deeply peaceful and nourishing end-of-the-year!



Which Side Are You On?

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Which Side Are You On?



Justice is traditionally represented by the symbol of a scale, where the strengths of a case’s opposition and support are weighed out, ostensibly with impartial objectivity.

This symbolism is noble but doesn’t take into account the often-unconscious biases that we carry into so many situations, the collective sum total of which amount to institutionalized racism, sexism, classism, and more.

Even so, the scale is an important symbol that helps us to visualize countervailing energies.

I believe that somewhere there is a metaphorical scale that is collecting the courageous responses that have been flowing so strongly these past weeks: from the thousands of people of color and white folks showing up in the streets of New York, Oakland, Chicago, St. Louis, and other cities – often in the face of police armed with military-grade guns and equipment, teargas canisters, and even tanks – to individuals who are writing brave words, folks like Paul Gorski talking about the challenging conversations we need to be having, and like Jessie S, naming how anti-black racism lives in each of us and what to do about it.

On the other side of the scale are the acts that have provoked these responses and the silence that so often accompanies them. This past week it was the decisions from Missouri and New York grand juries to not indict the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner, respectively. But these are simply the latest in a long long long line of injustices, and the conspiracy of silence and complicity which keep those injustices in place.

As terrible as these grand jury decisions have been, they are serving the purpose of waking up a lot of people who have been oblivious to or in denial of racial injustice. It’s pretty impossible to deny that something is horribly wrong when you watch the video of Eric Garner – a peaceful and unarmed man who did nothing more than selling a few cigarettes on the street – pleading for his life.

And then you realize that the officers involved are not being held accountable in any way.

And then you learn that young black males are 21 times more likely to be shot dead by the police compared to their white counterparts.

And that African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites

The scale is there, waiting for you to weigh in. Which will it be? Speaking out the truth of this suffering and finding ways to respond to it… or remaining silent, eyes closed, living in the ignorance of your personal comfort zone.

I am speaking right now particularly to those of you who identify as Buddhist, and who happen to be white. If you choose to remain silent now, to turn away, you are weighing in on the side of perpetuating the injustices that run rampant in our society.

Because you see, something big is a’brewing right now, and you, me, we have a precious opportunity to step up and help it happen. This waking up is not just an individual thing. This process that the Buddha illuminated more than 5000 years ago involves everything and everybody. This is what he said at the moment of his waking up, “I and all sentient beings on earth, together, attain enlightenment at the same time.”

I realize the title of this article will irritate dharma practitioners who have studied and practiced the way of non-duality. I am one of you (a longtime dharma practitioner), and I get that. I get your concern.

And – this is an invitation to realize that non-duality includes points at which we need to take a stand on the side of love. You can hold a place of compassion for an individual officer who may have been trying his best in the moment, and yet call out the ways that he (or she) acted from a place of unexamined bias, and call out a ‘justice’ system that is blind to the reality of racism.

It’s time.

Which side are you on?

If you’re ready to stand on the side of love, here are some starting points:

  • Use your dharma practice to help you settle into a place of receptivity and curiosity…. And get in touch with your deep intention to help all beings be free from suffering, yourself included.
  • Listen. Listen to the experience of people of color without jumping to defensiveness or explanations. Be willing to be in a space of ‘not knowing.’ We have much to learn.
  • Understand that racism hurts all of us. Don’t act out of guilt. Realize it is in everyone’s best interest, including yours, to dismantle an unjust system.
  • Organize a conversation about institutionalized oppression, racism, and privilege in your sangha. Get inspired by the models of the East Bay Meditation Center and Brooklyn Zen Center who have put the values of diversity and inclusivity at the heart of their practice.
  • Show up in support of actions that are happening in your city.
  • Join up with Sangha in the Streets, a Facebook group where you can find out about ways to offer a contemplative presence at these actions, or initiate one yourself.
  • Start a conversation about what the Beloved Community would look and feel like, talk about your vision and listen to others. Check out this video from Dr. Lee Lipp, a senior practitioner at San Francisco Zen Center.

Above all, don’t be silent. Don’t turn away. You may not know what to do, but you can at least talk about that… talk about what you are seeing that deeply disturbs you, reach out to others, start a conversation about what needs to happen. And listen, always listen.

Maia’s Nov 2014 e-Letter

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Maia’s Nov 2014 e-Letter


As this month’s full moon shines down and illuminates the valley that is my home here in Santa Fe, I’m thinking about deep change and transformation.

Over the past month, I’ve been supporting the 24 people who are going through “Fall in Love with Your Work.” One of the things I love about teaching this course is watching the transformations that unfold for participants on their way to create right livelihood.

When I first created the course, I didn’t anticipate the deep levels of change that people would go through – not all of those changes directly related to their work. Some of them ended relationships that no longer served them or their partners. Some started exciting new projects, like a meditation group for their local community. Some dove headlong into creative endeavors that they had been postponing for way too long.

I thought I was simply offering a course that might help people get closer to work they would love. But in the process, I started to get how much our work in the world is an expression of our soul. So of course it makes sense that by deeply connecting with our mission and purpose related to livelihood, we would experience a shift at a soul level as well.

Transformation is not about making superficial changes – it’s about radically altering something at a deep level. What makes transformation possible?

These are what I call the“3 Building Blocks of Transformation”…

Read more here


Upcoming Happenings/Events


Coming in December!
Featuring creations and services from graduates of
​”Fall in Love with Your Work”
photoDec 21: Seattle Liberation Lounge!
If you’re in the Seattle area, I’d love to meet you in person! Join me on Sunday, December 21, for a “Liberation Lounge” afternoon soiree with like-minded and spirited folks. We’ll explore the nature of liberation, celebrate the Solstice, and enjoy some yummy treats. You can RSVP via Facebook or contact me at for more details.


Re-Connection and Renewal
Interested in bringing mindfulness into your workplace? Re-Connection and Renewal (R+R) workshops and retreats are designed to do just that. This past month, along with my friend and colleague Katya Lesher, I offered a one-day R+R retreat for staff of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Get in touch with me to learn more about how you can bring a custom-designed R+R to your group or organization.

June 2015: Retreat at Upaya Zen Center
Katya Lesher and I will be co-leading “Re-Connection and Renewal: A Women’s Weekend of Mindful Nourishment” at Upaya Zen Center, June 26-28, 2015.
Please save the dates — I’d love to have you join us here in beautiful Santa Fe.

If you’d like to sign up for my mailing list to receive these monthly e-letters, c’mon over here.

Taking a Stand and Sitting Still

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photo: Joshua Eaton

photo: Joshua Eaton

There’s some good stuff going on in the world of Socially Engaged Buddhism these days…. I want to pass these along to you:

  • Rev. Danny Fisher has made some big changes in his life — leaving his position as director of the University of the West Buddhist Chaplaincy Program, moving to Toronto with his wonderful wife Stephanie, and starting a new web venture: “Off the Cushion.” In its short existence, Off the Cushion has featured stories on Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi and the People’s Climate March, Cambodia’s social justice monks, and “Buddhism After Ferguson,” a podcast of an interview with Buddhist Peace Fellowship’s Dawn Haney (Director of Training & Development) and Katie Loncke (Director of Media and Action). Danny’s doing some innovative stuff on his new website… check it out!
  • Speaking of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, my old stomping grounds, have you been following their series on the Four Noble Truths? It’s been unfolding all this past year with a number of excellent writers and dharma teachers taking a look at the Four Noble Truths through the lens of social and environmental justice. One of my favorite authors of the series has been Funie Hsu, a former LA public school teacher and Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Davis in the School of Education. Funie is focusing her four articles on how systemic violence plays out in students’ lives.
  • BPF is also sponsoring a call on November 3, 6 pm (PDT), on “How Does you Dharma Practice Support Your Social Justice Work in the World?” I’ll be speaking on the call, as well as The Revolution Starts At Home author Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and East Bay Meditation Center sangha leader Max Airborne. The call is for BPF members — you can become one and support this great organization on this page.
  • And finally, you may want to join up with Sangha in the Streets, a Facebook group I started back in 2011 during the Occupy Movement as a way for contemplative practitioners to find each other and organize “public displays of practice” as part of larger protests. Since that time, it’s been a way to stay connected and has recently become more active around the People’s Climate March and Ferguson, MO.

In the end, it’s all about staying connected and staying present….










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