Dottie shared her realization about the abundance of Buddhist literature available and how she has learned to be content with not acquiring every book that piques her interest. Acknowledging the numerous volumes on her shelves, she adopted a practice of “grazing,” randomly opening a book and reading a paragraph, often finding profound insights without the need to read cover to cover.

She mentioned that her teacher, Michael, also follows a similar approach, emphasizing the value of extracting meaningful snippets without feeling obligated to read entire books. Dottie termed this practice as “grazing,” a method to avoid being overwhelmed by the extensive literature available. She cautioned against the temptation to sign up for every online teaching or event promoted through emails, emphasizing the importance of balance in consuming information. Dottie advised herself and others to be mindful of not going overboard and to find a balance between external sources and personal contemplation.

Dick and Bonnie

In their joint perspective, Bonnie invites others to explore the teachings and readings, emphasizing the compatibility of their practice with various belief systems. She encourages individuals to take their time, highlighting the notion that embracing mindfulness doesn’t necessitate discarding existing beliefs. Instead, it allows for an additive and expansive approach to personal growth.

Dick echoes Bonnie’s sentiment, emphasizing the misconception that moving on from one belief system means abandoning it. He views personal growth and evolution as an effort to carry forward the valuable aspects of one’s past. Playfully identifying as a “Zen Baptist,” he notes how his Baptist background, despite his shift away from theistic beliefs, has been enriched by incorporating principles and practices into their newer Buddhist path.

Both Dick and Bonnie advocate for the importance of singing as a transformative practice. Dick, in particular, encourages people to use their voices, seeing singing as a powerful way to synchronize body, mind, and breath. They believe that engaging in singing can be a life-changing experience, offering a holistic approach to well-being.


Bryn offers advice to those embarking on their Buddhist journey, encouraging them to relax and not let the vastness of the teachings overwhelm their personality. She acknowledges the diverse styles and books within Buddhism, assuring newcomers that they don’t need to worry about comprehending everything.

Highlighting the Buddha’s teaching of 84,000 different ways, Bryn emphasizes that individuals learn differently and should find an approach that suits them. Rather than being obsessive, she recommends starting with a small, consistent practice, even if it’s just five minutes a day. Bryn reassures that it’s acceptable to modify longer practices to make them more manageable, emphasizing the importance of adapting the practice to one’s own pace.

She acknowledges the significance of having a Sangha, a community of practitioners, as it provides support and diverse experiences. While acknowledging that some traditions may discourage individual modifications, Bryn underscores the value of finding an approach that resonates personally. Ultimately, she encourages newcomers to explore and not miss out on the profound teachings due to initial challenges or off-putting aspects.


Pema offers insights into recognizing authentic teachers, teachings, and practices, particularly for those new to Buddhism. She emphasizes the complexity of determining authenticity, acknowledging her own ongoing learning journey. Pema highlights the individualized nature of this evaluation, urging consideration of the practitioner’s personal transformation and alignment with teachings.

Drawing parallels with experiences in yoga, Pema notes that not all teachers, even those from abroad, may possess the highest qualifications. Instead of relying on traditional terms, she suggests practical questions, such as inquiring about a teacher’s lineage, daily practice, and the evolution of students over time. Pema encourages understanding the stories of students, their transformative experiences, and the challenges they faced.

Challenging the notion that a teacher’s role is to make students feel better, Pema advises seeking instructors who facilitate change and progress toward personal aspirations. She cautions against choosing a teacher solely based on personal liking, emphasizing the importance of guidance that fosters growth, even if it initially feels challenging. Pema acknowledges the difficulty in determining authenticity, suggesting a multifaceted approach that includes both traditional considerations and contemporary insights, leaving room for ongoing exploration and discovery.