Bryn recounts the challenges and transformations she experienced when her mother moved in with her. Initially, Bryn and her mother faced difficulties as Bryn struggled with unmet expectations and her mother’s resistance to help. Through her Buddhist practice, Bryn gained self-awareness and recognized the suffering created by their conflicting desires for how their relationship should unfold.

Over time, Bryn’s perspective shifted as she self-reflected on her relationship with her mother. When asked if she wanted her mother to live elsewhere, Bryn realized she wanted her mother with her and committed to working through their challenges. This shift, facilitated by her practice, eased the difficulties in their relationship, allowing Bryn to be present for her mother.

As her mother approached the end of her life, Bryn found solace in Buddhist teachings on impermanence. The practice enabled her to be present without resisting the natural process of death. Bryn experienced profound moments of love and openness as she embraced the impermanence of life.

One significant struggle Bryn and her mother shared was a reluctance to ask for or accept help. However, nearing the end, Bryn learned to say yes to offers of assistance, realizing that being a receiver is as important as being a giver. Her Buddhist practice instilled in her the understanding that we are all interconnected, and allowing others to help is part of this shared journey. This shift in perspective facilitated a supportive community, including hospice care, friends, and even Michael, providing comfort during her mother’s final moments.


In reflecting on her father’s passing, Grace finds a profound teaching in the idea that from harm can come grace. Despite initially expecting everything to be ruined, she discovered unexpected positive changes, especially in her relationships with her mother and sister. Celebrating these newfound connections, Grace embraces the perspective that even in challenging situations, grace can emerge.

For Grace, the teachings of the Dharma hold immense healing power. Drawing wisdom from various Buddhist traditions, she values authentic words from experienced masters that resonate with love and compassion. The Dharma serves as a crucial pillar in her practice, offering guidance and promoting positive changes. Grace emphasizes the transformative impact of practicing mindfulness, allowing her to navigate life’s challenges with increased awareness.

Witnessing personal changes and positive feedback from her family, Grace acknowledges the profound shift in her mindset. Instead of reacting impulsively to triggers, she now pauses and takes radical responsibility for her emotions, leading to a happier and less angry demeanor. Grace recognizes the importance of turning inward for tools to navigate life’s inevitable suffering.

Seeking to give back, Grace poses a question to her teacher about expressing gratitude for the grace received. The response encourages her to practice and actualize the teachings in her life, considering it the greatest gift she can offer her teacher. This emphasis on embodying the Dharma principles becomes a guiding force in Grace’s ongoing spiritual journey.


Reflecting on his practice, Jogen shares a personal journey of realizing and releasing resentment towards his mother from childhood. Through extended self-reflection and understanding the conditioning that shaped both himself and his mother, he recognizes the lack of choice in certain circumstances. This understanding leads to a profound forgiveness, gradually dissipating the grudge and the expectation for his mother to be different. Jogen describes a transformation in his relationship with his mother, noting increased tenderness, acceptance, and a reduced burden of the past. The flow of love becomes more prominent, allowing them to meet each other as genuine beings without carrying the weight of history. Jogen attributes this positive shift in their relationship to meditation practice and the ongoing process of self-investigation. As a result, his mother acknowledges the value of the transformative work he is engaged in, recognizing the genuine connection that has emerged through their shared commitment to letting go of the past.


Before taking refuge in 2017, Kalpana attended Temple Dharma talks, embracing the nine essential dramas of daily practice. Weekly sessions with Reverend Song, involving contemplation, meditation, and discussions, became a crucial part of her and her husband’s spiritual journey.

Her husband, initially hesitant, eventually sought guidance from Reverend Song, leading to transformative moments, particularly addressing long-standing issues with his older brother. In 2018, he officially took refuge, but by 2019, health issues arose. In January of that year, he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Throughout the challenging period until his death in October 2019, the support of the ministers and the temple community was invaluable.

Even in hospice care, Reverend Song’s visit had a profound impact, with Kalpana’s husband displaying unexpected strength, attempting to hug the minister and uttering powerful last words. The funeral service became a cleansing experience, as Kalpana openly expressed her heart’s contents, realizing the spiritual significance of their journey. Despite the loss, a new life emerged with the birth of a baby in Seattle, prompting Kalpana to make the transition to Seattle to support her daughter and embrace a new chapter in her spiritual practice.