Sunday, October 22, 2017

Leading the Winter In

there was a leaf in the autumn breeze
caught in the ecstasy of dance
it was a waltz with the spirits of the wind
it was a ceremony leading the winter in
a ceremony leading the winter in
there was a woman with a voice very lovely
i took company by her songs of loss
she was the one who took me to singing
she was the valley wind leading the winter in
she taught me what it means
to have let go of ten thousand things
she was the mother and she was the children
she was the longing leading the winter in
the longing leading the winter in
there was darkness, i felt sane
in the light we drank immortal tears and rain
and the sound it was a whispering
it was the word leading the winter in
there were colors i could not see
and i begged her it was a laughable plea
it was a search for a place to begin
it was a game leading the winter in
a game leading the winter in
it is written and so it was
i arose in accordance with the laws
it was a joy and it was a sin
it was a ceremony leading the winter in
a ceremony leading the winter in
a ceremony leading the winter in
a ceremony leading the winter in

~Edward Albert Burger

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


What you need, what we all need, is silence. Stop the noise in your mind in order for the wondrous sounds of life to be heard. Then you can begin to live your life authentically and deeply.

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Monday, October 16, 2017

Pickled Daikon Salad

Pickled daikon, cut into matchsticks, chopped into small pieces, or shredded
Red bell pepper, cut similar to the daikon (Far less than the daikon.)
Green onion, thinly sliced
Rice vinegar (some people enjoy apple cider vinegar in this salad)
Sesame oil
Sesame seeds
Crushed red pepper flakes

Amounts of the ingredients vary by the amount of daikon with which you begin.

Start with smaller portions of vinegar, oil, sesame seeds, and crushed red pepper. Add more until you are pleased with the flavor.

You'll learn what you like after you've made this wonderful salad a few times.

My Practice

I'm honestly ready to change my Practice if there's sufficient evidence to do so.

Faith is not evidence.

My Beliefs

I balance my beliefs to the evidence.

Friday, October 13, 2017

True Beginners

In the beginner's mind there is no thought, "I have attained something." All self-centered thoughts limit our vast mind. When we have no thought of achievement, no thought of self, we are true beginners. Then we can really learn something. The beginner's mind is the mind of compassion. When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless. Dogen-zenji, the founder of our school, always emphasized how important it is to resume our boundless original mind. Then we are always true to ourselves, in sympathy with all beings, and can actually practice.

~Shunryu Suzuki, in Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

The Beginner's Mind

In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few.

~Shunryu Suzuki, in Zen mind, Beginner's Mind

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


One who has realized Nirvana has overcome grasping and letting go, transcended growth and decline. This one has lived the holy life, completed the practice and finished the journey. For this one there is no more renewed existence with its wandering in birth and death.

When Nirvana is realized there is no remaining residue. All name-and-form utterly ceases.


Buddhist compassion is universal. It sees all creatures, the small and the large, from insects to elephants and whales, as ultimately equal. Each living thing has the same rights for happiness as each human does.


The Buddha encouraged us to face the facts of life courageously and to accept the truth whatever and wherever it may be. He taught timeless practical truths that lead to understanding, knowledge, and happiness.


It's in the nature of feelings to make it hard to tell the valuable ones from the harmful ones, the reliable from the misleading. One thing all feelings have in common is that they were originally "designed" to convince you to follow them. They feel right and true almost by definition. They actively discourage you from viewing them objectively.

~ Robert Wright, in Why Buddhism is True

Saturday, October 7, 2017


The Buddha taught opinions are a spiritual blind alley. One who holds an opinion grasps it tightly, proclaiming it supreme. This person becomes embroiled in conflict with those who hold contrary opinions. When opinions are grasped, sincere inquiry gives way to dogmatism as rival thinkers reject an impartial search for truth in favor of attempts (sometimes frenzied) to bolster their own standpoint. Similar to a hunter caught in his own snare, the opinion holder becomes trapped in a system of his own devising.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Cucumber Rice

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 medium-size cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise and seeded
4 scallions, rinsed and minced
1 ½ cups long-grain rice
Combine the lemon rind and lemon juice in a large salad bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and add the salt and pepper. Set aside. Cut the cucumbers into half-moon slices, 1/2 inch thick. Add the cucumber slices and scallions to the lemon vinaigrette. Toss.
Cook the rice in water according to the directions on the package. When tender but still firm, remove from heat. Place in a colander and chill briefly under cold running water until the rice is at room temperature. Drain well. Add the rice to the salad bowl. Toss. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. This can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time.

No Blind Faith

The Buddha did not promise heavenly bliss or reward to those who called themselves his followers. Nor did he promise salvation to those who had faith in him. To the Buddha, religion is not a bargain but a noble way of life to gain Awakening and Freedom, Enlightenment, for oneself and others. He did not want followers who believed him blindly; He taught us to think and understand for ourselves.

The Buddha urged all to come forth to discover more about Buddhism and not simply believe in it. He advised choosing a proper religion by considering and investigating it in various ways, without accepting anything through emotion or blind faith. This is why Buddhism is sometimes called the religion of analysis. In it is the scientific logical analysis of mind and matter which modern intelligence appreciates. Even today, Buddhist are encouraged to have the attitude of a healthy skeptic, even towards the Buddhist scriptures.

Is Rebirth Simultaneous?

Another difficult thing to understand about rebirth is whether the occurrence of rebirth is simultaneous or not. This is a controversial issue even among prominent Buddhist scholars. According to Abhidhamma, rebirth (conception) takes place immediately after the death of a being without any intermediate state. At the same time, some others believe that a person, after his death, would evolve into a spirit form for a certain number of days before rebirth takes place. Another interpretation regarding he same belief is that it is not the spirit, but the deceased person's consciousness or mental energy remaining in space, supported by his own mental energies of craving and attachment. However, sooner or later rebirth must take place.

~K. Sri Dhammananda

Sunday, October 1, 2017


The sense consciousnesses that see, hear, smell, taste and feel tactile sensations, and the gross mental consciousness, function actively while we are alive. When one is dying, they cease to function and are absorbed into the subtle mental consciousness.

The subtle Mind bears the imprints (vipaka) of the actions (karma) we have done with all the tendencies, preferences, abilities, and characteristics that have been developed and conditioned in this life.

After death, the subtle Mind leaves one body, enters the intermediate state and re-establishes itself in a fertilized egg in another body at the moment of conception, the gross sense consciousness and the gross mental consciousness reappear, and the person again sees, hears, thinks, and so forth.

The subtle Mind which goes from one life to the next, is a constantly changing phenomenon. It is not considered to be a soul or real personality. Thus the individual is reborn and develops a personality conditioned both by the mental characteristics that have been carried over and by the new environment. The personality will change and be modified by conscious effort and conditioning factors like education, parental influence and society. At death, it re-establishes itself in a new fertilized egg.

This process of dying and being reborn will continue until the conditions that cause it, craving and ignorance, cease. When they do, instead of being reborn, the Mind attains a state referred to as Nirvana, which is release from all suffering.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Buddhist Life

The whole of the Buddhist life is a training to purify and free the Mind.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Three Marks

Standing, walking, sitting or lying, we know all mental states as impermanent, unsatisfactory and not self.

~ Ajahn Chah

We Are Enlightened

Intrinsically, we are perfect in being as we are. We are enlightened. But until we really understand this, we will do deluded things.

~ Charlotte Joko Beck

Monday, September 25, 2017

Question Everything

The Buddha did not promise heavenly bliss or reward to those who called themselves his followers. Nor did he promise salvation to those who had faith in him. To the Buddha, religion is not a bargain but a noble way of life, a noble way of life to gain Enlightenment and freedom for oneself and others.

The Buddha did not want followers who believed him blindly; he wanted his students to think and understand for themselves.

The Buddha urged people to learn all they're able about the Teaching and the Practice he shared and not simply believe in it.

The Buddha advised choosing a proper religion by considering and investigating it in various ways, without accepting anything through emotion or blind faith. This is why Buddhism is sometimes called the religion of analysis. In it is the scientific logical analysis of Mind and matter which modern thinkers understand and can appreciate.

Buddhist are encouraged to have an attitude of healthy skepticism about all religions, even Buddhism. Question everything.

Perfecting Ourselves

When Siddhartha was meditating under the tree, no god or angel came to him to reveal any hidden secrets of spiritual power. No one one gave him any religious laws or doctrines to teach.

After his Awakening, the Buddha said, "I never had any teacher, human or divine, teach me or tell me how to gain Enlightenment. I achieved Supreme Wisdom by my own effort, energy, knowledge, and purity."

As the Buddha, we too can attain the highest goal through perseverance in perfecting ourselves.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

This, Now This

The river
where you set
your foot just now
is gone—
those waters
giving way to this,
now this.


The Heart Sutra

The Heart Sutra is recited daily in Zen temples and monasteries around the world. It's recited daily in many other Mahayana temples and monasteries. The text is seen as a teaching on nondualism. It's looked upon as the ultimate teaching of Prajna Paramita. There are no opposites. When this is experienced, Nirvana is experienced. 

Monday, September 18, 2017


Your thoughts and your beliefs are stories you've been telling yourself for a lifetime.

Storyteller, who are you?

Without the stories, what are you?


A student asked his teacher, “Master, what is the way to Enlightenment?”

The Teacher answered, “There is no way to Enlightenment, for Enlightenment is not other than here and now.”

Please, Master, tell me the essence of Enlightenment.”

There is no essence of Enlightenment, for Enlightenment is all and nothing.”

Please, Master, tell me the secret that I might know that Enlightenment is all.”

Dear student,” the Master said, “there is no way, there is no essence, there is no secret. The truth you seek is not hidden from you. You are hiding form it.”

Creamed Celery

1 pound of celery
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of milk
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup of grated Emmental cheese
4 tablespoons of bread crumbs browned in 1 teaspoon of butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the celery into 1-inch pieces.

Cover the celery pieces with water and cook until tender, but not soft.

Drain the celery and save the cooking water.

Melt the butter, mix in the flour and gradually blend in the milk to make a smooth white sauce.

Use some of the reserved celery cooking liquid to thin the sauce if it is too thick. Save any remaining water for your next pot of soup.

Mix the cooked celery pieces with the white sauce and pour it all into a well butter casserole.

Sprinkle the cheese over top.

Sprinkled the browned bread crumbs over the cheese.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese melts and the mixture is heated through.

Tempeh Sandwich Spread

8 ounces of tempeh
3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
2 teaspoon of prepared mustard
2 green onions, chopped
1 or 2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 tablespoon of sweet pickle relish

Steam the tempeh for 20 minutes.

Allow the steamed tempeh to cool, then grate it and mix it with the remaining ingredients.

Cover and refrigerate the spread until welled chilled.

Serve it on a bed of lettuce or use it as a sandwich filling.

Lousy at Math

Once a group of thieves stole a rare diamond
Larger than a goose egg.

Its value could have easily bought
One thousand horses

And two thousand acres
Of the most fertile land in Shiraz.

The thieves got drunk that night
To celebrate their great haul,

But during the course of the evening
The effects of the liquor
And their mistrust of each other grew to such
An extent

They decided to divide the stone into pieces.
Of course then the Priceless became lost.

Most everyone is lousy at math
And does that to God—

Dissects the Invisible One,

By thinking, saying,
"This is my Beloved, he looks like this
And acts like that,

How could that moron over there



No one is an adult
except the one who is free from desire.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Taking a Step

Man Looking Out to Sea, by L. S. Lowry

You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.

~Rabindranath Tagore

True Wisdom

True wisdom is always and everywhere clear because it is conditioned neither by past or present, nor by ordinary men or accomplished ones, nor by men or women, nor by delusion or enlightenment. In no way is it limited.

~Kusan Sunim, in The Way of Korean Zen


The liberation of all the Buddhas must be sought within the workings of each sentient being's mind. It should not be sought elsewhere.

~Master Zongjing

Great Questioning

Seon teaches us great questioning leads to great awakening. 

Here is a hwadu: At this moment, who is reading these words?


What would we have to
hold in compassion
to be at peace right now?

What would we have to
let go of
to be at peace right now?

~Jack Kornfield


What we are looking for is what is looking.

~St. Francis of Assisi