Friday, May 31, 2013


All tremble at violence; all fear
death. Putting oneself in the place
of another, one should not kill
nor cause another to kill.

All tremble at violence; life is
dear to all. Putting oneself in
the place of another, one should
not kill nor cause another to

One who, while himself seeking
happiness, oppresses with violence
other beings who also desire happiness,
will not attain happiness hereafter.

One who, while himself seeking
happiness, does not oppress with
violence other beings who also
desire happiness, will find happiness

---The Dhammapada 129 - 132---

A Haiku

The mountain village:
Swallowed up by
A chorus of croaking frogs!


A Haiku

A single wish:
To sleep one night
Beneath the cherry blossoms.


A Haiku

I must go there today--
Tomorrow the plum blossoms
Will scatter.


Words From Kong Qiu (Confucius)

A man should practice what he preaches,
but a man should also preach what he practices.

We don't know yet about life, how can we know about death?

By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is noblest;
second, by imitation, which is easiest;
and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

I hear, I know. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.

Oyster Mushrooms

The Profound Truths of the Buddhas Don't Depend On Words

After I [Hui-Neng] obtained the Dharma, I returned from Huangmei and settled in Tsaohou Village near Shaochou, where no one knew me. There was a local scholar there named Liu Chih-lueh who treated me with great respect. He had an aunt who was a Buddhist nun named Wu-chin-tsang, who was always chanting the Nirvana Sutra. After listening for a while, I understood its profound meaning, and I explained it to her. When she showed me the text and asked me the meaning of a particular character, I said, 'I don't know how to read. Ask me about the meaning of the text.'

 The nun said, 'If you don't know how to read, how can you understand the meaning?'

I said, 'The profound truths of the buddhas don't depend on words.'

---The Tsungpao Edition of the Platform Sutra---


...the Dharma doesn't come with any accessories. Just the opposite. It frees us of accessories. As Lao-tzu said, "Those who seek learning gain every day / those who seek the Way lose every day." (Taoteching: 48)

---Red Pine---

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Beginning of the Buddhist Schools

In early Buddhism, the ultimate goal of religious striving was to reach the state of arhat, a "worthy" or "saint," one who has overcome desire; passed beyond samsara, the world of suffering and cyclical birth and death; and entered nirvana. But as the monastic community labored in the centuries following the Buddha's demise to systematize his teachings and clarify points upon which, perhaps intentionally, his pronouncements had been vague, a number of doctrinal problems arose. Just what were the characteristics of an arhat, of a Buddha, or of the state of nirvana? What is the exact nature of the dharmas, the myriad objects and phenomena that make up the world as we know it through the senses? If, as the Buddha taught, there is no such thing as an individual self or ego, then what is it that is the recipient of karmic retribution? The members of the order, in their efforts to settle questions such as these, became increasingly occupied with codification of the tenets and doctrinal issues, and the religious body split up into a number of sects or schools that differed in matters of interpretation and practice.

---Burton Watson---

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Self

If the self were the aggregates making up a person (the material form and the mental components), it would be subject to arising and ceasing. If the self were other than these aggregates, it would not have the characteristics of the aggregates. When the self does not exist, how can there be anything belonging to the self? From the stilling of the sense of "self" and "belonging to a self," one is free of the ideas of "mine" and "I." One who is free of the ideas of "mine" and "I" is not found. In addition, one who sees someone as "free of mine" or "free of I" still does not see correctly. When "mine" and "I" are destroyed with respect to both outer and inner phenomena, the acquisition of a new rebirth is stopped; and from the stopping of such acquisition, future births are destroyed.

From the destruction of the afflictions resulting from karmic actions, there is a liberation from rebirth. The afflictions arise from thoughts that make distinctions between entities. These thoughts come from projecting distinctions onto reality. But such conceptual projections cease through emptiness.

The idea "There is a self" has been disclosed. That "There is no self" has been taught. But by the Buddha it has been taught "There is neither the self nor indeed what is not the self whatsoever." When the domain of thought has ceased, then what can be named has ceased. The buddhas' teaching is this; everything is neither real nor not real.

The characteristic of what is actually real is this: not dependent upon another, peaceful, free of being projected upon by conceptual projections, free of thoughts that make distinctions, and without multiplicity. Whatever arises dependently upon another thing is not that thing, nor is it different from that thing. Therefore, it is neither annihilated nor eternal. Not one, not diverse, not annihilated, not eternal -- this is the immortal teaching of the buddhas, the guides of the world. When the fully-enlightened buddhas no longer appear, and when the disciples have disappeared, the knowledge of the solitary buddhas will come forth without a teacher.

---The Fundamental Verses of the Middle Way 18:1-12, by Nagarjuna---

Wisdom From Ancient Greece

The most difficult thing in life is to Know Thyself.


Is Buddhism a Form of Hinduism

Lord Vishnu Avatar Gautama Buddha

I read that Buddhism is just a type of Hinduism. Is this true?

No, it is not. Buddhism and Hinduism share many ethical ideas, they use some common terminology like the words kamma, samadhi, and nirvana, and they both originated in India. This has led some people to think that they are the same or very similar. But when we look beyond the superficial similarities we see that the two religions are distinctly different. For example, Hindus believe in a supreme god while Buddhist do not. One of the central teachings of Hindu social philosophy is the idea of caste, which Buddhism firmly rejects. Ritual purification is an important practice in Hinduism but it has no place in Buddhism. In the Buddhist scriptures the Buddha is often portrayed as criticizing what the Brahmins, the Hindu priests, taught and they were very critical of some of his ideas. This would not have happened if Buddhism and Hinduism were the same.

---Good Question Good Answer, by S. Dhammika---

To Develop Compassion For All Living Beings Without Discrimination

Walpola Rahula tells us that, "According to Buddhism, for a man to be perfect, there are two qualities that he should develop equally: compassion (karuna) on the one side, and wisdom (panna) on the other." Among the nine "Basic Points Unifying the Theravada and the Mahayana," that Bhante Rahula presented to the first convening of the World Buddhist Sangha Council in Sri Lanka in 1967, he included this: "Following the example of the Buddha, who is the embodiment of Great Compassion (maha-karuna) and Great Wisdom (maha-prajna), we consider that the purpose of life is to develop compassion for all living beings without discrimination and to work for their good, happiness, and peace; and to develop wisdom leading to the realization of Ultimate truth." A popular Buddhist saying has it that compassion and wisdom are like the two wings of a bird. Without both wings, the bird cannot fly; without compassion and wisdom, a person cannot attain nirvana. Most Buddhist teachings can be viewed as training manuals that teach various techniques, such as different forms of meditation, for generating compassion and wisdom.

---The Great Compassion: Buddhism and Animal Rights, by Norm Phelps---

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


It is said when Lao-Tzu grew old he was saddened by the follies of humankind. He decided to leave civilization. He headed into the desert on the back of a water buffalo.

When he reached a gate in the Great Wall to leave China forever, the gatekeeper encouraged him to stay long enough to record his teachings for the future.

Lao-Tzu recorded 81 sayings. These for the Tao-Te-Ching, one of history's most translated texts.

Every handbook advising managers of their duties should begin with Lao-Tzu's maxim: "A leader is best when people barely know he exist; when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: 'we did it ourselves.' "

Another of Lao-Tzu's saying is: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

He also advised those who offer aid to other people: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

Free Your Mind

In the early 20th century, Zen master Nan-in received a university professor who came to ask about Zen. But instead the professor only spoke about his own ideas. On and on the professor spoke.

During the professor's speaking, Nan-in served tea. He poured the professor’s cup full, and then, while the man continued to speak, Nan-in kept on pouring the tea. The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself.

“You fool! It is overfull. No more will go in!”

Nan-in replied, “Like this cup, you are also too full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your mind?”

Chile-Ancho Chickpeas

1 pound (2 cups) of dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soak for 24 hours
2 cups of soybean oil
2 tablespoons of chile-ancho powder
2 tablespoons of ground dried oregano
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons of ground allspice

Drain the soaked chickpeas. Bring a large pot of unsalted water to the boil. Add the chickpeas and cook for 1o minutes. Drain the chickpeas and spread out on a towel. Allow the peas dry completely.

In a wok, or large skillet, heat the oil to 340 degree Fahrenheit.

Fry the chickpeas in 1 cup batches for 3 to 4 minutes or until they are golden brown and crunchy.

Using a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, scoop out the chickpeas and drain them on paper towel. Repeat until all the chickpeas have been fried.

Toss the beans with the remaining ingredients.

Serve as a snack with your favorite Mexican beverage.

Eggs and Refried Beans

Serves 4

2 cups of refried beans, heated very hot
2 cups of your favorite Mexican tomato sauce, heated very hot
2 tablespoons of corn oil
8 corn tortillas
8 eggs
1/2 cup of shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
2 green onions sliced thin

Heat a thin film of oil in a heavy cast-iron skillet. Add the tortillas, 1 at a time and cook for 30 seconds on each side, or until toasted. Add a bit more oil for each tortilla.

Place 2 overlapping tortillas per portion on the bottom of a shallow casserole or in individual baking dishes.

Preheat the broiler. Spread equal amounts of the beans over the tortillas. Spread the tomato sauce over the beans. Use a spoon to form 2 hollows on the surface of the sauce and beans.

Carefully break an egg into each hollow in the sauce.

Sprinkle with the cheese. Broil for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the egg whites are set.

Garnish with the cilantro and the green onions.


...enlightenment isn't partial or transient. It's all or nothing.

---Red Pine---

Knowing Your Own Mind and Own Nature

Unless people know their own mind, studying the Dharma is useless. But once someone knows their own mind and sees their own nature, that person is called a master, a teacher of humans and devas, a buddha.


The Only Truth Worth Knowing

The only truth worth knowing is the truth of your own mind. But there is our mind, and then there is the mind we have been trained to believe is our mind. The one gives birth to wisdom, the other to delusion.

---Red Pine---

Understanding Your Own Mind

Unless you know your own mind, studying the Dharma is useless. But once you know your mind and see your nature, you understand what is truly important.

---The Platform Sutra---

Monday, May 27, 2013

Visiting Cloud Peak with Priest Tenge in Fall

Human existence in this world:
Duckweed cast adrift on the water.
Who can feel secure?
That is the reason
I took up a monk's staff, left my parents,
And bade farewell to my friends.
A single patched robe
And one bowl have sustained me all these years.
I'm fond of this little hut
And often spend time here--
We ate two kindred spirits,
Never worrying about who is quest or host.
The wind blows through lofty pines,
Frost chills the few mums that remain.
Arm in arm we stand above the clouds;
Bound as one, roaming in the far beyond.


No Amount of Meditation Will Generate Wisdom in a Mind That Harbors Enmity or Indifference

We achieve wisdom by the practice of spiritual disciplines such as meditation, mindfulness, and chanting. The specific techniques vary from school to school. But for any of these training regimes to be effective, we must first have prepared our minds by developing compassion. Just as no amount of training will lead to peak performance for an athlete who gets drunk every night and gorges on junk food, no amount of meditation will generate wisdom in a mind that harbors enmity or indifference toward others.

---The Great Compassion: Buddhism and Animal Rights, by Norm Phelps---

The Teachings of the Lankavatara Sutra

Everything we perceive as being real is nothing but the perceptions of our own minds.

This knowledge is something we must realize and experience for ourselves, and cannot be expressed in words.

To Ch'an Masters these two teachings are known as "have a cup of tea," and "taste the tea."

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Ten Bodhisattva Precepts

1...Not to kill or encourage others to kill.

2...Not to steal or encourage others to steal.

3...Not to engage in licentious acts or encourage others to do so.

4...Not to use false words and speech, or encourage others to do so.

5...Not to trade or sell alcoholic beverages or encourage others to do so.

6...Not to broadcast the misdeeds or faults of the Buddhist assembly, nor encourage
others to do so.

7...Not to praise oneself and speak ill of others, or encourage others to do so.

8...Not to be stingy, or encourage others to do so.

9...Not to harbor anger or encourage others to be angry.

10...Not to speak ill of the Buddha, the Dharma or the Sangha or encourage others to do

The Goal of Buddhist Practice

Buddhism--like its sister Indian religions, Hinduism and Jainism--is a way of liberation. It teaches that we are trapped by our negative emotions--greed, anger, hatred, fear, desire, and the like--in an illusory world of suffering that has much in common with a nightmare. Just as there is no escape from a nightmare except to awaken to the higher level of consciousness that is wakefulness, there is no escape from samsara, as this world of pain is called, except to awaken to the higher level of consciousness known as nirvana. This awakening, called enlightenment, is the goal of Buddhist practice.

---The Great Compassion: Buddhism and Animal Rights, by Norm Phelps---

Understanding Your Mind

Unless you know your own mind, studying the Dharma is useless. But once you know your mind and see your nature, you understand what is truly important.

---The Platform Sutra---

See Your Nature

Yang Ming-Yi

This is the only teaching transmitted in Zen. The rest is merely window dressing. Our nature includes every thought, every feeling, every memory, every atom of our bodies, and every dharma of our minds, all of which are empty of self-existence. To see their emptiness is to see our nature. The only difference between buddhas and deluded beings is this: Buddhas see the emptiness of their nature, and deluded beings see the walls of their delusions. In the Heart Sutra, Avalokiteshvara says, "All dharmas are defined by emptiness, not birth or destruction, purity or defilement, completeness or deficiency." Emptiness is our nature, and our nature is emptiness. The Chinese character used here is chien, which not only means "to see" but also "to experience." Thus, to see our nature is to experience our nature, to experience its emptiness.

---Red Pine---

Wisdom and Compassion

Wisdom depends on compassion, just as compassion depends on wisdom.

---Red Pine---

No Obstacles

When everything is clean-clear in your own mind,
nobody can create obstacles for you.

---Lama Thubten Yeshe---

Thursday, May 23, 2013


A devata said:
"One who has sons delights in sons,
One with cattle delights in cattle.
Acquisitions are a man's delight;
Without acquisitions one does not delight."

The Buddha answered:
"One who has sons sorrows over sons,
One with cattle sorrows over cattle.
Acquisitions truly are a man's sorrows;
Without acquisitions one does not sorrow."

---The Samyutta Nikaya---

Visiting With The Buddhist Monk Wu-K'o At His Remote Dwelling

Ever since your
residence here'
our visits together
have been few.

With the long rains,
the vegetable garden goes untended;
distant mountains shine
in autumn pools.

Withered leaves fall
on your inkstone,
broken clouds
float above your pillow.

A rude guest,
and a future Ch'an Master;
it's not fair
that I cling to our meetings.

---Chia Tao---

Clearing Preconceptions

Just as fog is dispelled by the strength of the sun
and is dispelled no other way,
preconception is cleared by the strength of realization,
There's no other way of clearing preconceptions.
Experience them as baseless dreams.
Experience them as ephemeral bubbles.
Experience them as insubstantial rainbows.
Experience them as indivisible space.


Onion Pâté

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 cup of chopped onion
8 ounces of your favorite mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
6 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup of you favorite hard grating cheese
1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons of tamari or other good quality soy sauce

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Sauté the onion and the mushrooms in the oil for 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Add the cream cheese and stir until blended.

Add the grated cheese, the parsley, and the tamari or soy sauce. Stir to combine well.

Transfer the pâté to a glass or ceramic container. Form into the desire shaped. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours, or until it is thoroughly chilled.

Serve with your favorite bread or crackers.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Garbanzo Bean Salad (aka, Not Tuna)

1 1/2 cups of garbanzo beans (chick-peas), cooked or canned, drained and rinsed well
1/4 cup of finely chopped celery
1/4 cup of finely chopped mild, sweet onions
3 or 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (do not use something from a bottle)
1/8 teaspoon of sweet paprika (or hot if you prefer)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the beans in a food process and pulse until they are coarsely chopped. Experience will show you the degree of "chop" you prefer.)

Transfer the chopped beans to a mixing bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients. Mix it well.

You may serve it at once, but it is better if you refrigerate it for at least an hour.

You may add olives or dill or sweet pickles for a different approach.

This is good served on a bed of lettuce or other greens or as a sandwich spread.

No tuna was harmed making this spread.

The Middle Way

I have sometimes heard the Buddha's teachings called the Middle Way. What does this term mean?

The Buddha gave his Noble Eightfold Path an alternative name, majjhima patipada, which means 'the Middle Way'. This is a very important name because it suggests to us that it is not enough to just follow the Path, but that we have to follow it in a particular way. People can become very rigid about religious rules and practices and end up becoming real fanatics. In Buddhism the rules have to be followed and the practice done in a balanced and reasonable way that avoids extremism and excess. The ancient Romans used to say 'Moderation in all things' and Buddhist would agree with this completely.

---Good Question Good Answer, by S. Dhammika---

Shrine of the Gazing Buddha

Art by Rick Piper.

Where You Place Yourself

One Tibetan analogy notes that when a clean cloth is placed over a dung heap, it will gradually come to smell like dung, while another cloth placed over incense will come to smell very nice. Similarly, the environment in which practitioners (particularly those who are not yet highly realized) place themselves can have a powerful impact on their minds.

---Lorne Ladner---

The Practice of the Dharma

The artwork is The Bumble Bee and Peony by Chad Barrett

Like bees that get their honey from the flowers,
Take only what will serve the practice of the Dharma.

---The Way of the Bodhisattva 8:16---


The Buddha has said, "Living beings are afflicted by the passions of thought, and they are purified by the purification of thought."

---The Vimalakirti Sutra---

Hymn to the Buddha

All these things arise dependently, from causes,
Yet they are neither existent nor nonexistent.
Therein is neither ego, nor experiencer, nor doer,
Yet no action, good or evil, loses its effects.
Such is your teaching.

Although the Lord speaks with but one voice,
Those present perceive that same voice differently,
And each understands in his own language according to his own needs.
This is a special quality of the Buddha.

From the Leader's act of speaking in a single voice,
Some merely develop an instinct for the teaching, some gain realization,
Some find pacification of all their doubts.
This is a special quality of the Buddha.

---From the hymn to the Buddha by the young Licchavi Ratnakara---

Buddha Nature

Good friends, buddha nature isn't different for the ignorant and the wise. It's just that people are deluded or awake. When people are deluded, they're ignorant. When they wake up, they become wise.

---The Platform Sutra---

Monday, May 20, 2013

Animals Have the Same Right to Life and Freedom From Pain and Fear That I Have

Buddhist scriptures always use the term "sentient beings" or "living beings" without qualification. There is never a hint in Buddhist teachings that intellectual ability, a sophisticated sense of self, or any characteristic beyond the ability to suffer is relevant to moral standing. And this egalitarian approach to ethics acknowledges a fundamental truth that is often ignored or denied in the West. For ethical purposes, sentience is an absolute; either you have it--like humans and animals--or you don't--like plants and rocks. The complexity of the brain and the levels of intellectualization that a being is capable of (his "capacities" as Singer calls them) are not germane to the question of whether he is entitled to ethical treatment.

Supposedly objective standards of suffering are irrelevant because they are meaningless. Suffering is not an objective phenomenon; it is entirely subjective and can be judged by the degree of distress that it inflicts on its subject. The suffering of crabs and earthworms is as urgent to them as my suffering is to me, and for that reason, their suffering carries the same moral weight as my own. The chicken and the fish have the same right to life and freedom from fear and pain that I do because they have the same aversion to suffering and death that I have.

---The Great Compassion: Buddhism and Animal Rights, by Norm Phelps---

My Thoughts Drift

The night advances toward dawn,
Dew drips from the bamboo onto my brushwood gate.
My neighbor to the west has stopped pounding
..........his mortar;
My little hermit's garden grows moist.
Frogs croak near and far,
Fireflies flit high and low.
Wide awake, it's not possible to sleep tonight.
I smooth my pillow and let my thoughts drift.


No One Can Do It For You

Nobody can live for us or die for us. And nobody can realize enlightenment for us. We have to drink the water if we want to know what it taste like.

---Red Pine---

The Nature of Reality Is Our Own Nature

For a follower of the Mahayana path, nothing is more important than enlightenment. Unless we realize the nature of reality, we remain imprisoned by our delusions and unable to help others do the same. But the nature of reality is simply our own nature.

---Red Pine---


Poetry has always been a quintessential form of expression in China. The original meaning of the Chinese word for poetry, shih, was "words from the heart."

Ch'an, and by extension Seon, Zen, and Thien Masters, do not ask their students for a dissertation, just a poem.

A Question

Why practice Buddhism, if not to become a buddha?

---Red Pine---

Our Wants Have No End

People must realize that even with all these comforts, all this money, and a CNP that increases every year, they are still not happy. They need to understand that the real culprits are our unceasing desires. Our wants have no end.

---His Holiness the Dalai Lama---

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Karma and Fate

The artwork is The Bridge at Mama by Hakuin Ekaku

The Buddhist conception of karma is quit different from the Western notion of fate. Fate does not give us a choice. It is inexorable. Karma presents us with a set of possibilities from which we are free to choose. Thus, the river of our karma is always changing as we alter its course through our thoughts, words, and deeds.

---Red Pine---