Wednesday, August 28, 2013


We really have to understand the person we want to love. If our love is only a will to posses, it is not love. If we only think of ourselves, know only our own needs and ignore the needs of the other person, we cannot love.

---Thich Nhat Hanh---


If we were to rub two sticks of wood together but stop and attend to something else before sparks were produced, we would never obtain fire. In the same way if we practice sporadically, for example at weekends and during retreats, but neglect our daily practice, we can seldom achieve lasting results.

---Modern Buddhist Wisdom---

As I Walk

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something.
---Edward Everett Hale---

Patience and Skill

Arranging Flowers by Pol Ledent

Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily.

---Johann Friedrich von Schiller---

Each Day

Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them--every day begin the task anew.

---St. Francis de Sales---

A Teacher

It is the enemy who can truly teach us to practice the virtues of compassion and tolerance.

---His Holiness the Dalai Lama---


Hesiod and the Muse

If you add a little to a little, and then do it again, soon that little shall be much.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Buddha

The Buddha by Salnath

A Buddha is someone who lives in peace, joy, and freedom, neither afraid of nor attached to anything.

---Thich Nhat Hanh---

Monday, August 26, 2013

Baked Corn

2 cups of corn, may be fresh, canned, or frozen (if frozen, defrost)
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
A dash of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of melted butter
1/2 cup of bread or cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons of melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cook the corn. Beat the eggs and milk together.

Combine the corn, the egg and milk mixture, the flour, the spices, and the 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Mix well.

Pour the mixture in a greased 1 1/2-quart baking dish.

Mix the crumbs with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle this mixture over the corn.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the mixture is set.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Satisfaction lies in the effort, not the attainment. Full effort is full victory.

---Mahatma Gandhi---

Improving the World

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

---Anne Frank---


The wise walk on, clinging to nothing.
They are neither elated by happiness nor crushed down by sorrow,

---The Dhammapada---

The Beginning of Wisdom

The beginning of wisdom is found in doubting; by doubting we come to the question, and by seeking we may come upon the truth.

---Pierre Abelard---


One master described meditation as 'mind, suspended in space, nowhere'.

---Sogyal Rinpoche---

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Sangha

What is the Sangha?

There’s the Sangha in your home temple. There’s the city-wide Sangha. The state or province-wide Sangha, and on-and-on.

The word Sangha is a Pali and Sanskrit word meaning “assembly,” “company,” or “community.”

That original company or Sangha was a democratic assembly. There was a time when many of the ancient states in what is now India and Nepal where republics.

The Buddha borrowed the word Sangha for his community of monks and nuns. Over the centuries, through usage, this word has come to also include laymen and laywomen. And today we understand the word Sangha refers to those people who are practicing the Buddha’s teaching.

It’s very important we remember the word began as a description of a democratic meeting.

We know, nearing the end of the Buddha’s life his disciples were concerned about who he would name as his successor.

Three months before he died, the Buddha addressed his disciples. We remember what he said. We remember he told those around him to look to his teachings as his successor. His teachings would guide his students.

He told those gathered around him, “…be a lamp and refuge unto yourselves. Look for no other refuge. Let the truth be your lamp and your refuge. Seek no refuge elsewhere.”

A year after the Buddha’s death, his disciples and students meet in council. Through democratic means they agreed upon the future of the Order and the form the record of the his teachings would take.

Each person at the council spoke and shared remembrances.

Everyday in Buddhist temples around the world, the Three Refuges, sometimes called the Three Jewels, are recited.

The Buddha is our Teacher not our god, the Dharma is the Teaching to help us guide ourselves not a dogma to be blindly followed, and the Sangha, us, are those following that Teaching.

Many Westerners started out as book-Buddhists. We started reading about the Practice long before we started practicing it.

Or so we think.

Almost everyone I’ve talked with about their path to Buddhism have said something along the lines of, “I saw this teaching was something I’ve always known deep inside of me. Something I’ve always known to be true. Something I‘ve always tried to do.”

Once we realized the basic common sense and justice of the Practice we went looking for others. We began looking for a Sangha.

Ananda, the Buddha’s cousin and faithful attendant, once said to the Compassionate Teacher, "This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie."

The Buddha answered, "Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.”

This is the holiness of the Sangha. We teach, we guide, we help one another.

Within the Tibetan tradition vigorous debate among Sangha members is a greatly honored practice.

Remember that. We need to discuss and debate and keep renewing the guiding principles the Buddha left us.

I doubt anyone ever asked the Buddha about marriage equality. But that doesn’t matter. We have the Teaching. The Compassion and the Wisdom the Buddha asked us to use to guide our lives will help us formulate an answer.

The same with any question we face as a Sangha or as an individual.

We should always remember what the Buddha told the Kalamas, “…after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conductive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

And he also said the opposite. If it does not, after analysis, agree with reason and is not conductive to the good of one and all, then let it go.

We are the third jewel in Buddhist Practice. There is the Teacher. There is the Teaching. And there is Us.


We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world.

---Marcel Proust---

Food For The Planet

In an orchard there should be enough to eat, enough to lay up, enough to be stolen, and enough to rot upon the ground.

---Samuel Madden---

Duality, Balance

Much might be said on both sides.

---Joseph Addison---

A Rhinoceros

In due course, developing equanimity and compassion, cultivating sympathy with others, with love in your heart, friendly and compassionate, you will wander in solitude, like a rhinoceros.

---The Mahavastu---

The Buddhist Way

These days freedom is equated with doing what I want. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that our society is afflicted by so much anti-social behavior. Real freedom is born out of restraint and discipline. This is the Buddhist way.

---Bryan Appleyard---

Heart's Wisdom

Knowledge should go hand in hand with purity of heart, with moral excellence.

---Piyadassi Maha Thera---


It is characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.

---Henry David Thoreau---


He who understands the true nature of life is the happiest individual, for he is not upset by the fleeting nature of things. He tries to see things as they are, and not as they seem to be.

---Piyadassi Maha Thera---


When we come into contact with the other person, our thoughts and actions should express our mind of compassion, even if that person says and does things that are not easy to accept. We practice in this way until we see clearly that our love is not contingent upon the other person being lovable.

---Thich Nhat Hanh---

Friday, August 23, 2013


If you want a metaphor for incomplete nirvana, look at the ashes in a stove. If you want a metaphor for complete nirvana, what do you see when the ashes have been blown away.


Nirvana is the ultimate dharma beyond which there is no other dharma. But there are two kinds. The first is incomplete nirvana. The second is complete nirvana. When all our passions are eliminated, this is incomplete or provisional nirvana. When the five skandhas that make up an individual are no longer reborn, this is complete or final nirvana.

---The Maha Prajnaparamita Shastra---


Nirvana is the place where we put an end to the round of birth and death and escape the wheel of endless rebirth. It is truly the greatest and most wonderful of places. But it does not mean death. Ordinary people do not understand this and mistakenly think it means death. They are wrong. By complete nirvana is meant ultimate liberation beyond which there is nothing else.

---Wang Jih-hsiu---


The term nirvana originally referred to an extinguished fire. In Buddhism, it is used to describe the condition that exists when the Three Fires of delusion, desire, and anger are extinguished. This is also called "incomplete nirvana," because a being who achieves this state still has a body and is still subject to the laws of karma, and thus suffering. When the Buddha attained Enlightenment under the pippala (Ficus religiosa) tree at Bodhgaya, he achieved incomplete nirvana. When he expired between the twin shala trees (Shorea robusta) and his body was cremated at Kushinagara, he achieved complete nirvana. Thus, complete nirvana rises from the ashes of being. In the Shurangama Sutra, the Buddha says, "To eliminate the perception of nirvana is to liberate all beings."

---Red Pine---


Thus, it is said, 'all things are only mind.' But the mind cannot be found. When you can't find a thing, you have reached the final goal. Why bother running around looking for liberation? This is how you should control the mind. Once you see your own nature, you won't have any deluded thoughts. Once you have no deluded thoughts, you have controlled your mind.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

No Concern At All

The wind traverses the vast sky,
clouds emerge from the mountains;
Feelings of enlightenment and things
.....of the world
are of no concern at all.

---Kaizan Jokin---

There's Not Much Hurry

I myself feel, and also tell other Buddhists,
...that the question of Nirvana will come later.

There is not much hurry.

If in day-to-day life you lead a good life,
...honestly, with love,
with compassion, with less selfishness,
...then automatically it will lead to Nirvana.

---His Holiness the Dalai Lama---

Being Enlightened Rather Than Believing In It

I am trying to encourage each one of you to be brave enough to wisely consider the way things are rather than have someone tell you whether you are ready or not for enlightenment. But actually, the Buddhist teaching is one of being enlightened now rather than doing anything to become enlightened. The idea that you must do something to become enlightened can only come from wrong understanding. Then enlightenment is merely another condition dependent upon something else---so it is not really enlightenment....Believing that you are enlightened or believing that you are not enlightened are both delusions. What I'm pointing to is being enlightened rather than believing in it.

---Venerable Ajahn Sumedho---

Getting to the Other Side

Prince Gotama, who had become the Buddha, saw one of his followers meditating under a tree at the edge of the Ganges river. Upon inquiring why he was meditation, his follower stated he was attempting to become so enlightened he could cross the river unaided.

The Buddha gave him a few coins and said, "Why don't you seek passage on the river-ferry. It's much easier."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Not Too Tight; Not Too Loose

The monk Sona came to the Buddha with a question on why he was not having success in his practice.

The Buddha answered, “Tell me, Sona, in earlier days were you not skilled in playing music on a lute?”

“Yes, Lord.”

“And, tell me, Sona, when the strings of that lute were too taut, was then your lute tuneful and easily playable?”

“Certainly not, O Lord.”

“And when the strings of your lute were too loose, was then your lute tuneful and easily playable?”

“Certainly not, O Lord.”

“But when Sona, the strings of your lute were neither too taut nor too loose, but adjusted to an even pitch, did your lute then have a wonderful sound and was it easily playable?”

“Certainly, O Lord.”

“Similarly, Sona, if energy is applied too strongly, it will lead to restlessness, and if energy is too lax, it will lead to lassitude. Therefore, Sona, keep your energy in balance and balance the Spiritual Faculties and in this way focus your intention.

---Anguttara Nikaya---

The Mind

People are scared to empty their
fearing that they will be engulfed the void.

What they don’t realize is that
their own mind is the void.

---Huang Po---

The Mind

The Buddha and all sentient beings
are nothing but expressions of the
one mind.

There is nothing else.

---Huang Po---

Monday, August 19, 2013

Blind Faith

Within Buddhism, blind faith is not encouraged.

Tomato Pudding

This is one of my favorite autumnal meals.

28 ounces of crushed tomatoes with their juices (fresh of canned)
1 cup of packed brown sugar
6 ounces of tomato paste
2 teaspoons of dry mustard
1 teaspoon of salt
A pinch of baking soda
3 cups of toasted white bread cubes
½ cup of melted butter

Grease a 3-quart baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, the sugar, the tomato paste, the dry mustard, the salt, and the baking soda.

Place the bread cubes in the baking dish and drizzle with the melted butter.

Pour the tomato mixture over the bread and butter.

Refrigerate for 4 hours.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in a preheated 375 degree Fahrenheit oven. The pudding should be hot and bubbly.

You may garnish with a sprig of your herb of choice.

The Path of Transformation

You begin your walk on the Path of Transformation when you begin to practice the things you have been reading and speaking of; when you begin to practice that which you say is true.

Awareness is Your Refuge

Awareness is your refuge:
Awareness of the changingness of
of attitudes, of moods, of material change,
and emotional change:
Stay with that, because it's a refuge
.....that is indestructible.
It's not something that changes.
It's a refuge you can trust in.
This refuge is not something you
.....can create.
It's not a creation. It's not an ideal.
It's very practical and very simple,
.....but easily overlooked or not
When you're mindful,
you're beginning to notice,
it's like this.

---Luang Por Sumedho---

The Refuge of Awareness

So the refuge is not in a teacher or in the scriptures or in a monastery or in a religious tradition or Vinaya or anything like that--but in awareness. Awareness is so ordinary, so natural to us, that we ignore it, we overlook it all the time. So, this is where we need continuous reminding, awakening, reflecting, so that when tragedies and so on happen we can use those very things as part of our training, as part of the path of cultivating the Way. This is the fourth Noble Truth.

You only need the confidence to reflect, to be aware, not of how things should be but on what you are actually experiencing, without claiming it, without adding to it in any way. Thus, when I feel sad, if I think "I am sad" then I have made it more than what it is. Instead, I am simply aware of the sadness--which is pre-verbal. So awareness exists without the arising of thought. The habit tendency is to think, "I am sad, and I don't want to be sad, I want to be happy." Then it becomes a big problem for us. Awareness is not a special quality that I have more than you. It is a natural ability which we all share. The practice is in using this natural ability and in being willing to learn from it.

---Luang Por Sumedho---

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Poem on the Practice by Ryokan

Before listening to the way, do not fail to wash
.....your ears.
Otherwise it will be impossible to listen clearly.
What is washing your ears?
Do not hold on to your view.
If you cling to it even a little bit,
you will lose your way.
What is similar to you but wrong, you regard right.
What is different from you but right, you regard wrong.
You begin with ideas of right and wrong.
But the way is not so.
Seeking answers with closed ears is
like trying to touch the ocean bottom with a pole.

A Hero

No man is a hero to his valet.

---Anne Bigot Cornuel---

Master Himself

He that would govern others, first should be master of himself.

---Philip Massinger---


As for those who set forth on this path, the Maha Prajnaparamita Sutra says a bodhisattva is "anyone who ceaselessly seeks unexcelled, perfect enlightenment as well as the happiness and welfare of all beings."

---Commentary on the Diamond Sutra by Red Pine---

The Destination

Although those who emphasize "other power" prefer to interpret yana as "vehicle," as in the "Great Vehicle," the word's original meaning was "path." It was not the Buddha's custom nor that of his disciples to ride when they could walk. For the path is the destination.

---Commentary on the Diamond Sutra by Red Pine---

The Six Perfections







The Three Treasures

The Teacher: The Buddha

The Teaching: The Dharma

The Taught: The Sangha

Avocado Mayonnaise

1 good-sized avocado
The juice of ½ lemon
Salt to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
¼ or less of a mild-flavored vegetable oil

Put the avocado flesh into a blender. Add the lemon juice, the salt, and the cayenne pepper. Blend to near smooth. You may have to stop the machine from time to time and scrape down the sides.

With the machine running, slowly add the oil in a thin drizzle. You may have to stop the machine from time to time and scrape down the sides.

Use enough oil to give you the consistency desired.

In the refrigerator, in an airtight container, this may last a week.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Path of Altruism

Nirvana may be the final object of attainment, but at the moment it is difficult to reach. Thus the practical and realistic aim is compassion, a warm heart, serving other people, helping others, respecting others, being less selfish. By practicing these, you can gain benefit and happiness that remain longer. If you investigate the purpose of life and, with the motivation that results from this inquiry, develop a good heart--compassion and love. Using your whole life this way, each day will become useful and meaningful.

Every human being has the same potential for compassion; the only question is whether we really take any care of that potential, and develop and implement it in our daily life. My hope is that more and more people will realize the value of compassion, and so follow the path of altruism. As for myself, ever since I became a Buddhist monk, that has been my real destiny--for usually I think of myself as just one simple Buddhist monk, no more and no less.

---His Holiness the Dalai Lama---