Friday, January 31, 2014

Say Something

Each Moment


It's not the holding of ideas or beliefs or opinions that is the source of dissatisfaction, it's the attachment. And attachment is the issue. Attachment holds us. Attachment helps us forget “All created things are like a dream....” 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Poem by Ryokan

What legacy shall I
leave behind?
Flowers in spring.
Cuckoos in summer.
Maple leaves in autumn.

Being Faithful

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Question

The correct question is not, "Should I be a vegetarian?" but "Should I participate in the unnecessary killing of sentient beings?" This shifts the focus from the practitioner to victim.

When we recast the issue in terms of compassion, it becomes immediately clear that Buddhist teaching--as well as simple human decency--does in fact prescribe "one right answer to this question of diet."

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

It's Not About Us - It's About The Animals

Eating meat is not about "our diet," it is about the killing of 48 billion sentient beings every year.

Compassion is not about the "sensibilities" of the practitioner, it is about the suffering and death of sentient beings.

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

Vegetarianism and Nonviolence

We cannot be completely nonviolent, but by being vegetarian, we are going in the direction of nonviolence.

---Thich Nhat Hanh---

Be Yourself


Philosophy helps me free myself from the tyranny of the opinions of others.

Buddhism helps me free myself from the tyranny of my own opinions.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


My Anchor

Feelings come and go
like clouds in a windy sky.
Conscious breathing is my anchor.

Written In My Hut On A Snowy Evening

Reflecting over seventy years,
I am tired of judging right from wrong.
Faint traces of a path trodden in deep night snow.
A stick of incense under the rickety window.


The Walk

All things are possible. All approaches, if nothing else, deserved to be examined.

Keep On Keeping On

The more I practice, the more I realize I have to practice more.

I Am Done

..if we follow the Buddha's way there will be challenges from beginning to end. At no time will we be able to sit back and say, "I am done."

---Essence of the Dhammapada: The Buddha's Call to Nirvana, by Eknath Easwaran

Friday, January 24, 2014

Moroccan Potato Salad

1 pound of new potatoes, same size, unpeeled, scrubbed
3/4 cup of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 small red onion (approximately 4 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put the potatoes in salted cold water to cover. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until tend, not mushy. Do not over cook them.

Drain the potatoes and set them aside to cool to warm.

In a bowl, combine the parsley, the onion, the oil, the vinegar, the garlic, the salt, and the pepper.

Peel and coarsely chop the potatoes.

While the potatoes are still warm, add them to the parsley mixture. Toss the potatoes with the mixture very carefully.

Let the dressed potatoes set for 15 minutes at room temperature so the flavors blend.

Serve the salad at room temperature.

Theories and Beliefs

Thus Buddhism does not pay attention to theories and beliefs about the origin of the world. Whether the world was created by a god or it came into existence by itself makes little difference to Buddhists. Whether the world is finite or infinite also makes little difference to Buddhists. Instead of following this line of theoretical speculations, the Buddha advises people to work hard to find their own salvation.

---What Buddhists Believe, by K. Sri Dhammananda---


...if the first cause can exist though uncreated, there is no reason why the other phenomena of the universe must not exist without having also been created.

---What Buddhist Believe, by K. Sri Dhammananda---

Eternalism and Nihilism

The Buddha also refused to get involved in speculations regarding the universe. He stated very clearly that the problem facing mankind is not in his past or in his future but in the immediate present. Knowledge about Eternalism or Nihilism can in no way help man to break the fetters which bind him to existence and which are the source of all his feelings of discontent which arise from his inability to completely satisfy his cravings.

---What Buddhists Believe, by K. Sri Dhammananda---


Meditation practice is not about strengthening your thinking or getting control of yourself. It is about being more aware so that you can see the way in which you deceive yourself. It seems to be necessary to live with your awareness out front so you aren't thinking your way into everything as a protection. Most people lead with their thoughts out of hope and fear. If you live out your fear, you can't handle not knowing. Someone who leads with awareness is not buffaloed by preconceptions.

---Sokuzan Bob Brown, SokukoJi Buddhist Community, Battle Creek, Michigan---

Thursday, January 23, 2014


For hate is never conquered by hate.
Hate is conquered by non-hate.
This is an eternal law.
---The Dhammapada---


We can look in books very easily, but looking inwardly at yourself and your experience, that is the only measurement tool of your practice.

---Phakchok Rinpoche---

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

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---

Taoist Wisdom

Buddhism Is Not

The Practice of Buddhism is not temples and bells and cushions on the floor. It is not statues of the Buddha or of the Bodhisattvas.

The Practice of Buddhism is not mala beads and garments. It is not the things we sew onto our clothes.

The Practice Buddhism is not incense or Dharma names, be those names Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan, or Sanskrit.

The Practice of Buddhism is how we live our lives. It is an awareness of what we think and how we speak and what we do.

The Practice of Buddhism is the Four Truths, the Eightfold Path, the Three Marks of Existence, and Dependent Origination.

It is Awareness and Mindfulness.

The Practice of Buddhism is Compassion and Wisdom.

The Buddha did not create a religion, an ‘ism.’

The Buddha offered tools. He did not offer a game where we dress up in weird clothing and take on strange names and speak in odd way. He did not create a place to hide from the world and engage in fantasy role-playing.

The tools were, and are, offered for the discovery, the understanding, and the living of Truth, Reality -- Honesty.

Freedom Dawns

Were mind and matter me,
I would come and go like them.
If I were something else,
They would say nothing about me.

What is mine
When there is no me?
Were self-centeredness eased,
I would not think of me and mine--
There would be no one there
To think them.

What is inside is me,
What is outside is mine--
When these thoughts end,
Compulsion stops,
Repetition ceases,
Freedom dawns.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Temple Etiquette

Please maintain silence during meditation periods.

When entering and exiting the temple, please bow facing into the Dharma Hall at the doorway.

Once you have entered the temple, please complete three prostrations or three bows before sitting.

Please refrain from idle chit-chat.

Please wear socks when you enter the temple.

After sitting, please straighten your cushion and clean up your area.

Maintain loving-kindness and be respectful to one another at all times.

Please, no food or drink in the Dharma Hall.

Do not place a book on the floor.

Opinion Verses Opinion

Opinion A speaks to Opinion B. Opinion A explains itself. Opinion B explains itself. Opinion A disagrees and explains why. Opinion B disagrees and explains why. Opinion A says, “You don’t understand what I’m saying. If you did you’d change and agree with me.”Opinion B says, “No, I understand I simply disagree. You don’t understand what I’m saying. If you did you’d change and agree with me.”They go on in this manner for sometime. Each believes the other fails to understand their particular point. If the ‘other’ simply understood they’d change and agree.

In the attempt to help the ‘other’ understand, voices are raised. Faces redden.

Hands slap tables.

Fists hit tables.

Words, curses, oaths are thrown.

Slaps are given.

Fists are swung.

Bullets are shot.

Bombs are dropped.

Children are killed.

All because of two differing opinions.

The anger that comes from this not agreeing is the dangerous, tragic, and deadly symptom of the greater problem: “My opinion is correct and your opinion is wrong.”

The Third Ch’an (Zen) Patriarch, Seng-Ts’an, wrote:“If you wish to know the truth,then hold to no opinions for or against anything.

To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.

How do we do this? Practice. It’s called a practice for a reason. Live a life guided by wisdom and compassion. Allow each moment to unfold. And address that unfolding spontaneously. Address each moment for what it is; not for what you think, hope, or want it to be.

---Rev. Hung Su, Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple and Zen Center---

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Judging others from within the boundaries of your own opinions, how could you be anything other than wrong?

---Eihei Dogen zenji---

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Bodhisattva Vows

All beings, one body,
         I vow to liberate.

Endless blind passions,
         I vow to uproot.

Dharma gates without number,
         I vow to penetrate.

The Great Way of the Buddha,
         I vow to attain.


Ordinary people see the body and the world as two; the wise realize essential nature is not two. The nondual nature is the buddha-nature.

---The Sutra of Hui-neng---

Inherent Nature

The Face of Serenity by Sofan Chan

...he [Hung-Jen, the Sixth Cha'an/Zen Patriarch] explained the Diamond Sutra to me. When he came to the point where it says, "You should activate the mind without dwelling on anything," at these words I had the overwhelming realization that all things are not apart from inherent nature.

---The Sutra of Hui-neng---


Not being alienated from one's own essential nature is itself a field of blessings.

---The Sutra of Hui-neng---

Monday, January 13, 2014

You Are Compassion

Compassion has no body but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours.

Your eyes are the eyes
through which compassion
sees the world.

Yours are the feet compassion
uses to go and do good.
Yours are the hands compassion
uses to help all others.


The Buddha

The Buddha is not God, not an incarnation of God, not a Son of God, not a Prophet of God.
The Buddha was a Teacher.

The Noble Eightfold Path

The Eight elements of the Path are grouped into one of three divisions; Wisdom, Ethics or Morality, and Concentration.

Within the division of Wisdom (Prajna) we find: Proper Understanding and Proper Thought.

1) Proper Understanding (View, Perspective, Outlook) is both an understanding of the Buddhas Teaching and also an acknowledgement of why we have chosen to follow these teachings: These teachings include the Four Noble Truths, Cause and Effect, Impermanence, and Non-Self.

2) Proper Thought (Resolve, Conception, Aspiration, Intention) refers to the Practices of Non-Attachment, Loving-Kindness, and Harmlessness

Within the division of Ethics or Morality (Sila) we find: Proper Speech, Proper Action, and Proper Livelihood.

3) Proper Speech is respect for the Truth and the avoidance of Lying, Backbiting, Slander, Harsh Speech, and Idle Talk

4) Proper Action (Conduct) is expressed by the Five Precepts. These Precepts help us do our best to protect living beings and all living things, to respect the property of others, to be sexually responcible, to use words truthfully and compassionately, and to respect and care for our own body and mind.

5) Proper Livelihood advises that we not engage in an occupation thats at variance with the ideals of Proper Action, of Compassion, and of Wisdom. These traditionally are listed as the buying and selling of human beings, the buying and selling of weapons, the sex trade, the buying and selling of intoxicating drinks or drugs, and the creation and the buying and selling of poisons. Im sure each of us could add to this list.

Within the final division, the division of Concentration (Samadhi), we find: Proper Effort, Proper Mindfulness, and Proper Concentration.

6) Proper Effort (Endeavor, Diligence) is the effort to reject and deny the unwholesome and the effort to develop and grow the wholesome that is within all of us.

7) Proper Mindfulness (Awareness, Attention) is to be constantly aware of our body, our words, our feelings, and our thoughts.

8) And Proper Concentration (Meditation) means no distractions in our practice of Proper Mindfulness of our practice of the Path as a whole. This is why we practice meditation, to help us in our Mindfulness our Awareness. And this is why we practice the Eightfold Path.

We look to the Path to help eradicate the Three Poisons of greed (desire), hatred (anger), and delusion (ignorance). Where the poisons are, there is no Nirvana. Where they are not, there is Nirvana.

Friday, January 10, 2014



If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

---Desmond Tutu

Monday, January 6, 2014

Survival of Life

Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.

---Albert Einstein---

Bold-Orange Salad Dressing

3/4 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
6 tablespoons of prepared yellow mustard
1 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Blend all the ingredients.