Saturday, March 29, 2014

Capri Salad

1 pound of plum tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
10 ounces of fresh mozzarella, the best you can find
Basil leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil

On a serving platter alternate slices of tomato with those of cheese and a basil leaf, overlapping them.

At the table each diner should season the salad with the oil and the salt.

For this salad to work, each ingredient must be as fresh as possible and the finest quality.

Orecchiette with Ricotta

1 pound of orecchiette
9 ounces of ricotta

Cook the orecchiete in lightly salted boil water until al dente.

Meanwhile, mix the ricotta in a bowl with a pinch of salt and a few drops of the pasta cooking water.

Drain the orecchiette and toss it with the ricotta, mixing well.

Serve immediately.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Love is Not Simply a Human Thing


Wisdom and Enlightenment

Where Did This Anger Come From?

Yamaoka Tesshu, as a young student of Zen, visited one master after another. He called upon Dokuon of Shokoku.
Desiring to show his attainment, he said: “The mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, after all, do not exist. The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no realization, no delusion, no sage, no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received.”
Dokuon, who was smoking quietly, said nothing. Suddenly he whacked Yamaoka with his bamboo pipe. This made the youth quite angry.
“If nothing exists,” inquired Dokuon, “where did this anger come from?”

The Thief

When Bankei held his seclusion-weeks of meditation, pupils from many parts of Japan came to attend. During one of these gatherings a pupil was caught stealing. The matter was reported to Bankei with the request that the culprit be expelled. Bankei ignored the case.
Later the pupil was caught in a similar act, and again Bankei disregarded the matter. This angered the other pupils, who drew up a petition asking for the dismissal of the thief, stating that otherwise they would leave in a body.
When Bankei had read the petition he called everyone before him. “You are wise brothers,” he told them. “You know what is right and what is not right. You may go somewhere else to study if you wish, but this poor brother does not even know right from wrong. Who will teach him if I do not? I am going to keep him here even if all the rest of you leave.”
A torrent of tears cleansed the face of the brother who had stolen. All desire to steal had vanished.

Finding a Piece of Truth

One day Mara, the Evil One, was travelling through the villages of India with his attendants. he saw a man doing walking meditation whose face was lit up on wonder. The man had just discovered something on the ground in front of him. Mara’s attendant asked what that was and Mara replied, “A piece of truth.”
“Doesn’t this bother you when someone finds a piece of truth, O Evil One?” his attendant asked. “No,” Mara replied. “Right after this, they usually make a belief out of it.”

Is That So?

A beautiful girl in the village was pregnant. Her angry parents demanded to know who was the father. At first resistant to confess, the anxious and embarrassed girl finally pointed to Hakuin, the Zen master whom everyone previously revered for living such a pure life. 

When the outraged parents confronted Hakuin with their daughter's accusation, he simply replied "Is that so?"

When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who now was viewed as a pariah by the whole village. They demanded that he take care of the child since it was his responsibility. "Is that so?" Hakuin said calmly as he accepted the child.

For many months he took very good care of the child until the girl could no longer withstand the lie she had told. She confessed that the true father was a young man in the village whom she had tried to protect. 

The parents immediately went to Hakuin to see if he would return the baby. With profuse apologies they explained what had happened. 

"Is that so?" Hakuin said as he handed them the child.

Americans View Gay People More Favorably Than Evangelical Christians

A new poll  conducted by Greenberg Quilan Rosner Research was released yesterday with the finding that Americans now view gay people more favorably than they view Evangelical Christians. The poll found 53 percent of Americans view gay people favorably, while only 42 percent of Americans view Evangelical Christians favorably. Just 18 percent of Americans, according to the poll, view gays unfavorably, while 28 percent view Evangelical Christians unfavorably.
Of note, also, is the poll finds the arguments being made by the anti-gay right and so-called pro-family groups aren't working.
The poll finds Americans do not believe “legal recognition for gay marriages amounts to a social revolution within our culture and a decline in how we define families.” Only 36 percent agreed with that statement, while 60 percent believe “our society has become gradually more accepting of non- traditional families. Legally recognizing gay marriages is simply a sign of this gradual change.”
58 percent of Americans believe “children raised by same-sex couples do as well in terms of education, emotional stability and long term outcomes as children raised by a mother and a father.” Only 27 percent of those polled do not.
52 percent of Americans believe “allowing gay marriage helps children by giving the children of same-sex couples the same legal rights and sense of family as other families in their community,” while 41 percent believe that “allowing gay marriage hurts children by encouraging same-sex couples to have children; boys need fathers and girls need mothers.”
And regardless of their position on same-sex marriage, almost eight out of 10 Americans believe that if in the next ten years same-sex marriage becomes legal in all 50 states, there will be less prejudice against gay people. Three-fourths of Americans believe it will be easier to grow up gay.
Overall, 62 percent of Americans believe it “is inevitable that gay marriages will be legally recognized by the Supreme Court.”

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mom Murdered 4-Year Old Son Because He ‘Talked Like’ He Was Gay

What does it matter if someone hates queers? 

What if that someone who hates is the mother of the person 'thought' to be gay? What if that person hated were a 4-year old boy? 

What does it matter if a religion says gays are evil?

Follow the link for the story:
Mom Murdered 4-Year Old Son Because He ‘Talked Like’ He Was Gay, Say Prosecutors



Eggplant Braciole with Tomato Concasse

1 large eggplant, end trimmed, peeled and cut lengthwise into thin strips no more than 1/4 -inch thick, you want them pliable
Your favorite olive oil
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup of minced onion
1/2 cup of dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of ground walnuts
1/4 cup of raisins
Tomato concasse (that recipe follows this one)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the 8 largest eggplant slices (from the center) on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush with oil. (Reserve the remaining eggplant slices for another use.)

Season the oiled eggplant slices with salt and pepper, cover with foil. and bake until soften, perhaps 10 minutes.

Remove the slices from the oven and allow them to cool slightly. Leave the oven on.

Heat some oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cover, and cook, stirring a few times, until they are soft, maybe 5 minutes.

Transfer the onion to a bowl and add the bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the walnuts, the raisins, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend it all well.

Arrange the eggplant slices on a work surface. Divide the onion-bread crumb filling among them, gently spreading it over each slice.

beginning with the short end nearest you, roll up each slice, then arrange them seam side down in a large oiled baking dish. Top each roll with about 2 tablespoons of tomato concasse. Sprinkle the remain Parmesan over all.

Bake to heat through and lightly brown the cheese on top, about 15 minutes.

Serve with the remain tomato concasse.

The Recipe for Tomato Concasse

(This is best with fresh garden tomatoes.)

4 large tomatoes, cored
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of minced fresh parsley
A splash of the best extra-virgin olive oil you have

Plunge the tomatoes into a pot of boiling water for 15 seconds. Remove them from the pot and place them in a bowl of ice water. Drain the cooled tomatoes.

Pull the tomato skins off with your fingers. Cut the tomatoes crosswise in half and remove all the seeds.

Coarsely chop the tomatoes and place them in a medium size bowl.

Season the tomatoes with the salt and pepper, sprinkle with the parsley, and drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil. Gently toss the tomatoes to combine everything.

Cover the bowl and allow the tomatoes to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to permit the flavors to blend and develop.

Use as desired.

(If it is not the time of the season for fresh garden tomatoes and you have to use those things from the produce section of markets it is helpful to add a wee pinch of sugar to the final tossing. It may also help to heat the concasse over a low flame for a few minutes. Do not add the sugar or heat if you use fresh tomatoes.)

The True Dharma

Peace and Joy

Wise Dharma

The Present Moment

People do not generally live in their actions, in the present moment. They live in the past or in the future.

---What the Buddha Taught, by Walpola Rahula---


As long as you are conscious of yourself you can never concentrate on anything.

---What the Buddha Taught, by Walpola Rahula---

A Blessing

One Man's Thoughts

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Zen Study

It is essential in Zen study that you do not cling to a sitting cushion for practice.



If you have been practicing quiet meditation but your mind is still not calm and free when in the midst of activity, this means you haven't been empowered by your quiet meditation. If you have been practicing quietude just to get rid of agitation, then when you are in the midst of agitation, the agitation will disturb your mind just as if you had never done any quiet mediation.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Source of Our Bondage

It takes a Buddha to point out the startling truth that the basic pattern of experience is itself the source of our bandage...

---Bhikkhu Bodhi---

Dependent on Craving

Thus, Ananda, in dependence upon feeling there is craving; in dependence upon craving there is pursuit; in dependence upon pursuit there is gain; in dependence upon gain there is decision-making; in dependence upon decision-making there is desire and lust; in dependence upon desire and lust there is attachment; in dependence upon attachment there is possessiveness; in dependence upon possessiveness there is stinginess; in dependence upon stinginess there is safeguarding; and because of safeguarding, various evil unwholesome phenomena originate--taking up of clubs and weapons, conflicts, quarrels, and disputes, insulting speech, slander, and falsehood.

---The Mahanidana Sutta---


Words and Concepts

The Gradual and the Sudden

Listening to the teaching is the gradual within the sudden; understanding the teaching is the sudden within the gradual. Cultivating practice is the gradual within the sudden; realizing the result is the sudden within the gradual.


The Cooperation of Concentration and Insight

In Ch'an and the Teachings there are two methods, most honored of the myriad practices of the ten perfections. At first they are called stopping and seeing, to help new learners; later they become concentration and wisdom, roots of enlightenment. These are only one reality, which seems to have two parts. In the silence of the essence of reality is stopping by comprehending truth; when silent yet ever aware, subtle seeing is there.

---Yung-ming Yen-shou---

Another Attachment

Be aware. Do not allow the goal of Buddhahood to become the source of another attachment.

The Buddha

When your practice and understanding meet, you will see the Buddha.


Students of the Buddha

...students should concentrate on turning their hearing within. And they should keep listening until they realize that the Buddha, all beings, and the mind are not three different things.

---Chiang Wei-nung---


...non-attachment to all things is correct and attachment to anything is wrong.



Your Mind

Monday, March 24, 2014

Living in the Moment

The Contest

In the year 800 of the Common Era, there was a contest between two famous Buddhist scholars, Chao-chou and Wen-yuan.
Chao-chou: “I'm nothing but a donkey.”
Wen-yuan:“A donkey? You’re lucky. I'm merely a donkey’s buttocks.”
Chao-chou: “Actually, I dream that I could one day be a donkey’s buttocks. At the moment, I'm what comes out of the donkey’s buttocks.”
Wen-yuan: “You’re privileged. I’d give anything to be what comes out of donkey’s buttocks. For I'm but a worm living in what comes out of a donkey’s buttocks. And do you know why I’m there?”
Chao-chou: “Why?”
Wen-yuan: “Because I wanted to go somewhere special for my summer holidays.”
With this line, Wen-yuan won the competition. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014


In Buddhism, the essential meaning of the word "study" is the unceasing, dedicated observation and investigation of whatever arises in the mind, be it pleasant or unpleasant. Only those familiar with the observation of mind can really understand Dharma.

---Buddhadasa Bhikkhu---


The experience of nirvana is beyond the scope of human concepts, including our reified ideas of existence and nonexistence.

---B. Alan Wallace---

The Three Poisons

Greed is to be slightly blamed but it is slow to change. hatred is to be greatly blamed but it is quick to change. Delusion is to be greatly changed and it is slow to change.

---Anguttara Nikaya---


Questions to the Buddha

"Sir, what is the reason, what is the cause of doing, of committing an evil deed?"

"Greed, hatred, delusion, not paying proper attention and wrongly directed thoughts--these are the reasons, these are the causes of doing, of committing an evil deed."

"Then what, Sir, is the reason, what is the cause of doing, of performing a beautiful deed?"

"Generosity, love, wisdom, paying attention and rightly directed thought. These are the reasons, these are the causes of doing, of performing a beautiful deed."

---Anguttara Nikaya---

The Word of the Teacher

The doctrines of which you can say, "These doctrines do not conduce to good, to turning away, to fading, to calming, to higher knowledge, or to Nirvana" - you can be certain that they are not Dharma, not discipline, not the word of the Teacher. But the doctrines of which you can say, "These doctrines do conduce to good, to turning away, to fading, to calming, to higher knowledge, and to Nirvana" - you can be certain that they are Dharma, they are discipline, they are the word of the Teacher.

---Anguttara Nikaya---


Greed, hatred and delusion are unskillful.Whatever the greedy, hating or deluded person does with body, speech or mind--that is unskilled too. Whatever one overwhelmed by greed, hatred or delusion and with mind uncontrolled does to another, unjustly causing him suffering through punishment, imprisonment, fine, abuse, banishment, or on the excuse that 'might is right'--all that is unskilled, too.

---Anguttara Nikaya---


O bhikkhus, even if you have insight that is pure and clear but you cling to it, fondle it and treasure it, depend on it and are attached to it, then you do not understand that the teaching is like a raft that carries you across the water to the farther shore but is then to be put down and not clung to.

---Majjhima Nikaya---

The Teaching of the Buddhas

To avoid all evil, to cultivate good,
and to cleanse one's mind--this is
the teaching of the Buddhas.

---The Dhammapada 183---

Anger in Speech

Guard against anger erupting in your speech;
.........Be restrained with your speech.
.........Letting go of verbal misconduct,
.........Practice good conduct with your speech.

---The Dhammapada 232---

The Body of Heaven

On a midsummer's day a rustle of beetles fly singing from dry grass to raise the sun like a dung ball. In the sky bright as Nut's belly above her lover, the sun glints like yellow jasper. The body of heaven lies smooth and firm as an egg. It is joy to lick the wind. On countless mornings I see the fireball roll and tears roll down my cheek. The souls of men like tears from Ra stream down the face of heaven. The eye of the great one see how stars fade.

---The Book Of Emerging Forth Into The Light (aka, The Book of the Dead)---

The Buddha

Of Him it has been said, 'There is none so godless as the Buddha, and yet none so godlike." In the Buddha is embodied all the great virtues, sacredness, wisdom and enlightenment.

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

A Poem by Ryokan

On a grass pillow,
my journey's lodging
changes night by night.
Dreams of my village