Monday, June 30, 2014

Beyond Appearance and Emptiness

To return to the root is to find the essence,
but to pursue appearances or "enlightenment" is to miss
..............the Source.
To awaken even for a moment
is to go beyond appearance and emptiness.

---Hsin-Hsin Ming---

Red Flannel Shirt

Carrot Casserole

1 pound of cleaned and small-diced carrots
1 cup of vegetable broth
1/2 cup of shredded Swiss cheese
A pinch of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook the carrots in the broth until tender. Drain the carrots and retain the broth.

Mash the carrots.

Add the cheese and nutmeg to the mashed carrots. Combine well.

Add enough of the broth to the mashed carrots to make them creamy.

Place in a casserole and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.


The Lankavatara Sutra On the Eating of Animal Flesh

...those who practice
out of compassion should not eat meat.

It doesn't foster compassion or wisdom
it prevents your true liberation
it conflicts with the ways of the wise
therefore you should not eat meat.

---The Buddha---

A Hot Day and a Wise Being


The Buddha Answers A Question About Eating Meat

Mahamati, on some occasions I have proscribed eating five kinds of meat and at other times ten kinds. Today, in this sutra, I am getting rid of practices that allow certain kinds at certain times in favor of none whatsoever.

---The Buddha, in the Lankavatara Sutra---


The 2014 New York City Pride Parade this year marked the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the 1969 uprising against police raids that were a catalyst for the gay rights movement. The parade route passed the Stonewall Inn, the site of the riots.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Nature Boy

The Lorax

Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes
....that hack.
Then the Lorax
and all of his friends
may come back.

---Dr. Seuss---



Even three times a day to offer three hundred cooking pots of food does not match a portion of the merit acquired in one instant of love.

---Nagarjuna, in Precious Garland---

An Interfaith Visit

The clergy of the Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple in the library of the Vivekananda Monastery in Ganges, Michigan.

From left to right; the Ven. An Su, Deokwun Sunim (our Abbot), the Ven. Hung Su, and the Ven. Zhen Su.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Ironic Vandalism


What Defines A Family?

The secret: You define your family, I'll define mine, and we will live in peace.

Remember To Put The Glass Down

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?"

Answers were called out ranging from 8 ounces to 20 ounces.

"The absolute weight doesn't matter," She replied. "It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.

"The stresses and worries in life are like this glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. If we think about them all day long, we'll feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything."

The Wrong Response

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


With mindfulness, we are aware of what is going on in our bodies, our feelings, our minds, and the world, and we avoid doing harm to ourselves and others.

---Thich Nhat Hanh---


Two cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. Two cheers are quite enough: there is no occasion to give three.

---E. M. Forster---


As long as there are sovereign nations possessing great power, war is inevitable.

---Albert Einstein---


Man's happiness is life is the result of man's own effort and is neither the gift of God nor a spontaneous natural product.

---Ch'en Tu-hsiu---

Look Behind the Curtain

Understanding and Compassion

With understanding and compassion, you will be able to heal the wounds in your heart, and the wounds in the world.

---The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, by Thich Nhat Hanh---


Once the door of awareness is opened, you cannot close it.

---The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, by Thich Nhat Hanh---

The Golden Calf

Cruelty and Gentleness

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Your Temple

Where you are, there is your temple.

Starving-Student Spinach and Mushroom Salad

10 ounces of baby spinach
8 ounces of your favorite mushroom, sliced thin
1 medium summer squash or zucchini, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of a dressing made of extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bow, toss the spinach, the mushrooms, and the squash.

Add the dressing and toss again.


The Vimalakirti Sutra

Who would purify their world first purifies their mind. As their mind becomes pure, their world becomes pure.

---The Buddha---

The Mind and Wisdom

All things are produced by the mind. To realize one's true nature is not to be attached to anything. The mind not attached to anything is wisdom.

---Li Wen-hui---

The Practice

...changing one's understanding is immediate, changing one's behavior takes longer.

---Red Pine, in his commentary on the Lankavatara Sutra---

One's Own Mind

For the Buddha, the path to understanding is not through speculation or philosophical discourse but through personal realization, which requires avoiding distractions and cultivating whatever brings one closer to one's own mind.

---Red Pin, in his commentary on the Lankavatara Sutra---

Some Ideas


Starving-Student Beet and Onion Salad

1 (16 ounce) can of sliced beets, undrained
1 small onion, sliced into rings
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of sugar

Put all the ingredients (including the beet juice) into a bowl. Mix well.

Allow the salad to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir the salad every 10 minutes.

Drain the salad just before serving.

You can save the marinade and soak hard boiled eggs in it overnight to make beet-eggs. (After making the eggs, discard the marinade.)

You Guys Would Rather I Kill More People on Film Than Tell People I'm Gay?'

After I did Stonewall, I was doing all this gay press. My managers wanted to put a halt on me being out,' he says. 'I just don't have the patience for that shit. It seems like so much fuckin' work to keep lying. I remember them saying, 'We need to build up your body count.' They wanted me to kill more people on film. I was like, 'You guys would rather I kill more people on film than tell people I'm gay?' Needless to say, I'm not with them anymore.

---Guillermo Diaz---

I Certainly Suffered

I saw a Christian therapist who, among many other beliefs, believed I’d be happier in a straight life. He didn’t shame me for being gay. Most of the focus, we weren’t even talking about my sexuality. But certainly his belief that I’d be living a happier life as a heterosexual was indeed harmful. In no way, shape, or form—I can’t even believe I have to clarify this—do I condone ex-gay therapy. I think it’s a horrible practice. There’s no scientific basis for it. A person’s sexuality is a part of who they are. And I certainly suffered for not having my sexuality affirmed.

---Steve Grand---

They Are Not Alone

Let me be to someone else what no one was to me. Let me send a message to that kid, maybe in America, maybe someplace far overseas, maybe somewhere deep inside — a kid who is being targeted at home or at school or in the streets — that someone is watching and listening and caring, that there is an ‘us,’ that there is a ‘we,’ and that kid or teenager or adult is loved and they are not alone.

---Wentworth Miller---

Gave Me Hope To Start Living Again

Listening to Harvey Milk's recording gave me my life because for the very first time I heard a leader leading with hope not fear and that vision of hope included me. I didn't know it was possible to be out of the closet or to lead with anything other than fear. It gave me to hope to start living my life.

---Dustin Lance Black---

Orlando, Miami Beach Side With Plaintiffs Challenging Florida's Gay Marriage Ban

“If we're truly going to be an All-American city, we have to be a city for all Americans,” Trantalis said.
Orlando and Miami Beach will file a friend of the court brief in a lawsuit challenging Florida's ban on gay marriage.
Orlando's city council on Monday approved Mayor Buddy Dyer's proposal to support plaintiffs in the case.
A federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments in the lawsuit next month.
Lawmakers approved a law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples nearly two decades ago. Voters in 2008 approved a constitutional amendment reinforcing the ban.
Last week, commissioners in Fort Lauderdale approved a non-binding resolution in support of marriage equality. The measure was sponsored by openly gay Commissioner Dean Trantalis.
“If we're truly going to be an All-American city, we have to be a city for all Americans,” Trantalis said.
---On Top Magazine---

Our Habit of Clinging

Though becoming a monk or a nun is indeed one way of practicing generosity, most people can not let go in the midst of busy, family-centered lives. What we need to reject is not the things we have, or our family and friends, but rather our mistaken sense that these are our possessions. We need to let go of our habit of clinging to the people and the material things in our lives and to our ideas, beliefs, and opinions.

---Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness, by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana---

Equality - From Sea to Shining Sea

Since the United States Supreme Court’s decisions in Perry and Windsor in June 2013, twenty-two consecutive pro-equality court orders have been issued from coast to coast.
Those opinions have been made in the last eleven months, at least one per month, and each continuing the momentum toward federal marriage equality.
August 26, 2013: New Mexico, Griego v. OliverNew Mexico’s marriage ban is unconstitutional.  
 “For the reasons set forth…the operative facts being undisputed, Plaintiffs have demonstrated a significant likelihood of success on the merits of their claim.”

September 27, 2013: New Jersey, Garden State Equality v. Dow
New Jersey’s marriage ban is unconstitutional.
 “Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey Constitution.”         

October 18, 2013: New Jersey, Garden State Equality v. Dow
Affirms New Jersey’s marriage ban is unconstitutional, marriage stay denied.
 “We conclude that the State has not made the necessary showing to prevail on any of the Crowe factors and that the public interest does not favor a stay.”

November 25, 2013: Illinois, Gray v. Orr
Illinois must grant marriage license to one plaintiff couple.
“Defendant is ordered to register their solemnized marriage as is presently required for all other marriages.”

December 19, 2013: New Mexico, Griego v. Oliver
Affirms New Mexico’s marriage ban is unconstitutional.
“We conclude that the purpose of New Mexico marriage laws is to bring stability and order to the legal relationship of committed couples by defining their rights and responsibilities as to one another, their children if they choose to raise children together, and their property. Prohibiting same-gender marriages is not substantially related to the governmental interests advanced by the parties opposing same-gender marriage or to the purposes we have identified.”

December 20, 2013: Utah, Kitchen v. Herbert
Utah’s marriage ban is unconstitutional.
“The State’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason. Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional.”

December 23, 2013: Ohio, Obergefell v. Wymyslo
Ohio must recognize lawful marriages on death certificates.
“…Once you get married lawfully in one state, another state cannot summarily take your marriage away, because the right to remain married is properly recognized as a fundamental liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution.”

January 14, 2014: OklahomaBishop v. US
Oklahoma’s marriage ban is unconstitutional.
“Equal protection is at the very heart of our legal system and central to our consent to be governed. It is not a scarce commodity to be meted out begrudgingly or in short portions. Therefore, the majority view in Oklahoma must give way to individual constitutional rights.”

February 13, 2014: Kentucky, Bourke v. Beshear
Kentucky must recognize lawful marriages.
“What this opinion does…is make real the promise of equal protection under the law. It will profoundly affect validly married same-sex couples’ experience of living in the Commonwealth and elevate their marriage to an equal status in the eyes of state law.”

February 13, 2014: Virginia, Bostic v. Rainey
Virginia’s marriage ban is unconstitutional.
“We have arrived upon another moment in history when We the People becomes more inclusive, and our freedom more perfect.”

February 16, 2014: Texas, DeLeon v. Perry
Texas’ marriage ban is unconstitutional.
“Equal treatment of all individuals under the law is not merely an aspiration – it is a constitutional mandate.”

February 21, 2014: Illinois, Lee v. Orr
Cook County, Illinois, must issue marriage licenses immediately.
“There is no reason to delay further when no opposition has been presented to this court and committed gay and lesbian couples have already suffered from the denial of their fundamental right to marry.”

March 14, 2014: Tennessee, Tanco v. Haslam
Tennessee must recognize the lawful marriages of three plaintiff couples.
“The state’s refusal to recognize the plaintiffs’ marriages de-legitimizes their relationships, degrades them in their interactions with the state, causes them to suffer public indignity, and invites public and private discrimination and stigmatization.”

March 21, 2014: Michigan, DeBoer v. Snyder
Michigan’s marriage ban is unconstitutional.
“Today’s decision…affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail.”

April 14, 2014: Ohio, Henry v. Himes
Ohio must recognize lawful marriages.
“The fact that a form of discrimination has been “traditional” is a reason to be more skeptical of its rationality and cause for courts to be especially vigilant.”

April 18, 2014: Indiana, Baskin v. Bogan
Indiana must recognize the lawful marriage of one plaintiff couple.
“The court finds Plaintiffs suffer a cognizable and irreparable harm stemming from the violation of their constitutional rights of due process and equal protection.”

April 23, 2014: Texas, Flood-Lesh
Texas’ marriage ban is unconstitutional.
“The best interest of the child is always the primary consideration of the court. By denying their parents the right to marry, Texas has created a suspect classification of children who are denied equal protection of the law under the 14th Amendment.”

May 9, 2014: Arkansas, Wright v. Arkansas
Arkansas’ marriage ban is unconstitutional.
“It has been over forty years since Mildred Loving was given the right to marry the person of her choice. The hatred and fears have long since vanished and she and her husband lived full lives together; so it will be for the same-sex couples. It is time to let that beacon of freedom shine brighter on all our brothers and sisters. We will be stronger for it.”

May 13, 2014: Idaho, Latta v. Otter
Idaho’s marriage ban is unconstitutional.
“Slow as the march toward equality may seem, it is never in vain.”

May 19, 2014: Oregon, Geiger v. Kitzhaber
Oregon’s marriage ban is unconstitutional.
“Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other…and rise.”

May 20, 2014: Pennsylvania, Whitewood v. Wolf
Pennsylvania’s marriage ban is unconstitutional.
“In the sixty years since Brown was decided, ‘separate’ has thankfully faded into history, an only ‘equal’ remains. Similarly, in future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage.”

June 6, 2014: Wisconsin, Wolf v. Walker
Wisconsin’s marriage ban is unconstitutional.
 “Quite simply, this case is about liberty and equality, the two cornerstones of the rights protected by the United States Constitution.”

 American Foundation for Equal Rights. © 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

We Create Names

Everything is as it is. It has no name other than the name we give it. It is we who call it something; we give it a value. We say this thing is good or it's bad, but in itself, the thing is only as it is. It's not absolute, it's just as it is. People are just as they are.

---The Mind and the Way, by Ajahn Sumedho---

Sacred Truth