Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Remark

As long as you know that most men are like children you know everything.

---Coco Chanel---

Truth and Faslehood

Truth exists, only falsehood has to be invented.

---Georges Braque---


As a white candle
In a holy place,
So is the beauty
Of an aged face.

---Joseph Campbell---

A Much Forgotten Law

You shall not kill.

---The Bible---


367. Permanence is a characteristic. If nirvana is free from characteristics, it cannot be permanent.

368. If nirvana is what all buddhas realize, it cannot be impermanent.

---Red Pine - in his commentary on The Lankavatara Sutra---

The Refuge Commitments

The First Voice: We look to the teacher, the Buddha,
The Community: the one who shows us the way in this life.

The First Voice: We look to the teaching, the Dharma,
The Community: the way of understanding and love.

The First Voice: We look to the practitioners, the Sangha,
The Community: the community that lives in harmony and awareness.

The First Voice: Looking to the Buddha,
The Community: we clearly see the path of light and beauty in the world.

The First Voice: Looking to the Dharma,
The Community: we learn to open many doors on the path of transformation.

The First Voice: Looking to the Sangha,
The Community: shining light that supports us, keeping our practice free of obstructions.

The First Voice: Seeing we are Buddha,
The Community: we aspire to help all people recognize their own awakened nature, realizing the mind of love.

The First Voice: Seeing the Dharma in our lives,
The Community: we aspire to help all people fully master the ways of practice and walk together on the path of liberation.

The First Voice: Seeing the Sangha in our lives,
The Community: we aspire to help all people build just and compassionate communities, to embrace all beings, and to support their transformation.

---Ven. Hung Su---


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---

Let Go

Let go of the past,
let go of the future,
let go of the present,
and cross over to the farther shore of existence.
With mind wholly liberated,
you shall come no more to birth and death.

---The Dhammapada, 348---

What Is Buddhism?

In a famous parable the Buddha imagines a group of blind men who are invited to identify an elephant. One takes the tail and says it's a rope; another clasps a leg and says it's a pillar; another feels the side and says it's a wall; another holds the trunk and says it's a tube. Depending on which part of Buddhism you grasp, you might identify it as a system of ethics, a philosophy, a contemplative psychotherapy, a religion. While containing all of these, it can no more be reduced to any one of them than an elephant can be reduced to its tail.

---Buddhism Without Beliefs - Stephen Batchelor---

Spring Becomes Summer

An Agnostic Buddhist

An agnostic Buddhist would not regard the dharma as a source of "answers" to questions of where we came from, where we are are going, what happens after death. He would seek such knowledge in the appropriate domains: astrophysics, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, etc. An agnostic Buddhist is not a "believer" with claims to revealed information about supernatural or paranormal phenomena, and in this sense is not "religious."

---Buddhism Without Beliefs - by Stephen Batchelor---


The force of the term "agnosticism" has been lost. It has come to mean: not to hold an opinion about the questions of life and death; to say "I don't know" when you really mean "I don't want to know." When allied (and confused) with atheism, it has become part of the attitude that legitimizes an indulgent consumerism and the unreflective conformism dictated by mass media.

For T. H. Huxley, who coined the term in 1896, agnosticism was as demanding as any moral, philosophical, or religious creed. Rather than creed, though, he saw it as a method realized through "the rigorous application of a single principle." He expressed this principle positively as: "follow your reason as far as it will take you," and negatively as: "do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable." This principle runs through the Western tradition: from Socrates, via the Reformation and the Enlightenment, to the axioms of modern science. Huxley called it the "agnostic faith."

First and foremost the Buddha taught a method ("dharma practice") rather than another "-ism." The dharma is not something to believe in but something to do. The Buddha did not reveal an esoteric set of facts about reality, which we can choose to believe in or not. He challenged people to understand the nature of anguish, let go of its origins, realize its cessation, and bring into being a way of life. The Buddha followed his reason as far as it would take him and did not pretend that any conclusion was certain unless it was demonstrable. Dharma practice has become a creed ("Buddhism") mush in the same way scientific method has degraded into the creed of "Scientism."

---Buddhism Without Beliefs - by Stephen Batchelor---

A Smile

Baked Tomatoes Mexicana

3 large tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 serrano chiles, finely chopped with seeds (leave out the seeds if you want a calmer dish)
2 green onions, including both white and green, finely chopped
1/4 cup of crumbled cotija cheese (you may substitute mild feta cheese)
1/4 cup of Mexican crema (you may substitute sour cream)
Finely chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Grease a baking sheet. Lay the tomato slices on the baking sheet in a single layer.

In a small bowl mix the chiles, the onions, and the cheese. Sprinkle this mixture over the tomatoes.

Bake the dressed tomatoes until the juices bubble, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the sheet from the oven.

Add a dollop of Mexican crema to top of each tomato slice and sprinkle with the parsley.

The Kalama Sutta

The Kalama Sutta presents a vision of the Buddha's teaching that goes against the grain of much Buddhist orthodoxy. Rather than deference to tradition and lineage, it celebrates self-reliance; rather than belief in doctrine, it stresses the importance of testing ideas to see if they work; and rather than insisting on a metaphysics of rebirth and karma, it suggests that this world might indeed be the only one there is.

---Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist - by Stephen Batchelor---

I Keep Myself Free

Suppose there is no hereafter and there is no fruit of deeds done well or ill. Yet in this world, here and now, free from hatred, free from malice, safe and sound, and happy, I keep myself.

---The Buddha---

Zen Proverb

When there is great doubt, then there is great awakening.

Personal Experience, Personal Realization

Once he began to seek an answer, Siddhartha did not rest until he found it. For six long years he searched and struggled, inflicting heroic experiments upon his body and mind. He would not go by what tradition had handed down: he would not accept what theology taught; he would not even trust reason and intellect. There was only one way in which he could know the truth, and that was to realize it for himself through hard self-discipline and even harder experience. For the Buddha, religion did not mean theology, metaphysics, dogma, or even faith. He sought personal experience, personal realization, which he finally achieved on the night of his enlightenment under the bodhi tree.

---Eknath Easwaran, in Essence of the Dhammapada---


The bodhisattva Good Will said, "The realm of birth and death and that of nirvana form a dualism. But if one see the true nature of birth and death, one sees that there is no birth or death, no binding, no unbinding, no birth, no extinction. One who understands in this way may thereby enter the gate of nondualism.

---The Vimalakirti Sutra---


The escape from all bonds of suffering
Is called liberation.
How can one
Become liberated?

Merely leaving what is false
Is called liberation,
But this is not yet true liberation
For it is not liberation from everything.

---The Lotus Sutra---


The cause of all suffering
Is rooted in greed.
If greed is extinguished
There will be no place for suffering.

---The Lotus Sutra---

Frank's RedHot

Frank's RedHot's recipe dates to 1896 to the Frank Tea and Spice Company in Cinncinnati, Ohio.

In 1918, owner Jacob Frank contracted for the Estilette Pepper Farm in Louisiana where Adam Estilette and Frank became business partners. The two men mixed spices, vinegar, garlic, and cayenne peppers and allowed them to age, and created the original blend of Frank's RedHot as it first appeared on the market in 1920.

It is known as the primary ingredient in the first buffalo wing sauce, concocted in 1964 by Teressa Bellissimo at the Anchor Bar and Grill in Buffalo, New York. It is also used in Wish-Bone's new Buffalo Ranch dressing.

In 1977 Frank's RedHot was sold to Durkee Famous Foods. Since the purchase of the Durkee brand in 1995, it is owned by Reckitt Benckiser. Frank's is produced in Springfield, Missouri.

In 2007 Thanasi Foods began marketing licensed Frank's RedHot flavored beef jerky and meat snacks.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Buddha's Agnosticism

Suppose, Malunkyaputta, a man were wounded by an arrow thickly smeared with poison, and his friends and companions brought a surgeon to treat him. The man would say: "I will not let the surgeon pull out the arrow until I know the name and clan of the man who wounded me; whether the bow that wounded me was a long bow or a crossbow; whether the arrow that wounded me was hoof-tipped or curved or barbed."

All this would still not be known to that man and meanwhile he would die. So too, Malunkyaputta, if anyone should say: "I will not lead the noble life under the Buddha until the Buddha declares to me whether the world is eternal or not eternal, finite or infinite; whether the soul is the same as or different from the body; whether or not an awakened one continues or ceases to exist after death," that would remain undeclared by the Buddha and meanwhile that person would die.

---The Buddha---


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.

---Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree - by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu---

The Cycle

From contact comes feeling. From feeling comes reaction. This is what keeps us in the cycle of birth and death. Our reactions to our feelings are our passport to rebirth.

---Being Nobody, Going Nowhere - by Ayya Khema---

Starving-Student Potato Tacos

Olive oil
Onion, chopped small
Red-skinned potatoes, jackets on, scrubbed well, diced small
A few of your favorite mushrooms, chopped small
Enchilada sauce
Corn tortillas
Lime wedges

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes.

Add the potatoes and saute for 10 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until the potatoes are done to your liking.

Stir in a little enchilada sauce.

Heat the tortillas.

Add some potatoes to a tortilla, sprinkle with the salt, and fold the tortilla in half.

Serve with lime wedges.


Bodhisattvas understand the realization of emptiness is not the final destination. They understand they must remain part of the world and aide in the enlightenment, the liberation, of others.


To think that there are sentient beings without buddha-nature, or insentient things with buddha-nature--these are false views.



Enlightenment is born from relying on nothing, from independence. If you awaken to relying on nothing, then enlightenment too is without attainment.



There are...many schools in Buddhism that still handle Buddhism as a concept. But real Buddhism is to focus on the process itself. The process is you.

---Returning to Silence, by Dainin Katagiri---

To Understand

A First Cause

There is no first cause, such as a "creator."

All things have no real self because they come into being depending on a variety of other causes and exist in an interrelated fashion.

---Buddhadhamma: Natural Laws and Values for Life, by Phra Prayudh Payutto---

Friday, August 29, 2014

To Know, To See, To Understand the Three Characteristics of Existence

Impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, nonself are the three characteristics to be found in all that exists. Unless we identify them within ourselves, we will never know what the Buddha taught. Meditation is the way to find out. The rest are just words. This is action.

---Being Nobody, Going Nowhere - by Ayya Khema---



To understand a worry is to know it calmly and clearly for what it is: transient, contingent, and devoid of intrinsic identity. Whereas to misunderstand it is to freeze it into something fixed, separate, and independent.

---Buddhism Without Beliefs, by Stephen Batchelor---

The Buddha Did Not Create Buddhism

The attempt to find situational guidance from the Buddha for our personal conundrums misuses his teaching, creating "Buddhism" - an ideology - in the place of Dhamma [Dharma] - a lifelong, guided personal experience.

---The Buddha Taught Nonviolence, Not Pacifism, by Paul R. Fleischman, M.D.---


Enlightenment consists essentially in knowing things in accordance with reality (yathabhutam). In seeing thus there are no misconceptions or mental projections about the appearance of a thing or a course of events; the seeing is entirely clear and according to absolute reality.

---Buddhist Ethics, by Hammalawa Saddhatissa---


...Buddhism is essentially a mind-culture. Any improvement or retrograde step must occur initially in the mind of the person concerned.

---Buddhist Ethics, by Hammalawa Saddhatissa---


The cause of happiness is rare,
And many are the seeds of suffering!
But if I have no pain, I'll never long for freedom;
Therefore, O my mind, be steadfast!

---The Way of the Bodhisattva---


If there's a remedy when trouble strikes,
What reason is there for dejection?
And if there is no help for it,
What use is there in being glum?

---The Way of the Bodhisattva---

Pilgrims and Visitors at Lumbini, Nepal in the Springtime on the Buddha's Birthday

Lumbini is the Buddha's birthplace.


Subhuti addresses the Buddha here as Sugata, which is among the titles of every buddha. Sugata means "well-gone" and recalls the concluding mantra of the Heart Sutra: gate, gate, paragate, parasangate (gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond.).

---Red Pine, in his commentary on The Diamond Sutra---

Skillful Means

If there are living beings
Who do not understand the roots of suffering,
Who are deeply attached to causes of suffering,
And unable to give them up, even for a moment,

For their sake,
The Buddha
Uses skillful means
To teach the Way.

---The Lotus Sutra---

Repeat - You Do The Work

I now make this promise to you, and it will never turn out false. Just apply yourselves and make the effort.

---The Lotus Sutra (The Buddha speaking to Shariputra.)---

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Door of Liberation Opened Before Him

Sariputta Speaks With Assaji

One day Sariputta saw the bhikkhu [monk] Assaji begging in Rajagaha, and he was immediately drawn by Assaji's relaxed and serene bearing. Sariputta thought to himself, "This appears to be someone who has attained the Way. I knew such persons could be found! I will ask him who his Teacher is and what the teaching is."

Sariputta quickened his pace to catch up with Assaji but then stopped himself, not wanting to disturb the bhikkhu while he was silently begging from house to house. Sariputta resolved to wait until Assaji was finished begging before approaching him. Without making himself noticed, Sariputta followed Assaji. When Assaji's bowl was filled with offerings and he turned to leave the city, Sariputta joined his palms in respectful greeting and said, "Monk, you radiate such peace and calm. Your virtue and understanding shine in the way you walk, in the expression on your face, and in your every gesture. Please allow me to ask who your Teacher is and at what practice center you reside. What methods does your teacher teach?"

Assaji looked at Sariputta for a moment and then smiled in a most friendly manner. He answered, "I study and practice under the guidance of the Master Gautama of the Sakya clan who is known as the Buddha. He is presently dwelling near Supatthita Temple in Palm Forest.

Sariputta's eyes brightened. "What is his teaching? Can you share it with me?"

"The Buddha's teaching is deep and lovely. I have not grasped it fully yet. You should come and receive the teaching directly from the Buddha."

But Sariputta implored Assaji, "please, can't you share with me even a few words of the Buddha's teaching? It would be so precious to me. I will come for more teaching later."

Assaji smiled and then recited a short gatha:

"From interdependent origins
all things arise
and all things pass away.
So teaches the
Perfectly Enlightened One."

Sariputta suddenly felt his heart open as though it were being flooded by bright light. A flawless glimpse of true Dharma flashed before him. He bowed to Assaji and quickly ran to seek his friend Moggallana.

When Moggallana saw Sariputta's radiant face, he asked, "My brother, what has made you so happy? Can you have found the true path? Please tell me, brother!"

Sariputta related what had just happened. When he recited the gatha for Moggallana to hear, Moggallana also felt a sudden flash of light illuminate his heart and mind. Suddenly he saw the universe as an interconnected net. This was because that was, this arose because that arose, this was not because that was not, this passed away because that passed away. The belief in a creator of all things vanished in this understanding of dependent co-arising. He now understood how one could cut through the endless cycle of birth and death. The door of liberation opened before him.

---Old Path White Clouds, by Thich Nhat Hanh---

The Theory of Karma

Now, the Pali word kamma or the Sanskrit word karma (from the root kr to do) literally means 'actions', 'doing'. But in the Buddhist theory of karma it has a specific meaning: it means only 'volitional action', not all action. Nor does it mean the result of karma as many people wrongly and loosely use it. In Buddhist terminology karma never means its effect; its effect is known as the 'fruit' or the 'result' of karma (kamma-phala or kamma-vipaka).


The Theory of karma should not be confused with so-called 'moral justice' or 'reward and punishment'. The idea of moral justice, or reward and punishment, arises out of the conception of a supreme being, a God, who sits in judgment, who is a law-giver and who decides what is right and wrong. The term 'justice' is ambiguous and dangerous, and in its name more harm than good is done to humanity. The theory of karma is the theory of cause and effect, of action and reaction; it is a natural law, which has nothing to do with the idea of justice or reward and punishment. Every volitional action produces its effects or results. If a good action produces good effects and a bad action bad effects, it is not justice, or reward, or punishment meted out by anybody or any power sitting in judgment on your action, but this is in virtue of its own nature, its own law.

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

Starving-Student Macaroni and Tomato Pie

1 cup of uncooked macaroni
16 ounces of stewed tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
A pinch of dried oregano
Salt to taste
1/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup of buttered bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook and drain the macaroni according to the package directions.

Grease a 9-inch pie plate and line the bottom and sides with the cooked macaroni.

Pour the stewed tomatoes into the macaroni shell.

Season the tomatoes with the pepper, oregano, and salt.

Sprinkle the cheese over the seasoned stewed tomatoes. Sprinkle the bread crumbs ober the cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the crumbs are pleasantly browned.

O, My Hero

Belief and Doubt

Beliefs are what divide people. Doubt unites them.

---Peter Ustinov---

One Fewer God

I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

---Stephen Roberts---