Sunday, November 30, 2014

Drop By Drop

Do not make light of your failings,
Saying, "What are they to me?"
A jug fills drop by drop.
So the fool becomes brimful of folly.

Do not belittle your virtues,
Saying "They are nothing."
A jug fills drop by drop.
So the wise man becomes brimful of virtue.

---The Dhammapada---

Two Words

Two words often mistaken, with usually disastrous results, as one:

A noun.
Middle English, of Scandinavian origin.
Known since the 14th century.

A meanly covetous and stingy person. A miser

A noun.
Alteration of earlier neger, from Middle French negre, from Spanish or Portuguese negro black, from Latin niger.
Known since the 1700s.

An offensive racial slur. A word expressive of racial hatred and bigotry.

These words are not related. As you can see, one is from the north of Europe, the other had its origins in the area of the Mediterranean.

The Evolving Practice

My Dear Friend, the Soto Monk Chiezan

It is no longer possible to maintain that dharma practice has remained unaltered since the time of the Buddha. It has evolved and continues to evolve distinctive forms peculiar to the conditions of the time. It has survived precisely because of its ability to respond creatively to change.

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

Saturday, November 29, 2014


There are these six dangers associated with idleness. Thinking: "It's too cold," one does not work. Thinking: "It's too hot," one does not work. Thinking: "It's too early," one does not work. Thinking: "It's too late," one does not work. Thinking: "I'm too hungry," one does not work. Thinking: "I'm too full," one does not work.

---The Buddha---

Boredom as Part of Your Practice

It is difficult to imagine anything more inherently boring than sitting still for an hour with nothing to do but feel the air going in and out of your nose. You are going to run into boredom repeatedly in your meditation. Everybody does. Boredom is a mental state and should be treated as such.

---Bhante Henepola Gunaratana---

The Five Contemplations (Mindfully Recited Before a Meal)

This food is the gift of the whole Universe -
the Earth, the sky, and much hard work.
May we eat in mindfulness so as to be worthy to receive it.
May we transform our unskillful states of mind
and learn to eat with moderation.
May we take only foods that nourish us and prevent illness.
We accept this food to realize the path of understanding and love.

The Forgotten Prohibition

You shall not kill.

---The Bible---

Jeff Buckley


Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.

---Antoine Sainte-Exupery---

The Death of Democracy

The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.

---Robert Maynard Hutchins---

Instead of God

It makes one feel rather good deciding not to be a bitch. . . . It's sort of what we have instead of God.

---Ernest Hemingway, in The Sun Also Rises---

On the 1982 Britain-Argentina Conflict

The Falklands thing was a fight between two bald men over a comb.

---Jorge Luis Borges---


A man gradually identifies himself with the form of his fate; a man is, in the long run, his own circumstances.

---Jorge Luis Borges---

Our Teacher

In the Mahaparinibbana Sutta we read, when on his deathbed, the Buddha said, “Ananda, it may be that you think: 'The Teacher's instruction has ceased, now we have no teacher!' It should not be seen like this, Ananda, for what I have taught and explained to you as Dharma and discipline will, at my passing, be your teacher.”

The Universe

The word “universe” comes from the Latin unus,meaning “one,” combined with versus, which is the past participle of vertere, meaning “to turn.” Thus the original and literal meaning of “universe” was “everything turned into one.”

---Alan Lightman---

Chris Cornell

The Mind

It [the mind] can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven.

---John Milton---

Friday, November 28, 2014

Freedom and Equality Take One Giant Step Forward

Today, Finland became the 12th European nation to recognize and legalize Marriage Equality.

Of What Use Are Scriptures?

Even if you can explain thousands of sutras and shastras, unless you see your own nature yours is the teaching of a mortal, not a buddha. The true Way is sublime. It can't be expressed in language. Of what use are scriptures? But someone who sees his own nature is a buddha.


A Riot

God Needs to Ask for Our Forgiveness

If there is a god, he will have to beg my forgiveness.

---I'm told this was found carved on the wall on a Nazi concentration camp. I've never come across it in my research. No matter. Wherever it originated, it's very true.---

Almond-Turmeric Potatoes

Olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric
Salt to taste
Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
2 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, cleaned wells, and sliced as thinly as possible
2 tablespoons of hot vegetable broth, plus more if needed
1/3 cup of almonds, toasted

Choose a 4-quart sauce pan with a tight fitting lid. Generously film the bottom of the saucepan with the olive oil. Set the pan over medium-high heat.

Layer into the saucepan, in the following order, the onion, the turmeric, the salt (small amount), the pepper (small amount), the potatoes, and a wee bit more salt and pepper.

Let the contents of the saucepan cook, without stirring, until the onion starts to soften and brown. Don't stir, but peek under the vegetables to look for color on the onions.

Add the broth, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to low. Again, don't stir, but shake the pan occasionally, and check to make sure there is still some liquid on the bottom. Add more broth as needed. (Keep the extra broth on a low flame so it remains hot. You don't want cold broth lowering the temperature of your potatoes.)

Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until there is a syrupy brown glaze on the bottom of the pan, the onion is deepening its color, and the potatoes are tender.

When everything is to your liking, pull the pan off the heat and allow it to stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

Taste for seasoning, adding more if needed.

Just before serving, sprinkle the potatoes with the toasted almonds.

When you serve the potatoes spoon down to the bottom of the pan so each person gets some of the rich glaze.



First used to transliterate dhyana, the Sanskrit term for meditation. Bodhidharma is credited with freeing zen from the meditation cushion, using the term instead in reference to the everyday, straightforward mind, the mind that sits without sitting and that acts without acting.

---Red Pine---

The Buddha and Zen and the Mind

Buddha is Sanskrit for what you call aware, miraculously aware. Responding, perceiving, arching your brows, blinking your eyes, moving your hands and feet, it's all your miraculous aware nature. And this nature is the mind. And the mind is the buddha. And the buddha is the path. And the path is zen. But the word zen is one that remains a puzzle to both mortals and sages. Seeing your nature is zen. Unless you see your nature, it's not zen.



But why shouldn't we worship buddhas and bodhisattvas?

The buddha is your own mind. Do you want to worship your mind?



Sanskrit for constant flow, the round of mortality, the endless flux of birth and death.

---Red Pine---

In Buddhism, the term refers to the repeating cycle of birth and death. It also refers to one's actions and the consequences of those action in the past, the present, and the future.

For Him

Huffington Post asked its readers what they were most thankful for this year. A young man posted this image on his Tweeter page with the simple words, "Thankful for him."

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

You Are Free

Quieten your mind.
Nothing binds you.
You are free.

---The Dhammapada---


The fly and the spider do not make a bargain.

Pot-Crushed Potatoes

4 quarts of salted water in a 6-quart pot
2 pounds of red-skin potatoes, cleaned but unpeeled
8 large cloves of garlic
Olive oil
Salt to taste
Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
A pinch of red pepper flakes
A few spoonfuls of water
1 small pinch of torn, fresh oregano leaves
1/3 of a cup of rough chopped fresh parsley leaves
4 whole scallions, sliced thin
The juice of a large lemon

Put the potatoes in the salted water and bring the water to the boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender.

Thin-slice the peeled garlic cloves and set aside.

Drain the potatoes very well in a colander and let them rest there.

Put the empty pot back on the stove (don't worry if there are traces of potato starch in the pot), film it with the olive oil, and put the heat on medium.

Add the garlic, the salt, the black pepper, the red pepper flakes, and the water.

Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 5 minutes to soften the garlic. Add more water if needed to prevent the garlic from browning. (Do not allow the garlic to brown - you want it softened not colored.)

Add the oregano and cook for 30 seconds.

Return the potatoes to the pot and lightly crush them with a wooden spoon, blending them with the sauteed garlic.

Season again to taste, if necessary.

Fold in the parsley, the scallions, and the lemon juice.

Turn the potatoes into a warmed bowl.

Serve as a side with anything roasted or grilled or use as a main coarse.

Observation is the Beginning of Freedom

The solution is not to suppress our thoughts and desires, for this is impossible; it would be like trying to keep a pot of water from boiling by pressing down tightly on the lid. The only sensible approach is to train ourselves to observe our thoughts without following them. This deprives them of their compulsive energy and is therefore like removing the pot of boiling water from the fire.

---Lama Thubten Yeshe---

No End to Desires

Since there's no end
to the desires of sentient beings,
all cannot be pleased.
Not thinking about the faults of others,
we must reduce our own worries instead.

---Adept Godrakpa---

Brent Smith