Wednesday, January 28, 2015


From now on, wearing the armor of patience,
May I vanquish my arch enemy, anger.

---from The Anger and Patience Gatha---

Self Assessment

Am I thinking more of others than myself?

Silent reflection.

Am I less irritated and bothered by others and the things that happen around me?

Silent reflection.

Am I more aware and mindful?

Silent reflection.

Do I regularly engage in meditation?

Silent reflection.

Do I find that the Practice is becoming more automatic?

Silent reflection.

Have I taken the time to examine and analyze my own mind?

Silent reflection.

Have my activities been undertaken with the single intention to be of benefit to others?

Silent reflection.

Do I spend too much time pondering others and their weaknesses?

Silent reflection.

Do I malign others and hold grudges?

Silent reflection.

Do I wait in ambush for others?

Silent reflection.

Have I brought things to a painful point?

Silent reflection.

Have I practiced the main points: others before self, awakening compassion?

Silent reflection.

To Understand

To understand the Buddhas of endless time just penetrate this phrase: everything is created by mind alone.
---The Morning Bell Chant---

[The operative word is 'penetrate'.]

A Simple Graph

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Buddhist Poem (or Manifesto)

Since I went forth
From home into homelessness
I have never been aware of having
Any ignoble or hateful thoughts, such as:

"May they be killed. May they be slaughtered.
May they come to harm."
Such thoughts have not crossed my mind
For a long time.

On the contrary, I am aware of thoughts of love,
Infinite and well-developed,
Practiced in due order
As taught by the Buddha.

I am a friend to all, a helper to all,
I am sympathetic to all beings.
I develop a mind of love
And delight always in harmlessness.

I gladden my mind
I make it immovable and unshakable.
I develop the divine states
Not cultivated by evil people.

---The Theragatha---

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cantaloupe Soup with Jalapeno and Basil

The Soup:

One 2 1/2 pound, intensely sweet-smelling ripe cantaloupe
2 cups of ice cubes
A generous pinch of salt
4 or 5 grinds of black pepper
2 tablespoons of sugar
The juice of 2 large limes (about 1/2 of a cup)
The grated zest of 1/2 of a large lime

The Garnish:

2 jalapenos, seeded and cut into a fine dice
A dozen fresh basil leaves, cut into very thin ribbons
1/2 of a medium red onion, cut into a small dice

Cut the melon in half and scoop out and discard the seeds. Trim the rind away and discard it. Slice the quarters into chunks and place them in a food processor.

Add the ice, the salt, the pepper, the sugar, and the lime juice to the processor.


Stir in the grated zest.

Place the jalapenos, the basil, and the onion in separate small bowls.

To serve, pour the soup into bowls and pass the condiments.

Non-Violence Verses Pacifism

When confronted with a social wrong, think non-violence instead of pacifism. Pacifism is non-doing. A chair is a pacifist. Non-violence is an action. Think of doing non-harm. When it comes to social injustice non-violence can be very difficult but is needed most. Look to Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela - these are examples of non-violence doing the right, the proper thing. 

Let that guide you and not an angry ego.



A great friend is Aristotle, but a greater friend is truth.

---The Clerk in The Canterbury Tales---

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Buddhist Basics

The Four Noble Truths
There is Dukkha.
Dukkha has a cause – Desire (Thirst).
There is a way out of Dukkha.
The way out is the Noble Eightfold Path
   Proper View
   Proper Intention
   Proper Speech
   Proper Action
   Proper Livelihood
   Proper Effort
   Proper Mindfulness
   Proper Concentration

The Five Moral Precepts (Proper Action)
1...To respect and protect all Life.
2...To respect the property of others and to refrain from taking what is not freely given.
3...To respect personal boundaries and refrain from inappropriate sexual behavior.
4...To respect the truth, to refrain from lying, slander, gossip, and harsh speech. To avoid using the truth to cause harm.
5...To respect yourself and refrain from the abuse of alcohol, drugs, and all intoxicants in order to remain mindful and aware of the first four precepts.

The word karma simply means action. The teaching of karma tells us action, positive or negative, has an effect.

The karmic line is reborn. The stream of consciousness, upon death becomes one of the contributing causes for the arising of a new aggregation. The consciousness in the new person is neither identical nor entirely different from that in the deceased but the two form a causal continuum or stream.

The Three Marks of All Conditioned Phenomena

The Four Noble Abodes
   Loving Kindness
   Sympathetic Joy

The Three Poisons

Everything exists because of Causes and Conditions
   Cause and Effect
      Where there is a cause, whether it is large or small, good or bad, there is 
      and will be an effect.
   Dependent Origination
      This is because that is. This is not because that is not.

This teaching does not mean nihilism. Phenomena do not exist of themselves, nor do they have a permanent or eternal existence.

   The Dhammapada – Sayings of the Buddha – the most popular of all scripture.
   Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (Discourse on the Turning of the Wheel of Dhamma),            popularly know as the Dhannacakka Sutta (the Wheel of Dhamma Discourse) – the            Buddha's first sermon.
   The Udana – 80 short suttas ti an incident that comes to the Buddha's attention
   The Itivuttaka – Suttas collected by the servant woman Khujjuttara and shared with her         mistress.
   The Mahaparinibbana – The Buddha's last days.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese

1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
Olive oil
3 medium onions, chopped fine
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
3 gloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of tomato paste
1/3 cup of dry vermouth
2 pounds of fresh tomatoes (avoid Roma), peeled, seeded, and chopped; or 1 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes with their liquid, crushed
4 cups of vegetable broth
Ground cinnamon to taste
4 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled

Combine all the dried herbs in a small bowl. Crush them slightly until they become fragrant. Set them aside.

Film  the bottom of a large soup pot with olive oil. Heat the pot over medium-high heat.

Stir in the onions, season with the salt and the pepper. Cook until the onions are golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir the onions often.

Add the reserved herbs and the garlic. Cook until their aromas open up, about 30 seconds.

Blend in the tomato paste until there are no lumps; then add the vermouth and tomatoes. Boil for 2 minutes.

Pour in the broth, stir, adjust the heat to a light bubble, and cover the pot tightly.

Cook for 20 minutes.

Blend in the cinnamon, and then check the seasonings.

Ladle the soup into bowls, and top each serving with crumbles of goat cheese.

In the Beginning

Perhaps a better term for the so-called Big Bang would be Expansionary Jump.

Mahayana Meditation

We do approach the mediation cushion motivated by mundane reasons.

We do not approach the meditation cushion to lower our blood pressure.

We do not approach the meditation cushion to help us remain calm so we can succeed in business.

We do not approach the meditation cushion to realize Nirvana.

We take up the Practice of Meditation for the sake of All Sentient Beings.

A Simple Look At "Impermanence"

We should always remember the teaching on impermanence.

Everything is impermanent.

Our selfishness and ignorance is impermanent. As is our anger and guilt and all our other uncomfortable emotions and thoughts.

A Clear Mind

But people of the deepest understanding look within, distracted by nothing. Since a clear mind is the Buddha, they attain the understanding of a Buddha without using the mind.


Green Onion and Asparagus Salad

The Dressing:

1 medium shallot, minced
1/2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons of coarse dark mustard
5 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream

The Salad:

1 pound of pencil-thin asparagus, trimmed of the tough ends
2 dozen scallions, trimmed of roots
Your favorite olive oil
Coarse salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of minced chives

For the dressing, blend the shallot, the vinegars, and the salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.

Mix in the mustard and the heavy cream and adjust the seasoning if required. Set the finished dressing aside.

For the salad, set the oven rack about 5 inches from the broiler.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Spread the asparagus and the green onion on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle them with the oil and a little salt and pepper.

Roll the vegetables gently to coat them with the oil and seasoning. When finished, make sure the vegetables are not overlapping or touching one another.

Roast for 7 or 8 minutes or so, until the asparagus is barely tender.

Turn the broiler on and broil for 2 minutes. Remove any vegetables that are cooking faster than the rest.

Place the asparagus and the green onions on a platter and drizzle with the dressing.



once the heart and mind are still
all work is finished inside and out

---Cold Mountain---

Thursday, January 22, 2015


The microwave oven is the consolation prize in our struggle to understand physics. 

---Jason Love---


In all science, error precedes the truth, and it is better it should go first than last. 

---Hugh Walpole---


Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue. 

---Robert K. Merton, Social Theory, 1957---


Science, like life, feeds on its own decay. New facts burst old rules; then newly divined conceptions bind old and new together into a reconciling law. 

---William James, The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy, 1910---


Facts are not science — as the dictionary is not literature. 

---Martin H. Fischer---


To know the history of science is to recognize the mortality of any claim to universal truth. 

---Evelyn Fox Keller, Reflections on Gender and Science, 1995---


Science is simply common sense at its best. 

---Thomas Huxley---


The radical novelty of modern science lies precisely in the rejection of the belief, which is at the heart of all popular religion, that the forces which move the stars and atoms are contingent upon the preferences of the human heart. 

---Walter Lippmann---


Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed.

---Thomas Henry Huxley---


Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition. 

---Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776---

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.

---Neil deGrasse Tyson---

The Teaching

If you have no satisfactory teacher, then take this sure Dharma and practice it. For the Dharma is sure and when it is rightly undertaken it will be to your welfare and happiness for a long time.

---Majjhima Nikaya---

The Three Gems

The Buddha is like a skilled physician in that he is able to heal the sickness of the defilements. The Dharma is like rightly applied medicines. The Sangha, with their defilements cured, are like people restored to health by that medicine.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Hu Tianbao: Tu Er Shen (Rabbit God)

The history of Hu Tianbao has been largely forgotten by the Chinese.

Tu Er Shen is a Chinese deity who manages the love and sex between gay men. His name literally means "Rabbit Deity".

According to Zi Bu Yu, a book written by Yuan Mei (a Qing dynasty writer), Tu Er Shen was a man named Hu Tianbao.

Hu Tianbao fell in love with a handsome imperial inspector of Fujian Province. One day Hu Tianbao was caught peeping on the inspector through a bathroom wall, at which point he confessed his attraction for the other man. The imperial inspector had Hu Tianbao sentenced to death by beating.

One month after Hu Tianbao's death, he appeared in a dream to a man from his hometown. He told the man that because his death had been cause by love, the underworld officials decided to right the injustice by appointing him the god and safe-guarder of gay men and the relationships and affections.

After his dream the man erected a shrine to Hu Tianbao, which became very popular in Fujian province, so much so that in late Qing times, the cult of Hu Tianbao was targeted for extermination by the Qing government.

A slang term for gays in late imperial China was Tuzi (Rabbits) which is why Hu Tianbao is referred to as the Rabbit God, though in fact he has nothing to do with rabbits and should not be confused with Tu-Er-Ye the rabbit on the moon.

Embrassing Life

With the belief that all human beings share the same nature, are born with no choice for or against this or that, we have a strong foundation to believe each person is able to develop wisdom and compassion and equanimity towards All Life.

The Middle Path

As you walk the Middle Path, please remember it is a middle way. Try to avoid extremes.

Don't think it's too late to begin the walk. It's never too late.

Don't think you "failed, so what's the use?" Begin again. Always begin again.

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, walk the Middle Path and begin where you now stand.

It is the journey.

Friday, January 16, 2015


Before listening to the way, do not fail to wash your ears.
Otherwise it will be impossible to listen clearly.
What is washing your ears?
Do not hold on to your view.
If you cling to it even a little bit,
you will lose your way.
What is similar to you but wrong, you regard as right.
What is different from you but right, you regard as wrong.
But the way is not so.
Seeking answers with closed ears is
like trying to touch the ocean bottom with a pole.


The Race

You can run as fast as the wind, and yet there are times when pain and sadness will catch you.

You can run as fast as the wind, and yet there are times when pleasure and happiness will out run you.


Our Mind

Our mind is our inner dwelling place.

If our inner dwelling place is in disarray, no outer dwelling place will be in order.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Leave It All Behind

For a mud ball dropped in water
big plans make no sense
for a fragile dreamlike body
a hundred years are rare
unable to ponder deeply
and claiming they're immortal
people steal a ton of gold
then leave it all behind

---Pickup (Shih-te)---

Impermanence Suddenly Comes

I sigh when I see learned men
wasting their minds all day
babbling away at a fork in the road
deceiving whoever they can
creating more ballast for Hell
instead of improving their karma
impermanence suddenly comes
and all their learning is dust

---Pickup (Shih-te)

In the Dust

People crowd by in the dust
enjoying the pleasures of the dust
I see them in the dust
and pity fills my heart
why do I pity their lot
I think of their pain in the dust

---Pickup (Shih-te)---

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cold Mountain (Han Shan)

My favorite Chinese poet is Cold Mountain (Han Shan). Cold Mountain lived sometime during or before the 9th century of the Common Era.

If you are unfamiliar with Cold Mountain or his art, consider the words of Red Pine: “If China's literary critics were put in charge of organizing a tea for their country's greatest poets of the past, Cold Mountain would not be on many invitation lists. Yet no other poet occupies the altars of China's temples and shrines, where his statue often stands alongside immortals and bodhisattvas. He is equally revered in Korea and Japan. And when Jack Kerouac dedicated The Dharma Bums to him in 1958, Cold Mountain became the guardian angel of a generation of Westerners as well.”

Stop Maligning Others

The world has billions of people
and no two faces alike
I wonder about the reason
behind such variation
and all with similar views
debating who is right and wrong
just correct yourself
and stop maligning others

---Pickup (Shih-te)---

All You'll See Is Mountains

I have millions of gathas*
instant cures for every trouble
if you need a friend
try Tientai Mountains
join me deep in the cliffs
we'll talk about truth and mystery
you won't see me though
all you'll see is mountains

---Pickup (Shih-te)

*Sanskrit: Song or Verse

Poems and Gathas

My poems are poems alright
though some call them gathas
poems or gathas what's the difference
readers should be careful
take your time going through
don't think they're so easy
use them to improve yourself
they'll make it much more fun

---Pickup (Shih-te)---

Endless Delusion

Doesn't anyone see
the turmoil in the Three Worlds
is due to endless delusion
once thoughts stop the mind becomes clear
nothing comes or goes neither birth nor death

---Pickup Shih-te)---

Monday, January 12, 2015

Beginning a Meditation Practice

You may think meditation is good, even helpful, for others but not you.

That thought has been proven wrong by everyone who has seriously undertaken the practice of meditation.

When you start it is dull and painful, painful some times beyond words.

Many arguments can be used for not starting or for giving up after a few tries.

Don't listen to the arguments.

Start small. Very small.

Pick a time of day and a place.

Be faithful to that time of day and that place.

Start with only three minutes.

Once the routine is there and you are faithful to it, then expand. Add a few minutes. Not too much.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for beginners is 'biting off more than they can chew'. Small steps.

Let it grow slowly like a tree not fast like a weed.

Trying to Hold On

There is nothing to which we can attach ourselves.

Things change. The conditions that caused our present desire will be gone.

Why do we want to hang on?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Single Step

A hundred thousand elephants,
A hundred thousand horses,
A hundred thousand mule-drawn chariots,
Are not worth a sixteenth part
Of a single step forward.

---The Buddha---