Thursday, April 30, 2015


Whatever one thinks about and ponders over often, one's mind gets a leaning in that way.

---The Buddha---

Jensen Ackles' PETA Poster

Imran Khan's PETA Poster

Austin Armacost's PETA Poster

The Dignity of All Life

Sentient Beings

In general, a sentient being is understood as any being possessing conscious life. Birds flying in the sky, animals walking on the ground, fish swimming in the water, as well as the tiniest organisms, are all sentient beings.

---Kusan Sunim---

Defilement and Purity

By defilement of mind, beings are defiled; by purification of mind, being are purified.

---The Buddha---

Give Close Attention to the Mind

Concerning those internal things, one who is a learner and who has not yet come to mastery of mind, but who dwells aspiring for freedom from bonds, I know of no other thing so helpful as giving close attention to the mind.

---The Buddha---

Freedom of Mind

The holy life is not lived for the advantages that come from gains, honors, or fame; it is not lived for the advantages that come from morality; it is not lived for the advantages that come from concentration, nor it it lived for the advantages that come from knowledge and vision. But that which is unshakable freedom of mind—that is the aim of the holy life, that is the goal, that is it's culmination.

---The Buddha---

An Awake and Observing Mind

Come, live with the doors of the senses guarded,
watchfully mindful, carefully mindful
with the ways of the mind well-watched,
possessed of a mind that is awake and observing.

---The Buddha---

Fruit Dip

4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
12 ounces of cottage cheese
2 tablespoons of finely chopped black walnuts

Blend the three cheese until smooth.

Stir in the walnuts.

Serve with fresh fruit.

Almond Apple Dip

16 ounces of vanilla yogurt
1/8 teaspoon of almond extract
2 tablespoons of chopped tossed almonds
Apple slices, tossed with lemon juice to prevent darkening

Combine the yogurt and the almond extract and chill for at least an hour.

Place the chilled yogurt in a serving bowl and sprinkle with the chopped toasted almonds.

Serve with the apples slices.

Vegetable Dip

8 ounces of cream cheese
2 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon of grated horseradish
1/2 cup of chopped parsley

Mix all the ingredients until smooth.

Serve with cut raw vegetable.

Starving-Student Vegetable Salad

1 basket of cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of broccoli, cut into bit-sized pieces
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into bit-sized pieces
Your favorite vinaigrette

Have an equal amount of the three vegetables.

Toss the vegetables together.

Add the vinaigrette and toss again.


We Give It A Value

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.

---Ajahn Sumedho---

The Practice

If you are still following your likes and dislikes, you haven't even begun to practice Buddhism.

--Ajahn Chah---


Looking for peace is like looking for a turtle with a mustache. You won't be able to find it. But when your heart is ready peace will come looking for you.

--Ajahn Chah--- 

There Is No Running Away From You

If you have something bad smelling in your pocket, wherever you go it will smell bad. Don't blame the place.

--Ajahn Chah--- 


Make no mistake about it—enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It's seeing through the facade of pretense. It's the complete eradication of everything we imagine to be true.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

All Things Are Impermanent

All created things are like a dream, an illusion, a bubble, a shadow; like dew or like lightning, view everything like this.

---The Diamond Sutra---

Onion Gravy

1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
1 ½ tablespoons of flour
1 cup of water
2 cups of vegetable broth
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste

Cook the onion in the oil and the butter in a heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and browned, about 15 minutes.

Add the flour and cook, stirring, 1 for minute.

Stir in water, the broth, the Worcestershire sauce, and the pepper and simmer, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until gravy is slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Season with the salt and additional Worcestershire sauce and pepper as needed.

Knowing Mind

You can only know by personal experience.

---Master Sheng Yen---


Today someone remarked, "I still have a self left. I have to get rid of this self."

I said, "Self is not something you can get rid of. Self is not inside; it is not identical to your body or your mind. Rather, self is precisely the object of all your thoughts and actions."

---Master Sheng Yen---

Not Being In The Present

How much of your life do you spend wanting, planning, wishing to be somewhere else?


Whatever you cannot let go of is an obstruction to wisdom, the awakening of bodhi.

---Master Sheng Yen---

Bodhi (Sanskrit and Pali) is an abstract noun formed from the verbal root budh (to awake, become aware, notice, know or understand).

A Liberated Mind

A mind that has left behind self-reference is a liberated mind.

My Pleasure

I like a particular phrase in the West. When you do something for someone and they say, "Thank you," you reply, "My pleasure." You do not feel pleasure because you expect a reward; you feel pleasure in the doing. I realize it is only a saying, and the person saying it may not be sincere, but it is a good phrase and supports what I am talking about. If you truly feel this kind of pleasure when you say it, then you are someone who will be receptive to Buddhadharma.

---Master Sheng Yen---

The Sign of A Greedy Mind

If you do something for others only with the thought of receiving something good in return, ultimately you will be disappointed. This is a sign of a greedy mind. It is best to act with no thought of gain or loss. Then, whether or not merit and virtue come will not matter. Acting with personal gain as your motivation will bring vexation, not merit and virtue.

---Master Sheng Yen---

Praise and Blame

As a solid rock cannot be moved by the wind, the wise are not shaken by praise or blame.

---The Dhammapada---

What Is Beyond the Impermanent World of Ego and Change?

[T]he Buddha never indulged in metaphysics. His concern was relentlessly practical:life is full of suffering, the cause of that suffering is selfishness, and selfishness can be removed by practicing the Eightfold Path. Anything else is a distraction. On what lay beyond the impermanent world of ego and change, his attitude was simply, "First go there; then you will see for yourself."

---Eknath Easwaran, in is commentary of The Dhammapada---

A Way to End the Day

Today, did I;

Respect and Protect Life and Cause No Physical Harm to Any Creature,

Respect and Protect the Property of Others,

Respect and Protect My Sexual Energy and Use It Wisely,

Respect and Protect Words and Speak Truthfully and Wisely,

Respect and Protect Myself and Keep My Mind Clear?

A Way to Start to the Day

It can be of great help to our individual Practice if at the beginning of each day we recite the Three Refuges and the Five Precepts.

The Three Refuges:

I go to the Buddha as my refuge.
I go to the Dharma as my refuge.
I go to the Sangha as my refuge.

For the second time, I go to the Buddha as my refuge.
For the second time, I go to the Dharma as my refuge.
For the second time, I go to the Sangha as my refuge.

For the third time, I go to the Buddha as my refuge.
For the third time, I go to the Dharma as my refuge.
For the third time, I go to the Sangha as my refuge.

(The Buddha is our Teacher, we look to his life and words for guidance. The Dharma is the Teaching, we look to it for guidance. The Sangha is the community who has chosen to guide their lives by the Teachings of the Buddha. We repeat the Refuge Vows three times because, at least once, we will be fully present to what we are saying, and its meaning.)

The Five Precepts:

I undertake the way of training to respect and protect life. I will avoid killing or harming Living Beings.

I undertake the way of training to respect and protect the property of others. I will avoid taking what is not freely given.

I undertake the way of training to respect and protect personal boundaries. I will avoid sexual and sensual misconduct.

I undertake the way of training to respect and protect others. I will avoid false, harmful, and harsh speech.

I undertake the way of training to respect and protect myself. I will avoid taking anything that causes intoxication or heedlessness.


Each of us can find reasons for not practicing meditation. We all are capable of partaking in the rationalization of avoiding the cushion.

That's way meditating with a group is so very helpful.

The sixth teaching of the Eightfold Path is Proper Effort. We must enlist that effort. We cannot always sit with others. An important component of the Practice is faithfulness.

Faithfulness to sit when more than anything else we want to not-sit.

Fettuccine Alfredo

1 pound of dried fettuccine
1⁄2 pound of unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1⁄2 pound of finely grated Parmesan Cheese (about 3 1⁄4 cup)

Bring a 6-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, perhaps 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the butter into thin pats and transfer them to a large, warmed platter. Drain the pasta, reserving 3⁄4 cup of the cooking water. Place the pasta over the butter on the platter.

Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese over the pasta and drizzle with 1⁄4 cup of the reserved pasta water.

Using a large spoon and fork, gently toss the pasta with the butter and the cheese, lifting and swirling the noodles and adding more pasta water as necessary. (The pasta water will help create a smooth sauce.) Work in any melted butter and cheese that pools around the edges of the platter. Continue to mix the pasta until the cheese and the butter have fully melted and the noodles are coated, about 3 minutes.

Serve the fettuccine immediately on warmed plates.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Our afflictions may take on many guises, and can include both pleasure and vexation. For example, feeling tired or energetic is natural and is not itself an affliction. If however, we crave the energetic state and worry about the tired state that is vexation. Being hungry is a physical condition, and eating to satisfy your hunger is also natural. But desiring a gourmet dinner and eating beyond the limits of satisfaction is vexation. Whenever greed, anger, or delusion is involved, there is affliction.

---Master Sheng Yen---

The Three Studies

Contemplating the path means that you persist on the practice path in accordance with the three studies of precepts, concentration, and wisdom.

---Master Sheng Yen---


We fear death and non-existence and we cling dearly to our ideas of identity and existence.

---Master Sheng Yen---

Monday, April 27, 2015

Freedom From Suffering

It is often thought that the Buddha's doctrine teaches us that suffering will disappear if one has meditated long enough, or if one sees everything differently. It is not that at all. Suffering isn't going to go away; the one who suffers is going to go away.

---Ayya Khema in When the Iron Eagle Flies---


Buddhists focus quite a bit on impermanence, and some outsiders see this as dismal. But face it, we will all ultimately die—there is just no way around it, no matter how rich or how smart you can become—and acknowledging this simple truth, Buddhist believe, will make us more free, more able to enjoy the life we do have.

---Dinty W. Moore, in The Accidental Buddhist---

Pay Attention

Though I can't pull Buddhism out of my back pocket and show it to you now, I think the basics of the teaching are not so obscure. Be kind, be careful, be yourself. Think before you act. Love your neighbor. Pay attention. If you are miserable, look in the mirror to find out why.

---Dinty W. Moore, in The Accidental Buddhist---

A British, an American, a French Buddhism

Preceptors at the Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple
Sunday, 19 April, 2015 

One drawback, to my mind, of maintaining the Asian ritual, customs, and language when we teach Buddhism in the West is the danger of mistaking the trappings for the truth. The ability to throw around foreign terminology, chant in a strange tongue, and wear odd-looking clothes does not make one more fully awake to the true nature of human existence.

"Eventually," the Dalai Lama has predicted, "through a kind of evolution and without changing the essence, there will truly develop a British Buddhism, or an American Buddhism, or a French Buddhism. This is not only possible, but necessary, because this allows the essence of Buddhism to be more easily available to individuals in these cultures."

---Dinty W. Moore, in The Accidental Buddhist---

Precious Indeed

Buddha saw that the only way to a better world was to renounce weapons. He was the first great proponent of nonviolence as the route to social change. He was a demonstrator in the strict sense of the word — he demonstrated what he meant. If you are going to overcome caste, then you must give up your own caste. If you are going to abolish oppression and violence, then it is no good employing those methods yourself. People who are willing to be so consistent are rare. When they are consistent in the cause of good they are precious indeed.

---David Brazier, in The New Buddhism---

The Creation of Devils

Every time something contingent and impermanent is raised to the status of something necessary and permanent, a devil is created.

---Stephen Batchelor, in Living With The Devil---

It Is Mind

If your own nature is enlightened, ordinary being is buddhahood; if your own nature is confused, buddhahood is ordinary being. If your own nature is impartial, ordinary being is buddhahood; if your own nature is perverse, buddhahood is ordinary being. If your minds are biased and crooked, then buddhahood is submerged in ordinary being; a single moment of fairness and honesty, and ordinary being becomes buddhahood.

Our minds inherently have buddha in them; your own inner buddha is the real buddha. If there were no buddha-mind, where would you look for the real buddha? Your own mind is buddha. Do not doubt any more. There is nothing external that can establish anything—it is all the original mind conceiving all sorts of things. That is why scripture says, "When the mind is aroused, all sorts of phenomena arise; when the mind is quiescent, all sorts of phenomena pass away."

The Sutra of Hui-neng

Knowing the Truth

In the course of practice, never ask someone else to reveal the truth to you. If they tell you, the answer will still be theirs. It will have nothing to do with you.

---Master Boshan Yuaniai---

Sunday, April 26, 2015

You Have To Learn To Apply Yourself In Different Circumstances

In the course of practice, you should not avoid noisy situations and crave quiescent states. This is like closing one's eyes so as not to see a single thing, like sitting in the "dark cave of ghosts" wasting away time. What kind of attainment can you achieve by sitting beneath the dark mountain immersed in stale water? You have to learn to apply yourself in different circumstances.

---Master Boshan Yuaniai---


In the course of practice, do not fear mistakes; rather, fear not realizing that you were wrong.

---Master Boshan Yuaniai---

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Path to Buddhahood

As a Practitioner of the Buddha Dharma one should view the Heart Sutra as a mantra of Wisdom and Compassion. When the sutra is recited everyday, when one penetrates the ideas expressed, one immerses oneself in the core teachings of Buddhism. The sutra shows the way to leave stress, anxiety, and delusion, and to give birth to genuine Compassion and Wisdom.

The Heart Sutra is a sure path to one's own Awakening.

To Find the Buddha

The Buddha is not found at a retreat or on a mountain top. The Buddha is not found in a book or by buying a mala or a statue.

The Buddha is found by looking into your own mind.

Right Speech

When someone asks you a question, answer that person openly, honestly, and sincerely.

When you are not asked a question, do not force your beliefs on others.

Answer when asked.

Be silent when not asked.