Saturday, October 31, 2015


If a person's mind becomes pure, 
their surroundings will also become pure.

Harp Strings

The training for Enlightenment is just like adjusting the harp strings. You can not attain Enlightenment if you stretch the strings of your mind too loosely or too tightly. You must be considerate and act wisely.

---The Buddha---


Vegetarianism is good. But unless vegetarianism is a response to a compassionate and wise regard for Life it is simply another food fade.

If you are going to practice vegetarianism, practice it from a proper perspective.


From its very beginning, Buddhism has rejected the idea of ritual impurity. Buddhism has always taught it is unwholesome thought, unwholesome words, and unwholesome action that creates impurity.

The Sage

The body neither exists nor doesn't exist. Hence existence as a mortal and nonexistence as a sage are conceptions with which a sage has nothing to do. His heart is empty and spacious as the sky.


1-2-3-4 Pound Cake

1 cup of butter
2 cups of sugar
3 cups of cake flour
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1 cup of sour cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the butter, then gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy.

Add the eggs, one by one, beating well after each addition.

Sift the dry ingredients together.

Mix the sour cream and the vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients and the sour cream mixture alternately to the butter-sugar-egg batter, beating well continuously.

Pot the batter in a large, greased bread ban and bake for 1 hour.

Note: For a variation, you may replace 1/2 cup of the cake flour with 1/2 cup of cocoa.

No Heaven or Hell

When delusions are absent, the mind is the land of buddhas. When delusions are present, the mind is hell. Mortals create delusions. And by using the mind to give birth to mind they always find themselves in hell. Bodhisattvas see through delusions. And by not using the mind to give birth to mind they always find themselves in the land of buddhas. If you don't use your mind to create mind, every state of mind is empty and every thought is still. You go from one buddha-land to another. If you use your mind to create mind, every state of mind is disturbed and every thought is in motion. You go from one hell to the next. When a thought arises, there's good karma and bad karma, heaven and hell. When no thought arises, there's no good karma or bad karma, no heaven or hell.


Amish Custard Pie

1/3 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 eggs
3 cups of milk
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the sugar, the flour, the salt, and  the eggs and mix until smooth.

Heat the milk to the boiling point. Remove it from the heat.

Slowly add 1 cup of the hot milk to the egg mixture, stirring as you add.

Pour the milk and egg mixture into the remaining 2 cups of hot milk.

Pour the entire mixture into the unbaked pie shell.

Sprinkle some nutmeg over the pie.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the custard is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

The Buddha and Your Mind

The buddha in the mind is like a fragrance in a tree. The buddha comes from a mind free from suffering, just as a fragrance come from a tree free of decay. There's no fragrance without the tree and no buddha without the mind. If there's a buddha without your mind, it's a different buddha.



When the mind reaches nirvana, you don't see nirvana, because the mind is nirvana. If you see nirvana somewhere outside the mind, you're deluding yourself.



To see form but not be corrupted by form or to hear sound but not be corrupted by sound is liberation. Eyes that aren't attached to form are the Gates of Zen. Ears that aren't attached to sound are also the Gates of Zen. In short, those who perceive the existence and nature of phenomena and remain unattached are liberated. Those who perceive the external appearance of phenomena are at their mercy. Not to be subject to affliction is what's meant by liberation. There's no other liberation. When you know how to look at form, form doesn't give rise to mind and mind doesn't give rise to form. Form and mind are both pure.



Reality has no high or low. If you see high or low, it isn't real.


Friday, October 30, 2015


Our actions along with the actions of everything else in the universe is what makes up reality, now. Some actions have lasting effect, some don't. I have no way of knowing which is which.

I don't live my life in order to set up a probability of a subsequent life. I struggle enough with handling this one.

---Rich Wolf---


One of the problems we human beings have is that when we have certain beliefs, we usually won’t bother to look at any evidence that might contradict them, and that keeps our beliefs very strong, but keeps our knowledge less than it should be.

---Charles Tart---


A mind that does not rely on anything is not caught by forms, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile objects, or objects of mind. When we take refuge in something that is changing, we can never have peace. We need to abide in what is stable. All objects of our six senses are conditioned and continuously changing. If we abide in them, we will not have stability.

---Thich Nhat Hanh---

One Man's Thoughts on the Emergence of a Truly Western Tradition

Respecting all forms of Buddhism as practiced throughout the world, and merging aspects of each into a uniquely western style while keeping the core concepts common to all practices, keeping with the traditions of changing with the times, locations, and local culture,

---Rich Wolf---

What is Buddhism?

What is Buddhism? This question has puzzled many people who often inquire if Buddhism is a philosophy, a religion, or a way of life. The simple answer is that Buddhism is too vast and too profound to be neatly placed in any single category. Of course, Buddhism includes philosophy and religion and a way of life. But Buddhism goes beyond these categories.

The categories or labels given to Buddhism are like signboards to let people know what is being presented. If we compare Buddhism to a medicine shop, it will be clear that the signboard on the medicine shop will not cure a person of his sickness. If the medicine is effective, then you can use it to heal yourself without being concerned as to signboard that merely gives a label for the medicine. Likewise, if the Teaching of the Buddha is effective, then use it and do not be concerned about the label or signboard. Do not try to slip Buddhism into any single category or limit it under any signboard.

Different people living at different times and in different places have given different labels and interpretations to Buddhism. To some people, Buddhism might appear to be only a mass of superstitious practices. To another group of people, Buddhism might be a convenient label to be used for temporal gains. To another group, it is old fashioned. To yet another group, Buddhism will have significance as a system of thought for intellectuals only. To some others, it is scientific discovery. To the pious and devout Buddhist, Buddhism means his entire life, the fulfillment of all he holds near and dear to him.

Some intellectuals see Buddhism as a product of its Indian environment or as an outgrowth of another kind of Indian religious teaching. Buddhism is nothing but the Noble Truth. It is an intellectual approach to reality. The Buddha's realization of universal problems did not come through a purely intellectual or rational process but through mental development and purification. The intellectual stance reminiscent of the scientific attitude, surely makes the Buddha absolutely unique among religious teachers of the time. Of course, the high standard of intellectual inquiry and ethical endeavour prevailing at the time in India were prime conditions for the re-emergence of the light of the Dharma from the darkness of oblivion. Thousands of years of religious and philosophical development had left on the intellectual soil of India a rich and fertile deposit of ideas and ideals which formed the best possible environment into which the seeds of the Dharma could fall. Greece, China, Egypt, and Babylonia, for all their loftiness of thought, had not attained the same quality of vision as the forest and mountain-dwelling sages of India. The germ of Enlightenment which had been born, like a winged seed from distant fields, from worlds in space and time infinitely remote from ours - this very germ of Enlightenment found growth and development in the north-eastern corner of India. This very germ of Enlightenment found its full expression in the experience of the man, Gautama Buddha. The fountainhead of all Buddhism is this experience which is called 'Enlightenment.' With this experience of Enlightenment, the Buddha began His Teaching not with any dogmatic beliefs or mysteries, but with a valid, universal experience, which He gave to the world as Universal Truth. Remember that the Buddha did not teach from theories. He always taught from a practical stand point based on His understanding, His Enlightenment, and His realization of the Truth.

Buddhism began with the Truth embodied over 2500 years ago in the person of Gautama, the Buddha. When the Buddha introduced His teachings, His intention was not to develop the concept of self in man's mind and create more ambition for eternal life and sense pleasure. Rather, His intention was to point out the futility of the worldly life and to show the correct, practical Path to salvation that He discovered.

The original Teachings of the Buddha disclosed the true nature of life and the world. However, a distinction must be made between the Buddha's original Teaching (often called the Dharma or the Buddha Word) and the religion that developed based on His Teaching.

The Teachings of the Buddha not only started a religion, but inspired a whole civilization. These Teachings became a great civilizing force that moved through the history of many a culture and nation. Indeed, Buddhism has become one of the greatest civilizations that the world has ever known. It has a wonderful history of achievement in the fields of literature, art, philosophy, psychology, ethics, architecture and culture. In the course of centuries, countless educational institutions were established in the various nations that were dedicated to the Buddha's Teaching. The history of Buddhism was written in the golden letters of brotherhood and goodwill. The religious beliefs and practices turned into a rational, scientific and practical religious way of life for spiritual development from the day the Buddha preached His Teaching and realized the real purpose and meaning of a life and a religion.

---K. Sri Dhammananda---

Monday, October 26, 2015

Not Attached

If there is only one Dharma, it is erroneous to seek the Dharma outside or within yourself. That would create a duality. Some people imagine that getting enlightened is seeing a Buddha nature within themselves. I tell you that there is nothing to see. Whatever you see is an illusion. Buddha nature is empty nature. If you seek something, how can you get to emptiness? The Diamond Sutra says there is no Dharma form and also there is nothing that is not the form of the Dharma. Thus we should not become attached to either existence or emptiness.

---Master Sheng Yen---

No Thought, No Memory, No Attachment

No thought of the future, no memory of the past, no attachment to the present.

No thought of the future transforms the poison of greed into morality.

No memory of the past transforms the poison of anger into meditation.

No attachment to the present transforms the poison of delusion into wisdom.

---from Red Pine's commentary on The Platform Sutra---


Unless we free ourselves of the past, we can never free ourselves of the future. And unless we free ourselves of the future, we can never free ourselves of the present. And buddhas need to be free.

---Red Pine---

Artwork by Mayumi Oda            

Sunday, October 25, 2015


To seek Mind with the discriminating mind
is the greatest of mistakes.

---Hsin-Hsin Ming---

Why Pay Attention to Doctrines?

If you see your nature, you don't need to read sutras or invoke buddhas. Erudition and knowledge are not only useless but also cloud your awareness. Doctrines are only for pointing to the mind. Once you see your mind, why pay attention to doctrines?



The mind's capacity is limitless, and its manifestations are inexhaustible. Seeing forms with your eyes, hearing sounds with you ears, smelling odors with your nose, tasting flavors with your tongue, every moment or state is all your mind. At every moment, where language can't go, that's your mind.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Three Verses from the Dhammapada

For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time:
hatred ceases by love. This is an unalterable law.
Verse 5

Avoid all evil, cultivate the good, purify your
mind: this sums up the teaching of the Buddhas.
Verse 183

All efforts must be made by you; Buddhas
only show the way. Follow this path and practice
meditation; go beyond the power of Mara.
Verse 276

(Remember, Mara is not the Buddhist version of Satan.
Mara is your own anger, greed, delusion, inertia, fear, and unwillingness to act.)  

Hearts of Artichoke Pie

1 jar (14 1/2 ounces) of artichoke hearts
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon of butter
6 eggs
1/3 cup of cream
1/2 pound of Emmental cheese, grated
Freshly ground black pepper
1 9-inch pie shell

Preheat the oven to 320 degrees F. (177 C.).

Drain and chop the artichoke hearts. Reserve the liquid.

Saute the onion in the butter and the reserved liquid. Cook until the onions are translucent. Set them aside.

Whisk together the eggs and the cream.

Add the artichokes, the grated cheese, and the onions to the egg and cream mixture.

Add a dash of salt and a twist or two of pepper.

Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake for 40 minutes.

Non-Alcoholic Cocktail - The Happy Dragon

2 ounces of grapefruit juice
1 ounce of orange juice
1 ounce of cranberry juice
1 teaspoon of honey
3 ounces of ginger ale

In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the grapefruit juice, the orange juice, the cranberry juice, and the honey.

Shake well.

Strain into a collins glass almost filled with ice cubes.

Top with the ginger ale and stir well.

Understanding Ch'an

When you're deluded, this shore exists. When you wake up, it doesn't exist. Some stay on this shore. But those who discover the greatest of all vehicles stay on neither this shore nor the other shore. They're able to leave both shores. Those who see the other shore as different from this shore don't understand Ch'an.


Nothing To Escape

Delusion means mortality. And awareness means buddhahood. They're not the same. And they're not different. It's just that people distinguish delusion from awareness. When we're deluded there's a world to escape. When we're aware, there's nothing to escape.


The Arhat

To free oneself from birth and death is the way of the Arhat. And while this person is beyond passion, they are also beyond compassion. They don't realize all sentient beings share the same Buddha-Nature and there aren't any buddhas unless everyone's a buddha.


The myriad doors to the truth all come from the mind. When appearances of the mind are as transparent as space, the're gone.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Virtue and Wisdom

Wisdom is purified by virtue, and virtue is purified by wisdom. Where one is, so is the other. The virtuous person has wisdom, and the wise person has virtue. The combination of virtue and wisdom is called the highest thing in the world.

---The Buddha---


If you wish to know the truth,
then hold to no opinions for or against anything.

---Hsin-Hsin Ming---

Commentary: This stanza does not say, "Do not have opinions." This stanza says, "Do not hold on to opinions." There is a difference. Consider that difference.


Live securely, unmoved even by the scriptures and teachings.


The Nature of Tea

The fundamental nature of tea is unpretentiousness.

---Lu Yu---

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Free Yourself

According to the Buddha, human beings are masters of their own destiny. He encouraged his disciples to seek refuge within themselves, to find the way to free themselves from bondage to suffering through effort and intelligence.

---Dr. Rewata Dhamma---

What Is the Buddhist Objection to Alcohol?

The basic objection to alcoholic drinks and such drugs lies in the fact that they distort the mental vision, if only temporarily; in such case it is not possible to preserve the vigilance and alertness that Buddhists should continuously practice.

---Hammalawa Saddhatissa---

Original Clarity

The master told Chih-ch'eng, "I've heard that when your Ch'an master teaches people, he only gives instruction in morality, meditation, and wisdom. Tell me, what does your master teach people about morality, meditation, and wisdom?"

Chih-ch'eng said, "Concerning morality, meditation, and wisdom, Master Shen-hsiu says not committing evil is morality, doing good is wisdom, and purifying one's thoughts is meditation. This is what he means by 'morality, meditation, and wisdom.' This is his explanation. What is the Master's view?"

Hui-neng replied, "This explanation is wonderful, but my view is different."

Chihch'eng asked, "How is it different?"

Hui-neng replied, "Understanding can be fast or slow."

Chih-ch'eng then asked the Master to explain his view of morality, meditation, and wisdom.

The Master said, "Listen to my explanation, and you'll see how I view them. When the land of your mind is free of error, this is the morality of your own nature. When the land of your mind is free of confusion, this is the meditation of your own nature. When the land of your mind is free of ignorance, this is the wisdom of your own nature."

The Master continued, "The morality, meditation, and wisdom of your master are intended for small-minded people. My morality, meditation, and wisdom are intended for people of bigger minds. Once people realize their own nature, they don't differentiate between morality, meditation, and wisdom."

Chih-ch'eng said, "Can the Master please explain why they aren't differentiated?"

The Master said, "Our nature is free of error, free of confusion, and free of ignorance. Prajna* shines in every thought and is forever free of attributes. What is there to differentiate? Our nature is something we cultivate directly. It doesn't have any intervening stages, so we don't differentiate any."

Chih-ch'eng bowed and did not leave Tsaohsi Mountain. He became a disciple and was never far from the Master's side.

---The Sutra of Hui-neng (The Platform Sutra)---

*Wisdom. Insight into the true nature of reality, primarily impermanence, dissatisfaction, non-self, and emptiness.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What Ages and What's Ageless

A Ch'an master once wrote that the wise enshrine the miraculous bones of the ancients within themselves; that is, they do not regard teachings of ways to enlightenment as an external body of knowledge or information to be possessed as an acquisition or believed or revered as inflexible dogma, but rather apply it as far as possible to themselves and their situations, vivifying the way to enlightenment with their own bodies and lives, not just in their thoughts. It is therefore a matter of course that new Buddhist literature has been produced; for the Buddhist canon is not closed, as long as people continue the search for enlightenment. This is where a consideration of Buddhist history has some meaning: to help us see what ages and what is ageless.

---Thomas Cleary and J. C. Cleary in the Introduction to their translation of The Blue Cliff Record---

The Uniform Flavor of Liberation

The Buddha Gautama, Shakyamuni, whom all Buddhists regard as their ancestor, invented and adapted various teachings and techniques to liberate people; he was likened to a skilled physician giving specific medicines to cure certain diseases. It is said, therefore, that there is no fixed teaching. Yet in spite of outward differences resulting from necessary adaptation to different situations, capacities of understanding and personality configurations, the real Buddha Dharma, the teaching of the enlightened ones, is of one uniform flavor, the flavor of liberation. Just as many streams lead to the ocean, where they merge into the uniform flavor of salt, goes the ancient metaphor, so do the teachings of enlightenment lead to the ocean of enlightenment and merge into the uniform flavor of liberation. When this essence is lost, and people enshrine relics of past method for a sense of personal satisfaction, righteousness, or comfort, then it is said that the medicine has become a disease. It is the practice of Ch'an and all real Buddhism to cut through all ploys of egoism in all its guises, "holy" or "profane," to break up stultifying material and intellectual idolatry.

---Thomas Cleary and J. C. Cleary in the Introduction to their translation of The Blue Cliff Record---

What Is Buddhism All About?

Buddhism is not about what has happened you us,
what is happening to us,
or what we think may happen to us.
Buddhism is about how we respond to what has happened to us,
to what is happening to us,
and to what we think may happen to us.

Monday, October 19, 2015


The plants and flowers
I raised around my hut
I now surrender
To the will
Of the wind.



Enlightenment—that magnificent escape from anguish and ignorance—never happens by accident. It results from the brave and sometimes lonely battle of one person against his own weaknesses.

---Bhikkhu Nyanasobhano--- 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

What the Child Siddhartha Saw

As a child, Siddhartha one day looked out over some farmland. A man and his oxen were plowing a field. The birds were singing and the sun was shinning brightly.

"It's so beautiful here," Siddhartha thought. "The rows plowed in the field look like ripples on a lake."

He sat down and relaxed. But, as he watched the farmer and his oxen and looked closer at the plowed field he began to notice things he had not seen before.

Where the plow had cut rows in the soil, he saw the bodies of hundreds of small insects that had been killed by the bladed. He saw hundreds more running back and forth in confusion now that their homes had been destroyed.

He also noticed the birds were not just singing. They were watching and searching for food, swooping down to snatch up the frightened insects. And the smaller birds darted about in fear, terrified of the hawks who circled hungrily above them.

He notice the oxen labored heavily while trying to drag the heavy plow through the ground. The lash from the farmer's whip cut painful blisters into their sweating sides.

And the farmer, too, worked hard. Like the oxen, his rough and sun-burnt body glistened with sweat.

"Such a circle of misery," thought the young Siddhartha. "This farmer, his animals, the birds, and the insects all work all day trying to be happy and comfortable, to have enough to eat. But, in fact, they're constantly killing and hurting one another and themselves. How pitiful the world seems to me."

His young heart was filled with compassion for all the struggling creatures. It hurt his heat to see them all so desperately searching for happiness.

He walked into the trees and found a shading place under a rose-apple tree. He sat and began to meditate on what he had just witnessed. As he looked deeper and deeper into the nature of the struggling and the unhappiness he had witnessed, his mind became more concentrated and calm. He experienced a quietness unlike anything he had ever known before.

With his mind now at rest be began to consider, "Every living thing is searching for happiness. Yet most are so blinded by their ignorance and desires that they find nothing but unhappiness and even misery. Fear, disappointment, hunger, old age, sickness, death, these are the rewards they find for all their trouble and worry."

He sat longer.

"Now that I've seen this," he again thought, "I have no more interest in the small and the changeable pleasure of this world. I have to find something that will bring me lasting peace and happiness. But how can I be content to free only myself from this anxiety and stress? I have to figure out a way to help all other living creatures everywhere. I have to search for a way to end all this unhappiness and stress and then share it with everyone."

Starving-Student Sweet Potato Salad

3 sweet potatoes (about 1/2 of a pound), scrubbed well
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced thin
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1/4 cup of your favorite vinaigrette

Bring enough water to cover the sweet potatoes to the boil. Add the potatoes and return to the boil. Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes or just until the potatoes are fork tender.

Do not overcook the potatoes.

Drain and cool the potatoes. Slice them into 1'4-inch thick slices.

Combine the sweet potatoes slices, the onion rings, and the green pepper strips in a large bowl.

Refrigerate the vegetables for at least an hour.

Toss the vegetables carefully with the vinaigrette and serve.

Non-Alcoholic Cocktail - The Elephant King

2 ounces of orange juice
2 ounces of milk
1 ripe peach, peeled and sliced
1 very ripe banana, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup of raspberries
2 scoops of vanilla ice cream

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Pour into a collins glass.


Any fool can make something complicated.

It takes a genius to make it simple.

---Woody Guthrie---


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

---Neil deGrasse Tyson---

Don't Support the Nonsense

Do you keep hearing crazy voices?

Turn off FOX News.