Sunday, January 31, 2016

Greek Proverb

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.


Emptiness simply means nothing exists in and of itself. Nothing exists independent of other thing—causes and conditions.

Everything in existence depends on some other things.

You are here because your father's genes joined with your mother's.

You are here because of the water and oxygen you have brought into your body.

You are here because of the food you have brought into your body and converted into you.

A tree is here because of a seed (from another tree) and water and sunlight and the atmosphere and minerals in the soil.

Things, thoughts, emotions, ideas, dreams, everything exists because of causes and conditions.

There is no thing that exists independent of causes and conditions.

Emptiness does not mean 'nothingness', it means 'every-thingness'.


Emptiness is not a thing, some new toy or crutch to grab hold of. The greatest delusion, warned against by masters of emptiness teaching, is attachment to emptiness. Even emptiness is empty. It is simply a way of being that releases and lets go of attachments. It is a practice of opening and letting go.

---Taigen Dan Leighton, in Faces of Compassion---

Essential Emptiness

Wisdom (prajna in Sanskrit) is the experiential insight into the essential emptiness or insubstantial nature of all phenomena. All material and mental events are fundamentally empty, void and vast as space. This "emptiness" does not mean vacancy or nonbeing in a nihilistic sense. Rather, in the nature of their very existence all things are empty of any independent, substantial quality and are not separate and estranged from the totality of all being, and each other.

                                                                              ---Taigen Dan Leighton, in Faces of Compassion---

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Not Self

According to the Buddha's teaching, it is as wrong to hold the opinion 'I have no self' (which is the annihilationist theory) as to hold the opinion 'I have self' (which is the eternalist theory), because both are fetters, both arising out of the false idea 'I AM'. The correct position with regard to the question of Anatta [not self] is not to take hold of any opinions or views, but to try to see things objectively as they are without mental projections, to see that what we call 'I', or 'being', is only a combination of physical and mental aggregates, which are working together interdependently in a flux of momentary change within the law of cause and effect, and that there is nothing permanent, everlasting, unchanging and eternal in the whole universe.

Here naturally a question arises: If there is no Atman or Self, who gets the results of karma (actions)? No one can answer this question better than the Buddha himself. When this question was raised by a bhikkhu [monk] the Buddha said: 'I have taught you, O bhikkhus, to see conditionality everywhere in all things.'

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

Conditioned Genesis

The doctrine of Conditioned Genesis explains there is nothing in the world that is absolute. Everything is conditioned, relative, and interdependent.

This is the Buddhist theory of relativity.

The principle of this doctrine is expressed by the short formula:

        When this is, that is;
        This arising, that arises;
        When this is not, that is not;
        This ceasing, that ceases.

This formula can be expressed in a modern form:

        When A is, B is;
        A arising, B arises;
        When A is not, B is not;
        A ceasing, B ceases

Rule of the Corporation




When our friends are present, we ought to treat them well, and when they are absent, to speak of them well.


Bodhisattva — For the Benefit of All Sentient Beings

Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche
In Mahayana Buddhism, bodhisattva is the Sanskrit term for anyone who, motivated by great compassion, has generated bodhicitta, which is a spontaneous wish to attain buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.

The word bodhisattva is a compound formed of bodhi (awake or awaken) and sattva (being or a being). So the word might be translated as an awakened being or even a being working towards awakening.

Prajna — Wisdom

Ultimate prajna as understood by the Mahayana, and prajnaparamita, the perfection of wisdom, appear to be generally the same. Mahayana and non-Mahayana sources alike refer to a number of perfections (paramita) mastered by the Bodhisattva as he or she follows the long path to perfect Buddhahood. The most well-known list in Mahayana sources contains six: giving (dana), morality (or 'precepts'; sila), endurance (ksanti), exertion (virya), meditative concentration (dhyana), and wisdom (prajna). The perfection of wisdom is primary; it is said to lead the other perfections as a man with eyes leads the blind (Madhyamakavatara 6: 2), although later writers in particular are sensitive to the suggestion that wisdom is sufficient unto itself and the other perfections are unnecessary. Candrakirti, in his Madhyamakavatara, distinguishes between mundane or ordinary perfections, and supramundane perfections (1: 16). The difference is that the supramundane perfection of giving, for example, is giving with no conception of the fundamental real existence of giver, gift, or receiver, that is, it is giving in the light of perfect prajna.

---Paul Williams, in Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, 2nd edition---

A Correct Understanding

. . . the principal concern of Buddhist writing is with the correct understanding of the way things really are. . .

---Paul Williams, in Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, 2nd edition ---

Friday, January 29, 2016

A Stoic

A Stoic is some one who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.

---Nassim Nicholas Taleb---

Creamed Onions

2 pounds of white pearl onions, unpeeled
1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Blanch the onions in a 3-quart pot of boiling water for 1 minute.

Drain the onions in a colander and transfer them to a bowl of cold water to stop cooking. Drain and peel the onions.

Put the onions and 1 teaspoon salt in the same pot and add fresh water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the onions are tender, about 20 minutes.

Drain the onions well in a colander and transfer them to a buttered 2-quart baking dish.

Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over moderately low heat.

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

Add the cream in a stream, whisking continuously.

Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking continuously.

Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.

Stir in the pepper, the nutmeg, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Pour the sauce over the onions.

Bake the onions until the sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes.


From a Master

Love - Freedom - Equality - A Civilized World

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Tree

Every follower of the Buddha ought to plant a tree every few years and look after it until it is safely established.

---E. F. Schumacher, in Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered---

A Limited World

An attitude to life which seeks fulfillment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth—in short, materialism—does not fit into this world, because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the environment in which it is placed is strictly limited.

---E. F. Schumacher, in Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered---


That which is the destruction of greed, hatred, and delusion is said to be Nirvana.

---The Venerable Shariputra, the Buddha's Chief Disciple---

Wisdom and Morality

Morality is washed all round with wisdom, and wisdom is washed all round with morality. Wherever there is morality there is wisdom, and wherever there is wisdom there is morality. From the observing of the moralities comes wisdom and from the observing of wisdom comes morality. Morality and wisdom together reveal the height of the world. It is just as if one should wash one hand with the other or one foot with the other; exactly so is morality washed round with wisdom and wisdom with morality.

                                                                                                                        ---Buddhist Dictum---

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


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, in Buddhist Ethics---

The Ten Fetters

There are Ten Fetters by which Beings are bound to Samsara, the continuity of existence.

Fetter Number One
        Belief in Personality

Fetter Number Two
        Doubt, Uncertainty of Judgement

Fetter Number Three
        Belief in the Efficacy of Ceremonial Observances

Fetter Number Four
        Sensual Lust

Fetter Number Five
        Ill Will

Fetter Number Six
        Greed for Fine Material Existence

Fetter Number Seven
        Greed for Immaterial Existence

Fetter Number Eight

Fetter Number Nine
        Restlessness and Worry

Fetter Number Ten

Butterflies Flutter

                                     Butterflies flutter.
                                     Grasshoppers bounce all around.
                                     Then it is quiet.

                                                      ---Sharon Garret (Grade 6)---


What is this right here in front of you?

Open your eyes, and try not to comment.


Only when you neither loathe nor love
Will it be penetratingly clear.

---The Hsin Hsin Ming---

The Conception of God

The social impulses are another source of the crystallization of religion. Fathers and mothers and the leaders of larger human communities are mortal and fallible. The desire for guidance, love, and support prompts men to form the social or moral conception of God. This is the God of Providence, who protects, disposes, rewards, and punishes; the God who, according to the limits of the believer's outlook, loves and cherishes the life of the tribe or of the human race, or even life itself; the comforter in sorrow and unsatisfied longing; he who preserves the souls of the dead. This is the social or moral conception of God.

---Albert Einstein---

Pawnee Song

It is there that our hearts are set,
In the expanse of the heavens.

Greek-Inspired Vegetable Soup

1 1/2 pounds of fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 medium potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 cup of finely chopped white cabbage
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup of baby corn on the cob, cut into thirds
1 large onion, chopped
3/4 cup of olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the tomatoes, and the juice obtained during the chopping, into a soup pot along with 2 pints of cold water.
Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add all the remaining ingredients, return to the boil, then lower a simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until all the vegetables are done to your liking.

Serve with a hearty bread and cheese.


The use of a standard causes things to get divided into what one wants to attain and what one wants to get rid of. Only by evaluation according to a standard are things judged as right and wrong. The difference between ordinary men and buddhas is not the correctness of their standards but that buddhas have no standards.

---Soko Moringa---

Starving-Student Apple Curry Dip

1 1/2 cups of cottage cheese
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1 envelope of onion soup mix
2 teaspoons of your favorite curry powder

In a blender, blend the cottage cheese and the applesauce until smooth.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

Stir in the soup mix and the curry powder.

Serve with raw vegetables.

Starving-Student Potatoes O'Brien

3 tablespoons of butter
1 small onion, finely minced
1 small green or red bell pepper, or a mixture of both, diced
1 pound of potatoes, peeled and sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onion and the bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost tender.

Add the potato slices and continue to saute, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are done to your liking.

Season with salt and pepper.


What Do They Mean in Isolation?

When the tea room is filled only with aristocrats or commoners, samurai or merchants, nothing is communicated, feelings are not mutually understood and the situation does not move forward. When the dojo* is occupied by only the best students or beginners, nothing is learned. When one is concerned only with the intellectual and works for nothing in the practical world, he or she is in a position of stagnation. Heaven is Heaven, Earth is Earth, mountains are mountains, rivers are rivers, monks are monks, laypeople are laypeople. But what do they mean in isolation? What are mountains without rivers, or monks without the laity?

---William Scott Wilson, in The One Taste of Truth: Zen and the Art of Drinking Tea---

*Dojo is a Japanese term which literally means "place of the way."
Initially, dojos were adjunct to temples.
In the Western World, the term dojo primarily refers to a training place specifically for Japanese martial arts.

Without Resistance

To wield a sword, ride a horse, write – do it in such a manner as if you were not wielding a sword, not riding a horse, not writing. Then you accomplish everything without resistance, yet with spirit and ease.

---Yagyu Munenori---

From a Master

No matter what secret tradition you receive, no matter what technique you use, if your mind is detained by that technique, you will suffer defeat. Expel Existence and Nonexistence altogether, and make what lies behind them your own.

---Yagyu Munenori, in The Life-Giving Sword---

Conceptual Lenses

We must beware of seeing or experiencing anything through religious, philosophical, or idealistic perspectives. At first we see truth. Then, after years of study, we see the Truth. But it is only after we have gotten rid of all conceptual lenses through which to view reality that we see the t/Truth.

---William Scott Wilson---

As It Is

Before I practiced Ch'an [Zen], mountains were just mountains, and rivers were just rivers. Then, when I achieved an understanding of our religion, mountains were no longer mountains, and rivers were no longer rivers. But now that I have settled in, mountains are just mountains, and rivers are just rivers.

---Ch'ing Yuan---

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Poem

In my middle years I quite loved the Tao;
In old age, I made my house near the southern          mountains.
When I feel like it, I go out—always alone.
On my own, I know the vanity of gain [and loss].
Walking to where the stream begins,
I sit and watch the clouds arise.
By chance, I met an old man in the forest;
We talked and laughed so that I forgot to go               home.

---Wang Wei---

What Is The Buddha?

To ask, "What is the Buddha?" is to intellectualize, to step into the world of concepts, ideas, and words. In Zen, such things are considered to be a buffer between the seeker and absolute reality, a roundabout path that leads to confusion and separation.

---William Scott Wilson---


When we throw away our desires and illusions, our fundamental Buddha-nature appears. Abandon your preconceived ideas of whatever art you study, and the meaning of your teacher's words may be understood for the first time.

---William Scott Wilson---

Zen Proverb

You are wrong as soon as you open your mouth.

A Poem

I made my dwelling within men's boundaries,
But there is no noise of horse and cart.
I ask you, How can this be so?
When the heart is far away, the land bends there of itself.
Picking chrysanthemums beneath the eastern hedge,
I look out leisurely at the southern mountains.
The mountains' energy is fresh and clean both day and night.
Birds fly home in pairs.
Within all this there is a deep meaning.
I want to express it, but I've already forgotten the words.

---Tao Yuan-ming---


No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.

---The Buddha---


Buddhists do not deny the existence of various gods or deities.

Buddhists do not attribute any specific importance to such gods. They do not regard the deities as a support for the moral development or as a support for the attainment of salvation of Nibbana*, Whether they are great or small, both human beings and deities are perishable and subject to rebirth.

---K. Sri Dhammananda---


Lord God - Cernunnus

Alpha and Omega

Emmon, "And in the end, what?"

Nyuri, "No beginning and no end."

Emmon, "Then there is no cause and effect either?"

Nyuri, "Without beginning, there is no end."

---The Ceasing of Notions---

Lord God - Asar (Osiris)