Tuesday, May 31, 2016
2 cups of plain thick yogurt
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 cloves, crushed
The seeds from 2 cardamons, crushed
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
Salt to taste
Mix everything in a bowl.
Serve as a relish or even a snack.
But when the Blessed One approached in a dignified manner, they involuntarily rose from their seats and greeted him in spite of their resolution. Still they called him by his name and addressed him as "friend Gotama."
When they had thus received the Blessed One, he said: "Do not call the Tathágata by his name nor address him as 'friend,' for he is the Buddha, the Holy One. The Buddha looks with a kind heart equally on all living beings, and they therefore call him ‘Father.’ To disrespect a father is wrong; to despise him, is wicked.
"The Tathágata," the Buddha continued, "does not seek salvation in austerities, but neither does he for that reason indulge in worldly pleasures, nor live in abundance. The Tathágata has found the middle path.
"There are two extremes, O Bhikkhus, which the man who has given up the world ought not to follow-the habitual practice, on the one hand, of self-indulgence which is unworthy, vain and fit only for the worldly-minded and the habitual practice, on the other hand, of self-mortification, which is painful, useless and unprofitable.
"Neither abstinence from fish or flesh, nor going naked, nor shaving the head, nor wearing matted hair, nor dressing in a rough garment, nor covering oneself with dirt, nor sacrificing to Agni, will cleanse a man who is not free from delusions.
"Reading the Vedas, making offerings to priests, or sacrifices to the gods, self-mortification by heat or cold, and many such penances performed for the sake of immortality, these do not cleanse the man who is not free from delusions.
"Anger, drunkenness, obstinacy, bigotry, deception, envy, self-praise, disparaging others, superciliousness and evil intentions constitute uncleanness; not verily the eating of flesh. "
A middle path, O Bhikkhus, avoiding the two extremes, has been discovered by the Tathágata-a path which opens the eyes, and bestows understanding, which leads to peace of mind, to the higher wisdom, to full enlightenment, to Nirvana!
"What is that middle path, O Bhikkhus, avoiding these two extremes, discovered by the Tathágata - that path which opens the eyes, and bestows understanding, which leads to peace of mind, to the higher wisdom, to full enlightenment, to Nirvana?
"Let me teach you, O Bhikkhus, the middle path, which keeps aloof from both extremes. By suffering, the emaciated devotee produces confusion and sickly thoughts in his mind. Mortification is not conducive even to worldly knowledge, how much less to a triumph over the senses!
"He who fills his lamp with water will not dispel the darkness, and he who tries to light a fire with rotten wood will fail. And how can anyone be free from self by leading a wretched life, if he does not succeed in quenching the fires of lust, if he still hankers after either worldly or heavenly- pleasures. But he in whom self has become extinct is free from lust: he will desire neither worldly nor heavenly pleasures, and the satisfaction of his natural wants will not defile him. However, let him be moderate, let him eat and drink according to the needs of the body.
"Sensuality is enervating: the "self-indulgent" man is a slave to pleasure to his passions, and pleasure-seeking is degrading and vulgar.
"But to satisfy the necessities of life is not evil. To keep the body in good health is a duty for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear. Water surrounds the lotus-flower, but does not wet its petals.
"This is the middle path, O Bhikkhus that keeps aloof from both extremes."
And the Blessed One spoke kindly to his disciples, pitying them for their errors, and pointing out the uselessness of their endeavors, and the ice of ill-will that chilled their hearts melted away under the gentle warmth of the Master's persuasion.
Now the Blessed One set the wheel of the most excellent law rolling, and he began to preach to the five Bhikkhus, opening to them the gate of immortality, and showing them the bliss of Nirvana.
The Buddha said:
"The spokes of the wheel are the rules of pure conduct: justice is the uniformity of their length, wisdom is the tire; modesty and thoughtfulness are the hub in which the immovable axle of truth is fixed.
"He who recognizes the existence of suffering, its cause, its remedy, and its cessation has fathomed the four noble truths. He will walk in the right path.
"Right views will be the torch to light his way. Right aspirations will be his guide. Right speech will be his dwelling-place on the road. This gait will be straight, for it is right behavior. His refreshments will be the right way of earning his livelihood. Right efforts will be his steps, right thoughts his breath; and right contemplation will give him the peace that follows in his footprints.
"Now, this, O Bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning suffering:
"Birth is attended with pain, aging and decay are painful, disease is painful, and death is painful. Union with the unpleasant is painful, painful is separation from the pleasant, and any craving that is unsatisfied, that too is painful. In brief, bodily conditions, which spring from attachment, are painful.
"This, then, O Bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning suffering.
"Now this, O Bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning the origin of suffering:
"Verily, it is that craving which causes the renewal of existence, accompanied by sensual delight, seeking satisfaction now here, now there, the craving for the gratification of the passions, the craving for a future life, and the craving for happiness in this life.
"This, then, O Bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning the origin of suffering-
"Now this, O Bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning the destruction of suffering:
"Verily, it is the destruction, in which no passion remains, of this very thirst; it is the laying aside of, the being free from, the dwelling no longer upon this thirst.
"This then, O Bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning the destruction of suffering.
"Now this, O Bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning the way which leads to the destruction of sorrow. Verily! It is this noble eightfold path: that is to say:
"Right views; right aspirations; right speech; right behavior; right livelihood, right effort; right thoughts; and right contemplation.
"This, then, O Bhikkhus, is the noble truth concerning the destruction of sorrow.
"By the practice of loving-kindness I have attained liberation of heart, and thus I am assured that I shall never return in renewed births. I have even now attained Nirvana."
And when the Blessed One had thus set the royal chariot wheel of truth rolling onward, a rapture thrilled through all the universes. The devas left their heavenly abodes to listen to the sweetness of the truth; the saints that had parted from this life crowded around the great teacher to receive the glad tidings; even the animals of the earth felt the bliss that rested upon the words of the Tathágatas: and all the creatures of the host of sentient beings, gods, men, and beasts, hearing the message of deliverance, received and understood it in their own language.
And when the doctrine was propounded, the venerable Kondanna, the oldest one among the five Bhikkhus, discerned the truth with his mental eye, and he said: "Truly, O Buddha, our Lord, thou hast found the truth!"
Then the other Bhikkhus too, joined him and exclaimed: "Truly, thou art the Buddha, thou has found the truth. "
And the devas and saints and all the good spirits of the departed generations that had listened to the sermon of the Tathágata joyfully received the doctrine and shouted: "Truly, the blessed One has founded the kingdom of righteousness. The Blessed One has moved the earth; he has set the wheel of Truth rolling, which by no one in the universe, be he god or man, can ever be turned back. The kingdom of Truth will be preached upon earth; it will spread; and righteousness, good-will, and peace will reign among mankind."
Delusion means morality. 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.
In every household there is a true Buddha;
In everyday life you will find people of the Way.
If a person can be sincere in their heart, harmonious in spirit,
Joyful in countenance and pleasant in their words,
If they will serve their parents and siblings,
Laying aside reserve in body and spirit,
Such a person will be far superior to those who regulate
their breathing or practice meditation.
True purity contains no fame within;
He who establishes a reputation for himself does so
strictly out of desire.
Great skill contains no art within;
He who mindfully uses technique does so only out of
Saturday, May 28, 2016
My body's like the Bodhi Tree*
My mind is like a mirror stand
From all dust to keep it free
I wipe it off with a cloth in hand
Hui-neng saw this was not complete understanding and wrote the following in response:
In the state of bodhi there is no tree**
Nor does a mirror need a stand
We have nothing at all originally
So where could dust possibly land?
Study these words. Sit with these words. Master Hui-neng says we don't originally have anything, so asks where could dust land.
*The tree under which the Buddha realized Awakening.
**Bodhi means "Awakening"
The poems are translated by Brad Warner.
4 corn tortillas, cut into long narrow strips
2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion (more to taste if desired)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup (or more to taste) of crumbled farmers' cheese
1/3 cup (or more to taste) of your favorite salsa
1 avocado, sliced
Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
Film a large saute pan with the oil. Heat the oiled pan over medium-high heat.
When the pan is hot, add the tortilla strips and fry until they become crispy, about a minute. Don't move them around too much; allow them to crisp on one side and then turn them over.
Add the chopped onion and continue cooking until the tortilla strips are crispy and nicely browned.
Season to taste with the salt and the pepper.
Reduce the heat to medium.
Move the majority of the tortillas strips and onion to the sides of the pan, leaving about 3 inches clear in the center.
Pour the beaten eggs into the center of the pan and partially over the strips.
Allow the eggs to set, and then gently pull them apart, letting the uncooked egg to reach the surface of the pan and cook.
Once the eggs are firmly set, turn them in large pieces to finish cooking.
Place the eggs and tortilla strips on a serving dish and top with the cheese and then the salsa.
Lay the avocado slices over all and top with the sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.
Pass the lime wedges at service.
One of the first questions a person who knows nothing of Buddhism asks, "Is Buddha God?"
The answer is, of course, no.
But the question reveals something about the preconceived notions the questioner holds.
The vast majority of North Americans come to Buddhism with some deeply ingrained concepts. One of those concepts is who or what is God.
In the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam God is the creator of all things and, through prayer one can get him (never a her) to intervene in our particular life.
These ingrained concepts tell us God is judgmental, vengeful, and a whole host of other attributes all of which entitle him to be worshipped and revered, and feared.
There is no such being in Buddhism
Just as the doctor has taken the time to learn and experience before she or he can practice medicine there are things you have to experience in Buddhism if you want to call yourself a follower of the Buddha.
This means there are certain ideas, principles, and practices you must experience.
None of the experiences can be found in a book. No doubt you've heard the saying, "You can't learn to ride a bike by reading a book about riding a bike."
You have to experience the bike to learn how to ride it.
The Buddha Way is just like this—you can't simply read about it, you have to experience it.
You have to experience the Teachings in your daily life. Buddhism, as you will learn if you practice it, is an active, engaged way of living.
To be a Buddhist, you must learn to live the Teachings, not just read and learn about them.
Many people come to Buddhism seeking peace and calm. But these things are not uniquely Buddhist. You can find peace and calm in any religious or spiritual practice, or in no religious or spiritual practice.
Peace and calm are the results of the choices we make, not the religion or non-religion we practice.
Friday, May 27, 2016
Deciding to become a Buddhist means more than reading a book or two. It requires going to a temple occasionally. If you want to follow the Teachings of the Buddha, you must decide to live them. Having an intellectual understanding of them only makes you a student of the teachings, not a Buddhist. If you simply want to study the Teachings so you know what they are, then do so. However, if you want to be a Buddhist, even if only in the privacy of your own home, then you must live the Teachings when you walk out of your house and into your life.
Buddhism is not a passive religion as many believe. They confuse pacifism with passive. A Buddhist life is an active life. Living the wisdom of the Four Noble Truths, following the Noble Eightfold Path, striving to be mindful of each moment of your day, doing your best to be a source of love, kindness, compassion, happiness, and joy, maintaining equanimity in the face of life's challenges, recognizing the law of Karma Vipaka, focusing your life for the benefit of others, these demand a great deal, a great deal indeed, from you. They demand intention and action. They require a high degree of attention. This is an active life, not a passive one.
If you wish to be a Buddhist Practitioner you must become more active than perhaps you have ever been. Living the Buddhist live is an ever unfolding and ever evolving life.
Buddhism can be a refuge from the stress and anxiety of life. The Practice of Buddhism gives us three places to come for refuge. Most, if not all, Buddhist temples in the world begin their day with a taking of the Three Refuges.
The first refuge is in the Buddha. His life is the example we follow. He was selfless, tireless, and courageously compassionate. If we attempt to be like the Buddha, not only can we find a refuge for ourselves, but we can become a refuge for others.
The second refuge is in the Dharma, the Teachings of the Buddha. These Teachings provide safety and comfort from the stress of life. All of the Teachings point the way towards freedom from stress, anxiety, and suffering. The Teachings are a way of living with happiness, joy, love, kindness, and compassion.
The third refuge is in the Sangha, the community of Practitioners. When we enter this refuge we find support and encouragement as we live the Buddha-Dharma, the Buddha Way. Without the refuge of the Sangha we will not be able to have the full experience of what it means to be a Buddhist.
Buddhism is a religion of honesty. It is a religion of personal commitment and responsibility. There are no gods or saints to bail you out.
You walk the Path.
You make the decisions.
You live with the consequences of your decisions.
Nirvana is not a place. It is a state of being.
Nirvana is the Third Noble Truth. It is freedom from stress and the causes of stress.
Nirvana is not somewhere you go. It is how you become.
Nirvana means you have ceased to hear and attend to the calls of your wants, your desires, and your passions. All of your activities in pursuit of these calls have stopped.
You now live with only one thought—to be of benefit to others. Your purpose is to relieve their stress, their anxiety, their suffering, and to help them to arrive at the place where you have arrived.
Karma is a shortened form of the expression karma vipaka which translates to action (karma) and consequence (vipaka). It is no more complicated than this. Many people have trouble grasping this Teaching because so many in the West come from a Judeo-Christian background where actions are believed to be subject to a reward or a punishment from God. Karma Vipaka has absolutely nothing to do with reward or punishment. Karma Vipaka is the universal law of action and consequence. Act wholesomely and wholesome results will follow. Act unwholesomely and unwholesome results will follow. This is the universal law of Karma Vipaka.
You cannot seek wisdom. Wisdom comes on its own time and on its own terms. You can be sure of one thing: if you choose the Buddha Way of living and if you go 'all in', as they say, Wisdom will arrive some day. Be patient, practice wholeheartedly, and it will come.
---Venerable Deok Wun---
This meditation is performed at the end of the day. Find a quiet place and ask yourself these eight questions. Don't judge your answers, simply hold onto your resolution to act more positively tomorrow.
Have I expressed kindness to at least one person today?
Have I tried to relieve one person's stress today?
Have I told someone, "I love you?"
Have I told someone I was happy for them?
Have I spent too much time trying to get something I wanted?
Have I avoided any unpleasant experiences or people?
Have I sought recognition for myself in any way?
Have I tried to shift blame to someone for my actions?
Taking time at the end of each day to consider these questions is a good way to engage the Buddha's Teaching in your life and to live by the principles of those Teachings.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
6 cups of apple cider
2 pounds of sauerkraut, drained and rinsed (Do not use sauerkraut that has been packed in vinegar. Sauerkraut is cabbage fermented in salt.)
1 teaspoon of caraway seeds
Reduce the cider over high heat to 1 cup. Watch the reduction closely at the end so it does not burn.
Add the drained and rinsed sauerkraut and the caraway seeds.
Stir well and simmer over low heat until the kraut is hot.
The object of Zen training, if there can be said to be an object, is to become totally yourself. That may seem odd if you're hung up on ideas of Buddhism being all about "nonself." But nonself refers to a somewhat different sense of the word self. It means the concept of self is far too limiting for what we actually are. However, we can sometimes provisionally call what we actually are a "self," for want of a better word. And in that sense, the object of practice is to become fully and completely what we already are.
Our ears forever hear things distasteful to them.
Our mind is forever filled with events contrary to our desires.
But such situations are exactly the whetstones for advancing
our virtue, for putting our discipline into practice.
If we always heard words pleasing to our ears,
Living this life would be just like being buried alive in poison.
All men have the capacity for great benevolence:
The mind of the Bodhisattva Vimalakirti is no different
than that of a butcher or executioner.
All places have the capacity for true pleasure:
A house made of gold is no different
than a hut with thatched eaves.
Ah, but desire creeps in and passion envelops,
And that which is right in front of you is mixed and
Causing the tiniest fraction of an inch to become a
Nanyue said, "What have you been doing these days?"
Mazu said, "I have been just sitting."
Nanyue said, "What is your intention in just sitting?"
Mazu said, "I intend to become a buddha."
Then Nanyue picked up a tile and started polishing it on a stone near Mazu's hut.
Mazu said, "Master, what are you doing?"
Nanyue said, "Polishing a tile."
Mazu said, "Why are you polishing a tile?"
Nanyue said, "I am trying to make a mirror."
Mazu said, "How can you polish a tile and make a mirror?"
Nanyue said, "How can you do zazen and become a buddha?"
We imagine the beginning of the universe was a long, long time ago. And in a sense, that's true. But it's also right now, right this very second. We experience the creation of the universe at every moment of every day. Whether we're sitting on a park bench or stuck in rush-hour traffic or having a terrific time at a summer barbeque or stuck in the most boring office meeting ever conceived, it does't matter. This is the moment of universal creation. This is the most important thing that has ever happened in the history of everything. If you miss it, it's a damned shame.
2 large tomatoes, diced (save their juices)
Sugar to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Put the tomato juice and the diced tomatoes (and their juice) into a sauce pan and heat to almost the boil.
Season to taste with the sugar and the salt and pepper.
Add butter according to taste.
Pour the hot juice over the toast.
What happens to us doesn't happen so that we can respond to it. It just happens. Similarly, our response is just what it is. It may not have much to do with the events to which we respond. As practitioners of Zen, we try to respond clearly and not out of our accumulated habits and messy emotions.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
If you do not pass time thoughtlessly when at leisure,
It will stand you in good stead when you are busy.
If you do not sit there blankly when at peace,
It will stand you in good stead when you are active.
If you do not deceive others when you are unobserved,
It will stand you in good stead when you are clearly seen.
1...Birth is dukkha*.
2...Old Age is dukkha.
3...Illness is dukkha.
4...Death is dukkha.
5...Contact with those one hates is dukkha.
6...Separation from those one loves is dukkha.
7...Failure to satisfy one's desires is dukkha.
8...Clinging to the Five Aggregates** that compose the minds and the bodies of all sentient beings is dukkha.
* Stress, anxiety, discomfort, dis-ease, non-satisfactoriness, suffering.
**Form, Feelings, Perception, Mental Formations, Consciousness.
Monday, May 23, 2016
We shouldn't await some state of awareness. And we shouldn't assume our current state is without awareness. Every possible state is awareness. There's not even a gap big enough for a speck of dust.
---Master Dogen, as paraphrased by Brad Warner---
Even an impoverished house may have its grounds sweep clean;
Even a penniless woman may comb her hair neatly.
Though what is seen may not be enticingly beautiful,
The grace within is refined of its own accord.
Even the gentleman of rank may for a time encounter suffering and ruin.
But will he let himself suffer neglect each time this occurs?
A lot of people, both here and in Asia, imagine that meditation means making your mind a complete blank. The great twentieth-century Zen teacher Kodo Sawaki used to say, "The only time your mind is a complete blank is when you're dead!"
---Brad Warner, in Don't Be a Jerk---
Sunday, May 22, 2016
The following quote is the opinion of one man; a Buddhist Practitioner. I do not agree with the quote. I do not disagree with the quote. I simply share the quote.
Buddhists don't believe in a God who stands outside the universe and makes it work. Instead, the universe itself is God. The universe has all the attributes we commonly ascribe to God. It's everything, and it's intelligent and all-powerful. But there is no subject-object relationship between God and the universe. They are fully unified.
---Brad Warner, in Don't Be a Jerk---
Friday, May 20, 2016
Being pure and yet tolerant,
Being warmhearted and yet resolved,
Having insight but not speculating on the faults of others,
Being upright but not beyond reform—
All of these can be called honeyed biscuits, not too
Or products of the sea, not too salty.
Only this is balanced virtue.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
In his first sermon, Shakyamuni explained the importance of the Middle Path between sensuality and asceticism. This Middle Path to the attainment of the goal of liberation, which is the fourth Noble Truth, is called the Eightfold Noble Path. It is the most rational method for eliminating the causes of suffering.
Reading books but not seeing the wisdom and
This is being a slave to paper and print.
Being of high rank but not loving people—
This is a thief wearing ceremonial robes.
Lecturing on learned subjects but not giving proper
respect to putting them into action—
This is Zen of the mouth alone.
Performing great achievements but giving no thought
to the seeds of virtue for the future—
This is only flowers blooming and withering right
before your eyes.
Monday, May 16, 2016
Another Buddhist legend says that immediately after birth the infant took seven steps and said, "I alone am honored, in heaven and on earth." There is no ancient documentary evidence for this tradition. The oldest records claim that, on his way to Benares after his enlightenment, Shakyamuni made this statement to Upaka, a young believer of another religion
On his way he met Upaka, a young man of another religion, who noted that Shakyamuni was more serene and noble than ordinary people and that he had a solemn majesty about him. Upaka asked, "Whom do you follow in becoming a monk? Who is your teacher?" Shakyamuni replied, "I am the absolute victor. I am absolutely wise. I have been enlightened to the truth and am liberated. I have no teacher. In heaven and on earth, I am the most worthy of honor." Since the opportunity was not yet ripe, the young man merely said, "I dare say that is true" but did not ask for the teaching. Later, however, he was to accept the Buddhist teaching and become a holy man.
Friday, May 13, 2016
Illness begins in a place unseen by men,
But invariably develops to a condition
that can be seen by all.
Therefore, the gentleman,
If he hopes not to be censored in the light of day,
Commits no crimes in secret.