Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Chasm

Is the monotheistic insistence on an eternal separation between its god and creatures and the Buddhist commitment to immanence and the non-separation of all sentient beings from Buddhahood an unbridgeable gap?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sesame-Wasabi Mashers (East Meets West Mashed Potatoes)

Wasabi Powder

2 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled
Soy milk as needed
1 tablespoon of wasabi powder
2 tablespoons of water
1 1/2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil

Quarter the potatoes and place them in a large saucepan with cold water to cover.

Salt the water and bring it to the boil.

Boil the potatoes until they are fork-tender.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the wasabi powder and the water to make a paste. Set the paste aside.

When the potatoes are done, drain them.

Mash the potatoes with enough soy milk to make the consistency you desire.

Stir in the wasabi paste, the sesame oil, and salt to taste.

Serve hot.


Father of Deceased Muslim Soldier to Trump: 'You've sacrificed nothing.'


Hence, as long as they don't understand,
buddhas are ordinary beings.
But the moment they understand,
ordinary beings are buddhas.

---The Sutra of Hui-neng---

The Bodhisattva Path

If we sincerely look for the potential in someone else to be a buddha, rather than criticizing or complaining about negative factors, we will be encouraged by the positive things that we surely will find. And furthermore, by looking for the good in others, we can come to have a more positive attitude ourselves and thus move along our own bodhisattva path.

---Gene Reeves, in The Stories of the Lotus Sutra---

The Works of Illusion

Physical desire may rage like fire,
But if you think of what happens when you get ill,
    Your fervor will turn cold as ashes.
Fame and fortune may be as sweet as candy,
But if you consider the place of your death,
    They will seem like chewing wax.
    If a man will always take time to think of death,
        and ruminate on illness
    The works of illusion will disappear,
        and the Way-seeking mind will endure.

                                                   ---Hung Ying-ming---

Chinese Proverb


      Wild animals are easy to subjugate,
      But man's mind is overcome with difficulty;
      A canyon is easy to fill in,
      But man's mind is difficult to fulfill with toil.

Friday, July 29, 2016


Practice equanimity; be a Buddha

Metaphysical Questions

Why have I left that undeclared? Because it is unbeneficial, it does not belong to the fundamentals of the holy life, it does not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nirvana. That is why I have left it undeclared.

---The Buddha---

The Middle Way

Awareness allows us to be more and do more by allowing all things to be and do more fully what they are being and doing. It is neither active nor passive, neither controlling things nor being controlled by them. It is the Middle Way.

 ---Brook A. Ziporyn, in Emptiness and Omnipresence---

The Wisdom of the Middle Way

A tendency for deliberation and composure
Is not obtained while drinking strong wines,
    But rather while sipping simple bean soup and drinking plain water.
A sense of pathos and compassion
Is not developed from the dry and solitary,
    But rather from blowing the bamboo flute and plucking the lute.
This is known to be true:
    The taste of the thick and rich is always short,
    While the meaning of the simple and plain alone is truth.

                                                                 ---Hung Ying-ming---

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I Walk Alone

In a river valley of pines, I walk alone with staff in hand;
    Standing still for a moment,
    Clouds rise around my tattered robes.
Beneath a window looking out on bamboo, I stretch out
        with a book for my pillow.
    When I awake,
    The moon shines in on the cold, cracked floor.

                                                                ---Hung Ying-ming---

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

True Reaching

The hands that help are better far than lips that pray.

                                                             ---Robert G. Ingersoll---

The Buddha Dharma

Explaining the Buddha Dharma is easy; living it is sometimes 'not easy'.


2 pounds of vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped, with their juices
1 medium golden bell pepper, top third cut off and reserved, remainder coarsely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 bunch of thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts separated
1 slice of stale Italian bread, crust removed, soaked in water and squeezed dry
2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
Sugar to taste (if necessary)
Optional garnishes: diced, peeled cucumber; diced, green bell pepper; toasted chopped hazelnuts; extra-virgin olive oil

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, place the tomatoes and their juices, the chopped golden and red bell peppers, the white parts of the scallions, the bread, the vinegar, the garlic, the salt, and the pepper.

Process until it is smooth and foamy.

With the food processor motor running, add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a slow, steady stream.

Transfer the soap to a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

While the soup is chilling, cut the reserved yellow pepper top into 4 equal rings.

Once the soup is chilled, stir it well. Adjust the seasoning and add the sugar to taste if required.

Divide the soup equally among 4 chilled soup bowls. Float a pepper ring in the middle of each and garnish with the green parts of the scallions.

Have the optional garnishes at the table so the dinners may help themselves, if desired.

Gazpacho was first created in Andalusia. Many cooks there would be rather unhappy to have Tabasco sauce (or even worse, Worcestershire sauce) added to their soup.


Fulfilling desires many times has a strange result—the undesirable.

Peace or Noise, With Neither Is It Concerned

A single cloud leaves the peaks:
    Going or staying, with neither is it entangled.
A bright mirrorlike moon hangs in the sky:
    Peace or noise, with neither is it concerned.

                             ---Hung Ying-ming---

A New Movement? - Too Many Are Afraid To Come Out of 'This' Closet

Afflicted By His Own Free Will

Time is, by its nature, long;
But the preoccupied man hurries restlessly along.
Heaven and Earth are, by their nature, expansive;
But the mean of heart are naturally narrow.
The season's breezes, flowers, snow, and moon are, by their nature, tranquil;
But the man who toils and fusses is afflicted of his own free will.

                                                                      ---Hung Ying-ming---

Buddha Nature

For those who would be followers of the Dharma Flower Sutra*, while it is important to understand the teaching of buddha-nature, understanding or accepting the idea of universal buddha-nature is nowhere near as important as actually embodying that idea in everyday life by seeing and respecting the buddha-nature in those around us.

---Gener Reeves, in The Stories of the Lotus Sutra---

*The Lotus Sutra

Dionysus the Master of Joy and Freedom and Self-Discovery

Cernunnos Rising

Dionysus the Beloved

Cernunnos the Eternal Youth

The Idea of a Personal God Seems Naive

I am a deeply religious nonbeliever. This is a somewhat new kind of religion.

I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic. What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.

The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naive.

---Albert Einstein---

Einstein Speaks of His 'Religion'

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

---Albert Einstein---


I don't try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.

---Albert Einstein---

Monday, July 25, 2016

I'm An Atheist

I'm an atheist.

I'm not an atheist because it's a cool thing to be.

I'm not an atheist because of religious extremism or oppression in certain primitive and superstitious areas of the world (including my own country).

I'm not an atheist because I don't believe evil can exist in a world with a god.

I'm not an atheist because I think science can disprove god.

I'm an atheist because of one simple fact: The burden of proof lies on theistic religion.

If you propose the existence of something, you must follow the scientific method in your defense of its existence. Otherwise, I have no reason to listen to your mythology.

Violence Produces Violence

We might, for example, learn that violence produces more violence. Retaliation does not cut the chain of violent retribution. Too often, as we can see today, violence leads to more violence in long, perhaps endless, cycles of retaliation.

---Gene Reeves, in The Stories of the Lotus Sutra---

Buddhist Healing

Buddhist are also asked to try to look forward—asking for, seeking for, a way ahead, a better world, a world of peace. We are not asked to look for ways to "right a wrong," but to seek ways to create good; not asked to get back at someone, but how to prevent such things from happening again. It is thus clear that Buddhists have an enormous healing ministry to perform if they are to be part of a movement toward world peace.

---Gene Reeves, in The Stories of the Lotus Sutra---

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Greatest Wisdom

Knowing the answer means nothing. 

Testing your knowledge means everything,

---Lawrence Krauss---


The person who hoards much may lose enormously.
    Therefore know that wealth is not equal
    To having no apprehensions of poverty.
The person who climbs high may quickly fall headfirst.
    Therefore know that high statues is not equal
    To being at ease without it.

                                              ---Hung Ying-ming---

Nature's Play

The human heart
    Listens to the nightingale sing and thereupon rejoices;
    Hears the frog croak and is thereupon annoyed;
    Observes the flower bloom and immediately thinks of gardening;
    Comes upon some weeds and promptly reaches for the hoe.
This approach judges a thing by feeling its form.
Look carefully at an object through its true nature.
Then, no matter what it may be,
    What does not, of its own, sing of nature's play?
    What does not, by itself, look to its own growth?

                                                        ---Hung Ying-ming---

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Know This Well

If, in the procession of a high official,
There is one mountain recluse with a goosefoot staff,
    It increases the train's lofty character by at least a degree.
If, on the road of fishermen and woodcutters,
There is one court official in ceremonial robes,
    It adds vulgarity to the place by no small measure.
Know this well:
    The rich is not superior to the plain;
    The world does not stand up to the unsullied.

                                                        ---Hung Ying-ming---

Never Disparage Bodhisattva

We find something very similar in the story of the bodhisattva Never Disparage in chapter 20 of the Lotus Sutra. This was a man, we are told, who went around saying to everyone he met, "I dare not disparage you: you are practicing the bodhisattva way, and you will one day be a Buddha." Note that he does not say that if you practice the bodhisattva way, then you can become a Buddha. He says that what you are doing right now is itself, unbeknownst to you, the bodhisattva way, in keeping with the general point of view of the Lotus Sutra as we've discussed it above. They need not change anything; they can just keep doing as they are doing. And what are they doing? Well, when they hear this, they get quite annoyed: "We don't need these empty predictions of Buddhahood from this no-account monk (who had no great Buddhist achievements himself, we're told), and anyway we are not even trying to become Buddhas." They deride him and beat him. He still says to them: "You will become Buddhas:" The story goes on to tell us that he's richly rewarded for this behavior—learns the Lotus Sutra, in fact—and eventually becomes a Buddha. He is a past life of our present Buddha Sakyamuni. His tormentors, as a result of their deeds, descend to tortures in purgatory. But here's the twist: as a result of this, they again encounter him, telling them the same thing—that is, just the Lotus Sutra itself, which is nothing but the declaration "You are all Bodhisattvas"—as a result of which they all become Buddhas! So indeed they didn't need to change their behavior at all, including rejecting and tormenting him. It led to purgatory, to be sure, but that in turn led to Buddhahood.

---Brook A. Ziporyn, in Emptiness and Omnipresence---

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Gentle

                               If the heart contains no worldly desires,
                                       You will have autumnal skies and cloudless seas.
                               If you can sit with just a lute and a book,
                                       Wherever you are becomes the realm of the sages.

                                                                                     ---Hung Ying-ming---

The Middle Way

It is our "holding on to" that replenishes, feeds, perpetuates, and renews our desires. This is true whether we are holding on in the "indulge" form or the "suppress" form. It is by trying to eliminate our desires, whether by suppressing them or satisfying them, that we perpetuate them!

Please note that this awareness is not only a Middle Way between suppression and indulgence; it is also a Middle Way between active and passive.

                                                                        ---Brook A. Ziporyn, in Emptiness and Omnipresence---

To Be Aware

In the forest of seclusion, there is no honor or disgrace;
On the road of right conduct, no flaming up or cooling down.

                                                                      ---Hung Ying-ming

Dressed Mushrooms

2 cups of fresh crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup of your favorite vinaigrette
1 large onion, chopped

Marinate the sliced mushrooms in the dress for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Stir the mushrooms occasionally.

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium low heat. Saute the onions for 10 minutes. Stir often. You do not want the onions to brown so much as to begin to caramelize.

Drain the marinating mushrooms and add them to the sauteing onions.

Allow the mushrooms to cook until they are tender but not limp.

The Mind

Mountains and forests—excellent places.
    But once you place designs on them,
   They become no better than the marketplace.
Books and paintings—elegant things.
    But once they are coveted unreasonably,
    They are no better than pawned goods.
Generally, if the mind is untainted,
Even the vulgar world is the realm of the sages.
But if the mind is infatuated,
Even places of pleasure become seas of regret.

                                    ---Hung Ying-ming---

Zen Proverb