Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Buddha

A buddha doesn't observe precepts. A buddha doesn't do good or evil. A buddha isn't energetic or lazy. A buddha is someone who does nothing, someone who can't even focus his mind on a buddha. A buddha isn't a buddha. Don't think about buddhas. If you don't see what I'm talking about, you'll never know your own mind.


Red Bean Burgers

3 tablespoons of olive oil, plus more as needed
1/2 cup of minced onion
1/4 cup of minced celery
1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 cups of cooked dark red kidney beans or one 15-        ounce can, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup of coarsely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon of tomato paste
A dash of Tabasco sauce, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon of minced fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon of         dried
1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne
3/4 a a cup of dry beard crumbs
6 burger rolls, toasted
Condiments for burgers

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and the celery, cover, and cook, stirring a few times until softened, perhaps 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

Transfer the onion mixture to a food processor and add the kidney beans, the pecans, the tomato paste, the Tabasco sauce, the thyme, the paprika, the salt, the cayenne, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs.

Process the mixture until everything is well combined, leaving some texture.

Turn out the mixture into a bowl, and shape into 6 burgers.

Coat the burgers lightly and evenly with the remaining 1/4 cup of bread crumbs. Cover the burgers and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

In batches, add the burgers to the skillet and brown, turning once, on both sides, about 5 minutes per side, adding more oil to the pan as necessary.

Place on the toasted buns and serve along with the condiments,

On Zen

There is a reality even prior to heaven and earth;
Indeed, it has no form, much less a name;
Eyes fail to see it;
It has no voice for ears to detect;
To call it Mind or Buddha violates its nature,
For it then becomes like a visionary flower in the air;
It is not Mind, nor Buddha;
Absolutely quiet, and yet illuminating in a mysterious way,
It allows itself to be perceived only by the clear-eyes.
It is Dharma truly beyond form and sound;
It is Tao having nothing to do with words.

                                                              ---Dai-o Kokushi---

The Buddha

A question asked, "What is the Buddha?"

An answer offered, "Mind is the Buddha, and there's no other."


A monk asked, "How does one find liberation?"

His teacher answered, "Who has put you in bondage?"

One and All

One in All,
All in One—
If only this is realized,
No more worry about you not being perfect.

                                                            ---The Hsin Hsin Ming---

Run Away

The Beginning and the Ending are unknowable, unfathomable, and beyond comprehension.

This does not mean science should surrender the search for the answers to the Beginning and the Ending. It means if any person tells you they know these things, or they have all the answers—run away. Turn and run as fast as your ass can.

No Preferences

Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple, Borneo

The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences
Only when freed from hate and love
It reveals itself fully and without disguise

                                                              ---The Hsin Hsin Ming---

The Gatha of Impermanence

All compound things are impermanent,
They are subject to birth and death;
Put an end to birth and death,
And there is blissful tranquility.

The Teaching of All Buddhas

Not to do any wrong,
To do only good,
And to keep one's thought pure—
This is the Teaching of All the Buddhas.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Sun Worship


You had the power all along, my dear.

                                     ---Glinda, the Good Witch of the South---

I Choose Love

All your life, you will be faced with a choice. You can choose love or hate. I choose love.

                                                                                                                   ---Johnny Cash---

Small is Beautiful

I think the world is going to be saved by millions of small things.

                        ---Pete Seeger---


Facts don't cease to exist because they are ignored.

                                                                     ---Aldous Huxley---

Tree Planting

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; 
the second best time is now.

The Moon Emerging From A Cloud

All is one law, not two.

We only make the Teachings and the Practices a temporary subject.

With the realization of the non-duality of existence comes awareness that practice itself is Realization.

It's the moon emerging from a cloud.

One path of clear light travels throughout beginningless and endless time.

Freedom, No Matter Who May Wish To Call Me Back

This struggle is over; gain and loss are assimilated. I sing the song of the village woodsman, and play the tunes of children. Astride the ox, I observe the clouds above. Onward I go, no matter who may wish to call me back.

---The Sixth Picture of the 10 Ox Herding Pictures---


Not understanding, confusion, delusion are not caused by objectivity; they are the results of subjectivity.

When thought arises from awareness and understanding, all subsequent thoughts are true. Through delusion, one makes everything untrue.

Desperately Looking

I've never been lost.

Why do I search?

It's only because I don't recognize my true nature that I grope.

The confusion of the senses have lead me far from my true nature.

Greed and loss,
                       love and hate,
                                             good and bad,
                                                                  entangle me.

The Way

Words! Words!
The way is beyond language,
for in it there is no yesterday,
                                         no tomorrow,
                                                           no today.

                                                                ---The Hsin Hsin Ming---

The Middle Way

The Middle Way is another name for Buddhism. Before Siddhartha Gotama (the Buddha) left home on his errand for answers he lead a very indulged life; one extreme. For several years after his home-leaving, he lead a life of crushing asceticism or self mortification; another extreme. He went from over indulgence to under-indulgence.

He found his answers between these two extremes.

If we look at life, many times we discover the answers we seek lie between the extremes.

Dharma Door

The term Dharma Door is a specialized Buddhist term for a method or an approach of practicing the Buddha Dharma (or Dharma).

Buddhism teaches many different Dharma Doors that one may use to break through the barriers and obstructions that impede our Enlightenment or, more accurately, our Awakening.

Some of these Dharma Doors are meditation, chanting, sutra studies, precepts (ethics), visualizations, bowing, discussions, art, compassionate actions, social justice work, and many, many more.


Dharma (Pali: Dhamma) is an interesting word. When written with an uppercase "D," the word refers to the Buddha Dharma: the Buddha's teachings. When written in a lowercase "d," it has the very general meaning that can literally be understood as "thing," and can be applied in numerous contexts.


Attachment is the act of holding or keeping something, material or mental. In the Teachings of the Buddha Dharma it refers to holding onto one's own views, ideas, opinions, and beliefs. Because of attachments, we often are not open-minded and clear-headed. Because of attachments we can overlook reality. Because of attachments we sometimes ignore something we should investigate.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Skillful Means

The great variety of teachings and practices within the tradition of the Buddha Dharma has the one purpose of guiding all beings to Buddhahood. The goal of becoming a buddha is a goal everyone without exception can realize,

In the second chapter of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha tells Shariputra, his chief disciple, "Buddhas of the past, through an innumerable variety of skillful means, causal explanations, parables, and other kinds of expression, have taught the Dharma for the sake of living beings. These teachings have all been for the sake of the One Buddha—Vehicle, so that all living things, having heard the Dharma from a buddha, might finally gain complete wisdom."

The Way of the Bodhisattva

The Bodhisattvayana, or the Way of the Bodhisattva, can be understood as the quest for awakening through interaction with others in the world; the awakening of All.

Perfect Understanding

                                              Perfect Understanding is the highest mantra,
                                              the unequaled mantra, the destroyer of ill-being,
                                              the incorruptible truth.

                                                                                          ---The Heart Sutra---

The Spiritual Path

We do not walk the spiritual path alone; we walk in the footsteps of our teachers, friends, fellow practitioners, and all those who have practiced before us, our spiritual ancestors.

---Thich Nhat Hanh---

A Question About Progress


In order to make progress, we need to work hard, and fight for it. Buddhism seems to be too passive. Is the Buddha against progress?


First, you need to define 'progress'.

Is the destruction of the rain forest progress? You have to define what is and is not progress.

But to answer your question directly, Buddhism is not against progress. It's only against a kind of progress that enslaves others or oneself. It is against a progress that destroys instead of heals or builds or nurturers.

Progress is desirable when it is gained constructively. There is no progress if it enslaves or destroys. There is no progress is it is ruthless in the pursuit of its goals.

A Question From A Non-Buddhist


My religion forbids me to look into Buddhism or any other religion or philosophy. What should I do?


Don't look. You have to live with your conscience. I can't advise you to go against your conscience.

But, if your current religious tradition allows you to consider or to think, you should at least keep an open mind.

I prefer to live my life in freedom, not bending my beliefs to the whims of another. I have profound respect for each individual. I respect each person enough to support their choice of a religion or no religion.

If any of my students wish to seek or follow another religious tradition, they are very welcomed to make that decision. Why? I believe in freedom. There can be no true spiritual growth without freedom. And, if a student finds a better path, I hope they will share it with me.

That's why, I believe, children should never be forced down a religious path. Give them as much information as you are able, allow them to investigate, and let them choose for themselves.


The Teaching and the spirit of the Mahayana says each one of us, by perfecting our awareness, our mindfulness, our skills can (and will) eventually become a Buddha.

This is the greatest accomplishment that can be attained.

This accomplishment is something we are all capable of achieving.

Or, to put is more simply: Buddhahood is within us.


An aware Buddha-Dharma Practitioner does not advocate the pursuit of happiness through externals. Happiness based on externals is actually a type of non-happiness.

We live in a world of duality. Happiness is defined in opposition to non-happiness. In happiness, non-happiness is built-in.

The Proper Thing To Do

Practicing compassion and doing good while hoping for reward or gain or recognition is not practicing compassion or doing good. It's looking for reward, gain, or recognition

Practicing compassion and doing good because it's the proper thing to do is the proper thing to do.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Greatest Good

To stop wrongdoing, to stop creating suffering for yourself and others is the greatest good that you can do.

---The Buddha---

Starving-Student Vegetable Dip

2 cups of large curd cottage cheese
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons of milk
1 envelope of onion soup mix

Mix the cottage cheese in a blender.

Add the skim milk and process for a few seconds.

Place the mixture in a bowl and stir in the onion soup mix.

Chill before serving.

The Greatest Gift

People live in fear of death; they are afraid of losing their selfhood, their identity, of disappearing and becoming nonexistent. So when we offer the kind of teaching, practice, and insight that helps someone touch their ultimate dimension and get free of the fear of being and nonbeing, that is the greatest gift you can offer them.

---Thich Nhat Hanh---

Cucumber Strawberry Salad

1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced
2 cups of fresh strawberries, quartered

Combine the lime juice and the pepper.

Toss this mixture with the cucumbers and the strawberries.

Chill before serving.

Nothing Is Lost

When the cloud changes form it becomes rain, and when the rain transforms it can become snow. The snow melts and returns to its ultimate nature as water, which becomes, once again, a cloud.

---Thich Nhat Hanh---


Kwan-yin is not only a symbol of compassion, she is compassion, so that wherever compassion can be see, Kwan-yin can be seen. Kwan-yin is not some god looking down at the world from a distance but the Buddha's compassion embodied in the actual world of quite ordinary men and women.

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

To Embody Compassion

To be compassionate is to embody compassion, not just to feel it or think it or contemplate it. It is to actualize compassion in the world, wherever we are, and thus in our relationships with relatives, neighbors, friends, and even strangers.

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

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Now

                         There is never anything but the present. 
                         If one cannot live here, one cannot live anywhere.


Chan is a personal experience of reality without the addition and distraction of our opinions and ideas, our hopes and wishes.

Chan is an unfiltered experience.

Chan is the Chinese transliteration of the Sanskrit word Dhyana which means 'meditation'.
In Korea Chan is known as Seon.
In Vietnam Chan is known as Thien.
In Japan Chan is known as Zen.

Eating is Chan. Sleeping is Chan. Walking, standing, sitting, chopping firewood and carrying water are all Chan.

A Commentary

This gatha from the "Diamond Sutra"All created things are like a dream, an illusion, a bubble, a shadow, like a dew, or like lightning. View all things like this—doesn't mean things don't exist or that reality has no substance. These words remind us all things are impermanent. Our dreams end when we awake. Illusion disappear quickly when known. Look at a bubble, it appears and then its gone. Dew evaporates in the warming of the morning sun. Lightning is large and powerful and brilliant, but suddenly gone. So with everything. The sun has a limited existence as does the Milky Way. Nothing lasts, even myself.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Awareness and Mindfulness

There is nothing that does not grow light through habit and familiarity. Putting up with little cares, I'll train myself to bear them. I'll look at how I respond to situations—the words I use, my tone of voice, the look on my face; how I carry myself, all of the little things I do from moment to moment that reflect my emotions and mental state. I'll pay attention to my thoughts, words, and deeds. Whatever I'm doing, I'll maintain awareness and mindfulness.

---Lojong Meditation---