Meditation is a gentle way of conquering the defilements which pollute the mind. If people want 'success' or 'achievement' to boast to others that they have attained this or that level of meditation, they are abusing the method method of mental culture. One must be trained in morality and one must clearly understand that to be successful in the discipline of meditation worldly achievements must not be equated with spiritual development.
Through the practice of the art of meditation we learn to stop and to come to rest in a non-reactive state, and from there to respond to life with greater awareness rather than reacting in the usual way.
The problem with things we don't like and things we find unpleasant is they are things we don't like and things we find unpleasant and rather than wishing them to go away we need to find a different relationship with them.
When the fundamental nature of things is not recognized
the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail.
The Way is perfect, as vast space is perfect,
where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.
Use this butter with biscuits or scones. It is also very good tossed with hot pasta to use as a quick and simple side dish.
2 ripe tomatoes (about 1/2 cup of pulp), peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1/4 cup of butter (1 stick), softened and cut into pieces
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of snipped fresh chives or 1 tablespoon of minced flat-leaf parsley
Allow the tomato pulp to drain through a fine sieve for 15 minutes. Reserve the drained liquid for another purpose.
Transfer the pulp and the shallot to a food processor a pulse briefly to blend.
Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is smooth.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Be careful, you do not want to over-salt. Pulse to blend.
Add the chives or parsley and pulse again.
Store the butter in a glass container in the refrigerator for no more than 5 days.
Before using, allow the butter to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Humanity is in need of a religion that does not create a dream of a fantasized next-life or for providing some dogmatic ideas to follow, which is a practice in which people surrender their human intelligence often resulting in them becoming a nuisance to their fellow beings.
A religion should be a reliable and reasonable method for people to live here and now as cultured, understanding beings, setting a good example for others to follow.
Many of the world's religions turn humanity's thoughts away from themselves towards a supreme being. Buddhism, on the other hand, directs people's search for peace inwards to the potentialities that lie quiescent within them.
The Dharma, the Buddha's Teaching, is not something a person finds outside of themselves, because in the final analysis people are the Dharma and the Dharma is people.
Therefore, a complete religion, which is Dharma, is not something outside us that we acquire, but the realization and cultivation and development of the wisdom, the compassion, and the purity one has within oneself. `
This is one of the first questions most people ask. It reveals something about the preconceived notions they bring with them on their search for a spiritual home. As a Westerner, you probably come to Buddhism with some deeply ingrained concepts. One of them is who or what is God. In Western religious traditions, God is the creator of all things and, through prayer, you can get him (never a her) to intervene in your life.
These ingrained concepts also tell you that God is judgmental, vengeful, forgiving, loving, and a whole host of other attributes all of which entitle him to be worshipped and revered, and even feared.
The Buddha teaches us all our stress and suffering comes from three things (the Buddha calls these things poisons): delusion, greed, and hatred (anger). We delude ourselves into thinking we are going to last forever. We delude ourselves ourselves into thinking our experiences are a permanent state of affairs. We think our relationships will also last. We ignore the fact of impermanence. As a result, we crave the things we want and cling tenaciously to them once we get them.
We're often jealous of those who have what we want and don't or can't have. Often our anger boils up when we are unable to get what we want or when we lose what we have.
Yet, if we can directly experience that none of the things we want or desire, none of the things we experience, not even our very selves, are anything other than momentary, then what is there to crave, to become greedy for, or to become anger over?
This is the understanding of impermanence. When you come to experience the world from this perspective, your view of things changes. When your world view encompasses the fleeting nature of things, you approach life with less stress, anxiety, and suffering.
D.T. Suzuki, a Japanese monk who brought Zen to the United States, was once asked, "What is the essential teaching of Buddhism?" Suzuki answered, "Everything changes."
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons of your favorite fresh herbs, minced
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups of 1-inch bread cubes*
4 tablespoons of dried tomato bits (use those not in oil)
2 tablespoons of capers, drained
1/2 of a small red onion, small dice
1 cup of Kalamata olives, pitted and rough chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Make the vinaigrette by combining the vinegar, the lemon juice, the garlic, the herbs, the mustard, the salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the olive oil until vinaigrette is smooth.
Taste and correct the seasoning.
Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and toss them with half of the vinaigrette. Allow them to stand for 30 minutes.
Place the dried tomato bits in a small bowl and cover them with the remaining vinaigrette.
Add the capers, the onion, the garlic, and the parsley to the bread cubes and toss well.
If the salad will be served immediately, add the vinaigrette and tomatoes and toss again.
If the salad is to be served later, add the vinaigrette and tomatoes and toss just before serving.
* Use day-old Italian, French, or sourdough bread.
The teaching of Dependent Origination says life, the world, the universe are built on a set of relationships in which the arising and cessation of phenomena depend on some other phenomena which condition them.
The principle can be given in a short formula of four lines:
When this is, that is
This arising, that arises
When this is not, that is not
This ceasing, that ceases.
A teaching ascribed to the Chinese Ch'an master Lin-chi I-hsuan (died 866 c.e.). In full, his teaching reads, "If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha; if you meet the patriarchs, kill the patriarchs; if you meet an Arhat, kill the Arhat; if you meet your parents, kill your parents . . . in this way, you attain liberation." (Taisho, vol. 47 p. 500b).
According to the Ch'an tradition, his intention was to shock students into realizing they themselves were Buddhas, patriarchs, Arhats, and so on, and that they had no need to depend upon, mistakenly objectify, or inordinately revere figures external to themselves.
In Chinese, a general term for spiritual discipline. While many in the West use the term to refer to a particular form of martial arts, the word actually means any discipline that one undertakes as a vehicle for spiritual development. Thus, besides martial arts, other arts such as dancing, flower arranging, calligraphy, or painting can be considered one's 'kung-fu'.
8 ounces of dried small pasta
3 cups of small multicolored tomatoes (cherry or pear)
1 cup of fresh corn kernels
1/4 cup of sesame oil
3 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of finely minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds
Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until just done.
Rinse the pasta in cold water, drain, and place it in a large bowl.
Cut the tomatoes in half and add them to the pasta along with the corn kernels.
In a separate bowl, mix the oil, the vinegar, and the sugar.
Taste the vinaigrette and season to taste with the salt and pepper.
Pour the vinaigrette over the pasta, toss the salad, add the cilantro, and toss again.
beneath your means. Return everything you borrow. Stop blaming other
people. Admit it when you've made a mistake. Give unused clothes to
charity. Do something nice and try not to get caught. Practice ethics
even if no one knows. Listen more, talk less. Every day take a
30-minute walk. Strive for excellence, not perfection. Be on time.
Don't make excuses. Don't argue. Be kind to unkind people. Don't
argue. Find time to be alone. Cultivate good manners. Realize and
accept that life isn't fair. Be humble. Know when to be silent. Go an
entire day without criticizing anyone. Know the past. Learn from the
past. Plan for the future. Live in the present.
look to your example, Sadaparibhuta. I aspire to learn your way of
never disparaging or underestimating any living being. With great
respect, you say to all you meet, “You are someone of great value.
You have Buddha-Nature. I see this in you.” I will look with a
wise, compassionate gaze, so I will be able to hold up a mirror where
others can see their ultimate nature reflected. I will remind people
who feel worthless that they too are a precious wonder of life. I
will water only the positive seeds in myself and others, so my
thoughts, words, and actions can encourage confidence and
self-acceptance in all of us, in our children, in our loved ones, and
in everyone we meet. Inspired by the knowledge that everyone is
Buddha, I will practice your way of patience and inclusiveness so I
can liberate myself from ignorance and misunderstanding, and offer
freedom, peace, and joy to myself, to others, to our society, and to
look to your example, Kshitigarbha. I aspire to learn your way of
being present when and where there is darkness, suffering, oppression, and despair so I can bring light, hope, relief, and
liberation to those places. I am determined not to forget or abandon
those in desperate situations. I will do my best to establish contact
with those who cannot find a way out of their suffering, those whose
cries for help, justice, equality, and human rights are not being
heard. I know hell can be found in many places on earth. I will do my
best not to contribute to the creation of more hells on Earth. I will
help to transform the hells that already exist. I will practice in
order to realize the qualities of perseverance, so like the Earth, I
can always be supportive and faithful to those in need.
look to your example, Samantabadhra. I aspire to practice your vow to
act with eyes and heart of compassion, to bring joy to one person in
the morning and to one person in the afternoon. I know the happiness
of others is my own happiness. I aspire to practice joy on the path
of service. I know every word, every look, every action, and every
smile can bring happiness to others. I know if I practice
wholeheartedly, I can become an inexhaustible source of peace and joy
for my loved ones, for all humanity, and for all species.
look to your example, Manjushri. I aspire to learn your way, which is
to be still and look deeply into the heart of things and into the
heart of people. I will look with all my attention and
open-heartedness. I will look with unprejudiced eyes. I will look
without judging and reacting. I will look so deeply that I will be
able to see and understand the roots of suffering, stress, and
anxiety; the impermanent and selfless nature of all that is. I will
practice your way of using the sword of understanding to cut through
the bonds of suffering, stress, and anxiety thus freeing myself and
all other species.
look to your example, Avalokiteshvara. I aspire to learn your way of
listening in order to help relieve the suffering, the stress, and the
anxiety in the world. You know how to listen in order to understand.
I look to your example in order to practice listening with all my
attention and openheartedness. I will sit and listen without
prejudice. I will sit and listen without judging. I will sit and
listen in order to understand. I will sit and listen so attentively
that I will be able to hear what the other person is saying and what
is being left unsaid. I know just by listening deeply I already
alleviate a great deal of pain and stress in the other person.
If a person foolishly does me wrong, I will return to him the protection of my boundless love. The more evil that comes from him the more good will go from me. I will always give off only the fragrance of goodness.
Buddhist are encouraged to love all living beings and not to restrict their love only to human beings. They should practice loving kindness towards every living beings. The Buddha's advice is that it is not right for us to take away the life of any living being since every living being has a right to exist. Animals also have fear and pain as do human beings. It is wrong to take away their lives. We should not misuse our intelligence and strength to destroy animals even though they may sometimes be a nuisance to us. Animals need our sympathy. Destroying them is not the only method to get rid of them. Every living being is contributing something to maintain this world. It is unfair for us to deprive their living rights.
For when one perceives impermanence, Meghiya*, the perception of not-self is established. When one perceives not-self one reaches the removal of the conceit "I am," which is called Nirvana here and now.
It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.
We need to learn to appreciate the value of impermanence. If we are in good health and are aware of impermanence, we will take good care of ourselves. When we know that the person we love is impermanent, we will cherish our beloved all the more. Impermanence teaches us to respect and value every moment and all the precious things around us and inside us. When we practice mindfulness of impermanence, we become fresher and more loving.
---Thich Nhat Hanh, in The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching---
God-religions offer no salvation without God. Thus a man might conceivably have climbed to the highest pinnacle of virtue, and he might have led a righteous way of life, and he might even have climbed to the highest level of holiness, yet he is to be condemned to eternal hell just because he did not believe in the existence of God. On the other hand, a man might have sinned deeply and yet, having made a late repentance, he can be forgiven and therefore 'saved'. From the Buddhist point of view, there is no justification in this kind of doctrine.
Humanity needs a religion not for giving them a dream for their next life or providing them with some dogmatic ideas to follow, in such a way that they surrenders their human intelligence and becomes a nuisance to their fellow beings. A religion should be reliable and reasonable method for people to live here and now in the present moment as cultured, understanding beings, while setting a good example for others. Many religions turn humanity's thoughts away from themselves towards a supreme being, but Buddhism directs humanity's search for peace inwards to the potentialities that lie hidden within themselves.
Reality and Truth are not something a person can find by searching outside of themselves because in the final analysis humanity is reality and reality is humanity.
Therefore, true religion, or True Spirituality, is not something found outside of ourselves, is not something we acquire, but the cultivation and realization of wisdom and compassion that we develop within ourselves.