Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ancient Egyptian Proverb

Are not the enemies made by truth better than the friends obtained by flattery.

Ancient Egyptian Proverb

When opulence and extravagance are a necessity instead of righteousness and truth, society will be governed by greed and injustice.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Our Chains

The Buddha locates the cause of stress and anxiety within the chains of our own minds.

Inner Freedom

Experience is ever changing, always shifting its shape without regard for our wishes and expectations. Despite our hopes, we cannot avoid old age, illness, and death, the decay of our possessions, the loss of those who are dear. The foolish worldling and the wise disciple both share this fate. They differ in that the worldling does not reflect on the universality of this law, and therefore, when his fate catches up with him, "he sorrows, languishes, laments, weeps beating his breast, and becomes confused." The wise disciple, in contrast, realizes that old age, illness, and death, destruction and loss, are our universal destiny; he thus draws out "the poisonous dart of sorrow" and dwells happily, free of darts. Again, both worldling and disciple are subject to the "eight worldly conditions": gain and loss, disrepute and fame, blame and praise, and pleasure and pain. The worldling, attracted to one and repelled by the other, "is not freed from birth, from old age and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and anguish." But the noble disciple, recognizing that all these unstable conditions are impermanent and subject to change, discards attraction and repulsion and achieves inner freedom.

~Bhikkhu Bodhi

The Practice

The unlimited expressions of the Buddha Dharma converge on four things:

Understanding what is unwholesome and abandoning it;

Understanding what is wholesome and developing it.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Four Immeasurables

Loving Kindness is the wish for the welfare and happiness of All Beings.

Compassion is the desire to remove suffering.

Altruistic Joy is gladness at the success and good fortune of others.

Equanimity is impartiality and freedom from bias.


In the Majjhima Nikaya, the Buddha explains how, when he was striving for Awakening, he divided his thoughts into two categories—the good and the bad—and then used appropriate reflections to eliminate the bad thoughts and cultivate the good thoughts. His reflections took into account not only the effect his thoughts would have on himself but also their impact on others. The bad thoughts are those that lead to harm for others, the good thoughts are those that are harmless.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tempeh Vegan "Tuna" Spread

1 (8-ounce) package of frozen tempeh, thawed and cut into cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons of cold water
1/2 cup of vegan mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of finely minced red onion
2 tablespoons of finely diced celery
2 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons of prepared yellow mustard
2 teaspoons of dried dill
Salt to taste

Steam the tempeh for 20 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl. Immediately add the 1 1/2 tablespoons of water and mash thoroughly mash with a fork or a potato masher.

Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Chill thoroughly before serving.


If I answer your every little question, you will never understand the process of doubt in your own mind . . . .

~Luang Por Chah


There's no need to get rid of the self because there never has been a self, which is why all we need to do is realize what has always been the case - that the sense of separation between me 'inside' and the rest of the world 'outside' is a delusion, in fact our biggest delusion, at the root of our suffering.

~Dr David R Loy

The Freedom of Buddhism

In accord with its own emphasis on insubstantiality and interdependence, Buddhism spread by infiltrating other cultures and modifying their religions to its own purposes. Native gods and mythologies were reinterpreted in Buddhist terms. In China, Mahayana became intimate with Taoism and gave birth to Chan (known as Son in Korea, Zen in Japan). In Tibet, Tantric Buddhism encountered Bon shamanism and the result was Tibetan Buddhism. Now mostly suppressed within its homeland, it is among the most popular forms of Buddhism outside Asia.

~Dr. David R Loy

Allow Your Life to Bring Heaven to Earth

Let your love flow outward through the universe,
To its height, its depth, its broad extent,
A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.

Then as you stand or walk,
Sit or lie down,
As long as you are awake,
Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;
Your life will bring heaven to earth.

                                                                 ~Sutta Nipata (One of the oldest sections of the Pali Canon.)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Our Views Influence All Aspects of Our Lives

Just as a seed of neem, bitter cucumber, or bitter gourd, planted in moist soil and receiving water, would all lead to fruits with a bitter flavor, so for a person of wrong view . . . whatever bodily action, verbal action, and mental action he undertakes, in accordance with that view, and whatever his volition, yearning, inclination, and activities, all lead to harm and suffering. For what reason? Because the view is bad.

Just as a seed of sugar cane, hill rice, or grape, planted in moist soil and receiving water, would all lead to fruits with a sweet and delectable flavor, just so, for a person of right view . . . whatever bodily action, verbal action, and mental action he undertakes in accordance with that view and whatever his volition, yearning, inclination, and volitional activities, all lead to well-being and happiness. For what reason? Because the view is good.

~The Buddha, as found in The Anguttara Nikaya

Fine Tuning

Proper Speech

Ancient Egyptian Proverb

If the social order judges success by material gain, the most successful will be the most corruptible and selfish,

Thursday, May 18, 2017

First Nation Black Walnut and Pumpkin Soup

1 small pumpkin (about 12 inches in diameter)
1 cup of black walnuts, chopped
Maple syrup to taste
1 quart of water

Garnish: roasted pumpkin seeds and chopped black walnuts

Roast the whole washed pumpkin an a preheated 325 degree F. oven for 1 hour. (or until the skin wrinkles and it easily pierced with a sharp stick); remove the pumpkin and allow it to cool slightly.

Cut the pumpkin open and spoon out the seeds. Save the seeds. Remove them from the fibers and discard the fibers. Spread the cleaned seeds in a dry pan and roast.

Spoon the pumpkin meat from the shell into a large saucepan.

And the walnuts and maple syrup to the pumpkin flesh and mash together. Stir in enough water to the mixture to liquefy to the desired soup consistence.

After mixing well, bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

When heated through, serve in bowls and garnish with the roasted pumpkin seeds and some chopped black walnuts.

This soup is very high in minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, and protein.

First Nation Scallion Soup

8 scallions (including the green tops), sliced
8 dried juniper berries
6 cups of water
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, bring to the boil, lower the heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 40 minutes.

Serve hot.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Tipitaka (The Pali Canon)

The Vinaya Pitaka (The Discipline for Ordained Monks and Nuns)
   Parajika Pali (Major Offenses)
   Pacittiya Pali (Minor Offenses)
   Mahavagga Pali (Greater Section)
   Cullavagga Pali (Smaller Section)
   Parivara Pali (Epitome of the Vinaya)

Sutta Pitaka (Discourse)
   Digha Nikaya (The Long Discourses of the Buddha)
   Majjhima Nikaya (The Middle-Length Discourses of the Buddha)
   Samyutta Nikaya (The Connected Discourses of the Buddha)
   Anguttara Nikaya (The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha)
   Khuddaka Nikaya (The Minor Collection)
         Khuddaka Patha (Shorter Text)
         Dhammapada (The Way of Truth)
         Udana (Inspired Utterances)
         Itivuttaka (The Buddha's Sayings)
         Sutta Nipata (Collected Discourses)
         Vimana Vatthu (Stories of Celestial Mountains)
         Peta Vatthu (Stories of the Petas)
         Theragatha (Psalms of the Brethren)
         Therigatha (Psalms of the Sisters)
         Jataka (Birth Stories)
         Niddesa (Expositions)
         Patisambhida (Analytical Knowledge)
         Apadana (Lives of the Saints)
         Buddhavamsa (The History of the Buddha)
         Cariya Pitaka (Modes of Conduct)

The Adhidhamma Pitaka (Ultimate Teachings)
   Dhamma-Sangani (Enumeration of Phenomena)
   Vibhanga (The Book of Treatises)
   Katha Vatthu (Point of Controversy)
   Puggala Pannatti (Discription of Individuals)
   Dhatu Katha (Discussion with Reference to Elements)
   Yamaka (The Book of Pairs)

   Patthana (The Book of Relations)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Understanding the Unwholesome and the Wholesome

[The Venerable Sariputta said:] "When, friends, a noble disciple understands the unwholesome and the root of the unwholesome, the wholesome and the root of the wholesome, in that way he is one of right view, whose view is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dharma and has arrived at this true Dharma.

"And what, friends, is the unwholesome, what is the root of the unwholesome, what is the wholesome, what is the root of the wholesome? The destruction of life is unwholesome; taking what is not given is unwholesome; sexual misconduct is unwholesome; false speech is unwholesome; divisive speech is unwholesome; harsh speech is unwholesome; idle chatter is unwholesome; covetousness is unwholesome; ill will is unwholesome; wrong view is unwholesome. This is called the unwholesome. And what is the root of the unwholesome? Greed is a root of the unwholesome; hatred is a root of the unwholesome; delusion is a root of the unwholesome. This is called the root of the unwholesome.

"And what is the wholesome? Abstention from the destruction of life is wholesome; abstention from taking what is not given is wholesome; abstention from sexual misconduct is wholesome; abstention from false speech is wholesome; abstention from divisive speech is wholesome; abstention from harsh speech is wholesome; abstention from idle chatter is wholesome; non-covetousness is wholesome; benevolence is wholesome; right view is wholesome. This is called the wholesome. And what is the root of the wholesome? Non-greed is a root of the wholesome; non-hatred is a root of the wholesome; non-delusion is a root of the wholesome. This is called the root of the wholesome.

~The Majjhima Nikaya

Establishing Ethical Behavior

Several texts testify that the Buddha himself seems to have recognized that morality can be established on the basis of self-reflection and ethical reasoning, without requiring a belief in personal survival of death.

. . .

Thus, while recognizing the law of kamma [karma] serves as an incentive for moral behavior, acceptance of karmic causation is not necessary as a justification for ethics. The need for ethical behavior can be established on other grounds that do not presuppose a belief in postmortem survival. These grounds can be reached through personal reflection.

~Bhikkhu Bodhi, in The Buddha's Teaching on Social and Communal Harmony

The Roots of Actions

The roots of unwholesome action, the motives from which they originate, are greed, hatred, and delusion.

The roots of wholesome action are non-greed, non-hatred, and non-delusion, which may be expressed more positively as generosity, loving-kindness, and wisdom.

Right View

The Buddha taught that right understanding, or "right view," is the forerunner on the path to liberation. He assigned right view to the position of first factor of the noble eightfold path, the way to the end of suffering, and held that all the other factors of the path must be guided by right view toward the goal of his teaching, the cessation of suffering.

~Bhikkhu Bodhi, in The Buddha's Teaching on Social and Communal Harmony

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Problem

The Great Compassionate Healer

The Buddha was not a metaphysician. He was a physician, a healer. His method was pragmatic, ethical, and philosophical. The Buddha offered tools to help us see what to do rather than what to believe.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Guiding Spiritual Ideal

Although I've been temperamentally religious all my life, my philosophy of religion turned critical with the publication of Taking Leave of God. I argued that we should regard God not as a metaphysical being, an infinite spirit, but rather as a guiding spiritual ideal by which to orient one's life. This idea of God was explicitly put forward by Kant and arguably has always been present in the Lutheran tradition.

The older realistic understanding of and language about God leads to impossible intellectual difficulties. How can a person be infinite, timeless, simple, and immutable? It seems to be essential to most Christians' idea of God that God should somehow be thought of as personal, as having dealings with us, but the philosophical attributes of God make this unthinkable. To me it makes more sense to see God as a spiritual ideal. And perhaps the best way to interpret Christianity is to say that Christians see in Christ the ideal embodied in a human life. So I demythologize the idea of an incarnation of God in Christ into the idea of embodiment of Christian values in Christ, in his teaching. I see Christianity as a spiritual path in which one pursues various values, tells certain stories, follows examples that in the end go back chiefly to Jesus of Nazareth.

~Don Cupitt

The Transformation of Society

Early Buddhism sees personal transformation as the key to the transformation of society. A peaceful and harmonious society cannot be imposed from the outside by the decrees of a powerful authority but can only emerge when people rectify their minds and adopt worthy standards of conduct. Thus the task of promoting communal harmony must begin with personal transformation.

~Bhikkhu Bodhi, in The Buddha's Teaching on Social and Communal Harmony

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


To learn to think clearly, to express yourself articulately, these are practices of the Dharma.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Earning a Living

Monks, a lay follower should not engage in these five trades. What five? Trading in weapons, trading in living beings, trading in meat, trading in intoxicants, and trading in poisons. A lay follower should not engage in these five trades.

~The Buddha, in the Anguttara Nikaya

The Buddha Describes a Wise Person of Great Wisdom

A certain monk asked the Blessed One, "It is said , Bhante, 'a wise person of great wisdom, a wise person of great wisdom.' In what way is one a wise person of great wisdom?"

"Here, monk, a wise person of great wisdom does not intend for his own affliction, or the affliction of others, or for the affliction of both. Rather, when he plans, he plans for his own welfare, the welfare of others, the welfare of both, and the welfare of the whole world. It is in this way that one is a wise person of great wisdom."

~The Anguttara Nikaya

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Pure, Religious Identity

I don't want to go back to any supposedly pure, original, and exclusive religious identity. From the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, it was believed that at the beginning of the Christian tradition the faith was pure. So if you went back you'd find that everyone agreed, everyone held a pure and simple form of the faith. What modern historical critical scholarship has shown is that in the New Testament period there was the most appalling jumble of different ideas, out of which something which considered itself orthodoxy did not develop for about four hundred years. There never was an original, pure, primitive identity. Dreams of purity are almost always a complete mistake.

~Don Cupitt

Religious Convictions

I'll put it this way: the only religious convictions that are of any value are ones you have formulated yourself and worked out and tested in your own life and in debate with other people.

~Don Cupitt

Cucumber Salad

2 cups of thinly sliced English cucumbers
1/4 cup of sour cream
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of sugar

Sprinkle the cucumbers with plenty of salt, and leave to drain in a colander for at least 30 minutes until they soften and lose their juices.

Rinse the cucumbers under cold water and drain well. You don't want them dripping wet.

Combine the sour cream, the vinegar, and the sugar.

Add the sour cream dressing to the cucumbers and mkix well.


The Christian God As Secular Humanist

Evangelicals like to say how horrible secular humanism is, but in Christianity you might say that God is a secular humanist. God becomes man in the world; the human being is the best miniature of what the world is

~Stephen Batchelor, in Secular Buddhism

Mindfulness: The Very Heart of the Buddha's Teaching

Mindfulness is not a marginal practice among Buddhists. Mindfulness is the seventh element of the noble eightfold path, the doctrine the Buddha declared to constitute the very heart of his teaching. Together with appropriate vision, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, and concentration, it is a core value to be developed on the way to awakening. The Buddha even declared mindfulness to be the "sole path" to nirvana itself.* So when someone uses mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) to counter relapse into depression, for example, she is employing a practice that potentially leads to the still, nonreactive freedom of nirvana.

~Stephen Batchelor, in Secular Buddhism

*Majjhima Nikaya


Mindfulness is a way of being in wise and purposeful relationship with one's experience, both inwardly and outwardly. It is cultivated by systematically exercising one's capacity for paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, and by learning to inhabit and make use of the clarity, discernment, ethical understanding, and awareness that arise.

~Jon Kabat-Zinn

Secular Buddhism

In a recent article, "Facing the Great Divide," the eminent American scholar-monk Bhikkhu Bodhi suggests that Buddhism "has arrived as a major watershed from which two distinct streams have emerged, which for convenience we may call 'Classical Buddhism' and 'Secular Buddhism.' " Bodhi explains how the former largely perpetuates the heritage of Asian Buddhism, be that of the Theravada, Tibetan, Zen, Nichiren, or Pure Land schools, while the latter "marks a rupture with Buddhist tradition, a re-visioning of the ancient teaching intended to fit the secular culture of the West."

~Stephen Batchelor, in Secular Buddhism

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Spiritual Materialism

So many forget the essence of this practice [Buddhism] and continue to strive, grasp, and cling to the desire to attain "something" . . . without recognizing that "spiritual materialism" is a trap and an obstacle on the path.

~Tara Scott

The Problem With Religion

What Is Buddhism?

If someone asks “what is Buddhism?” you can answer “practicing the Eightfold Path.”

What is the Eightfold Path?

Proper View, Proper Intention, Proper Speech, Proper Action, Proper Livelihood, Proper Effort, Proper Mindfulness, and Proper Concentration.

This Path is not meant to be followed in sequential order. We don't work on one step and them move onto the next. They are all practice simultaneously. Each step along the Path contains all the others.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Without Tarrying and Without Hurrying

Without stalling and without hurrying did I cross the flood. For when I stalled I sank and when I hurried I was whirled about. And so, without tarrying and without hurrying did I cross the flood.

~The Buddha, in the Samyutta Nikaya

Beautiful Friends

You should recollect beautiful friends like this: "It is indeed a gain for me. Indeed, it is good for me that I have beautiful friends, compassionate, desiring my welfare, and who mentor and teach me."

~The Buddha, in the Anguttara Nikaya

A Catechism

Question: How do people in Buddhism find comfort in their faith.

Answer: Buddhism is a Practice, not a faith. The Teachings are a tool box to help us in our everyday life; our moment-to-moment life.


Suffering is a reaction that has causes and conditions. Understanding the causes and conditions and facing then and dealing with them can eliminate suffering. This is the Practice; this is Buddhism.

Knowledge Over Superstition

Monday, May 1, 2017

Potato Dumplings

2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and boiled
1/3 cup of butter
A pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
3/4 to 1 cup of flour
1 slice of white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon of butter

Mash the potatoes with the 1/3 cup of butter and the pinch of salt until they are very smooth.

Beat in  the egg yolk and enough flour to make an easily handled dough.

Brown the bread cubes in the tablespoon of butter

Form the potato dough into 2-inch balls. Press a cub of the fried bread into the center of each dumpling. Smooth the surface of the dumpling.

Bring a large kettle of water to the boil. Drop the dumplings into the boiling water. Return  the water to the boil, lower the heat to simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.

The dumplings should float when they are done. The y will be slightly puffed up.

Drain on paper towels and serve with your favorite gravy.