Monday, July 31, 2017

The Market

When Buddhist values are introduced into the arena of economics one begins to encounter difficulties in reconciling those values with capitalism and consumerism. 

A Way

The Teachings of the Buddha do not offer answers; the Teachings point to a Way leading to the final cessation of all questions about self and the world.

Knowing Enlightenment

If we were to divide zazen into two parts, practice and experience, we could consider each part separately. We could say that we practice in order to achieve enlightenment. But your perceptions cannot be the standard of enlightenment, because deluded human sentiment cannot reach the standard of enlightenment. Basically, you cannot know your own enlightenment because whatever you call enlightenment can't be enlightenment.

~Master Dogen, as translated (paraphrased) by Brad Warner

Sunday, July 30, 2017


Desire is to be abandoned not because it is morally evil but because it is a root of suffering.

~Bhikkhu Bodhi, in The Noble Eightfold Path

Right View - The Nascent Seed of Wisdom

Thoughts of renunciation spring from the wholesome root of non-greed, which they activate whenever they are cultivated. Since contrary thoughts cannot coexist, when thoughts of renunciation are roused, they dislodge thoughts of desire, thus causing non-greed to replace greed. Similarly, the intentions of good will and harmlessness offer the antidote to aversion. Aversion comes to manifestation either in thoughts of ill will—as angry, hostile, or resentful thoughts; or in thoughts of harming—as the impulses to cruelty, aggression, and destruction.

~Bhikkhu Bodhi, in The Noble Eightfold Path

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Right Intention

The Buddha explains right intention as threefold: the intention of renunciation, the intention of good will, and the intention of harmlessness. The three are opposed to three parallel kinds of wrong intention: intention governed by desire, intention governed by ill will, and intention governed by harmlessness. Each kind of right intention counters the corresponding kind of wrong intention. The intention of renunciation counters the intention of desire, the intention of good will counters the intention of ill will, and the intention of harmlessness counters the intention of harmfulness.

~Bhikkhu Bodhi, in The Noble Eightfold Path

Emotions and Views, Views and Emotions

Emotional predilections influence views, and views determine predilections.

~Bhikkhu Bodhi, in The Noble Eightfold Path

Friday, July 28, 2017

Sages Do Not Enter Disputes

Some dispute with their minds corrupt;
    Some dispute with truthful minds.
    Sages do not enter disputes that have arisen
    And so do not become despondent anywhere.

                                                         ~The Duttatthaka Sutta

Thursday, July 27, 2017

If Someone Asks, "What is Buddhism?" You Can Answer, "The Understanding and the Practice of the Eightfold Path."

1 . . . Proper View
            The Understanding Dukkha
            The Understanding the Origins of Dukkha
            The Understanding the Ending of Dukkha
            The Understanding the Path Leading to the Ending of Dukkha

2 . . . Proper Intention (sometimes translated as Proper Thought)
            The Intention of Renunciation of That Which Leads to the Unwholesome
            The Intention of Good Will
            The Intention of Harmlessness

3 . . . Proper Speech
            To Abstain from False Speech
            To Abstain from Slanderous Speech
            To Abstain from Harsh Speech
            To Abstain from Idle Chatter

4 . . . Proper Action
            To Abstain from Destroying Life
            To Abstain from Taking What is Not Freely Given
            To Abstain from Sexual Misconduct

5 . . . Proper Livelihood
            To One's Living By a Harmless Form of Livelihood
            To Not Earn One's Living by a Non-Harmless Form of Livelihood

6 . . . Proper Effort
            The Effort to Develop Wholesome States
            The Effort to Maintain Wholesome States
            The Effort to Retrain Unwholesome States
            The Effort to Abandon Unwholesome States

7 . . . Proper Mindfulness
            Mindful Contemplation of the Body
            Mindful Contemplation of Feeling
            Mindful Contemplation of the Mind
            Mindful Contemplation of Phenomena

8 . . . Proper Concentration
            The First Jhana*
            The Second Jhana
            The Third Jhana
            The Fourth Jhana

*Jhana is a meditative state of profound stillness and concentartion.

Perfect Peace

While alive, the state of perfect peace that comes when craving is allowed to fall away, the unconditioned state experienced with the exhaustion of the flames of greed, hatred, and delusion is Nirvana.


Actions are wholesome or unwholesome according to whether the action's roots are wholesome or unwholesome.


Beings are the owners of their actions, the heirs of their actions; they spring from their actions, are bound to their actions, and are supported by their actions. Whatever deeds they do, good or bad, of those they shall be heirs.

~The Anguttara Nikaya

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Carrot, Cucumber, and Celery Salad with Miso Dip

This recipe will serve 4 people.


7 ounces of carrots, peeled and sliced into 4-inch lengths
2 Japanese cucumbers, sliced into thin 4-inch lengths
2 celery stalks, with strings removed, and sliced into 4-inch lengths


2 tablespoons of red miso
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
2 tablespoons of red wine
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
2 tablespoons of finely chopped peanuts

To make the dip, combine all the dip ingredients.

Pour the dip into 4 deep bowls and stand the vegetable sticks in them.

Shojin Salad with Peanut-Tofu Dressing


8 thin spears of asparagus, with woody ends removed
4 lettuce leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
10 or 11 ounces of tomatoes, cut in 1/2-inch dice
2 avocados, cut in 1/2-inch dice
2 Japanese cucumbers, cut in 1/2-inch dice


1 7-ounce block of silken tofu
2 tablespoons of peanut butter, unsweetened
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons of maple syrup
A dash of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Wrap the tofu in a paper towel or a tea towel, set it on a plate, place another plate on top, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to remove the excess moisture.

Make the dressing by blending all the dressing ingredients in a food processor.

Blanch the asparagus in boiling water, drain, plunge into cold water, then slice diagonally into 1-inch pieces.

Spread the the lettuce on a serving plate, arrange the asparagus, the tomato, the avocado, and the cucumber on top, and cover with the dressing.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Right View

Right view is the forerunner of the entire path, the guide for all the other factors. It enables us to understand our starting point, our destination, and the successive landmarks to pass as practice advances. To attempt to engage in the practice without a foundation of right view is to risk getting lost in the futility of undirected movement. Doing so might be compared to wanting to drive someplace without consulting a roadmap or listening to the suggestions of an experienced driver. One might get into the car and start to drive, but rather than approaching closer to one's destination, one is more likely to move farther away from it. To arrive at the desired place one has to have some idea of its general direction and of the roads leading to it. Analogous considerations apply to the practice of the path, which takes place in a framework of understanding established by right view.

The importance of right view can be gauged from the fact that our perspectives on the crucial issues of reality and value have a bearing that goes beyond mere theoretical convictions. They govern our attitudes, our actions, our whole orientation to existence. Our views might not be clearly formulated in our mind; we might have only a hazy conceptual grasp of our beliefs. But whether formulated or not, expressed or maintained in silence, these views have a far-reaching influence. They structure our perceptions, order our values, crystallize into the ideational framework through which we interpret to ourselves the meaning of our being in the world.

~Bhikkhu Bodhi, in The Noble Eightfold Path

Buddhist Proverb

Even tiny drops accumulate into a great sea.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Entering the Marketplace

Entering the marketplace barefoot and unadorned.

Blissfully smiling, though covered with dust and ragged of clothes.

Using no supernatural power, you bring the withered trees spontaneously into bloom.

~Stage Ten of the Ox-herding Pictures


In the course of practice, never ask someone else to reveal the truth to you. If they tell you, the answer will still be theirs. It will have nothing to do with you.

~Master Sheng Yen

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Different Situations

Years ago I spent some time sitting with the wise Vietnamese teacher, Venerable Thai Tue. He often said when we sit in meditation we should not avoid noisy situations and only desire peaceful places. He said that was like sitting in a dark cave. “What do you learn from that?” he often asked. We have to learn to apply ourselves in different situations. 

Your Practice

In the course of practice, do not fear mistakes; rather, fear not realizing that you are wrong.

~Master Boshan

The Buddha-Dharma

In the end, it doesn't matter what school of Buddhism one practices. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

You Cannot See The Path - You Can Only See From It

Master Huairang asked his student Mazu why he spent so much time sitting in meditation.

Mazu answered, "I want to become a Buddha."

Saying nothing, Master Huairang quietly picked up a brick and started rubbing it on a stone.

Mazu watched his master for a few minutes then he asked, "Why are you rubbing that brick on a stone?"

Huairang answered, "I'm polishing it into a mirror.'

Mazu probably knew by this time that he had been set up, but he had to follow through, "But how can you make a mirror by polishing a brick on a stone?" he asked.

Master Huairang answered, "How can you become a Buddha by sitting in meditation? To become a Buddha, act like a Buddha."


Buddha-Nature is not something hidden in each of us, but rather something that manifests as the distinctive pattern and quality of our conduct, our interaction with everything.

Chan Buddhism

Chan Buddhism teaches all beings have/are Buddha-Nature. Chan does not advocate Practice as a means to enlightenment, but rather as the meaning of demonstrating it. It is only in denial or ignorance of our own true nature that Enlightenment can be regarded as something to seek, a destination at which we might someday arrive.

Chan does not see dispelling ignorance of our own Buddha-Nature as involving cultivating or acquiring anything. We need only end the relational inertia that prevents us from conducting ourselves as enlightened beings. This does not require special conditions or implements, extensive study or training. It can be accomplished here and now in the midst of our day-to-day lives.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Three Schools of Japanese Zen

The Zen sect began in Japan in 1168 with the establishment of Rinzai Zen by the monk Eisai (or Yosai). Soon thereafter, another cleric, Dogen, founded a separate branch of the Zen sect, Soto, in 1225. A third branch, Obaku Zen, was established by the Chinese monk Yinyuan (Ingen) in 1654. The three branches use completely different methods to transmit the Zen teachings. Rinzai, centered in metropolitan areas, made massive contributions to Japanese culture in scholarship, architecture, and the arts in the medieval (1185-1600) and Edo (1600-1868) periods. By contrast, the Soto sect developed a close relationship with the lower classes and provided them with strong spiritual sustenance. This intimate connection with the masses was further strengthened by the newest of the three sects, the Obaku, which provided support for those lacking the strength to attain salvation on their own.

~Soei Yoneda,
before her death
in 1984
Abbess of Sanko-in Temple

William Harwood Shares His Thoughts on the Difference Between Faith and Insanity

Shojin Cooking

Shojin cooking is vegetarian, which, in Japan, includes certain sea plants. The word shojin is composed of the characters for "spirit" and "to progress" and originally had the meaning of zeal or assiduity in progressing along the path to salvation. In concrete terms, shojin cooking is a discipline meant to improve one's training in and practice of the Buddhist faith. through the consumption of only the simplest foods.

~Soei Yoneda,
before her death
in 1984
Abbess of Sanko-in Temple

Red Lentil and Spinach Stew

Olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small leek, chopped
1 small carrot, sliced
1/2 cup of split red lentils, washed and picked over
4 ounces of spinach, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons of rolled oats
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onions and the leeks. Saute for 3 minutes.

Add the sliced carrot and saute for 3 more minutes.

Add the lentils to the pan and enough water to cover. Sprinkle in a little salt. Add the chopped spinach to the pan. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until everything is tender.

Stir in the oats and cook, uncovered, for a few minutes longer, until thick and creamy.

Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve with boiled new potatoes.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Gingered Green Beans

This is an example of Japanese Buddhist temple food. It is a very simple dish that can easily be made in large quantities.

The recipe as given will serve 4.

1/4 pound of green beans, the ends snapped off
2 teaspoons of finely grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons of soy sauce

Put ample salted water in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat.

Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the beans. Boil, uncovered, for about 4 minutes (the time depends on the size of the beans), until just barely tender-crisp and still bright green.

Immediately, plunge the beans into iced-water to stop the cooking and to cool.

Cut the cooled beans into 2-inch lengths.

Use about 20 pieces of bean per portion.

Arrange each portion into a pyramid on a small dish.

Place 1/2 of a teaspoon of finely grated fresh ginger on each mound of beans and pour on 1/2 of a teaspoon of the soy sauce.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Know Yourself, Love Yourself

Love yourself and be mindful,
both day and night.

It is wise to know yourself,
before instructing others in self-knowledge.
Thus you defeat sorrow.

To truly know oneself
is the hardest of disciplines.
To straighten the crooked,
one must first straighten oneself.
Only then can you be a light unto others.

~The Dhammapada, verses 157 - 159

Harsh Words

Never speak harsh words
either to yourself or another.
For harsh words return
and trouble is the result.

                         ~The Dhammapada, verse 133

No Person Should Ever Be Coerced Into Accepting Any Religion Or Religious Belief

Old Occam

A Scientist Speaks

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


The Buddha teaches that there is one defilement which gives rise to all the others, one root which holds them all in place. This root is ignorance (avijja). Ignorance is not mere absence of knowledge, a lack of knowing particular pieces of information. Ignorance can co-exist with a vast accumulation of itemized knowledge, and in its own way it can be tremendously shrewd and resourceful. As the basic root of dukkha, ignorance is a fundamental darkness shrouding the mind. Sometimes this ignorance operates in a passive manner, merely obscuring correct understanding. At other times it takes on an active role: it becomes the great deceiver, conjuring up a mass of distorted perceptions and conceptions which the mind grasps as attributes of the world, unaware they are its own deluded constructs.

~Bhikkhu Bodhi, in The Noble Eightfold Path

Science and Religion

Science will admit when it is in error.

Religion has many times killed to prove it is right.

We Have To Do The Work - No One, Human or Divine, Devil or Angel, Real or Mythical Will Do It For Us

The work of removing the defilements has to proceed in a methodical way. It cannot be accomplished simply by an act of will, by wanting them to go away. The work must be guided by investigation. We have to find out what the defilements depend upon and then see how it lies within our power to remove their support.

~Bhikkhu Bodhi, in The Noble Eightfold Path

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Death Is Our Companion

Death is the companion of every sage,
a friend who shares the path with us
and who provides a welcome
at our journey's end.

This friendship seems unnatural to many,
but it is a source of great wisdom.
Cultivating this friendship requires courage,
honesty, and openness.
We must visit the dark regions of our mind,
the places where our unnamed fears dissolve.
Then we will return with a light
that will illumine the rest of our path.

Befriending death is not morbid.
It is not depressing.
It is not giving up on living.
It is merely accepting the natural boundary
given to life for our benefit.
It is up to you to shine a light
upon the path of life
so those who follow you
might walk without fear.

                                                         ~William Martin, in The Sage's Tao Te Ching