Tuesday, October 31, 2017

I Meditate . . .

I meditate because life is too short and sitting slows it down.
I meditate because life is too long and I need an occasional break . . .
I meditate because it's such a relief to spend time ignoring myself . . .
I meditate because I'm building myself a bigger and better perspective
And occasionally I need to add a new window.

~Wes Nisker


Life is a dance . . . and the dance goes on with us and without us.


Every Moment is A Teaching

Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.

~Eckhart Tolle

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Process

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.

~Anais Nin

Sunday, October 29, 2017

So Lonely

So lonely
I leave the hut
and gaze out—
the leaves of the rice plants
bending like waves in the autumn wind.



It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.

~Rabidranath Tagore


Perhaps our first glimpse of emptiness in meditation is the recognition that our thoughts are not actually "real."

~David Nichtern

Tofu and Lettuce Soup

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
3 green onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, cut into thin strips
1 carrot, thinly sliced
4 cups of vegetable broth
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of sugar
4 ounces of lettuce, shredded
6 1/2 ounces of smoked or marinated tofu, cubed
Salt and black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven.

Stir-fry the tofu until it is brown. Drain and set it aside on paper towel.

Add the green onion, the garlic, and the carrot in the pan and stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and the soy sauce.

Heat for 1 minute.

Add the sugar, the lettuce, and the tofu cubes.

Heat gently for a minute and adjust the seasoning.

Serve hot.

What You Saw

As soon as you see something, you already start to intellectualize it. As soon as you intellectualize something, it is no longer what you saw.

~Shunryu Suzuki

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Five Ethical Precepts

1 To Respect and Protect Life

2 To Respect and Protect the Property of Others

3 To Respect and Protect Sexual Boundaries

4 To Respect and Protect the Truth

5 To Respect and Protect One's Body and Mind

Miso Breakfast Soup

3 or 4 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
5 cups of vegetable stock
5 ounces of firm or extra tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 green onion, sliced
Salt and black pepper to taste

If you are using dried mushrooms soak them in hot water for several minutes, drain, and slice.

Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a large sauce.

Add the mushroom slices.

Lower the heat to simmer and stir in the miso paste.

Simmer for 5 minutes.

Adjust the seasoning with the salt and pepper.

Divide the tofu among the serving bowls.

Ladle the soup into the bowls.

Garnish with the green onion slices.

Serve immediately.

Teacher and Student

The teacher just shows the student the path. The student must walk the path her or himself

Milk and Rice Pudding

This pudding is the mother of all Indian desserts. It occupies a special place in Buddhist history. This is the pudding the young girl, Sujata, gave to Siddhartha when he had become extremely weak from over-fasting

3 1/4 ounces of rice
4 cups of whole milk
6 ounces of sugar
6 green cardamon seeds, ground coarsely
A few strands of saffron
1 teaspoon of rose water

Soak the rice in water for half an hour.

Slowly boil the milk in a thick-bottomed pan, stirring constantly, until it is reduce to 1/3 of its original volume.

Drain the rice and add it to the milk and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes.

Mix in the sugar.

Sprinkle the ground cardamom seeds over the milk mixture.

Soak the saffron strand in the rose water.

Crush the saffron into the rose water and sprinkle over the pudding.



All is empty, clear, self-illuminating,
with no need to exert the mind.
Here, thinking, feeling, understanding, and imagination
are of no value.
In this world "as it really is"
there is neither self nor other-than-self.

~The Hsin Hsin Ming

Fried Noodles

12 ounces of dried vermicelli
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 or 2 green onions, sliced
Soy sauce to taste
Salt and black pepper to taste

Cook the vermicelli in a large pot of boiling water according to the package directions.

Rinse the cooked vermicelli under cold water and drain thoroughly.

Heat the oil in a wok; add the green onions and stir-fry for 30 seconds.

Add the noodles and stir very gently to separate the delicate strands without breaking them.

Reduce the heat and continue frying until the noodles turn golden brown.

Add the soy sauce, the salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.

Acceptance, Not Belief

Buddhism is acceptance of, not belief in, the Buddha's words, 
the Buddha-Dharma.

Hot and Sour Cabbage

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
2 red chilies, seeds removed and the chilies cut into small pieces
1 small head of green cabbage, shredded
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a preheated wok.

Add the red chilies.

Add the cabbage and the black pepper and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.

Add the vinegar, the sugar, the soy sauce, the sesame oil, and the salt.

Blend well and serve immediately.

Awareness Meditation

Being aware of everything without being involved in anything.

Noodle Salad

The Salad:

12 ounces of cellophane noodles
2 carrots, julienned
1/2 of a cucumber, peeled and cut into cubes
4 ounces of celeriac, peeled and cubed
6 green onions, sliced
8 water chestnuts, sliced
6 ounces of bean sprouts

The Dressing:

1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of honey (Clear honey is preferred.)
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

For the Garnish:

Toasted sesame seeds
Peanuts, roughly chopped

Cook the noodles in boiling water, according to the package directions.

Drain the noodles, refresh in cold water, and then drain again.

Carefully mix the noodles with the  prepared vegetables.

For the dressing; combine all the ingredients in a small bowl..

Pour the dressing over the noodles.

Place the salad in individual serving bowls and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and the chopped peanuts.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I Have No More Need For A Raft

I have made a raft that is well constructed. I have crossed, gone beyond, escaped the flood. I have no more need for a raft. 

~The Buddha

The Starting Point

In the Samyutta Nikaya we read of the time when a young monk asked the Buddha for the training in brief. The Buddha told the young monk: "First establish yourself in the starting point of wholesome states, that is, in purified moral discipline and in right view. Then, when your moral discipline is purified and your view straight, you should practice the four foundations of mindfulness."


Right speech, right action, and right livelihood—may be treated together, as collectively they make up the first of the three divisions of the path [The Noble Eightfold Path], the division of moral discipline. Though the principles laid down in this section restrain immoral actions and promote good conduct, their ultimate purpose is not so much ethical as spiritual. They are not prescribed merely as guides to action, but primarily as aids to mental purification. As a necessary measure for human well-being, ethics has its own justification in the Buddha's teaching and its importance cannot be underrated. But in the special context of the Noble Eightfold Path ethical principles are subordinate to the path's governing goal, final deliverance from suffering. Thus for the moral training to become a proper part of the path, it has to be taken up under the tutelage of the first two factors, right view and right intention, and to lead beyond to the trainings in concentration and wisdom.

~Bhikkhu Bodhi, in The Noble Eightfold Path

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Leading the Winter In

there was a leaf in the autumn breeze
caught in the ecstasy of dance
it was a waltz with the spirits of the wind
it was a ceremony leading the winter in
a ceremony leading the winter in
there was a woman with a voice very lovely
i took company by her songs of loss
she was the one who took me to singing
she was the valley wind leading the winter in
she taught me what it means
to have let go of ten thousand things
she was the mother and she was the children
she was the longing leading the winter in
the longing leading the winter in
there was darkness, i felt sane
in the light we drank immortal tears and rain
and the sound it was a whispering
it was the word leading the winter in
there were colors i could not see
and i begged her it was a laughable plea
it was a search for a place to begin
it was a game leading the winter in
a game leading the winter in
it is written and so it was
i arose in accordance with the laws
it was a joy and it was a sin
it was a ceremony leading the winter in
a ceremony leading the winter in
a ceremony leading the winter in
a ceremony leading the winter in

~Edward Albert Burger

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


What you need, what we all need, is silence. Stop the noise in your mind in order for the wondrous sounds of life to be heard. Then you can begin to live your life authentically and deeply.

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Monday, October 16, 2017

Pickled Daikon Salad

Pickled daikon, cut into matchsticks, chopped into small pieces, or shredded
Red bell pepper, cut similar to the daikon (Far less than the daikon.)
Green onion, thinly sliced
Rice vinegar (some people enjoy apple cider vinegar in this salad)
Sesame oil
Sesame seeds
Crushed red pepper flakes

Amounts of the ingredients vary by the amount of daikon with which you begin.

Start with smaller portions of vinegar, oil, sesame seeds, and crushed red pepper. Add more until you are pleased with the flavor.

You'll learn what you like after you've made this wonderful salad a few times.

My Practice

I'm honestly ready to change my Practice if there's sufficient evidence to do so.

Faith is not evidence.

My Beliefs

I balance my beliefs to the evidence.

Friday, October 13, 2017

True Beginners

In the beginner's mind there is no thought, "I have attained something." All self-centered thoughts limit our vast mind. When we have no thought of achievement, no thought of self, we are true beginners. Then we can really learn something. The beginner's mind is the mind of compassion. When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless. Dogen-zenji, the founder of our school, always emphasized how important it is to resume our boundless original mind. Then we are always true to ourselves, in sympathy with all beings, and can actually practice.

~Shunryu Suzuki, in Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

The Beginner's Mind

In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few.

~Shunryu Suzuki, in Zen mind, Beginner's Mind

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


One who has realized Nirvana has overcome grasping and letting go, transcended growth and decline. This one has lived the holy life, completed the practice and finished the journey. For this one there is no more renewed existence with its wandering in birth and death.

When Nirvana is realized there is no remaining residue. All name-and-form utterly ceases.


Buddhist compassion is universal. It sees all creatures, the small and the large, from insects to elephants and whales, as ultimately equal. Each living thing has the same rights for happiness as each human does.


The Buddha encouraged us to face the facts of life courageously and to accept the truth whatever and wherever it may be. He taught timeless practical truths that lead to understanding, knowledge, and happiness.


It's in the nature of feelings to make it hard to tell the valuable ones from the harmful ones, the reliable from the misleading. One thing all feelings have in common is that they were originally "designed" to convince you to follow them. They feel right and true almost by definition. They actively discourage you from viewing them objectively.

~ Robert Wright, in Why Buddhism is True

Saturday, October 7, 2017


The Buddha taught opinions are a spiritual blind alley. One who holds an opinion grasps it tightly, proclaiming it supreme. This person becomes embroiled in conflict with those who hold contrary opinions. When opinions are grasped, sincere inquiry gives way to dogmatism as rival thinkers reject an impartial search for truth in favor of attempts (sometimes frenzied) to bolster their own standpoint. Similar to a hunter caught in his own snare, the opinion holder becomes trapped in a system of his own devising.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Cucumber Rice

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 medium-size cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise and seeded
4 scallions, rinsed and minced
1 ½ cups long-grain rice
Combine the lemon rind and lemon juice in a large salad bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and add the salt and pepper. Set aside. Cut the cucumbers into half-moon slices, 1/2 inch thick. Add the cucumber slices and scallions to the lemon vinaigrette. Toss.
Cook the rice in water according to the directions on the package. When tender but still firm, remove from heat. Place in a colander and chill briefly under cold running water until the rice is at room temperature. Drain well. Add the rice to the salad bowl. Toss. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. This can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time.

No Blind Faith

The Buddha did not promise heavenly bliss or reward to those who called themselves his followers. Nor did he promise salvation to those who had faith in him. To the Buddha, religion is not a bargain but a noble way of life to gain Awakening and Freedom, Enlightenment, for oneself and others. He did not want followers who believed him blindly; He taught us to think and understand for ourselves.

The Buddha urged all to come forth to discover more about Buddhism and not simply believe in it. He advised choosing a proper religion by considering and investigating it in various ways, without accepting anything through emotion or blind faith. This is why Buddhism is sometimes called the religion of analysis. In it is the scientific logical analysis of mind and matter which modern intelligence appreciates. Even today, Buddhist are encouraged to have the attitude of a healthy skeptic, even towards the Buddhist scriptures.

Is Rebirth Simultaneous?

Another difficult thing to understand about rebirth is whether the occurrence of rebirth is simultaneous or not. This is a controversial issue even among prominent Buddhist scholars. According to Abhidhamma, rebirth (conception) takes place immediately after the death of a being without any intermediate state. At the same time, some others believe that a person, after his death, would evolve into a spirit form for a certain number of days before rebirth takes place. Another interpretation regarding he same belief is that it is not the spirit, but the deceased person's consciousness or mental energy remaining in space, supported by his own mental energies of craving and attachment. However, sooner or later rebirth must take place.

~K. Sri Dhammananda

Sunday, October 1, 2017


The sense consciousnesses that see, hear, smell, taste and feel tactile sensations, and the gross mental consciousness, function actively while we are alive. When one is dying, they cease to function and are absorbed into the subtle mental consciousness.

The subtle Mind bears the imprints (vipaka) of the actions (karma) we have done with all the tendencies, preferences, abilities, and characteristics that have been developed and conditioned in this life.

After death, the subtle Mind leaves one body, enters the intermediate state and re-establishes itself in a fertilized egg in another body at the moment of conception, the gross sense consciousness and the gross mental consciousness reappear, and the person again sees, hears, thinks, and so forth.

The subtle Mind which goes from one life to the next, is a constantly changing phenomenon. It is not considered to be a soul or real personality. Thus the individual is reborn and develops a personality conditioned both by the mental characteristics that have been carried over and by the new environment. The personality will change and be modified by conscious effort and conditioning factors like education, parental influence and society. At death, it re-establishes itself in a new fertilized egg.

This process of dying and being reborn will continue until the conditions that cause it, craving and ignorance, cease. When they do, instead of being reborn, the Mind attains a state referred to as Nirvana, which is release from all suffering.