Now we are ready to look at something pretty special. It is a duck riding the ocean a hundred feet beyond the surf, as he cuddles in the swells. There is a big heaving in the Atlantic, and he is part of it. He can rest while the Atlantic heaves, because he rests in the Atlantic. Probably he doesn't know how large the ocean is. And neither do you. But he realizes it. And what does he do, I ask you? He sits down in it. He reposes in the immediate as if it were infinity—which it is. That is religion, and the duck has it. How about you? ~Donald C. Babcock
Spiritual liberation, spiritual freedom, indeed spiritual growth is not found in Tibet or Nepal or St. Peter's in Rome or the Mormon Tabernacle or the newest book on Amazon or the pastor from Oklahoma.
Spirituality, freedom, truth, whatever word you use is right here, right now, in whatever you are doing.
That's why it's so difficult to find. We look everywhere except where we are.
Driving, eating, farting, walking, making love, making dinner, every single thing we do is our spiritual life.
Every single thing we do, think, or say is our spiritual life.
How we respond and interact with everything is religion. So damn easy. So damn difficult.
Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. Some things are up to us and some things are not up to us. Our opinions are up to us, and our impulses, desires, aversions — in short, whatever is our own doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations, or our public offices, or, that is, whatever is not our own doing.
1 pound of firm tofu, blotted and cut into 3/4-inch dice
1 cup of vegetable stock (homemade or canned)
2 tablespoons of dry white wine or dry vermouth
2 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to the simmer, cover, and cook gently for 10 minutes.
Divide the tofu and the liquid among 4 shallow bowls.
Garnish each serving with some of the sliced green onion.
"Where shall I look for Enlightenment?" "Here." "When will it happen?" "It is happening right now." "Then why don't I experience it?" "Because you do not look." "What should I look for?" "Nothing. Just Look." "At what?" "Anything your eyes alight upon." "Must I look in a special kind of way?" "No. The ordinary way will do." "But don't I always look the ordinary way?" "No." "Why ever not?" "Because to look you must be here. You're mostly somewhere else."
You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
Birth, old age,
Sickness, and death:
From the beginning,
This is the way
Things have always been.
Of release from this life
Will wrap you only more tightly
In its snares.
The sleeping person
Looks for a Buddha,
The troubled person
Turns towards meditation,
But the one who knows
That there's nothing to seek
Knows too that there's nothing to say.
She keeps her mouth closed.
~Ly Ngoc Kieu , in Women in the Praise of the Sacred
Football players kneeling = outrage
Saying "happy holidays" = outrage
Red cups at Starbucks = outrage
Marriage equality, women's equality, racial equality = outrage, outrage, outrage
Roy Moore sexually assaulting a 14 year old girl = omg no big deal
According to the Buddha, the Truth is an open thing for all to discover for themselves. When we study the life and the teachings of the Buddha, we can see that everything is open to everyone. While there are certain practice techniques and teaching tools that require the specific guidance of experienced teachers, there are no secrets in Buddhism.
Awakening or Enlightenment, the attainment of Buddhahood, is the most worthwhile thing one can do. Because the practice of Buddhism means guiding oneself by the Noble Eightfold Path (the Middle Way), true practitioners never fall into any form of extremism.
A person can have a completely unrealistic outlook and still live a very happy life. For example, I have a high school friend who believes that one day Jesus will return and send evildoers to hell and take him and his family back to heaven to live with Him in paradise everlasting. This belief brings him comfort and helps him manage the sadder aspects of life. Jesus won't return, but my friend will die happily believing that one day He will.
On an individual level, this can work, to some extent. As I said, this belief makes him happy. But on a collective level, beliefs like that can be tremendously harmful. They lead people like my friend to being negligent about the environment, for example, and to push for political action that damages the world. So. long after my friend is gone, his children and grandchildren, as well as your children and grandchildren, may suffer because of my friend's mistaken belief that Jesus will return before that can happen. A realistic outlook is necessary for our overall survival and well-being.
One thing that Dogen explores in detail is the Buddhist teaching that mind and matter are not two different things. Rather, they are contrasting aspects of one unified reality that is neither mind nor matter. Even though this insight goes all the way back to the Buddha, 2,500 years ago, it's somehow still startling. I think that's because even Buddhists themselves have often failed to understand it.
1 large zucchini or cucumber, peeled
1 pound of fresh or frozen green peas
Chopped chervil, tarragon, dill weed, and mint to taste
1 tablespoon of butter
Salt to taste
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Slice the zucchini or cucumber into 1/4-inch slices.
Place the slices in a large sauce pan and add the peas, the herbs, the butter, the salt, and the water.
Cover, bring to the boil, and reduce the heart to simmer. Cook for about 6 minutes, less if the peas were frozen—until tender.
Blend the sour cream, the mayonnaise, and the lemon juice.
Pour the mixture over the peas and stir carefully.
My teacher used to say, "People like explanations." We do. They're comforting. When the explanation is reasonably correct, it's useful.
But there will always be things we can't explain. In fact, our explanations are always provisional. This isn't a problem unless we start to confuse the explanation with the reality it's trying to explain. We have a strong tendency to do that because we like explanations so much.
Uncertainty has many of us scrambling for something certain to hang on to.
Humanity thinks a great deal about many things that aren't actually real. We hold onto these things because we crave certainty in areas where there can never be any. That's when we start believing in non-important, harmful, superstitious, and divisive stuff.
But if you think or hope Buddhism provides us with certainty, think again. The Buddha-Dharma gives us something far more useful. The Buddha's Teaching gives us a way to be okay with uncertainty.
This isn't just something Buddhists need, it's something we all need.
Since ancient times, these words have been spoken in both India and the deva world: "One who falls to the ground uses the ground to stand up. One who ignores the ground and tries to stand cannot." The meaning is that those who fall down on the earth stand up on the earth; it is impossible to get up without using the earth.
Some people interpret this as great enlightenment, which is the desirable way to become free from body and mind. Thus, when being asked how buddhas attain the way, they say that it is like those who fall to the ground and use the ground to stand up.
Buddhist meditation is not intended to induce some special mystical state. Buddhist meditation is a tool to help us experience clearly and to its fullest extent whatever it is we're experiencing at any given moment.
Reality isn't some pristine thing far off in outer space where there is no doubt or anger or greed or delusion. Reality is what you are living in at the very moment when you doubt you are living in reality.