Friday, November 24, 2017

The Noble Art of Living

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.

~Lin Yutang

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Hua Yen

If you forget yourself, you become the universe.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017


We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. 

~The Buddha


Actually lending a hand
Volunteering to help anyone do anything
Donating to a charity
Running for office
Picking up litter
Not littering
Almost anything, really

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Little Duck

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

So Damn Easy, So Damn Difficult

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.

Clearly Seeing

To see clearly is poetry, philosophy, and religion, all in one.

~John Ruskin


There's an old story of a Cherokee woman sharing wisdom with her grandson. "Everything in life comes to you as a teacher," the grandmother said. "Pay attention. Learn quickly."

Make The Best Use Of What Is In Your Power

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.


Saturday, November 18, 2017


After the leaves fall
in the village at the foot
of Ogura Peak,
one can see through the 
     tree branches
the moon shining
     in the clear.


A Great Pilgrimage

I felt in need of a great pilgrimage, so I sat still for three days.


Extremely Simple Tofu Teriyaki

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.


Be Done With Them

Here and now you know your unwholesome actions.

Drop them and be done with them.


Gently notice when your mind drifts into the elsewhere and the elsewhen.

When you are not here and now, you are likely lost in imagination, worry, wish, or rehashing.

Simply and gently notice this.

Be Here

"Where shall I look for Enlightenment?"


"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?"


"Why ever not?"

"Because to look you must be here. You're mostly somewhere else."

~Anthony De Mello

Master and Student

A student asked his teacher, "How does one get emancipated?"

"Who has placed you in bondage?" his Master asked.

"What is the Pure Land?' the student asked.

"Who has defiled you?" his Master asked.

"What is Nirvana?" the student asked.

"Who has subjected you to birth-and-death?" the Master asked.

~Shi Tou

At Your Table

Man at the Table by Gabriele Munter

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.

~Franz Kafka

I Am It

If I chase it, I separate into the chaser and the chased.
If I am it, I am it and nothing else.

~John Lilly

The Endless Now

Eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.

~Erwin Schrodinger

Nothing to Say

Birth, old age,
Sickness, and death:
From the beginning,
This is the way
Things have always been.
Any thought
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

Toe-Nail Polish

 A Buddhist teacher in England received a telephone call from a seven-year-old girl.

"Do Buddhas wear toe-nail polish?" the young girl asked.

"Are you wearing toe-nail polish?" the teacher asked.

"Yes!" the little girl shouted, and hung up.

Thursday, November 16, 2017



He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.

~Lao Tzu,

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. 


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Buddha Said:

The past should not be followed after and the future not desired; what is past is dead and gone and the future is yet to come.

~The Buddha

Greed; Endless, Unsatisfied Greed

Were there a mountain all made of gold, doubled that would not be enough to satisfy a single man: know this and live accordingly.

~The Buddha

Monday, November 13, 2017


Studying Zen is not the same as practicing Zen, just as studying aesthetics should not be confused with being an artist.
~T.P. Kasulis

The Practice

Don't become distracted from the Practice by either pleasure or non-pleasure.


CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVES: 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

There Are No Secrets In Buddhism

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.

Buddhahood Avoids Extremism

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 Realistic Outlook Is Necessary For Our Survival And Well-Being

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.

~Brad Warner, in It Came From Beyond Zen!

Mind and Matter

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.

~Brad Warner, in It Came From Beyond Zen!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

German-American Farmer's Green Peas and Sour Cream

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.

Heat thoroughly, stirring to prevent sticking.

Serve immediately.

Fried Sweet Potatoes with Cayenne

Oil and butter to fry
1 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes, boiled until tender, peeled, and sliced
Sugar to taste
Salt to taste
Cayenne powder to taste

Heat the oil and the butter in a large pan.

Add the sliced sweet potato.

Sprinkle with sugar and salt to taste. The amount of each seasoning will depend upon experience. Upon what you prefer.

Cook until slightly caramelized. Then turn over and add a wee bit more sugar and salt. Cook until slightly caramelized.

Turn and sprinkle very lightly with the cayenne powder. The amount used here will also depend on personal experience.

Turn once more to allow the cayenne to be cooked for a moment.


Michigan Creamed Eggs

6 hard-boiled eggs
4 slices of toast
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 cups of white sauce
Paprika to taste

Slice the eggs and divide on the toast.

Season the eggs with the salt and pepper.

Cover with hot white sauce.

Sprinkle with the paprika.


White Sauce Recipe

2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour
Milk as needed
Salt and black pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a sauce pan.

Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 minutes, stir frequently.

Add enough milk to make a sauce. The consistency will depend on how much or how little milk you add.

Season with the salt and pepper.


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.

~Brad Warner, in It Came From Beyond Zen!


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.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Way

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.

 ~Eihei Dogen 

Buddhist Meditation

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.

The Practice

If you practice, you will become the Practice—that is the Practice.

Friday, November 10, 2017


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.

~Brad Warner, in It Came From Beyond Zen!

The Way

To practice the Way singleheartedly is, in itself, enlightenment.There is no gap between practice and enlightenment, or between zazen and daily life.

~Tendo Nyojo

Thursday, November 9, 2017


I embrace emerging experience. I participate in discovery, I am a butterfly. I am not a butterfly collector. I want the experience of the butterfly.

~William Stafford

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Greatest Fear

How can I explain that my greatest fear is precisely of: being?

~Clarice Lispector

Deep-Fried Bananas

8 small bananas, peeled
4 ounces of self-raising flour
1 1/4 ounces of rice flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of water
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
Sugar to sprinkle
1 limes, cut into wedges

Sift both the flours with the salt into a bowl.

Add just enough water to make a batter of smooth coating consistency. Mix well.

Heat the oil in a pan.

Dip the bananas in the batter. Ensure they are well coated.

Deep-fry the battered bananas until they are crisp and golden.

Remove and drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle with sugar and serve hot with the lime wedges on the side.