Sunday, December 31, 2017


What Is A Sentient Being?

The New Oxford American Dictionary (2001): able to perceive or feel things.

Is a cow sentient?

Can a cow feel a human hand petting it?

Are protozoa sentient?

Can protozoa perceive light or cold?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Words of a Scientist

Our metaphysics must follow our physics.

~Dr. Sean Carroll

The Practice of Buddhism

Reading about Buddhism is important. But to be aware of my actions, my words, and my thoughts are also very important. To understand my actions (words, thoughts, deeds) have results is important.

A good beginning in the practice of Buddhism to the measure of the Five Precepts: Respect for Life, Respect for the Property of Others, Respect for Sexual Boundaries, Respect for the Use of Language in Regard to Others, and the Respect for My Body and My Mind.

The Practice of Buddhism is not an intellectual exercise. The Practice of Buddhism is a course of Action. The Noble Eightfold Path is Buddhism. It is the Expression of the Teaching and the Experience of Freedom from stress and anxiety.

If you want to know Buddhism, know the Eightfold Path.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Finger Pointing at the Moon

A finger pointing at the moon:
Such are the Teachings, they say.
The Writings themselves are not the Truth;
They merely point the way.

Direct experience leads us to
The gateway of the inspired.
Yet trying to describe the ineffable with words
Leaves much to be desired.

Journeying through life we encounter distractions,
Which in their clever fashion
Can obfuscate the clarity
Of the heart of true compassion

Or lead us down a confusing path
Where knowledge and wisdom are blurred,
And the hopes of our transcending the mundane
Are stifled by a word.

Seeking the Truth is a noble goal;
Awareness comes never too soon.
Just be careful not to mistake
The finger for the moon.

~Bob B

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


True joy happens when the ego is not involved.

~Steve Thayer

Monday, December 18, 2017

An Alternative to Materialism

Americans seem to assume that the alternative to materialism is poverty. I find that ironic because it’s clear to me that the necessary result of materialism is emotional and mental impoverishment.

So the alternative to materialism isn’t poverty. The alternative to materialism is an indifference to wealth that provides a relative immunity to greed.

~Dan Hagen

The Simplicity of Buddhism

There is stress and anxiety in life.

There is a cause for this stress and anxiety.

There is freedom from this stress and anxiety.

There is a path of practice for the experience of this freedom.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Everything is Change

Everything falls under the law of change, like a dream, a phantom, a bubble, a shadow, like dew or a flash of lightening; you should contemplate everything like this.

~The Diamond Sutra

Friday, December 15, 2017


The whole path of mindfulness is this: whatever you are doing, be aware of it.

~Dipa Ma

Friday, December 8, 2017


The Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple uses a variety of teachings and practices to help each member of the Sangha first develop a calmer, more integrated and compassionate personality, and then to 'wake-up' from the restricting delusions that cause attachment which leads to stress and anxiety.


At the Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple we know morality is often defined as 'other-regarding': focused on the effect of our actions on other people. This is a reasonable view, but it is incomplete from the Buddhist perspective. Buddhist morality is concerned with people, with other species, and with the planet itself.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

We Try Our Best

At the Grand Rapids Buddhist temple we strive to share light, hope, relief, and liberation, and the means to these where there is darkness, suffering, oppression, and despair. Our Sangha is determined not to forget about or to abandon those is desperate situations. We try our best to establish contact with those who cannot find their way out of suffering, those who cries for help, justice, equality, and human rights are not being heard. The temple understands and teaches hell can be found in many places on Earth. We teach and do our best not to create more hells on Earth. We try to transform those hells that already exist. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple

I'm Abbot Emeritus of the Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

This summer I stepped aside as Abbot in order to allow new and fresh thinking young minds to begin guiding the temple.

So often, in the West, a dedicated person will establish a temple, Dharma Hall, or meditation community and then makes no provisions for what happens if they become incapacitated or die.

Our Sangha did not want that to happen to our temple or community.

With this blog I want to share some of the things I have learned about the Western evolution of the Practice and the hopes and ideals of the Grand Rapids Sangha.

Our temple is an American Buddhist Temple whose roots are in the Hua Yen School. The Hua Yen School is the foundation of the Ch'an and Zen Schools. The Avatamsaka Sutra is our foundational teaching. We emphasize the interdependence and interbeing of all things, the emptiness of all phenomena, the inherent Buddha Nature of all beings, and the bodhisattva aspiration.

Additionally the Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple stresses inclusiveness and a living experience of the Buddha Dharma. We strive to bring the Buddha Dharma to the everyday lives of the Sangha. Our Sangha is made up of folks who have full-time jobs and families, so we emphasize practical applications of the Buddha's teaching.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Buddhist Practice

Paese in Toscana by Antonietta Varallo

Buddhist practice is simply a system directed to the one end of lessening the suffering of life.

~Ananda Metteyya