Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Our Way

You may think that if there is no purpose or no goal in our practice, we will not know what to do. But there is a way. The way to practice without having any goal is to limit your activity, or to be concentrated on what you are doing in this moment. Instead of having some particular object in mind, you should limit your activity. When your mind is wandering about elsewhere you have no chance to express yourself. But if you limit your activity to what you can do just now, in this moment, then you can express fully your true nature, which is the universal Buddha nature. This is our way.

When we practice zazen we limit our activity to the smallest extent. Just keeping the right posture and being concentrated on sitting is how we express the universal nature. Then we become Buddha, and we express Buddha nature. So instead of having some object of worship, we just concentrate on the activity which we do in each moment. When you bow, you should just bow; when you sit, you should just sit; when you eat, you should just eat. If you do this, the universal nature is there.

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

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Tempeh Mock Chicken Salad

This recipe will serve two at a lunch or one at a supper.

7 ounces of tempeh, diced into 3/8-inch cubes and fry in oil until golden and crisp, then cool to room temperature
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of minced onion
2 tablespoons of chopped dill pickle or dill relish
1/4 cup of minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon of minced fresh basil
A pinch of crushed garlic
A dash of salt
2 or 3 cups of shredded lettuce

Combine the first eight ingredients, mixing well.

Serve mounded on the lettuce.

Tempeh Mock Tuna Spread

This recipe will make 1 1/2 cups of spread

6 ounces of tempeh, diced
1 tablespoon of water
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of minced onion
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley

Steam the tempeh for 20 to 25 minutes; until desired tenderness is reached

Transfer the tempeh to a bowl. While it is still hot, add the water and mash thoroughly. Once mashed, allow it to cool to room temperature.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Use on sandwiches or crackers.

Some Humane Ideas Regarding Unwanted Mice in Your Home

Keep your home clean. Wipe off your countertop. Don't leave crumbs and other food bits out for the mice. The main reason they're in your home is for the food.

Put breakfast cereal, pastas, dog and cat foods in plastic air-tight containers.

Find the entry points and stuff them with steal wool. Mice can’t chew steel wool.

Pour a few drops of peppermint oil on cotton balls and place these in areas where you think mice may frequent. Mice have very sensitive noses and the peppermint oil in a bit overwhelming for them.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Dependent Origination

Dependent Origination is a foundational teaching of Buddhism. It was through the understanding of Dependent Origination that the Buddha attained Enlightenment.

The Buddha said, “Deep indeed is Dependent Origination. It is by not realizing this principle that all have become entangled like a ball of thread, unable to stop dukkha and rebirth.”

The basis of Dependent Origination is life and the world are built on sets of relationships, in which the arising and the ending of things depend on some other factors which condition them.

When this is, that is.
This arising, that arises.
When this is not, that is not.
This ceasing, that ceases.

This” + Certain Causes + Certain Conditions = “That”

On this principle of interdependence and relativity rests the arising, continuing, and the stopping of existence.

The Law of Dependent Origination emphasizes all phenomena in the Universe are inter- or co-dependent. Phenomena do not arise independently of supportive conditions.

A phenomena arises because combinations of conditions are present to support its arising. Phenomena will cease when the conditions and components supporting its arising change and no longer sustain it.

The presence of these supportive conditions, in turn, depend on other factors for their arising, sustenance, disappearance, and possible re-arising. In this sense, all things are empty (have the characteristics of Emptiness) of an independent self-nature.

Dependent Origination explains how Rebirth occurs.

The law of Dependent Origination can be shown with an oil lamp. The flame in the oil lamp burns dependent on the air, the oil, heat, and the wick. When all these are present, the flame burns. If one of these elements is removed the flame with cease to burn.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


The practice of zazen is not for gaining a mystical something. Zazen is for developing—or allowing—a clear mind, as clear as a bright autumn sky.

~Shunryu Suzuki

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Buddha Said, and Then Five Hundred Years Later, The Christ Said

The Buddha:

Abstain from killing and from taking what is not given. Abstain from unchastity and from speaking falsely. Do not accept gold and silver.

The Christ:

You know the commandments: "You shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and mother."

Monday, January 22, 2018


A Guide

If you want to lead the people, 
you must learn how to follow them. 

~Taoist Proverb

Saturday, January 20, 2018

How to Make Tempeh [Homemade] - Easy Method

Thinning Carrots

You had to have a garden. You had no alternative. I can remember crawling on my hands and kness down the line to thin out the carrots. That was a hard chore, but I had a good time doing it. You sure would be happy when you got through.

~Jean Dinsmore, born 1918

Your Garden

Food prices seem to always go up. Food safety is often a concern. Produce from your own garden is flavorful and healthy. It's organic if you use no chemicals. Nothing is more local than your own garden.

All We Have

The past no longer exists.

The future does not yet exist.

The present takes up no time at all.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Do Not Waste - Anything

We do not inherit the world from our parents, we borrow it from our children. Words to help with this practice come from Ruth Rowen, a woman who was a child during the Great Depression. Ruth says, "We prided ourselves on our economy. You never threw anything away."

We Do Not Want Riches

Look at me—I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation. We do not want riches, but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches. We want peace and love.

~ Red Cloud of the Sioux


It does not require many words to speak the truth.

~Chief Joseph

The Buddha Said, and Then Five Hundred Years Later, The Christ Said

Yasoda and Krishna

The Buddha:

Just as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life, even so, cultivate a boundless heart towards all beings. Let your thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world.

The Christ:

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friend

The Buddha Said, and Then Five Hundred Years Later, The Christ Said

The Buddha:

If you do not tend one another, then who is there to tend you? Whoever would tend me, he should tend the sick.

The Christ:

Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.

The Buddha Said, and Then Five Hundred Years Later, The Christ Said

The Buddha:

Consider others as yourself.

The Christ:

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

The Buddha Said, and Then Five Hundred Years Later, The Christ Said

The Buddha:

That great cloud rains down on all whether their nature is superior or inferior. The light of the sun and the moon illuminates the whole world, both him who does well and him who does ill, both him who stands high and him who stands low.

The Christ:

Your father in heaven makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

German-American Farmers' Fruit Soup

1 pound of fresh fruit (apples, pears, cherries, plums, strawberries, or rhubarb)
1 quart of cold water
1 twist of lemon peel
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
2 tablespoons of cold water
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice or dry wine

Wash and slice any combination of the fruits listed above.

Place the fruit is a sauce pan, cover with the quart of cold water, add the lemon peel, bring to the boil, lower the heat, and simmer until tender.

Remove the fruit from the heat and puree.

Return the pureed fruit to the pan and bring to the boil.

Remove from the heat.

Mix the cornstarch with the 2 tablespoons of cold water and stir it into the fruit puree.

Return the puree to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly until thickened.

Remove from the heat and season with the cinnamon, the sugar and the lemon juice or the wine.

Serve hot or cold.

What Have I Done or Not Done?

Do not give your attention to what others do or fail to do; give it to what you do or fail to do.

~The Buddha, found in The Dhammapada verse 50

The Mother

All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth.

~Chief Seattle

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Walrus

One of the core ideas in Buddhist philosophy is that subject and object are one. Or, as John Lennon said in "I Am the Walrus," "I am he as you are he, as you are me, and we are all together." That's actually a very coherent Buddhist statement. The Rutles' parody of this song (Piggy in the Middle") begins, "I know you know what you know, but you should know by now that you're not me." This is also straight-up Buddhism. I'm not kidding.

~Brad Warner, in It Came From Beyond Zen

What's Going On

We often don't really enter the present moment because we're too bound up with ideas about. . .well, about a whole bunch of things. We're stuck in our concepts about what's going on and we miss what's actually going on.

~Brad Warner, in It Came From Beyond Zen

Right Effort

If your practice is good, you may become proud of it. What you do is good, but something more has been added. Pride is extra. Right effort is to get rid of something extra.

~Shunryu Suzuki

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Buddhist Temple’s Addiction Recovery Program Receives $5,000 Grant

Below is a press release sent out today to all the news papers in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Ludington, and the Advanced Community newspapers.

HEADLINE: Buddhist Temple’s Addiction Recovery Program Receives $5,000 Grant

The Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple has received a $5,000 grant from the Frederick P. Lentz Foundation for American Buddhism to support and expand its Buddhist Based Addiction Recovery Program.

The Temple’s Addiction Recovery Program was developed by the Temple itself through the efforts of several of its members who saw the need for an alternative to the traditional 12 step recovery programs. It began with the Temple’s opening in 2011 with an initial meeting of 12 participants. Today over 100 people attend one or more of its now five meetings in Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, and Ludington.

The Buddhist Based Addiction Recovery Program is a 12 step program that reflects the Buddhist teachings on personal responsibility, love, kindness, and compassion. It is the only Buddhist based Addiction Recovery Program in West Michigan.

The Frederick P. Lentz Foundation for American Buddhism is headquartered in Los Angeles California. It was established by Dr. Frederick P. Lentz (“Rama”) to foster the growth and development of an authentic American Buddhism that is uniquely suited to the contemporary American society and culture. It promotes Dr. Lentz’ goals through grant making, programming, and his own teachings on tape and video. The Foundation grants up to $5 million a year to those institutions and organizations whose activities support of Dr. Lentz’ vision.

The grants proceeds will be used to expand the Temple’s ability to make the Buddhist Based Addiction Recovery Program more available. In addition, some of the proceed will be used to train additional facilitators on the Temple’s program.

For more information on the Buddhist Based Addiction Recovery Program visit the Temple’s website or call the Venerabl Ahm Koh at 616-437-2310

Monday, January 15, 2018


You are the Universe.

The Universe is You.

A Simple Apple Pie

3 cups of peeled and finely diced apples
1 cup of sugar (brown or white, they both work well)
2/3 cup of cream
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 rounded tablespoon of flour
1 store-bought pie shell

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Mix all the ingredients except the shell.

Pour the mixture into the pie shell.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 and bake the pie for 30 to 40 minutes longer.

When the pie is about halfway done, take a table knife and push the top apples down into the pie to soften them.

When finished, allow the pie to rest about 20 minutes.


Just a Trick of Thought

Life, the universe, and everything are exactly what they are. When we think we're trying to understand them, what we usually end up doing instead is trying to find foolproof ways to describe them to ourselves rather than just fully experiencing them. We try to make symbolic representations of them in our brains. But it doesn't work because the representation in never the thing it represents.

Dogen and other Buddhist teachers suggest, instead, allowing the mind to be like a mirror that reflects clearly the world it encounters without trying to reduce it into something else. If you can do this, you start to see that the division you think exists between yourself and the rest of the universe is really just a trick of thought. It has some usefulness for communication purposes, so that you can describe that one unit of the universe you image yourself to be. But it's not real. The universe is more you than the "you" that you've created could ever be.

~Brad Warner, in It Came From Beyond Zen

What is Equality?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

What Is Compassion?

Ungan asked, "What does Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, do with her bazillions of hands and eyes?"

Dogo answered, "She's like someone reaching for a pillow in the middle of the night."

Ungan replied, "Right on. I get it."

Dogo asked, "How do you get it?"

Ungan answered, "The entire body is hands and eyes."

Dogo said, "Not bad. I'd give you a B-plus."

Ungan said, "That's my take on it. What's yours bro?"

Dogo said, "No matter where you go it's all hands and eyes."

Lots of people have tried expressing what compassion really is, but nobody has ever equaled Ungan and Dogo. If you really want to know about compassion you should study their words.

Along with Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Compassion has a lot of other names, too. Sometimes she's called "the One Who Hears the Sounds of the World" and sometimes she's called "the One Who Perceives Everything."Don't think of Kannon as one of the lesser Buddhist deities. She is the mother and the father of all the Buddhas. She's a pretty big deal.

~An edited plagiarizing of Brad Warner's work It Came From Beyond Zen

Note: In Sanskrit Kannon is known as Avalokiteshvara; In Chinese he/she is know as Quan Shi Yin. 

The Moon on Waves

There is only one moon, but as it sets into the sea, each wave reflects it a little differently. It's the same way with us human beings and the truth. "The truth is only one," as Nishijima Roshi used to say. But each of us reflects that truth a bit differently.

~Brad Warner, in It Came From Beyond Zen

Meditation Off the Cushion

Cooks enact the Buddhist Way by rolling up their sleeves and getting to work.

~Eihei Dogen

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Freedom is Found in Understanding


The Indian thought and practice encountered by Buddha was based on an idea of human beings as a combination of spiritual and physical elements. They thought that the physical side of man bound the spiritual side, and so their religious practice was aimed at making the physical element weaker in order to free and strengthen the spirit. Thus the practice Buddha found in India emphasized asceticism. But Buddha found when he practiced asceticism that there was no limit to the attempt to purge ourselves physically, and that it made religious practice very idealistic. This kind of war with our body can only end when we die. But according to this Indian thought, we will return to another life, and another life, to repeat the struggle over and over again, without ever attaining perfect enlightenment. And even if you think you can make your physical strength weak enough to free your spiritual power, it will only work as long as you continue your ascetic practice. If you resume your everyday life you will have to strengthen your body, but then you will have to weaken it again to regain your spiritual power. And then you will have to repeat this process over and over again. This may be too great a simplification of the Indian practice encountered by Buddha, and we may laugh at it, but actually some people continue this practice even today. Sometimes without realizing it, this idea of asceticism is in the back of their minds. But practicing in this way will not result in any progress.

Buddha's way was quite different. Buddha was not interested in the elements comprising human beings, nor in metaphysical theories of existence. He was more concerned about how he himself existed in this moment. That was his point.

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

Simply Do What You Are Doing

To cook, or to fix some food, is not preparation, according to Dogen; it is practice. To cook is not just to prepare food for someone or for yourself; it is to express your sincerity. So when you cook you should express yourself in your activity in the kitchen. You should allow yourself plenty of time; you should work on it with nothing in your mind, and without expecting anything. You should just cook!

~Shunryu Suzuki

The Avatamsaka Sutra

As to the Avatamsaka-Sutra, it is really the consummation of Buddhist thought, Buddhist sentiment, and experience. To my mind, no religious literature in the world can ever approach the grandeur of conception, the depth of feeling, and the gigantic scale of composition, as attained by the sutra. Here not only deeply speculative minds find satisfaction. but humble spirits and heavily oppressed hearts, too, will have their burdens lightened. Abstract truths are so concretely, so symbolically represented here that one will finally come to a realization of the truth that even in a particle of dust the whole universe is seen reflected—not this visible universe only, but a vast system of universes, conceivable by the highest minds only.

~D. T. Suzuki

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Hua-yen Eight

1 . . . Hold Compassion and Wisdom [Insight] in equal measure.

2 . . . Know the metaphor of Indra's Net.

3 . . . Understand opinion is not necessarily reality.

4 . . . Beliefs are not facts.

5 . . . Examine everything.

6 . . . Observe without judgment.

7 . . . Question everything.

8 . . . There is no discernible beginning, there is no discernible ending.

All Living Things

In time, say the scriptures, every living thing, even the grass, will enter the unspeakable bliss of nirvana. Were it otherwise, it would not be the Dharma.

~Hua-yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra, by Francis H. Cook

Buddhism Entails Much More Than Having A Certain Philosophy Of Existence

Buddhism is praxis, something that one does. Although elements such as having faith, possessing a warm feeling about the religion, and adhering to certain credal formulas are not absent from Buddhism, it may safely be said that these things are not in themselves enough. Likewise, there is a lot of "philosophy" in Buddhism, in the form of logic, cosmology, and epistemology, but to be a Buddhist entails much more than having a certain philosophy of existence. One must make the philosophy a lived reality, so that systems of thought such as Hua-yen must give rise to a particular mode of activity. Otherwise, the believer is merely indulging in intellectual fun, and Buddhism would claim that the problem of life is too pressing to waste in fruitless mind-games.

Faith, attitudes, credal purity, and the like, are not without value, but in themselves they are insufficient for spiritual freedom. They may help in some way to make the long journey to infinite light, but the journey itself is a series of acts of a certain kind, including some glimpse, however partial and imperfect, of the light itself.

~Hua-yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra, by Francis H. Cook

Monday, January 8, 2018

A Mexican Pie

4 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Jalapeno sauce to taste
1 cup of shredded Anejo cheese
1 4 ounce can of diced green chilis
1 tomatillo, diced
1 9-inch single pie crust.

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the eggs in a large bowl and beat well.

Add all the other ingredients except the pie shell. Stir well to combine.

Pour the mixture into the pie shell.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Buddhist Practice

Buddhism is not about something "out there." It is no pie-in-the-sky religion. Buddhism is about your mind, your actions, your responses, and your moment-to-moment daily life.

Buddhist Practice

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

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Cream of Brie and Leek Soup

1/2 cup of unsalted butter
8 large leeks (white part only) finely chopped
4 cups of unsalted vegetable broth
1/2 cup of flour
2 cups of milk
2 cups of heavy cream
1 1/2 pounds of Brie cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped chives to garnish

In a stock pot or Dutch oven, melt 1/4 cup of the butter

Add the leeks and saute for 5 minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.

Strain the leeks from the broth.

In a food processor, puree the cooked leeks with 1/2 cup of the broth. Pour the pureed leeks back into the pot and keep the heat on low.

Melt the remaining 1/4 cup of butter in a saucepan. Stir the flour into the butter. Blend to create a smooth paste.

Add the flour paste to the soup broth and stir well.

Blend in the milk and the cream, one cup at a time. Whisk the soup until it is smooth.

Chop the brie, including the rind, into small cubes. Add the chopped cheese to the soup in small batches. Blend between each addition until the soup is smooth. The small bits of rind will remain but the soup will become smooth.

It will take some time for the cheese to melt, but do not turn up the heat or you'll scald the milk and the cream.

Keep adding, stirring, and blending the cheese until all is melted.

If you enjoy the flavor of the brie rind, leave it in the soup. If you are not a fan of brie rind, dip it out with a strainer.

Season the soup with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the chives.


Verses Spoken by Prince Light of Great Power

Illumined by Buddha's light, 
All beings are peacefully happy;
All pains of existence cleared away,
Their minds are filled with joy.

See the hosts of enlightened beings
Gathering from the ten directions,
All emitting clouds
Extolling the praises of Buddha.

The enlightenment sight produces wondrous sound,
Extremely deep and far reaching,
Able to eliminate the suffering of sentient beings;
This is the Buddha's spiritual power.

Everyone's paying reverent respect,
All greatly joyful at heart,
Together before the World Honored One,
Gazing at the King of Truth.

~The Flower Ornament Scripture (Avatamsaka Sutra), 
Book Six: Vairocana