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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Dalai Lama On Social Activism

Our first priority should be to prepare a long-term strategy for improving the state of the world that focuses on the coming generations.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama, "Imagine All the People"

Copyright Wisdom Publications 2001. Reprinted from "Daily Wisdom: 365 Buddhist Inspirations," edited by Josh Bartok, with permission of Wisdom Publications, 199 Elm St., Somerville MA 02144 U.S.A, www.wisdompubs.org.

James's Comment: This is more encouragement to become socially active to help improve the state of the world. In our modern world social activism is indeed apart of the Bodhisattva vow to help others to obtain enlightenment.

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Spread the Love

Went to Sangha yesterday and it was so relaxing. It was a smaller group of people which was nice being that it was more intimate. I also enjoy sitting with the larger group too for different reasons. Anyway, I was very grateful for the newly installed air conditioning and soaked up the cool waves.

Anyway, the main feeling that I perceived during the session was that of love and so I wanted to share and spread that love on here. I want all to know who read these words that I have a deep and profound love for them. I am within you and you are within me. I love the beautiful world in which we live. It started to rain while we were in between meditation sessions and I gazed out the window at the rain with wonder and awe. I have so much love in my heart and I just want to let it all out. I love my dear parents for their sacrifices over the years. I love my friends for being so accepting and compassionate. This is such an amazingly wonderful and beautiful life that we are living and it is all within us. Everything is within us and nothing is seperate from us. This is one of the most important concepts to learn and put into practice everyday.

Thank-you all for sharing your thoughts and lessons with me on this blog. I send you nothing but love and hope that this post finds you happy and in good spirits.

-Peace to us all-

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Ascetic Life

As kusa grass, wrongly grasped,
Only cuts one’s hand,
So the ascetic life, wrongly taken up,
Drags one down to hell.-

"Connected Discourses of the Buddha"

Copyright Wisdom Publications 2001. Reprinted from "Daily Wisdom: 365 Buddhist Inspirations," edited by Josh Bartok, with permission of Wisdom Publications, 199 Elm St., Somerville MA 02144 U.S.A, www.wisdompubs.org.

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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Babel Fish

You might have noticed that I add a Babel Fish button on my blog for international readers. If you read any of the languages represented by the flags just click on the one you want and get a translation in that language. The translated version will appear in a new window.

-Peace to us all-

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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Live an Ordinary Life

Living in forests far away from other people is not true seclusion. True seclusion is to be free from the power of likes and dislikes. It is also to be free from the mental attitude that one must be special because one is treading the path.Those who remove themselves to far forests often feel superior to others. They think that because they are solitary they are being guided in a special way and that those who live an ordinary life can never have that experience. But that is conceit and is not help to others. The true recluse is one who is available to others, helping them with affectionate speech and personal example. .-Prajnaparamita From "Buddha Speaks," edited by Anne Bancroft, 2000. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston, www.shambhala.com.

James's Comment: I have often thought about the monks that seclude themselves in high mountain tops or just being a monk in the first place as "escapism" in a way. It seems sometimes that being a monk is to purposefully seperate yourself from society and thus an artifical "life" of sorts. Sometimes I feel that to follow the middle path we must stay within the "middle path" of society. It is easy to "escape" to a cave somewhere but to remain in the middle of life is the true path I feel. Not everyone can escape and "leave society." It takes true courage to live a normal life within the confines of life and to submit yourself to the temptations of everyday society. This is where our truest, most raw lessons are taught and learned I believe. As the quote says, the true recluse is one who is available to others, helping them with the affectionate speech and personal example.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

God Owes Us an Apology

(This is an article by Barbara Ehrenreich that I read in the lastest copy of The Nation and I thought very interesting. Would love to hear everyones opinion on it. It's long but very thought provoking and a fast read).

God Owes Us an Apology:

The Tsunami of sea water was followed instantly by a tsunami of spittle as the religious sputtered to rationalize God's latest felony. Here we'd been placidly killing each other a few dozen at a time in Iraq. Darfur, Congo, Israel, and Palestine, when along comes the deity and whacks a quarter million in a couple of hours between breakfast and lunch. On CNN, NPR, Fox News, and in newspaper articles too numerous for Nexis to count, men and women of the cloth weighed in solemnly on His existence, His motives, and even His competence to continue as Ruler of Everything.
Theodicy, in other words -- the attempt to reconcile God's perfect goodness with the manifest evils of His world -- has arisen from the waves. On the retro, fundamentalist, side, various men and women of the cloth announced that the tsunami was the rational act of a deity enraged by (take your pick): the suppression of Christianity in South Asia, pornography and child-trafficking in that same locale, or, in the view of some Muslim commentators, the bikini clad tourists in Phuket.
[...] Of course, God exists, seems to be the general consensus. And, of course, He is perfectly good. It's just that his jurisdiction doesn't extend to tectonic plates. Or maybe it does and He tosses us an occasional grenade like this just to see how quickly we can mobilize to clean up the damage. Besides, as the Catholic priests like to remind us, "He's a 'mystery' " --though that's never stopped them from pronouncing His views on abortion with absolute certainty.
[...] God has a lot to account for in the way of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and plagues. Nor has He ever shown much discrimination in his choice of victims. A tsunami hit Lisbon in 1755, on All Saints Day, when the good Christians were all in church. The faithful perished, while the denizens of the red light district, which was built on strong stone, simply carried on sinning. Similarly, last fall's hurricanes flattened the God-fearing, Republican parts of Florida while sparing sin-soaked Key West and South Beach.
[...] If He so loves us that He gave his only son etc., why couldn't he have held those tectonic plates in place at least until the kids were of the beach? So much, too, for the current pop-Christian God, who can be found, at least on the internet, micro-managing people's careers, resolving marital spats, and taking excess pounds off the faithful -- this last being Pat Robertson's latest fixation.
If we are responsible for our actions, as most religions insist, then God should be, too, and I would propose, post-tsunami, an immediate withdrawal of prayer and other forms of flattery directed at a supposedly moral deity--at least until an apology is issued, such as, for example: "I was so busy with Cindy-in-Omaha's weight-loss program that I wasn't paying attention to the Earth's crust."
It's not just Christianity. Any religoin centered on a God who is both all-powerful and all-good, including Islam and the more monotheistically inclined versions of Hinduism, should be subject to a thorough post-tsunami evalution. As many have noted before me: If God cares abou our punny species, then disasters prove that he is not all-powerful; and if he is all powerful, then clearly he doesn't give a damn.
[...] If there is a God, and He, She, or It had a message for us on 12/26, that message is: GE your act together, folks--your seismic detection systems, your first responders and global mobilization capacity--because no one, and I mean no One, is coming to medi-vac us out of here.

-Peace to us all-

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Be at Peace

Be at peace with your own soul, then heaven and earth will be at peace with you.

~ St. Isaac of Nineveh

James's Comment: This is so very true. Looking within is the key to finding peace all around us. It is easier said then done of course but true.The truth is that heaven and earth are already at peace with us it is simply that we just do not see this or allow it to be in our minds.

-Peace to us all-

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Realm of the Real Dharma

Men are afraid to forget their minds, fearing to fall through the Void with nothing to stay their fall. They do not know that the Void is not really void, but the realm of the real Dharma.

-Huang Po, "Zen Teaching of Huang Po"

From "365 Buddha: Daily Meditations," edited by Jeff Schmidt. Reprinted by arrangement with Tarcher/Putnam, a division of Penguin Putnam Inc.

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Passion

From passion arises sorrow and from passion arises fear. If a man is free from passion, he is free from fear and sorrow.

-The Buddha

From "Sayings of the Buddha: Reflections for Every Day," by William Wray, 2004. Reprinted by arrangement with Arcturus Publishing, London. Book available in the U.S. through Barnes & Noble, www.bn.com

My Question: Are not some passions good and beneficial to the advancement of peace on
Earth, etc.

-Peace to us all-

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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Portland Gardens

Today we drove over to Portland and visited the Japanese and Chinese gardens. The Japanese garden had more plants where as the Chinese garden had more structures. They were both brilliant examples of balance and harmony in life. If you get a chance to visit Portland, Oregon I HIGHLY recommend visiting these gardens and staying awhile to meditate and take everything all in.

Anyway, onto a good quote:

If happiness hasn't been recognized when alone, a group of people will be a cause of distraction.

-Adept Godrakpa, "Hermit of Go Cliffs"

Copyright Wisdom Publications 2001. Reprinted from "Daily Wisdom: 365 Buddhist Inspirations," edited by Josh Bartok, with permission of Wisdom Publications, 199 Elm St., Somerville MA 02144 U.S.A, www.wisdompubs.org.

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Friday, June 03, 2005

It is essential in Zen study that you do not cling to a sitting cushion for practice. If you sink into oblivion or distraction, or plunge into ease and tranquility, totally unawares, not only will you waste time, you will not be able to digest the offerings of donors. When the light of your eyes falls to the ground one day, in the end what will you rely on?

-Kao-feng

From "Teachings of Zen," edited by Thomas Cleary, © 1998. By arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston, www.shambhala.com.

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