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Friday, September 30, 2005

Letting Go


Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn't you - all of the expectations, all of the beliefs - and becoming who you are.

-Unknown.

-Peace to all beings.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

All Is an Illusion


Empty and calm and devoid of self
Is the nature of all things.
No individual being
In reality exists.

There is no end or beginning,
Nor any middle course.
All is an illusion,
As in a vision or a dream.

All beings in the world
Are beyond the realm of words.
Their ultimate nature, pure and true,
Is like the infinity of space.

-Prajnaparamita

James's coment: I find so much solace in the Prajnaparamita. It is like breathing in pure oxygen when one is having an asthma or panic attack.

Breathing in, I have arrived.
Breathing in, I am home.

-Peace to all beings-

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Faith Is the Basis of Meditation


An act of meditation is actually an act of faith--of faith in your spirit, in your own potential. Faith is the basis of meditation. Not of faith in something outside you--a metaphysical buddha, an unattainable ideal, or someone else's words. The faith is in yourself, in your own "buddha-nature." You too can be a buddha, an awakened being that lives and responds in a wise, creative, and compassionate way.

-Martine Batchelor, "Meditation for Life"

James's comment: This is the exact teaching that I needed to hear today as usual.

-Peace to all beings-

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Monday, September 26, 2005

Dalai Lama: War is Outdated


By ROSA CIRIANNI

Associated Press Writer
September 26, 2005, 11:05 AM EDT

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The Dalai Lama told 36,000 people at Rutgers Stadium that the concept of war was outdated and young people have a responsibility to make this century one of peace.

"This whole planet is just us," the 70-year-old exiled monk said Sunday. "Therefore, destruction of another area essentially is destruction of yourself."

Tibet's spiritual leader also urged the audience to develop a wider world perspective, not just focus on "America, America, America."

In his lecture, "Peace, War and Reconciliation," the Dalai Lama said society's dream should be a world free of nuclear and biological weapons.

He noted their danger -- and their expense, saying some African states have an abundance of weapons, but not enough food.

James's comment: The Dalai Lama is (in my view) one of the wisest spiritual and political leaders that we have. I only wish that President George W. Bush would meet with this great man and take advantage of his great wisdom and peaceful energy.

I enjoy how the Dalai Lama speaks in a clear and simple manner because the truth does not take complex wording. What a blessing to all of us to have this great bodhisattva amongst. May we all take his words to heart and work for a more peaceful world.

-Peace to all beings-

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

You Should Be Attentive Today


Do not go after the past,
Nor lose yourself in the future.
For the past no longer exists,
And the future is not yet here.
By looking deeply at things just as they are,
In this moment, here and now,
The seeker lives calmly and freely.
You should be attentive today,
For waiting until tomorrow is too late.
Death can come and take us by surprise--
How can we gainsay it?
The one who knows
How to live attentively
Night and day
Is the one who knows
The best way to be independent.

-Bhaddekaratta Sutra

From "The Pocket Buddha Reader," edited by Anne Bancroft, 2001. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston, www.shambhala.com.

James's comment: This is one of my favorite sutras. "Nirvana" is indeed found in the present moment.

(PHOTO: Classic rock and raked gravel Zen garden, Tofuju-ji Temple. Kyoto, Japan ).

-Peace to all beings-

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Causes and Conditions


All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.

~Buddha

James's comment: I like to think of waves crashing into the coast and receeding back out into the ocean when contemplating this teaching.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Love Yourself


You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

~Buddha

James's comment: The picture is an abstract computer art heart.

Now on to the teaching: This is an important reminder and teaching for myself. I am very good at being compassionate to others, helping with their suffering and offering unconditional love.

However, I have always had a hard time loving myself and giving myself the "love and affection" that I deserve. I have struggled with alot of self-doubt and even self-hatred for many years.

I am happy to annouce, however, that I have been working hard on this issue and I have made significant ground but I can always improve.

It is always amazingly beautiful to me that the teachings that I need in the moment arrive when needed. This is truly another way to interpret the Buddhist saying that, "the teacher will arrive when the student is ready."

-Peace to all beings-

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Memories of Past Experiences


The present moment is changing so fast that we often do not notice its existence at all. Every moment of mind is like a series of pictures passing through a projector. Some of the pictures come from sense impressions. Others come from memories of past experiences or from fantasies of the future.Mindfulness helps us freeze the frame so that we can become aware of our sensations and experiences as they are, without the distorting coloration of socially conditioned responses or habitual reactions.

-Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, "Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness"

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: Always a beautiful reminder.

-Peace to all beings-

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

A Dream, A Lightning Flash, a Cloud















As stars, a lamp, a fault of vision,
As dewdrops or a bubble,
A dream, a lightning flash, a cloud,
So one should see conditioned things.

-Diamond Sutra

From "The Pocket Buddha Reader," edited by Anne Bancroft, 2001. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston, www.shambhala.com.

Decay is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence.
~Buddha

James's comment: Change is inevitable.

-Peace to all beings-

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Friday, September 16, 2005

Buddhism, Death and Finality














Consider movement stationary
and the stationary in motion,
both movement and rest disappear.
When such dualities cease to exist
Oneness itself cannot exist.
To this ultimate finality
no law or description applies.

-Seng-tsan, "Verses on the Faith Mind"

From "Teachings of the Buddha," edited by Jack Kornfield, 1993. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston, www.shambhala.com.

James: The following story was said to have been told by the Buddha:

Self-salvation is for any man the immediate task. If a man lay wounded by a poisoned arrow he would not delay extraction by demanding details of the man who shot it or the length and make of the arrow. There will be time for ever-increasing understanding of the Teaching during the treading of the Way. Meanwhile, begin now by facing life as it is, learning always by direct and personal experience.

James: I was pondering the Buddhist idea of ultimate finality and came across these two writings. I think the thing that I came away with the most from these two writings is not to worry about "finality or 'Nirvana.'"

The here and the now is the most important thing to deal with in our lives and the cessation of suffering. Whether there is any "finality" of samsara (or the cycle of birth and death) is frankly not that important in our daily lives right now. We have enough trouble dealing with and over-coming our current daily suffering.

-Peace to all beings-

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Buddha Footprints


Stole this from Sujatin Johnson of Lotus in the Mud. (Her blog is excellent if you haven't check it out yet):

Buddha can't be avoided. Buddha is everywhere. Enlightenment possibilities are all over the place. Whether you're going to get married tomorrow,whether you're going to die tomorrow, whatever you may feel, that familiar...awake quality is everywhere, all the time....From this point ofview, everything is a footprint [of Buddha], anything that goes on, whether we regard it as sublime or ridiculous. Everything we do -- breathing, farting, getting mosquito bites, having fantastic ideas about reality, thinking clever thoughts, flushing the toilet -- whatever occurs is a footprint.

~Chogyam Trungpa.

James's comment: This is something that I have been wanting (and trying) to express for awhile now and Trungpa does a beautiful, honest and humorous (can't forget humor! I love the farting bit the most!!) job of expressing the footprints of the Buddhas and (I would include) Bodhisattvas.

-Peace to all beings-

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Don't Strain, Don't Force Anything















Don't strain. Don't force anything or make grand, exaggerated efforts. Meditation is not aggressive. There is no place or need for violent striving. Just let your effort be relaxed and steady.

-Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, "Mindfulness in Plain English"

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 a great reminder for me when I try to force things rather then just going with the current.

-Peace to all beings-

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Practice Love, Give Joy and Protection


Arouse your will, supreme and great,
Practice love, give joy and protection;
Let your giving be like space,
Without discrimination or limitation.

Do good things, not for your own sake
But for all the beings in the universe;
Save and make free everyone you encounter,
Help them attain the wisdom of the way.

-Prajnaparamita

From "The Pocket Buddha Reader," edited by Anne Bancroft, 2001. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston, www.shambhala.com.

James's comment: I received this mantra the other day in my in-box and It has made such a mark on me that I wanted to share it with you all. May it bring right vision in you as it did in myself. This is a great mantra for those of use to remember who have embarked eons ago on the bodhisattva path.

(Picture: Burmese monk meditating)

-Peace to all beings-

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Friday, September 09, 2005

An Evening with Thay



(I just love this picture of Thay showing us to cherish the water that we drink).

On Tuesday night we drove up to Denver to hear Thay speak and it was so refreshing.

He spoke about all of us beings being different "cells" within a larger "organism" of "existence." Yet we all have different qualities just as heart cells are different from brain cells.

He then spoke about his hands and said that he was right handed. However, he said that did not mean that his left hand was jealous. :)

Thay went on to talk about an experience he had hanging up a picture. He was holding the nail with his left hand and hammering with his right when he came down on his left thumb. This of course caused his left thumb pain and so he instantly put the hammer and picture down to comfort his left hand with his right.

He spoke on other topics as well but the above was what stuck with me the most.

-Peace to all beings-

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Reason and Common Sense in Buddhism



Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

~Buddha

James's comment: This is one of the reasons that I decided to follow the Buddhist path. I like the fact that the Buddha said, "don't take my word for it" kind of thing. Many religions push to get people to believe their way and Buddhism (from what I can tell) does not. Buddhism teaches us to look and see for ourselves.

I like the idea that we are responsible for our own "salvation."

P.S.~Isn't that Buddha statue beautiful? I really love where it is located. It looks gorgeous!! It's in Malaysia.

-Peace to all beings-

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

We are Already Living Nirvana


Those who are afraid of all the sufferings in the world, and yet who are afraid of death, seek for nirvana. But they do not know that the world and death and nirvana are not to be separated from one another. They imagine that nirvana is to be found through annihilation of the senses, not knowing that the world of the senses is already a mirage or a miracle when it is no longer clutched at.

-Lankavatara Sutra

From "Buddha Speaks," edited by Anne Bancroft, 2000. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston, www.shambhala.com.

James's comment: Beautiful, just beautiful.

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Monday, September 05, 2005

Life Is Too Short to Learn Everything


There are too many things in this world to be learned, and life is too short to learn everything, so we should complete that which we have begun rather than dabbling in many things

-Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, "Advice From a Spiritual Friend"

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: I use to have an insatiable thirst to learn everything and anything about everything. Now, however, i have calmed down a bit and understand this quote a lot better. My attention has been more trained on my mindfulness practice then learning more and more because there is no end. If we get too into learning more and more it can become a vicious black hole.

-Peace to all beings-

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Sunday, September 04, 2005

Nothing Ever Exists Entirely Alone



All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.

~Buddha

James's comment: This teaching of inteconnectivity always brings me back to my true home. It always adjusts me back into that place where there are no boundries, lines or places to be filled. No opposites, worries or distractions. No rough edges to be smoothed out and no stress.

It brings me a total and complete feeling of completion. There is just so much beauty and love in this teaching that I feel as though my heart might explode into a million shards of light and love. It is the original teaching that sunk deeply into my heart and led me to follow the Buddhist mystical path of the Bodhisattva.

---Peace to all beings---

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

We Often Add to Our Own Pain


We also often add to our pain and suffering by being overly sensitive, over-reacting to minor things, and sometimes taking things too personally.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama
From "The Pocket Dalai Lama," edited by Mary Craig, 2002. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston, www.shambhala.com.

James's comment: This is indeed something that I have to work on and it could not have come at a better time. I have been so furious over the slow response of federal support to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and it's aftermath that I have allowed my overly sensitive side take over. I have a hard time maintaining peace when I see injustice happening. I need to learn to breath more when I get angry and not let it rage and burn out of control. That isn't going to help the victims as much as if I was more calm about it all.

Still, I think it is important to be outraged at certain things but to use that energy for something positive. That is why I am hoping to be able to go down to New Orleans (if they need volunteers) to help folks rebuild their houses/lives.

Thank-you for the reminder my great teacher HH the Dalai Lama.

May the victims of Hurricane Katrina and it's aftermath find some peace and have their suffering reduced.

-Peace to all beings-

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