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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Go Beyond

The no-mind not-thinks no-thoughts about no-things.

~Shakyamuni Buddha

James's comment: Om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi soha.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Help the Animals of Hurricane Katrina

I received the following email from a volunteer with the Katrina animal survivors group. They are in danger of loosing many animals and this volunteer is hoping that some of you would be able to help so i am posting the email here.


Dear James,

I am an animal recovery volunteer 'on the board' for Katrina animal survivors. I am writing to you sort of in a panic because I am not sure what to do for these folks who work for the animals.  If you know of some buddhist people and organizations like tarasbabies who can shelter animals for awhile, please let these people or myself know.

 Thank you, and here are some emails that will help clairify this critical situation:

Emails from today, Sunday, 11-27-05

From Amber, Bayou Rescue (

She (Meredith) also just left a voice mail on dave’s phone that MuttShack has to be OUT BY THIS WEDNESDAY. They have to have everything in the gym by tomorrow (that means putting the 40 cats and all vet ward animals in the gym with the 70+ dogs).

I don’t know what to do at this point – they need a place that can take a lot of fosters, and take them THIS WEEK! Gosh, even 20-30 would be great.

From Metairie Rescuer:
Today, my friend, volunteers with Jane Garrison's group told me that all the feral or stray cats they caught over the last few days had to be released back because they could not keep them nor did they have a place to send. The volunteers are frustrated and so am I. Why have more volunteers when my city and state isn't doing all they can to take in EVERY animal needing assistance. I am sooo frustrated.

Kerryemails/nos. on site:

My name is Marilyn Rock

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Monday, November 28, 2005

In Time, Things Will Change

There simply is nothing to which we can attach ourselves, no matter how hard we try. In time, things will change and the conditions that produced our current desires will be gone. Why then cling to them now?

-Master Hsing Yun, "The Indescribable"

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Going Beyond

Enlightenment is not about becoming something or someone else. It is the recognition of our intrinsic human nature, which is absolute truth. This absolute true nature is called "Buddha nature." The term Buddha, from the Sanskrit tatha, or tathagata, means "gone beyond," going beyond an ignorant state to become completely inseparable from absolute truth, which is our genuine ground. This is the essence of Buddhism and the main focus of our understanding and practice.

~ Mindroling Khandro Rinpoche

James's comment: This reminds me of the precious Heart Sutra:

Om gate gate paragate parasamgate Bodhi Soha.

This is of course the most famous teaching on emptiness. It is is also a great quote to teach us that the Buddha is not someone or something to worship or not worship rather it is an acknowledgement that each one of us is a Buddha in fact everything is a Buddha as well as a non-Buddha. Everything is a Bodhisattva and a non-Bodhisattva. Thus, in bowing to a Buddha statue we are bowing to our "Buddha nature" or the Buddha within us all and everything that exists.

Each one of us is capable of "going beyond" an ignorant state to become One with form and non-form.

More commentary on the prajna paramita:

We can use the analogy of the water and the wave. The water is life itself, and the wave is an expression of the water. The wave is no other than the water, and the water is no other than the wave, but the wave doesn’t have own being: its own being is the water. A wave is dependent on wind and weather conditions for its existence, and, of course, it is dependent on a great body of water. So, each wave is an expression of a body of water just like each one of us is an expression of life itself. This is called "being empty," and "being empty" also means being full. I think it is important to remember that, whenever we say something in Buddhism, its opposite is also included. This is called the non-duality of duality. If you say, "I am alive," "I am dead" is also included. If you say, "I am dead," "I am alive" is also included. Otherwise, you fall into duality and you only see in a partial way.

To see things as they are completely is to end suffering. Not that there is not some pain; life is painful. Even though we may be saved from suffering, it doesn’t mean that there is no suffering, or that we won’t suffer, but we should know how to accept that suffering and know how to accept our pain, and know how to accept our joy. Whatever arises, this is our life. True life is more important than any one aspect of life. Fundamental life is more important than any one aspect of life. If we understand this, then we can appreciate our life no matter what happens. This is maturity and this is what we experience in zazen. In zazen we say, well what was it like? Well, it was painful, and it was joyful, and it was whatever you want to say. But each one of those aspects we accept equally. This is what zazen is. Whatever comes up, this is it. When it is painful, it is just painful. When it is joyful, it is just joyful. We just accept each moment as it is, with what it is, with deep appreciation. This view is the aspect of enlightenment. So we say zazen is enlightenment/practice. The practice is not discriminating, not picking and choosing.

-Peace to all beings-

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Always be Thankful

Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn’t learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little,
and if we didn’t learn a little,
at least we didn’t get sick,
and if we got sick,
at least we didn’t die;
so, let us be thankful.

-The Buddha

James's comment: No matter what our situation we can always find something to be thankful for.

-Peace to all beings-

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Buddhist Thanksgiving

I just wanted to take this momment and tell all who read this blog that I love you deeply and hope that this day you reflect on the good things in your life. As well as sending merit and compassion to those who are in pain and suffering greatly.

May you, your family and your friends all find peace this day and all days.

I am very thankful for you all and everything that this bountiful existence offers us.

Most of all I am thankful for the Dharma which the Buddha set forth for us as a path to follow for achieving "peace in every footstep" as Thay says.

-Peace to all beings-

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

View Problems as Challenges

View all problems as challenges. Look upon negativities that arise as opportunities to learn and to grow. Don't run from them, condemn yourself, or bury your burden in saintly silence. You have a problem? Great. More grist for the mill. Rejoice, dive in, and investigate.

~Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

James's comment: I can especially relate to the don't "condemn yourself." Often when I realize that i did not make a mindful choice I then beat myself up only adding more problems and fuel to the fire of the first problem!

-Peace to all beings-

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Monday, November 21, 2005


Reconciliation is to understand both sides; to go to one side and describe the suffering being endured by the other side, and then go to the other side and describe the suffering being endured by the first side.

~Thich Nhat Hahn

James's comment:
Everyone wants to be happy, no one wants to suffer.

-Peace to all beings-

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Face Your Life

The important point of spiritual practice is not to try to escape your life,but to face it -- exactly and completely.

~ Dainin Katagiri Roshi

James's comment:

Too often we use religion as a crutch or a means to escape and that is not facing our lives head on. I don't know what we think we are escaping from but it never works. We think we have made a great choice by avoiding problems.

However, we soon realize that our escape vehicle is a bubble that will burst sooner or later. This burst often drops us into a worse situation than if we had faced our original problem head on in the first place.

It only kicks the ball down the street aways but we have to face our "problems" eventually. Life has a funny way of compounding problems when we don't deal with the problems as they arise.

---End of Transmission---

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Wisdom in Stooping

Wisdom is ofttimes nearer when we stoop, than when we soar.

~William Wordsworth

James's comment:

Indeed. I often gain more wisdom from looking to what already exists then looking into the skies to try and predict the future. Great wisdom from say looking into the nature of a small, fragile leaf. Look deeply and mindfully into the nature of a leaf and you will find the nature and meaning of existance.

-Peace to all beings-

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Don't Become Blinded by Desire

Although gold dust is precious, when it gets in your eyes, it obstructs your vision.


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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Getting Ready to Live in the West

People in the West are always getting ready to live.

~Chinese Proverb

-James's comment: Live now or die forever.

-Peace to all beings-

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Each Step is the Goal

The difference between a journey and a pilgrimage is this: on a journey, reaching the goal means success; a pilgrimage is successful only when each step becomes the goal.

~ Brother David Steindl-Rast

James's comment: This reminds me of Thich Nhat Hanh's mantra that "peace is every footstep. A great reminder that the present moment is our destination not just another step into the future that is still an illusion.

-Peace to all beings-

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Collective Karma

The universe that we inhabit and our shared perception of it are the results of a common karma. Likewise, the places that we will experience in future rebirths will be the outcome of the karma that we share with the other beings living there. The actions of each of us, human or nonhuman, have contributed to the world in which we live. We all have a common responsibility for our world and are connected with everything in it.

~His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama

James's comment: We are all brothers, sisters, parents, children. Interconnected in every breath, word and action. Indeed we have a collective consciousness and karma that requires we all work together for the good of humanity, the world and our greater Universe.

-Peace to all beings-

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Profound Dharmas

Explaining many profound dharmas is easy; living them yourself is hard.

-Adept Godrakpa, "Hermit of Go Cliffs"

James's comment:

Another great reminder that it is easier to philosophize and understand the Dharmas in our brains. As well as explaining them. Whereas living them in our personal life comes the real practice.

-Peace to all beings-

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Clear Mind Meditation

Clear mind is like the full moon in the sky. Sometimes clouds come and cover it, but the moon is always behind them. Clouds go away, then the moon shines brightly. So don't worry about clear mind: it is always there. When thinking comes, behind it is clear mind. When thinking goes, there is only clear mind. Thinking comes and goes, comes and goes, You must not be attached to the coming or the going.

~Zen Master Seung Sahn

James's comment: I often use the cloud/moon metaphor when meditating and having intrusive thoughts. I picture clouds that are covering and blocking the clear mind represented by the moon and watch them pass with my mindful breathing. This is a great metaphor meditation on clear.

-Peace to all beings-

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Mindfulness the Key to Understanding the Dharma

In Buddhism, the essential meaning of the word "study" is the unceasing, dedicated observation and investigation of whatever arises in the mind, be it pleasant or unpleasant. Only those familiar with the observation of the mind can really understand Dharma.

-Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, "Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree"

James's comment: Another word for "study" in Buddhism is mindfulness. Studying the words of the Buddha and the Great Bodhisattvas are well and good. However, to really grasp the concepts of the Dharma one must practice, "living study" through moment by moment mindfulness.

-Peace to all beings-

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Friday, November 11, 2005

Flowers and Weeds

A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it.


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Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Ocean of Delusion

If you live the sacred and despise the ordinary, you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion.


James's comment: Everything is apart of the whole. Even the manure.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Cycle of Birth and Death

From contact comes feeling. From feeling comes reaction. This is what keeps us in the cycle of birth and death. Our reactions to our feelings are our passport to rebirth.

-Ayya Khema, "Being Nobody, Going Nowhere"

James's comment:

Great reminder that our reactions to our feelings seem to be more powerful then the actual feelings.

-Peace to all beings-

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Laughter is Very Healthy

Since everything is but an apparition, having nothing to do with good or bad, acceptance or rejection, one may well burst out in laughter.

~Longchenpa(14th century Tibet)

James's comment: Laughter is so, SO important. Especially to our health. I think that too many Buddhists take themselves and "Buddhism" too seriously. Look around, be mindful and laugh from time to time.

In fact, laugh a lot.

-Peace to all Beings-

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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Focus on Your Walk

Thus we see that the all-important thing is not killing or giving life, drinking or not drinking, living in the town or the country, being lucky or unlucky, winning or losing. It is how we win, how we lose, how we live or die; finally, how we choose. We walk, and our religion is shown (even to the dullest and most insensitive person), in how we walk. Living in this world means choosing, and the way we choose to walk is infallibly and perfectly expressed in the walk itself.

~R. H. Blyth

James's comment: I thought this was a great teaching on keeping perspective. I often walk too fast. I think this is a sign that I am not always in the present moment but rather trying to force the future. I need to slow down and give myself plenty of time so that I do not have to rush around everywhere.

-Peace to all beings-

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Friday, November 04, 2005


Desires achieved increase thirst like salt water.

"Drinking the Mountain Stream"

James's comment: Desires leads to more desires and the life of the hungry ghost which is a big part of what keeps us locked in samsara.

-Peace to all beings-

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Sri Aurobindo: The Life Divine

This is from the book, "The Life Divine" by Indian mystic and philosopher Sri Aurobindo:

It comes upon us with a great force of awakening to reality when the thought is stilled, when the mind withdraws from its constructions, when we pass into a pure selfhood void of all sense of individuality, empty of all cosmic contents: if the spiritualised mind then looks at individual and cosmos, they may well seem to it to be an illusion , a scheme of names and figures and movements falsely imposed on the sole reality of the Self-Existent. Or even the sense of self becomes inadequate; both knowledge and ignorance disappear into sheer Consciousness and consciousness is plunged into a trance of pure superconscient existence. Or even existence ends by becoming too limiting a name for that which abides solely for ever; there is only a timeless Eternal, a spaceless Infinite, the utterness of the Absolute, a nameless peace, an overwhelming single objectless Ecstasy.

-Peace to all beings-

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