Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - October 31, 2018 🍁

In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Bring Everything onto the Path

Everything is an occasion for the dharma to unfold. It is a virtual truism that no circumstance is not apt, to the attentive mind, for spiritual growth, from abject poverty and tragedy to joy and surfeit.

—Neil Gordon, “Children and Dharma: An Introduction

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: The End of Suffering

If we can learn to understand [our] suffering and open to the reality of it, then instead of simply being overwhelmed by it, we can investigate its causes and begin to let them go.

—Joseph Goldstein, “Facing the Heat

Monday, October 29, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Compassion in Action

We must join hearts and minds—with each other, with those of other faiths, and with those of a secular orientation—to bring forth the kind of world that corresponds to our deepest moral aspirations.

—Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, “A Call to Conscience

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - October 28, 2018 🍁

Your problem is you are too busy holding on to your unworthiness. 

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Nothing to Improve

Meditation is a haven away from the ubiquitous world of self-improvement. It’s not just that there’s no such thing as “bad” meditation, but there’s no such thing as “good” meditation either. It is what it is.

—Barry Evans, “The Myth of the Experienced Meditator

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Plant Seeds with Care

If we act constructively, happiness will ensue; if we act destructively, problems will result… We create the causes by our actions, and we experience their results.

—Ven. Thubten Chodron, “What Is Karma?

Friday, October 26, 2018

Via NPR: 'You Are Safe Now': Matthew Shepard Laid To Rest At National Cathedral

Via Daily Dharma: Radical Regeneration

Buddhist practice and the work of nonviolence can never be separated. They are fused together with spiritual insight and dedicated action and enlivened by a continuous alchemy for regeneration.

—Wendy Johnson, “An Alchemy for Regeneration

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Keep It Real

Effort is more important than so-called success because effort is a real thing.

—Brad Warner, “Think Not Thinking

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - October 24, 2018 🍁

There is a lovely story of a boy who goes to a Zen Master and asks, “Master, I know you have many students, but if I study harder than all the rest of them, how long will it take me to get enlightened?”

The master said, “Ten years.”

The boy said, “Well, if I work day and night and double my efforts, how long will it take?”

The master said, “Twenty years.”

Now the boy talked of further achievement and the master said, “Thirty years.”

The boy replied, “Why do you keep adding years?”

And the master answered, “Since you will have one eye on the goal, there will only be one eye left to have on the work. And it will slow you down immeasurably.”

- Ram Dass

Via Daily Dharma: Meaning in the Mundane

[Our] ordinary struggles are the practice, in the midst of which we come to understand and appreciate the meaning of life.

—Interview with Socho Koshin Ogui by Clark Strand, “Ordinary Struggles

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Freedom from Craving

The more we generate inner freedom from attachment, the less “room” there will be for craving in our mental landscape.

—Matthieu Ricard, “Working With Desire

Monday, October 22, 2018

Via Utne: Nondiscrimination


When you feel you have nothing to belong to and have no identity, that is when you have a chance to break through to your true home.

I have a home nobody can take away from me.
Photo by Flicker/DUC

Dear Sangha, yesterday I spoke about home, true home. I told you that I have a home nobody can take away from me, no matter where I go. One time when I was in Washington, D.C., the State Department informed me that my passport was no longer valid. 

They did that so I could not speak publically on behalf of the victims of the war. People in Washington, D.C., urged me to go into hiding, because I risked deportation and jail. I did not go into hiding. I was forced to seek political asylum in France, and I obtained a travel document called an apatride; the English word for a person with this document is “expatriate.” With this document, you can ask for a visa to go to European countries who have signed the Geneva Convention. But for countries like Canada and the United States of America, where you must have a visa, it is very difficult to ask for a visa when you do not have a country. You are without fatherland, motherland.

But because I do not have a country of my own, I had the opportunity to find my true home. This is very important. It is because I did not belong to any particular country that I made an effort to break through, and I got my true home. 

My dear friends, if you have the feeling you do not belong to any country, to any geographical spot, to any cultural heritage, to any particular ethnic group — for example when you go to Japan you don’t feel that Japan accepts you, when you go back to America you don’t feel that America is your home, when you go to Africa, you don’t think that you are an African, when you go back to the United States of America you don’t feel that you are accepted; when you feel you have nothing to belong to, you have no identity, that is when you have a chance to break through to your true home. That was my case. 

My true home is not limited to any spot, any place — geographically speaking, ethnically speaking, culturally speaking — although there may be some cultural preference, some ethnic preference, some geographical preference. Sometimes you like snow and very cold weather. Sometimes you like to be in a place where there is a lot of sunshine. You may have a preference, but you do not discriminate. All belongs to you.

There is absolutely no discrimination in your true home. At times you may prefer something, but you do not discriminate against anything in terms of geography, ethnicity, or culture, because everything may be beautiful, every place may be beautiful. And you do not just have one portion of it, you have the totality of it. You are free to enjoy everything. 

Suppose you love oranges and consider oranges to be your favorite fruit. Still nothing prevents you from enjoying other kinds of fruits like mango, kiwi, or even durian. [Laughter] It would be a pity if you were committed to eating only one kind of fruit. You are free, and you can enjoy every kind of fruit. And it would be a pity if you committed only to one spiritual heritage, like only Christianity or Buddhism. Because there are beautiful things to enjoy in each spiritual heritage. 

Your orange may taste wonderful, but mango tastes wonderful also. It would be a pity to discriminate against the mango and the kiwi and the durian. So in your true home there is no discrimination; you are free. And when you live with the wisdom of nondiscrimination, you don’t suffer. You have a lot of wisdom and you embrace everyone — every country, every culture, every ethnic group. That is my case. I don’t discriminate against anything. I love oranges, but I also love mangos and kiwis. Durian — [Laughter] — although I don’t eat it, I don’t discriminate against it, and my disciples eat it for me. 

This is my right hand; this is my left hand. My right hand has written all of my poems except one. I always write my poems with a pen, except one time when I did not have a pen and there was a poem in me that wanted to come out. There was a typewriter so I rolled an old envelope into it and I typed my poem. That was the only time my left hand participated in poetry writing, yet my right hand never has a superiority complex. My right hand does not think or say things like, “Left Hand, do you know that I have written all the poems except one? 

[Laughter] Do you know that I can do calligraphy? I can invite the bell to sound. And you, Left Hand, do not seem to be good for anything.” My right hand never has that kind of thinking, that kind of attitude. That is why my right hand never suffers because of jealousy; it does not have a superiority complex. When you feel that you are more powerful, more talented, more important than others, then you suffer from a superiority complex. 

And my left hand doesn’t have an inferiority complex, though she has not written many poems or done any calligraphy. It’s wonderful; she does not suffer at all. There is no comparing, there is no low self-esteem. That is why she is perfectly happy, my left hand. 

One day I was trying to hang a picture on the wall. My left hand was holding a nail, my right hand was a hammer. That day, I don’t know why, instead of pounding on the nail I pounded on my finger. And when I hit the finger of my left hand, the left hand suffered, and the right hand put down the hammer right away and took care of the left hand in the most tender way, like it was taking care of itself. There was no duality. The right hand does things for my left hand as it does for itself. There is no discrimination, no thinking: “I am I, and you are you.” My two hands practice perfectly the teaching of the Buddha — no self, no separate self. 

My right hand considers the suffering of my left hand as his own suffering. That is why he did everything to take care of the left hand. My left hand did not have any anger toward my right hand. It did not say, “You, Right Hand, you have done me an injustice. Give me that hammer, I want justice!” [Laughter] There’s no such thinking. There is a kind of wisdom inherent in my right hand and in my left hand, called by the Buddha the wisdom of nondiscrimination. If you have it, you don’t have to suffer at all.

In Sanskrit, Nirvikalpajnana. Vikalpa, discrimination … nirvikalpa, nondiscrimination … jnana, wisdom: the wisdom of nondiscrimination. The wisdom of nondiscrimination is innate in us. But if we allow the wrong perceptions and habit energies to cover it up, it cannot manifest. The practice of meditation helps us to recognize the seed of nondiscrimination in us, and if we cultivate it, water it every day, it will manifest fully and liberate us. The other person also has the wisdom of nondiscrimination. But because he or she has lived in a culture, in an environment where the thinking and action are so categorized by individualism, selfishness, and ignorance, the wisdom of nondiscrimination cannot manifest. 

One year I went to Italy for a retreat, and I noticed they planted olive trees in groups of three or four. I was surprised, and asked, “Why do this?” They said, “No, we didn’t.” But if you look, you see groups of three or four olive trees together. They explained it’s not three olive trees, it’s just one. One year it was so cold that all the olive trees died, but deep down the roots did not die. So after the hard winter, spring came and young sprouts were born. And then instead of having one trunk, they had three or four trunks. 

Looking superficially you think that there are three or four olive trees but in fact they are one. If you are brothers of the same parents, you are like that. You have the same roots, father and mother. These three or four olive trees, they have the same block of roots. They look like different trees, but they are just one. It would be strange if one of the trees discriminated against another one, and they fought and killed each other. That is sheer ignorance. If they look deeply and touch their roots, they know they are brother and sister. They are one. 

If the Israelis touch their wisdom of nondiscrimination, they will find out the Palestinians are their brothers. They are like the right hand and the left hand. It would be silly to consider each other as enemies and kill each other for the sake of survival. It would be a pity if Hindus and Muslims fight and kill each other. It would be a pity if Catholics and Protestants fight and kill each other, because they are of the same roots. They do it because they have not been able to touch their ground of being, allowing the wisdom of nondiscrimination to manifest, to show them the way and the truth. When you go to your true home, when you are able to touch your true home, you see everything includes everything else — you touch the nature of interbeing of everything.

If you look deeply into this flower, you see a cloud, because you know that if there is no cloud there will be no rain, and this flower cannot manifest itself. So looking in the flower you see an element you don’t call flower. But if you remove the cloud from the flower, the flower cannot be there. And if you look deeply you see the sunshine. Without the sunshine, nothing can grow. I can touch the sunshine by touching the petal of the flower. If you remove the sunshine, the flower will disappear. 

When you look into the flower you see the earth, you see the minerals. You cannot remove the elements of soil from the flower — it will collapse, it will vanish. That is why you can say a flower is made only of non-flower elements. 

Cloud is a non-flower element essential to the flower. Sunshine is a non-flower element. The soil, the compost are non-flower elements. Without non-flower elements a flower cannot manifest herself as a wonderful thing. A flower cannot be by herself alone. A flower can only inter-be with the sunshine, with the cloud, with the soil, with the farmer, and with everything. So, to be means to inter-be. 

You cannot be by yourself alone. And a flower is made exclusively of non-flower elements. If you remove all the non-flower elements, there is no flower to be seen and touched. So the flower has no separate existence. You cannot imagine there is a flower without sunshine, without cloud, without soil. 

Such a thing does not exist: the Buddha called it the “self.” The flower is full of everything in the cosmos, except one thing – the flower does not have a separate self, a separate existence. This is the insight of the Buddha. The flower is full of everything, but empty of a self, of a separate existence. This is important. With meditation, with mindfulness and concentration, you can look deeply into the flower and discover the nature of emptiness. 

Empty of what? Empty of a separate existence. But at the same time, the flower is totally full of the cosmos. So, the real meaning of “to be” is “to inter-be.” You cannot be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with everyone else, everything else. That is the case of the flower, that is the case of the table, that is the case of the house, the case of the river. 

Suppose we speak of America as a flower. What is America made up of? Only non-American elements. Culturally speaking, ethnically speaking, and geographically speaking, it’s the same. America has no self, no separate self. 

And America cannot be by herself alone. America has to inter-be with non-American elements. This is the teaching of the Buddha, this is the insight you can touch with the practice of looking deeply. 

America is made only of non-American elements. And if you have that wisdom, you will do everything to protect non-American elements. If you destroy non-American elements, you destroy America, right? And, in fact, now America is doing a lot of harm to non-American elements. America thinks she has a self, a separate self. That is why you have to bring the wisdom back to America, so America realizes she is made only of non-American elements. If America is made only of non-American elements, then the American citizen is made up of non-American elements. 

There is no such thing as an American identity. Looking deeply into an American, you see only non-American elements. There’s no such thing called an American self. 

Scientifically speaking, the idea of self, the idea of entity, is an illusion. If you touch the truth of non-self you are free. But if you allow that illusion to occupy you, you will continue to suffer a lot. 

You call me a Vietnamese, and you are very sure that I am Vietnamese. You consider Vietnamese to be an identity. In my case, I don’t have a Vietnamese passport, I don’t have an identity card. Legally speaking, I am not a Vietnamese. 

Culturally speaking, I have elements of French culture in me, of Chinese culture in me, of Indian culture in me, even of American Indian culture. There is no such thing as Vietnamese culture. And when you look into my writing, my person, my Dharma talks, you can discover several sources of cultural streams. Ethnically speaking, there is no such race as the Vietnamese race. Looking into me you can see Melanesian elements, Indonesian elements, Mongolian elements, Negritos elements. The Vietnamese race is made only of non-Vietnamese elements. If you know that, you are free.  

This is an excerpt of a 2004 Dharma talk by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who is a global spiritual leader, poet, and peace activist. Excerpted from The Mindfulness Bell(Summer 2018), a quarterly journal of the art of mindful living in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, published by the Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism, Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, CA.

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Via Daily Dharma: Celebrate Others’ Happiness

Appreciative joy is a natural expression of our best humanity…[it] cheers for the happiness and success of others and celebrates buoyancy, health, and happiness wherever they are encountered.

—Judith Simmer-Brown, “Transforming the Green-Ey’d Monster

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - October 21, 2018 🍁

I am still a person with an ego, and there is a little bit of stuff in which I’m somebody. So I’m in training to become nobody. And this is my training field, right here. I have to sit day after day with hundreds and thousands of people looking up at me, like this, saying ‘yes, oh yes, oh Ram Dass yes, oh yes, ah thank you, ah Ram Dass.’ That is my fire. It’s all those mind nets saying, ‘This is who you are, this is who you are, this is who you are, this is who you are.’ And if I get stuck in being the actor of being somebody who’s doing good, watch it!

Then my mind creates a reality in which everybody that comes into my mind field is somebody for whom good needs to be done…We can play the roles, but let’s not get stuck in them. …it’s so seductive to get caught in roles.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Everyday Bodhisattva

The bodhisattva aspiration is an everyday matter—everyday both in the sense of needing to be renewed as each day passes, and in the sense of applying to simple tasks, to ordinary actions motivated by a longing to reduce the difficulty and increase the happiness of those with whom we share our lives.

—Manjusura, “An Everyday Aspiration

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Passionate Non-Attachment

In non-attachment the river-life of emotion continues, only our relationship to it alters. The response to the passions isn’t driven by the small self’s benefit, but turns instead toward all beings’ well-being.

—Jane Hirshfield, “Six Small Meditations on Desire

Friday, October 19, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Finding the Mind

What is mindfulness, if not the practice of bringing the mind to those places where it goes missing? Again and again, we wake ourselves up at the point where drowsiness, distractions, and daydreams arise.

—Noelle Oxenhandler, “Awake and Demented

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: An Unexpected Teacher

We all know anger from experience, but when we are asked to pause and consider, “What is this anger?” it’s not always so easy to see what it is. Yet when we approach our feelings of anger with awareness, with mindfulness, it becomes a productive part of our practice. We find, after all, that anger has something to teach us.

—Jules Shuzen Harris, “Uprooting the Seeds of Anger

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Coco Peru - SHow me your Pride!

Via Daily Dharma: Cultivate Joy

When we are not attached to who we think we are, life can move through us, playing us like an instrument. Understanding how everything is in continual transformation, we release our futile attempts to control circumstances. When we live in this easy connection with life, we live in joy.

—James Baraz, “Lighten Up!

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - October 17, 2018 🍁

One of the big traps we have in the West is our intelligence, because we want to know that we know. Freedom allows you to be wise, but you cannot know wisdom. You must be wisdom. When my guru wanted to put me down, he called me ‘clever.’ When he wanted to reward me, he would call me ‘simple.’ The intellect is a beautiful servant, but a terrible master. Intellect is the power tool of our separateness. The intuitive, compassionate heart is the doorway to our unity.

- Ram Dass -

Never give up! Never surrender!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Learning Through Loss

Loss is a fact of life. Impermanence is everywhere we look. We are all going to suffer our losses. How we deal with these losses is what makes all the difference. For it is not what happens to us that determines our character, our experience, our karma, and our destiny, but how we relate to what happens.

—Lama Surya Das, “Practicing With Loss

The Decemberists - Once In My Life

Monday, October 15, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: The Circle of Generosity

What can we really possess, after all? Our realization that there is actually nothing that can be held on to can become a powerful factor in cultivating our inner wealth of generosity, which is a wealth that can never be depleted, a gift that can forever be given, a seamless circle that feeds itself.

—Marcia Rose, “The Gift That Cannot Be Given

Via Daily Dharma: Breaking the Cycle

Meditation interrupts the endless feedback loops between consciousness and language, between consciousness and being . . . opening a space, a pause, a higher order function of attentive compassion. In practice, one learns to accept finitude, mortality, and the great ending, and in practice, one learns to cultivate the patience, compassion, and peace that lead to freedom.

—Roy Scranton, “Learning to Die in the Anthropocene

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - October 14, 2018

The interesting question is, "How do you put yourself in a position so that you can allow ‘what is’ to be?" The enemy turns out to be the creation of mind, because when you are just in the moment, doing what you are doing, there is no fear. The fear is when you stand back to think about it. The fear is not in the actions. The fear is in the thought about the actions.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Thoughts Aren’t the Enemy

Most people think that thoughts and emotions are the enemy of present-moment awareness, and that negative emotions in particular are the enemy of interconnectedness. But we can use thoughts and emotions, even the bad ones, to actually bring us into the present moment.

—Phakchok Rinpoche and Erric Solomon, “Creating a Confident Mind

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Savor Your Life

As you grow in mindfulness, you reclaim your life.

—Thich Nhat Hanh, “Thich Nhat Hanh’s Little Peugeot

Via Daily Dharma: Wisdom Within the World

Sages, too, endure the same mundane circumstances as we—they fall sick, suffer injuries, meet with unwelcome changes—but their wisdom sees past the incidental to the universal, to the certainty of change that is best coped with by equanimity. Wisdom does not alter the world; it lets the sage transcend the world.

—Bhikkhu Nyanasobhano, “The Phone Rings

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - October 10, 2018

A lot of people try to counteract the ‘I am not good enough’ with ‘I am good enough.’ In other words, they take the opposite and they try to invest it. That still keeps the world at the level of polarities. The art is to go behind the polarities. So the act is to go not to the world of ‘I am good’ to counteract ‘I am bad,’ or ‘I am lovable’ as opposed to ‘I am unlovable.’ But go behind it to ‘I am.’ I am. I am. And I am includes the fact that I do crappy things and I do beautiful things and I am. That includes everything and I am.

- Ram Dass -

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The four immeasurables

Os quatro incomensuráveis - bondade amorosa, compaixão, alegria pela fortuna dos outros e equanimidade (The four immeasurables—loving kindness, compassion, rejoicing for others’ fortune, and equanimity) 

—Interview with Edward Simon by Gabriel Lefferts, “This Buddhist Life: Edward Simon

Via Daily Dharma: Foundations First

If you want to be better at what you do—no matter what that may be—you want to start by being a better human being.

—Interview with Edward Simon by Gabriel Lefferts, “This Buddhist Life: Edward Simon

Monday, October 8, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Observe the Breath

When we truly observe the breath, we are automatically placed in the present. We are pulled out of the morass of mental images and into a bare experience of the here-and-now.

—Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, “Breathing

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - October 7, 2018

When you are experiencing fear, you are caught in your separateness. When you are experiencing love, you are caught in your unity with all things. Love, the verb love, is a vehicle of permeating boundaries. You feel the quality of love which means a flow of energy or merging with the universe around you. That one is obviously the antidote for fear. It´s going to the place behind your own separateness.

- Ram Dass -

META pra Brasil!

Que todos os seres encontrem a felicidade e as causas da felicidade.
Que todos os seres se libertem do sofrimento e das causas do sofrimento.
Que todos os seres encontrem a felicidade livre de sofrimento.
Que todos os seres vivam em equanimidade livres de paixões, de agressões e de preconceitos!

- Buda -

May all beings find happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all beings find happiness free from suffering.

May all beings live in equanimity free from passions, aggressions and prejudices!

- Buddha -

Via Daily Dharma: Finding Freedom

What is freedom? It is nothing more, and nothing less, than life lived awake.

—Ken McLeod, “Forget Happiness

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Anchor Yourself in the Present Moment

The practice of meditation isn’t confined... to what happens when we’re practicing sitting meditation. We want to learn to be present, to use the breath as an anchor to the present moment, to cultivate ease and wellbeing, in all postures, at all times.

—Peter Doobinin, “Tough Lovingkindness

Via Daily Dharma: Weathering Life’s Storms

When we take the one seat on our meditation cushion we become our own monastery. We create the compassionate space that allows for the arising of all things: sorrows, loneliness, shame, desire, regret, frustration, happiness.

—Jack Kornfield, “Take The One Seat

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Turn Towards Pain

In order to emerge from our pain, we have to enter it... when we thus relate to our pain, cultivating intimacy with it, we start liberating ourselves from our pain and from the painful consequences of avoiding our pain.

—Robert Augustus Masters, “A Painless Present

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Inspiration in Meditation

The key to maintaining your inspiration in the day-to-day work of meditation practice is to approach it as play—a happy opportunity to master practical skills, to raise questions, experiment, and explore. This is precisely how the Buddha himself taught meditation.

—Thanissaro Bhikkhu, “The Joy of Effort

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - October 3, 2018

When you give another human being, your family, or your business, the fullness of your being at any moment, a little is enough. When you give them half of it, because you’re time binding with your mind, there is never enough. You begin to hear the secret that being fully in the present moment is the greatest gift you can give to each situation.

- Ram Dass -

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Use Compassion to Connect

Compassion allows us to use our own pain and the pain of others as a vehicle for connection... Because compassion is a state of mind that is itself open, abundant, and inclusive, it allows us to meet pain more directly... we know that we are not alone in our suffering and that no one need feel alone when in pain.

—Sharon Salzberg, “A Quiver of the Heart

Monday, October 1, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Bare Awareness

What we regard as the self appears to be a solid, personal identity that perceives things. But in truth there is no metabeing who unifies the parts. All our actions happen without an agent, or self, performing them. There is no seer, just the seeing; no hearer, just the hearing.

—Cynthia Thatcher, “Disconnect the Dots