Thursday, January 31, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: The Path to Joy

With steady awareness of the way things are, the perseverance to stay with that awareness, and the willingness to learn from it, we maximize our sense of well-being.

—Steve Armstrong, “Got Attitude?

Via Daily Dharma: Give Yourself Space

What cultivating attention to detail introduces is spaciousness, space around thoughts and activities, that allows us to live a rich and satisfying life.

—Darlene Cohen, “Pain Without Suffering

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - January 30, 2019 💌

The stroke has given me another way to serve people. It lets me feel more deeply the pain of others; to help them know by example that ultimately, whatever happens, no harm can come. 'Death is perfectly safe,' I like to say.

-  Ram Dass -

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Our Home of Practice

The body is our house—and how we live in it and where we occupy it are uniquely ours, as well as being part of the common human experience. The body is a treasure trove and an exquisite vehicle for our practice of waking up and being with what is.

—Jill Satterfield, “Meditation in Motion

Via Marianne Williamson (Illuminata: Thoughts, Prayers, Rites of Passage)

May this house be a sacred dwelling for those who live here. 
May those who visit feel the peace we have received from You. 
May darkness not enter. 
May the light of God shield this house from harm. 
May the angels bring their peace here and use our home as a haven of light. 
May all grow strong in this place of healing, our sanctuary from the loudness of the world. 
May it so be used by You forever.

- Marianne Williamson (Illuminata: Thoughts, Prayers, Rites of Passage)

Monday, January 28, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Alone but Not Lonely

By breathing the sensations of loneliness into the heart, and by allowing ourselves to feel them fully, the experience of loneliness can gradually transform into something very different. Over time, although we may still be alone, we are no longer lonely. In this solitude there is equanimity, and a clearer sense of our place in the world.

—Ezra Bayda, “At Home with Yourself

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - January 27, 2019 💌

As long as we grab at our divinity and push away our humanity we aren't free. If you want to be free, you can't push away anything. You have to embrace it all. It's all God.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Not Me, Not Mine

The best giving is the absence of possessiveness.

—Atisha, “Your Best

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: The Only Guide You Need

Foto by Spencer Orey / All Rights Reserved

If we study our own hearts, we’ll find that everything is written there. Everything.

—Ayya Medhanandi Bhikkhuni, “The Dharma of Snow

Friday, January 25, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Step One for Compassion

The first step in compassion is to notice the other’s need. It all begins with the simple act of attention.

—Interview with Daniel Goleman by Sharon Salzberg, “I Feel Your Brain

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Let It Be

By maintaining a mind of peace and non-opposition, difficulties will naturally fall away.

—Master Sheng-Yen, “Nonopposition

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Via Lion's Roar: The Decision to Become a Buddhist - Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Taking refuge in the Buddha, the dharma and the sangha is something more than a ritual, wrote Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. By taking refuge, we are committing ourselves to freedom.

I take refuge in the Buddha.
I take refuge in the dharma.
I take refuge in the sangha.

In the Buddhist tradition, the purpose of taking refuge is to awaken from confusion and associate oneself with wakefulness. Taking refuge is a matter of commitment and acceptance and, at the same time, of openness and freedom. By taking the refuge vow we commit ourselves to freedom.

There is a general tendency to be involved in all kinds of fascinations and delusions, and nothing very much ever takes root in one’s basic being. 

Everything in one’s life experience, concerning spirituality or anything else, is purely a matter of shopping. Our lives consist of problems of pain, problems of pleasure, problems of points of view—problems about all kinds of alternatives—which make our existence complicated.

We have allegiance to “that” and allegiance to “this.” There are hundreds and millions of choices involved in our lives-particularly in regard to our sense of discipline, our ethics, and our spiritual path. People are very confused in this chaotic world about what is really the right thing to do. There are all kinds of rationales, taken from all kinds of traditions and philosophies. We may try to combine all of them together; sometimes they conflict, sometimes they work together harmoniously. But we are constantly shopping, and that is actually the basic problem.

It is not so much that there is something wrong with the traditions that exist around us; the difficulty is more our own personal conflict arising from wanting to have and to be the best. When we take refuge we give up some sense of seeing ourselves as the good citizen or as the hero of a success story. We might have to give up our past; we might have to give up our potential future. By taking this particular vow, we end our shopping in the spiritual supermarket. We decide to stick to a particular brand for the rest of our lives. We choose to stick to a particular staple diet and flourish on it.

We take a definite vow to enter a discipline of choicelessness—which saves us a lot of money, a lot of energy, and lots and lots of superfluous thinking.
When we take refuge we commit ourselves to the Buddhist path. This is not only a simple but also an extremely economical approach. Henceforth we will be on the particular path that was strategized, designed, and well thought-out twenty-five hundred years ago by the Buddha and the followers of his teaching. There is already a pattern and a tradition; there is already a discipline. We no longer have to run after that person or this person. We no longer have to compare our lifestyle with anybody else’s. Once we take this step, we have no alternatives; there is no longer the entertainment of indulging in so-called freedom. We take a definite vow to enter a discipline of choicelessness—which saves us a lot of money, a lot of energy, and lots and lots of superfluous thinking.

Perhaps this approach may seem repressive, but it is really based on a sympathetic attitude toward our situation. To work on ourselves is really only possible when there are no side-tracks, no exits. Usually we tend to look for solutions from something new, something outside: a change in society or politics, a new diet, a new theory. Or else we are always finding new things to blame our problems on, such as relationships, society, what have you. Working on oneself, without such exits or sidetracks, is the Buddhist path.

By taking refuge, in some sense we become homeless refugees. Taking refuge does not mean saying that we are helpless and then handing all our problems over to somebody or something else. There will be no refugee rations, nor all kinds of security and dedicated help. The point of becoming a refugee is to give up our attachment to basic security. We have to give up our sense of home ground, which is illusory anyway. We might have a sense of home ground as where we were born and the way we look, but we don’t actually have any home, fundamentally speaking. There is actually no solid basis of security in one’s life. And because we don’t have any home ground, we are lost souls, so to speak. Basically we are completely lost and confused and, in some sense, pathetic.

These are the particular problems that provide the reference point from which we build the sense of becoming a Buddhist. Relating to being lost and confused, we are more open. We begin to see that in seeking security we can’t grasp onto anything; everything continually washes out and becomes shaky, constantly, all the time. And that is what is called life.

Acknowledging that the only real working basis is oneself and that there is no way around that, one takes refuge in the Buddha as an example, in the dharma as the path, and in the sangha as companionship.
So becoming a refugee is acknowledging that we are homeless and groundless, and it is acknowledging that there is really no need for home, or ground. Taking refuge is an expression of freedom, because as refugees we are no longer bounded by the need for security. We are suspended in a no-man’s land in which the only thing to do is to relate with the teachings and with ourselves.

The refuge ceremony represents a final decision. Acknowledging that the only real working basis is oneself and that there is no way around that, one takes refuge in the Buddha as an example, in the dharma as the path, and in the sangha as companionship. Nevertheless, it is a total commitment to oneself. The ceremony cuts the line that connects the ship to the anchor; it marks the beginning of an odyssey of loneliness. Still, it also includes the inspiration of the preceptor and the lineage. The participation of the preceptor is a kind of guarantee that you will not be getting back into the question of security as such, that you will continue to acknowledge your aloneness and work on yourself without leaning on anyone. Finally you become a real person, standing on your own feet. At that point, everything starts with you.

This particular journey is like that of the first settlers. We have come to no-man’s land and have not been provided with anything at all. Here we are, and we have to make everything with our own bare hands. We are, in our own way, pioneers: each is a historical person on his own journey. It is an individual pioneership of building spiritual ground. Everything has to be made and produced by us. 

Nobody is going to throw us little chocolate chips or console us with goodies.
If we adopt a prefabricated religion that tells us exactly the best way to do everything, it is as though that religion provides a complete home with wall-to-wall carpeting. We get completely spoiled. We don’t have to put out any effort or energy, so our dedication and devotion have no fiber. We wind up complaining because we didn’t get the deluxe toilet tissue that we used to get. So at this point, rather than walking into a nicely prepared hotel or luxurious house, we are starting from the primitive level. We have to figure out how we are going to build our city and how we are going to relate with our comrades who are doing the same thing.

We have to work with the sense of sacredness and richness and the magical aspect of our experience. And this has to be done on the level of our everyday existence, which is a personal level, an extremely personal level. There are no scapegoats. When you take refuge you become responsible to yourself as a follower of the dharma. You are isolating yourself from the rest of your world in the sense that the world is not going to help you any more; it is no longer regarded as a source of salvation. It is just a mirage, maya. It might mock you, play music for you, and dance for you, but nevertheless the path and the inspiration of the path are up to you. You have to do it. And the meaning of taking refuge is that you are going to do it. You commit yourself as a refugee to yourself, no longer thinking that some divine principle that exists in the holy law or holy scriptures is going to save you. It is very personal. You experience a sense of loneliness, aloneness—a sense that there is no savior, no help. But at the same time there is a sense of belonging: you belong to a tradition of loneliness where people work together.

So taking refuge is a landmark of becoming a Buddhist, a nontheist. You no longer have to make sacrifices in somebody else’s name, trying to get yourself saved or to earn redemption. You no longer have to push yourself overboard so that you will be smiled at by that guy who watches us, the old man with the beard. As far as Buddhists are concerned, the sky is blue and the grass is green—in the summer, of course. As far as Buddhists are concerned, human beings are very important and they have never been condemned—except by their own confusion, which is understandable. If nobody shows you a path, any kind of path, you’re going to be confused. That is not your fault. But now you are being shown the path and you are beginning to work with a particular teacher. And at this point nobody is confused. You are what you are, the teachings are what they are, and I am what I am—a preceptor to ordain you as Buddhist persons.

Taking refuge in the Buddha as an example, taking refuge in the dharma as the path, and taking refuge in the sangha as companionship is very clean-cut, very definite, very precise, and very clear. People have done this for the past twenty-five hundred years of the Buddhist tradition. By taking refuge you receive that particular heritage into your own system; you join that particular wisdom that has existed for twenty-five hundred years without interruption and without corruption. It is very direct and very simple.

Taking Refuge in the Buddha

You take refuge in the Buddha not as a savior—not with the feeling that you have found something to make you secure—but as an example, as someone you can emulate. He is an example of an ordinary human being who saw through the deceptions of life, both on the ordinary and spiritual levels.

The Buddha found the awakened state of mind by relating with the situations that existed around him: the confusion, chaos and insanity. He was able to look at those situations very clearly and precisely. He disciplined himself by working on his own mind, which was the source of all the chaos and confusion. Instead of becoming an anarchist and blaming society, he worked on himself and he attained what is known as bodhi, or enlightenment. The final and ultimate breakthrough took place, and he was able to teach and work with sentient beings without any inhibition.

The example of the Buddha’s life is applicable because he started out in basically the same kind of life that we lead, with the same confusion. But he renounced that life in order to find the truth. He went through a lot of religious “trips.” He tried to work with the theistic world of the Hinduism of the time, and he realized there were a lot of problems with that. Then, instead of looking for an outside solution, he began working on himself. He began pulling up his own socks, so to speak, and he became a buddha. Until he did that, he was just a wishy-washy spiritual tripper. So taking refuge in the Buddha as an example is realizing that our case history is in fact completely comparable with his, and then deciding that we are going to follow his example and do what he did.
This is a nontheistic tradition: the Buddha gave up relying on any kind of divine principle that would descend on him and solve his problems. So taking refuge in the Buddha in no way means regarding him as a god.
One of the big steps in the Buddha’s development was his realization that there is no reason we should believe in or expect anything greater than the basic inspiration that exists in us already. This is a nontheistic tradition: the Buddha gave up relying on any kind of divine principle that would descend on him and solve his problems. So taking refuge in the Buddha in no way means regarding him as a god. He was simply a person who practiced, worked, studied, and experienced things personally. With that in mind, taking refuge in the Buddha amounts to renouncing misconceptions about divine existence. Since we possess what is known as buddhanature, enlightened intelligence, we don’t have to borrow somebody else’s glory. We are not all that helpless. We have our own resources already. A hierarchy of divine principles is irrelevant. It is very much up to us. Our individuality has produced our own world. The whole situation is very personal.

Taking Refuge in the Dharma

Then we take refuge in the teachings of the Buddha, the dharma. We take refuge in the dharma as path. In this way we find that everything in our life situation is a constant process of learning and discovery. We do not regard some things as secular and some things as sacred, but everything is regarded as truth—which is the definition of dharma. Dharma is also passionlessness, which in this case means not grasping, holding on, or trying to possess—it means non-aggression.

Usually, the basic thread that runs through our experience is our desire to have a purely goal-oriented process: everything, we feel, should be done in relation to our ambition, our competitiveness, our one-upmanship. That is what usually drives us to become greater professors, greater mechanics, greater carpenters, greater poets. Dharma—passionlessness—cuts through this small, goal-oriented vision, so that everything becomes purely a learning process. This permits us to relate with our lives fully and properly. So, taking refuge in the dharma as path, we develop the sense that it is worthwhile to walk on this earth. Nothing is regarded as just a waste of time; nothing is seen as a punishment or as a cause of resentment and complaint.

This aspect of taking refuge is particularly applicable in America, where it is quite fashionable to blame everything on others and to feel that all kinds of elements in one’s relationships or surroundings are unhealthy or polluted. We react with resentment. But once we begin to do that, there is no way. The world becomes divided into two sections: sacred and profane, or that which is good and proper and that which is regarded as a bad job or a necessary evil. Taking refuge in the dharma, taking a passionless approach, means that all of life is regarded as a fertile situation and a learning situation, always. Whatever occurs—pain or pleasure, good or bad, justice or injustice—is part of the learning process. So there is nothing to blame; everything is the path, everything is dharma.
Taking refuge in the dharma as path, we develop the sense that it is worthwhile to walk on this earth. Nothing is regarded as just a waste of time; nothing is seen as a punishment or as a cause of resentment and complaint.
That passionless quality of dharma is an expression of nirvana—freedom, or openness. And once we have that approach, then any spiritual practice we might go through becomes a part of the learning situation, rather than merely ritualistic or spiritual, or a matter of religious obligation. The whole process becomes integral and natural.

This approach involves a quality of directness and absence of deception—or we might even say absence of politeness. It means that we actually face the facts of life directly, personally. We do not have to come up with any padding of politeness or ordinary cheapness, but we actually experience life. And it is very ordinary life: pain is pain and pleasure is pleasure. We don’t have to use another word or innuendo. Pain and pleasure and confusion—everything takes place very nakedly. We are simply ordinary. With our friends, with our relatives, in everything that goes on, we can afford to be very simple and direct and personal.

Taking Refuge in the Sangha

Having taken refuge in the Buddha as an example and the dharma as path, then we take refuge in the sangha as companionship. That means that we have a lot of friends, fellow refugees, who are also confused, and who are working with the same guidelines as we are. Everybody is simultaneously struggling with their own discipline. As the members of the sangha experience a sense of dignity, and their sense of taking refuge in the Buddha, dharma, and sangha begins to evolve, they are able to act as a reminder and to provide feedback for each other. Your friends in the sangha provide a continual reference point which creates a continual learning process. They act as mirror reflections to remind you or warn you in living situations. That is the kind of companionship that is meant by sangha. We are all in the same boat; we share a sense of trust and a sense of larger-scale, organic friendship.

So taking refuge in the sangha means being willing to work with your fellow students—your brothers and sisters in the dharma—while being independent at the same time. Nobody imposes his or her heavy notions on the rest of the sangha. Instead, each member of the sangha is an individual who is on the path in a different way from all the others. It is because of that that you get constant feedback of all kinds: negative and positive, encouraging and discouraging. 

These very rich resources become available to you when you take refuge in the sangha, the fellowship of students. The sangha is the community of people who have the perfect right to cut through your trips and feed you with their wisdom, as well as the perfect right to demonstrate their own neurosis and be seen through by you. The companionship within the sangha is a kind of clean friendship—without expectation, without demand, but at the same time, fulfilling.

So we no longer regard ourselves as lone wolves who have such a good thing going on the side that we don’t have to relate with anybody at all. At the same time we must not simply go along with the crowd. Either extreme is too secure. 

The idea is one of constantly opening, giving up completely. There is a lot of need for giving up.

The discipline of taking refuge in the buddha, the dharma, and the sangha is something more than a doctrinal or ritual thing: you are being physically infected with commitment to the buddhadharma; Buddhism is transmitted into your system. At that particular point, the energy, the power, and the blessing of basic sanity that has existed in the lineage for twenty-five hundred years, in an unbroken tradition and discipline from the time of Buddha, enters your system, and you finally become a full-fledged follower of buddhadharma. You are a living future buddha at that point.

Via Daily Dharma: Sweet Solitude

Boredom and loneliness depend on investing in the sense of self. And, ironically, the harder we try to solidify our image of me through activity, the more we create the conditions for boredom to arise. If the sense of self is clearly understood as empty, solitude becomes a cherished companion.

—Ajahn Amaro, “Practicing with the Five Hindrances

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - January 23, 2019 💌 Inbox x

For my spiritual work I had to hear what Alan Watts used to say to me: "Ram Dass, God is these forms. God isn't just formless. You're too addicted to formlessness."

I had to learn that I had to honor my incarnation. I've got to honor what it means to be a man, a Jew, an American, a member of the world, a member of the ecological community, all of it. I have to figure out how to do that - how to be in my family, how to honor my father. All of that is part of it. That is the way I come to God, acknowledging my uniqueness. That's an interesting turn-about in a way. That brings spiritual people back into the world.

- Ram Dass -

Namaste Music: Flute Meditation


Via Mantra Of Avalokiteshvara | Medicine Buddha Mantra

Mantra Of Avalokiteshvara | Medicine Buddha Mantra, Mantra Of Avalokiteshvara, Mantra of Avalokiteshvara Tibetan.. Mantra Of Avalokiteshvara Lyrics:  

Namo Ratna Trayaya, Namo Arya Jnana Sagara, Vairochana, Byuhara Jara Tathagataya, Arahate, Samyaksam Buddhaya, Namo Sarwa Tathagate Bhyay, Arhata Bhyah, Samyaksam Buddhe Bhyah, Namo Arya Avalokite shoraya Bodhisattvaya, Maha Sattvaya, Maha Karunikaya, Tadyata, Om Dara Dara, Diri Diri, Duru Duru Itte We, Itte Chale Chale, Purachale Purachale, Kusume Kusuma Wa Re, Ili Milli, Chiti Jvalam, Apanaye Shoha. 

Mantra: "musical instrument of thought", manner of speaking, religious writing or speech, a prayer or song of praise; a sacred formula came up to to whatever human god; an mysterious poetry or charming method "occasionally embodied", conjuration, magic spell, enchantment... Video Mantra of Avalokiteshvara Mantra of Avalokiteshvara with lyrics Mantra of Avalokiteshvara words Mantra of Avalokiteshvara Tibetan Mantra Of Avalokiteshvara Mantra of Avalokiteshvara Om Mani Padme Hum !!! --- Om Mani Padme Hum !!! ---

Via FB:

Mantra of Avalokiteshvara, Om Mani Padme Hum, Prajna-paramita Hrdaya

Namo Ratna Trayaya,  Namo Arya Jnana  Sagara, Vairochana,  Byuhara Jara Tathagataya,  Arahate, Samyaksam Buddhaya,  Namo Sarwa Tathagate Bhyay,  Arhata Bhyah,  Samyaksam Buddhe Bhyah,  Namo Arya Avalokite  shoraya Bodhisattvaya,  Maha Sattvaya,  Maha Karunikaya,  Tadyata, Om Dara Dara,  Diri Diri, Duru Duru  Itte We, Itte Chale Chale,  Purachale Purachale,  Kusume Kusuma Wa Re,  Ili Milli, Chiti Jvalam, Apanaye Shoha

Via Buddhist Today / FB

Via ‎Thich Nhat Hanh Philosophy & Practice Visual Storyteller / FB

"All objects of the senses—visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, and tangible—as well as the objects of the mental sense power—in sum, all phenomena that appear to the six senses, are the object of negation. 

They’re all hallucinations. 

The entire world, even the Dharma path, hell, god realm, positive and negative karma, and enlightenment, were made up by your own mind.

Your mind projected the hallucination of things existing from their own side.

This hallucination of inherent existence is the foundation. Then, on top of that, you pay attention to certain attributes and label “wonderful,” “horrible,” or “nothing much.” When you think, “He’s awful” and get angry, you label the person an enemy.

Not aware that you created the enemy, you believe there is a truly existent one out there and project all sorts of other notions on him."

~Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Namo Avalokiteshvara 12 08 2014 EIAB

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Embodying Practice

How, then, to put our minds in a space where practice is always there, whether tumultuous or in the doldrums? It requires a completely radical view of practice: practice is not something we do; it is something we are.

—Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, “Like a Dragon in Water

Monday, January 21, 2019

Via FB:

Via Tricycle: Martin Luther King at 90

Martin Luther King at 90

A selection of articles showing how the civil rights icon’s message has resonated with Buddhists

his week marks 90 years since the birth of Baptist minister and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968. King’s commitment to nonviolence and equality continues to resonate with many of us on the Buddhist path today, and King himself was inspired by his friendship with Thich Nhat Hanh, then a young Vietnamese monk in exile.
  • Blueprints of Freedom  By Charles Johnson
    Read about how Martin Luther King Jr. brought Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance to the United States and revolutionized the civil rights movement.
  • Brown Body, White Sangha  By Atia Sattar
    One practitioner reflects on the painful emotions that can arise when a predominately white sangha glosses over issues surrounding heritage. 
  • What the Buddha Taught Us about Race  By Emma Varvaloucas
    The well-known Thai forest monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu talks about his translation of the Sutta Nipata, a collection of early discourses that include powerful words from the Buddha about judging people on their actions, not their birth or social status.  
  • Teachings for Uncertain Times: Racism Is a Heart Disease
    With Ruth King
    An Insight Meditation teacher and life coach offers six practices for establishing racial awareness and well-being, including doing no harm, establishing mindfulness of the breath and body, and forming racial affinity groups.  

  • Why Are There So Many Black Buddhists?
    By J. Sunara Sasser
    J. Sunara Sasser writes about finding her spiritual home with a Nichiren Buddhist organization that has been addressing inequality for decades.

Via Daily Dharma: Love Conquers Hate

We fear that hate will win because it has killed millions of people—both literally and in spirit—over the centuries. There is certainly evidence that we could perish under hate-filled regimes. And yet the power of love can be as strong as the power of hate. There is also evidence that love could prevail.

—Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, “Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - January 20, 2019 💌

Ours is a journey toward simplicity, toward quietness, toward a kind of joy that is not in time. In this journey out of time, we are leaving behind every model we have of who we thought we were. This journey involves a transformation of our being so that our thinking mind becomes our servant rather than our master. It's a journey that takes us from primary identification with our psyche to identification with our souls, then to identification with God, and ultimately beyond any identification at all.

Life is an incredible curriculum in which we live richly and passionately as a way of awakening to the deepest truths of our being. As a soul, I have only one motive: to merge with God. As a soul, I live in the moment, in each rich and precious moment, and I am filled with contentment.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Seeing Is Understanding

Before you can act on anything with effectiveness, you have to understand it—and that is where sitting comes in. That is where the attention matters.

—Paul Kingsnorth, “The Witness

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Via Lion’s Roar / GRANDMA’S RIDDLE

Editor’s Note: Lion’s Roar magazine is proud to introduce its new art director, Megumi Yoshida. In today’s Weekend Reader, Megumi writes about the early influence of Buddhism in her life.

At 6am, one ring of the shrine bell would wake me up. Breathing in energetically, grandma would sing:

Bussetsu ma-ka-han-nya-ha-ra-mi-ta-shingyo

As she sang the Heart Sutra in a weird, monotone voice, I would slowly get out of the warm futon next to hers. When she was done, we’d go to the kitchen where the shinto shrine sat up high, and pray for a good day ahead. This was my daily routine until I was about six years old.

...fu-zo-fu-ghenze-ko- / ku-chu-mu-shikimu- / ju-so-gyo-shiki / mu-ghenni-ji-bi-de-shin-/ i-…

To me this was a riddle:

...wind elephant, wind, tax-cut child / mid-air dream, colour blind / baking soda, line-style / no-limit, ni-ji-bi-de- [mysterious word], new / frown...

It was an absolute shock when I first heard the English version. No increasing, no decreasing... no eyes, no ears, no nose... What?!

I had no idea, and neither did grandma, I bet. She breathed and inserted word breaks where it didn’t make sense. The sutra is written and recited in in the antiquated Japanese form of old Chinese poems, and she clearly memorized the sound of the chanting without the proper word breaks. The only word I got right was “air/sky/empty” which appeared many times in the song (aha!).

She would have learned this through her diligent pilgrimages to many temples; regular visits to Mount Koya, where our family grave is; and from frequent visits by the chief priest from our local temple. She recited the sutra every single morning and every single evening. This was her practice and way of life.

I am grateful for the mysterious riddle she left with me. It led me to the wonderful dharma community at Lion’s Roar. It led me to meet the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chödrön (both of whom remind me of grandma), and others — teachings like the three below.


I’ll always remember how she used to sing and smile.

—Megumi Yoshida, art director, Lion’s Roar magazine

In memory of Chiyoko Yoshida (1912–2008)


Via Daily Dharma: Weeding the Mind’s Garden

By extinguishing the fires of greed, hatred, and delusion, we are transforming our emotional range. Emotions such as kindness, generosity, compassion, confidence, and gladness for the good fortune of others continue to function and are even enhanced by being uncovered.

—Andrew Olendzki, “Pinch Yourself

Friday, January 18, 2019

From a friend who got it from an unknown source. Muchas gracias to the unknown source!

 “Let's break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I'm getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: Not every Liberal is the same, though the majority of Liberals I know think along roughly these same lines:

1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilized when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected. Period.

2. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Somehow that's interpreted as "I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all." This is not the case. I'm fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it's impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes "let people die because they can't afford healthcare" a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. And no, I'm not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen.

3. I believe education should be affordable and accessible to everyone. It doesn't necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I'm mystified as to why it can't work in the US), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt.

4. I don't believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don't want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can't afford to go to the doctor. Fair wages, lower housing costs, universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Somehow believing that makes me a communist.

5. I don't throw around "I'm willing to pay higher taxes" lightly. I'm retired and on a fixed income, but I still pay taxes. If I'm suggesting something that involves paying more, well, it's because I'm fine with paying my share as long as it's actually going to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare.

6. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn't have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live.

7. I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. All I ask is that Christians recognize *my* right to live according to *my* beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate Scripture into law, I'm not "offended by Christianity" -- I'm offended that you're trying to force me to live by your religion's rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia law on you? That's how I feel about Christians trying to impose biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don't force it on me or mine.

8. I don't believe LGBT people should have more rights than you. I just believe they should have the *same* rights as you.

9. I don't believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN'T WHAT THEY DO (spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they're supposed to be abusing, and if they're "stealing" your job it's because your employer is hiring illegally). I'm not opposed to deporting people who are here illegally, but I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc).

10. I don't believe the government should regulate everything, but since greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc. It's not that I want the government's hands in everything -- I just don't trust people trying to make money to ensure that their products/practices/etc. are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. But with those regulations in place, consumers have recourse if they're harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. Just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation.

11. I believe our current administration is fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I can’t get over an election, but because I've spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past.

12. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege -- white, straight, male, economic, etc. -- need to start listening, even if you don't like what you're hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that's causing people to be marginalized.

13. I am not interested in coming after your blessed guns, nor is anyone serving in government. What I am interested in is sensible policies, including background checks, that just MIGHT save one person’s, perhaps a toddler’s, life by the hand of someone who should not have a gun. (Got another opinion? Put it on your page, not mine).

14. I believe in so-called political correctness. I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate/less hurtful than the one you're using, you now know better. So why not do better? How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person?

15. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something else.

16. I believe that women should not be treated as a separate class of human. They should be paid the same as men who do the same work, should have the same rights as men and should be free from abuse. Why on earth shouldn’t they be?

17. I believe in a woman's right to choose. This does not make me pro-abortion, it means I want a woman to make her own choice. All birth control options should be available and affordable to help prevent unwanted pregnancy.

I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I'm a liberal because I think we should take care of each other. That doesn't mean you should work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don't believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.”

Amigo/as please do not forward, if you like it clip n save... and then repost - obrigado!

Via Daily Dharma: Keeping Practice in Mind

The essence of spiritual practice is remembrance, whether it’s remembering to come back to the present moment or recalling the truth of impermanence.

—Andrew Holocek, “The Supreme Contemplation

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Finding the Right Pitch

Cultivating skillful effort, we learn to distinguish the “right” amount of effort. Not too little. Not too much. Just right. In tune. When we find the right pitch, our practice flourishes.

—Peter Doobinin, “Skillful Effort

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Be Willing to Begin Anew

Intense times call for intense practice. But in the world, as in the zendo, intensity does not mean straining or pushing; rather, it is a willingness to begin fresh.

—Bonnie Myotai Treace, “Rising to the Challenge: Filling the Well with Snow

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Unconditional Care

To realize truly that there is only this nature, with no “other” outside us, is to naturally want to refrain from causing harm, just as we refrain from doing harm to one of our own limbs or eyes.

—Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede, “Passion, Pain, and the Precepts

Via Daily Dharma: Wise Compassion

Remember that you don’t have to like or admire someone to feel compassion for that person. All you have to do is wish for that person to be happy. The more you can develop this attitude toward people you know have misbehaved, the more you’ll be able to trust your intentions in any situation.

—Thanissaro Bhikkhu, “Head & Heart Together

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Meu Jogador Favorito - Curta LGBT - English Subtitles

Award-winning Coming Out Short Film: Straight A

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - January 13, 2019 💌

In aging, our minds are often permeated by memories of the past or worries about the future. What gets missed is the present - and right there in the moment is the doorway into timelessness.

-  Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: A Moment of Stillness

Stillness in the midst of motion and commotion is free of will, direction, and time. It is a complete letting be of what is from moment to moment.

—Toni Packer, “Unmasking the Self

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Letting Go of the Story

Witnessed without judgment, the spasms of defense and aggression, the hint of a child’s tears behind the eyes, relax and dissolve. The story of injury and humiliation dies on the vine.

—Joel Agee, “Not Found, Not Lost

Via Daily Dharma: Just Listen

Open yourself to the music of the world in this moment, in this place.

—Martine Batchelor, “Instructions for Listening Meditation

Via Daily Dharma: Free To Question

When we ask an open question we have not yet found an answer. And this leaves the mind free, unobstructed, and ready for adventure… There is nothing ignorant or vague about this openness, because questioning actively engages the movement and fluidity of life.

—Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel, “The Power of an Open Question

Via Daily Dharma: Transform Challenges Into the Path

Every meditator has challenges. Rather than taking the obstacles as problems or as unfortunate distractions, a more useful attitude is to patiently and contentedly learn the skills and insights that can transform them into stepping stones along the path of practice.

—Gil Fronsdal, “Evaluate Your Meditation

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Finding What You Need

The perfect student is you. You have within you all the ingredients you need to practice. You are in charge, and once you realize this, you will seek—and find—all the help you need.

—Michael Wenger, “Competing with the Incomparable

Via Daily Dharma: Nonviolence Starts Within

Meditation practice and the cultivation of heart-mind awareness give us the opportunity to respond to our emotions in a very nonviolent and compassionate way.

—Gerry Shishin Wick, “The Great Heart Way

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - January 6, 2019 💌

To us Maharaj-ji often repeated, "Sub Ek!" "It's all One!" He had a gesture in which he would hold up his index finger, almost in admonition, as if to say, "Can't you see it's all One?" Buddha, Christ, Moses, and Krishna are all just different aspects of the same being.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Turning Problems into Possibilities

The moment you notice it, take hold of that mental affliction with your attention and purposefully turn it into an aspiration. It’s as though you see the mental affliction as raw material, the way a potter would view clay. You don’t see clay as a problem; you see it as an opportunity to create something.

—Lama Kathy Wesley, “Your Mistakes Are Progress

Via Daily Dharma: Dare To Drop Your Resistance Inbox x

If we slow down and drop our resistance to work’s unpleasantness, we discover that we are resourceful enough to be daring, free from fear and arrogance. Such confidence enables us to know instinctively which situations need to be confronted, which should be nourished, and which can be disregarded.

—Michael Carroll, “Mahakala at Work

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: The Heart of True Happiness

Happiness is awakening to the question "Who is happy, who is unhappy, who lives, and who dies?" True happiness is uncaused, arising from the very nature of being itself.

—Adyashanti, “Conceptions of Happiness

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - January 9, 2019 💌

When you know how to listen, everybody is the Guru - speaking to you - it's right here, always.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Here’s Your Chance

Our true self has no idea of being separate, because it is before all ideas and thinking. Each bow is a chance to wake up from the illusion that we are somehow separate from the universe.

—Zen Master Bon Yeon, “Up and Down

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - January 2, 2019 💌

As I have gone from identity with ego to identity with soul or the witness, I have found a space and a way in relation to the mystery of the universe that allows me to be with the suffering that lives on this plane, mine and others, in a way that doesn't overwhelm me. I'm not overwhelmed by my impotence to take it all away and I don't have to look away from it, and I deal with it as it arises.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Making Sense of the Moment

Buddhist practice is never about creating goals and trying to achieve them. It’s about learning to see clearly for ourselves our own real state in each and every moment. As we come to see what life really is, we begin to behave more logically and ethically, because that’s what makes sense.

—Brad Warner, “The Enlightenment Pill

Via Daily Dharma: Enjoying the Journey

Whatever technique one is using, remember that the spirit of practice is more important than the technique. Finding a way to enjoy just sitting is key. Sitting meditation is a refuge, not a test.

—Narayan Liebenson Grady, “The Refuge of Sitting

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Transformational Potential

The same power that moves the universe exists within our lives. Each individual has immense potential, and a great change in the inner dimension of one individual’s life has the power to touch others’ lives and transform society.

—Daisaku Ikeda, “On Hardship & Hope

Via Daily Dharma: Out with the Old, In with the New

Hope is a great tool when it comes to forming new habits and letting go of older, obsolete habits. Hope opens the door to possibility and allows us to envision change, particularly change that we desire.

—Andrew Mellen, “UnStuff Your Life

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - December 30, 2018 🌟

The predicament with loving is the power of the addiction of the practice of loving somebody; of getting so caught in the relationship that you can't ever arrive at the essence of dwelling in love.

When you say "I'm in love with you," what you're really saying is that you are the key stimulus that is opening me to the place in myself where I am love, which I can't get to except through you. Can you hear that one?

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Relax into Understanding

Be quiet, be still. Let the mind rest. Discover who you really are.

—Nina Wise, “Sudden Awakening

Via Daily Dharma: What We Really Are

Practice is about seeing, hearing, being aware of, and clearly knowing [that] our true nature is the emptiness of all things.

—Dharma Master Hsin Tao, “Listening to Silence