Saturday, August 31, 2019

Via Lion's Roar / The Beauty of Imperfection

Wabi-Sabi For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers
An excerpt from Leonard Koren’s gem, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers, considered a class statement on this Japanese aesthetic.
Beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness. Wabi-sabi is ambivalent about separating beauty from non-beauty or ugliness. The beauty of wabi-sabi is, in one respect, the condition of coming to terms with what you consider ugly. Wabi-sabi suggests that beauty is a dynamic event that occurs between you and something else. Beauty can spontaneously occur at any moment given the proper circumstances, context or point of view. Beauty is thus an altered state of consciousness, an extraordinary moment of poetry and grace.

Via Daily Dharma: Discovering Silence in Sound

As we progress, we realize how constricted we are by our discriminating mind: our minds, not our hearing organs, make the distinction between sound and silence. But if you practice listening until you no longer make distinctions, you develop a power that is liberating.

—Dharma Master Hsin Tao, “Listening to Silence

Friday, August 30, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: What’s at the Center of Pain?

We twist in the turbulence on the edges of pain; in the eye of the pain is the stillness.

—Joan E. Chapman, “Fields of Awareness

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: What Does Mindfulness Achieve?

Be in harmony with each breath, each moment, and know that in giving yourself this time to develop awareness and a steadiness of attention you are nourishing spirit, head and heart.

—Elana Rosenbaum, “Guided Meditation: Awareness of Breathing

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Some thoughts on universal healthcare...

For those of you who do not have, or perhaps even know what universal healthcare looks like, let me share my experience. Just for the record, I am fine.
Monday as I was walking up the hill to Tai Chi class, a couple of heavy trucks came by spewing diesel smoke. Being the absent-minded professor, I realized that I had forgotten to do my inhaler (A voice said it’ll be fine, you can do it when you get back from the gym). 1/2 way thru Tai Chi, I said to myself,
“Self, we are NOT fine nor are we going to the gym after class, we are going to the University Health Clinic”
I ambled, back up Rua Alvarenga then down to HQ, with a big knot in my chest – asthma does that, but this time… hmmm.  I did my inhaler took a shower and had Milton make damn sure I didn’t fall into a lump on the road as we walked very slowly up the hill (again!) to the bus stop and then he made sure I went into the clinic on campus.
If you tell the nurse, you are having trouble breathing, they take you in quickly. (mental note) She did, and as luck would have it, my Dr, was there and took me in, listened to my breathing, my heart. As he was talking to me, and writing a perscription, the knot really got knotty, as it were. I told him, and immediately he decided to send me to UPA (Unidade de Pronto Atendimento) to get an EKG. I was so flummoxed, that I forgot to tell them I had UNIMED… but no problem. 
They called a university car, and a nurse went with me to UPA (by HQ), and got me settled in. The EKG got done, and then the Dr. decided I was probably fine, but a blood test was in order… so they checked me in. As the test they needed to do was a 3 blood test series, 6 hours apart… I was sentenced to 20 hrs.… of hard resting (the beds are like plywood).
Thank the gawd/ess I had my trusty iPad w/Kindle app and no wifi… so there I was… a tech cleasning, as I waited. I hunkered down and began reading. In a room (frozen… as the night went on, it became colder and colder, and by the time I was discharged at 2am, it was 6c). As I settled in, I realized there were just two of us, the other was a severely disturbed and confused schizophrenic and his elderly mother. Not ever having witnessed such, I decided to try and read and observe.
The poor guy had been having an episode for more than a day, his mother was exhausted, and he kept getting confused with the noises that occur in hospital, clinic, emergency places. He had a number of incidents, some loud, mostly confused, when he came over to a newly admitted guy in pain on another bed and began going thru his pockets, that was it. A nurse came and went, and a guard told him he had to settle down, then they realized he was a handful, so opened a separate room for him. As his mother was picking up, I asked if I could hug her, she came over and I hugged her, and she burst into tears and I gave her my love and blessings. Intense.
By then an other young guy came in and settled in on the other side of the guy who was in pain. Now there were three of us… I was ¼ of the way through my book. The guy next to me, soon was visited by family who let him have it, as I think he was weaseling for pain killers. The UPA folks checked him out and the family gave him an ultimatum to come with them… he wanted to stay… finally he left. The guy in far bed kept asking for morphine, finally about 10pm a nurse gave him a shot with a short lecture. The guy kept sneaking into the bathroom for a smoke, I finally had to ask him to keep the door closed… as I was there for asthma.
“Oh, sorry”. The universal reaction when smokers who seem to think its ok to share their cancerous inclinations with all of us, even in a hospital.
The poor schizophrenic left me alone the whole time, I was doing heavy METTA work by that time, but he kept making a scene, soon they discharged or sent him somewhere else. Containing a serverly disturbed guy with white light seemed to work... but I digress.
Somewhere in there, I begin musing about films I had seen – things like, oh... One Flies over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and various war and prison films, etc.… as time seemed to fly by me…
By this time it was past 11pm, and I'd had dinner and lunch (simple and on the house), and the morphine kid was taken to the hospital.  I turned out the lights and almost dosed off when on came the lights, and another really nice guy was shown a bed and given oxygen as his asthma was far worse than mine. Soon I turned off the lights, and finally dosed, and then it was time for my last bloodletting… dosed some more and then about 2am, the doctor came in and let me know that my test results were negative, my heart was fine, and I could either stay (oh hell no) or go.
Somewhere during this, a handsome nurse came by to say he was leaving for the night, and to ask if everything was OK. “I am fine, obrigado”, and then he asked me what I thought about UPA, how it compares to the USA. He knew a lot about USA health care, that it’s not free or universal. We had a nice chat… he apologized for the craziness, as that day was busy, with a number of cases brought in by the police.
Healthcare is universal and free here in Brasil and for everyone… UPA’s are everywhere, some very simple, and send you to the next more sophisticed one (like this one in my neighborhood), and if they can’t fix you up, if not, off you are sent to the Santa Casa (local hospital), like the poor bloke with the morphine need for his back pain. 

So what do I think?
1.     In contrast to the universal healthcare I had seen or experienced in Denmark or Greece, it seems at first glance a bit shoddy and threadbare, but in reality, the tech and treatment is every bit as good as in Europe or for pay at Kaiser in Sacramento. The building (and beds) could use some love, and will get it asap, as a new improved UPA is almost complete in between UFOP and the Santa Casa.
2.     The doctors and nurses are as great as great could be – I have so much respect for folks who work in these places, and then can just go home every night. How they dealt with any and all of us, was nothing but top notch.
3.     There are few things Brazilians are proud of, but the nurse, colleagues here at UFOP, and others I know ARE proud of UPA’s. They are universally spread out over Brasil, and give everyone, rich poor, confused (in my case) free quality care… viva!
I can’t complain, I am glad that the worst-case scenario, if something radically bad did occur for either of us, that we would get good care and be sent on our way.
So yes, its universal, and yes, we pay for it through our taxes, but its good, and everyone gets the care they need. You can in our case get private care to supplement it (if you remember to in my case). 
So USA, get with the program… no one I know here goes into bankruptcy when they get cancer. You might get bumped up (think triage) to the next place, or a doctor you want, may not be there for you the next day. Or as the guy I left to sleep, who was in for a far worse asthma attack than mine, and got oxygen, you might just need to get away from home, get some care and rest – Brazilians are used to a far higher noise ration than I am to sleep. But there you are – it works, and it works for everyone.
If the corruption and graft and political confusion hadn’t distracted this great country.... both public education and healthcare could be all that much better, no one is asking for anything special here, just respect and care. But alas, or as folks here say “pois é”.
Life is good, damn good! (and can be somewhat breath taking at times)


O Bodhidharma foi um monge budista que viveu durante o quinto ou sexto século e é creditado como o transmissor do Zen para a China. Bodhidharma era um Homem Preto de Tamil Nadu, um estado no sudeste da Índia, e nasceu como um Príncipe na dinastia Pallava. Bodhidharma deixou seu Reino depois de se tornar um monge budista e viajou pelo sudeste da Ásia até o sul da China, e posteriormente mudou-se para o norte. Os registros diferem na data de sua chegada. Bodhidharma é creditado por levar as artes marciais para a China. A Antologia do Salão Patriarcal identifica Bodhidharma como o vigésimo oitavo Patriarca do Budismo em uma linha ininterrupta que se estende até o próprio Buda.

Esta é uma estátua de porcelana da dinastia Ming no "Victoria and Albert Museum", em Londres.

Texto e fotos de Runoko Rashidi.
#PovoPreto #Espiritualidade #Spirituality #CienciaEspiritual #SpiritualScience #Buda #Budismo #Zen #Bodhidharma

Via FB:

Via FB

Via Daily Dharma: Making the Journey to Refuge

A spiritual practice can be an island, a place where opening to uncertainty and doubt can lead us to a refuge of truth.

—Joan Halifax, “The Lucky Dark

Via Ram Dass: Words of Wisdom - August 28, 2019 💌

The first step of karma yoga is to get free of the attachments to your own life, to develop a witness. We have thousands of me’s and there is one me that watches all the other me’s, right? That’s the only game.
It’s not trying to change any of the me’s. It’s not the evaluator, and it’s not the judge, it’s not the super ego. It doesn’t care about anything. It just notes, ‘hmmm, there he is doing that.’ That witness, that place inside you, is your centering device. And that begins to be the work one does on oneself.
Once one understands that this place exists, the cultivation of non-attachment can begin.

- Ram Dass -

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Learning to Look at Our Anger

Anger limits us. But if we have the courage to look at our anger and its causes and to learn from it, we can develop an open heart—a heart of genuine compassion.

—Jules Shuzen Harris, “Uprooting the Seeds of Anger

Via Compassion for Those Who Harm Us

The law of karma implies that we must assume our share of responsibility in what happens to us. This is easier in the case of happiness and when positive developments occur in our life. But in adversity, I find a source of deep wisdom. It has allowed me to become friends with what I would otherwise deem bad and therefore reject.

—Phakyab Rinpoche and Sofia Stril-Rever, “Gratitude for My Torturers

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - August 25, 2019 💌

Most means of gaining livelihood do not, in and of themselves, increase the illusion of separateness. However, the beings who do the work do it, because of their own level of involvement, in such a way as to increase the illusion.
When you are involved in such vocations, then it is your work on yourself which makes the particular vocation a vehicle for bringing man out of illusion and into yoga. 

- Ram Dass -

Via Fans of John Shelby Spong / FB:

My Christian life is thus a journey for which there is no literal roadmap. I am convinced that if I walk this journey deeply enough and faithfully enough, I will be led beyond all religious forms – beyond scripture, creeds, doctrine and dogma and into the wordless wonder of the true meaning of worship. The Christian Church exists, I believe, to point all of us beyond the boundaries of our own humanity. It is a pity that institutional religion in all its forms does not understand its own message!

~ ~ ~Bishop John Shelby Spong

Via Daily Dharma: Finding the Sacred in Simplicity

Our lives, just as they are, plain and simple, are filled with miracles. Nothing special, nothing holy; or rather, everything special, everything holy.

—Taylor Plimpton, “Expressing the Inexpressible

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Applying attention to smaller emotions—or simply focusing on form, sound, or physical sensations—develops your capacity to look at long-term, overwhelming emotional states.

—Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, “The Aim of Attention

Via Daily Dharma: Stock Your Emotional Toolbox

Applying attention to smaller emotions—or simply focusing on form, sound, or physical sensations—develops your capacity to look at long-term, overwhelming emotional states.

—Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, “The Aim of Attention

Friday, August 23, 2019


E agora José?!... E agora Maria?!

Não importa mais agora em quem você votou. Importa, Agora, é a Defesa da Natureza, é a Consciência de que este País, este Planeta é nossa Casa. Você colocaria fogo em tua casa?

E como mudar isso? Cada um saberá como, se compreender a gravidade do que está acontecendo, e quiser, de fato, fazer parte de um Novo Tempo, através do desenvolvimento de uma Nova Consciência.

Quem sou eu pra saber qual o melhor caminho?

Mas tem um jeito, que pode servir para ajudar: reduzir o consumo de produtos industrializados (roupas, acessórios, celulares, eletrodomésticos, carros, comida industrializada... etc) e até eliminar o que possa considerar supérfluos, incluindo aqui a carne.Verduras, Legumes, Raízes, Grãos, Frutas... 

SAÚDE! As feiras, mercados e hortas comunitárias oferecem hoje produtos orgânicos.

Já ouviu sobre isto?

Saúde nos Pensamentos, Nos Sentimentos, nas Emoções, nas Ações... E MAIS CONSCIÊNCIA NA HORA DE VOTAR. Faça um favor... a si mesmo, a seus queridos, à humanidade, ao Planeta Terra, nosso Lar.

((Coloque seu nome aqui antes de copiar e encaminhar o texto)), também sou José, também sou Maria, assim como VOCÊ É. SOMOS TODOS UM! Compreenda e Aceite Isto. Uma Rede Única Nos UNE. E cada ação, sentimento, pensamento, energia, reverbera para o Todo.

Que cada labareda do fogo que está queimando a Floresta Amazônica, considerada o pulmão deste planeta, CESSE, e se transmute em espada flamejante de São Miguel Arcanjo para extirpar o mal e restaurar a dignidade, o amor e a paz nos corações. QUE VENHAM AS CHUVAS. E que as águas lavem TUDO o que já é deteriorado. Que o insano seja enfim extinguido. E que só reste a pureza, a mansidão e o amor, no pensar, no sentir, no agir, no falar.



Façamos cada um a sua parte - ORAR, acessar uma nova consciência e reverberar as melhores energias.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: How to Stop Suffering

Buddhism presents rigorous means of investigating the causes of suffering and happiness. It is intent not only on counteracting suffering once it has arisen, but also on identifying and counteracting the causes of suffering before it arises.

—B. Alan Wallace, “Overlapping Worlds

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - August 21, 2019 💌

To live consciously you must have the courage to go inside yourself to find out who you really are, to understand that behind all of the masks of individual differences you are a being of beauty, of love, of awareness.
When Christ said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within” he wasn’t just putting you on. When Buddha said, “Each person is the Buddha” he was saying the same thing. Until you can allow your own beauty, your own dignity, your own being, you cannot free another.

So if I were giving people one instruction, I would say work on yourself. Have compassion for yourself. Allow yourself to be beautiful and all the rest will follow.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Becoming Honest about Who We Are

Meditation is a patient process of knowing that gradually over time, habits are dissolving. We don’t actually get rid of anything. We are just steadfast with ourselves, developing clearer awareness and becoming honest about who we are and what we do.

—Pema Chödrön, “Making Friends with Oneself

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: The Fleeting Nature of Sensation

Whether pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral, gross or subtle, every sensation shares the same characteristic: it arises and passes away, arises and passes away.

—S. N. Goenka, “Finding Sense in Sensation

Monday, August 19, 2019

Via Be Like Francis / FB:

Via Daily Dharma: Take a Second for Gratitude

Every morning, I say, “I vow to be grateful for the precious opportunity of human birth.” And I don’t let myself use the excuse that I don’t have time. It doesn’t take much time to be grateful.

—Susan Moon, “Stop Shopping

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - August 18, 2019

The truth is everywhere. Wherever you are, it’s right where you are, when you can see it. And you can see it through whatever vehicle you are working with; you can free yourself from certain attachments that keep you from seeing it.
The scientist doesn’t stop being a scientist, nor anybody stop being anything. You find how to do the things to yourself which allows you to find truth where you are at the moment. I’d say we never find out anything new; we just remember it.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: How Nature Grounds Us

When you are lost or caught up in an emotional storm or contracted in self-centeredness or plagued by obsessive thoughts, notice what happens when you step outside or go for a walk and pay attention to the sky, the air, the light, the movement of wind, the feel of grass under your feet.

—Mark Coleman, “A Breath of Fresh Air

Friday, August 16, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: How Can the Buddha Inspire Us?

The Buddha vowed to discover the end of suffering, and by his own efforts achieved enlightenment. He then spent the rest of his life sharing his realizations with others. We can draw inspiration from this person, a human being like ourselves.

—Beth Roth, “Family Dharma: Taking Refuge (On the Wings of Angels)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Dusting off the Glass

This is what our Zen practice is about—being honest about our prejudices, taking note of our internal stickiness, confronting our conditioning, and uncovering an original and basic goodness that, when dusted off, enables us to actually see ourselves in another.

—Cassandra Moore, “Dinner at Pete’s

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Via LionsRoar / The Life-Changing Words of Mary Oliver

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
this grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Via LionsRoar: How to Practice Hugging Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

In my hermitage I have planted beautiful trees. When I do walking meditation, I often stop and hug one of the trees, breathing in and out. It’s very nourishing. The tree gives me strength, and it always seems to me that the tree responds to my hugging and breathing.

A tree is always available, but I’m not so sure about a person! Often, we’re not really there with the people we love. We get caught up in other things, like our work or the news on TV. Hugging meditation is a practice of awareness. If we’re not available, how can we hug someone? We return to ourselves to become totally present and available for the other person. If hugging isn’t done in this spirit, it’s only a ritual without content. When we’re mindful and present, hugging has a deep power to heal, transform, and bring reconciliation.

When we hug, our hearts connect and we know that we are not separate beings.
We may practice hugging meditation with a friend, our child, a parent, our partner, or a tree. The hugging can be very deep. Life is there. Happiness is there. 

Sometimes the hugging is not very deep and the hugger only pretends to be there, perhaps by patting you on the back—I have some experience of this! When someone hugs you with all their heart and presence, you feel it. When someone takes your hands in mindfulness, with their presence, their concern, you feel it. So hug like that—make life real and deep. It will heal both of you.

Hugging meditation is something I invented. In 1966, a friend drove me to the Atlanta airport, and when we were saying goodbye, she asked, “Is it all right to hug a Buddhist monk?” In my country, we are not used to expressing ourselves this way in public. But I thought, “I am a Zen teacher. It shouldn’t be a problem for me to do this.” So, I said, “Why not?” and she hugged me, but I was rather stiff. Later, on the plane, I decided that if I wanted to work with friends in the West, I would have to learn the culture of the West. That is why I invented hugging meditation.

Hugging in public is a Western practice. Meditation, conscious breathing, is an Eastern practice. The two come together in hugging meditation. I think it’s a good combination. For Buddhist practice to be rooted in the West, new dharma doors should be opened. I think hugging meditation can be considered one of these doors. The practice of mindful hugging has helped so many people to reconcile with each other. When we hug, our hearts connect and we know that we are not separate beings.

It’s a pleasure to hug someone we love. But don’t think it’s something easy. 

Maybe we want to hug the other person, but they aren’t available—they’re caught in their anger, worries, or projects. Hugging is a deep practice and both people need to be completely present to do it correctly. That’s why it’s not always easy. So, we have to learn how.

Read the rest of the article and more here

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - August 14, 2019 💌

In yoga, one of the methods is called 'contentment'. That’s not a goal, that’s a method.
I can be content this moment, and the next moment I’m moving toward something else. When I am here I am content, when I am here I am content, when I am here I am content. So even though you are going to change something the next minute, that doesn’t mean you change it out of discontent. It changes because it changes.

That is the basis that you do everything in yoga.

-  Ram Dass  -

Via Daily Dharma: How We Arrive at Our Views

Once we perceive, we habitually jump to thoughts and feelings about what is being perceived. These thoughts and feelings, rooted in past experiences and conditioning, then influence the mood of our mind. When perception, thoughts, and feelings are repeated or imprinted through experiences, they solidify into view or belief.

—Ruth King, “Mindful of Race

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Via AHHO 333 / FB:

Si te molesta el calor, planta un árbol.
Si te molesta el agua, planta un árbol.
Si te gustan las frutas, planta un árbol.
Si te gustan las aves, planta un árbol.
Y si te gusta la vida, planta muchos árboles.

Via Daily Dharma: Face What’s to Come

We should not be passive about death. We should not just procrastinate or assume that we have time. That will not help. It’s unavoidable, so bring it in front of us and think about it. Doing so can improve our life.

—Trungram Gyalwa Rinpoche, “Every Day Is a Bonus

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - August 11, 2019 💌

The three levels of compassionate action that I see are: You do compassionate action as best you can as an exercise on yourself to come closer to God, to spirit, to awareness, to One.
Next is you start to appreciate that you’re a part of something larger than yourself and you are an instrument of God. No longer are you doing it to get there, you’re now doing it as an instrument. 

And third is where you lose self-consciousness and you are God manifest. You’re part of the hand of God. Then you’re not doing anything. It’s just God manifest.
How do you get to that third one? By honoring others and being patient.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Discovering True Clarity

In consistent practice you begin to see that your initial ideas about it were just that: ideas. It can be hard to let go of the dream, of the seductive promise of ease and clarity. But in dropping those ideas, you might find yourself opening to the ease of the breath rising and falling, a clarity felt, not imagined.

—Alex Tzelnic, “Dreaming Up, And Revising, Our Buddhist Practice

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Via Lionsroar: How should Buddhists respond to the gun violence epidemic?

After December, 2015’s mass-shooting in San Bernadino, Zen teacher Lewis Richmond had to wonder: What is an appropriate or effective response as a Buddhist?


Since such events evoke strong visceral emotions, including fear, I thought it might be helpful to report some facts about gun violence in America I have gleaned from my recent readings. Some of these are rather counterintuitive. 

For example, in the last 30 years the overall incidence of gun violence has dropped rather dramatically. Yes, it’s true. In fact, serious crime of all types dropped in that period too, perhaps due to the decline in drug related violence. Another fact: since 9/11, there have been about 100 deaths in America from terrorist violence; during that same period, overall deaths from guns (which include many incidents of suicides and domestic violence) exceeds deaths from the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars combined. Every day, every week, large numbers of Americans are killed by guns, a situation that is unique in the developed world.

Since the subject of gun control has been much in the air and in the news, here is another counterintuitive fact: the ratio of gun-owning households has declined significantly in the last 20 years, while the overall number of guns in America (around 300 million now) has gone up markedly in the same period. This means that people who own guns do not own just one; they own 5, 10, 20, 100—or in one recent case, 5000. There are also differences of geography and ethnicity. Per capita household ownership of guns is highest in the South, lowest in the Pacific seaboard and the Northeast.  Whites own substantially more guns per capita than people of color such as Latinos, Asians and African-Americans. Even if strict gun control laws were passed tomorrow, unless we were actually willing to confiscate most guns (as Australia did after a mass shooting there), those 300 million guns would still be out there. This near-infinite supply of firearms is like a dangerous horse who left the barn a long time ago.  Good luck trying to get the horse back in the barn.

I don’t think this means we should just meditate, say the loving-kindness prayer, and so on. I think our response needs to be more muscular and practical than that. When someone is firing randomly into a crowd with a semi-automatic rifle, the loving-kindness prayer is not going to help.
I regret that I cannot offer citations for all these facts; I did not realize I was going to be writing a piece like this at the time I read them. I know my sources were all reputable news sites, and that their data came largely from the FBI database of crime statistics. I report all of this because, among other things, Buddhism is based on the observation of how things actually are.

So I feel our response as Buddhists should also be based on facts rather than emotion. The first and foremost precept of Buddhism is ahimsa—non-violence, non-harm, no unnecessary harm. This is true of all sects and traditions of Buddhism past and present. I feel strongly that as Buddhists we should represent our non-harm precept in any way we can, and be prepared to stand up for it. I don’t think this means we should just meditate, say the loving-kindness prayer, and so on. I think our response needs to be more muscular and practical than that. When someone is firing randomly into a crowd with a semi-automatic rifle, the loving-kindness prayer is not going to help. We should also remember the first noble truth of Buddhism,  that human existence is marked by suffering. This doesn’t just mean that people suffer now and then, it means that because of our human tendency to yield to the three “poisons” of greed, anger, and confusion, human beings are constantly creating wars, injustice, exploitation, cruelty, and many forms of unimaginable suffering. We always have and to some extent always will. Wars are so terrible that we easily arrange to forget them. But they are horrible—always.  

My teacher Suzuki Roshi lived through the worst of World War II in Japan (he was not drafted into the Army and lived out the war in his home temple, probably performing a lot of funerals for young men). When asked about the war, he just said, “My whole country went crazy.”

It may seem as though we are living in a particularly violent historical time, but the psychologist and best-selling author Steven Pinker has researched this point exhaustively, and his conclusion is that the incidence of war, violence, and cruelty has been steadily decreasing over the last 1000 years.  Yes, from his point of view we are actually making progress, snail-like though it may seem. That seems to me to be a useful and little-remarked-upon perspective.

Via Daily Dharma: Self-Care Helps You Help Others

Thinking of yourself first, when your goal is to help others, might seem counterintuitive, but in fact it is the only way it can work. In the end, the notion of putting oneself last is really an inside-out form of self-cherishing. That’s why during pre-flight instructions the flight attendant says to put on your own oxygen mask first.

—Cyndi Lee, “May I Be Happy

Friday, August 9, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: Mindfully Open Your Heart

With regular mindfulness practice… we witness how we close our hearts to other human beings. Once we see this clearly, we can practice opening our hearts to everyone, including ourselves.

—Ronya Fakhoury Banks, “How Buddhism Helped Me Embrace My Palestinian Heritage

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Via Kick the Ick / FB

"Some words of wisdom for those of us that may be looking at the moment, or even those who have 'given up', 'giving up' doesn't make much sense, the universe is love, go find it rather than hoping it finds you!"

Via Daily Dharma: Permission to Move Forward

May we know we’ve been abandoned by the past, that the past has left us and moved on. So too have previous versions of our bodies left us, so too have previous iterations of the earth and its ecology left us.

—Leora Fridman, “Notes on Abandon

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Laurie Anderson, Tenzin Choegyal, Jesse Paris Smith - "Lotus Born, No Need to Fear"

Laurie Anderson, Tenzin Choegyal, Jesse Paris Smith perform "Lotus Born, No Need to Fear" off 'Songs from the Bardo', available 9/27/2019 and available for pre-order:

Via LGBTQ Nation: Anti-gay pastor quits Christianity, leaves wife & marches in Pride parade as atonement

Anti-gay pastor quits Christianity, leaves wife & marches in Pride parade as atonement
"I regret standing against marriage equality, for not affirming you and your place in the church. I hope you can forgive me."

Via ACLU / FB:

Via Via / Words of Wisdom - August 7, 2019 💌

Wisdom and knowledge are two entirely different matters. Knowledge is very finite. The collection of objective knowledge is like a drop in the bucket compared to what it is to be wise.

Being wise is when you get out of the time-space locus that says, ‘I am me who knows.’ And then you merge with that which is around you. You become wisdom.

When you become wisdom, you don’t know you know. You gave that one up. But you are wise. Then whatever response comes out of you is the optimum response. At the same time nothing is happening inside you at all.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: The Benefits of the Unfamiliar

A sense of defamiliarization is a recurring feature of spiritual life, and it can come to us in many ways—in art, in travel, in practice. However it comes, it offers an opportunity for openness and intimacy, both, if one can allow oneself to fall into them.

—Henry Shukman, “Far from Home

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: The Circle of Attention

What gets our attention in the present is colored by our impulses and innate disposition—our habits of thought developed in the past.

—Sandra Weinberg, “Eating and the Wheel of Life

Monday, August 5, 2019

Via Daily Dharma: When Transformation Comes

Transformation is not something you do but something that happens when the conditions are right.

—Ken McLeod, “Anger

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - August 4, 2019 💌

The technique of the witness is to merely sit with the fear and be aware of it before it becomes so consuming that there’s no space left. The image I usually use is that of a picture frame and a painting of a gray cloud against a blue sky. But the picture frame is a little too small. So you bend the canvas around to frame it. But in doing so you lost all the blue sky. So you end up with just a framed gray cloud. It fills the entire frame.
So when you say, 'I’m afraid,' or, 'I’m depressed,' if you enlarged the frame so that just a little blue space shows, you would say, ‘ah, a cloud.’ That is what the witness is. The witness is that tiny little blue over in the corner that leads you to say, ‘ah, fear.’

- Ram Dass -