Thursday, December 29, 2016

Via Daily Dharma / December 29, 2016: The Binding Thread

A string of beads has a thread running through all the beads, keeping them together. What we need is a thread too—of sanity and stability. Because when you have a thread, even though each bead is separate, they hang together.

—Sogyal Rinpoche, "The Stability of Ease"

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Via Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / December 27, 2016: Give Up the Pursuit

If you were to let go of the pursuit of happiness, what would you do? To put it a bit more dramatically, suppose you were told that no matter what you did, you would never be happy. Never. What would you do with your life?

—Ken McLeod, "Forget Happiness"

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Via Ram Dass

When I asked Maharajji how to meditate, he said, “Meditate like Christ.” I said, “Maharajji, how did Christ meditate?” He became very quiet and closed his eyes. After a few minutes, he had a blissful expression on his face and a tear trickled down his cheek. He opened his eyes and said, “He lost himself in Love.”

Via Daily Dharma / December 25, 2016: Giving, but Losing Nothing

The Buddha taught “kingly or queenly giving,” which means giving the best of what we have, instinctively and graciously, even if none remains for ourselves. We are only temporary caretakers of all that is provided; essentially, we own nothing.

—Marcia Rose, "The Gift That Cannot Be Given"

Friday, December 23, 2016

Via Ram Dass

Unconditional love really exists in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It’s not ‘I love you’ for this or that reason, not ‘I love you if you love me.’ It’s love for no reason, love without an object.

Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma/ December 22, 2016: Buddhism for Everyone

If I truly believe that Buddhism is for everyone, then I have to act that way. It requires introspection and a commitment to weeding out everything within that prevents that compassion and acceptance from happening.

—Myokei Caine-Barrett, "A Right to the Dharma"

Via Daily Dharma / December 23, 2016: The Constant Dharma

As long as you give the Dharma to nourish others, it will be there. As long as you are alive and are able to practice, this will be true.

—Sheng Yen, "Rich Generosity"

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Via Daily Dharma / December 20, 2016: You Are Already Whole

You and I don’t manifest in the universe as meaning, we manifest as living human beings. We’re not here to represent something else. We’re here in our own right.

—Lin Jensen, "Wash Your Bowl"

Monday, December 19, 2016

Via Daily Dharma / December 19, 2016: One Stitch at a Time

When you think how many yards you will sew, chanting the Buddha’s name with every stitch, if you count all the stitches, you say, ‘I cannot do it!’ But, if you do this stitch: one stitch. One stitch. One stitch continuously, you will finish.

—Tomoe Katagiri, "Oneness With Every Stitch"

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Via Ram Dass

Real love is the One celebrating itself as the two.
- Ram Dass


Via Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / December 18, 2016: Pattern Recognition

When fear arises within our meditation, we apply an antidote. Recognizing what is happening at each instant as mind, we remain in the present. It is important to remember that patterns don’t have to repeat themselves.

—Lama Tsony, "Facing Fear"

Friday, December 16, 2016

Via Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / December 16, 2016: Renounce Your Self-Importance

Buddhism means not being concerned with whether you’re seen as a hot-shot Dalai Lama, or a hot-shot Pope, or a hot-shot parent, or even a halfway decent anything. . . . The ego is just a construct. Get over it.

—Christine Cox, "The Groucho Moment"

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Via Brandon Weber / FB:

Via Ram Dass

Try to cultivate a spaciousness or an awareness around emotions like anger and sadness that allows you to acknowledge the feelings. It comes back to the word “appreciating” again. Acknowledge the feelings and allow them, and see them as part of the human condition. They’re all generated – they’re subtle thought forms, emotions are really subtle thought forms – and they all arise in response to something. They’re reactions that come. If someone does something, you have a certain emotional response, and you have a certain reactive domain that you get into – you’re cultivating a quietness in yourself that just watches these things coming and going and arising and passing away.

You learn not to act out your emotions, but just to appreciate and allow them. That’s part of the way in which you use them spiritually. Spiritually, you don’t act out them out, you just acknowledge them. You don’t deny them though. You don’t push them down. You acknowledge that, “I’m angry,” but you don’t have to say, “Hey, I’m angry!” You acknowledge it; you don’t deny it. That’s the key.

Via FB: Why I stick with NPR/PBS/BBC

Via Huffington Post: QUEER VOICES - Why We Can’t Be ‘Friends’ Any Longer After You Voted For Donald Trump

Dear X,

Every day that goes by since the election I become more despondent and more infuriated about your having supported Donald Trump.

His continued unstable, childish, dangerous behavior on Twitter and off; his horrifying, extreme picks for the cabinet – individuals who are hostile to civil rights and seem chosen to dismantle government; his surrounding himself with generals, billionaires and nationalists – all of it is alarming and I’m truly frightened for our country.

The thought of speaking with you, just when maybe the anger has simmered somewhat, becomes more unsettling ― and enrages me further ― as each day’s news breaks. 

How could I continue a friendship with you knowing that you voted for rolling back my rights as a gay man – most of Trump’s cabinet choices are vehemently opposed to LGBT rights – and the rights of millions of women and people of color? 

I can’t fall back on the narrative of you being the downtrodden Rust Belter who is experiencing “economic anxiety” and feeling “left behind.” You ― like, in fact, the majority of Trump supporters ― fit none of that. You’re an educated white woman with college-educated children and you’ve gone from living in one 93 percent white, well-off enclave to another over the past 30 years.

We were childhood friends and went our separate ways in adulthood. But we always kept in touch. We’d see each other at events, catch up on the phone now and then, wish one another “Happy Birthday,” and maybe have dinner on the off chance we were in the same city.

I now realize I never really knew you.

In thinking back there were the hints, which surfaced over dinner, or in a chat on the phone, that perhaps you supported Republicans, or were unsatisfied with President Obama. (Certainly my politics, in my work as a journalist and commentator, are on full display, and some people are more guarded in my presence when it comes to discussing their own views.)

Still, that certainly didn’t mean you’d support Trump. Many Republicans didn’t. You always seemed to care about human rights. You supported me through my own coming out as gay when I was young, and expressed support for marriage equality. You left me a message the day after the shooting massacre at the LGBT nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando last June ― the last time we had an exchange ― sending me your moral support, to which I responded with a thank you.

That’s why this is all the more shocking. You’re too informed, too aware to just have blindly followed Trump. And my only conclusion is that the dark, ugly bigotry of this man was dismissed by you, tolerated by you. That’s unacceptable. You allowed for the legitimacy of white supremacists and a brutal misogyny we have never seen at this level of politics. Any conversation we would have would devolve into my saying things that would surely hurt you far more than simply breaking off or severely diminishing communications. 

I only found out about your support for Trump after I went to your Facebook page a few days after the election. An exchange with someone else in a similar situation piqued my curiosity. I wouldn’t have in a million years thought you voted for Trump, but I just had to check.

And there I saw it: the promotion of Trump propaganda by a charlatan who made viral videos rationalizing why it was important to vote for Trump despite his grotesque statements and beliefs. One of those videos made the case shortly after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape, explaining that, yes, Trump is a “narcissist” and the tape is vile and gross, but that “we” have to use his narcissism to “our” advantage. Further down in your timeline there was another video from the same con-man promoting the bigger con-man. And there were a few other references showing your support for Trump.

I thought about it for a while, and then decided to unfriend you. Then, days later, I blocked you. If you do reach out with a voice mail or a text, I will likely not return it. Some have said in the days since the election that they can’t believe people are ending friendships and family relationships over “politics.” They’d say that I’m being silly, petty, or overacting. 

But this election was and continues to be about so much more than “politics.” This is about values and respect. It’s about bigotry and hate. It’s about of millions of people’s rights being threatened, including my rights as a gay man and yours as a woman. It’s about putting our entire democracy in danger of transforming into an autocracy, and legitimizing and making alliances with our worst adversaries, whose goal is to dominate us.

Others would say they understand the desire to cut off the friendship, but that it’s better to continue dialogue and educate. Perhaps, this thinking goes, you’ll see what’s happening as we move forward and then reach out for an understanding and maybe offer a mea culpa. 

I get that. But we are in a grave situation, with little time to spare. At this current moment, since you don’t see that we’re in a national emergency (to which you contributed), you may only be jarred if your comfortable life is affected – such as by losing one or more friends and being forced to reflect on the magnitude of what you’ve done.

Beyond all that, as I said above, I realize I never really knew you. 

When it comes to the things that matter greatly to me, I’ve now learned we have very little in common. Words of support for me and concern for my well-being are superficial when you can’t be counted on when it really matters ― when rights are on the line. The election has brought that into sharp relief.

So I’ll keep my ears open, but unless you experience a truly deep transformation, I’m simply being honest when I say we can no longer be friends.
 - Michelangelo Signorile

Make the jump here to read the original and more 

Via Daily Dharma / December 14, 2016: What Forgiveness Is

True forgiveness does not deny the suffering of the past but has a tremendous dignity and courage and power of love in it that says we will, and can, start again.

—Jack Kornfield, "A Change of Heart"

Monday, December 12, 2016

Via Daily Dharma / December 12, 2016: The Big Questions

When we are willing to hold our life questions as mysteries rather than as problems that have to be fixed or solved, we become more comfortable with the creative energy of not knowing.

—Narayan Liebenson Grady, "Questioning the Question"

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Via Ram Dass


Bring your awareness back to the rising and falling of the breath, and just note the rising and falling. Because the ego is so clever, in which it’s constantly judging, so just sit and do the practice, holding only that awareness.

Via Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / December 11, 2016: A Dearth of Compassion

When there isn’t enough compassion being generated (either for ourselves as individuals or in the world in general), we become unbalanced; we suffer from it as we would from a lack of fresh air and clean water.

—Patricia Anderson, "Real or Pretend"

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Via Daily Dharma / December 10, 2016: A Cog in the Machine of the Universe

Realizing one is simply part of the machinery, or the music, of the universe, with its resonating structure of wave patterns: this one giving rise to this one, giving rise to this one . . . to hear this music, piercing as it is, restores a measure of order in the havoc of pain.

—Noelle Oxenhandler, "A Streetcar in Your Stomach"

Friday, December 9, 2016

A few links from Lion's Roar: Weekend Reader: How to deal with a difficult person

Photo by Ian Evenstar.
It’s one thing when we hear, as Buddhism so often teaches us, that our ideas about self and other are really just ideas. It’s another thing to live as though it’s true. With work, though, we can realize that even those we find difficult have much to offer, much to teach us, and that our connections to others are much more than some lovely philosophical concept. May the teachings here rouse us to open our hearts and minds to all. 
—Rod Meade Sperry, editor,

Karen Kissel Wegela introduces a tool to help you skillfully focus on and work with a challenging person in your life.
In Buddhism, particularly in the Mahayana teachings, the cultivation of compassion is pivotal. Compassion refers to our desire to alleviate the sufferings of all beings. In order to do this, the first step is to recognize, acknowledge and open to the reality of suffering both in our own lives and in the lives of others. [...]
“There are no human enemies,” says Sylvia Boorstein, “only confused people needing help.” ...
Shantideva, the sixth-century Buddhist commentator, gives this example in A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life: Suppose a person hits you with a stick. It does not make sense to be angry at the stick for hurting you, since the blows were inflicted by a person. Neither, he continues, does anger toward the person make sense, since the person is compelled by anger (or greed or delusion). Ignorance becomes the villain, overwhelming reason and creating suffering. Is Shantideva still relevant in this 21st-century world? [...]


In Vietnam during the French Indochina War, the famed Zen teacher made an unlikely but meaningful connection. ...
One morning I set out from Bao Quoc for my monthly visit back to my root temple. I felt light and joyful at the thought of seeing my teacher, my monastic brothers, and the ancient, highly venerated temple.
I had just gone over a hill when I heard a voice call out. Up on the hill, above the road, I saw a French soldier waving. Thinking he was making fun of me because I was a monk, I turned away and continued walking down the road. But suddenly I had the feeling that this was no laughing matter. Behind me I heard the clomping of a soldier’s boots running up behind me. Perhaps he wanted to search me; the cloth bag I was carrying could have looked suspicious to him. I stopped walking and waited. [...]

Via Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / December 9, 2016: You Have Nothing to Renounce

Think of the benefits of renunciation. Or if you prefer, contemplate the illusory nature of samsara, and appreciate that you have nothing to renounce.

—Amie Barrodale, "The Night Report"

Via Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) Bookstore / FB: December 8th - is Bodhi Day

Today - December 8th - is Bodhi Day, the day Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment. The Buddha said, "Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the most precious treasure, and trust is the highest benefit. Nirvana is the supreme bliss."

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom

The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them. 

 Thomas Merton

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom

Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.  
- Anne Lamott

GREAT SPIRIT [Nahko bear music video]

Via Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / December 8, 2016: Fear of Pain

If we’re afraid of pain and always try to change it to pleasure, we’ll end up even more ignorant than before.

—Upasika Kee Nanayon, "A Glob of Tar"

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Via Ram Dass

As I have explored my own and others' journey towards love, I've encountered different kinds of happiness. There's pleasure, there's happiness, and then there's joy. Addiction, even in the broad sense of just always wanting more of something, gives only pleasure. Pleasure is very earthbound when you're getting it from sensual interaction, and it always has its opposite; also, the need for satisfaction is never ending. Happiness is emotional, and emotions come and go. It may play into the complex of other emotional stuff that we all carry. But there is also spiritual happiness, which gets very close to joy.

As it becomes less personal, spiritual happiness becomes joy. Joy is being part of the One. It's spiritual, the joy-full universe, like trees are joyful. It's bliss, or ananda. It's all those things. The difference is that it comes from the soul.

Via Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma / December 7, 2016: It Is What It Is

The world is what the world is, and I will work in the best way I can to do the healing I can, to take loving actions.

—Roshi Bernie Glassman, "Working in the Cracks"

Via NY Magazine / The Cut: Every One of Donald Trump’s Cabinet Picks So Far Opposes LGBT Rights

Nikki Haley, Mike Flynn, and Betsy DeVos.Photo: Getty Images
During his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump did something unusual: He acknowledged LGBT Americans. Referring to the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Trump said, “This time, the terrorist targeted the LGBTQ community … and we’re going to stop it.” He then promised to “protect LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”

Coming from a Republican politician, even an acknowledgment of the LGBT community is pretty novel. But Trump’s promise was to protect LGBT Americans from hateful ideology abroad — he didn’t mention the hatred many regularly experience at home, sometimes due to policies proposed by people with whom he surrounds himself. Because of all his cabinet and cabinet-level picks so far, not one has a history of standing up for LGBT rights.

Jeff Sessions, attorney general
It isn’t just the definition of sexual assault that Alabama senator Jeff Sessions has twisted. As the Huffington Post pointed out when Trump nominated him for the post of attorney general, you can pick almost any LGBT rights issue, and chances are Sessions has voted against it. He supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage; voted against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the definition of hate crimes; and voted against repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

He also co-sponsored a bill that would allow Alabama’s definition of marriage to supersede the federal definition, basically ending same-sex marriage in the state. And he’s co-sponsoring the First Amendment Defense Act, which would let government-funded organizations ignore laws that conflict with their religious beliefs. His score with the Human Rights Campaign is a big, fat zero.

Mike Pompeo, Central Intelligence Agency director
Trump chose Kansas congressman Mike Pompeo to fill the post of CIA director around the same time he tapped Sessions. While serving in congress, Pompeo voted to protect anti-same-sex marriage opinions as free speech and also supported a bill saying a state’s definition of marriage should supersede the federal one. And during a 2014 interview with a Kansas State University radio station, Pompeo elaborated on his opinion of same-sex marriage. “I don’t agree with [same-sex marriage],” he said. “I think marriage ought to continue to be between one man and one woman.” He went on, “I think as you look back at civilization, look back at history, you find the strength of these families having a father and a mother is the ideal condition for childbearing. Doesn’t mean there aren’t great families with single parents, great young men and women raised without either parent. If you’re asking for what is ideal, I think it’s being raised by a man and a woman.”

Betsy DeVos, Education secretary
Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick for Education secretary, comes from a wealthy Michigan family with a long history of donating to anti-LGBT, pro-GOP causes. According to Politico, DeVos and her husband — Dick DeVos — have “given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian group whose founder called the battle against LGBT rights a ‘second civil war.’” DeVos’s late father and her husband’s family were also major donors to the Family Research Council (another conservative Christian group), and they reportedly donated thousands to efforts to block the legalization of same-sex marriage in states like Florida, Michigan, and California. The DeVos family reportedly donated $400,000 to victims of the Orlando shooting, but many pointed out that this pales in comparison to what they’ve spent to oppose LGBT causes.

Tom Price, Health and Human Services secretary
As a state representative for Georgia, Tom Price — Trump’s pick for Health and Human Services secretary —- voted against prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation and in favor of defining marriage in the Constitution as between one man and one woman. He also has a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign, and pro-LGBT advocates worry that, as secretary of Health, he could take away protections specifically for transgender Americans. Price is in favor of dismantling the Affordable Care Act, which bans sex discrimination — including discrimination against trans people — in health care. That means insurance providers are obligated to cover transition-related care, but with Price at the helm, that’s liable to change.

Price has also criticized protections for transgender students in public schools, saying a “federal restroom policy” is “yet another abuse and overreach of power by the Obama administration, and a clear invasion of privacy.”

Elaine Chao, Transportation secretary
Yesterday, Trump named Elaine Chao to the post of secretary of Transportation. Chao served as secretary of Labor for eight years under George W. Bush, and before that she worked as a deputy secretary of Transportation under Bush Sr. She has no voting record, so it’s tough to pin down where Chao stands on the issue of LGBT rights, but her family provides some clues. She’s married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who led opposition to LGBT rights in the upper house. Chao has campaigned heavily for her husband in the past, so it’s likely she shares at least some of his views on the issue.

Reince Priebus, chief of staff
True, Reince Priebus — Trump’s new chief of staff — doesn’t have a voting record either, but as chairman of the Republican Party, the guy spearheaded one of the most anti-LGBT platforms to date. Among other things, it calls for the repeal of same-sex marriage, gives states the right to choose which bathroom transgender people use, and defends businesses who deny service to LGBT Americans based on their religious beliefs. Priebus has also gone on record saying that being raised by heterosexual parents is the “best scenario” for children. (In fact, studies have shown that children raised by same-sex couples are just as happy and successful as those raised by opposite-sex couples.)

Mike Flynn, White House national security adviser
According to the Human Rights Campaign, retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn has a “history of animus toward LGBT people.” Most recently Flynn, whom Trump has named national security adviser, went on a tirade against “political correctness” in response to the Obama administration’s decision to allow transgender soldiers to serve openly in the military. “My God, war is not about bathrooms,” he said at the Republican National Convention. “War is not about political correctness or words that are meaningless. War is about winning.” Flynn appeared to contradict himself during an interview in July, saying, “On the gay issue, hey, you know what, if people love each other, Jesus, I mean, come on.” It’s unclear how or if his personal views will factor into the way he runs the military.

Nikki Haley, ambassador to the United Nations
South Carolina governor Nikki Haley will serve as the ambassador to the United Nations, and although she drew fire from conservative pundits for referencing “modern families” in her response to Obama’s final State of the Union, she’s not exactly progressive when it comes to LGBT issues. In 2010 she said marriage is between “one man and one woman,” and three years later she backed her state’s ban on same-sex marriage. “The citizens of South Carolina spoke … they spoke something that I, too, believe, which is marriage should be between a man and a woman,” she said at the time. 

“I’m going to stand by the people of this state, stand by the Constitution, I’m going to support it and fight for it every step of the way.”

To read the original and more make the jump here.