“In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away” – Shing Xiong

Sunday, November 30, 2014

It's Raining!

Yay for the rain, and stormlight. We visited Ginger today and saw her boat, and it rained!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

a message from the Maharishi

Our friend Peggy sent this heads up - the live stream happens tomorrow Sunday at noon EST.

"Maharishi founded the TM (Transcendental Meditation) movement back in the '80s and George and her "wasband"  and many of their friends were Maharishi's (M) first students and eventually teachers. George and her "wasband"  still meditate but have moved away from the TM org many many years ago. George was a key person for M and last January Maharishi visited and had a "conversation" with George about all of this and asked George to make all the arrangements to get this info from their conversation out to the public, around the world, for free.

The first 15% of this live stream will be more directed to the people formerly and currently related to the TM Org, but the other 85% will relate to the world at large. George has told no one the details of what he will say. He is an excellent speaker and a very down-to-earth person."

Thursday, November 27, 2014


So much in media today making it look like violence and racism are escalating, back to do not trust the news, better yet do not watch the news, do not look for news outside your own experience, but then be out there on the street in the community and pay attention to the people and beings you meet, be present and aware of others so that the urge to take part has somewhere to go, something to do.

This need to watch the news, to keep up with what is supposedly happening in Missouri or Los Angeles or Afghanistan  - what is that all about? Since the inception of Television we were trained to watch helplessly as others suffered. This created passive sheep dependent on the government to act.  Makes it nice for them. How can we turn this around? Not thru fearfulness, by being present now in the community we live in. Reaching out to greet and speak with people on the street, in the neighborhood, at work or at school.

Why are cops becoming "Other" in media? Commercial media makes money and fame, the two big balls of Greed. Police officers are people in power and the risk they take is not so much that they will be killed or injured in the course of duty but that they will become cynical and detached if not already. We are all at risk for this. That kills the soul rather than the body, creating a living zombie. All of us are finely balanced between resistance to becoming a zombie and being too vulnerable. We choose professions or relationships that push the edge to cause breaks in our armor, a continuous back and forth between open presence and closed numbness.

The Eightfold Path gives us a framework, a work out routine for the spirit that improves our efficiency, agility and endurance in running the maze of life. This is real power. Not power over but true power from within. Let us be Noble Friends to each other, workout buddies in fact. This is the game of life and the finish line is bound to be a surprise.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


This article in the Daily Good reveals the current American trend attacking Generosity. I could blame it on the Reagan era republicans but it is really just greed, the lack of generosity, the opposition to generosity we have in this culture, our culture. Across the country individuals are being jailed and fined for feeding and helping the homeless.

Generosity obviously necessarily includes giving, sharing, supporting those in need and this time I am not here to dig deeper and look at the fine print underpinning the spiritual practice of generosity. Instead I think we have to address the macro since it is being challenged on a nation-wide scale.

Any time an opportunity to support Generosity arises on any scale we take it, that is the practice. We support the generosity of others as well. Acknowledge and praise acts of generosity, speak out in celebration of generosity by talking about it with random strangers, by writing in blogs, tweets, print, anywhere anytime keep it in the forefront of speech and this will feed a whole flock of birds with just the one seed - because the ripple effect multiplies your words by magnitudes like a cavern echoes a shout. Don't bother complaining, this is just an attempt by Mara to instill fear and set us back. Instead by proactive and keep on giving, and support giving directly.  Let officials know you support kindness.

Many of the indirect ways of giving available today like adding a donation to your bill at the grocery store or giving to united way and that sort of charity brokerage end up supporting the overhead of the organizations rather than helping out those in need, and are also not doing your kamma much good. That is not enough intention, attention or personal focus to beef up the benefits of giving. Instead evaluate your resources, see where you can give of yourself and do that. The point is not to over extend but to extend in such a way that both you and the one you are reaching out to and for, are more stable and stronger than before you reached out. This means just making eye contact may be right generosity. But if you have an hour to volunteer, to help someone, or a meal to share, then do it. Failure to do so does not maintain your stability and strength, instead it stagnates and rots. This is the constant ebb and flow of the awakening universe.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Its a process

The other day a prof asked a student if she thought a celebrated and famous teacher whom she had taken a seminar with had seemed to live what he teaches, did he seem authentic. Wow, to pass judgement on so little information. There was comparison to other celebrity spiritual teachers, and it really gave me pause. Why are we so quick to close a book these days? There are media approval ratings - 1 to 5 stars, there are comparison shopping sites, there are consumer rating sites like Angie's List, take a peek and make a decision. That seemed to be what happened in the classroom. The less discussed implications around that were the challenges that celebrity status brings, the limits that lack of real practice brings and the speed at which life passes us by.

For me this was a reminder that Practice is a forever deal. It has to be consistent and persistent. And it reminded me of Ajahn Brahm's two bricks in the wall. It is always those two imperfect bricks that will stand out. It is a call for Generosity, to let go of criticism and fear, to release judgement, to move on and be kind.

Humility is the key to mental emotional and spiritual health whether one is in the public eye or not and humility is manifested by the ability to laugh at ones self. Humor is crucial to living lightly on this earth. No one knows us like we know ourselves and no one can love us like we need to love ourselves. Once this is accomplished we can love others as we love ourselves and then we do so without judging, in fairness with kindness and gentle amusement.

Thing is, when asked to evaluate someone else's performance or to comment on an issue or even to answer a question, we have the choice to submit to pressure to respond off the cuff or to take the time to reflect. Reflection should always be on the Buddha's guidance for skillful speech with the knowledge that the ripple effect is always at work. This means that not only is what you might reply based on your own experience, that you own your own opinions and advertise them as such and subject to change, but also that the questioner is open to listening and might benefit from what you say, is it the right time to speak about this? Would others benefit from what you say, will no one will be harmed by what is said, is it the right time to say what ever might be said. Will what you say encourage, enlighten and inspire?

That means it could take a while to respond, but that then your words would be worth the wait.

Regular reflection on the Dhamma of right speech, with practice especially in self talk, can prepare us to respond more quickly and reliably. All the factors of the Eightfold Path work together to create an integrity of being. We work as diligently as we can while maintaining the middle way, a multifactorial approach to training. What are we training for? Opportunity arises unexpectedly and we do not have the capacity to know what it represents, but we can trust our kamma to unfold as it should.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Rajju Jim

sent a link to this wonderful and enlightening commentary about monasticism. Hell yea, this is it, a roar of approval sounds round the world.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

challenging corruption

What's a Buddhist to do when we see a problem in the world, when a person, system or government or group or family or business or any situation is screwed up, SNAFU, corrupt, unfair, wrong, inefficient or even crazy?

Work on ourselves.

Yep, that is the reason we saw the issue what ever it was and that is the reason for the issue whatever it was, to illuminate our own lack or failing and give us reason to correct it. It really is all about us. Life is short, it is unlikely the chance will come again to have this level of awareness and opportunity for growth, opportunity to learn, opportunity to be what we have the potential to be - our Buddha nature is waiting for us to uncover it.

So we have the directions pretty clearly delineated in the Dhamma, the Eightfold Path. The canon - even with translation problems, reveals the Buddha's extremely practical and thorough advice. We also have the tools of meditation and mindfulness to develop discernment so that we can figure out what he meant despite the problems with translation, and apply the teaching to our daily life.

The most direct and powerful path for most of us is Speech. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that applying the principles of skillful speech to all media is essential but it does take effort, determination and persistence. I have a habit of spouting off and waiting to see what reaction occurs, a risky business and not recommended by the Buddha. Skillful speech is reticent, very reticent, and employs patience, compassion, wisdom, I think it is among the hardest things in the world to practice. So I am not very good at it, but I will keep trying and that is what we can do, often when we turn compassion on ourselves the ripple effect softens the world and warms the beings around us. This is the way I believe Sensei teaches to address issues like those listed above.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bhante Sujato

posted this recently. An inspirational commentary that should be front and center of the Sangha work today.

This conservative attitude is rooted in the three poisons, Greed Anger and Delusion. Conservative sangha members strive to keep their place and their power, their support by defending their place atop the pillar they have inherited. Just like the Catholic church, a hierarchy exists and is dangerous, damaging and dismal.

Sensei, whose wisdom I cannot deny, says they are learning and everything is just as it should be, it is ourselves we are responsible for and ourselves we work on. 

I see that and agree, but I would like to join with and consort with and communicate with other like minded Sangha members. I cannot find them because I have an unusual situation with an isolated sangha and I would have liked to go to the WBMG but the conservatives have taken it over. I see this as directly related to the misogyny of the conservative sangha and violence in the world. The Sangha absolutely mirrors a dysfunctional and incestuous family dynamic, just like much of the rest of the world. 

But that dynamic is a realm, a hell realm we do not need to reside in. When we look elsewhere and work on our own practice we join a different realm, a heaven realm and reconnect with the good and the kind and the wise. This means there is a choice of how to envision the structure of the world. It can be seen as set in stone or it can be seen as dependent on our intention and effort. This is Dhamma, the world is not as it seems. Do not get trapped in the dismal swamp, step out and raise your head - there is dry ground and fresh air right here. Focus on being Generosity, Compassion and Discernment. The Sangha is also not what it seems, Sangha members are everywhere, they are all around, they appear and give encouragement, wisdom and kindness and then they go away again. The world is mysterious and amazing and much greater and more important than an endless discussion of human failings.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Finish each day and be done with it. You've done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities crept in. Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you should begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Rajju Jim sent this the other day, I love it! this is the point of practice to repeatedly let go, release, begin anew. Each moment is all its own, a jewel in time, we are so fortunate to have and so free to make of it what we want.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

7 ways you can handle toxic people

No, I am not re-posting this article, it is on Yahoo's scroll this morning if you want to look at it. Sensei offers a far deeper and more insightful but concise program based on the Buddha Dhamma in The Missing Peace.

A painfully glaring omission in the article was Compassion. It clearly placed the burden and the blame directly on the so called toxic person,creating a whole new category of people to hate and neglecting the idea that anyone and everyone has their moments in both the sun and the murk. If we merely change from complaining about our circumstances to complaining about "toxic people" and continue to place responsibility for our feelings outside of ourselves then nothing is resolved, no benefit is gained. Plays us perfectly like the sheep we are, and we can continue to be harvested and shorn with ease.

How do we transform the herd? The Practice. It begins and ends with the Four Noble Truths - there is a problem, it does not have to be a problem and we can do something and it is up to us (1,2,3,4). So let us know that (1)and generate the intention to follow thru (2). Then we change our behavior (3,4,5) and cultivate (6) awareness (7) and discernment (8). There you have the BuddhaDhamma on the head of a pin, the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

We cannot change our lives without changing others, like it or not we are all part of the whole. To change imperfect people or circumstances change the self. Start and end with compassion. The more effort applied the more result obtained.