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

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

happy habits

not hobbits, habits! or why hobbits are happy? anyway this is about the Dhamma and an advert for a CEU seminar I just received in the mail. Science and culture are catching onto the application of the Dhamma as taught by the fully self awakened one, our dear Buddha and Sensei. Absolutely derivative from the Pali Canon and I am just tickled that it so. The closer they follow the Dhamma the better off we will all be, imagine the ripple effect! I am not going to go thru and list all the places in the canon it is already stated but I could. And it is so cool because as it is used and people see how effective it is the anecdotal evidence will accumulate and the culture will change just like an avalanche gathers speed and mass. This is the most hopeful thing the planet has seen in I have no idea how long. It is coming together people and we are part of it. Congratulations, lets keep the momentum going!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

On mysticism

here is an odd commentary on mysticism that seems either designed to provoke fear or written by the fearful for the fearful. Too bad so little understanding of the Buddha Dhamma is disseminated in this culture, maybe in the next 100 years we will correct that. Fear is the product of delusion, one of the three poisons referring to distortion in our perceptions. The Dhamma carefully addresses all aspects of perception, interpretation and communication. Regular daily contemplation of the Dhamma provides a great tranquility in which to understand. Such a deep clarity may not be possible without the periodic temporary withdrawal from daily social living that is a regular part of spiritual practice. Two years in school now has lessened my contact with that clarity of understanding and it is painful to realize.

The article addresses research into the failure of a spiritual practice. The research was called the Dark Night Project, very fanciful. Failure can be brought about by distraction such as that of acclaiming the supernatural powers. It can be brought on by any of the five hindrances, the three poisons, or by infirmity and illness. We only have so long, but we are fortunate to have the Buddha's teaching that covers the obstacles we are likely to face.

The author attributes mysticism to the pursuit of supernatural, but fails to say that these are merely a measure of the practice, never an end in themselves. That greed for these abilities is the downfall of the understanding of many. A wise mystic in any tradition is aware of the pitfalls around them at all times and tenaciously adheres to the guidance of the Dhamma. I think the Dhamma is universal but is best elucidated by the Buddha. And mysticism is best elucidated by Albert Einstein who said: "the most beautiful thing we can experience it the mysterious, it is the source of all true art and science."

I wish y'all well and strength on your paths.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Stocking

This was always the coolest thing for me as a kid, first thing Christmas morning. A well worn teddy bear of a stocking full of odd little knickknacks and maybe a treat or two. That says a lot about me. I was very fortunate. I was loved and cared for consistently, year after year. My parents treasured simplicity and challenged themselves to be generous and compassionate to everyone they met. That's just how they were, it wasn't anything official and it wasn't something they advertised.

I still think that is part of the culture I was raised in - that good deeds are not to be admitted to on earth but admired in heaven. That is one reason I have a hard time wearing the robes, they advertise like a billboard -  and billboards are illegal in the state of Vermont. Billboards clutter up the landscape and are always ugly in contrast to the beauty of the Green Mountains. 

However clothing is a simple statement that is never overlooked in the world. Uniforms declare the role of the wearer. That declaration is a boundary and within that boundary there are laws to be respected. The mystic observes the spirit of the law with openness and intention. Absorbed in awareness of the root and branch of natural law a mystic is both constant and fluid. A mystic monk waves a flag for non conformity, is ever exposed and shifting between inner work and outer abrasion. 

Here is a small and simple knickknack for your stocking that is a cure for the difficulty of being uncomfortable, for feeling like you don't belong, for stress inhibiting your immune system. It is from the work of Amy Cuddy which she presented at TED. Please take it, try it, use it like a toy in your Christmas stocking and have fun with it.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Right Speech starts here

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey

Saturday, December 13, 2014

One or Two Eyes?

The parable below is really key for me right now, bringing me back to the moment...

There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, "If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, "Ten years . ." "¨The student then said, "But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast -- How long then?" Replied the Master, "Well, twenty years." "But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?" asked the student. "Thirty years," replied the Master. "But, I do not understand," said the disappointed student. "At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?" "¨Replied the Master, "When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path."

Friday, December 5, 2014


Opinions are kind of like acne. They color your personality for a limited time and then go away until the next irritant invades. Though people may identify you with the discoloration it is merely an outward manifestation of some internal heat toxin and eventually it will clear. There is no need to attach any value to them, if you do the discomfort and unpleasantness will last that much longer.