30.6.05

It is wrong to cling

Although a suspicious mind is bad, still it is wrong to cling to what you shouldn't believe in, or to fail to ask about a truth you should seek.

Dogen

29.6.05

A mantra ...

A mantra is not like a prayer to a divine being. Rather, the mantra is the deity, is enlightenment, immediately manifest.

Lorne Ladner, "Wheel of Great Compassion"

A good command of speech has no equal

Among a man's many good possessions,
A good command of speech has no equal.

Prosperity and ruin issue from the power of the tongue.
Therefore, guard yourself against thoughtless speech.

Tirukkural 65: 641-642

27.6.05

Our first priority

Our first priority should be to prepare a long-term
strategy for improving the state of the world that
focuses on the coming generations.

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama, "Imagine All the People"

23.6.05

"The artist may use any form which his expression demands;
for his inner impulse must find suitable expression."

Wassily Kandinsky,
Concerning The Spiritual In Art

The ascetic life

As kusa grass, wrongly grasped,
Only cuts one’s hand,
So the ascetic life, wrongly taken up,
Drags one down to hell.

Connected Discourses of the Buddha

22.6.05

A thousand kinds of sayings

Master Shih-t'ou said, "A thousand kinds of sayings and ten thousand sorts of explanations are just intended to teach you to always be unconfused." What is popular in groups nowadays is just nominal Zen study; to try to find even one person who is always unconfused is like trying to pick the moon from the sky.

Tuan-ch'iao

The doing of good deeds

Be unremitting in the doing of good deeds.
Do them with all your might and by every possible means.

Keep the mind free of impurity. That alone is the practice of virtue.
All else is nothing but empty display.

Tirukkural 4:33-34

18.6.05

True Seclusion

Living in forests far away from other people is not true seclusion. True seclusion is to be free from the power of likes and dislikes. It is also to be free from the mental attitude that one must be special because one is treading the path.

Those who remove themselves to far forests often feel superior to others. They think that because they are solitary they are being guided in a special way and that those who live an ordinary life can never have that experience. But that is conceit and is not help to others. The true recluse is one who is available to others, helping them with affectionate speech and personal example.

Prajnaparamita

17.6.05

As a crystal reflects...

As a crystal reflects objects that are nearby,
So does the face reflect what is foremost in the heart.

What is more perceptive than the face? For whether the heart
Is angry or glad, it is the face that expresses it first.

Tirukkural 71:706-707

15.6.05

The highest peak is still ahead

Fog locks the endless sky, wind rises over the vast plains; all plants and trees roar the great lion's roar, expounding universal wisdom; the buddhas of past, present, and future are at your feet, turning the wheel of the great teaching.

If you can understand, you will not expend effort at random. If you do not understand, don't say this mountain is steep--the highest peak is still ahead.

Yang-ch'i

12.6.05

Perfect and Indivisible

"I am not the body,
Nor is the body mine.
I am awareness itself."

When you know this,
You have no thought
For what you have done
Or left undone.

You become one,
Perfect and indivisible.

Ashtavakra Gita 11:6

Reality

Reality as it is becomes the right view of the meditator. Thinking of it as it is becomes the right thought. Awareness of it as it is becomes the right awareness. Concentration on it as it is becomes the right concentration. Actions of the body and speech are then aligned to reality as it is. In this way the meditator develops and is fulfilled.

Majjhima Nikaya

9.6.05

Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence

The Importance of Vietnam

Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor -- both black and white -- through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

This Madness Must Cease

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours ...

... This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words:

"Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism."

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. It will become clear that our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony and men will not refrain from thinking that our maximum hope is to goad China into a war so that we may bomb her nuclear installations. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horribly clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.

In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.

Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City

american buddhist featured article

3.6.05

Live not a low life

Live not a low life; remember and forget not; follow not wrong ideas; sink not into the world.

The Buddha

2.6.05

The fool and The master

The fool will never find freedom
By practicing concentration.

But the master never fails.

Just by knowing how things are,
He is free and constant.

Because the fool wants to become God,
He never finds him.

The master is already God,
Without ever wishing to be.

Ashtavakra Gita 18:36-37

OM

I will give you the Word all the scriptures
Glorify, all spiritual disciplines
Express, to attain which aspirants lead
A life of sense-restraint and self-naughting.
It is OM. This symbol of the Godhead
Is the highest. Realizing it one finds
Complete fulfillment of all one's longings.
It is of the greatest support to all seekers.
Those in whose hearts OM reverberates
Unceasingly are indeed blessed
And deeply loved as one who is the Self.

Katha Upanishad