Archive for December, 2011

Poem by By M.S.Lowndes

Posted: December 29, 2011 in Poetry

May today be for you
A truly special day
A time of sober reflection
As you quietly celebrate
For God has surely blessed you
Through all the years gone by
But the best years are still to come
As you journey on through life

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Posted: December 29, 2011 in Quotes
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The stream of thinking has enormous momentum that can easily drag you along with it. Every thought pretends that it matters so much. It wants to draw your attention in completely. Here is a new spiritual practice for you: don’t take your thoughts too seriously.

– Eckhart Tolle

Filipino Fruit Salad

Posted: December 26, 2011 in Recipes

Delicious dessert from the Philippines.

Recipe 1
Recipe 2

Jellies are also good additions to the mix!

Posted: December 25, 2011 in Quotes

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear.
War is over,
If you want it —
War is over now.

– John Lennon & Yoko Ono

Posted: December 23, 2011 in Quotes

I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.

– Audrey Hepburn

Posted: December 23, 2011 in Quotes
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Because of our routines we forget that life is an ongoing adventure.

– Maya Angelou

Posted: December 23, 2011 in Quotes
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People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

― Mother Teresa

What is Zen?

不立文学,教外别传,直指人心,见性成佛。

  • Not reliant on written word
  • A special transmission separate from the scriptures
  • Direct pointing at one’s mind, seeing one’s nature, becoming the Buddha

Fish forget that they live in lakes and rivers; people forget that they live in the magic of the Dao. – Confucius

  • If one engages in self-cultivation with the desire to sever the roots of defilement and erroneous thinking, it is not only to attain the tranquil realm of true emptiness which involves no-thought, no-idea, no-mind, no-self, etc.; it is also in pursuit of the wonderful wisdom that is experienced in and grows from a way of life that is different from the ordinary. In that realm, the whole world is seen from one perspective, and there are no dichotomies; it is the true world where the self and others, as well as good and evil, are all transcended.
Stories
  • Don’t get mired in the worlds of yesterday and tomorrow. Instead, live in the world of today. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, experience the beautiful things around you at that moment.
    • Life is but a breath.
    • When you can see the beauty and goodness in everything around you, you have entered the gates of Zen.
  • Heaven and Hell aren’t places that suddenly appear after death. They exist here and now. Good and evil involve just a single instant of thought, and the gates of Heaven and Hell are ready to open for you at any time.
  • When you go point out other people’s mistakes, the real error may very well be hidden in your own misconceptions.
  • The truth and words are unrelated.
    • The truth can be compared to the moon. And words can be compared to a finger. I can use my finger to point out the moon, but my finger is not the moon, and you don’t need my finger to see the moon.
    • Language is merely a tool for pointing out the truth, a mean to help us attain enlightenment. Whoever insists on language sacrifices the truth and will be confused forever.
    • Anytime we use words to explain something, there will be deficiencies. That which is asked about is itself the most complete answer.
    • If a rock is thrown at a dog, the dog will go after the rock. If a rock is thrown at a lion, the lion will go after the person who threw it. When investigating the language of Zen, you should be like lion and not the dog.
      • The words of a person of Zen are just pointers, topics that lead to a deeper level of experience, so when encountering the language of Zen, don’t pursue simply the meanings of the words themselves.
  • If you had one hundred sheep and one of them lost its way, wouldn’t you immediately go in search of the lost one, abandoning the other 99 in the open fields? It is important to help those who need help the most.
  • In practicing Zen, we should be like the mute, gaining insights yet feeling it not worthwhile to discuss them with others. The worst thing a person can do is emulate a parrot and go around teaching others about one’s merely superficial understanding of Zen.
  • Don’t project  yourself on things you come into contact with, and don’t differentiate between yourself and other things, because so-called  subjectivity and objectivity do not exist. The domain of wisdom is in understanding that there is no self, there is no other, and everything is the way it is.
  • Consistency between actions and words is the foundation of self-cultivation.
  • Heaven looks on all beings just the same and won’t help anyone in particular. The one who can help you is yourself.
  • Everything has its place in nature.
  • Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t worry about the future. Experience and cherish the moment. Happiness is acting according to circumstances, whatever they may be.
    • While we live, we should enjoy the mystery and beauty that are life, rather than worrying about what comes after death. Live today without worrying about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have its own worries.
  • When the wind blows, the bamboo bends; when the wind is gone, the bamboo makes no sound. A wild goose crosses a wintry lake, and when it departs, the lake leaves no trace. When something happens, confront it with your original nature. When it’s over, empty your mind of it.
    • All you have to do is respond in a direct, resolute way to any situation, and you will become that situation, and that situation become you.
  • The perfect person’s mind is like a mirror: neither taking nor welcoming, it responds but doesn’t store. So, when it is time to be a general, you should be a general, and when it is time to be a monk, be a monk.
    • If your mind is torn by two conflicting desires, the contradiction will destroy your mind’s unity and tranquility. Just remember, when you should grab something, grab it; when you should let go, let go.
  • Rich and poor are not functions of how much money we have, but rather, of whether or not we are content with what we have.
  • Meet the changes by not changing, for the number of ways to change is limited, while the number of ways to stay the same is infinite.
  • The same pat answer isn’t necessarily true in all situations. The truth of life is always moving, always changing.
  • It is not until the external light is extinguished that our internal light shines bright. It is not until our crutch is discarded that we can realize our latent potential.
  • …we can attain this new life not through thought, but through direct insight.
  • The most precious thing there is resides inside you – it is yourself. In pursuing external objects, we lose the self.

The many have one essence, and the one has many manifestations.

  • What other people have come to understand intuitively can never become yours unless you come to understand it through your own effort.
  • 僧问:“祖意教意是同是别?” 师曰:“鸡寒上树,鸭寒入水。”
    • Everyone has a different way of arriving at the same destination.
    • There is not just one path, and not everyone is fit to travel the same path. By limiting yourself to a certain path, you may actually lead yourself astray.
  • Socrates said that if people know what they should do, they will do it. But he underestimated people’s ability to fail themselves. Everyone knows what they should do, but how many people actually do it?
  • Someone asked a Zen Master, “How do you practice Zen?” The master said, “When you are hungry, eat; when you are tired, sleep.” “Isn’t that what everyone does anyway?” The master replied, “No, No. Most people entertain a thousand desires when they eat and scheme over a thousand plans (untie a thousand knots) when they sleep.”
  • Any time and any place are always the best time and the best place. All you have to do is experience things with an attentive mind.
    • Seize the moment; experience the present; don’t let anything slip by.
  • No teacher can instill a student with anything; but he can help that student understand everything in the student’s own mind.
  • Everything in the world is different from everything else. Therefore, there can never be one certain, unfailing standard. Standards change with people.
  • Movement was originally easy, but we have been shackled by so many worldly rules and restrictions that it is sometimes difficult to take even a single step.
  • A man of Dao is of no-mind; how can he do wrong? By not getting mired in appearances and by following our original nature, we can do no wrong.
  • Only by assimilating yourself with nature and sincerely forgetting the self can you be one with the truth.
  • Flowers are quick to wither, yet the cycle will always remain. Water may move, but the surface of the stream will never change. The meaning of life lies in the process of living – change is the only thing that never changes.
  • You don’t need to travel to some illusory world to find the principles of life; just pay attention to the details of life and experience them. When you begin to doubt, an answer is most likely found where the question begins.
  • We often discover a certain joy in hardship after the hardship is over. If we can discover it while it is happening, then summer will have its goodness and winter will have its wonders.
  • The world and I live together, the myriad things and I are one.  Although the myriad things have innumerable manifestations, they are really of one body.
Beliefs

Zen teachings do not incorporate any practices of belief within them. In fact, you could not get a religion further from beliefs than Zen. As a meditator, if a belief is encountered within oneself, it is simply to be recognized for what it is – a belief – but not followed. There is no question of pushing beliefs away as terrible things, but neither are they to be justified and shored up to be convictions. Then they come and go within the mind, and one’s life is not based upon them. If one places any importance on beliefs they distort reality and cut off the drive to realize truth within oneself.

Trust, however, is a different thing altogether and very important. It is necessary, for example, to trust in the teachings and the path, otherwise they could not be followed.

  • We are all the instruments of nature’s cycle of life and death, whether we like it or not.
    • It is recognized that merely by being alive and breathing, or placing one’s foot upon the ground, one causes countless beings to perish.

There is nothing special about what I do each day;
I only keep myself in harmony with it,
Everywhere I neither accept nor reject anything.
Nor here do I confirm or refute a thing.
Why do people say that red and purple differ?
There’s not a speck of dust on the blue mountain.
Supernatural power and wonder-making works
Are but fetch water and the gathering of wood.

  • The more love you give, the more love you get. The more you share good fortune with others, the more you have for yourself.

Posted: December 22, 2011 in Quotes

By enlarging your knowledge of things, you will find your knowledge of self is enlarged.

– Charles de Lint

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Posted: December 17, 2011 in Book Notes
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  • Morrie’s questions:
    • Tell me something close to your heart.
    • Tell me something about your faith.
    • Have you found someone to share your heart with?
    • Are you at peace with yourself?
  • Life is a series of pulls back and forth… A tension of opposite, like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle.
  • The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.
    • [People] gave up days and weeks of their lives, addicted to someone else’s drama.
  • The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.

Love is the only rational act. – Stephen Levine

  • How useful it would be to put a daily limit on self-pity.
  • Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel.
  • We’re so wrapped up with egoistical things, career, family, having enough money, meeting the mortgage, getting a new car, fixing the radiator when it breaks – we’re involved in trillions of little acts just to keep going. So we don’t get into the habit of standing back and looking at our lives and saying, Is this all? Is this all I want? Is something missing?

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. – Henry Adams

  • Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.
    • … learn to actually be more involved in your life while you’re living.

Love each other or perish. – W.H. Auden

  • Detachment doesn’t mean you don’t let the experience penetrate you. On the contrary, you let it penetrate you fully. That’s how you are able to leave it.
  • I don’t want to leave the world in a state of fright. I want to know what’s happening, accept it, get to a peaceful place, and let go.
  • … giving as an adult and taking as a child.
  • Aging is not just decay. It’s growth.
    • You have to find what’s good and true and beautiful in your life as it is now. Looking back makes you competitive. And, age is not a competitive issue.
  • Envy comes to me, I feel it, and then I let it go.
  • Do you know how they brainwash people? They repeat something over and over… More is good. More is good. We repeat it – and it repeated to us – over and over until nobody bothers to even think otherwise. The average person is so fogged up by all this, he has no perspective on what’s really important anymore.
  • What really gives you satisfaction is offering others what you have to give.
    • So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.
  • What we take, we must replenish.
  • People are only mean when they’re threatened… and that’s what our culture does. That’s what our economy does.
  • I don’t mean you disregard every rule of your community… The little things I can obey. But the big things – how we think, what we value – those you must choose yourself. You can’t let any one – or any society – determine those for you.
  • Look, no matter where you live, the biggest defect we human beings have is our shortsightedness. We don’t see what we could be. We should be looking at our potential, stretching ourselves into everything we can become.
  • It’s not just other people we need to forgive. We also need to forgive ourselves.
  • People act as if death is contagious… It’s not contagious, you know. Death is as natural as life. It’s part of the deal we made.
  • Death ends a life, not a relationship.
  • There is no formula to relationships. They have to be negotiated in loving ways, with room for both parties, what they want and what they need, what they can do and what their life is like.
  • … ignore the lure of advertised values…

Interview: ‘Tuesdays With Morrie,’ Part 1