Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"In my opinion, the greatest scandal of philosophy is that, while all around us the world of nature perishes - and not the world of nature alone - philosophers continue to talk, sometimes cleverly and sometimes not, about the question of whether this world exists. They get involved in scholasticism, in linguistic puzzles such as, for example, whether or not there are differences between 'being' and 'existing'."
- Karl Popper (1975)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Since this life here and now is all we can know,
our most reasonable option is to live it fully.
-- Paul Kurtz

Sunday, August 28, 2005

THE THREE POISONS

The three most important negative mental attitudes or delusional emotions are called the Three Poisons, these are anger, attachment and ignorance.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

"Once we have experienced the fierce joy of life that attends extending our identity into nature, once we realize that the nature within and the nature without are continuous, then we too may share in the exquisite beauty and effortless grace associated with the natural world"
- John Seed

From: Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General System Theory
The Dharma of Natural systems by Joanna Macy

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Learning Religion

They wonder what it means to "learn Religion,"
Uncertain what to study or how.
Dhamma classes and Pali language aren't enough,
Graduate to meditation & vipassana.

Learn & learn, all you get is "learning."
Some get sick or end up "religion crazed,"
With many things foolhardy & excessive,
Till filled up with status & gains, losing Nibbana.

The only place to learn religion is in the eyes & ears,
Whenever dukkha occurs at one sense or another.
Learn how to pull back the bridge, so
That Mara hasn't a chance to mess with you.

Learn directly right there in the suffering,
Looking with the right method & model
Intercept the concocting process of the troubled
mind, it can calm down & dukkha disappears.

Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Turtle Bearing Scriptures

Turtle, may I ask you something?
Your attitude makes me laugh:
Made of stone, eyes blind, punished by karma,
Unaware of the Dhamma on your back.

Human, I’ll drill something into your ears —
we ourselves are the very Dhamma itself.
Your Dhamma is in books, how crazy!
My Dhamma is just me living here as Dhamma.

Stone means being immersed in the coolness of Nibbana
after avijja has been thoroughly disposed.
Blind and deaf signifies the supreme peace erasing karma,
living in voidness constant and forever.

That these texts are not the Dhamma at all,
take a good look, human, don’t go astray.
You may find some Dhamma in them, no big deal!
Read just enough to find the Real Thing.



Buddhadasa Bhikkhu
[translated by Santikaro Bhikkhu]

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

อะไร ๆ ก็เหมือนกัน ไม่ดูก็ไม่เห็น ไม่เห็นก็ไม่เข้าใจ
เราไม่ยอมมองด้านในก็ไม่เห็นตัวเอง ไม่เห็นก็ไม่เข้าใจ
คนจำนวนไม่น้อยจึงชอบพูดว่า เขาไม่เห็นว่าศาสนามีความจำเป็นอะไรแก่ชีวิต เขามีความสุขพอสมควรแล้ว ไม่มีปัญหาอะไรนักหนา และไม่เคยสร้างความเดือดร้อนแก่ใคร ๆ (พอกล่าวคำนี้ ผู้ใกล้ชิดมักจะต้องอมยิ้มหรือส่ายหัวนิด ๆ)

คนที่มองอย่างนี้ มักขอให้หาความสุขแบบชาวบ้านก่อน คือ เขามองธรรมะเป็นยาสมุนไพรขม ๆ ที่ควรเอาไว้ในอนาคตโน้น ตอนจวนหมดบุญ รักษาทางอื่นไม่ได้ผล ไม่มีทางเลือกแล้วจึงค่อยลอง นี่คือความประมาท ทำไม เพราะมองไม่เห็นเนื้อร้ายที่เกิดที่หัวใจเสียแล้ว ซึ่งธรรมะเท่านั้นที่ขจัดได้ เป็นความคิดที่เกิดจากการไม่มองด้นใน ไม่ดูก็ไม่เห็นปัญหาที่ซ่อนเร้นอยู่แล้ว และคอยบั่นทอนคุณภาพชีวิตตลอดเวลา

...

ความยึดติดเกิดที่ไหน ความเครียดและความกลัวเกิดที่นั้น ผู้อยู่ในโลกไม่รู้เท่าทันโลก ไม่ศึกษาและปฏิบัติธรรมคือไม่สนใจธรรมชาติของตัวเอง ไม่สนใจธรรมชาติของตัวเองย่อมเป็นเหยื่อนของมันอยู่เรื่อย
อย่างเช่นกลัวตาย เป็นต้น และกลัวการพลัดพรากจากสิ่งที่ให้ความสุขแก่ชีวิต

...

ตราบใดที่เขาสามารถสัมผัสหรือเก็บสิ่งที่เขาสำคัญมั่นหมาย ว่าเป็นความสุขหรืออำนวยความสุข เราก็ประมาทและหมกมุ่นในสิ่งนั้น แต่เมื่อมีเหตุการณ์ใดที่ทำให้เขาต้องพลัดพราก หรือแค่คุกคามว่าจะต้องพลัดพรากจากสิ่งนั้น เขาจะเป็นทุกข์เป็นร้อน ไม่มีที่พึ่ง
เพราะไม่พร้อม ไม่เคยซ้อม ไม่เคยตระหนักว่าเป็นเรื่องธรรมดา
ว่า ความสุขที่เกิดจากสิ่งที่ไม่แน่นอน ย่อมเป็นสิ่งที่ไม่แน่นอนเหมือนกัน

ความสุขที่อาศัยการกระตุ้นจากข้างนอกเป็นของเปราะ ขาดความมั่นคง เป็นความสุขที่หลอกให้เราหลง และผู้ที่จะเอาจริงเอาจังกับความสุขอย่างนี้มาก ก็ย่อมตาบอดต่อความจริงของธรรมชาติ ที่ท่านเรียกว่าไตรลักษณ์ (Anicca อนิจจัง, Dukkha ทุกขัง, Anatta อนัตตา)จึงไม่ฉลาดในการบริหารอารมณ์ตัวเองเท่าที่ควร

ผู้ที่ปฏิบัติธรรมคือผู้ที่ไม่ยอมหนีจากความทุกข์ ไม่หลับหูหลับตาต่อความจริง

การภาวนา คือ การสร้างความคุ้นเคยกับตัวเอง นักภาวนาต้องดูตัวเองอยู่เสมอว่าในขณะนี้มีอะไรอยู่บ้าง โดยไม่หลวงว่าสิ่งที่เห็นเป็นของตัวเป็นของตน คือไม่มองด้านในผ่านแว่นสี คือความรู้สึกว่าเรา หรือของเรา มนุษย์ส่วนมากมักห่างไกลจากตัวเอง ไม่รู้จักเลย บางคนชอบบ่นว่าคนอื่นไม่รู้จักเขาหรือไม่เข้าใจเขา แต่ตัวเขาเองก็ไม่เข้าใจตัวเองเท่าไร แล้วทำไมคนอื่นจะต้องเข้าใจ น่าจะเห็นว่าเป็นเรื่องธรรมดา

นักปฏิบัติผู้เฝ้าสังเกตจิตใจ จะต้องเห็นว่าอารมณ์ใดเกิดบ่อย อารมณ์ใดเกิดไม่ค่อยบ่อย จะต้องเห็นความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างอารมณ์ต่าง ๆ

...

นักวิชาการชาวตะวันตกบางคน เคยตำหนิพระพุทธศาสนาว่า เป็นศาสนาที่มองชีวิตในแง่ร้าย แต่ผู้ใดลงมือปฏิบัติธรรมย่อมเห็นว่าความเป็นจริงแล้ว พระพุทธศาสนามองชีวิตของมนุษย์ในแง่ดี มองในแง่สร้างสรรค์ ต่างจากศาสนาอื่นด้วยซ้ำไป คือเราเชื่อในความสามารถของมนุษย์ ศาสนาอื่นนั้นมักจะไม่ค่อยให้ความสำคัญแก่ชาติปัจจุบัน หากมองเป็นแค่อารัมภบทก่อนขึ้นสวรรค์นิรันดรหรือตกนรกนิรันดร ไม่เชื่อในศักยภาพของมนุษย์ที่จะพ้นจากความทุกข์ในชาตินี้ แต่ทางพระพุทธศาสนาเห็นว่า ชาตินี้สำคัญ การที่เราเกิดเป็นมนุษย์เป็นสิ่งที่ประเสริฐ เพราะว่าเรามีความสามารถพิเศษบางอย่าง คือเรามีความสามารถในการละความชั่ว บำเพ็ญกุศลความดี และการชำระจิตใจของตน

พระธรรมเทศนา: พระอาจารย์ ชยสาโร ภิกขุ

"You cannot stop the waves, but you can learn to surf."

Joseph Goldstein

Monday, August 22, 2005


The principle of mindfulness practice is simple: to bring our minds back to our bodies, to produce our true presence, to become fully alive, and there you are!

In the Jewish tradition, and in the Christian tradition,
we used to say
"doing everything as though in the presence of God."
God is witnessing everything that is happening to us.
You do everything as though in the presence of God.

That is another kind of language,
but pointing to the same reality.


Many people in the Christian tradition speak in that way:
the Holy Spirit is the energy of God, and it is in us.
We can profit from it, and we can help it to be generated, and enhance the quality of each minute of our daily lives.

Mindfulness and concentration always bring insight,
and insight is the liberating factor.
We suffer because there is a lack of insight into our nature,
and into the nature of reality.

In the teaching of the Buddha, the processes—mindfulness,
concentration and insight—are the essence of the practice.

The energy of mindfulness contains within itself the energy of concentration;
and concentration always contains the capacity of seeing deeply...

The ultimate aim of the practice is the insight that liberates us from
our fear, our ignorance, our loneliness, and our despair.

Mindfulness Trainings should be looked upon as the practice of mindfulness, and not as a set of rules. If you look at them as a set of rules, you are caught by what the Buddha described as the attachment to rituals and rules, and this is not a good thing in Buddhism. You should not be a victim of rules and rituals.

So be careful when you study and practice.

The Buddha warned us about getting caught in rituals.
We don’t do things for the sake of being polite.
All these rituals would be nothing if they were empty of life, namely empty of the energy of mindfulness and concentration.
If the energy of mindfulness and concentration is there,
you don’t need any rituals, but anything that happens may look like a ritual.

When the priest celebrates the Eucharist, breaking the bread and pouring the wine, he should not perform it only as a ritual.

It is not the gesture and the words that create the miracle of the Eucharist—it is his capacity for being alive, of being present at that moment, it is his capacity for making the whole congregation wake up to being alive, because he breaks the bread in such a way that everyone becomes awake, becomes aware that this piece of bread contains life.

That requires strong practice on the part of the priest. If he is not alive, if he is not present,
if he does not have the power of mindfulness and concentration, he will not be able to create life in the congregation, in the church.

That is why empty rituals do not mean anything.
There should be the real thing in it;

the real thing we can call the Holy Spirit.

Any of us, priest or not priest, monk or not monk,
our practice is to generate the Holy Spirit in us,
namely the energy of concentration and mindfulness.

Consider them to be an art of mindful living,
and not something imposed on you to restrict your freedom.
In fact the practice of the Mindfulness Trainings will help you
to gain more freedom every day.

Breath! you are alive.
Dharma Talk given by Thich Nhat Hanh on August 3, 1998 in Plum Village, France.
[Taking Care of our Mental Formations and Perceptions]

Painting by Jody Uttal

We suffer NOT because things are impermanent
We suffer because we are not aware of that nature of impermanence in life.

There is no such thing as permanent and separate.
Everything is impermanent; everything has the nature of inter-being.
Nothing can be by itself alone, everything has to inter-be with everything else

Without impermanence, nothing can be possible.
Don’t complain about impermanence.
Impermanence is not a bad thing either.

If things are not impermanent, how could a grain of corn become a corn plant?
How could your child grow up? So impermanence is just simply the ground of life.

- Thich Nhat Hanh

Ask yourself "where did a mango came from?"
Buddhism teaches us to see that a mango doesn't just come from a mango seed.
It comes from the soil, the water, the rain, the cloud, the sun, the changes of the seasons, and perhaps a farmer who nurtures it. Missing just one condition, a mango tree wouldn't arise as it would; a mango wouldn't exist as it would. This shows the nature of impermanence and the inter-being.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Awareness of impermanence is encouraged, so that when it is coupled with our appreciation of the enormous potential of our human existence, it will give us a sense of urgency that I must use every precious moment.
-The 14th Dalai Lama

After all
We will never again have the chance to be born into a body like this one.
- Kalu Rinpoche

On the day that you were born, you began to die.
Do not waste a single moment more!
- Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

and hey! don't be afraid of death...
Death is neither depressing nor exciting; it is simply a fact of life.
- Sogyal Rinpoche

If you do not make good use of this free and precious life,
What good does it do to possess a human body?
- Shabkar

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Suzuki Roshi summed up all the teachings of Buddhism in three simple words:
'Not always so'

Quoted by Jack Kornfield

Friday, August 19, 2005

"There are many moments when you cry for your child, and that's exactly what happens with God. As a parent, you watch your child going wrong and there's not very much you can do to stop them. You have tried to teach them what is right, but now it s their life and they are mucking it up.

And all of us are God's chrildren.

I frequently say, I'm so glad I'm not God!
Can you imagine having to say 'Bin Laden is my child, Saddam Hussein is my child, George Bush is my child.' Oh! All of them, including me. Can you imagine what God must have felt watching the Holocaust? Watching the Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Watching Rwanda? Can you imagine God watching Darfur? Imagine God watching Irag and saying, 'there are my children here, and they are killing my other children, And I can't do anything because I have said to them, I give you the space to be you and that space enables you to make choices. And I can't stop you when you make the wrong choices. All I can do is sit here and cry.' And God cries until God sees beautiful people who care, even if they may not do earth-shattering things.

There is a fantastic story of a so called coloured woman who was driven from her home and ostracized by her family because she had HIV/AIDES. She came to live ina home for people who suffered from the disease, and there were white men there who would help her because she couldn't do anything herfelf. She was all skin and bones. They would carry her like a baby and wash her, bathe her, feed her. Then they woud put her in front of a television set and hold her. And this was during the apartheid years. I visited this home and said, "What an incredible lession in loving and compassion and caring."

It was transfiguring something ugly, letting something beautiful come from a death-making disease. When God sees that, a smile breaks forth on God's face and God smiles through the tears. It's like when the sun shines through the rain.
The world may never know about these little transfigurations, but these little acts of love are potent. They are moving our universe so that it will become the kind of place God wants it to be. And so, yes you wipe tears from God's eyes and God smiles."

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Watch the entire interview online
When God smiles
- interview by Jessica Roemischer

Thursday, August 18, 2005


"I believe in God, only I spell it Nature." - Frank Lloyd Wright



When asked where it is that they experience God, many people point to various aspects of nature: the ocean, the beauty of sunset, the silence of towering forest...
that they feel closet to God.

Lapierre suggests that for many people the mystery and beauty of the natural world is where the Transcendent is most powerful encountered.

Lapierre writes, "My claim is that however we experience God. God is clearly greater than our capacity to comprehend or to control."

It is the Mystery of creation.

( from a framed info infront of the main elevator @
Brock Fahrni Pavillion in Vancouver, BC)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What is the difference between spirituality and religion?

The word religion derives from the Latin religare, which means "to tie fast" or "to bind together." According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, one definition of religion is, "a set of beliefs, values and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader." This would seem to suggest that religion is a subset of a larger rubric called spirituality.

Defining spirituality, however, is a bit like describing color to one who has never known sight. Perception will vary according to your beliefs. Of the myriad online resources attempting to answer the inquiry, "What is Spirituality?" a Unitarian Universalist minister offers this view:

Spirituality is being concerned with things of the spirit—the big questions of meaning, metaphysics, existence. Being spiritual is thinking about, wondering about, and exploring the deepest aspects of reality, values, morals, and meanings.

Spirituality is mis-defined if it is equated with super-naturalism, which tends to be the mistake I find when I hear people object to the word. Nothing about a search for values, morals, and meanings implies faith instead of reason, or emotion instead of intelligence. Spirituality can be all those things, and it is to some people, but not exclusively so.

After all, 'spirit' simply means 'breath,' as in 'inspire', 'expire' or 'inspiration.' Spirit is about being filled with life. It's about all the ways that we try to make sense of our living, and our attempts to make good from our lives.


Religion is the things we do that help us focus on the big questions.

The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhist community, has said, "My religion is kindness." This statement, like his work in the world, broadens the scope of religion to embrace its spiritual essence: both begin with how we think, feel and behave.

from "the faith factor in healthy aging"

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

There is a difference between spirituality and religion.


One aspect of spirituality is the belief that there's a level of reality that exceeds the limits of human existences that there's more to us and to life than we first perceive. Some people refer to the transcendent as Mystery or as the Other.

Spirituality involves the quest to be in relationship with this mystery.
Spirituality concerns the experience of striving for self-transcendence, to be in relationship with the other - a quality that goes beyond religion affiliation.

Spirituality is the whole life of a person lived in relationship with the Transcendent. A person's individual spirituality may or may not incorporate the rituals, practices, and beliefs of a particular religion group.

However, for billions of people throughout the world, institutionalised religion provides the setting in which personal spirituality is expressed and developed.



From framed info infront of the elevator @ Brock Farhni Hospital, Vancouver, BC

Sunday, August 14, 2005

In Buddhism, there is no God who hand out rewards or punishments on a supposedly Judgement Day. The Buddha himself rejected metaphysical speculation as a matter of principle, and his teachings focused entirely on the practical ways to end suffering.
On the other hand, the Buddha did not explicitly rule out the existence of a God or gods.

When asked whether God existed, Buddha Shakyamuni usually responded with complete silence (Om). On one occasion, he responded with a story of a man shot with a poisoned arrow:

When the doctor arrived to remove the arrow, the man grabbed the doctor's hand and asked:


"Before you start treating me, Doctor, tell me, who was it that shot me? Was he of warrior class or some other class? Was he tall or was he short? Was he young or was he old? Was he dark skinned or light skinned?"
The doctor ignored the questions and removed the arrow. Had he taken the time to answer the questions, the patient would have died.

"For this reason," said the Buddha, "I will not answer your question about God. If I did, you would just spend your time in endless speculation, and never awaken from your current state."