Friday, March 16, 2012

Try to Be Present

"...Unfortunately, we are very often absent. We talk with each other, but we are not there; we shake hands, but we are not there; we eat our breakfast and dinner, but we are not there; we are in the news, in the papers, in our failures, defeats, hatreds, jealousies; yet we are not there.

Who is shaking the hand? Who is talking with that friend? Who is eating that dinner, if you are not there? Very probably you are obsessed and possessed, and you are absent. Try to exist. Try to be present. Try to be there in your actions, talks, and thoughts. ..."

~Torkom Saraydarian

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Let a Rock Speak of Its Essence

Even a stone, and more easily a flower or a bird, could show you the way back to God, to the Source, to yourself. When you look at it or hold it & let it be without imposing a word of mental label on it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you. Its essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you.

Eckhart Tolle

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Way

When you find the way
Others will find you
Passing by on the road
They will be drawn to your door
The way that cannot be heard
will be reflected in your voice
The way that cannot be seen
Will be reflected in your eyes

-Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Monday, March 05, 2012

More on Trying

[B]e not discouraged, but try, ever keep trying; twenty failures are not irremediable if followed by as many undaunted struggles upward; is it not so that mountains are climbed? (Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. 12, Esoteric Instructions)

Sunday, March 04, 2012


Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

Lao Tzu

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

May Be

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically. "May be," the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. "How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed. "May be," replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. "May be," answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. "May be," said the farmer.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You Get Out of Something What You Put Into It

A new student approached the Zen master and asked how he should prepare himself for his training. "Think of me a bell," the master explained. "Give me a soft tap, and you will get a tiny ping. Strike hard, and you'll receive a loud, resounding peal."

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Sea of Suffering

"No matter how far out on the sea of suffering we've sailed,
all that is required is to turn toward awakening.
It's never too late, but it takes that turning, and no one can do that for us."
~Bonnie Myotai Treace

Sunday, February 26, 2012


“Moderation, the Golden Mean, the Aristonmetron, is the secret of wisdom and of happiness. But it does not mean embracing an unadventurous mediocrity; rather it is an elaborate balancing act, a feat of intellectual skill demanding constant vigilance. Its aim is a reconciliation of opposites.” ~Robertson Davies

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Buddha is Among You

The abbot of a once famous Buddhist monastery that had fallen into decline was deeply troubled. Monks were lax in their practice, novices were leaving and lay supporters deserting to other centers. He traveled far to a sage and recounted his tale of woe, of how much he desired to transform his monastery to the flourishing haven it had been in days of yore.

The sage looked him in the eye and said, "The reason your monastery has languished is that the Buddha is living among you in disguise, and you have not honored Him." The abbot hurried back, his mind in turmoil

The Selfless One was at his monastery! Who could He be? Brother Hua?...No, he was full of sloth. Brother Po?...No, he was too dull. But then the Tathagata was in disguise. What better disguise than sloth or dull- wittedness? He called his monks to him and revealed the sage's words. They, too, were taken aback and looked at each other with suspicion and awe.

Which one of them was the Chosen One?

The disguise was perfect. Not knowing who He was they took to treating everyone with the respect due to a Buddha. Their faces started shining with an inner radiance that attracted novices and then lay supporters.

In no time at all the monastery far surpassed its previous glory.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Best Season

Ten thousand flowers in spring
the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer,
snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Hunter and the Bird

A  hunter once caught a small bird.  ‘Master,’ said the bird, ‘you have eaten many animals bigger than I without assuaging your appetite.     How can the flesh of my tiny body satisfy you?  If you let me go, I will give you three counsels: one while I am still in your hand, the second when I am on your roof, and the third from the top of a tree.  When you have heard all three, you will consider yourself the most fortunate of men.  The first counsel is this: “Do not believe the foolish pronouncements of others.” ’

The bird flew on to the roof, from where it gave the second counsel, ‘ “Have no regrets for what is past.”  Concealed in my body is a precious pearl weighing five ounces.  It was yours by right, and now it is gone.’  Hearing this the man began to bewail his misfortune.    ‘Why are you so upset?’ asked the bird.  ‘Did I not say, “Have no regrets for what is past”?  Are you deaf, or did you not understand what I told you?  I also said, “Do not believe the foolish pronouncements of others.”  I weigh less than two ounces, so how could I possibly conceal a pearl weighing five?’

Coming to his senses, the hunter asked for the third counsel.  ‘Seeing how much you heeded the first two, why should I waste the third?’ replied the bird.

Adapted from The Mathnawi of Jalalu’ddin Rumi, IV

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Ghost of My Dead Wife

The wife of a man became very sick. On her deathbed, she said to him, "I love you so much! I don't want to leave you, and I don't want you to betray me. Promise that you will not see any other women once I die, or I will come back to haunt you."

For several months after her death, the husband did avoid other women, but then he met someone and fell in love. On the night that they were engaged to be married, the ghost of his former wife appeared to him. She blamed him for not keeping the promise, and every night thereafter she returned to taunt him. The ghost would remind him of everything that transpired between him and his fiancee that day, even to the point of repeating, word for word, their conversations. It upset him so badly that he couldn't sleep at all.

Desperate, he sought the advice of a Zen master who lived near the village. "This is a very clever ghost," the master said upon hearing the man's story. "It is!" replied the man. "She remembers every detail of what I say and do. It knows everything!" The master smiled, "You should admire such a ghost, but I will tell you what to do the next time you see it."

That night the ghost returned. The man responded just as the master had advised. "You are such a wise ghost," the man said, "You know that I can hide nothing from you. If you can answer me one question, I will break off the engagement and remain single for the rest of my life." "Ask your question," the ghost replied. The man scooped up a handful of beans from a large bag on the floor, "Tell me exactly how many beans there are in my hand."

At that moment the ghost disappeared and never returned.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The True Path

Just before Ninakawa passed away the Zen master Ikkyu visited him.
"Shall I lead you on?" Ikkyu asked.

Ninakawa replied: "I came here alone and I go alone. What help could
you be to me?"

Ikkyu answered: "If you think you really come and go, that is your
delusion. Let me show you the path on which there is no coming and

With his words, Ikkyu had revealed the path so clearly that Ninakawa
smiled and passed away.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What is Enlightenment?

A student once asked his teacher, "Master, what is enlightenment?"

The master replied, "When hungry, eat. When tired, sleep."