zen - zen 2   

Live one meditative day
well, with morality, wisdom
and goodness, rather than
a hundred years badly.


Buddhism is a movement emphasizing self-education with the aim
of unlocking and developing our inherent Buddha nature while at
the same time bringing forth diverse wisdom and using various
expedient means to help others tap their Buddhahood.  This
development of potential, this education of oneself and others,
is the noblest path a human being can ever pursue.

Daisaku Ikeda
Buddhism Day by Day


If you want release from suffering then be done with doubt, desire, and passion.  Strengthen your practice, understand goodness and truth, and you will be free of suffering.

A true holy person delights in what he or she is given, regardless of how much or how little.  They are not attached to anything and live a life of loving kindness towards all.  Such a life will find that place of peace.
Believe nothing on the faith of traditions, even though they have been held in honor for many generations and in diverse places. Do not believe a thing because many people speak of it. Do not believe on the faith of the sages of the past. Do not believe what you yourself have imagined, persuading yourself that a God inspires you. Believe nothing on the sole authority of your masters and priests. After examination, believe what you yourself have tested and found to be reasonable, and conform your conduct thereto.

If you are absorbed in acquiring family, money, and possessions, death will come and sweep you away.  No one can save you from this.  So seize the time, learn your practice and follow the path that leads to Nirvana.

Trained mules, horses and elephants are all useful, but a well-trained mind is even more so.  No trained animal can lead you to Nirvana, but a well-trained mind can.
Suffering arrives in ten ways if you harm the innocent:  pain, calamity, accident, illness, insanity, legal problems, accusations, death or financial ruin; or your house may be burnt down.  Following this you will go to hell.


Ambition and anger will disappear when you
stop concerning yourself with the fruits of your actions.



Look at the world as a mirage, as a bubble floating in front
of you.  See it like this and death will have no fear for you,
and you will not be attached to the world.


There will never be a person who receives only blame
or only praise.  But an enlightened being, endowed with
qualities of wisdom, insight and discipline, is free from blame.


Whatever befalls you, even if it be death, do not let dark thoughts
enter your mind.  Make a great effort to establish mindfulness and
calm the body and mind so that both are firm and resolved.


Bad actions create bad consequences.  Good actions create
good consequences.  Undertake only good actions, but make
sure you protect yourself and don't waste even a second.  For
time wasted means you are not going forward quickly enough.

If you can look at situations with a balanced point of view, without
attachment or indulging in harmful acts, then it may be said that
you are living a proper life, a righteous life.


On life's journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter,
wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection
by night.  If a person lives a pure life nothing can destroy him or
her; If one has conquered greed nothing can limit one's freedom.

The slightest trace of desire will keep you suckling on the teat
of materialism.  Remove every desire, as you would pluck an autumn lotus.

Be forever cautious among the worldly, alert among the apathetic.
With this attitude you will soon leave others behind, since this
will mark you as aware, while others will be seen as idle.


I like the relaxed way in which the Japanese approach religion.  I think
of myself as basically a moral person, but I'm definitely not religious,
and I'm very tired of the preachiness and obsession with other people's
behavior characteristic of many religious people in the United States.
As far as I could tell, there's nothing preachy about Buddhism.  I was
in a lot of temples, and I still don't know what Buddhists believe, except
that at one point Kunio said "If you do bad things, you will be reborn as
an ox."  This makes as much sense to me as anything I ever heard from,
for example, the Reverend Pat Robertson.

Dave Barry
Dave Barry Does Japan


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I do not believe in a fate that falls on people however they act;
but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.

An untrained mind cannot resist the torrent of desire, while one
that is steeped in practice and discipline is able to deflect any
temptations, like a house with a solid roof remaining/
watertight in a shower of rain.


There are those who are sorry for deeds which they need
not worry about, and not sorry for deeds which they should
worry about.  These people are on the wrong path.

Live your life in happiness, even though those around you live
their lives in hatred and wish to spread their antipathy to you.
Be happiness itself.

Effort given to satisfying material desires is rewarded only with suffering
and fear.  Avoid material desires and you avoid suffering and fear.


The Four Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truths comprise the essence of Buddha's teachings, though they leave much left unexplained.  They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.  More simply put, suffering exists; it has a cause; it has an end; and it has a cause to bring about its end.  The notion of suffering is not intended to convey a negative world view, but rather, a pragmatic perspective that deals with the world as it is, and attempts to rectify it.  The concept of pleasure is not denied, but acknowledged as fleeting.  Pursuit of pleasure can only continue what is ultimately an unquenchable thirst.  The same logic belies an understanding of happiness.  In the end, only aging, sickness, and death are certain and unavoidable.

from pbs.org

When we are able to walk happily on the Earth, in touch with
the wonders of life—with the beautiful birds, trees, and blue sky—
feeling happy, at peace, and at ease, then we ourselves are a
continuation of the Buddha.  The Buddha is not something outside
us.  He is a kind of energy within us.  Every day the living Buddha
is evolving and growing, manifesting in new forms.

Thich Nhat Hanh
The Art of Living

Buddhism says yes, change is possible. It tells us that no matter
what our background, each of us is the creator of his or her own
destiny. It tells us that our thoughts, our words, and our deeds
create the experience that is our future. It tells us that everything
has its own place, everything is sacred, and everything is
interconnected, and it introduces a system of integrating all
experiences into the path toward realizing innate perfection.
Science has made great progress in harnessing and understanding
matter. Buddhism, on the other hand, is a profound philosophy
that, over the centuries, has developed a systematic method of
shaping and developing the heart and mind: a method
of awakening the Buddha within.

Lama Surya Das
Awakening the Buddha Within


If you cannot find a good companion to travel with, walk
alone, like an elephant roaming the jungle.  It is better to be
alone than to be with those who will hinder your progress.

It is hard to live in the world and hard to live outside it.  It is
difficult to live with those who revel in the world and difficult not
to have a permanent home.  Be at peace and your suffering will end.


The Path (the fourth Noble Truth)

1. *Samma-Ditthi — Complete or Perfect Vision, also translated as right view or understanding.  Vision of the nature of reality and the path of transformation.

2. Samma-Sankappa — Perfected Emotion or Aspiration, also translated as right thought or attitude.  Liberating emotional intelligence in your life and acting from love and compassion.  An informed heart and feeling mind that are free to practice letting go.

3. Samma-Vaca — Perfected or whole Speech.  Also called right speech.  Clear, truthful, uplifting and non-harmful communication.

4. Samma-Kammanta — Integral Action.  Also called right action.  An ethical foundation for life based on the principle of non-exploitation of oneself and others.  The five precepts.

5. Samma-Ajiva — Proper Livelihood.  Also called right livelihood.  This is a livelihood based on correct action, the ethical principal of non-exploitation.  The basis of an Ideal society.

6. Samma-Vayama  Complete or Full Effort, Energy or Vitality. Also called right effort or diligence.  Consciously directing our life energy to the transformative path of creative and healing action that fosters wholeness.  Conscious evolution.

7. Samma-Sati  Complete or Thorough Awareness.  Also called "right mindfulness".  Developing awareness, "if you hold yourself dear watch yourself well".  Levels of Awareness and mindfulness--of things, oneself, feelings, thought, people and Reality.

8. Samma-Samadhi — Full, Integral or Holistic Samadhi.  This is often translated as concentration, meditation, absorption or one-pointedness of mind.  None of these translations is adequate.  Samadhi literally means to be fixed, absorbed in or established at one point, thus the first level of meaning is concentration when the mind is fixed on a single object.  The second level of meaning goes further and represents the establishment, not just of the mind, but also of the whole being in various levels or modes of consciousness and awareness.  This is Samadhi in the sense of enlightenment or Buddhahood.

* The word Samma means 'proper', 'whole', 'thorough', 'integral', 'complete', and 'perfect'--related to English 'summit' - It does not necessarily mean 'right', as opposed to 'wrong'.  However it is often translated as "right" which can send a less than accurate message.  For instance the opposite of 'Right Awareness' is not necessarily 'Wrong Awareness'. It may simply be incomplete.  Use of the word 'right' may make for a neat or consistent list of qualities in translations.  The down side is that it can give the impression that the Path is a narrow and moralistic approach to the spiritual life.  I use variant interpretations so you consider the depth of meanings.  What do these things mean in your life right now?

-John Allan


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Once you are living your life in awareness, it will be as though
you stand high above others, witnessing their suffering,
while you do not suffer at all.

The good desire nothing, do not speak of cravings and, regardless
of what happens, are not influenced by good or bad.
Such actions will highlight them as special people.


Speak only endearing speech, speech that is welcome.
Speech, when it brings no evil to others, is a pleasant thing.

Buddhism teaches that human life is endowed simultaneously with
both good and evil.  The human mind is interpreted as partaking of
ten different conditions, or states, including, at one end of the
scale, hell, which is filled with suffering; hunger, dominated by
greed; and animality, characterized by fear of the strong and
contempt for the weak.  At the other end are the Bodhisattva and
Buddha conditions--states of mind in which people strive to help
others by eliminating suffering and imparting happiness.  Buddhism
further teaches that the nature of life is for good and evil
to be essentially inseparable.

Daisaku Ikeda
Buddhism Day by Day

We cannot live without being this moment, because that’s what
our life is.  Being led by it is to see it, feel it, taste it, touch it,
experience it, and then let it dictate what is to be done.  The
Buddha says that when you do this without relying on your own
physical and mental power—that is, without your personal
opinions as to how things should be—you become released
from both life and death and become a Buddha.  Why?  Why do
you become a Buddha?  Because you are a Buddha.  You are this
moment of life. You can’t be anything else.

Charlotte Joko Beck
Everyday Zen: Love and Work



When Walker first steps onto the road, he has no thoughts, no history, no memories, and no clothes. As he travels and meets people and learns from them, he comes to know more about life, living, and becoming the person he's meant to be. Walker is a parable for all of us who wonder what might be the purpose of life, why bad things happen with almost as much regularity as good things, and how we can learn from the bad examples and experiences in our lives as much as we can learn from the good things. Tom Walsh's parable is a story of the ages, a timeless exploration of ideas and thoughts that all of us wonder about, a sincere and heartfelt portrait of a man who has no past and no future, but who learns to make the most of each precious present moment as it comes.