tao art

May 14, 2010

When rain-washed coils of mountain
Appear in the sky
A refreshing wind sweeps away
The fog and clouds.
Where did you acquire the mastery
Of Yongmyon
To paint exquisite beauty
Beyond human art?

– Jaewol Kyunghun (1542-1632)

show me the way

May 9, 2010

Fallen leaves hide the mountain path.
No one around to ask directions.
An old monk sweeps the ground.
A novice rushes up to greet me.

– Jungkwan Ilson (1533-1608)

Gratitude, the simple and profound feeling of being thankful, is the foundation of all generosity.  I am generous when I believe that right now, right here, in this form and this place, I am myself being given what I need.  Generosity requires that we relinquish something, and this is impossible if we are not glad for what we have.  Otherwise the giving hand closes into a fist and won’t let go.

– Sallie Jiko Tisdale, from “As if There is Nothing to Lose”

one life, many faces

April 28, 2010

I learned the three virtues from my teacher
And watch the grass in the wind
To know Buddha nature.
When I brood all alone
In the desolate hermitage,
I realize I have lived many
Lives as a monk.

– Hueng Powoo (d.1565)


April 23, 2010

Spiritual practitioners thrive in unpredictable conditions, testing and refining the inner qualities of heart and mind. Every situation becomes an opportunity to abandon judgment and opinions and to simply give complete attention to what is. Situations of inconvenience are terrific areas to discover, test, or develop your equanimity.

How gracefully can you compromise in a negotiation? Does your mind remain balanced when you have to drive around the block three times to find a parking space? Are you at ease waiting for a flight that is six hours delayed? These inconveniences are opportunities to develop equanimity. Rather than shift the blame onto an institution, system, or person, one can develop the capacity to opt to rest within the experience of inconvenience.

– Shaila Catherine, from “Equanimity in Every Bite”

big box love

April 13, 2010

I try to relate the Dharma to 21st-century human beings.  As Einstein said, we human beings utilize only five to ten percent of our brain’s capacity.  In the same way, we use only five to ten percent of our heart’s capacity to love and feel kindness.

Instead of boxing in our hearts, loving only me, me, me—the smallest box—we must try to slowly expand that box till we’re able to love all humanity, all sentient beings.  When we use our maximum intelligence to access these deeper levels, to go beyond the material, then we become wise.

We realize interdependence and the transitory nature of existence—this is how we free ourselves from suffering.  Then we can bring a lasting peace and happiness to the world.

– Nawang Khechog

the hurdle of conceit

April 8, 2010

The conceit of self (mana in Pali) is said to be the last of the great obstacles to full awakening.  Conceit is an ingenious creature, at times masquerading as humility, empathy, or virtue.  Conceit manifests in the feelings of being better than, worse than, and equal to another.  Within these three dimensions of conceit are held the whole tormented world of comparing, evaluating, and judging that afflicts our hearts.  Jealousy, resentment, fear, and low self-esteem spring from this deeply embedded pattern. Conceit perpetuates the dualities of “self” and “other”—the schisms that are the root of the enormous alienation and suffering in our world.  Our commitment to awakening asks us to honestly explore the ways in which conceit manifests in our lives and to find the way to its end.

– Christina Feldman