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”

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

right speech

April 7, 2010

If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind.

– Buddha

the false idol of time

February 24, 2010

The politics of those whose goal is beyond time are always pacific; it is the idolaters of past and future, of reactionary memory and Utopian dream, who do the persecuting and make the wars.

– Aldous Huxley, from “The Perennial Philosophy”

be nice

February 21, 2010

It’s rather embarrassing to have given one’s entire life to pondering the human predicament and to find that in the end one has little more to say than, “try to be a little kinder.”

– Aldous Huxley, as quoted by Huston Smith

same as it ever was

January 31, 2010

At the heart of Christianity, which defines much of Western civilization, and Buddhism, a driving force in Eastern culture, lies the same basic wisdom.  Both Jesus and Buddha focused on the individual, emphasizing that the inner person is more vital than the outer image, and that each of us needs to look at our own life rather than criticizing others.  They use the same imagery of light and darkness, sun and rain, the fruitful and the barren in describing their moral world.

Contemporary scholars searching for the historical Jesus are placing increasing emphasis on his role as a first-century sage.  Many of the aphorisms they cite in portraying him as a wisdom sayer embody the same advice that Buddha provided to his followers five hundred years earlier.

– Marcus Borg, from “Jesus & Buddha – The Parallel Sayings”

loving the unlovable

January 25, 2010

Metta, or lovingkindness, is one of the most important Buddhist practices. Simply stated, metta is the heartfelt wish for the well-being of oneself and others. When describing metta, the Buddha used the analogy of the care a mother gives her only child. Lovingkindness is also understood as the innate friendliness of an open heart. Its close connection to friendship is reflected in its similarity to the Pali word for friend, mitta. However, metta is more than conventional friendship, for it includes being openhearted even toward one’s enemies, developed from insight into our shared humanity.

– Gil Fronsdal, from “Five Practices to Change Your Mind”