Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sangha meeting

This Sunday we sat while the rain steadily drummed on the roof. By the time we rose to stroll around, the rain had abated, gently falling still. The reading of the day was on pages 252-255 of Food for the Heart by Ajahn Chah. Here's a link to the Google book. A synopsis of the work can also be read here. The selection read on Sunday was from the chapter Samma Samadhi: Detachment Within Activity.

When were talking afterward, someone asked me if I could recommend any books on Buddhism. There are quite a few to choose from, of course. Some of my favorite authors currently writing are Pema Chödrön, Thich Nhat Hanh, and the Dalai Lama. Other favorites include the late D.T. Suzuki, Jack Kornfield, and Sharon Salzberg.

That said - I often will just wander in the library and pick out books I haven't read, unknown authors.

Next week, Terrence agreed to provide the reading for the Dharma talk. Laura said she will bring some sort of snacks.

Please come by and sit with us at 1 p.m. if you wish.

Monday, May 24, 2010


The Huffington Post has a short & very non-sectarian interview with Thich Nhat Hanh. I think this approach is good. I am a Buddhist, but I also believe that the truths of life do not need to be named & are quite perceptible if we just stop to look inside ourselves.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Buddhism & Jeff Bridges???

Here is a really interesting interview with Jeff Bridges (who knew???)and his Buddhist practice.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the magazine "Tricycle", look it up and check it out...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Beyond Duality

Do not let the mind dwell in thought of what is good or what is bad - Just relax and forget that you are meditating.


Meditation: An Enjoyable Skill

Came across this today...

"When explaining meditation, the Buddha often drew analogies with the skills of artists, carpenters, musicians, archers, and cooks. Finding the right level of effort, he said, is like a musician’s tuning of a lute. Reading the mind’s needs in the moment—to be gladdened, steadied, or inspired—is like a palace cook’s ability to read and please the tastes of a prince.

Collectively, these analogies make an important point: Meditation is a skill, and mastering it should be enjoyable in the same way mastering any other rewarding skill can be. The Buddha said as much to his son, Rahula: “When you see that you’ve acted, spoken, or thought in a skillful way—conducive to happiness while causing no harm to yourself or others—take joy in that fact and keep on training.”

-Thanissaro Bhikkhu, "The Joy of Effort" (Summer 2008)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New issue of socially engaged Buddhists published

I had never seen this href="">newsletter before. Interesting. This issue includes coverage of the "Wisdom 2.0 conference" and perspectives of different Buddhist scholars and leaders.

Not sure what Wisdom 2.0 is - but why not?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Two flower blossoms in the woods

I was walking around yesterday, looking at the world. First, I saw this beautiful magnolia blossom. Smelling sweet. Just perfectly formed, white and pure and fresh, glowing against the dark of the forest. I photographed it, and as I released the blossom from my hand, I saw the stamens fall apart. I saw that the flower now was decaying minute by minute. Then I saw the neighboring flower. It had bloomed earlier, and now it was brown and withered.

And this is the nature of things. Yes, the beauty of the flower exists, but how can I saw that the flower is beautiful. Certainly its sweet scent is fading quickly. The fresh petals will soon be brown and dried. So it is with all composite things. They are subject to change. To pretend otherwise is to seek pain.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Heart of Buddha's Teaching

We met on Sunday - about 10 of us - at the Councill House. Ryan provided the reading from The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching.

Here is an excerpt.
"As we study and practice the Eightfold Path, we see that each element of the path is contained with each of the other seven elements. We also see that each element of the path contains the Noble Truths of suffering, the making suffering, and the end of suffering."

We will meet again on Sunday as planned. Jeremiah is bringing refreshments. Margaret is providing the reading.

Friday, May 7, 2010


After the Flower Sermon,
Ananda Addresses the Forest


The green twig of Buddha
and the dead brown branch of Buddha-
surely, He is everywhere.
Blessed is the sunlight
and blessed the dark where the trail ends.

The lizard shimmering on the cedar log
is Buddha, and the dead squirrel by the path.
Even the fallen flower and the path's stones.

The gray lark that preaches: Even in death
we are in life.

Blessed the slender bamboo
and the stout,
the long body of Buddha
and the short.
Blessed His abundance everywhere!

The swallows diving in the air
and the ants that climb in martial line
cannot escape enlightenment,
for one day's sunlight is their prayer.

The stumbling beetle that pushes
the diamond-body of his dung
and the great owl that shouts in daylight
are the Enlightened One. And the firefly
and the owl's downy-winged mate,
certain as the stream-brightened stones,
as the shaded moss where the path begins.

- by David Manning, an organic chemist, poet and North Carolina resident

Letting the mind clear

I often compare the mind in meditation to a jar of muddy water:
the more we leave the water without interfering or stirring it,
the more the particles of dirt will sink to the bottom,
letting the natural clarity of the water shine through.

Sogyal Rinpoche

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spring in the Appalachian Mountains

Planting Seeds!

An exciting day yesterday! After a few weeks of preparing the soil, Meredith planted some seeds in the garden at the Councill House. Sangha members have assisted in the process of preparing the earth, turning over the soil, picking out the rocks (nice quartz!), and shaking soil loose from the clumps of turf. It's a pretty good sized garden - about 20 by 10 feet - so Meredith will probably need some help with weeding. I'm hoping that sangha members can assist along the way. Caring for a garden can be quite a meditative practice.

For the reading yesterday, Dianne read a selection on forgiveness from the book "One Breath at a Time."

Unfortunately, we all left without anyone making a commitment to provide the reading or refreshments for next week. But - I'm sure this issue will get resolved when the time comes.

And - today - beautiful steady rain. Great for the newly planted seeds.