What we do matters

Dec 13


“When the Dalai Lama was here some years ago, he was asked by somebody giving a talk about these two aspects of the teachings, understanding emptiness and the ultimate nature of all experience, and then understanding the law of karma in the relative world, the world of relationship. He was asked if he had to make a choice between these two approaches and could only teach one, which one would he teach? He said he would teach the law of karma because, in each and every moment, if we understand that law, we have the possibility of really transforming our lives.

“The middle way is a view of life that avoids the extreme of misguided grasping born of believing there is something we can find, or buy, or cling to that will not change. And it avoids the despair and nihilism born from the mistaken belief that nothing matters, that all is meaningless. It avoids these extremes by offering us a vision that is empowered by its alliance with the truth of how things are: that everything arises, but also passes; that what we do matters, though we won’t find anything that does not change; that totems against impermanence won’t keep us safe, but we can, in accordance with laws of nature such as karma, create a life filled with wisdom and love.”

~ Sharon Salzberg
Read the full article from which this excerpt comes here

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A wise and prudent friend

Dec 13


Daily Words of the Buddha for December 13, 2014

Sace labhetha nipakaṃ sahāyaṃ
saddhiṃ caraṃ sādhuvihāridhīraṃ,
abhibhuyya sabbāni parissayāni,
careyya tenattamano satīmā.

Listen: http://host.pariyatti.org/dwob/dhammapada_23_328.mp3

If for company you find a wise and prudent friend
who leads a good life,
you should, overcoming all impediments,
keep their company joyously and mindfully.

Dhammapada 23.328

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With a compassionate heart

Dec 12


Since sky and earth are mindless,
They last forever.
What has mind has limits.
A person who has attained
The Path is like this too.
In the midst of no activity,
She carries out her activities,
Accepting all unfavorable
And favorable circumstances
With a compassionate heart.

~ Yunmen (864-949)

Quote courtesy of DailyZen.com

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Like water behind a dam

Dec 11


Bhante Gunaratana, abbot of the Bhavana Society Forest Monastery in High View, W.Va.

Traditionally, Buddhists are reluctant to talk about the ultimate nature of human beings. But those who are willing to make descriptive statements at all usually say that our ultimate essence or Buddha nature is pure, holy and inherently good. The only reason that human beings appear otherwise is that their experience of that ultimate essence has been hindered; it has been blocked like water behind a dam.

The hindrances are the bricks of which the dam is built. As mindfulness dissolves the bricks, holes are punched in the dam and compassion and sympathetic joy come flooding forward. As meditative mindfulness develops, your whole experience of life changes. Your experience of being alive, the very sensation of being conscious, becomes lucid and precise, no longer just an unnoticed background for your preoccupations. It becomes a thing consistently perceived.”

~ Bhante Gunaratana
from “Mindfulness in Plain English”

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Getting rid of people

Nov 30

chah-1The teachings of the Buddha get rid of people and give rise to venerables. In other words, they get rid of what’s wrong in the mind. Only then can what’s right arise. They get rid of what’s evil so that goodness can arise. As when your house is dirty: if you sweep it out and wipe away the dirt, it’ll be clean — because the dirt is gone. As long as what’s wrong in the mind isn’t gone, what’s right can’t arise. If you don’t meditate, you won’t know the truth. The Buddha’s Dhamma is very powerful. If it couldn’t change your heart, it wouldn’t be a Dhamma with any power. But the Dhamma can turn ordinary people into noble ones, because it enables people with wrong views to give rise to right views.

~ Venerable Ajahn Chah, from the downloadable free e-book “It’s Like This”
Available at: http://buddhismnow.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/itslikethis-ajahn-chah.pdf

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New Bhavana Society Social Media Resources

Nov 29


Those of you who have visited the Bhavana Society Therevadan Forest Monastery in High View, W.Va., the first Therevadan forest monastery in North America, know what a special place it is. Led by internationally known abbot and Buddhist scholar Bhante Gunaratana, Bhavana is a rich source of Buddhist teachings rooted in the Pali canon and the Buddha’s original teachings. Within the past year, some lay followers have developed some social media sites that feature Dhamma videos of teachings by Bhante G and other Bhavana monks, Dhamma quotes and imagery.





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A Meditation on Forgiveness

Nov 18


A Meditation on Forgiveness,
A Guided Meditation by Ven. Ayya Khema

“Please put the attention on the breath.

“Have forgiveness in your heart for anything you think you’ve done wrong . Forgive yourself for all the past omissions and commissions. They are long gone. Understand that you were a different person and this one is forgiving that one that you were. Feel that forgiveness filling you and enveloping you with a sense of warmth and ease.

Think of your parents. Forgive them for anything you have ever blamed them for. Understand that they too are different now. Let this forgiveness fill them, surround them, knowing in your heart that this is your most wonderful way of togetherness.

Think of your nearest and dearest people . Forgive them for anything that you think they have done wrong or are doing wrong at this time. Fill them with your forgiveness. Let them feel that you accept them. Let that forgiveness fill them. Realizing that this is your expression of love.

Now think of your friends. Forgive them for anything you have disliked about them. Let your forgiveness reach out to them, so that they can be filled with it, embraced by it.

Think of the people you know, whoever they might be, and forgive them all for whatever it is that you have blamed them for, that you have judged them for, that you have disliked. Let your forgiveness fill their hearts, surround them, envelope them, be your expression of love for them.

Now think of any special person whom you really need to forgive. Towards whom you still have resentment, rejection, dislike. Forgive him or her fully. Remember that everyone has dukkha. Let this forgiveness come from your heart. Reach out to that person, complete and total.

Think of any one person, or any situation, or any group of people whom you are condemning, blaming, disliking. Forgive them, completely. Let your forgiveness be your expression of unconditional love. They may not do the right things. Human beings have dukkha. And your heart needs the forgiveness in order to have purity of love.

Have a look again and see whether there’s anyone or anything, any where in the world, towards whom you have blame or condemnation. And forgive the people or the person, so that there is no separation your heart.

Now put your attention back on yourself. And recognize the goodness in you. The effort you are making. Feel the warmth and ease that comes from forgiveness.”

May all beings have forgiveness in their hearts!

+ + +

FROM http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/forgiveness.htm

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Where meditation will carry you

Nov 15


“Meditation will not carry you to another world, but it will reveal the most profound and awesome dimensions of the world in which you already live.

“Calmly contemplating these dimensions and bringing them into the service of compassion and kindness is the right way to make rapid gains in meditation as well as in life.”

~ Hsing Yun
(quote courtesy of

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Mind is the Nucleus of Life

Nov 13

mindtree“Mind is the nucleus of life. When there is no real peace and rest in the mind, the whole life will collapse. People naturally try to overcome their miseries through pleasing the senses: they drink, gamble, sing and dance, all the time having the illusion that they are enjoying the real happiness of life. Sense stimulation is not the real way to have relaxation. The more we try to please the senses through sensual pleasures, the more will we become slaves to the senses. There will be no end to our craving for satisfaction.

“The real way to relax is to calm the senses by the control of mind. If we can control the mind, then we will be able to control everything. When the mind is free from mental disturbances it can see many things which others cannot see with their naked eyes. Ultimately, we will be able to attain our salvation and find peace and happiness.”

~ From “What Buddhist Believe”
by Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera

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Straighten Your Mind

Nov 12


A mind agitated, wavering,
Hard to guard and hard to check,
One of wisdom renders straight
As an arrow-maker with a shaft.

From the Dhammapada, 33

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