Make Some Noise

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“Many years ago in Thailand, the local villages surrounding our monastery held a party. The noise from the loudspeakers was so loud that it seemed to destroy the peace in our monastery. So we complained to our teacher, Ajahn Chah, that the noise was disturbing our meditation. The great master replied:

“It is not the noise that disturbs you, it is you who disturb the noise!”

~ AJAHN BRAHM, from “Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond: A Meditator’s Handbook” (Wisdom 2005)

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Where Waldo Is

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The Buddhamas Carol (or ‘Ode of a Vipassana Yogi’)

There just aren’t that many Buddhist Christmas carols out there. Here’s one by Bhante Yogavacara Rahula, a Theravadan Buddhist monk who guides the Lion of Wisdom Meditation Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Years ago, Bhante Rahula approached me with the verses below, set to “Silent Night,” and asked if we might record it. I grabbed my classical guitar, sought out my bandmate at the time, Casi Null, to sing harmony, and we sat in her apartment and recorded what you’ll hear. It’s unpolished (that’s a police car in the distance), but sweet. Encapsulated in its rich, dense lyrics is  a host of the Buddha’s teaching on mindfulness, meditation, and spiritual development, and how to devote oneself to the path of enlightenment that leads to nirvana (or ‘nibbana,’ as the Pali word pronounces the more familiar Sanskrit one). Born 1948 in Southern California as Scott DuPrez, Bhante Rahula became a Buddhist monk in 1975 in Sri Lanka. His colorful life story is told in “One Night’s Shelter: From Home to Homelessness,” which you can download on the book page of his blog at | May the peace of the season be with you. ~ Douglas John Imbrogno


A Buddhamas Carol (or Ode of a Vipassana Yogi)”

By Bhante Yogavacara Rahula

Silent Night, Peaceful Night,
All is calm, Stars are bright,
Round the hall Yogis sitting still,
Keeping their backs straight, exerting will,
Enduring pain without any ill-will,
Pervading Metta all throughout space,
Wishing good-will to the whole human race.


Silent Mind, Peaceful Mind,
Thoughts are few, pain is slight,
Focusing mind at the tip of the nose,
Knowing each breath as it comes and it goes,
Perceiving the light that steadily glows,
Feeling the rapture from head to the toes.

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Mind Games

“Trying to find a buddha or enlightenment is like trying to grab space. Space has a name but no form. It’s not something you can pick up or put down. And you certainly can’t grab it.

“Beyond this mind you’ll never see a buddha. The buddha is a product of your mind. Why look for a buddha beyond this mind?”

~ Bodhidharma (d. 533)

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The Wise and Prudent Friend

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“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.”

~The Buddha from The Dhammapada, 23.328

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Lou Reed with Ren GuanGyi practicing Tai Chi

As a follow up to the post regarding Lou Reed’s Meditative Death. Lou Reed studied Tai Chi (Taiji) with Master Ren Guangyi. The water -flowing 21 form of Tai Chi mentioned in that article is being taught by Lou Reed and Ren in the first video linked below:

This second link is of Ren Guangyi practicing the entire form.

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Lou Reed’s Meditative Death

This is an except from a longer piece by Laurie Anderson about her partner, Lou Reed. It speaks to the precious work that may be done in our lives in preparing for the inevitability of out deaths, via our meditative and spiritual practice. The couple were students of Yonge Mingur Rinpoche and had studied Buddhist teachings on how to prepare for death — and how to live when one spouse has a terminal illness. After Reed became sick with liver cancer and then other diseases, Anderson writes:

“We tried to understand and apply things our teacher Mingyur Rinpoche said — especially hard ones like, “You need to try to master the ability to feel sad without actually being sad.” As his death approached, he came home from the hospital: As meditators, we had prepared for this — how to move the energy up from the belly and into the heart and out through the head. I have never seen an expression as full of wonder as Lou’s as he died. His hands were doing the water-flowing 21-form of tai chi. His eyes were wide open. I was holding in my arms the person I loved the most in the world, and talking to him as he died. His heart stopped. He wasn’t afraid. I had gotten to walk with him to the end of the world.

“Life — so beautiful, painful and dazzling — does not get better than that. And death? I believe that the purpose of death is the release of love. At the moment, I have only the greatest happiness and I am so proud of the way he lived and died, of his incredible power and grace. I’m sure he will come to me in my dreams and will seem to be alive again. And I am suddenly standing here by myself stunned and grateful. How strange, exciting and miraculous that we can change each other so much, love each other so much through our words and music and our real lives.”

Full Rolling Stone article:>

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What do you lack?

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“Make no mistake about it; if you do not find it now, you will repeat the same routines for myriad eons, a thousand times over again, following and picking up on objects that attract you.

“We are no different from Shakyamuni Buddha. Today, in your various activities, what do you lack? The spiritual light coursing through your six senses has never been interrupted. If you can see in this way, you will simply be free of burdens all your life.”

~ Lin Chi
(Quote courtesy of

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The Ice Pond

Consciousness is an ice pond:
Though it is all water,
It needs the energy of the sun to melt.
When ordinary people are awakened,
They are Buddhas;
But they rely on the power of
Dharma for cultivation.
When ice melts,
Then water flows and moistens;
Only then can it perform its
Irrigating function.
When delusion is ended,
Then the mind is open and penetrating,
Responsively manifesting the function
Of the light of spiritual powers.

~ Guifeng Zongmi (780-841)

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Thought for the Day

Search back into your own vision.
Think back to the mind that thinks.
Who is it?

~ Foyan
Quote courtesy

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Observe Your Own Mind

“People today have been confused for a long time. They do not know that their own mind is the real Buddha.

“They do not know that their own essence is the real Dharma.

“Wishing to seek Dharma, they attribute it to remote sages; wishing to seek Buddhahood, they do not observe their own mind.”

~ Master Chinul (1158-1210)

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The world of continual emergence

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Perceive freshly as you enter
The world of continual emergence.
That rock-bottomed essence of your mind,
Is always still, but ever-emerging;
Always there, as if waiting to be noticed.

– Ji Aoi Isshi

(Quote courtesy

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Settling Quarrels

“There are those who do not realize that one day we all must died. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.”

~ The Buddha | Dhammapada 1.6

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Your Only Treasure

“The mind that is not always caught up in details is your only treasure. Stop chasing details and become still to feel it. The mind that sees details clearly, but is not caught up by them, is like a vast borderless mirror.”

~ Ji Aoi Isshi

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Seeking the Way

‘Moundwalker.’ | Photo

True study of the Way
Does not rely on
Knowledge and genius
Or cleverness and brilliance.
It is an easy thing,
Just cultivate a
Keen and sincere desire
To seek the Way.

Dogen (1200-1253) | quote courtesy

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