The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day Earth Prayer

We're only 2 days away from Interfaith Power & Light's Valentine's Day NOON Climate Prayer when we hope 100,000 people will pause for a moment, wherever they are, whatever they're doing, to say a prayer for the climate and climate action.

We Hold The Earth

We hold brothers and sisters who suffer from storms and droughts intensified by climate change.

We hold all species that suffer.

We hold world leaders delegated to make decisions for life.

We pray the the web of life may be mended through courageous actions to limit carbon emissions.

We pray for Right Action for adaptation and mitigation to help our already suffering Earth community.

We pray that love and wisdom might inspire my actions, and our actions as communities….

So that we may, with integrity, look into the eyes of my brothers and sisters and all beings and 

truthfully say, we are doing our part to care for them and the future of our children.

May love transform us and our world with new steps toward life.

How will you tell the Earth how much you love her?  And how will your actions reflect your love?  


Sparks come from time to time--
and bring to cats a chance to rest
from looking at the fire.

--after Matsu Basho

Sunday, February 8, 2015

During this season of frozen days and contemplation, with Valentines Day looming large on the commercial horizon, I ask myself if I can find a way to keep love simple and fresh.  A homemade card for a loved one, a pot of soup on the stove, or a telephone call, just to hear a grandchild's voice--these are easy ways to express our affection.

But how about for ourselves?
How do we declare our love for ourselves?
How do we express our appreciation to those who offer us the greatest challenges?

Every challenge, every interaction with a difficult person (is that difficult person yourself?), is an opportunity to create, to stretch out in a new direction, to grow.  
Without this stretch, we only half live, smugly closing our hearts around the Three Poisons of delusion, anger and greed.
Perhaps in simplicity, the heart just wanders and plays, knowing there are no gates and no boundaries.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Winter Night

self portrait with neko-chan

Big mind is something to express, not something to figure out.  Big mind is something you have, not something to seek for.

--Shunryu Suzuki

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Happy Setsubun!

Today is Setsubun, the day before the beginning of Spring in Japan, when evil spirits and Oni are driven out of the house to make room for a healthy new year.  Throwing roasted soybeans out the front door and chanting is customary.  Sometimes a member of the household dresses up as an Oni with a bright red, horned monster mask, and pelted with soybeans as he runs out the front door.
Skeedattle Oni!

Oni wa soto!  Fuku wa uchi!  "Demons out, luck in!"

Historically, time and space marking the new year was considered permeable--the spirit world was separated by the physical world by a thin scrim that allowed wandering spirits to slip freely back and forth, making a shambles of things.  In the Shinto world, where every object is imbued with its own particular spirit, Setsubun ensures that unwanted spirits don't linger over tools and practical everyday objects to cause harm.

The permeable nature of this time deserves celebrating as well--practices of role reversal are honored, including wearing disguises and cross dressing.  Any means of tricking the Oni is encouraged!

No soybeans in the house?  Modern regional celebrations in Japan include throwing candy coated peanuts, sweets, and money too. Ginger Sake is also imbibed during Setsubun.  Yum!

Oh, and don't forget to slam the front door hard once the Oni has been driven away.  That sound makes it final!