Tuesday
Mar202007

Don't Wait

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If you think you have enough time, that some day you will tell the person you love how grateful you are for having them in your life, how you wish they would forgive you for all the times you were impatient and thoughtless and inattentive, the perfect time to say this may never come.

As Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said: "What I try to teach people is to live in such a way that you say those things while the other person can still hear it."

 

Monday
Mar192007

Karmic Chain Reaction

The nature of samsaric evolution is not such that death is followed by nothingness, nor that humans are always reborn as humans and insects as insects. On the contrary, we all carry within us the karmic potencies of all realms of cyclic existence. Many beings transmigrate from higher to lower realms, others from lower to higher. The selection of a place of rebirth is not directly in our own hands but is conditioned by our karma and delusions. They who possess spiritual understanding can control their destiny at the time of death, but for ordinary beings the process is very much an automatic chain reaction of karmic seeds and habitual psychic response patterns....

Our repeated experience of frustration, dissatisfaction and misery does not have external conditions as its root cause. The problem is mainly our lack of spiritual development. As a result of this handicap, the mind is controlled principally by afflicted emotions and illusions. Attachment, aversion and ignorance rather than a free spirit, love and wisdom are the guiding forces. Recognizing this simple truth is the beginning of the spiritual path.

~ by H.H. the Dalai Lama, translated and edited by Glenn Mullin, from The Path to Enlightenment, published by Snow Lion Publications

 

Sunday
Mar182007

One Method or Do It Yourself?


956849-690488-thumbnail.jpgQuestion: There are so many different schools of Buddhism, is it necessary to choose one school, or can I just accept an umbrella of them and call myself a Buddhist?

Response: If I lived in New York and had a goal of visiting San Diego, there would be many ways to accomplish my goal. I could fly, drive, ride a train, or take a bus to California. I could even walk if I wasn't in a hurry. Once I chose my means of transportation, I would then need to decide on a specific route. There are lots of options here as well.

In Buddhism, our goal is enlightenment. Our means of transportation is like a specific school. Our route is like a specific teacher.

As for my San Diego trip, if I decide to fly, book my flights in a single package through a travel service, and stick to my itinerary, I'll arrive in San Diego pretty much as planned. But if I try to combine flying, driving a car, and riding a train, and want to make all the arrangements myself, it's going to take a lot longer and be much more difficult.

It's the same in Buddhism. The Buddha taught many different ways to reach the goal. All the practice methods he taught are equally good. We just need to find the one that is most suitable for us. But if we try to take a little from here and a little from there, it will be sort of like listening to the airline ticket agent saying we need to go board the plane while the train conductor is directing us to the train. Very confusing and stressful, and who knows when we'll finally make it to San Diego. Choosing one travel package would be much easier.

In the same way, choosing one school in Buddhism makes reaching the goal much easier and will save us a lot of time.

 

Saturday
Mar172007

Patience

Patience enables us to counter anger. It lets us persevere, which allows us to achieve our goals at school, work, and home. With others, patience helps us to interact more harmoniously. For ourselves, it allows us to recognize and overcome our shortcomings. It gives us the inner strength to react wisely in the face of adversity, allowing us to remain unruffled and to stop blaming others for our problems. It is the ability to stay with a difficult undertaking without complaint, disappointment, or resentment. Patience brings success and contentment.

 

Friday
Mar162007

Go Veggie and Help Yourself

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·   In America, 55% of all antibiotics are fed to animals and the percentage of staphylococci infections resistant to penicillin went up from 14% in 1960 to 91% in 1988.

·   Vegetarian diets—naturally low in saturated fat, high in fiber, and replete with cancer-protective phytochemicals—help to prevent cancer. Large studies in England and Germany have shown that vegetarians are about 40 percent less likely to develop cancer compared to meat-eaters.1-3 (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)

·   Vegetarian eating plans offer health benefits, too. Vegetarian plans tend to result in lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. Vegetarians also tend to have lower body mass indexes and cholesterol levels. (American Dietetic Association)

·   In the Seventh-Day Adventist Church Health Study, compared to non-vegetarians vegetarians had about ½ the high blood pressure and diabetes, ½ the colon cancer, 2/3 the rheumatoid arthritis and prostate cancer.

·   By purchasing meat and fish, we share in the karma of killing. The retribution from killing is to be killed.