Friday, December 19, 2008


"It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection."
Quoted from the Bhagavad Gita in Eat Pray Love.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Chai Cookies


Base recipe:

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons water


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt into the creamed butter and blend well adding water last. Make into 24 even balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.

Alternate flavors:

Chai Cookies:

  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup crystalized ginger, chopped

Sift cardamom and pepper with flour and fold chopped crystalized ginger in at the end.

Coffee Cookies:

  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso

Cream butter, sugar and espresso, then add sifted flour mixture.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Reduced-Guilt Apple Crisp

Juicy Apple Crisp Apples never let you down: You can get them year-round, and you can use just about any variety in this quintessential always-works dessert. With this kind of dependability, who needs chocolate?

1/2 cup regular oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon thawed apple juice concentrate
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 2 pounds) (Sue used macintosh)
1/4 cup thawed apple juice concentrate, undiluted
2 tablespoons water
3/4 cup vanilla light ice cream

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine first 6 ingredients; set aside.

Combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt.

Place the apple slices in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish, and sprinkle with the cornstarch mixture.

Pour 1/4 cup juice concentrate and water over the apple mixture.
Top with the oat mixture.

Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Let stand for 15 minutes. Serve with ice cream.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup apple crisp and 2 tablespoons ice cream)

CALORIES 258 (16% from fat); FAT 4.6g (sat 2.4g,mono 1.2g,poly 0.5g); IRON 1.2mg; CHOLESTEROL 10mg; CALCIUM 56mg; CARBOHYDRATE 55.2g; SODIUM 101mg; PROTEIN 2.2g; FIBER 3.4g

Cooking Light, JANUARY 2001

Sue's notes: I put extra topping on. I didn't have concentrate juice, or cider, or anything, so I used the juice from a can of peaches (pear juice). That worked great. We didn't have ice cream either, but we'll get some.

original post:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

We enjoyed our annual gathering in New Hampshire. We had lots of Computer Fun.

Blintzes--The Video
Community Cooking
Very Many Computers
Animoto and Photoshop ... (For everything else... there's mastercard!)

Sandy, we hope you enjoyed the day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Near Enemies

Near Enemies

The near enemies are qualities that arise in the mind and masquerade as genuine spiritual realization, when in fact they are only an imitation, serving to separate us from true feeling rather than connecting us to it. . . .

The near enemy of loving-kindness is attachment. . . . At first, attachment may feel like love, but as it grows it becomes more clearly the opposite, characterized by clinging, controlling and fear.

The near enemy of compassion is pity, and this also separates us. Pity feels sorry for "that poor person over here," as if he were somehow different from us. . . .

The near enemy of sympathetic joy (the joy in the happiness of others) is comparison, which looks to see if we have more of, the same as, or less than another. . . .

The near enemy of equanimity is indifference. True equanimity is balance in the midst of experience, whereas indifference is withdrawal and not caring, based on fear. . . .

If we do not recognize and understand the near enemies, they will deaden our spiritual practice. The compartments they make cannot shield us for long from the pain and unpredictability of life, but they will surely stifle the joy and open connectedness of true relationships.

- Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dharamsala Recipe Blog

Thanks to the Global-Lab Trekkers for this link to a blog of recipes from India.

Follow the links, and you might even find chai!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Grandma Karash's Raisin Bread

Great Grandmother Theresa Karash's Raisin Bread

1 1/2 cup milk
1/8 lb butter
5 1/2 cups flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 box of raisins
Kitchen stuff:
big bowl
two loaf pans
Directions, as recorded by Sandra Karash...
Start yeast in a little water with 1 tsp sugar.
Warm 1 1/2 cup milk in pan on stove.
Add 1/8 lb butter (1/2 stick) to milk in pan.
Heat until butter melts.
Put 2 cups flour in big bowl.
Add yeast and water to flour.
Add milk and butter to flour.
Stir to moisten all the flour.
Let 3 eggs come to room temperature.
Beat the 3 eggs with egg beater, and add 1 tsp vanilla.
Add 1 tsp salt to dough in big bowl.
Add 1 cup sugar to dough.
Add egg mixture to dough.
Mix in by hand. (There must be a better way!)
Add 3 1/2 cups sifted flour.
Mix by hand (again!) until dough doesn't stick to hand as much.
Add 1 box of raisins, which have been plumped over steam.
Grease two loaf pans well!
Put dough into pans, filling 1/3 full.
Cover with warm lid. Let rise until 2/3 full.
Put dough into warm oven for 15 minutes until it fills pan.
Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes: Bake at 250 about 25 minutes, then raise heat to 275 for 20-25 minutes more until it is brown.
Take bread out and place on soft surface (pillow) after removing from pan.

Grandma Karash's Blintzes

Grandma Karash's Blintzes

4 eggs
3 cups flour
4 cups milk
1 t. salt (teaspoon?)

32 oz. cottage cheese (I remember that we were supposed to get "dry cottage cheese") [Sue notes that 'I currently use low fat ricotta, and drain it briefly in a strainer.]
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 t. salt
butter for the pan

- Take chill off milk, mix 2 c. milk with eggs
- slowly add flour to liquid (and salt!)
- gradually add rest of milk...
- cook pancakes crepe style !!

- mix filing ingredients after straining cottage cheese (just excess liquid)
- place in center of pancake by tablespoonfull
- fold up, then saute in butter
- bake 1/2 hour in 350° oven

Chai with Prerna

Today's recipe
For 1 cup:
1/3 cup water and 2/3 cup 1% milk (If using skim milk, just use 1 cup skim milk)
boil on stove in pot with
1 tsp Taj Mahal Tea Powder per cup (or 2 tea bags per cup. they are weaker)
Add the following spices while boiling
1 clove (crushed up) per cup
2 pinches cardamom powder
1 small slice of fresh ginger (2 slices if you LOVE ginger)
OR... instead of all the spices, use 2 pinches of tea masala
Boil that til you get the right color. (whick is kind of a nice tan. Think Carribbean for about 3 days with proper sunscreen.)
Strain into your cup using a nifty tea strainer.
Add sugar to taste.
Watch for the book "Chai with Prerna"... coming soon.

Blog Transformation

This blog is adding a new dimension: recipes. Whoa!

My life has been plagued by this problem for years... I cook something I like, then I want to make it again, and...
  • which web site was it on?
  • which cookbook was it in?
  • did i make changes?
  • omg. I am in New Hampshire, and I don't have that book!
  • isn't it on a card in the pantry in Boxboro?

I am solving ALL of those problems with one single word: BLOG!

So, I'm entering recipes into the blog now. Whoppee!

  • Family recipes
  • Indian recipes
  • Vegetarian recipes
  • Crock-pot (not crackpot), aka 'slow cooker' recipes
  • Anything I might want to make again somewhere else

Welcome to the newest department of the blog:

Sues Stews!

Friday, November 14, 2008

masala dosa

Ingredients Needed:

Dosa batter for dosas

Potato Masala (serves for 4)

Potatoes - 250 gms
Onions - 3 big
Salt to taste
Water - 1 cup
Oil - 2 tsp

For seasoning
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urud Dal - 1/2 tsp
Bengal Gram - 1 tsp
Cashew Nuts - 5 whole broken to 4 pieces.
Green chillies - 4-5 depending on the variety
Ginger - 1"
Curry leaves few
Coriander leaves for garnish

Method to prepare:

Cook potatoes in pressure cooker till its soft. Peel skin and let it cool

Chop onions into juliennes. Heat a kadai with oil. Once its hot, add all the seasoning ingredients except coriander. Sauté well. Once its splutters, add onions. Add salt and simmer and let it fry for 2 mins. When you find the onions turning translucent, smash the potatoes with palm and crumble it to the oil. This way you will have few big chunks and few mashed potatoes.

Keep sautéing and cook on high flame for 2 mins.Ensure it doesn't get burnt. Then simmer and add water. Adjust salt and let it cook for 5 mins. Finally garnish with chopped coriander..

Note: Extra onions add more taste to this masala. And also should not add too much of water since this is going to on top of a Dosa!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Running Commentary

A . . . great distraction at times are so-called "running commentary" thoughts such as, "Now I am not thinking of anything," "Things are going very well now," "This is dreadful; my mind just won't stay still" and the like . . . . All such thoughts should simply be noted as "Thinking," and, as Huang Po says, just "dropped like a piece of rotten wood." "Dropped," notice, not thrown down. A piece of rotten wood is not doing anything to irritate you, but is just of no use, so there is no point in hanging on to it. . . . Nor is there any need to try to retrace the links in a chain of associated thoughts, nor to try to ascertain what it was that first started the chain. Any such impulse should itself be noted simply as "Thinking," and the mind should revert to the breathing. However badly things have just been going, one should take up again at the only place one can--where one is--and go on from there.

--Bhikkhu Mangalo, The Practice of Recollection

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Glurg is tired. He wants a new island. Glurg has been waiting a long time for a bus that is not coming. Because there is no public transit on Glurg's Island.

Glurg's cousin, Blurg, is busy. Oh so busy with this and that, and nothing really. But lots of it, and so Blurg doesn't notice that she has no transit.

Glurg is going to figure out how to find a new island. Glurg is tired.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Self-Discipline = Patience?


Discipline is a difficult word for most of us. It conjures up images of somebody standing over you with a stick, telling you that you're wrong. But self-discipline is different. It's the skill of seeing through the hollow shouting of your own impulses and piercing their secret. They have no power over you. It's all a show, a deception. Your urges scream and bluster at you; they cajole; they coax; they threaten; but they really carry no stick at all. You give in out of habit. You give in because you never really bother to look beyond the threat. It is all empty back there. There is only one way to learn this lesson, though. The words on this page won't do it. But look within and watch the stuff coming up--restlessness, anxiety, impatience, pain--just watch it come up and don't get involved. Much to your surprise, it will simply go away. It rises, it passes away. As simple as that. There is another word for self-discipline. It is patience.

--Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English
I will try this today to ward off chocolate cravings, and cookie ambushes, and kheer obsessions.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Buddhavision - in 3D

See everybody as the Buddha. When you are stuck in a traffic jam on the Los Angeles freeway, can you look at all the other drivers, particularly the ones who are weaving in and out of lanes, and see them as the Buddha? In a work situation, if you have a particularly cantankerous boss who you think is a complete idiot, can you look at that person as the Buddha? As a manager, can you see the person who is working for you as the Buddha?

--Gerry Shishin Wick Sensei, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review Summer 1996
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Finding the truth...

What Happens to Most Pieces of Truth

One day Mara, the Buddhist god of ignorance and evil, was traveling through the villages of India with his attendants. He saw a man doing walking meditation whose face was lit up in wonder. The man had just discovered something on the ground in front of him. Mara's attendants asked what that was and Mara replied, "A piece of truth." "Doesn't this bother you when someone finds a piece of the truth, O evil one?" his attendants asked. "No," Mara replied. "Right after this they usually make a belief out of it."

-Christina Feldman and Jack Kornfield, in Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Friday, August 22, 2008

Quotecard Postcard #15

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.
Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, in Irving Good, The Scientist Speculates (1962)
           US (Hungarian-born) biochemist (1893 - 1986)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Practice... makes practice...

Practice can be stated very simply. It is moving from a life of hurting myself and others to a life of not hurting myself and others. That seems so simple--except when we substitute for real practice some idea that we should be different or better than we are, or that our lives should be different from the way they are. When we substitute our ideas about what should be (such notions as "I should not be angry or confused or unwilling") for our life as it truly is, then we're off base and our practice is barren.

-- Charlotte Joko Beck

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Words you don't want to hear... or do you?

"It's probably not cancer."

When your doctor says this to you....

Well, it's not entirely comforting. You came in for a routine check up, the usual advice about fiber, exercise, and weight management. And you get "It's probably not cancer".

Now you weren't even thinking about mortality. Your To Do List is immense, and you don't really have time to consider the possibility that you might be derailed with a series of traumas and treatments, or even demise. No way. You've got places to go, parcels to mail, correspondence long overdue.

So "It's probably not cancer", and you're off to the lab. Some extra poking and prodding. Stay tuned for results. In a week. Or so.

What goes on in the mind in that week. "It's PROBABLY not cancer." No need to worry actually. But it COULD be. And who even knew it was a maybe?? Hmmm. What if it WAS cancer. What would I do? Would I be fretting about this deadline? or would I be off playing frisbee with my kids? or walking in the woods (with or without them?)? Or just sitting on the beach and watching the immensity of the ocean?

And if I wouldn't be doing this if it WAS cancer.... then why am I doing it if it ISN'T?

Hmmm. Pondering whether I am celebrating this day as the treasure it is. Pondering whether I'd rather be ..... (everyone can complete that sentence!)

So. Those comforting (?) words bring life to full stop again. It COULD be cancer. The end COULD be near. This day IS a treasure. My kids ARE glorious, and every minute with them (laughter and tears) is precious.

And I am thankful for those words that detour my mind. I am grateful for a moment of full stop. Look around. Celebrate. Pause. Breathe.

A week later.... "It's just a minor condition called (complicated and incomprehansible latin name with many syllables)." Aaahh. Fine. That's great. I have a lot on my To Do List, and really don't have time for any kind of traumas and treatments. I've got a deadline to meet.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The Right to Happiness

Whether people are beautiful and friendly or unattractive and disruptive, ultimately they are human beings, just like oneself. Like oneself, they want happiness and do not want suffering. Furthermore, their right to overcome suffering and be happy is equal to one's own.... When you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them. Through accustoming your mind to this sense of universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others: the wish to help them actively overcome their problems. Nor is this wish selective; it applies equally to all.
--The Dalai Lama, Compassion and the Individual

Friday, June 13, 2008

You decide...

"What happens to us in life is for God to decide. Whether to be happy or not—that is our choice."
The above is a quote from the novel Enlightenment for Idiots. Here is a review from Tricycle magazine. If you read it, leave a comment!
An unplanned pregnancy, a rocky romance, an unsatisfying job, and a milestone birthday: Amanda, the intrepid twenty-nine-year-old heroine of ENLIGHTENMENT FOR IDIOTS (Random House, 2008, $24.00 cloth, 384 pp.), has got a lot on her plate even before a spiritual pilgrimage gets thrown into the mix. When Amanda receives an assignment to write a travel guide for aspiring awakened ones, she finds herself in India, looking for love—and gurus—in all the wrong places. Written by Tricycle contributing editor and yoga teacher Anne Cushman, Enlightenment for Idiots traces, with witty flair, Amanda's encounters with heartbreak, culture shock, yoga, and a kooky traveling companion named Devi Das. The novel's warmhearted spirit is captured in the advice Amanda receives from a friendly waiter: "What happens to us in life is for God to decide. Whether to be happy or not—that is our choice."

What's the difference between heaven and hell?

A Visit to Heaven and Hell

I once heard a story about a visit to heaven and hell. In bothplaces the visitor saw many people seated at a table on whichmany delicious foods were laid out. In both places chopsticks over a meter long were tied to their right hands, while their left hands weretied to their chairs.

In hell, however much they stretched out theirarms, the chopsticks were too long for them to get food into theirmouths. They grew impatient and got their hands andchopsticks tangled with one another's. The delicacies werescattered here and there.

In heaven, on the other hand, people happily used the longchopsticks to pick out someone else's favorite food and feed it tohim, and in turn they were being fed by others. They all enjoyedtheir meal in harmony.

--Shundo Aoyama, Zen Seeds

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lights Out?

Sometimes our light goes out but is blown again into flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light.

Albert Schweitzer

Monday, April 21, 2008

Appreciating our troublemakers...

Be Grateful to Everyone

Work on taking and sending with these considerations in mind:

In general, all methods for attaining buddhahood rely on sentient beings. Therefore, to the individual who wishes to awaken, sentient beings are as worthy of gratitude as buddhas. Specifically, all sentient beings are worthy of gratitude since there is not one who has not been my parent. In particular, all those who hurt me are worthy of gratitude since they are my companions and helpers for gathering the accumulations of merit and pristine wisdom and for clearing away the obscurations of disturbing emotions and conceptual knowledge.
Do not be angry, not even at a dog or an insect. Strive to give whatever actual help you can. If you cannot help, then think and say:
May this sentient being (or troublemaker) quickly be rid of pain and enjoy happiness. May he come to attain buddhahood.

Arouse bodhicitta:

From now on, all the virtuous acts I do shall be for his welfare.

When a god or a demon troubles you, think:

This trouble now occurs because I, from time without beginning, have made trouble for him. Now I shall give him my flesh and blood in recompense.

Imagine the one who troubles you to be present in front of you and mentally give him your body as you say:

Here, revel in my flesh and blood and whatever else you want.
Meditate with complete conviction that this troublemaker enjoys your flesh and blood, and is filled with pure happiness, and arouse the two kinds of bodhicitta in your mind. Or:

Because I had let mindfulness and other remedies lapse, disturbing emotions arose without my noticing them. Since this troublemaker has now warned me of this, he is certainly an expression of my guru or a buddha. I'm very grateful to him because he has stimulated me to train in bodhicitta.

Or, when illness or suffering comes, think with complete sincerity:

If this hadn't happened, I would have been distracted by materialistic involvements and would not have maintained mindfulness of dharma. Since this has brought dharma to my attention again, it is the guru's or the jewels' activity, and I am very grateful.

To sum up, whoever thinks and acts out of a concern to achieve his or her own well-being is a worldly person; whoever thinks and acts out of a concern to achieve the well-being of others is a dharma person. Langri-tangpa has said:

I open to you as deep a teaching as there is. Pay attention! All faults are our own. All good qualities Are the lords', sentient beings. The point here is: give gain and victory to others, take loss and defeat for ourselves. Other than this, there is nothing to understand.

From The Great Path of Awakening : An Easily Accessible Introduction for Ordinary People by Jamgon Kongtrul, translated by Ken McLeod. Copyright 1993 by Ken McLeod.
Published by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Eightfold Path

The Eightfold Path of Right Views, Right Thoughts, Right Speech, Right Conduct [Action], Right Livelihood, Right Effort or Lifestyle, Right Recollection [Mindfulness], and Right Meditation [Concentration] was preached by the Buddha to his first five disciples at Benares, and it remains for us the basic guide for our lives as Buddhists. It begins with Right Views and ends with Right Meditation, but each element of the path depends on all others, so really there is no first step and no last step. The key word is right, from words in Sanskrit and Chinese that mean upright, straight, right, correct. Finding what is upright in attitude, thought, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and meditation, and then doing it - this is our life work.

-Robert Aitken, Encouraging Words
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What's the Rush?

Most of the time we go through the day, through our activities, our work, our relationships, our conversations, and very rarely do we ground ourselves in an awareness of our bodies. We are lost in our thoughts, our feelings, our emotions, our stories, our plans.

A very simple guide or check on this state of being lost is to pay attention to those times when you feel like you are rushing. Rushing does not have to do with speed. You can rush moving slowly, and you can rush moving quickly. We are rushing when we feel as if we are toppling forward. Our minds run ahead of ourselves; they are out there where we want to get to, instead of being settled back in our bodies. The feeling of rushing is good feedback. Whenever we are not present, right then, in that situation, we should stop and take a few deep breaths. Settle into the body again. Feel yourself sitting. Feel the step of a walk. Be in your body.

The Buddha made a very powerful statement about this: Mindfulness of the body leads to nirvana. Such awareness is not a superficial practice. Mindfulness of the body keeps us present.

-Joseph Goldstein, Transforming the Mind, Healing the World
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Sunday, February 10, 2008

How to be angry....

[This post is quoted from the blog at, where they have wonderful online meditation courses, and inspiring resources. I found it a real paradigm shift to consider HOW to be angry, rather than find ways to annihilate anger. I hope you find it useful as well. -- your blogger pal]

Once when I was listening to the Dalai Lama talk in Edinburgh, he was asked a question that went something like this: “You keep talking about changing the world through meditation and compassion, but isn’t anger faster?” His Holiness answered to the effect that it’s precisely because anger acts so swiftly that we have to be wary of it.

His Holiness’s reply reveals Buddhism’s ambivalent attitude to the emotion of anger. Anger’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact it can accomplish a lot of good in the world. Anger can simply be a passionate response to something that we know in our hearts is wrong. His Holiness has himself admitted that he frequently feels angry when he thinks about injustice, and particularly the way that the Communist Chinese have treated his homeland and his people. It’s natural — and even right — for us to feel anger in such circumstances. We’d scarcely be human if we didn’t.

At the same time, anger can be such a powerful force that we lose our mindfulness and find that
the heart has become filled with ill will or hatred, which is a desire to hurt others. We move from being angry to wanting to punish or wanting revenge. Just as the Dalai Lama says he experiences anger towards the Chinese, he also says he holds no hatred for them in his heart.

Hatred, with its inherent desire to hurt and damage others is never seen in Buddhist practice as being an appropriate response. Anger may be passionate and fiery, but it simply wants to remove an obstacle or to change things for the better, not to hurt.

Yet although anger and hatred are different emotions — one potentially skillful, the other very definitely unskillful — many people fail to see the distinction. The experience of being angry — the sense of physical arousal, the quickened pulse, the tingling in the hands as we prepare for action — is in many ways very similar to the experience of hatred. And anger, once aroused, can easily lead to the less healthy emotion of hatred, just as a campfire can lead to a forest conflagration.

So how can we teach children — and ourselves — to experience anger in a healthy way? Here are seven steps to a healthier relationship with anger.

  1. First, we can learn to accept that anger is a normal, healthy, and potentially creative form of energy. Too often we’ve been taught, as Abbott suggests, that anger is something to be avoided and believe that we’ve failed when anger has stirred. When we try to confine our anger it’s inclined to burst out uncontrollably, or to gnaw us away from the inside, as resentment. When we accept our anger we can relate to it in a more healthy way.
  2. Second, breathe! Create a sense of space between you and your emotions by breathing deeply into the belly. Connecting with the body helps stop our emotions spiraling out of control, keeps them in perspective, and helps us to calm down so that we don’t do or say anything rash. If you’re angry when you receive an email, don’t reply at once but wait until you’ve had time to quiet your mind and reflect more calmly.
  3. Third, we can appreciate that our anger is our anger. Other people don’t make us angry. Our anger is not their fault. Our anger, rather, is our response to our interpretation of our experience. We need to own our anger and to see that it’s something we’ve given rise to, ourselves.
  4. Fourth, we can learn to recognize the difference between anger and hatred. To do this requires a great deal of introspective practice, especially since it’s harder to be mindful when our energy is aroused in anger. We have to examine our motivations, our thoughts, and our words: Do we have a desire to hurt? Do we use belittling, condescending, or insulting language? Are we fixated on winning at any cost? Do we distort the truth? Do we still feel a basic sense of sympathy, friendliness, and compassion towards our opponent?
  5. Fifth, we can acknowledge our hurt. Often anger arises in response to a sense of hurt. Even when someone else has suffered an injustice, this can lead to a sense of hurt arising in our own experience. And that in turn can lead to anger. When we mindfully acknowledge the sense of hurt that we ourselves are experiencing we find that we’re less inclined to lash out.
  6. Sixth, we have to be prepared to let go of our anger. Healthy anger arises quickly and departs quickly. It doesn’t hang around and fester.
  7. Seventh, and lastly, we can cultivate lovingkindness in our meditation practice and in daily life. As we go about our daily activities we can repeat phrases such as “May you be well; may you be happy; may you live in peace.” The basic sense of sympathy that this practice helps cultivate makes it easier to avoid anger in the first place and makes it possible for us to experience anger “cleanly,” without it slipping into hatred.

These seven steps can help us to experience anger less frequently, less intensely, and more cleanly. Rather than experiencing anger as a destructive force we can use it creatively. Rather than our anger hurting people it can become a powerful tool for putting our compassion into action.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What is karma, anyway?

In simple terms, what does karma mean? It means that whatever we do, with our body, speech, or mind, will have a corresponding result. Each action, even the smallest, is pregnant with its consequences. It is said by the masters that even a little poison can cause death, and even a little seed can become a huge tree. And as Buddha said: "Do not overlook negative actions merely because they are small; however small a spark may be, it can burn down a haystack as big as a mountain." Similarly he said: "Do not overlook tiny good actions, thinking they are of no benefit; even tiny drops of water in the end will fill a huge vessel." Karma does not decay like external things, or ever become inoperative. It cannot be destroyed "by time, fire, or water." Its power will never disappear, until it is ripened.
- Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying from Everyday Mind,

Monday, January 21, 2008

Even Though You are Distracted, if You can do it, it is Still Mind Training

What does he mean by 'if you can do it?' This is of great importance. If you can be attentive to your inattention, if you can be aware that you have fallen into the trap of the negative, it is still meditation, it is still mind training, you are still growing.

Yes, many times you will fall, it is natural. And many times you will forget, it is natural. And many times you will be trapped and it will take time for you to remember. But the moment you remember, remember TOTALLY. Wake up totally and say "I have fallen".

And see the difference: If you ask the ordinary religious person he will say "Repent- punish yourself." But Atisha is saying: if you are attentive, that's enough. Be attentive to your inattention, be aware that you have not been aware, that's all. No repentance is needed... To fall many times is not something to feel guilty about. To commit errors, to go astray, is part of our human frailty and limitations. So there is no need to repent.

Repentance is ugly. It is like playing with your wound, fingering your wound. It is unnecessary, and not only unnecessary but harmful - the wound may become septic, and fingering the wound is not going to help it heal either.

If you have fallen, just know that you have fallen, with no guilt, with no repentance. There is no need to go anywhere to confess it, just knowing it is enough. And knowing it, you are helping your awareness to grow. Less and less will you fall, because knowing will become more and more strong in you.

From The Book of Wisdom : Discourses on Atisha`s Seven Points of Mind Training, by Osho
Used by kind permission of Osho Foundation International

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hidden wealth?

Imagine a very poor man living in a decrepit little shanty, the only thing he owns in the world. What he does not know is that just beneath his shanty, but hidden in the dirt, is an inexhaustible vein of gold. As long as he remains ignorant of his hidden wealth, this pauper remains in poverty; but when he attends more closely to his own dwelling, he is bound to discover his own fathomless wealth. Similarly, all we need to do is unveil our own nature, and we will find an inexhaustible source of wisdom, compassion, and power. It is nothing we need to acquire, from anywhere or anything. It has always been there. Seen in this light, the Buddha-nature requires no additions. One does not have to memorize sutras, recite prayers or accumulate virtues to create it. All one needs to do is unveil it.
--B. Alan Wallace, Tibetan Buddhism from the Ground Up

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Guerilla Bagging!

Let's do something positive to reduce the hideous number of plastic bags being used - 1 million are consumed per minute globally - of which hundreds of thousands end up in the oceans.


The idea is to get together with people in your local community, enjoy beverage and conversation, and make reusable cloth bags (from old duvet covers, curtains from charity shops etc) and hand them out to the unsuspecting public for free on specified dates outside different supermarkets. (That's the guerilla part. No. Not gorillas.)


Meet new people, do something marvellous for the planet and beat other pods (groups) of baggers with your morsbag tally.


Go to to be a part of a wonderful thing!


p.s. non-commercial/ non-profitable - just full of beneficial things for everyone, especially whales!
I'm thinking of starting a pod of morsbaggers... to save a pod of whales.
Leave a comment. What do you think!?