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