Friday, March 30, 2007


Don't call me a follower of Tao. (or Buddhist, or Christian...)

Following Tao is an intensely personal endeavor in which you spend each minute of your life with the universal pulse. You follow the fluid and infinitely shifting Tao and experience its myriad wonders. You will want nothing more than to be empty before it -- a perfect mirror, open to every nuance.

If you put labels on who you are, there is separation from Tao. As soon as you accept the designations of race, gender, name, or fellowship, you define yourself in contrast to Tao.

That is why those who follow Tao never identify themselves with the name Tao. They do not care for labels, for status, or for rank. We all have an equal chance to be with Tao.

Reject labels.
Reject identities.
Reject conformity.
Reject convention.
Reject definitions.
Reject names.

365 Tao - Daily Meditations
August 20 - No. 232
Deng Ming-Dao

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The secret to lasting success

What's more important,
fame or your well-being?
What's worth more,
your money or your life?
What is more dangerous,
winning or losing?

If you are too attached
to your possessions,
they will bring you misery.
If you hang on to your riches,
you will suffer substantial loss.
If you know when you have enough,
you will never be disgraced.
If you practice moderation,
you can stay out of trouble.

And that's the secret to lasting success.

Tao Te Ching 44
interpreted by Ron Hogan

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Seek Nothing

That you may have pleasure in everything, seek pleasure in nothing.
That you may know everything, seek to know nothing.
That you may possess all things, seek to posses nothing.
That you may be everything, seek to be nothing.

-St. John of the Cross

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Thay's 14 precepts

I saw this by Thich Nhat Hanh on a website ( among others) and thought it would be good to share.

Thay's 14 Precepts:

"Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. All systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.

Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice non-attachment from views in order to be open to receive others' viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout our entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.

Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education. However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness.

Do not avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. find ways to be with those who are suffering by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, sound. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.

Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry. Do not take as the aim of you life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.

Do not maintain anger or hatred. As soon as anger and hatred arise, practice the meditation on compassion in order to deeply understand the persons who have caused anger and hatred. Learn to look at other beings with the eyes of compassion.

Do not lose yourself in dispersion and in your surroundings. Learn to practice breathing in order to regain composure of body and mind, to practice mindfulness, and to develop concentration and understanding.

Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break. Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest of to impress people. Do not utter words that cause diversion and hatred. Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain. Do not criticize or condemn things you are not sure of. Always speak truthfully and constructively. Have the courage to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten your own safety.

Do not use the Buddhist community for personal gain or profit, or transform your community into a political party. A religious community should, however, take a clear stand against oppression and injustice, and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.

Do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. Do not invest in companies that deprive others of their chance to life. Select a vocation which helps realize your ideal compassion.

Do not kill. Do not let others kill. Find whatever means possible to protect life and to prevent war.

Possess nothing that should belong to others. Respect the property of others but prevent others from enriching themselves from human suffering or the suffering of other beings.

Do not mistreat your body. Learn to handle it with respect. Do not look on your body as only and instrument. Preserve vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of the Way. Sexual expression should not happen without love and commitment. In sexual relationships be aware of future suffering that may be caused. To preserve the happiness of others, respect the rights and commitments of others. Be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world. Meditate on the world into which you are bringing new beings.

Do not believe that I feel that I follow each and every of these precepts perfectly. I know I fail in many ways. None of us can fully fulfill any of these. However, I must work toward a goal. These are my goal. No words can replace practice, only practice can make the words.

"The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon."

Thich Nhat Hanh

Zen Koan

If you understand, things are just as they are. If you don't understand, things are just as they are.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Things are

There is no lake so still that it has no wave; No circle so perfect that it has no blur. I would change things for you if I could as I can't, you must take them as they are.

-Han Fei Tzu

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A bit more on God

If you believe in god or not, If you believe god is a separate being or that god is apart of everything or that god is everything, If you choose not to believe in god at all, it does not matter. God is. I sometimes hesitate to use the word god but my only other choices seem to be obscure and ancient sanscrit or pali terms that are just as confusing and restrictive in their meanings. As Paul Williams wrote in Das Energi "Sometimes it is enlightening to have a name for God: sometimes it is blinding. If you make a list of words for God you will have a list of all words. You will not have God." God transcends our conceptions, yet god is us and we are god.

They say, "You are god."But everything is.
They say, "All is god." Then why are there differences?
They say, "All is an illusion."But does that include god?

-Deng Ming-Dao - 365 Tao day 211

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Great Learning

If there be righteousness in the heart there will be beauty in the character.
If there be beauty in the character there will be harmony in the home.
If there be harmony in the home there will be order in the nation.
If there be order in the nation there will be peace in the world.