Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you.
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here.
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.

No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

Native American Teaching

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Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.

Gary Snyder

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“This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies All manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginning less time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

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photo by Christopher Michael

I used to say when giving lectures to Buddhist groups that if people became enlightened in following the practices of Buddhism that they should combine their study of it with the study of psychotherapy and psychology. Because the best livelihood in this society for someone who is a little enlightened is to be a healer and a psychotherapist. This way they can help people within a framework that is understood here. Otherwise they go back to do something that has nothing to do with sharing their enlightenment, or they try to become a professional guru—and that has terrible problems associated with it.

Being a “guru” is not really institutionalized in our society. It is something weird, and when people try to become professional gurus here they are tempted to play guru games and do all kinds of dumb things. They might go around thinking they are enlightened or pretending that they are, and it’s very hard for them. I’ve often told gurus and lamas that while they are training their students for enlightenment, that they can be building toward a livelihood where that enlightenment can be wielded altruistically for others in a socially accepted and understandable way.

In a way, psychotherapists may wish to consider themselves the vanguard of a new kind of society—a society that truly does value its individuals, where one individual’s development of psychological integration, compassion, emotional expansion, wisdom and insight to the nature of reality is the purpose of the whole shooting match.

by Robert Thurman

Read Full Interview on Tricycle: The Buddhist Review:

http://www.tricycle.com/blog/interview-tibetan-buddhist-scholar-robert-thurman

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The same stream of life
that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the worlds
and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy
through the dust of the earth
in numberless blades of grass
and breaks into tumultuous waves
of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life
that is rocked in the ocean-cradle
of birth and earth, in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious
by the touch  of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages
dancing in my blood this moment.

Tagore

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Turtle Island Mandala #9 by Robert Althouse

Turtle Island is a term that comes from the American Indian tradition, used to describe North America. For me, the term carries with it a set of values I share about the sacred nature of the world. In this world there is respect for living in harmony with the earth, with the natural world, it’s communities, plants, animals and many beings.

I place these images in the context of mandalas. It’s difficult for me to describe in words what a mandala means. It is not a concept or a symbol, nor is it merely psychological, though it seems to have a healing power that can restore us to wholeness. Mandala arises out of how our experience organizes itself. It’s not about a center. Centers are uncountable. There can’t be a center without a periphery. There can be no enlightenment without delusion, so the mandala includes our confusion, bewilderment, and chaos. The order and chaos include each other. And then, there is the ground of totality beyond any reference point. The mandala is communicating the richness of this human experience, so perhaps it doesn’t need to conform to our visual preconceptions.

Robert Althouse

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Nature is orderly. That which appears to be chaotic in nature is only a more complex kind of order.

Gary Snyder

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Mandala #22 by Robert Althouse

I find it difficult to put into words, what mandala is about for me. It’s not a concept or a symbol of some kind. It’s not about a center. Centers are uncountable. Mandala arises out of how our experience organizes itself. There can be no enlightenment without delusion. The mandala includes our confusion, bewilderment, fear and chaos. The order and the chaos include each other. And then there is a ground that is larger than this duality as well. And the mandala is communicating the richness of this experience. Perhaps the mandala doesn’t have to conform to our visual preconceptions.

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The monkey is reaching
For the moon in the water.
Until death overtakes him
He’ll never give up.
If he’d let go the branch and
Disappear in the deep pool,
The whole world would shine
With dazzling pureness.

Hakuin Ekaku

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W.S. Merwin at Zen Life Blog of ZLMC

First, forget what time it is for an hour.
Do it regularly every day.
Then forget what day of the week it is,
and do this regularly in company for a week.
Then forget what country you are in,
and practice doing it in company for a week,
and then do them together for a week
with as few breaks as possible.
Follow these by forgetting how to add
or to subtract.
It makes no difference.
You can change them around after a week.
Both will later help you to forget how to count.

Forget how to count,
starting with your own age,
starting with how to count backwards,
starting with even numbers,
with roman numerals,
starting with fractions,
with the old calendar,
going on to the alphabet,
forgetting it all until everything
is continuous and whole again.

W.S. Merwin

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