Limp

Limp,

Tossed about by nature's breathing,
When not too busy or indifferent
To spare me even a breath.

Cold, exposed to elements attracted more
to the colorful parade than I,
Faded and tattered remnants
hugging a cold, stiff pole
on an unseeing street corner.

Ignored, eating the meals tossed by
"empty" ghosts, glittering shells,
begging bowls filled with nails
and crosses.

The winter cold and snow freeze my
very foundation,
sleet starches the very flow of me
and makes of my heart a
cold, icy thing dressed
in fearful shivers.

Carers whiz by en route to their
emergencies
while I flail my prayers, my
hurts, my forgottenness to the darkness.
Sirens scream, horns blast, 
onlookers curse the noise but love
the adventure of it all.

Bright lights shine satin upon
patches of still clean snow
but all I see are crusty,
dirty dog-peed stains
carelessly allowed by
angry mongrels.

I'm left endlessly fluttering,
reaching for what?
a rainbow over there
offering some hope,
some beauty to my world of
beggars, hustlers, "thieves"

Who have stolen the dance
that was once mine?

Limp,
the heavy flag
has hidden my jewels
in locked closets only to be
displayed on special
holidays.

What's next, Valentine's Day?

by Vivienne L. Lund

(written during Winter Solstice Retreat 2015 at Zen Life & Meditation Center, during Practice of Immediacy in the Arts®, inspired by looking out a Zen Center window and seeing a flagpole with a limp hanging flag, mirroring my emotions at the time. 

Open Out the Chest that it may be Spacious

E wehe i ka umauma i akea. Open out the chest that it may be spacious. Be generous and kind to all.

 'Olelo No'eau - Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings #388 Collected, translated and annotated by Mary Kawena Pukui

 

Last Sunday I was happily sitting on a stone wall facing a calm, languid Lake Michigan.  It was a warm, gentle evening, and there were hundreds of people at the monthly Full Moon Fire Jam on the lake.  We were waiting to see the total eclipse of the super moon or blood moon.  Many drums were beating out a rhythmic tune causing people to naturally move and dance.

I walked, with friends, past the crowds toward the lake and sat looking up at a cloudy sky with no moon.  The cloud bank was moving along and occasionally the moon peeked through.  We were lucky.  Right at 9:22 pm, the cloud bank cleared and there was the glorious moon in full eclipse.  She was a dark, burnt orange orb floating in the sky.  I cheered along with hundreds of others.  And I offered prayers of peace for all.

That night reminded me of watching the total solar eclipse when I lived in Waimea in the early 90's.  The eclipse happened at 8:30 am and was intensely dramatic.  As the morning slowly darkened crickets began to chirp.  The moon came between the earth and sun blocking it entirely on that July morning.  There was also a very thin ring of fire around it.  Everywhere was dark as night.

I'll never forget seeing our sun as a black orb floating in the sky to the left of Mauna Kea, our great mountain on Hawaii Island, just as I'll always remember the burnt orange moon above Lake Michigan.

I've been thinking about the Native American Bearing Witness Retreat I attended in the Black Hills this past August.  The Indians call the Black Hills the Heart of Everything That Is.  It's also the entrance to heaven, the Sacred Place of the Heart.

And what is found in the heart?  Love.  Love starts in our hearts and spreads throughout our body and mind.  The beauty of the Black Hills and the warm-heartedness of her people opened the sacred place of my heart too.

We bore witness and listened to many stories about racism and trauma at the retreat - both historical, trans-generational and present day trauma happening to the Indians.  The effects of trauma - deep poverty, alcoholism, domestic violence, and youth suicide rates on the Pine Ridge Reservation - overwhelmed me.   There are many parallels to the Kanaka Maoli (Hawaiian native) experience.

One of the most disturbing things I heard about was the trauma to the environment and it's effects on people.  Charmaine Whiteface told us that there are nearly 300 abandoned uranium mines around South Dakota that have been polluting the area with radioactive dust and particles for the last 60 years.  There is a high proportion of cancer-related illnesses and birth defects in certain areas.  We were probably inhaling it on the retreat site!  There is also a total of 15,000 abandoned mines in the United States - most found in the 25 western states.

I remember being very disheartened and depressed after several days of this kind of information.  Wednesday after dinner, I walked over to the prayer circle and to the fire that was burning in the center.  I sat quietly on the ground.  I was soon mesmerized and comforted by the flames that danced between the pieces of wood. I smelled the calming sage burning in the cool evening.  Nevertheless a deep sadness filled my heart and body.  I felt heavy and thick.

That night in the women's tent, I had a hard time falling asleep as thoughts circled around and around.  I knew that it would help to stop the thoughts by becoming more aware of my body, so I focused on my breath first and just noticed how I was breathing without needing to change it.  Then I focused on other parts of my body - how it felt lying on the ground in my sleeping bag.  I asked what part of my body felt heavy?  Was it my heart, my stomach, my lungs?  I brought my focus fully to each organ and lingered awhile to notice how each felt.  I fell asleep a little while later.

The next morning I awoke early and walked outside the tent into the stillness of early morning. My sadness couldn't be contained, and I just burst into tears.  How could something so terrible happen here in this sacred place of the heart?  I was angry. I was depressed.  I felt like a big weight was pressing down on me.  I couldn't really smile.

Council circles were held after breakfast each morning.  Our circle was outside the women's tent.  We sat in folding chairs on uneven ground.  We spoke from the heart and listened from the heart.  Sharing my distress with the circle in the healing presence of the Black Hills helped me.

That evening I shared a hula choreographed to the song Make Strong by Hawane Rios. It is a beautiful Hawaiian song written by Hawane when she was 25 years old.  It reminds us of the strength, perseverance and dedication needed during times of great travail. The Indian women told me that they appreciated it.

I was impressed by all of the native presenters.  I felt especially close to the Indian women - the way they worked with all kinds of difficulties in their lives and, when the time was right for laughter, they laughed with great joy.  They reminded me of Hawaiians that I know - open, humble, kind and generous. Their warmth helped me to realize that we are all in this web of life together.  Whatever we can do to help one another makes a difference.

Malama pono (take care of your body, mind and heart),

June Ryushin, Kaililani Tanoue, Sensei Zen Teacher, Kumu Hula

P.S.  Here's a  slide show of selected photographs of my Bearing Witness trip. Thanks to Peter Cunningham and Darrell Justus for the photos and music by Tiokasin Ghosthorse.  Here are Peter and Darrell's complete photos and Jadina Lilien's photos of the retreat.

Love is a Customary Virtue with Man

Last month, I visited ke one(pronounced as o-nay) hanau (the sands of my birth) on beautiful Moku o Keawe - also known as Hawaii Island.  It has been over two years since I visited this beautiful island of Hawaii. Thanks to a reunion with my college roommates of 44 years ago and to the generosity of one, we stayed in a cottage by the ocean on the western side of the island.  The salt air permeated and nourished our bodies and minds.  The sound of the ocean was ever in our ears.  There were no schedules.

Every morning  I was the first to get up - I was so excited to see the beach as the sun rose.  I changed quickly - and walked toward the ocean taking a short little path.  I stood on the beach in the cool morning air, looking at the ocean and at the dark lava rocks standing like little islands in the sea.  Big sea turtles crawled on those rocks and slept there during the day.  Small, gentle waves in the distance kept rolling towards the shore rhythmically.  The clouds reflecting the sunrise's peach and pink were mirrored in quiet tide pools.

I could see Maui's huge mountain, Haleakala, nestled in a bank of light purple and salmon clouds in the distance.  I inhaled and exhaled deeply and felt happiness in my bones.

It got hot later in the morning, but the ocean trade winds always kept us comfortable.  At night we took mats to the beach to lie down and look at the many stars.  The Big Dipper, Bootes, Arcturus and other constellations twinkled at us.  Saturn and Jupiter shone steadily.  Shooting stars thrilled us!

My old friends and I reminisced over meals.  We sat in the warm ocean tide pool or in the shade of the old kamani tree - appreciating the place and all of it's plants and animals.  A family of brown Francolins lived there.  Three young ones followed their parents, all in a line, looking for food.  They sometimes ran quickly across the yard and blended in with the sand.  Every now and then one of the parents would shout out a huge unmistakeable bird song that sounded like part hyena and part cackle. I was amazed.

We took a trip to Hilo one day and drove on the new Saddle Road.  It's called the Saddle Road because the road goes right between the great mountains Mauna Kea also called Mauna a Wakea and Mauna Loa.  The road is beautiful - open vistas on the western side and gorgeous rain forests on the eastern side.

The turnoff to Hale Pohaku or the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy sits at the top of the saddle.  I wanted to visit the mauna (mountain) and offer my gratitude.  The drive up to the center began in fog and light drizzle.  We drove slowly up the road.  As we got higher, the weather started to clear.  And then the mamane trees came into sight.  Mamane is a beautiful hardwood tree.  Its seeds are the only food for the honeycreeper, the palila bird.  Its round oval-like leaves and yellow flowers are an important Hawaiian medicinal.

Hale Pohaku sits at 9,000 feet. We parked, and as I walked towards the protectors, who are protesting the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope, I saw a truck with an open bed hosting a beautiful big yellow sign that said "Aloha Aina."  This means love of the land.  Two Hawaiian flags in the corner of the truck's bed flew in the occasional breeze.  I stopped to chat with two women sitting on either side the sign.  As often happens on Hawaii Island, one of the women turned out to be my high school classmate from 50 years ago! The young Mauna A Wakea protectors were parked across the street from the center.  But before I went to say aloha, I walked behind them and climbed a small hill.  The air was dry and clear, the sky blue.  There were a number of beautiful mamane trees in bloom.  It was open and spacious.  The sun was warm and the land sacred. It felt so good to be walking on the 'aina (land).   I looked up and saw the summit - 13,796 feet above sea level or 33,000 feet from its base underwater.  It looked so very majestic and lofty with white puffy clouds slowing passing by.

Pausing at a small rock ahu (altar) a little way up the path, I offered a pule (prayer) of gratitude for being there and for all the people who are protecting the mountain and those who are not.   Then I went to meet the protectors and gave them a warm hug, thanking them for serving there.  They returned my hug with warmth, and my heart filled. Tears dropped as I left.  Love was there all around me each day.  I hope you can feel that love as you read this.

Malama Pono (take care of your body, mind and heart), Sensei June Ryushin Kaililani Tanoue Zen Teacher, Kumu Hula  

 

 

 

 

 

P.S.  Here's a slide show of photographs of my Hawaii Island trip. Thanks to music by Keoki Carter.  I also attended a family reunion in Honolulu and made this slide show of that wonderful gathering.

Happy 85th Birthday to Gary Snyder

“As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth . . . the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. I try to hold both history and the wilderness in mind, that my poems may approach the true measure of things and stand against the unbalance and ignorance of our times.” Gary Snyder

No Cliff is so Tall it Cannot be Scaled

What is it about photographs of women standing together in unity that always draws my attention?

Perhaps it's because they are doing something seldom seen in any culture - taking a strong yet peaceful stand together.  When women speak wordlessly through their stance of strength and courage, they speak volumes that strike right at my heart.

Yet having a physical voice is also important.  In different cultures, many have been conditioned to believe women should not have a voice.  As a result many women today limit themselves when it comes to vocal self-expression. We don't feel worthy or smart enough to have an intelligent opinion.  Shame and fear are in rampant in our American culture.  How do we learn that we are enough in ourselves, that our opinions are worth sharing?

Participants of Women's Retreat, May 2015 at ZLMC

The first step is to recognize the habitual thought that we have about ourselves.  If we don't see what we're thinking, we can't ever change the pattern.  Changing deep-seated thought patterns may be difficult but not impossible.  We can replace it with new, wholesome thoughts about ourselves.  It will take patience and gentle perseverance to change.

My practice of meditation and mindfulness gives me a little space to notice what I'm feeling when I have to speak up in a group.  Sometimes I feel great anxiety or even real fear of speaking up.  I can notice my heart speeding up and my mouth getting dry.  Then I pay attention to the story I'm telling myself that causes these emotions.   The thought is that I'm not smart enough to speak up in a group.

Once I get worked up, it usually takes me about 15 - 20 minutes to calm down.  That's how long the brain stays flooded with neurotransmitters after an intense emotional experience.  And according to neuroscientific research, as much as we try to think our way through difficulties when we're upset -  thinking never helps but only extends the flooding of the brain.  So being in your body is a good thing and helps cut the story line that feeds the feelings.

Meditation is a process of being embodied.  We notice the mind and we keep coming back to the breath and body which brings us into the present.  That is the practice.  It is also a practice that builds courage and helps us to see that we are enough, that we are each unique and beautiful as we are.

Hula dancers know the wisdom of our bodies.  It's such a wonderful thing to experience our bodies dancing!  When we are really dancing, we are "in the moment," rather than evaluating or comparing or planning.  We're just dancing.  What a relief!

We can use a lot of energy playing mind games about shame and personal unworthiness or even blaming others.  These are dead-ends and lead to suffering.  We can use that same energy to dig deeper and begin the process of changing our thoughts.  This is a very brave and compassionate thing we can do for ourselves.  And when we can truly be compassionate with ourselves, then we can naturally be compassionate with others.

Malama pono (take care of body, mind and heart),

June Ryushin Tanoue Sensei

Interview with Roshi Eve Marko

I’m very much looking forward to our first Women’s Retreat that I co-lead with Roshi Eve Myonen Marko this Friday evening and all day Saturday. My first vivid memory of Eve was when we went to Bernie Glassman’s Auschwitz Bearing Witness retreat in the mid 90’s.  Along with Bernie, Eve was a key organizer of this ground-breaking retreat now in it’s 20th year.  In the midst of my retreat experience that was thick with fear, I remember Eve’s courage as she spoke eloquently about her own family’s experience in Auschwitz.

Then in 2001, Bernie invited Robert and me to work with his Peacemaker Community.  So we left Hawaii and joined the Peacemakers in Santa Barbara and then to Western Massachusetts.  Eve was a role model for me as to how a woman could be a leader in the Zen world.

Eve is a founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order and the resident teacher at the Green River Zen Center in Massachusetts.  She co-founded Peacemaker Circle International with her husband Bernie Glassman, which linked and trained spiritually-based social activists and peacemakers in the US, Europe and the Middle East.

I asked her to tell me what inspired her to help organize the Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreats twenty years ago.

Eve Myonen Marko:  I think it was part of my karma. Family members had died in concentration camps, including Auschwitz. I had no way of knowing it at the time, but it started me on a long, 20-year arc of confronting historical trauma that dealt with my family and my Jewish culture, and ended by raising what I feel was powerful bodhicitta that extended outwards, transcending the boundaries of family and nation. Auschwitz, which started off raising anger and pain, ended up nourishing my deepest wishes for this planet. This was also thanks to our retreat container there and the vision of Bernie Glassman. And of course, it then drew me to other places of trauma, like Rwanda, Bosnia, and our own Black Hills.

June Ryushin Tanoue:  What do you see clearer now in terms of your life as a woman and as a zen teacher?

Eve:  I’m 65 years old.  I am looking how to simplify my life and work with people who have a deep commitment.  I like to work with small groups of people - there’s trust - we can work on our lives together.  I have less and less interest in working with big groups.

As a woman - I spend more time taking care of my body and walking a lot.  I love to walk in the woods of New England.  I love looking at animals, looking at trees. I love to feed birds over the winter.   We had a harsh winter.  Care of the body and care of nature, and how the two come together, is becoming clearer at this point.

Speaking of women, and having worked in areas of conflict and pain, it’s also obvious to me that the roles that women play in these places are crucial.  In my experience, women often have less patience for blame because they have to take care of their families, they have to get back on the bandwagon and get to work. Sometimes they repress the trauma for years, but often they can heal faster and help others heal, too.

June: You were one of my first hula students when I began to teach hula. Why do you like the hula?

Eve: After a “diet” of Japanese flavored Zen, I found hula feminine and flowing. I always appreciated the tremendous discipline involved. I was surprised to see how unself-conscious I was, how I could plunge into those gorgeous movements. And of course, I had a great teacher.

In addition to the Women’s retreat on May 1st and 2nd, she will give the dharma talk at Sunday Morning Zen at 10 am.  Her talk is entitled, “The Practice of Wonder.”  Bring your Hidden Lamp books and have Eve sign the page with the koan “Ziyong’s Earth” that she reflected on in the book. I hope you’ll help me welcome her to Chicago.

Interview conducted by Sensei June Ryushin Tanoue

I am the Mountain, the Mountain is Me

In Zen we have a saying, "sit like a mountain."  I understood that in my bones when Robert and I lived in Hawaii in the late ‘80s until 2001.  We had a magnificent backyard view of Mauna Kea also known as Mauna a Wakea.  She was breathtakingly majestic sitting there in great dignity and silence. Mauna Kea is that rare mountain - very tall and alone - in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  Such attributes make it a perfect spot for the science of astronomy.

Astronomers love the clear air, low humidity and dark skies.  Many scientists have taken advantage of the mountain by building 12 telescopes in a special land use zone on the summit.  This zone is located on land protected by the Historical Preservation Act which recognizes it's significance to Hawaiian culture.

According to legend, Mauna Kea is the first born mountain child of Wakea (Sky Father) and Papa (Earth Mother).

My 'family and I lived on the Hamakua slide of her slopes for three generations.  Hawaiians who live in Hamakua take care of the mountain and also of Waipio Valley.

Recently, something big has happened in response to the building of the thirteenth telescope, known as the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).  A consortium of countries -  Japan, China, India, Canada and the United States coordinated through the University of Hawaii, has almost completed the hurdles needed to build TMT. Bulldozers and heavy equipment have reached the site.

A small group of Native Hawaiians calling themselves "protectors" have taken a stand and shown up on the mountain to respectfully block the way of the bulldozers.  They are conducting themselves in their culturally disciplined manner of peace, love and non-violence called 'Aloha 'Aina and Kapu Aloha.

'Aloha 'Aina literally means deep love of the land.  Kapu Aloha means respect towards others, under any and all circumstances.  It has been beautiful and inspiring to see people practicing these two spiritual principles given the great challenge they face against this $1.3 billion project. And they have been gaining support all over the islands and world-wide.  The governor has called a 2 week building moratorium as discussions have continued about building TMT.

It's not that the protectors disagree with science and telescopes.  It's just that they feel it's not the right place for one more.  The top of mountains are most sacred to native peoples because they are closest to the heavens.  So it makes sense that the actions of the protectors on the mauna (mountain) must be pono (right with themselves and with their god) and most respectful to all - even to people they don't agree with.

So how do we live 'Aloha 'Aina and Kapu Aloha everyday?  I take inspiration from the mauna and these 'Aloha 'Aina warriors.  Both exhibit strength and calm.  We know in our hearts when we are called to do something that we must listen.  That is fearlessness.

When we love something deeply, including ourselves, we do what must be done.  We malama (take care) in different ways.  We find our courage.   We are strong enough to listen to others who do not share our viewpoint.

We are calm and spacious (or we pause, breathe and regain composure) and we speak from our na'au (guts) and pu'uwai (heart). The response arises with truth and aloha so we can remain connected even in the midst of conflict.

We have to act alone sometimes or so it seems. Like when we sit, it can feel solitary. In reality, we are always deeply intertwined with each other and the 'aina (land).  And that knowing gives us strength and perseverance to continue to love and respect ourselves, one another and the land.

Sensei June Ryushin Tanoue

The Lord's Prayer

O Birther! Father-Mother of the Cosmos,you create all that moves in light. Focus your light within us—make it useful: as the ways of a beacon show the way. Desire with and through us the rule of universal fruitfulness onto the earth. Help us love beyond our ideals and sprout acts of compassion for all creatures. Grant what we need each day in bread and insight: substance for the call of growing life.

Untangle the knots within, so that we can mend our hearts' simple ties to others. Don't let surface things delude us, But free us from what holds us back. Again and again, from each universal gathering— of creatures, nations, planets, time and space— to the next. Truly—power to these statements— may they be the ground from which all my actions grow: Sealed in trust and faith. Amen.

translated by Douglas-Klotz

Ground Zero

Roshi Robert Joshin AlthouseIt might be exciting to talk about spiritual concepts, philosophies and metaphysics, to wax poetically about harmony and enlightenment. But that actually seems to be pretty far removed from your daily experience. So I'd like to talk about "Ground Zero" where you actually live your life in the trenches. At "Ground Zero" there is a constant struggle taking place. Everyone is busy surviving, making a living, going to work, making money, putting food on the table and sending kids to school. All over the world, in every country, every day, people are involved in this brave endeavor. It's really a beautiful thing. You shovel down breakfast to prepare for the daily war. And then you head out by car, by train, by bike or on foot ready to attack, to win, to achieve something.

Is it possible to appreciate what "Ground Zero" is from a direct, experiential level? Is it possible to get close to the bone, instead of philosophizing or moralizing about it? It's a messy situation. There is constant confusion and bewilderment taking place. Buildings which seemed so solid have disappeared in a matter of minutes. Here there is aggression and chaos. It's very sharp and painful. It cuts through you completely. You can't get comfortable here.

So the problem seems to be that you don't want to acknowledge the pain at all. You don't have a direct relationship to the pain. You relate to your projection, to your reaction to the pain. You only relate to your struggle to overcome the pain. Either you win or you lose. Either you attack or you will be attacked.

"Ground Zero" rears it's head through gaps in your daily experience. Some interruption takes place. You have a flat tire on the way to a meeting, and now you will be late. You forget someone's name. You go to the doctor and are told you have cancer. That moment is a gap and it's taking place in your daily experience. It's bewildering and confusing, and you feel slightly embarrassed.

So your first, knee-jerk reaction is to panic, to react. You quickly fill in the gap so that you can maintain the illusion of your own continuity, solidity and invincibility. It's as if you are trying to make something eternal out of a situation that is constantly shifting and changing. The reaction is your projection. And this reaction then leads to further suffering. The suffering is predictable. It manifests in five distinct patterns of ignorance, aggression, passion, pride or jealousy.

So the spiritual path I have learned from my own teachers starts at "Ground Zero". It starts by relating to your pain, fully and properly. You practice mindfulness meditation so you can pay attention and be more aware of what you are actually doing. You begin to understand projections. There is always a relationship between projection and projector. They both confirm and solidify each other, freezing space and giving birth to the five patterns of suffering.

So this spiritual path begins by surrendering, by giving up hope, for hope at this point, would be hope for the wrong thing. Hope at this point, would be some kind of spiritual materialism, the use of spirituality to promise some kind of escape from the pain.

If you are honest, if you are brave enough, you will realize there is no escaping your life. There is no escaping "Ground Zero". The pain is there and you can't wish it away. It's a self-existing situation. If you can relate to the pain properly, then it's no longer so personal. It's not really your pain because you don't exist in the way you thought you did. The sharpness cuts through you and begins to wake you up. It has an empty-hearted quality about it. It's very lonely. You begin to acknowledge your own sad and tender heart. Unless you are able to be alone in this way, it's not possible to be truly compassionate.

So perhaps you will take this to heart and begin a meditation practice. There are so many ways this practice can benefit your life and those of people around you. Resolve today to begin living a Zen-inspired life of openness, empathy and clarity in the face of change and uncertainty. There is no escaping your life. There is no escaping your death. And this wisdom of no-escape is the spiritual tradition I gratefully, joyfully and whole-heartedly embrace.

Roshi Robert Joshin Althouse

 

No Death, No Fear

“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

Buddhism, Psychotherapists & Western Gurus

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

Stream of Life

The same stream of lifethat 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

Connoisseur of Gratitude

. . . the more you become aconnoisseur of gratitude, the less you are a victim of resentment, depression, and despair. Gratitude will act as an elixir that will gradually dissolve the hard shell of your ego—your need to possess and control—and transform you into a generous being. The sense of gratitude produces true spiritual alchemy, makes us magnanimous— large souled.

Sam Keen

The Great Exoneration

Man's superiority to the rest of creation and his right to hold over it the powers of life and death, evolution and extinction, are questioned scarcely more often or more seriously than they were when he boasted a soul as his excuse. Now in the rare instances where his convenience alone is not taken as ample justification for his manipulations and erasures of other species, it is his intelligence, or some aspect of it, that is held up most regularly as the great exoneration. This, according to the myth, was the property which gave him the edge on the other creatures; and in the process it became endowed, in his eyes, with a spontaneous moral splendor which constitutes between him and the rest of nature not a relative but an absolute difference. W.S. Merwin