a zen teaching

Huáng Po is perhaps one of Zen Buddhism’s most brilliant Zen masters.  One of the sample teachings (below) from Huang Po’s dialogues brings to light Zen Buddhism’s most esoteric theme concerning Buddha Mind.  Much more vast than the Western concept of mind, Huang Po reveals the transcendent nature of Buddha Mind which traditional Zen Buddhists believe is the source of all things.

Huang Po quote

Brief Bio:

Huáng Po (d. 850) was noted for his outlandish manner of teaching, which incorporating hitting and shouting to awaken his students.  There are a number of instances in the record of Huáng Po slapping students.

One time, the future emperor of China, hiding in the Chan community as a novice monk, received many slaps from Huáng Po for questioning why Huáng Po was bowing to an image of the Buddha.

Another instance was when Linji Yixuan was directed by the head monk to question Huáng Po on the meaning of Buddhism after he had been practicing hard in the monastery for three years without an interview. Three times Linji went to Huáng Po and three times the only answer he got was a slap.

Classic Text:

From “The Zen Teachings of Huang Po”:

“Now we are getting towards the end of the third period of five hundred years since the time of the Buddha, and most students of zen cling to all sorts of sounds and forms.  Why do they not copy me by letting each thought go as though it were nothing, or as though it were a piece of rotten wood, a stone, or the cold ashes of a dead fire?  Or else, by just making whatever slight response is suited to each occasion?

If you do not act thus, when you reach the end of your days here, you will be tortured by Yama.  You must get away from the doctrines of existence and non-existence, for Mind is like the sun, forever in the void, shining spontaneously, shining without intending to shine.  This is not something which you can accomplish without effort, but when you reach the point of clinging to nothing whatever, you will be acting as the Buddhas act.

This will indeed be acting in accordance with the saying: ‘Develop a mind which rests on no thing whatever.’  For this is your pure Dharmakaya, which is called supreme perfect Enlightenment.

If you cannot understand this, though you gain profound knowledge from your studies, though you make the most painful efforts and practice the most stringent austerities, you will still fail to know your own mind.  All your effort will have been misdirected and you will certainly join the family of Mara.  What advantage can you gain from this sort of practice?”

many blessings!

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Mother’s intuition

Here’s a follow up to an article I posted back in 2011 about a lovely mother who had delivered twins prematurely at 27 weeks.  Kate Ogg delivered fraternal twins.  One boy and one girl.  Unfortunately, the doctor told her the baby boy didn’t make it.

In a world where doctors are just in the beginning stages of learning about the full potential of the human body and mind…it makes us realize how important it is to become fully aware of the process of childbirth and all that it entails.

Now, we can say for sure that a baby and its mother should should never be separated at birth.  And we can learn how important it is of having direct physical contact between the two.   And, of course, communicating loving words can not hurt at all.

Jamie’s story:

For Kate Ogg and her husband David, the arrival of twins finally fulfilled their wishes to have their first child and become new parents. However, after a premature birth the couple was told their first baby would not make it.

It only takes one person to change the world as this beautiful story with a happy ending tells us.  Hopefully, it will cause a few people to reevaluate what we think we really know and learn proper birthing principles.

After both mom and dad cuddled, held, and talked to their baby for hours… the doctor was shocked to see him with his eyes open and begin breathing.  Here’s a video every aspiring parent should be required to watch.  Running time 4 minutes with nice photos of the children three or four years later:


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obtaining virtue

The Buddha said to Maitreya, “If here in this world you are upright in thought and will, and abstain from doing evil, then you will attain the utmost virtue, unsurpassed in all the lands throughout the ten quarters.

Why is this so? 

Devas and humans in the Buddha-lands naturally do good and rarely commit evil, and so, it is easy to teach and train them.  Having become a Buddha in this world, I now dwell in the midst of the five evils, the five sufferings, and the five burnings.  This is extremely painful for me.


I will teach multitudes of beings, making them abandon the five evils, avoid the five sufferings, and escape from the five burnings.  I will train their minds and lead them to practice the five good deeds, so that they may acquire merit and virtue and attain emancipation, long life, and Nirvana.”

Roots of virtue:

“In this world, you should extensively plant roots of virtue, be benevolent, give generously, abstain from breaking the precepts, be patient and diligent, teach people with sincerity and wisdom, do virtuous deeds, and practice good.

If you strictly observe the precepts of abstinence with upright thought and mindfulness even for a day and a night, the merit acquired will surpass that of practicing good in the land of Amitayus for a hundred years.  The reason is that in that Buddha-land of effortless spontaneity all the inhabitants do good without committing even a hair’s breadth of evil.

If in this world you do good for ten days and nights, the merit acquired will surpass that of practicing good in the Buddha-land of other quarters for a thousand years.

The reason is that in the Buddha-land of other quarters many practice good and very few commit evil.  They are lands where everything is naturally provided as a result of one’s merit and virtue, and so no evil is done.

But in this world much evil is committed, and few are provided for naturally; people must work hard to get what they want.  Since they intend to deceive each other, their minds are troubled, their bodies exhausted, and they drink bitterness and eat hardship.  In this way, they are preoccupied with their toil [and don’t] have time for rest.

The Challenge:

  1. One day – The merit acquired for planting roots of virtue for a day, will surpass those practicing good in the land of Amitayus for a hundred years.
  2. Ten days – The merit acquired for planting roots of virtue for ten days, the merit acquired will surpass that of practicing good in the Buddha-land of other quarters for a thousand years.

To learn more about Amitayus: Infinite Life Sutra

To watch the Chinese video: Amitayus Infinite Life sutra

Many Blessings!

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Skunk Medicine

Skunk cannabis, along with traditional marijuana, is typically used for recreational use.  However, it is becoming popular amongst the medical community as a form of pain medication and management in such debilitating illnesses as HIV or seizures.


Skunk weed, similar to every other strain of cannabis, has both physiological and psychological side effects.  These side effects include: rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, increased rate of breathing, red eyes, dry mouth, increased appetite, slowed reaction time, distorted sense of time, paranoia, magical thinking, short-term memory loss, anxiety and depression.

While skunk weed and marijuana in general can produce negative side effects, it can be beneficial to aid individuals with severe medical conditions.  With that said the debate on whether or not it is beneficial will always be based on you intention and how you use it.

What I wanted to point out is the mythology, origins, and inherent dangers of what this plant does on a deeper level.  Since most people have various strong or weak faculties it is not always easy to determine the truth.  Therefore, a higher perspective is really NEVER shared with someone from a more material point of view.  So those that disagree on these topics will almost always lack any calm sense of detachment and serious reflection.

Since it is now becoming more and more legalized and popular you can take this information to benefit the few loved ones that are willing to listen.  The different spiritual and shamanic views can be discovered in the following categories:

From the Marijuana Syndromes website:

When a young child smells marijuana for the first time, they often share a simple but profound insight: Marijuana smoke smells like a skunk.  Many Mexican shamans agree.  Marijuana shares two main qualities with the skunk at levels of what the shamans call Skunk Medicine.


Any interesting book came out in 2012.  John Mini, a licensed Acupuncturist, wrote the book called: “Marijuana Syndromes: How to Balance and Optimize the Effects of Cannabis with Traditional Chinese Medicine“.  The captivating and well-researched book is 824 pages long.  He dedicated over twenty years of research into the effects of marijuana and how to balance them using Traditional Chinese Medicine.  He says that:

Marijuana can help you let go of appearances and materialism.  But if you let it take you too far and you don’t do something to balance it in your life, marijuana can also turn you into a slob that can’t get anything done.  This effect is one level of the shamanic testing arena.  It’s where many of the lessons of plant medicines reside.

“These tests are built in mechanisms, or proving grounds, that only allow those that make it through in a good way to progress further on the path.  The ones who don’t make it are left to the demons and psychotherapists.” — Dr. John Mini

Root origins:

Have you ever wondered where in the world the name marijuana comes from?  It’s not a botanical title.  The word comes from Mexican shamans.  We first started hearing the term marijuana here in El Norte at the end of the 1800s, when Gringo soldiers first had continuing contact with freedom fighters from Mexico, who were mostly Pancho Villa’s supporters in Sonora.

So what does marijuana mean, anyway?  Mari means Mary.  It means Virgin in the Christian sense and all that goes along with that icon.  But a Juana is a whore.  (If you’re deeply aching to verify the truth of this statement, click here.)  This leads us into a dichotomy that is the essence of what marijuana’s medicine is all about.

Ashir Pandey, Cannabis Advocate and Activist, from California says,  “My favorite reference in the book, which encapsulates the major theme of Mini’s research, is the Mexican Shamans who refer to Marijuana as part “Virgin Mary” and part “Whore.”  Meaning that Marijuana’s dual nature is encapsulated in its name.

“When used correctly it can act as beneficently as Mother Mary.  When used incorrectly it quickly has the opposite effect and becomes a Juana …’Prostitute’ over time.” — Ashir Pandey


In a recent publication on February 9th, 2015 it is said that psychosis is five times more likely for people who are cannabis users.

London (AFP) – A British study released Monday suggested that the risk of psychosis was five times higher for regular users of cannabis, adding to a growing body of evidence linking drug use and mental health disorders.

The six-year study published in the medical journal The Lancet reported on 780 people living in south London, 410 of whom were being treated for conditions including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  Marta Di Forti from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London says:

“Compared with those who had never tried cannabis, users of high potency skunk-like cannabis had a threefold increase in risk of psychosis.” — Marta Di Forti

By continuously breaking the laws of nature, it is rather difficult to become whole again.  Most will never know what is true happiness or a natural state of well-being because it is outside their range of awareness and direct experience.

The Reality:

From a deeper perspective, no illness need remain forever in one’s mind-stream.  Yet, this is one of the hardest illnesses to heal simply because it affects the mind so greatly.  Those that don’t believe in karma and how the subconscious mind imprints everything we experience will never understand.

One thing that I have noticed is that when all the proper conditions come together then mental illness will occur as a matter of consequence.  When more than one of these conditions are met: such as meditation, fasting, occult study, conspiracy theories, and bad diet coincide with marijuana-use then results such as bi-polar or schizophrenia have a greater chance of happening.  We all can agree that a trip to the psych-ward or hospital is no fun.

Once marijuana is used, most love to experience the high or euphoric feeling it gives.  This is what is grasped onto the most.  Yet, most forget that there was also a sense of paranoia that came with the trip.  And this is the key-point.  This deep feeling of paranoia becomes imprinted on the subconscious mind.  Later, this feeling of paranoia can be triggered many years later.  Sadly, as one’s life spins out of control and the mind races and fear overwhelms the person…a sense of what the Buddhist scriptures describe as “unbounded joy” and what psychologists refer to as “manic-behavior” is produced.

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the two paths

It’s always nice to come across any type of work by the great Zen Master Bodhidharma.  His truth hits home because he effortlessly sums up the whole path in a condensed and simple manner.  Here is one such teaching:


MANY roads lead to the Path, but basically there are only two: reason and practice.

To enter by reason means to realize the essence through instruction and to believe that all living things share the same true nature, which isn’t apparent because it’s shrouded by sensation and delusion.  Those who turn from delusion back to reality, who meditate on walls, the absence of self and other, the oneness of mortal and sage, and who remain unmoved even by scriptures are in complete and unspoken agreement with reason.  Without moving, without effort, they enter, we say, by reason.

To enter by practice refers to four all-inclusive practices:  Suffering injustice, adapting to conditions, seeking nothing, and practicing the Dharma.

First, suffering injustice.  When those who search for the Path encounter adversity, they should think to themselves,

 “In Countless ages gone by, I’ve turned from the essential to the trivial and wandered through all manner of existence, often angry without cause and guilty of numberless transgressions.

Now, though I do no wrong, I’m punished by my past.  Neither gods nor men can foresee when an evil deed will bear its fruit.  I accept it with an open heart and without complaint of injustice.  The sutras say “When you meet with adversity don’t be upset because it makes sense.”  With such understanding you’re in harmony with reason.  And by suffering injustice you enter the Path.

Second, adapting to conditions.  As mortals, we’re ruled by conditions, not by ourselves.  All the suffering and joy we experience depend on conditions. 

If we should be blessed by some great reward, such as fame or fortune, it’s the fruit of a seed planted by us in the past.  When conditions change, it ends

Why delight in its existence?  But while success and failure depend on conditions, the mind neither waxes nor wanes.  Those who remain unmoved by the wind of joy silently follow the Path.

Third, seeking nothing.  People of this world are deluded.  They’re always longing for something-always, in a word, seeking.  But the wise wake up.  They choose reason over custom.  They fix their minds on the sublime and let their bodies change with the seasons.

All phenomena are empty.  They contain nothing worth desiring.  Calamity forever alternates with Prosperity!

To dwell in the three realms is to dwell in a burning house.  To have a body is to suffer.  Does anyone with a body know peace?  Those who understand this detach themselves from all that exists and stop Imagining or seeking anything.  The sutras say, “To seek is to suffer.  To seek nothing is bliss.”  When you seek nothing, you’re on the Path.

Fourth, practicing the Dharma.  The Dharma is the truth that all natures are pure.  By this truth, all appearances are empty.  Defilement and attachment, subject and object don’t exist.  The sutras say, “The Dharma includes no being because it’s free from the impurity of being, and the Dharma includes no self because it’s free from the impurity of self.”  Those wise enough to believe and understand these truths are bound to practice according to the Dharma.

And since that which is real includes nothing worth begrudging, they give their body, life, and property in charity, without regret, without the vanity of giver, gift, or recipient, and without bias or attachment.

And to eliminate impurity they teach others, but without becoming attached to form.  Thus, through their own practice they’re able to help others and glorify the Way of Enlightenment.  And as with charity, they also practice the other virtues.  But while practicing the six virtues to eliminate delusion, they practice nothing at all.  This is what’s meant by practicing the Dharma.

 The Great Master Bodhi-dharma’s Teaching on the Two Enterings and the Four Practices  

By Bodhi-dharma
Translated into English by Red Pine, 1987

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Solitary Realizers

I came across this very nice commentary by Chogyam Trungpa.  Trungpa Rinpoche, was one of the great mahasiddhas of the last century (1939-1987) that condensed the essence of many Buddhist teachings in a simple and easy-to-understand manner.  The topic of solitary realizers, otherwise known as pratyekabuddhas, can be a big eye-opener to those that love to study bits and pieces from every religion. 


Since we’ve had so many yogis, authors and charlatans set forth an unprecedented amount of wrong views (in modern times) while simultaneously lacking heartfelt compassion and responsible behavior, this particular commentary can help us differentiate who is an authentic teacher.  

Chogyam Trungpa writes:

“Pratyekabuddhas are referred to as either parrots or rhinoceroses.  That is to say, there is no happy medium of any kind.  In these two approaches, either the person is very sociable or else very individualistic.  But the general tendency of pratyekabuddhas is that only a few are sociable, a lot of them seem to be antisocial people. 

We could relate that with ourselves.  Some people would like to just retreat and go back to their own environment.  They do not want to relate at all with the energy level of the world or the society that exists around them.  Pratyekabuddhayana types of people are arrogant, in the sense that they prefer not to seek a personal teacher or an individual guide.

And also such people could be said to have very little desire, so therefore they are not particularly keen on socializing.  And also they are highly intelligent and intellectual in some sense they do actually discover some sense of reality or some sense of liberation.  So the general assumption of such people, or their general approach to life is the sense that they have their own resources already and that they can do better without anybody’s help.

A pratyekabuddha is intelligent enough to work with his own resources but at the same time he is very arrogant.  He does not want to relate with anybody above and he does not want to be under anybody’s directions.  He would like to search for himself.  It is kind of the selfmade person approach.  So pratyekabuddhas are very individualistic.  Quite possibly such a person would appreciate nature and poetry, and such a person might appreciate hardship, and industrious work.  He or she probably does not like any kind of religion.  He would like to search in his own way, by his own means, basically.  So that is the pratyekabuddha type of person.

 I’m sure you are aware that we have such people within our community.  And such people are always very resourceful and very knowledgeable from the level of how to tie a shoelace efficiently up to how to survive in the wilderness.  They are very intellectual and from that point of view very functional and efficient.  But at the same time they do not particularly want to relate with any hierarchy or organized discipline of any sort.

Such a person might find that entering a meditation hall is somewhat revolting.  ‘Freedom can be discovered from tying one’s own shoelace.  We don’t need this kind of institutionalized setup’ — that would be the logic of such a person.  So that type of person is arrogant in some sense.  But there is nothing that you can do to put that person on the spot because such a person has less tendency to neurosis.

There is the neurosis of his own arrogance, but apart from that there is very little notion of a need for entertainment or any sense of confusion.  Usually we have to talk to somebody to try to untangle our confusion or because we need some kind of companionship.  But in this case, the whole thing is not based on that.”

Click here for the rest of the commentary: CTR Pratyekabuddhas

Good luck on your Quest!

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Happy New Year

Now that the new year is in, we have a chance to make things right.  If we believe in karma and a higher power then all of our many goals and aspirations can be heard by these realized beings through our prayer.

Since we never know when we are going to pass away, it is important to create some sort of virtue and merit so that wisdom may dawn in our mind-stream before it is too late.

…here is an email I got today from the Jnanasukha sangha.  With such perfect words, from one of the most highly realized masters of the last century, it certainly strikes the essential point:


happy new year


Now that your spiritual connection has been forged,
Achieve your eternal goals.

Strive on the sole path of all the victorious ones’ heirs:
Generate compassion and the mind of awakening.

The view is the great emptiness of samsara and enlightenment.
Concluding that your own awareness is the unformulated dharmakaya is the sovereign view.

Meditation is to settle unconcerned
Within unfabricated present awareness,

Unfettered by grasping,
Take as the supreme kind of conduct
Not to fall under the negative influence of carelessness
But to have your acts accord with the Dharma.

Be diligent in undistracted practice.

Wisdom Nectar: Dudjom Rinpoche’s Heart Advice.
Snow Lion Publications 2005.

Light & Love

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The Hara Line

Barbara Ann Brennan (born 19 February 1939) is an American author, physicist, spiritual healer, businesswoman and teacher working in the field of energy healing.  In 2011, she was listed by the Watkins Review as the 94th most spiritually influential person in the world.  Since she has provided immeasurable benefit to myself and others I would rate her much higher.

As this information is hard to access, and the only website (the wingmakers) has since shut down, I felt compelled to place this informationhara line meditation in a PDF file for safe keeping.

The image at the left shows part of the exercise of aligning the tan tien to the core of Mother Earth.  Performed in this manner, grounding becomes a much easier thing.

When we are dangerously spaced-out from incorrect breathwork then we can quickly see how this exercise becomes invaluable.

The Hara Line:

The hara-line is our alignment to our life purpose and over time it can become bent, off center or even broken as we become disconnected from our true purpose.  Regularly straightening it and maintaining it can have a massive impact on our sense of direction and purpose in life.  It will give us an overall sense of being “on track”.  It connects the earth’s core star, via our dan tien, soul star and the universal self.

One point that Barbara Brennan talks about in her book is how well a martial artist’s energetic core is developed.  For instance, when a martial artist has practiced tai-chi for many years their hara line is properly connected from the tan tien to the earth’s core in a solid way.

As I have also witnessed, the martial artist’s hara line is incredibly stronger than the ordinary individual who doesn’t have that sort of self-discipline.

This work definitely makes our body more grounded and functional which is why Asian cultures incorporate tai-chi as part of a daily routine in the work-place.  The added benefits to this meditation connects the hara-line all the way up to the soul seat and Godhead which would surpass the martial artist’s capability.  Eventually, this will bring about more mental and emotional health while increasing balance and harmony.


This is an example of a broken hara line.

hara line broken

Correct Alignment:

The image is an example of our hara line that is in perfect alignment.

hara line

As Barbara Brennan puts it:

“When you have aligned your first point of individuation from the godhead with your soul’s sacred longing and with the one note with which you have drawn your body up from your mother the earth, you have aligned yourself with your life purpose.  You may not even know what it is, but you are aligned with it, and your actions will automatically be synchronistic with it as long as you remain aligned.”

Click here to download: Hara Line Exercise

Light and Love,

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Lhabab Duchen

I received this in an email.  And it is a good reminder for everyone as it is a special Dharma Festival day.  Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Descent from Tushita Heavens by Shakyamuni Buddha which lands on November 13th, 2014.


Migyur Dorje Stupa

“Thursday the 13th of November (22nd day of the ninth month according to the lunar calendar) marks the anniversary of the day that Shakyamuni Buddha descended from the Heaven of the 33 back to earth to teach.

When the Buddha became enlightened, he was able to see his mother, Queen Mayadevi, had gone to this desire god realm when she had died six days after his birth.  To repay his mother’s kindness, the Buddha vowed to liberate her and gods inhabiting this realm.

After he stayed three months in this heavenly realm, Buddha’s students on earth begged him to return through the offering of lights.  To make this return possible, the gods Indra and Brahma constructed a ladder of gold, silver, and precious gems.  The Buddha descended from heaven and arrived in the town of Kashi (modern-day Varanasi).  This is considered to be one of the eight great deeds of the Buddha, marked by one of the eight kinds of stupas entitled “Stupa of Descent from the God Realm.”


Completed Migyur Dorje stupa

This is a day that the merit of our actions is multiplied one-hundred-million-fold.  One way to generate merit particularly on this day is to offer lamps.  These outer lights symbolize the inner light of our own practice, cultivated through our meditation.

Light symbolizes the expelling of ignorance, strengthening the clarity of mind, and the generating wisdom and compassion.  And by offering lights, we are praying that the inner light of all beings is joined with infinite light.  We are in this email offering two lights for you, dear friends!”


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