right diet and exercise supports a the meditative lifestyle. What is right
diet and exercise for a meditator? Generally, a person who meditates and
studies should have a mind that is light and agile and responsive. His
body should also feel light and flexible, he shouldn’t be prone towards
feeling heavy because that will lead to torpor in meditation and mental
dullness. A meditator should be strong and limber enough to sit in
meditation posture for long periods of time without feeling fatigue or
stress,

Good nutrition for someone who meditates is food that doesn’t excite
the mind because of its fine flavors, because that was is what one will
end up thinking about when one is meditating, but food should be
nutritious. When it comes to being nutritious, the palate is a very
unreliable guide, so it is good that meditators generally don’t seek out
fine flavors, because reasoning is a far better guide towards good
nutrition than the palate.

As far as exercise goes, for the meditator nothing beats yoga. Yoga keeps
them body flexible, strong, it promotes good breathing and good
circulation, and alertness, all of which are essential for meditation and
study. While good nutrition and exercise is important for everyone, often
those who study a lot and meditate a lot do not pay enough attention to
either. We should not be one of those people.

                    * * *

Thought of the Day: February 2, 2018

Always refrain from judging people. It is a waste of energy. The ones we
like the least may be the ones that recognize her faults the most, and the
ones we like the most, maybe the ones who are blind of her faults.

                    * * *

Everyday make it a challenge to see the good in people. Just like a
gold-panner sifts through the sand and dross looking for the flakes of
gold, and only focuses on the golden flakes that remain; we should look
upon others with a mind to mine the goodness in them and toss out the
faults we see.

                    * * *
Thought of the Day: February 4, 2018

Our time is the most valuable thing we have and the less we use it for
socializing with others, the more precious it becomes. Good use of our
time is using it for self-inquiry, meditation, reflection, and study and not
socializing. Language and words should be used in a transactional way,
to the point, and with purpose, and to leak out our precious energy
through forgettable words and meaningless sentences is just a distraction
and never leaves us fulfilled at the end of the day. Courteous and
respectful of others does not mean we have to allow them to indulge us
in idle talk. Politely we should let them know that we have reason to
excuse ourselves when we see a conversation that we are involved in is
without purpose. Life is too precious, our breath is too precious, to
allow ourselves to lose mindfulness through socializing. If we follow this
rule people will like us more for our fewness of words, rather than many.

                                  * * *

Thought of the Day: February 5, 2018

It is difficult to know which is worse and more tortuous while
meditating, thoughts of sexual desire, or being entangled in blocking
them. If we entertain lustful thoughts, on the one hand, it may be
pleasant, but we won’t get anywhere in our meditation; but, if we get
entangled in blocking sexual thoughts, we will be miserable, and not
benefit from our meditation. In either case, our meditation won’t
succeed.

What is necessary is to attack sexual thoughts through the substitution of
opposites and reasoning. When lustful thoughts arise, we counter them
by engaging in a reasoned analysis of the impurities of the body, the fact
that sexual gratification is short lived when considered against the lasting
bliss of correct meditation, and so forth. In addition, while off the
meditation cushion, we should be actively engaged in activities that
engage our mind and take it away from falling into sexual thoughts.
These could be hobbies, exercise, study, and so forth.

                               * * *
Thought of the Day: February 6 2018

Secondary supports for meditation includes the practice of “giving,”
often this takes the form of making donations to temples and supporting
monks and nuns. Throughout Asia the dharma of giving is prevalent, but
in the West, Europe and America, it is not as common. Westerners have
a “can do” attitude, relying on their power of meditation, whereas
Easterners tend to have more faith in (in essence) paying those who can
meditate to do it for them.

There is probably allot both sides could gain from each other. As
Westerners, we should realize that giving is a powerful dharma door and
support for meditation. Giving cultivates blessing, whereas meditation
cultivates wisdom, by the power of blessings we can overcome obstacles
to the development of wisdom. Easterners can benefit by having more
faith in their own ability to meditate and meditate more to develop their
wisdom.
                                  * * *

Thought of the Day: February 7, 2018

Meditation is like setting a bucket down; once you set a bucket down, the
water will settle of itself if you don’t interfere, and once you sit in
meditation, the mind will settle of itself, if you don’t interfere. The
turbulence of the water, is one with water, the thoughts of the mind are
one with mind.
                               * * *
Thought of the Day: February 8 2018

The Buddha says in the Shurangama Sutra that we shouldn’t confuse
suffering and the awareness of suffering. A confused state of mind is
suffering for example, and it might cause us to remark, “I am suffering,”
but the reality is, you are the one who is aware of the suffering, and that
which is aware of the suffering, does not not suffer.

It is a question of identity more than anything else. Sometimes we
identify too much with the roles we play in our lives, and when things
don’t go well, we are miserable, and when things go well, we say we are
doing great. This creates a lot of duality in our lives.
The ups and downs in our lives are important in one sense and
unimportant in another.

We do have to survive and get along in the world, but just as we came
into the world we will surely leave, and our success in our endeavors to
be happy will not necessarily carry on into the next world. This being the
case, it is obvious that we should put less emphasis on how we feel
relative to what we’re doing, and more emphasis on who we are as a
person. The real within us is not changed by circumstances or situation,
and the aim of meditation and mindfulness and the spiritual path is all to
bring us into a closer association with this inner self.

It is all a question of a shift in values, and if our sense of inner well-
being is weak now, it certainly can be strengthened, and if we take steps
to do that, we will place less importance on outer circumstances that may
be beyond our control, and find a contentment within that we can
deepen and which will make us happier individuals. Happiness is what
we all want anyway, where we go astray is separating ourselves from
within where true happiness is always present and seek outside instead.
As soon as we start doing this, we will wonder why we separated from
the true within us to begin with.

                                  * * *
Thought of the Day: February 9, 2018

Less is always satisfying, too much never is. We tend to think we need
more than we do, whether it be food, material things, or socializing, but
we will find considerable pleasure in quitting any of these things while
we still long for more, and then experiencing the realization that we are
quite capable of finding contentment in modest seeking.

                          * * *

Thought of the Day: February 10, 2018

Never conceal shortcomings and never advertise strengths and you will
have less of the former and more of the latter.

                          * * *

Thought of the Day: February 11, 2018

The world is ours to enjoy, and yet we accumulate material things which
seldom help us appreciate that fact, but rather distract us from it.

                           * * *
Thought of the Day: February 12, 2018

The more you socialize with others, the more you will be a stranger to
yourself.
                            * * *
Thought of the Day: February 13, 2018

Confidence and commitment go together. If one lacks confifence it is
probably because heor she is not committed to the task.

                              * * *
Thought of the Day: February 13, 2018

Confidence and commitment go together. If one lacks confidence it is
probably because he or she is not committed to the task.

                            * * *


The gift of our time is the best gift we can give to others. Sometimes I
wonder what to get someone on a birthday, or other special occasion and
I realize that I am only thinking in terms of material possessions. This is
silly. A nice dinner or lunch invitation followed by a walk in a park or
out in nature will bring us closer to those I care about more than
anything else. Moreover, if we are practicing the dharma, we may be able
to share it. It is said, “The gift of Dharma is the greatest of all gifts.”
Whether it is the dharma we share or simple warmhearted feelings and
thoughts, take time for others and give of yourself. We don’t have to
shop.
                            * * *

Tonight at 12 AM we welcome a new year in much of Asia and I wish
everyone health and prosperity.

It is time to follow tradition and reflect on where we went wrong the
year departing and how we can do better in the year we are welcoming.
It is a time to resolve to mend friendships that need mending, forgive
those who wronged us, and leave our burdens aside. It is a time to set
goals and make resolutions. It is a time to wish good fortune and good
health to others.

“Time Waste is Life Waste,” said the Indian sage Sai Baba, and now is
the time to reflect on the truth of these words. Let us use our time wisely
and abandon frivolous talk, idle chatter, and gossip. Let our actions be
purposeful and may we complete the year with a sense of achievement
and pride.

                            * * *

“Man says time passes, time says man passes,” is an old saying that
illustrates the shortsighted perspective of us planet dwellers passing our
life as if it will go on forever. If we change our perspective we may come
to treasure every moment we live and have a sense of urgency that we
waste not a single moment!

                            * * *
Thought of the Day: February 17, 2018

When it comes to Dharma practice, we are all like children, whether we
are old or young makes no difference. All of us remember when we
were waste high to our parents and the world was like a treasure trove
of mysteries, and, perhaps some remember as I do, asking so many
questions as to annoy my poor parents and teachers.

Now as adults we probably realize how tedious our questions may have
been, yet how sincerely we asked them. When we set out to practice
meditation again we need teachers, but sadly, in our “doer” society we
think of meditation as something to learn in a yoga class or from a life
coach. If we have not studied Buddhist sutras (texts spoken by the
Buddha) this is almost inescapable.

“If we were to aim an arrow at the Moon and were an inch off at the
beginning, we would be a thousand miles off at the end,” Masters
warns. If we don’t know the target of meditation we will be unable to
frame our mind properly to engage in it. A spiritual guide that has
attained enlightenment is necessary to orientate us in the right direction.
This all important “orientation” is often overlooked by modern day
meditation teachers because they themselves only know concentration,
but not more. What they present is really concentration, not meditation,
two terms often confused.

Finding a Master is easier than it was decades ago. Thanks to modern
travel, Masters travel all over the world giving lectures and consulting
with students. Big cities often have Centers headed by qualified Masters
who can truly benefit their disciples. These should be sought out and
lectures attended, and an opportunity will surely come to meet the
Master.

Practicing under the guidance of a Master will be like having a walking
stick on a difficult trail. It will make everything easier for us.

                           * * *
Thought of the Day: February 18, 2018

The Master Trulshik Rinpoche says, “Seek to bring happiness to others,
and you will be happy yourself, but seek only your own happiness, and
happiness will always elude you. That is just the way it is!”

The above, like many dharmas, is so simple, and yet how many of us are
still unhappy? If we cannot find happiness for ourselves, well, we must
stop striving for ourselves. Could it be more simple?

                                     * * *
Thought of the Day: February 19, 2018

Whether our life is long or short every moment counts; like money well
invested, time well invested will assure that we lead happy lives, and leave
this world content.

While most of us try to spend our time wisely, mistakes are made when
there are idle moments in our day, and we become careless about how
we spend those moments. It is during the gaps in our day when we
should exercise exceptional care and do our best to make wise choices,
not based on impulse, but intellect.

                                         * * *
Thought of the Day: February 20, 2018

Patience is a virtue we all know about, but, I cannot help but marvel how
virtue can clip through my fingers when challenging conditions
overmaster my patience. Of all the virtues I try to embody, patience is the
most precious and most often tested and lost.
How masterful the magician time is! It can make a minute seem like an
hour, or an hour like a minute, cause me to rush when I know it is to no
avail, use harsh words, slam doors, move about in a agitated way, glance
this way and that without purpose, become frustrated with particulars
and lose sight of the bigger picture, raise my blood pressure, deregulate
my heart, and last but not least cause me to be impatient when I know it
is to no avail.

Since all the above is universally true, I offer an observation. Practicing
patience when patience is being tried is not the best way to develop
patience. Rather we should cultivate patience when we are at our leisure,
sit quietly and think of times when we were harmed by being impatient,
and benefitted when we were patient. We should think about people we
admire for their patience. The harm others have brought on themselves,
often unnecessarily, for their impatience, and the harm inflicted on others
through harsh speech and negative actions, that could have been
contained with patience in command should also be reflected upon.
When we are not in the thick of it is the time to familiarize ourselves with
the many qualities patience fosters, for such contemplation will cause it
to grow strong within us.

A little quite consideration from time to time honoring patience will be
time we have well spent.

                                               * * *
Thought of the Day: February 21, 2018

Walking the path of Dharma is often not as straightforward as we might
wish it. Rules that govern a dharma practice are not etched in stone, but
are guidelines to serve us. We must know when to override them in favor
of common sense. Let me give you an example.

Let us say two friends who don’t drink alcohol are sitting with one who
does. All practice Buddhism. The friend who drinks decides to go to a
bar, although he is already very intoxicated. Both friends plead with him
not to go, but he wants to go anyway. He asks his non -rinking friends to
go with him,  but both refuse. When the drinker walks out the door, the
two remaining friends discuss the matter of going to protect their friend;
but only one thinks it is wise to go, while the other doesn’t want to be in
a drinking environment. Only one went and he managed to save his
friend from getting into a fight at the bar.

It is easy to see from this example that there are times when we should
weigh and consider the situation and proceed in a manner that embraces
the higher road, even when it means breaking one rules. We may refuse
100 opportunities to go to a bar, but we better remember the one time
we should go, or we will be guilt of clinging to tightly to Dharma to our
own detriment.
                                               * * *
Thought of the Day: February 22, 2018

If we look at the news we can see how addicted we are to fault finding
and anything else to gossip about. We are busy with the laundry of others
when our own clothes are filthy. If this were not the case the News
broadcasting industry would not be what it is today.

A sutra says, “truly recognize your own faults, and don’t discuss the
faults of others” and yet our addiction to fault finding goes on unabated.
Is it the case that by focusing on the faults of others, we are shielding
ourselves from seeing our own? Perhaps.

It is certain that seeing faults in others is not going to help us rid
ourselves of our own faults. Yet, it is true that people have faults and we
may have no choice but to see them. While it is true we will notice them,
this doesn’t necessarily entail we must discuss them or judge them. We
can control our reaction even if we have little choice but to notice them.
When we notice a fault in another, for example, instead of being critical,
we can ask ourselves how a similar fault is manifesting within our own
mind stream. Inevitably we will find that it is, maybe not in an identical
way, but manifesting nonetheless.

                                               * * *
Thought of the Day: February 23, 2018

Conventional sayings like, “a stitch in time saves nine,” have more
applications than we may think. A little reflection and we will notice that
they often can apply to more than mundane concerns; but we must do a
little reflection to uncover them.

It wouldn’t seem, for example, that the saying, “death bed repentance is
useless,” and “a stitch in time saves nine,” are talking about the same
thing, but a little reflection and we can see that they are. Just as repairing
a pothole in a road can prevent a larger problem from developing, so also
can we be free of many regrets throughout our lives up to the moment of
death if we contemplate the impermanence of life when we are hale and
hearty. Typically, people grow old wishing they had been closer to their
family and friends and not taken them for granted, they may wish they
had been more honest in money matters, a more loving and kind
companion, and so forth, but they think of all this too late, when the
opportunity has already slipped through their fingers.

When we die with regrets it shows we didn’t learn the value of “a stitch
in time saves nine,” and the consequences can mean an unfavorable
rebirth in one of the hells, not to mention all the suffering before dying,
having left so many kind words unsaid, hugs not expressed, ill-feelings
unresolved, opportunities to study scripture with pages unturned, and a
cold meditation cushion.  Many changes that would have patched up our
lives nicely were not done, and now the breach is too big and moreover
time is past.

So, don’t overlook worldly wisdom. It is not necessary to be a Buddhist,
Christian, or Muslim, or Jew or even on the “spiritual path” to use
common sense. We can reap the rewards of a more fulfilling life by
thinking more deeply about common worldly Wisdom. If we do, we will
find a link with spiritual truths, as well.

                                          * * *


It is natural to try and distinguish ourselves from others in some way.
Champions and distinguished scholars, Nobel Prize winners and political
leaders, Academy Award winners and Grammy Winners, and others who
examples of those who sought to distinguish themselves from others.
Their motivation may not have been entirely free of ego, but to get to the
top they had to have more than ego. But, others who are purely ego
driven also try to distinguish themselves in many ways and we should
avoid being one of them. For example, we may wear unusual eye
catching clothes, drive a car we can’t afford, or buy gifts outside our
price range, and many other false presentations only for the sake of
attracting attention to ourselves.

If we find ourselves going out of our way for the sake of appearances we
should refrain ourselves for it weakens us inside. We are more than the
clothes we wear, or the car we drive, or the lavish gifts we give, and
should avoid all impulses to act as if we must do something to get
noticed. If we are to be noticed let it be without a contrived effort on our
part.

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Computer, became famous not only for
creating a world leading computing and communication company, but
even his “trademark” clothes became a mark of distinction. He was
noted to always wear a black turtle neck shirt and blue jeans. It doesn’t
get any simpler than that, but people took note of his clothes! The point
is that we tire ourselves needlessly with fashion, whereas if the same
energy could be better spent working on ourselves internally and making
a contribution to our family and community we will have a real basis for
a boost in our self-esteem pure.

In everything we do we should avoid false pretense. Let people notice us
for who we are and aim for the highest goal which is beyond all
appearances.
                                               * * *


If we have time for physical fitness, we should also have time for mental
fitness, yet many neglect the latter, or both. The fact of the matter is that
mental fitness will carry with us life after life, long after our bodies
dissolve into the soil, and, while both are important, it is mental fitness
that we should not neglect.

Mental fitness can be achieved through meditation but is not restricted to
meditation. We don’t have to practice any religion to be mental fit, but
rather cultivate qualities that are renowned in the world. If we practice
kindness, generosity, gently speech, and warmheartedness, we really don’t
have to do more than that. If we need a beginning, it is right beneath our
nose!
                                                * * *

Thought of the Day: February 26, 2018

Rules of discipline may be essential elements of dharma practice, but the
truth of the matter is that they also turn many away from dharma
practice. If we understand a little of Buddhist philosophy and what
enlightenment means before we set out on our quest and before we
harness ourselves in rules of discipline, it is far more likely that we will be
able to maintain pure conduct when we decide to do so than if we do
not engage in the necessary study first. Therefore, work smart and study
the principles of Buddhist practice and understand the path and where it
is going before setting out on it.

                                              * * *


Silence says what words cannot say.

Knowing when to leave words unsaid or save them for another time is a
lesson we should all learn. Not everything that can be said, need be said,
and much of what has been said, could have been left unsaid. Be patient
and careful with words and they will serve you well.

                                            * * *

The Bodhisattva ideal, the wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit all
living beings, the aspirational wish that is the hallmark of the Buddhist
Way, is an aspiration to embody on all stages of the path. However, we
should realize that just keeping to ourselves and being careful in our own
practice benefits others indirectly without our even being aware of it, and
the impulse to overtly get involved in others’ affairs is something we
should probably ignore.

The impulse to help others can become a distraction from our own
practice and is often out of place. The Bodhisattva ideal is to generate
universal compassion and we must trust that if we are sincere in our
own practice, we will benefit others without necessarily getting
consciously involved. To think that we must do something in addition to
our dharma practice can be thought of as meddling with the practice and
can undermine our faith in it.

Those who we are destined to help directly will force itself upon us
leaving little doubt as to the course of action, this is however not usually
the case. For the most part, no one must know about our dharma
practice for just becoming a better human being benefits others. Having
faith that we benefit humanity as our own understanding grows is to
have faith in out practice.

                                             * * *