Thought for the Day: January 1, 2017
fret about whether we succeed or fail. Resolving to do something
worthwhile is already meritorious, and we can only try our best from
there.

* * *
thought that leads us to major crossroads in life. The obvious solution to
this dilemma, is to be more careful with ourselves and be more patient.
Often when there is no need to rush, we rush anyway, and this leads not
only to stress in the present, but also to the propensity to rush in the
future.

Most of us are result driven, always with the goal in mind. We seldom
give the path due appreciation. And so we rush about doing many things.
We go from task to task, not learning from our mistakes because we are
so busy thinking about the goal.

Most of us need to slow down and consider whether we are rushing
about trying to complete so many things that we are not enjoying what we
do any more. The path and the goal should be blended together and
equalized in our mind so that one is not emphasized at the expense of the
other. This will bring us greater pleasure as we pass through the day. Is
this not a gift we all deserve?


* * *
Thought for the Day: January 3, 2017

course, the strength of the whole chain cannot go beyond that weak link.
We are connected with each other in a similar fashion, and when we fail
another, we also fail all those people who rely on the person we failed.
look up to and depend on us. We accomplish this by daily reflection on
our relationship with others and seeing just how important others are to
All of us are interdependent. We must reflect on this interdependence, of
us and we to them.

* * *
Thought for the Day: January 4, 2017

When together with friends and everyone is talking at once, it is not likely
that anyone will be heard. But, when the conversation quiets down, we
begin to recognize what the remaining speakers are saying. It is the same
with our own mind. When our mind is busy with many thoughts going in
all directions, we are distracted by them, and they all become blurred. But,
as the mind settles and only a few thoughts remain, we will find it easy to
focus and rest the mind on a single thought.

Generally, we tend to have too many thoughts going on all the time and
this leads to stress. The mind is busy trying to keep up and becomes
fatigued. We need to slow down and turn off our motor. We have to
make fewer commitments and focus on doing things better. Doing one or
two things better is more rewarding than doing many things in an
unsatisfactory way. It brings peace and focus to the mind when we
engage in activities with a spacious mind uncrowded with thoughts.

When we do things with an uncluttered mind, those activities become
offerings to the Buddha. They become forms of meditation, as well. Daily
life and meditation are not divided but fade into each other, or at least
they should. If we place our intention on  accomplishing only what is
necessary, we will gradually be able to simplify our lives and find more joy
in what we do. Instead of being dragged here and there by our thoughts,
we will be in control, and this will bring us pleasure.
             * * *
Thought for the Day: January 5, 2017

Words are our ambassadors. They represent us to everyone. What we say
is more important than the clothes we wear, the car we drive, the house
we live in, or many other things that we often seek after to acquire status.
Words are the true building blocks of our image.

Words have many functions and it is their transactional nature that allows
us to communicate with others and get things done. Although we may
wish to be silent, we cannot interact with others in a meaningful way
without words. We communicate our needs through words, whether
shopping, going to a restaurant, talking to a boss, co-worker, or teacher,
and so forth. Words are the oil that gets us through the day.

Without words we could not study or reason and many argue that we
couldn't even form the intention to do simple tasks such as standing up
without words. Some call thinking "languaging," meaning that thinking
itself is dependent upon knowing language. Whatever we do, even if we
don't formulate the action in words, we must be at least able to in order
to do that action. In this sense, language is seen as the foundation of all
activity.

As important as words are, and by extension language, we are often
careless in our speech and waste our words in gossip and idle talk. When
we are not frugal with our words, and engage in too much unnecessary
conversation, we lose the ability to have words at our service when we
need them most. Instead we run around scattered and distracted.

others. This is the most harmful use of words for the damage unkind
words have may erase the good of many helpful and loving words.
Words spoken with ill intent in an instant can separate us from those we
wish the most to be close to.

As a general rule if we are careful with our words and strive to use fewer
of them we can avoid many of the unwanted consequences of misguided
speech. Economy with words and recognizing their power will help us to
focus and be content internally and we will feel less drawn to idle,
meaningless, unnecessary talk. Angry words should be abandoned.
Our words should be pleasant to those to whom we speak, and never
harsh. Words should also serve a purpose and never idly spoken simply
on the impulse to talk. Guarding our speech is the first step towards
guarding our mind. Using words sparingly respects ourselves and those
we speak to.

             * * *
Thought for the Day: January 6, 2017


While we generally feel a responsibility to remain connected with others,
sometimes we forget the importance of feeling connected with ourselves.
In fact being too social with others, socializing unnecessarily, can be a
cause of failing ourselves. We can only dilute ourselves so much, and if
we are not mindful of passing the mark, we will lose touch with ourselves.

Our goals, ambitions, aspiration, and everything that contributes to the
self-image we have in mind should be clear and distinct. If it becomes
blurred, it will become very difficult to achieve, or lost sight of
completely. We should eschew all ego based self-images and strive to
have an image of ourselves that we can truly believe in, one that is rooted
in the dharma, with a strong philosophical basis. A faulty aspiration may
be enticing in the beginning, but will not be able to engage us for long.
Whims of our fickle mind should be ignored.

The Buddha and other masters have offered guidelines for everyone, and
yet these guidelines are designed to be customized to individual needs and
circumstances. We must first, through study and reflection, understand
the bigger picture and then adjust our personal life to fit within its
framework. We do this through spiritual practice, meditation and service
and so forth, which will give us the foundation and insight we need to
support our aim.

Most of us dilute ourselves too much. We just have too much in the mix
and are confused by all our attachments. The first step in placing
ourselves first is simplifying our lives, becoming less diluted. A strong
sense of being present in everything we do is essential. If we are doing
one thing with our mind elsewhere, we are not present. We have too
many dishes on the menu.

The person who wanders around aimlessly is vulnerable to many
unwanted mental states. Whenever we feel we are drifting about and out
of touch with ourselves, we should take stock and do whatever is
necessary to make our goals and aspiration more distinct and real. feeling
of connectedness requires work to maintain, but with diligence and being
careful and selective about how and with whom we spend our time, we
can stay on track.


           * * *
Thought for the Day: January 7, 2017
Some wonder why their spiritual life is at a standstill, having gone
nowhere, and stagnating with seemingly little progress. And yet, their
active life is going well, and they have no complaints. Or, the case may be
that both daily life and spiritual life are stagnating and going nowhere.
Whatever the case may be, it is our spiritual life that we place our hopes
and aspirations in more than our family, work, hobbies, and so forth. It
is, after all, our ability to unite with our God or Buddha, or any other
spiritual ideal that will make greater fulfillment possible in every aspect of
our lives. It is the fulfillment of our spiritual ambitions that will enable us
to be a better parent, friend, worker, and so forth, so it is natural that we
turn to our meditative goals to fulfill both spiritual and temporal needs.

Like a tree we plant in our garden, the fruit of meditation can be
painstakingly slow in development. It is natural for a tree to grow slowly,
but if it grows too slowly, we may examine the soil to see if it is getting
enough water and other nutrients. But, what do we or should we examine
when our meditation practice is at a standstill? Often we look at the
practice itself and wonder if perhaps our meditation is not correct, if we
are doing it wrong, or if it is unsuitable for us. Although it may be our
instinct to doubt our practice in one way or other, the problem often lies
elsewhere, in our active life.

It is not, as many assume, meditation that makes for a better life, but a
better life that makes for better meditation. In other words, our ordinary
affairs, what we do when not meditating, will determine how well our
meditation goes. Our ability to be pleasing to others, productive, and in
no way harsh or offensive, to be kind and helpful, will strengthen
meditation more than any amount of toiling on the cushion.

In truth, there should be no boundary between our time on the
meditation cushion and our time off it, but as long as there is, it is our
manner of conducting our active life that we should seek to improve to
uplift our meditative life rather than the other way around. The elusive
goal of meditative success fittingly is found outside of meditation proper.

 * * *
When I was a very young child my father threw me in the ocean and said
could learn this way. Instead they need to acquaint themselves with the
water using floats and so forth, practice kicking, and learn the strokes, all
in shallow water. I had a natural affinity with water, however, and this
enabled me to skip the preliminaries and swim immediately.

By analogy, the process of learning to meditate is very similar to
swimming mentioned above. Some people are natural meditators and
their mind easily adapt to an attitude conducive to meditation practice.
However, most of us need to acquaint ourselves with meditation
gradually, and some will not ever feel comfortable meditating. In the East
this is clearly understood, because they see a spiritual lifestyle as a very
broad based practice that includes many disciplines, meditation being only
one of them. In the West, however, meditation is far over rated and seen
as exclusively THE means of achieving spiritual ambitions. This is a
mistake.

In the East, giving and supporting the spiritual community, its temples
and projects is viewed on par with meditation as spiritual discipline. Many
do not meditate at all, but focus instead on other aspects of the path.
Almost all begin by becoming members and supporters of a spiritual
community, and only after some months or years consider meditation.
Some prefer to remain supporters and attend teachings, but never
establish a meditation discipline.

Because in the West meditation is viewed in such an esteemed way, those
who do not adapt to meditation often give up, thinking themselves
unsuitable to the spiritual path. This is a common mistake rooted in the
wrong view that meditation is necessary to fulfill spiritual ambitions. This
view is unfortunate and should be abandoned if it is entertained. Instead,
where meditation is impossible, other aspects of the Path should be
practiced, those mentioned above, giving to and serving a spiritual teacher
and the community of monks and nuns, working on community projects,
study and attending lectures, and so forth. There  is much to do that does
not require a meditation cushion.

No aspect to the path of realization is complete in itself. There are many
aspects that work together to form the means to achieving spiritual goals.
Meditation is only one of them, and if we feel uncomfortable meditating,
or that it does not suit us, we should not give
up.    
                                                          

         * * *
Life is not a game of chance, although many live it as if it were. Life, if it
is a game at all, is a structured one, with an architecture that can be
understood and successfully negotiated by understanding the rules of the
game. Often when we make mistakes we are filled with regret in the
same sense as if we bet on the wrong number in a roulette game,
perhaps even having the winning number in mind. But, having remorse
does not put money in our pocket, and only makes us depressed and
likely to go back to the game with a reckless attitude and lose all the
money we have left.

Instead of remorse and regret, we need to reflect when we make
mistakes and use reasoning to analyze why we made the mistake. We
should lift our head high and think about it, and not be downcast and
reckless. Perhaps we shouldn't have been in the game at all. Maybe it is a
game in which either winning or losing is no good because the entire
game cannot bring benefit. But, if after reflection, we see that the game
is good and beneficial, but that we only played our hand foolishly, we
have to analyze why, and through reasoning decide how to play our
hand differently.

We are going to make mistakes in life. That is the nature of the game.
But, we do not have to fear making mistakes or become dejected when
we do. The game of life has many rules that if we follow will lead to
happiness, and if we don't unhappiness. When we fail, we should
examine and see where we went wrong, identify our selfish motivation,
anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, and so forth, and see if our negative
emotions and dispositions might have played a part, and if they did,
work to overcome them. Of course, if the game itself is a useless one,
there is nothing we can do but cease playing it.

Many of life's games we should avoid altogether, but the ones we join
we should strive to play well, and not bury ourselves in remorse or regret
when we don't. Remorse and regret will stifle rather than encourage our
incentive to seek out our mistakes and overcome them.
        * * *

It is easy to give of ourselves when we want to give of ourselves, but
often it is not easy to give of ourselves when others call on us to do so.
When asked, we are often caught up in our own affairs and needs, and
sometimes this leads to genuinely failing others when they need us most.
If we want to be there for others when they need us, we must simplify
our lives and be less needy ourselves.

        * * *
Thought for the Day: January 11, 2017

Stress is a common modern day phenomena. The term's use goes back
to the 1300s, but its use as a psychological term is relatively recent,
1955. It is easy to see why; we have developed tremendously in a very
few years. We have the means to achieve so much at our fingertips that
a little carelessness and we will find ourselves wondering what we got
days or weeks to develop and get to a friend can now be seen around
the world in a moment, news comes from so many places at once that
we cannot comprehend any of it, we can shop without leaving our
home, and have food delivered, we have "smart homes" that look after
their own lighting and alarms, cars that drive themselves, computers
that process information faster than we can assimilate it, and so forth.
We are a technologically advanced society.

But, along with the high tech lifestyle came allot of stress. We are too
overwhelmed with possibilities! These possibilities are very enticing, and
it can be very difficult to see that not all that can be done, should be
done, or need be done. Because of prudence that didn't grow apace
with technology we fail to see that options are meant to be considered
and narrowed down according to necessity, and instead we tend to
consider options viable opportunities that should be taken advantage of.
And, this viewpoint entraps us, enslaves us, and leads to stress.

We cannot do everything and should learn to see through the double
sided coin that modern convenience really is. Technology either serves
or enslaves, and if we want to be in the former camp, we must
cautiously and thoughtfully consider what we do, and be especially
careful to allow plenty of uncluttered time in everyday.

Everyone needs down time. We need time to unwind from one activity
to the next. We cannot have activities running into one another and
expect to be free of stress. We should enjoy what we do, and allow
ourselves the space we need for that to happen.

        * * *
Thought for the Day: January 12, 2017

When we think of "desire," we usually think of food, sex, sleep, and
material things, and so forth. The order is not fixed, as we each have
go. But, we are all desire-beings, and in one way or other subject to
desire. There is not a religious system that simply says to abandon or
get rid of desire. But, all religious systems do say that we must
transcend desire. There is no contradiction here, although there may
seem to be.

As long as we are subject to desire, we are not free, but through skillful
control of desire, we can harness desirer's energy and use it towards our
liberation from desire, and  eventually self-realization. The utilization of
desire towards the fulfillment of higher aims falls under the category of
"skillful means" within Buddhism. Various methods from mundane
discipline of our conduct to advanced forms of meditation and yoga, all
strive to harness the energy of desire to serve us rather than enslave us.
In simple terms, the purpose of discipline is to put us into the driver's
seat of our desires, rather than be dragged around by them. We can
make desire our servant, rather than be its slave. But, it takes work.

A disciplined mind is happier than an undisciplined mind, even in a
non-religious context. People who keep to routines and schedule
activities enjoy what they do more than those who don't. The effect of
discipline is more keenly felt in a spiritual context because more subtle
and effective methods of meditation and conduct are put to work that
will enable us to penetrate deeper into the nature of awareness itself. It
is these subtle forms of meditation and conduct that make us truly
interested in the fundamental nature of life  itself, what it means to be a
human being, to feel a connectedness with others, and a genuine
concern for them.

It is through yielding our desires that we become more sensitive to the
important part we play towards the well-being of the environment and
our society. We will more keenly realize how important others are to us,
as well. We will become socially aware and less isolated and selfish. The
many masters who have offered us the gift of their teachings can only
be honored if we practice them. This is our responsibility.

        * * *

Buddhism and Hinduism have been at odds with each other for
hundreds of years and have each become increasingly more subtle and
sophisticated because of this relationship. They have had debates on
such topics as whether the soul exists or not, whether sound is
permanent or impermanent, whether the cause exists within the effect,
if an eternal being exists as creator, and so forth. Debates such as these
go on to this day and are still not settled, and in the course of time the
arguments advanced by both sides have stimulated the imagination of
scholars and devotees and fostered spiritual growth.

As lay people living in a diverse society where we are likely to have
friends from different religions and belief systems, it is important to
learn the difference in argumentation that fosters inquiry and
strengthens respect for one another, and those arguments which are not
debates at all, but rather unhealthy confrontations. If we take the time
to study our own tradition and the reasons advanced to support our
beliefs, it is a step in the right direction towards having intelligent
debate with others, especially if they do the same.

Belief is dangerous because if it is not supported by reason, we will not
have the means to discuss with others our position in an intelligent way.
A person who understands the reasoning supporting his position, can
easily defeat us in debate even if his position is inferior. And, we will
derive no joy from our discussion.

Whenever we discuss the dharma with others it should be in a spirit of
inquiry with a genuine desire to deepen our own understanding. It
should be pleasurable, first and foremost, even tinged with humor.
Always be respectful and open and never overbearing, especially
without reason. As much as we can, we should look to turn our
conversation to dharma when the situation and environment to do so
presents itself. It is the best way to understand others and deepen a
friendship.

        * * *
Thought for the Day: January 14, 2017

Dharma practice is for good times and bad times, yet many turn to
meditation, scripture study, and so forth, during bad times or low
points in their lives, and ignore practice when all is well. This is about
as effective as death-bed repentance. The time to meditate is when all is
going well, for devotional exercises, meditation, study, and reflection,
are an offering, an offering of our body, speech and mind, to the
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and we always want to offer our best.

create a daily schedule and follow it. Consistency will ensure that we are
in the race for the long haul and gradually unfold in our understanding
and realization. Consistent and regimented dharma practice wears away
obstacles to insight, steadily, and surely, just as daily walks keep the
body fit. We are more likely to respond to a well-formed habit than any
sporadic effort we can contrive. The three limbs of spiritual discipline,
study, reflection, and meditation, on the contrary, all work best in a
structured and disciplined way.

Time is valuable to all of us, and yet we often don't use it to serve us
best. A little thought about how we can spend this precious resource,
time, can go a long way to assure that it is not wasted but put to its best
use.

       * * *
become so involved in our own pursuits that material success
overshadows our basic human values. And, as surprising as it may
seem, the reverse is also true, dharma practice and renunciation can, if
of connectedness with others. It is this latter kind of separation that will
be our thought of the day.

While the discipline of the spiritual life requires guarding our speech
from unnecessary conversation, if this exercise goes too far we will
isolate ourselves from others. We should discriminate between what
some call transactional speech, and idle talk. The latter is to be avoided,
That is transactional use of language. In the course of a day we may
need to speak words to fulfill our responsibilities, answer the questions
of others, and so forth. But, we have a tendency to go beyond what is
necessary and speak unnecessarily and it is here where we dilute our
focus and our mind becomes scattered.

As dharma practitioners our interaction with others will either support
our practice or weaken it. One of the most potent disciplnes we can
engage in is to guard ourselves from unnecessary talk, and at the same
time be skillful in how we use it. We don't want to appear like a robot
to others, but we don't want to be a gossiper that will engage in
chit-chat anytime the opportunity presents itself.

Speech requires breath and often we should "save our breath," as the
saying goes. Breath is precious and just as we control it through various
form of meditation and yoga, we can also realize the benefits of breath
mastery by guarding our speech. Others will appreciate us for our
thoughtful speech far more than if we speak idly, and we will enjoy
their company more and understand them better by speaking
meaningfully and sincerely and purposefully.

Finding the right balance between excessive talk and too little is
essential for good communication. "Guarding one's talk" is a dharma
door that has long been proclaimed by the masters and yet often not
given that high status it deserves. We should not make this mistake.

       * * *
Thought for the Day: January 16, 2017

What did the great Taoist Master Chuang Tse mean when he said: "I
don't know about doing things, I just know about leaving things and be
completely free of all inclinations to act. He did not mean he left things
undone and escaped into the privacy of his mind. He meant that he
arrived at a state of few wishes and that his needs were easily met. He
did not engage in any thought or idea to do anything more than guard
the stillness of his mind, explore it, and nourish it.

Most of us look for something to do when we have nothing to do
because we are uneasy with our idle mind. It is as if we were afraid of
ourselves. We seek out distractions and never get to know that there is
nothing to fear. It is an art to leave oneself alone when stillness arises
and not seek out distraction. But if we resist filling the gap that arises
when we have nothing to do, and meditate on the nature of our mind,
we will gradually learn how to leave ourselves alone and do nothing in a
productive way.

       * * *

Buddhist sutras and shastras (commentaries) discuss all aspects of the
conduct, and so forth, to the most sublime views of emptiness. As
such, Buddhist studies are an indispensable support to meditation
practice. One aid to study and gaining familiarity with the teaching of
the Buddha is oral transmission, sometimes refereed to as "reading
transmissions." A reading transmission is given by a master who has
Thought for the Day: January 18, 2017

Sometimes as we grow spiritually we forget that we have an obligation
to help others do the same. While it is true that as Buddhists we are not
especially true when someone asks us for guidance, but perhaps also at
other times. For example, someone may feel that requesting us to teach
them dharma might be imposing on us and for this reason not ask us,
even though they have an interest. In situations like this, it is OK to
offer.

The Buddha said, "If you know a sutra, teach it, if you know a page,
teach it, if you know a paragraph, teach it, if you only know a line,
teach it." Sharing is in perfect accord with our nature as human beings,
and there is nothing more precious that we can share than the dharma.
People who look up to us are thirsty for any guidance we can offer to
them. We may not even be aware how much others close to us would
appreciate it if we gave them our undivided attention. This is why we
should cultivate a sensitivity to the needs of others.

If an occasion arises wherein we could have a small class of friends or
family, we should not miss the opportunity. If the people are there and
the thirst is there, we should jump on it. If we don't, it is a form of
negative karma for us. It is laxity and lack of vigor on our part, and a
form of stinginess as well, all of which are shortcomings that we should
avoid as dharma practitioners. The merit we gain in the service of
others will in the long run serve us as much as them.

                      * * *

Richard Feynman, who won the Nobel Prize for physics, tells an
interesting story; he tells how he was walking one day by a river with
his young son and noticed his son was unhappy, and asked his son why
he was feeling so glum. The son replied that he was walking and of a
bird, but he didn't know the name, and his friend teased him. At that
point, Richard pointed to a bird and said, that bird is such and such in
English, and such and such in French, and he went through about 11
languages, telling his son the name of the bird in each one.

The linguist father went on to explain to his son that although he
named the bird in so many languages, none of the names he used say
anything at all about the bird, and that it is an illusion to think, that by
knowing the name of something, we understand something about it.
The name in fact tells us nothing about the object named, in this case,
the boy who criticized Feynman's son, was delusional in thinking that
knowing the name of the bird, was to know something about. But this
is an illusion that we are all under concerning names. If we don't know
the name of something we see, we instinctually seek to acquire the
name, swayed under the illusion of naming.

So what does this have to do with dharma practice? It has a lot to do
with it. Often when we study the Dharma, we learn a lot of lists. For
example, the "Twenty-one Afflictive States," wrath, hatred, rage, lack
of remorse, lack of shame, laziness, idleness, harmfulness, and so forth.
There are also lists of positive states, which include,faith, remorse,
shame, light-ease, non-laxity, and so forth. The buddha dharma often
categorizes elements of its teaching as aids to learning.  One could
spend many months memorizing the various mental states, meditation
categories, rules of discipline, and so forth. If one succeeded in
memorizing all the material, that person might be regarded as an
expert. But, just as the deluded boy who criticized Feynman's son for
not knowing the name of a bird, so too would we be deluded to think
that our ability to recite the various Buddhist lists or to name
meditation states, indicates anything beyond an intellectual
understanding of the Dharma.

We all know that practicing generosity is better than knowing that it's
on the list
of positive states, or that being free of hate, is better than knowing that
it's on a list of negative states. The various lists and categories that the
Buddhist Dharma has developed as aids for study, is to help us gain
experiential realization, which study will lead to, if we don't think of
study as an end in itself. We honor the Buddhist teaching by practicing
it, and gaining experiential realization. This is how we honor ourselves
as well.
 

                * * *
There are two forms of meditation, placement meditation, and
absorption meditation. There is the topic of meditation, and the subject
who engages with the topic of meditation. A meditation topic could be
an image of the Buddha, preferably a small one, a candle, a mantra, a
mandala, also known as sacred diagram, and so forth. The topic of
meditation could also be a mental disposition, for example,
Thought for the Day January 21, 2017

Often times Buddhism attracts people during low points in their lives.
They look toward Buddhism as a lifesaver. But those whose lives are
going well, and who are happy and all their needs are met, often feel
satisfied and feel no need for religious practices. This is a real pity, it is
a kind of complacency. Instead, we should always want the best for
ourselves.

One reason people become complacent as far as Dharma practice goes
is that  the influence they may have on other people in their lives is
overlooked. They never take into consideration the fact that if they
practice the Dharma they would be more capable of helping other
people. We may underestimate the influence we have on others, and
the importance of being influential in a good way. If we are to be a
true friend to others and a support, we ourselves must be strong,
content in our own skin, and sympathetic towards others' needs.

The altruistic intention is the core of Buddhist practice. But it must be
developed and that takes time, and effort. But it doesn't take allot of
time, nor allot of effort. A little time and a little effort, sustained with
consistency and discipline, will yield results within months. Moreover,
if we don't overshoot the mark by pushing ourselves to hard, we will
truly enjoy meditation.

The purpose of meditation is not as commonly assumed to make one's
own life happier. While meditation will make us happier, it is not so
much the result of meditation itself, but rather the effect we have on
others in our life, our ability to be a support for others, a true friend,
and a positive influence. This brings true joy. It is also encouraging,
and this encouragement will sustain us for the long haul.

As human beings we have social responsibility, and the fulfillment of
our responsibilities is important. Exploring our potential through
meditation will take time that we never regret spending.

                * * *
Thought for the Day January 23, 2017
If you set out to do one thing and something else comes in mind that
things with the single mind, and enjoy what we are doing. But the fact
is, many of us have too much on our plate and we have to choose one
thing or the other. No matter which way we go, it is certain that we
won't enjoy the activity as much as we would have if dualistic thinking
had not arisen to begin with.

Our daily affairs should not be a struggle, we should enjoy doing
them. For most of us this will require some organization, establishing
priorities, and perhaps making some difficult choices. Simplifying our
lives will enable us to enjoy what were doing more. The truth is, doing
less increases happiness, rather than as is often thought, the other way
around, more to do, means more happiness.

People in general are too busy, and the busyness robs them of their
happiness. They don't feel connected with what they're doing. It is a
sense of being connected to what we are doing, that allows us to
grow, and learn lessons as we go. If we move through life too quickly,
we won't  learn anything, and deprive ourselves of the satisfaction of
learning.

Life is a big classroom and we are all students. If we are to learn our
lessons well, we cannot have too much on our curriculum.

                 * * *
Thought for the Day January 26, 2017
Many of us sit in meditation in an informal way. We simply sit down
and cross our legs and begin meditation. It is easy without any
formality, such as lighting incense, offering flowers, and lighting a
candle, to just sit down anywhere and meditate. However, the time it
takes to light a candle, offer flowers, and light incense, is very small
Openness is a key element of Dharma practice. Concealment is a
said, that a calm mind is like a mirror, like a lake perfectly calm, that
reflects everything. On the other hand, disturbances of the mind have
Happy Chinese New Year from me at the City of Ten
fresh and vibrant. We should always look forward to the period set