Saturday, December 28, 2013

What Color is Your Mind?

What Color is Your Mind?
by Thubten Chodron

What is the essence of the Buddha's teachings? Simply speaking, it is to avoid harming others and to help them as much as possible.
"If you want to know about your past life, look at your present body. If you want to know about your future life, look at your present mind." Tibetan saying
By reflecting on impermanence and unsatisfactory experiences, we can deal better with all unpleasant events that occur because we're still in the cycle of constantly recurring problems.

Love doesn't expect anything from others in return. We accept people for who they are and try to help them, but we aren't concerned with how we'll benefit from the relationship. Real love isn't jealous, possessive or limited to just a few near and dear ones. Rather, ti's impartial and is felt for all beings.

Emotionally beating up on ourselves doesn't alter the past or develop our potential. It only immobilizes us and makes us spiral down into our won self-centeredness.

Guilt often comes from considering something our responsibility when it isn't.

Sometimes acceptance, patience and inaction are the most effective ways we can be of aid.

It isn't what we eat that makes us enlightened, it's what we do with our minds.

Children often provide the best - and most difficult - opportunity to practice patience.

We become like the people we respect, so when we take the loving-kindness and wisdom of the Buddhas as our example, we strive to become like them.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

TED: The Habits of Happiness

Matthieu Ricard: Monk, author, photographer
Sometimes called the "happiest man in the world," Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, author and photographer.

So, I guess it is a result of globalization that you can find Coca-Cola tins on top of Everest and a Buddhist monk in Monterey. (Laughter) And so I just came, two days ago, from the Himalayas to your kind invitation. So I would like to invite you, also, for a while, to the Himalayas themselves. And to show the place where meditators, like me, who began with being a molecular biologist in Pasteur Institute, and found their way to the mountains.

So these are a few images I was lucky to take and be there. There's the Mount Kailash in Eastern Tibet -- wonderful setting. This is from Marlboro country. (Laughter) This is a turquoise lake. A meditator. This is the hottest day of the year somewhere in Eastern Tibet, on August 1. And the night before, we camped, and my Tibetan friends said, "We are going to sleep outside." And I said, "Why? We have enough space in the tent." They said, "Yes, but it's summertime." (Laughter)

So now, we are going to speak of happiness. As a Frenchman, I must say that there are a lot of French intellectuals that think happiness is not at all interesting. (Laughter) I just wrote an essay on happiness, and there was a controversy. And someone wrote an article saying, "Don't impose on us the dirty work of happiness." (Laughter) "We don't care about being happy. We need to live with passion. We like the ups and downs of life. We like our suffering because it's so good when it ceases for a while." (Laughter)

This is what I see from the balcony of my hermitage in the Himalayas. It's about two meters by three, and you are all welcome any time. (Laughter)

Now, let's come to happiness or well-being. And first of all, you know, despite what the French intellectuals say, it seems that no one wakes up in the morning thinking, "May I suffer the whole day?" (Laughter) Which means that somehow -- consciously or not, directly or indirectly, in the short or the long term, whatever we do, whatever we hope, whatever we dream -- somehow, is related to a deep, profound desire for well-being or happiness. As Pascal said, even the one who hangs himself, somehow, is looking for cessation of suffering -- he finds no other way. But then, if you look in the literature, East and West, you can find incredible diversity of definition of happiness. Some people say, I only believed in remembering the past, imagining the future, never the present. Some people say happiness is right now; it's the quality of the freshness of the present moment. And that led to Henri Bergson, the French philosopher, to say, "All the great thinkers of humanity have left happiness in the vague so that they could define -- each of them could define their own terms."

Well, that would be fine if it was just a secondary preoccupation in life. But now, if it is something that is going to determine the quality of every instant of our life, then we better know what it is, have some clearer idea. And probably, the fact that we don't know that is why, so often, although we seek happiness, it seems we turn our back to it. Although we want to avoid suffering, it seems we are running somewhat towards it. And that can also come from some kind of confusions.

One of the most common ones is happiness and pleasure. But, if you look at the characteristics of those two, pleasure is contingent upon time, upon its object, upon the place. It is something that -- changes of nature. Beautiful chocolate cake: first serving is delicious, second one not so much, then we feel disgust. (Laughter) That's the nature of things. We get tired. I used to be a fan of Bach. I used to play it on the guitar, you know. I can hear it two, three, five times. If I had to hear it 24 hours, non-stop, it might be very tiring. If you are feeling very cold, you come near a fire, it's so wonderful. Then, after some moments, you just go a little back, and then it starts burning. It sort of uses itself as you experience it. And also, again, it can -- also, it's something that you -- it is not something that is radiating outside. Like, you can feel intense pleasure and some others around you can be suffering a lot.

Now, what, then, will be happiness? And happiness, of course, is such a vague word, so let's say well-being. And so, I think the best definition, according to the Buddhist view, is that well-being is not just a mere pleasurable sensation. It is a deep sense of serenity and fulfillment, a state that actually pervades and underlies all emotional states, and all the joys and sorrows that can come one's way. For you, that might be surprising. Can we have this kind of well-being while being sad? In a way, why not? Because we are speaking of a different level.

Look at the waves coming here to shore. When you are at the bottom of the wave, you hit the bottom. You hit the solid rock. When you are surfing on the top, you are all elated. So you go from elation to depression -- there's no depth. Now, if you look at the high sea, there might be beautiful, calm ocean, like a mirror. There might be storms, but the depth of the ocean is still there, unchanged. So now, how is that? It can only be a state of being, not just a fleeting emotion, sensation. Even joy -- that can be the spring of happiness. But there's also wicked joy, you can rejoice in someone's suffering.

So how do we proceed in our quest for happiness? Very often, we look outside. We think that if we could gather this and that, all the conditions, something that we say, "Everything to be happy -- to have everything to be happy." That very sentence already reveals the doom of destruction of happiness. To have everything. If we miss something, it collapses. And also, when things go wrong, we try to fix the outside so much, but our control of the outer world is limited, temporary, and often, illusory. So now, look at inner conditions. Aren't they stronger? Isn't it the mind that translates the outer condition into happiness and suffering? And isn't that stronger? We know, by experience, that we can be what we call "a little paradise," and yet, be completely unhappy within.

The Dalai Lama was once in Portugal, and there was a lot of construction going on everywhere. So one evening, he said, "Look, you are doing all these things, but isn't it nice, also, to build something within?" And he said, "Unless that -- even you get high-tech flat on the 100th floor of a super-modern and comfortable building, if you are deeply unhappy within, all you are going to look for is a window from which to jump." So now, at the opposite, we know a lot of people who, in very difficult circumstances, manage to keep serenity, inner strength, inner freedom, confidence. So now, if the inner conditions are stronger -- of course, the outer conditions do influence, and it's wonderful to live longer, healthier, to have access to information, education, to be able to travel, to have freedom. It's highly desirable. However, this is not enough. Those are just auxiliary, help conditions. The experience that translates everything is within the mind. So then, when we ask oneself how to nurture the condition for happiness, the inner conditions, and which are those which will undermine happiness. So then, this just needs to have some experience.

We have to know from ourselves, there are certain states of mind that are conducive to this flourishing, to this well-being, what the Greeks called eudaimonia, flourishing. There are some which are adverse to this well-being. And so, if we look from our own experience, anger, hatred, jealousy, arrogance, obsessive desire, strong grasping, they don't leave us in such a good state after we have experienced it. And also, they are detrimental to others' happiness. So we may consider that the more those are invading our mind, and, like a chain reaction, the more we feel miserable, we feel tormented. At the opposite, everyone knows deep within that an act of selfless generosity, if from the distance, without anyone knowing anything about it, we could save a child's life, make someone happy. We don't need the recognition. We don't need any gratitude. Just the mere fact of doing that fills such a sense of adequation with our deep nature. And we would like to be like that all the time.

So is that possible, to change our way of being, to transform one's mind? Aren't those negative emotions, or destructive emotions, inherent to the nature of mind? Is change possible in our emotions, in our traits, in our moods? For that we have to ask, what is nature of mind? And if we look from the experiential point of view, there is a primary quality of consciousness that's just the mere fact to be cognitive, to be aware. Consciousness is like a mirror that allows all images to rise on it. You can have ugly faces, beautiful faces in the mirror. The mirror allows that, but the mirror is not tainted, is not modified, is not altered by those images. Likewise, behind every single thought there is the bare consciousness, pure awareness. This is the nature. It cannot be tainted intrinsically with hatred or jealousy because, then, if it was always there -- like a dye that would permeate the whole cloth -- then it would be found all the time, somewhere. We know we're not always angry, always jealous, always generous.

So, because the basic fabric of consciousness is this pure cognitive quality that differentiates it from a stone, there is a possibility for change because all emotions are fleeting. That is the ground for mind training. Mind training is based on the idea that two opposite mental factors cannot happen at the same time. You could go from love to hate. But you cannot, at the same time, toward the same object, the same person, want to harm and want to do good. You cannot, in the same gesture, shake hand and give a blow. So, there are natural antidotes to emotions that are destructive to our inner well-being. So that's the way to proceed. Rejoicing compared to jealousy. A kind of sense of inner freedom as opposite to intense grasping and obsession. Benevolence, loving kindness against hatred. But, of course, each emotion then would need a particular antidote.

Another way is to try to find a general antidote to all emotions, and that's by looking at the very nature. Usually, when we feel annoyed, hatred or upset with someone, or obsessed with something, the mind goes again and again to that object. Each time it goes to the object, it reinforces that obsession or that annoyance. So then, it's a self-perpetuating process. So what we need to look now is, instead of looking outward, we look inward. Look at anger itself. It looks very menacing, like a billowing monsoon cloud or thunderstorm. But we think we could sit on the cloud -- but if you go there, it's just mist. Likewise, if you look at the thought of anger, it will vanish like frost under the morning sun. If you do this again and again, the propensity, the tendencies for anger to arise again will be less and less each time you dissolve it. And, at the end, although it may rise, it will just cross the mind, like a bird crossing the sky without leaving any track. So this is the principal of mind training.

Now, it takes time because we -- it took time for all those faults in our mind, the tendencies, to build up, so it will take time to unfold them as well. But that's the only way to go. Mind transformation -- that is the very meaning of meditation. It means familiarization with a new way of being, new way of perceiving things, which is more in adequation with reality, with interdependence, with the stream and continuous transformation, which our being and our consciousness is.

So, the interface with cognitive science, since we need to come to that, and it was, I suppose, the subject of -- we have to deal in such a short time with brain plasticity. The brain was thought to be more or less fixed. All the nominal connections, in numbers and quantities, were thought -- until the last 20 years -- thought to be more or less fixed when we reached adult age. Now, recently, it has been found that it can change a lot. A violinist, as we heard, who has done 10,000 hours of violin practice, some area that controls the movements of fingers in the brain change a lot, increasing reinforcement of the synaptic connections. So can we do that with human qualities? With loving kindness, with patience, with openness?

So that's what those great meditators have been doing. Some of them who came to the labs, like in Madison, Wisconsin, or in Berkeley, did 20 to 40,000 hours of meditation. They do, like, three years' retreat, where they do meditate 12 hours a day. And then, the rest of their life, they will do that three or four hours a day. They are real Olympic champions of mind training. (Laughter) This is the place where the meditators -- you can see it's kind of inspiring. Now, here with 256 electrodes. (Laughter)

So what did they find? Of course, same thing. The scientific embargo -- if ever has been to submitted to "Nature," hopefully, it will be accepted. It deals with the state of compassion, unconditional compassion. We asked meditators, who have been doing that for years and years and years, to put their mind in a state where there's nothing but loving kindness, total availability to sentient being. Of course, during the training, we do that with objects. We think of people suffering, we think of people we love, but at some point, it can be a state which is all pervading. Here is the preliminary result, which I can show because it's already been shown. The bell curve shows 150 controls, and what is being looked at is the difference between the right and the left frontal lobe. In very short, people who have more activity in the right side of the prefrontal cortex are more depressed, withdrawn. They don't describe a lot of positive affect. It's the opposite on the left side: more tendency to altruism, to happiness, to express, and curiosity and so forth. So there's a basic line for people. And also, it can be changed. If you see a comic movie, you go off to the left side. If you are happy about something, you'll go more to the left side. If you have a bout of depression, you'll go to the right side. Here, the -0.5 is the full standard deviation of a meditator who meditated on compassion. It's something that is totally out of the bell curve.

So, I've no time to go into all the different scientific results. Hopefully, they will come. But they found that -- this is after three and a half hours in an fMRI, it's like coming out of a space ship. Also, it has been shown in other labs -- for instance, Paul Ekman's labs in Berkeley -- that some meditators are able, also, to control their emotional response more than it could be thought. Like the startle experiments, for example. If you sit a guy on a chair with all this kind of apparatus measuring your physiology, and there's kind of a bomb that goes off, it's so instinctive response that, in 20 years, they never saw anyone who will not jump. Some meditators, without trying to stop it, but simply by being completely open, thinking that that bang is just going to be just a small event like a shooting star, they are able not to move at all.

So the whole point of that is not, sort of, to make, like, a circus thing of showing exceptional beings who can jump, or whatever. It's more to say that mind training matters. That this is not just a luxury. This is not a supplementary vitamin for the soul. This is something that's going to determine the quality of every instant of our lives. We are ready to spend 15 years achieving education. We love to do jogging, fitness. We do all kinds of things to remain beautiful. Yet, we spend surprisingly little time taking care of what matters most -- the way our mind functions -- which, again, is the ultimate thing that determines the quality of our experience.

Now, our compassion is supposed to be put in action. That's what we try to do in different places. Just this one example is worth a lot of work. This lady with bone TB, left alone in a tent, is going to die with her only daughter. One year later, how she is. Different schools and clinics we've been doing in Tibet.

And just, I leave you with the beauty of those looks that tells more about happiness than I could ever say. And jumping monks of Tibet. (Laughter) Flying monks. Thank you very much.

Why you should listen to him:
After training in biochemistry at the Institute Pasteur, Matthieu Ricard left science behind to move to the Himalayas and become a Buddhist monk - and to pursue happiness, both at a basic human level and as a subject of inquiry. Achieving happiness, he has come to believe, requires the same kind of effort and mind training that any other serious pursuit involves.

His deep and scientifically tinged reflections on happiness and Buddhism have turned into several books, including The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet. At the same time, he also makes sensitive and jaw-droppingly gorgeous photographs of his beloved Tibet and the spiritual hermitage where he lives and works on humanitarian projects.

His latest book on happiness is Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill; his latest book of photographs is Tibet: An Inner Journey.
"Matthieu Ricard, French translator and right-hand man for the Dalai Lama, has been the subject of intensive clinical tests at the University of Wisconsin, as a result of which he is frequently described as the happiest man in the world."
Robert Chalmers, The Independent

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Being Your True Nature

Being Your True Nature
by Osel Hita and Matteo Passigato


What makes people travel from all over the world to meet each other, exchange ideas and feel inspired to commit themselves to a lifelong task?

Universal Education for Compassion and Wisdom Gathering
France, August 2011

Sometimes it goes back to the influence of just one person.

The late Lama Thubten Yeshe was born into a remote village in Tibet in 1935. He was both a scholar of traditional Buddhist texts, and a radical free-thinker with a passion for helping people to find happiness and satisfaction.

In 1974, he became one of the first Tibetan Buddhist masters to travel abroad, along with his devoted student and companion Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

What Lama Yeshe soon noticed was that even if the people he met seemed happy enough on the surface, they rarely seemed to be satisfied with their lives, or to have any lasting peace of mind.
Andy Wistreich: educator, UK

"We are addicted to growth, not just at a social level but also at an individual level. We feel that happiness comes from going to the shops and acquiring more possessions, so then we are filling our house with more and more possessions."
Lama Thubten Yeshe

"So even you (do) not feel you are suffering, if you check up (on) your mind, are you satisfied? You ask yourself: are you satisfied? No, I'm not. I'm not satisfied. Okay, how many things (are) you not satisfied (with)? Then comes this. I want this, I want this, this, this, this, this…"
Osel Hita: director & musician, Spain

"So in the end we are all trying to be satisfied. What is satisfaction? Where does it lie? I mean, unless we live in the moment, we can't really be satisfied; it's impossible. How many people are searching outside, in this materialistic world, in this world full of entertainment and distractions and suffering?"
Lama Yeshe was convinced that dwelling deep inside every being without exception is an inexhaustible source of wisdom and compassion. The root of the problem is that we fail to develop these qualities.
Lama Thubten Yeshe

"We need new education for the world because all the education is no longer up to date for the present intelligent people. And present education produces a lot of conflict and dissatisfaction for the new generation."
Andy Wistreich: educator, UK

"Sometimes the education is useful for understanding the outside world, but mostly the kids are just bored. The education system didn't offer them any meaning in life, any way to really understand oneself at a deeper level."
Pan Cayton: Creating Compassionate Culture, USA

"Teach the children to awaken their awareness to the way things exist, then what would arise out of that would be a healthy emotional state of mind."
Lama Yeshe explained that kindness and compassion are the natural result of developing wisdom.
Connie Miller: editor and teacher, USA

"This extraordinary potential for love and compassion and connection with others, and being there for others, and that being there for others completely and totally was what Lama, for me, embodied."
The more we accept and understand that none of us exists in isolation, the more we can expand our consciousness to embrace all other beings.
Anna Colao: youth worker, UK

"Into our own reality, our own existence, the way that we are connected to other people, it's unbelievable, it's tangible, we are so interconnected with each other. And from that it's only logical that if we create positive actions in the world, more positive things will happen."
Lama Yeshe believed that this special combination is the key to bringing about a happier and more peaceful world.
Alison Murdock: Director of the Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom

"Universal Wisdom Education is about people discovering their potential, discovering the compassion and wisdom that we all have deep down inside ourselves and seeing that making use of that and bringing it out is actually going to create satisfaction and happiness in our lives."
Lama Zopa: Honorary President of the Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom

"Not harming each other, helping, benefiting each other, bringing happiness to each other. That's what it is. Bringing the self, individual and whole world into higher and higher happiness. That's the aim."
What Universal Wisdom Education seeks is a language that speaks to universal human experience at its simplest and most profound.
Lama Zopa

"Everybody in the world cannot become Buddhist, cannot become Muslim, cannot become Hindu, Christian or so forth, in the teaching of any religion. But you need to bring some method, education to this world. For the better life, for the better world, more happiness, solve all the problems, cause of unhappiness. So, I thought that. Need to bring another method to use in the world. So I thought Universal Education, which Lama Yeshe started, I thought this, how important it is."
Rasmus Hougaard: The Potential Project, Denmark

"The mission is basically to take part in creating a more peaceful, more just, more kind and more compassionate world. Very basic. And we believe by training people to train their minds, that's the best way we can do this. So a more peaceful world, that's the very main objective of what we are doing."
Esther Garibay: Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom

"Actually what we want is to be happy and to have basic skills to know how to cultivate happiness. So this is I think for me the most powerful thing, that it's not that you are giving wisdom to people, it's that you are helping people reveal their own wisdom and the wisdom that they already carry within. So I think this is the work we do and this is what I am passionate about because I think everybody has this potential."
Osel Hita

"We are life. Each individual represents life. We are a reflection of the universe. The universe exists through us and therefore, as an individual, our mission is to understand ourselves and to discover our inner reality, our true nature and that's where the rear satisfaction comes in, it's when you live with yourself, when you're happy with yourself, you're satisfied with yourself and you're living each moment as it is, as it comes, and as you design it, in order to help other people. Because that's where the real satisfaction is."
Andy Wistreich

"And when our mind comes into harmony with reality, then everything changes."
Sofia Marban: teacher and therapist, Spain

"All of us, everyone, is very responsible for their actions. Because every single person who is with you is learning from you, in the same way that you are learning from others. So it's very important our action in any moment."
Universal Wisdom Education is particularly important for children, who hold the future in their hands. There is increasing scientific evidence that small children, and perhaps even babies, have an unexpected capacity for compassion and meta-cognition. Skillfully led, Universal Wisdom Education can also offer powerful experiences for young people.
Lydia Rigdzina Dolma: student, UK

"I don't usually go this deep into myself or into my feelings, so that was quite weird. But I think it could be useful for loads and loads of teenagers out there, because my generation and the next generation have been accustomed to violence for so long, through video games and stuff, and UWE is all about compassion and wisdom, and I think that could really bring them out of this kind of numb feeling that everyone has when they're confronted with violence on the news, on a video game, on the computer, and even in adverts. It's quite weird to see how deep even I could go into myself with the right kind of help and the right kind of teaching."
Universal Wisdom Education is logical, practical and relevant to every life situation, whoever we are, whatever we do, whichever is our religious belief or cultural tradition. Its programs are now taking off all over the world, in schools and colleges, healthcare and prisons, the workplace and the home.
Alison Murdock

"We've been taking advice for this work from Lama Zopa Rinpoche, who was the number one student of Lama Yeshe, and he gave us some very interesting and very helpful advice at the beginning, which was to try working with just one program, an 8th century text about ethics - how to live a good life, develop a good heart - which we've turned into a program called the "16 Guidelines for Life". And to our surprise, it's proved incredibly popular. It starts with humility, it ends with courage, it talks about how we think, how we act, how we relate to other people and how we find meaning in life. Very straightforward practical everyday things. And it's been taken now into over 20 different countries and translated into 5 different languages."
The 16 Guidelines for a Happy Life
How we think:
  • humility
  • patience
  • contentment
  • delight
How we act:
  • kindness
  • honesty
  • generosity
  • right speech
How we relate to others:
  • respect
  • forgiveness
  • gratitude
  • loyalty
How we find meaning:
  • aspiration
  • principles
  • service
  • courage
David Machles and Karen Mastroianni: organizational consultants, USA

"They brought the 16 Guidelines to our center for the children's program, and one Sunday when they were presenting it and I heard them talking about the Guidelines, it was the most powerful thing I'd ever heard, and I said 'this is what we need in our organizations.' So I came back to David and said 'you have to come hear this, we have to go learn about the Guidelines' and your first comment was 'it's for kids, not adults!' David was doing work in prisons for anger management at the time, and was going to start doing some things at the youth prison, and anger management is really just one piece that people suffer from, so we decided to use the 16 Guidelines in the prison program and we called it 'Building Inner Strength'. That's really how you started using them. And that was in a youth facility, a youth prison."
Rasmus Hougaard

"The transformation that is taking place for people in the corporate world when they start to engage with these methods is really profound. For me as a trainer, it's amazing to see the changes in their lives. So there's been done research, especially from Inseat, which is the largest business school of Europe, which has pointed out very clearly that the practice of mindfulness, that mindful leaders and mindful employees are better at what is called corporate social responsibility, they have higher corporate social responsibility. That means they take better care of their employees, they take better care of each other, and they take better care of the environment at large. So there's a lot of research backing up that it does not only have an impact on the individual, but actually also on the globe, socially and environmentally."
The huge amount of interest and enthusiasm poses many organizational challenges. How do you turn such a vast vision into reality? Into something practical that holds both integrity and diversity? That can adapt to the moment while remaining true to its roots?

But the passion and commitment of the growing UWE community makes us confident that we will gradually achieve our goal of creating a happier and more peaceful world.


The Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom was established in 2005 to take forward the vision of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa.

One year after the gather: Work has begun on a set of experiential study courses to guide and support this work worldwide. The manuals will make accessible in contemporary style and language some of the most profound yet universal aspects of Buddhist philosophy, psychology and science.

The people who met at the gathering in France have gone on to set up all kinds of projects in their own communities.

Universal Education for Compassion and Wisdom has replaced the name Universal Wisdom Education as a reflection of the urgent need for more compassion, love and empathy in our 21st century world.
Lama Zopa

"So, everybody, please enjoy your life with good heart and with wisdom. Okay, thank you very much. And make the world better. Make your life better so that the world can become better."

We invite you to find out more:
for additional interviews and supporting information
to join the mailing list
and learn about our educational programs
about Lama Yeshe, Lama Zopa and Osel Hita

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sit Down and Shut Up

Sit Down and Shut Up
Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death, & Dogen's Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye
by Brad Warner

"You can never notice your own enlightenment." Nishijima Sensei
You just discover that "me" was far too limiting a name for what you really are.

This is the way we all are, though. We're far more interested in explanations of reality than we are in reality itself. The solution is to see the problem and take action - now. Start from just where you are, and do something.

Buddhism is about discovering the things that "go," that really work and make our lives and the lives of others better and happier; and the things that do not "go" and make us and others miserable.

The trick to not thinking is not adding energy to the equation in an effort to forcibly stop thinking from happening.
"Someone who is pursuing the truth is already halfway to the truth. Don't give up until you get there." Dogen
Anger doesn't make music, not even angry music.

"Angry music," exposing as it did its author's truest feelings let me know I was not alone in my own feelings of frustration. Far from making me angry, it made me feel as if there was something positive I could do with my feelings.

Buddhism is about balance. And in the state of balance right action presents itself at every moment.

It's hard for most of us to admit, but when you start paying attention you'll notice that you actually enjoy being angry. There's this wonderful rush of self-righteousness to it. Because, obviously, you can't be angry about something unless you know you're right and the other person is wrong. You are angry because you want to be angry. Always, always.

It's only when we are balanced that we can do any good for anyone else. Otherwise we act from confusion instead of true compassion.

It's about seeing your real troubles, your real trials, all your real difficulties and real joys as they actually are, without the overblown drama we usually ladle on top of them.

Faith keeps you going but doubt keeps you from going off the deep end.

The trick here is to give up imagining how things are going to be. Or, at the very least, to give up believing that the way you imagine things are going to be has anything to do with the way they really will be.

Real happiness comes when you are truly living this moment, no matter what it is. It's not the least bit futile to pursue this kind of happiness. In fact it's your sacred duty as a human being.

Sit in zazen (meditation) enough, and you begin to relearn how to notice the fascinating sensations that make up your ordinary life.

So do what needs to be done right now. The do the next thing. And the next. And the next.

That's the way it is with every skill worth pursuing. It's a pain in the ass for a very long time until you become any good at it at all. And this is true for everyone...

It's easy to become paralyzed in your practice when you focus on the so-called results. But there really are no "results" in the real world. There is only what is, right here and right now.

Any job you do contributes to the welfare of all humankind. Maybe a little, maybe a lot.

If you're serious about transcending anger, you have to be prepared to give up everything.

But it's incredibly tough to pursue a practice that says that if you spend tons of time and energy on it, your reward is...nothing.

Real hate is that part of you that sees itself as eternally separate from the rest of creation. Real love is that part of you that sees everything as a seamless whole.

It's hard to worry what other people thing when you realize their thoughts are just as dopey and meaningless as yours.