Sunday, June 14, 2015

How Green Was My Valley

Last night, red light in the west gave instruction in highlights along the east side of the San Bernardino Mountains. 

I took this photograph standing in my front yard. You might say, "How beautiful." You might say, "How fortunate." You might say something about the photograph; but, if you do, you will miss the message.

Heaven itself called attention to the terrible damage done to Eastern California by absolutely unsupervised, unregulated, and irresponsible foreign mining corporations. 

This is taking place in lands surrounded by what are called "Desert Act" lands. In some cases, this mining has breached boundaries into national forest lands, in addition to Desert Act violations.

In the photograph, above, you can see that the entire eastern face of the San Bernardinos has been destroyed forever.

They blast up there, with dynamite. They work at night, so you can't see the full extent of the dust violations. Their trucks tear up the highways, and contribute to the danger of already dangerous roads. 

In the 1960s, we would get out the word. In the 1960s, we would get out the guitars. In the 1960s, we would get out. We would call attention to the situation with art, and music, and love. Picketing dancers. Flowers to the drivers of the dangerous trucks. Signs, and shouts; sit-in, and silliness.

So, how do y'all stop something like this now?

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Tara, look swiftly to the beings for whom elements appear in disarray
For all those touched by imbalances of wind, water, and earth
Inside, outside, all arising in the mind as suffering
Now is the time for your mercy to reach those who require mercy
Now is the time for a mother's solace to calm all disturbances
Tara, to your natural activity we add this prayer of perfect confidence
For the benefit of all sentient beings
May desired relief be experienced now!

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BREAKING: Multiple major earthquakes strike again

Multiple sources reporting major earthquakes in Nepal and Afghanistan, with almost unfathomable devastation throughout region.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Open Letter to Nepal

Dear Nepal:

The world is terribly sorry for your suffering. Already, the world responds to your prayers, as you begin a recovery process to be measured in decades.

You will receive more than $1 billion in direct foreign assistance. In addition to the disaster management funds, it is likely you will receive at least $1 billion more indirectly, for the purposes of disaster recovery.

You will receive millions of dollars more from people you have never met. Ordinary people, with good hearts, and charitable instincts.

That is just money. Who knows how much food, medicine, surgical equipment, earth-moving equipment ... the list goes on and on... who knows how much more you will receive in hard aid? Aid that will keep your nation together, at a time when it is torn apart.

Nepal, stop killing the animals in ritual sacrifice. You have brought the anger of the earth itself upon yourselves by barbaric blood-letting. Now, nature itself has answered you. Now, your blood has been taken in payment for the blood you have shed.

If you wish your own prayers answered, answer the prayers of the many beings you have slaughtered.

Nepal, just stop ritual killing. 

In the land blessed by the holiest of relics; in the land that gave birth to Buddha himself; in the land where there is great instability of all sorts -- in this land, where princes have gone mad, where the walls around palaces have now fallen, where foul corruption keeps the poor oppressed -- it is 2015 in this land that Tara herself graced beyond all measure, and still you believe it spiritually necessary to spill the blood of sentient beings?

Are you in the thrall of black magicians?

Nepal, you have forgotten Tara. Now, you scream and pray to what you have forgotten: do you even remember Tara's name? How you have treated the most humble sentient beings in your nation is an absolute spiritual disgrace. It is blind, and it bears the most terrible possible consequences.

You have already experienced some of those consequences. Can you learn from them? Can you allow this tragedy to give rise to compassion?

To stop the killing is a small act of compassion, as compared to the large acts of compassion from which you now benefit.

I beg you, please stop the ritual slaughter of innocent beings in the name of mankind. I am of mankind too, and you bring a stain upon all of us.


One Buddhist

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By clicking this link, you will be able to get 100% of your money into the hands of a network of monasteries, monks, and nuns, who will deliver aid direct to the people.

Immediately, and in the days to come, the need for food, medicine, and supplies will continue to grow. 

We need to act now.

Please, place your faith in the Three Jewels and your trust in Kyabje Tarthang Rinpoche's mandala of organizations. They have a fifty year record of success in the region, and did not come into being overnight.

There are no administration, middleman, or graft costs. 100% of your money hits the ground running.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Your Ordinary Mind

So, then -- a few words.

Nothing you can do, in the context of implementing spiritual instruction, is more important than ordinary relaxation.

Seems like a surprising, or incomplete statement, but this is something I want you to think about.

What I call "ordinary" comes after dissolving the tension of expectation that seems to trouble so many practitioners. Often, one is practicing "for" or "about" something. All sorts of back and forth reflection. Way, too much busy business. Nothing natural about this at all.

What is ordinary, is uncontrived. 


One day you are staring out a window. You are not thinking about anything at all. It is an effortless, unplanned pause in your life. There is silence, and stillness. Maybe, you could even get up and walk outside, no purpose in mind. The interlude would stay with you.

Then, suddenly, on an errant sun ray, all of the books, the lectures, the pujas blend with ear-whispered instruction, and a lotus blooms in unmolested silence, according to its nature.

Things come to a complete stop.

Maybe, it was a line you read. Maybe, it was something somebody said. Maybe, it was something your teacher told you. Maybe, it was all of these, disposed of at last.

That instant has nothing to do with Buddhism. You might even laugh. You are no longer doing something in order to do something.

There is considerable clarity.

So, that is what I mean by ordinary relaxation.

Any relaxation short of that is artificial.

So, that is one thing I want to say. The other thing I want to say is about beginning where you are right this minute.

Let's go back to you staring out a window.

This has to be accompanied by an immense, truly all-encompassing comfort with where you happen to be at the moment. Even this is a concrete jail cell, you can still have this. Or, maybe a hotel room somewhere, in a different kind of custody.

Being wholesomely in tune with where you find yourself therefore becomes a vital step toward the natural arising of ordinary relaxation.

The message in both cases is, "Stop." Stop striving, stop arguing with your own space, and give yourself enough time to let things naturally unfold.

Neither ordinary relaxation nor being adept with immediacy are "acquired" states of being in that once achieved, one suddenly occupies a continuous status. Normally, they are experienced in samples. In spontaneously arising slices.

In moments, and you know, every moment holds every possibility. 

Consider well, then, the very last moment of breath, and remember Padmasambhava.

May it be auspicious

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