every situation

In "Confession of a Buddhist Atheist" ex-monk Stephen Batchelor explains that in his view being a modern non-denominational Buddhist involves collecting some favorite Buddhist quotes and pushing off in your raft into the river of life.

I have my own collection of Buddhist quotes. There are thirteen, and the first quote is possibly all I need. To me, it's pretty much Buddhism in one sentence:

"I vow to accept every situation as it arises."

Unfortunately, I don't even remember exactly where I got this quote from. I think of it many times per day. When I start getting wrapped up in thoughts about something, what something means, what other people think about it, what will happen, etc, etc... I remember this quote. I think to myself, "Oh, right... ok, first... just accept it."

That doesn't mean the "it" I'm trying to accept is ok, or good, or even that I will not try to change it. But it means that I try to stop the struggle in my heart against the reality of the thing.  And since this is Buddhism we're talking about, this can get all "meta-" very fast... as in I try to accept not only the thing, but I also accept my feelings about the thing.

I find this very helpful.

The evil mouth of men/women, breaks the rod of iron ( Gossip will kill the best reputation ) ...Tibetan Proverb

" When you are a truly happy Christian, you are also a Buddhist and vice versa "

----- Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh frm the book - Living Buddha,Living Christ -----

Buddhist Psychology

Hi. I'm new on this blog. I practice in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh and live in Oakland, CA where I work as a counselor (mostly over the phone) and direct a mental health program for kids. I have been studying the Bhikkhu Bodhi's book about the Abhidhamma and thinking about the way it seems to describe the mind as being made up of countless streams of consciousness (cittas) that are all relatively autonomous. Each citta has its own intention, which means every random thought or feeling is part of a citta that has an intention. In my meditations lately I've been listening to all of the different cittas and trying to see their different intentions. Its been cool.

How much aware are you?

I calculate that I stay aware, in the best of days, a 5% of my waking time.
Most of it while I walk the dogs, or while I wait for something. The rest of the time I have seconds, or even fractions of seconds of awareness in which I'm conscious of what's happening, amidst a continuous state of just experiencing life the normal way.
I wonder how are things for you folks, how much aware are you on average. Let's throw in some figures, shall we?

Merry Christmas! Jesus is here!


"I thought we were talking about Zen!  Keep your JudeoChristian monotheism out of my Korean-filtered introspective Dharmic practice!"

In the Mirror of Seon, the Great Master of the Western Mountain, Seosan, expounds on the words of the sutras translated by Kumarajiva, which says,

The Buddha did not appear in this world to save sentient beings.  Rather, the Buddha appeared in order to liberate this world from the mistaken view that there is life and death, or Nirvana and salvation.

Seosan states that we exist in stillness, abiding in nothingness, neither coming nor going, neither being born nor dying.  Yet we, in our minds, decide that there is birth and death, that we suffer, and so we decide that we need to be freed from our suffering.

oh darn

I was in my class called Death, Dying and Bereavement. A nurse from the local hospital was talking to us about all sorts of topics and asked the class, "what is suffering?" totally absorbed in the activity at hand, I didn't bother to think of the Buddha's definition of attachment and craving. I totally missed my chance to be the uber buddhist.

a little video research

I've been thinking about the jukai ceremony lately, the formal ceremony where a person accepts Buddhist precepts and takes vows. I've been wondering if I want to do it myself or not, and where my practice should go in general. I found a video of an American jukai ceremony online, and watched all 45 minutes of it.

Here is another one of many interesting videos I ran across, this one just happens to be very short. Never been a smoker myself, but I like the part where the monks light up.

meditation, the anti-ADD

July 15, 2010 -- People who learn how to meditate using Buddhist techniques not only may find a bit of peace in life, but also can improve their attention and focus a new study shows.

Buddhist Meditation Boosts Concentration Skills (WebMD.com)

where? here. i mean there.

"If enlightenment is not where you are standing, where will you look?"

~ Zen saying

cryonics and buddhism

A recent New York Times article discussed marital problems caused by (mostly) men who plan to be frozen after death in the hopes of being revived in the future, and the women who see this at best as creepy and at worst as a betrayal.

It made me recall the time several years ago when I mentioned to my wife that I would have myself frozen after death if I had the money, and I remember being amusingly perplexed by her dislike of this idea. She may have even said, joking or seriously, that I wanted to have another life with another woman.

Besides such marital discord, the issue of cryonics brings up other questions, many of them Buddhism-related. Is accepting death "giving up"? Should we seek to greatly extend life? Should we seek to preserve memories (the "data" in our brains)?


How many outlets are in the room you are in currently? Just checking.

the helping path

A few weeks ago our Zen priest made the point that the Buddhist path is a "helping path." It's all about helping others, he said.

It's so easy to maintain an inward looking, self-focused practice: my daily meditation, my mental suffering, my challenges... etc. So I'm trying to work on this more broad aspect of the Buddhist path.

This is an older clip from the Internets, but it's one I really like. Often the knowledge that someone else cares is an even bigger gift than the immediate aid.

Allow Myself to Introduce Myself

I friggin hate introductions.  I either come off like an arrogant d-nozzle or undercut whatever it was I was trying to say.  Seriously, you should read my old profile of OKCupid.  Or don't.  My lady probably would appreciate it if I deleted it.  Hmmmm...wonder if anyone's looked at it lately...

Anyway, Bruce Lee was once asked "Are you really that good?"

He shrugged and responded, "If I tell you I'm that good, you'll think I'm arrogant.  If I say I'm not...well, you'll know I'm lying!"

My name is MuSsang, or at least my Dharma name is.  It means the Unequaled.  I think my teacher had a sense of humor when he named me that.  Scratch that, I know he has a sense of humor.