Saturday, September 30, 2017

Vegan treats to explore in Gotham. Enjoy. 😊

Bakeries, NYC

1) Bushwick

2) Clinton Hill

3) Greenpoint

4) Williamsburg

5) Broome

6) Bleecker

7) East 10th

Bookstores, NYC

1) Allen

Cafes, NYC

1) West 20th

Cheese Shops, NYC

1) Prospect Heights

2) Williamsburg

Chocolate Shops, NYC

1) East 9th

2) West 20th

Doughnut Shops, NYC

1) Williamsburg

2) East 8th

Eco-Shopping, NYC

1) Orchard

2) Stanton

Grocery Stores, NYC


Ice Cream Parlors, NYC

1) East 17th

Juice Bars, NYC




Restaurants, NYC

1) Bay Ridge

2) Bedford-Stuyvesant

3) Boerum Hill

4) East Williamsburg

5) Fort Greene

6) Greenpoint

7) Greenpoint

8) Greenpoint

9) Park Slope

10) www.VSpot.NYC/locations/view/1 Park Slope

11) Williamsburg

12) Williamsburg

13) Williamsburg

14) Williamsburg

15) Williamsburg

16) Williamsburg

17) Williamsburg

18) Pine

19) Pine

20) Maiden

21) Front

22) Doyers

23) East Broadway

24) Church

25) Mulberry

26) Broome

27) Lafayette

28) Carmine

29) Bleecker

30) East 3rd

31) West 3rd

32) West 4th

33) West 4th

34) East 6th

35) East 6th

36) East 6th

37) East 7th

38) East 7th

39) www.VSpot.NYC/locations/view/3 East 8th

40) West 8th

41) East 10th

42) East 11th

43) East 13th

44) East 14th

45) West 15th

46) West 17th

47) West 17th

48) West 21st

49) West 22nd

50) West 23rd

51) West 23rd

52) East 27th

53) East 28th

54) West 29th

55) East 32nd

56) West 33rd

57) East 34th

58) West 37th

59) East 39th

60) East 43rd

61) West 43rd

62) West 48th

63) West 48th

64) West 56th

65) West 58th

66) East 63rd

67) East 63rd

68) East 74th

69) East 79th

70) West 81st

71) West 82nd

72) West 84th

73) West 89th

74) West 113th

75) West 177th

76) Forest Hills

77) Rego Park

78) Ridgewood

Smorgasburg, NYC

1) Prospect Park

2) Williamsburg

Monday, September 18, 2017

One Dharma

He says they are all the paths to Enlightenment, his is just one, there are others. I guess that begs the question, which route is best for you?

But I want to finish up on One Dharma.

On p. 137 of One Dharma Goldstein Writes, "Instead of "who's right?" the question becomes, "What  learn from this teaching? Can it help me free the mind from clinging?""

One Dharma p.183 " light of the One Dharma, there is a way of seeing all the different perspectives as a manadala of skillful means, each contributing to our liberation."

It's been said many times that Buddhism isn't a religion of belief, but a religion of practices. Meditating, chanting, prayer, ethics, devotional, confession, activism, generosity, aesthetics, adoption, veganism, and on and on... There is no orthodoxy, there is only orthopraxy, and even that is among various teachers. Every teacher creates a new dharma.

This is not to say we can't have clear expression of a sangha, an order, a practitioner, a teacher. I like to think my blog as a record of my explorations, mostly cultural, of the world around Buddhism, with interjections about practice and sangha, etc.

One Dharma p. 191, "The foundation of nonsectarian Western Buddhism is the understanding that whatever the various descriptions of awakening or the path may be, the words themselves are not the experience. It is only in our own direct realization that transformation occurs. Freedom is the vital issue, not our ideas about it."  

This introduces the idea of Western Buddhism, what ever that will develop into, if we don't blow ourselves up because of lame guy pissing contents that involve nuclear weapons. Talk of virtues is fine and all that, but what you do matters most.

As you can see, I'm moving onto my next Dharma book. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche has a fair amount of books you can read. I'm not sure if I'm going to do the practices, but waking up and saying what the photo has above wouldn't be a bad practice.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Skeptical Vegan

Starting to read The Skeptical Vegan. Cori says they are good recipes. Here is a quote from the forward written by Victoria Moran, vagans are responsible "...that we're killing half a billion fewer animals in the US annually than we were ten years ago."


I haven't been close to the TBC for the past 5 years, but I'm on Facebook and still have many friends from the TBC. This post is supposed to be open to anyone, so I choose to repost it here:

A very good article by Kulananda posted in Shabda but open for anyone to read.
What Unites Us, What Divides Us
Posted by Kulananda on Thu, 14 September, 2017 - 12:18
What I Said (and Didn’t Say) at the Combined Area Order Weekend
A little while ago, Dhirangama and I went to Adhisthana for the Combined Area Order Weekend. We travelled there with some trepidation as neither of us has spent much time in Order gatherings for many years and we wondered what we’d find.
It was good to see several old friends and I was delighted to hear Vishvapani’s landmark talk. We missed Lokeshvara’s closing talk, but I’ve since caught it online and very much appreciated what he said.
It was the openness of the programme that drew me to brave a cold and wet weekend with 300 other people at Adhisthana. The Order is a rich and diverse collection of individuals, the organisers told us, come and tell us what you do – how you’re contributing to the project of spreading the Dharma in the world.
I was very pleased to get that email. I’ve advocated for that attitude for many years and couldn’t turn the invitation down. I offered to give a talk on “What Unites Us, What Divides Us” and also to lead a workshop on the work I do bringing mindfulness into organisations and with leaders. The organisers took me up on both of these and I’ll say something about my talk below.
My over-riding impression of the weekend was of a new openness. The receptive attention with which people listened to Vishvapani, for example, as he spoke some humbling truths. When last I was at such an event the overall tenor was somewhat more triumphalist, defensive and very much more homogenous. We’re going through turbulent times in the Order and I was impressed by the Convenors’ willingness to admit that diversity and try to hold the space open for everyone.
What I Said in My Talk (More or Less) and Further Reflections
I can’t give a fully accurate version of my talk, “What Unites Us, What Divides Us”, because I never made notes and I didn’t record it. But here’s the gist of it – along with a few more thoughts.
I began with a sketch outline of my biography in the Order, including my complex relationship with Bhante. Over the last decade or so I’ve struggled on and off with a question: how can I keep to my ordination vow of loyalty to my teacher while I’m sometimes critical of him?
Increasingly this has come to seem to me to be a central problem at the heart of our Order. Can we be critical of Bhante, questioning aspects of what he has said at times and some of the ways in which he’s behaved, while still holding to the heart of his fundamental teachings?
This is, I believe, an existential question for the Order as a whole. If we can allow for that kind of nuance and complexity in our relationship to Bhante and some of his teachings, we can hold together as an Order. If not, then I fear we must split. I believe that the attempt to unite Triratna by insisting that Bhante occupies an unquestioned and sacred place at the heart of our mandala has failed – and will fail over and over.
As a man, Bhante has his strengths and his weaknesses. Some of us may wish to look only at the brightness, and it is considerable, but when you insist that we all do that and that the brightness is all there is, then other voices and other stories crowd in and the project fails.
Here’s some of my own story. It is partial, for sure. We write and re-write our autobiographical memories all the time and things change. The past isn’t stable. No doubt there are other views on the same events. I don’t insist on any absolute factual accuracy here. But I do hope I can prompt a helpful conversation.
As a recently ordained Order member, I’d begun an intimate relationship with Bhante in 1977 and was suddenly and starkly dropped from that in 1979. One moment we were very close, living together at Padmaloka, seeing each other several times a day, then one day – without warning or discussion – I was simply dropped. It was as if I ceased to exist in his world – almost literally. He came down to breakfast, I said hello, he ignored me as if I were invisible and didn’t speak to me again one-to-one for many months. His attention turned to another young man. That led to my leaving Padmaloka in a state of furious confusion. I went to London and founded Windhorse Trading.
After a year or two I made my peace with what had happened. Bhante and I never discussed it and I returned to work for him in various ways in the years that followed. I don’t know what his side of the story was, but for my part I let it all drop.
I love the Order and am grateful to Bhante for having founded it. I’m hugely grateful to him for having helped me to the Dharmic perspectives I take on things. I would never have arrived at these without him. They are a gift beyond price.
But towards the end of my time as a member of the Preceptors’ College and increasingly since then, my love of the Order and my gratitude to Bhante have come to be mixed-in with perceptions that are increasingly critical of how certain aspects of his personality play out in the Triratna project. I believe that our collective failure to address these leads to unreality and distortion. It can leave an almost cultish-ness at the heart of things that, I believe, will ultimately be our downfall.
I’ve given much of my life to the Order. For the 28 years between 1977 and 2005 I lived my life very much at the heart of things, co-founding the Cambridge and North London centres, being presidential in Croydon, Dublin and North London, starting the communications and liaison offices, working as Bhante’s secretary from time to time, becoming the overall Order Convenor for a time, being a Public Preceptor and an early member of the Madhyamaloka community, privately ordaining 20-plus Order members, writing books for Windhorse Publications and so on.
But in 2003 I’d come to the end of my tether at Madhyamaloka – then the home of the Preceptors’ College. The five years leading up to that point had been riddled with crises and difficulties – the FWBO Files, the first Guardian article, Yashomitra’s letter, to say nothing of the onset of Bhante’s visual impairment. By 2002 Bhante had fallen into a state of insomnia and extreme anxiety. He couldn’t be alone for more than a few minutes, literally, and needed constant company and reassurance.
The dynamics of life at Madhyamaloka were never easy. In the twin shadows of Bhante on the one hand and Subhuti on the other, I struggled to find any space for meaningful initiative. Much of the time I accepted that – I even thought of my deference as a spiritual practice of sorts – but I now see how unwise it was to have given over so much of my own agency to theirs.
Following the publication of the FWBO Files in 1998, Vishvapani, Cittapala and I had worked hard on our Response. I was never happy with that document. Bhante was still loathe to give a full account of his sexual activity and we were assured by those responsible for our activities in India that too frank an account would be incendiary there. In any event, the Files themselves were riddled were inaccuracy and over-statement and we did our best to address these and redress the balance. But in the end our Response felt a bit like a fudge. That left a bad taste.
But it was just the start. Over the next five years crisis followed crisis and we never seemed able to get on top of things. On reflection, I think there was something fundamentally flawed in the model of leadership we were struggling to implement. There was a lack of clarity about lines of authority and we weren’t entirely clear about what kind of leadership team we wanted to be (and whether we had any real authority anyway – Bhante was always there, casting his shadow).
I felt an increasing claustrophobia with life at Madhyamaloka. By 2003 it was time for me to move on.
Recently, Bhante has spoken of his complex personality and how that has shaped the Order. Much of that rings true. But in speaking of his personality as though all of its features were entirely positive in the second piece he wrote on theme he has detracted from an earlier statement where he seemed to acknowledge that that complexity had led him to act in ways that weren’t in accordance with his position.
As I write, I feel my reluctance to go into this territory. But from my discussions with certain College members over the past few years and in some of the documents we’ve all been sent, I sense what has been a strategy for forging unity in Triratna by insisting on Bhante’s place in the centre of our mandala. And when you insist on Bhante’s position at the centre of the mandala, and try to use that to forge unity, then that necessarily calls for a discussion of the complex personality around which we are being asked to cohere.
From my own observations and experience, for example, there appears to me to be an element of Bhante’s personality that is marked by caution at best and anxiety at worst. That can play out as a need to control the world he’s a part of and I sense echoes of that same tendency in some of what has emerged at times from Adhisthana and the College.
So much of what I hear from College members and others about ‘the need to preserve Bhante’s legacy’ seems to me to carry imprints of elements of Bhante’s complex personality that he never spoke about in his recent article on the theme.
Am I alone in sensing a whiff of vanity, for example, in some of what Bhante wrote about in his second piece about his personality? Indeed, in much of what he’s written about himself? Or, in fact, the whole ‘legacy project’? Is that too an aspect of his complex personality? Those of us who have lived with Bhante have sometimes been maddened by his unflinching self-certainty – should that be in the mix too? And then there is that anxiety – the apparent need for constant control.
By 2003 I couldn’t bear the confining tension of Madhyamaloka any longer. I left there and went to Abbey House in Cambridge, where I could focus on my friendships and various presidencies, spend more time with Dhirangama who lived nearby, and get my masters’ degree in Mindfulness-Based Approaches at Bangor University completed.
I became increasingly drawn into the rapidly unfolding ‘Mindfulness Revolution’ which seemed to me to be opening extraordinary opportunities for those of us concerned with bringing the Dharma to the modern world.
One of the things I found so liberating about leaving Madhyamaloka, stepping aside from my various Triratna duties and going on to develop my current career teaching mindfulness, is that it enabled me to get down off the pedestal I occupied in our little self-enclosed Buddhist world. In a sense, it allowed me to join the rest of humanity.
In the Order, I was Kulananda, with a kesa and status. Big fish, small pond. Now, in the very much wider world of organisational consultancy, I’m Michael where I work. No big deal at all. Just another greying guy with a home, a marriage, and a method to pitch. If what I say is helpful, great. But I’m nothing special. When I came off it, it was liberating – and revealing – to see how much I’d relied on my old pedestal.
That speaks to me of something one of my colleagues at the Centre for Mindfulness in Bangor mentioned when we were discussing the many and various Triratna Order members who have trained there. “They’re so obviously well-trained” she said. “They can meditate well, and they can communicate. But they’re often strangely arrogant.” I get that. I wonder whether the ‘specialness’ we get from our membership of the Order doesn’t somehow infect some of us in unhelpful ways.
I spoke next about my love of the Order. In all my travels through the modern Buddhist world when working for the Liaison Office I never found any Sangha remotely like it. I spoke of my gratitude to Bhante – how my understanding of the Dharma, the lenses through which I perceive, were his gift and how happy I am with that.
And I spoke of my deep sadness and dismay at seeing how Bhante’s apparent anxiety and need for control appear increasingly to have come to inform the attempts from him, from Subhuti and from others centrally engaged in our project to stamp a template of unity on the Order – and how that just doesn’t work. In fact, from where I sit, the very attempts to forge unity that were embodied in the 7 papers that thudded into our in-trays with such authority (endorsed by Bhante, no less) seem to have divided more than they united us.
Part of my dismay at that came from my sense that the Order is in many ways actually already united. We share so much, we see things so similarly in so many crucial respects.
To illustrate this, I invited those listening to my talk to stand up and gather in the middle of the room, just getting a sense of comfortably being together in that space. I then said that I was going to call out a variety of statements and, so long as they were in accordance with these, they should just stay where they were. Together. But if any of my statements made them uncomfortable or if they disagreed with them, they should just find another place to stand that somehow accorded with their position in relation to what I said.
It was a crude, rough and ready exercise and my lack of a nuanced knowledge of the most recent discussions certainly impacted it, but I hope it made my point – at least to some extent.
I began with the easy pickings. What follows isn’t an exact replication of what I said, but it went something like this:
“Going for Refuge is primary, lifestyle is secondary.”
“The ten precepts are an adequate template for the ethics of a committed Dharma life.”
“Pratitya-samutpada is the central Buddhist doctrine, although not only expressed in terms of the 12 nidanas…”
“Spiritual friendship is a crucial spiritual practice and a vital support to practice…”
“Engagement with art and culture can be hugely supportive to spiritual life…”
“The many and various historical and cultural expressions of Buddhism contain the same underlying ineffable truth – and by and large they can be understood in terms of one another…”
“The are no higher teachings, there are only deeper understandings….”
And so on. I listed these ideas to edge of the audience’s boredom. There was a twitch or two at the clumsiness of my expression in this section, but nothing that broke the sense of unity.
That’s my main point. As an Order, we have been given these extraordinary gifts – the products of Bhante’s deep understanding of the Dharma and of the tradition. They are beyond price. And they are the source of our genuine unity.
But then we come to what divides us. Here, my statements were sometimes not adequately informed by a more nuanced understanding of current conversations. I was trying to show that the ways some try to control and unify things actually end up driving us apart.
So –
“The Order was founded by Bhante and he has the exclusive right to define it…”
There was a lot of movement.
“There is no need for Order members to visit other Buddhist teachers. In fact, that is discouraged….”
More movement.
“Friends and Mitras ought not to do insight meditation practices…”
“A picture of Bhante ought always to be on the shrine of a Triratna Centre…”
“Deep spiritual friendships between men and women aren’t possible…”
“You cannot go deeper at a mixed event…”
“Couples ought not to teach together at centres and on retreats…”
And so on.
The room became pretty mobile.
I talked about how it seemed to me that statements like these seemed to be expressive of a kind of anxiety. How, rather than unifying us around a single ideology and methodology, they actually drive us apart.
Now it’s not that all of the statements above were contained in those 7 papers. Possibly none of them were. But versions of some of those statements will have been spoken at seminars with Bhante I’ve attended over the years, they’ve been spoken at dinner tables with him and they are expressive of a more general tendency to want to control that stifles innovation and experiment. When we are asked to cohere unreservedly around Bhante and his teachings, statements like these – and many, many more – are in the mix.
Following the publication of Subhuti’s papers I have had so many conversations with distressed friends who wondered whether those papers really meant that they ought to resign from the Order. Was there any conscious intent at work, I wonder? A feeling that the Order would be better-off without people like me in it?
Like many of us I’ve given hugely to the Order over the years. I’ve invested a great deal of my life in it and I love it. I’ve no plans to leave and I don’t see why I should.
I’m troubled that at this weekend, for the first time, I heard a deeply committed Order member and long-standing friend of mine talking about the desirability of schism. That does seem to be where we stand – on the brink of breaking apart. In his talk Lokeshvara, who I don’t think wants a schism, told us that he’s not afraid of it. I’m not so sanguine. It would, I think, be psychically devastating. It would set in train hundreds of betrayals and leave a wake of unresolved conflict that would echo on and on (and find expression in any number of internet rants and press-releases for ages to come).
Can we avoid it?
I believe that it would help if we can all somehow genuinely allow for the true complexity of Bhante’s character. He has so many good qualities that have informed the culture of the Order. And yet he can sometimes be anxious and controlling. Many of us speak of how kind and empathic they’ve found him to be. And clearly much of that capacity vanished when it came to some of his sexual dealings. Much of what he has said is profound and wise. Some of it has been daft and plainly misogynistic.
In his more recent article on his complex personality, Bhante says that “… personal experience has shown me that it is better to keep one’s sexual relations and one’s spiritual friendships separate.” That may be true, but I wonder if it doesn’t miss the point. What I think has bothered many people much more is the extent to which so many of the stories that are emerging have revealed the way in which Bhante sometimes failed to treat his sexual partners with kindness and sensitivity. How he failed to see their side of things and the impact that he had on them. That apparent lack of kindness and awareness of others has in its turn impacted the respect others have for him.
So yes – Bhante is complex. And it’s not all positive. Can we live with this complexity and ambiguities it throws up?
Can Bhante’s need to contain and control be something we can grow beyond, so that we can be open to other influences and other approaches? Can we be really free to innovate and develop new approaches or must everything be passed through an august committee before we try it?
Can we learn to live with one another’s differences of approach, seeing the underlying unity that binds us together?
Can we allow one another to hold different views on Bhante and still remain one Order? Can we love and hold to those central teachings while taking a more rounded and ambiguous view of the person of the teacher?
I know there are people in the Order, possibly many, who will read this with a twinge of anger and maybe even disgust. How could I, having spoken of all the good things I’ve received from Bhante, speak so disrespectfully of him?
Truly, I mean no disrespect. But I believe we need to hold a more grounded, realistic picture of the man and his legacy. We need to stand in the truth of things or else we topple.
I absolutely don’t insist that my view should be adopted. To anyone who reveres Bhante much more unreservedly, and who has read this far, I put a gentle challenge. I can live with you taking the view of Bhante that you do and I can accept that you and I are both members of this wonderful Order. I don’t need you to abandon your views and attitudes for us to co-exist in the same Order or for that Order to flourish. Can you allow me that same space? If so, we have no problem. If not, I fear there are painful times ahead.
When one of my grand-daughters was four she told us about the baby chicks they had incubated in her class. They were so nice to hold. “But you mustn’t hold them too tight,” she told us, “because then you’ll make them dead.”
It’s the same with the Order. Hold it too tight and you make it dead.
There’s so much that unites us. We share so much. But if we’re going to stay together we need room to breathe.
I think this calls for another approach to leadership in the Order and Triratna.
I don’t know what currently goes on in the College and other bodies. From where I sit the College is strangely mute. I don’t doubt their goodwill, their sincerity or that they’re doing their best to manage the ongoing torrent of crises. But the last defining leadership statements I heard were from Subhuti, speaking somehow as if for Bhante, in tones that were often unhelpful.
If we’re to hold together we need outspoken voices at the top which embrace the whole of the Order and convincingly allow it to be what it is before trying to encourage it any new directions. We need a leadership that accepts us for who we are, rather than trying to prune us into a more amenable shape. That’s not easy as we grow increasingly fractious.
In his talk at the Order weekend Lokeshvara shared a tenet of the Mennonite Church – “Unity in Principle, Freedom in Action”. That’s good. And he quoted Bhante from the Survey – “Though the doctrine is the same for all, the method may be applied in a manner that is peculiar to each.”
More of that kind of voice, less attempt to control, and maybe we can stay united.
What I Didn’t Say in My Talk (But Should Have)
When I outlined my biography, I didn’t talk about my marriage to Dhirangama and how my life has changed since we got married. I said nothing of the family I’m now a part of – my step-daughters, sons-in-law and four wonderful grandchildren. The relationships I have with Dhirangama and the rest of the family bring me a depth, a richness, and a groundedness that I’d not previously found. Dhirangama is a constant source of love and support – and she very ably keeps me from getting over-inflated!
Family life is rich in joy and sorrow. Through mine, I feel a connectedness with the rest of humanity that was sometimes lacking when I gazed at the world from the ivory tower of my elevated position in the Triratna mandala.
Dhirangama was present at the talk and not acknowledging her or our family as part of my biography was weird and insensitive of me. I deeply regret it. After all, it’s a large part of my current existence.
Around the time Dhirangama and I got married in 2007, several other Order members were coming to the end of their willingness to maintain ‘semi-detached’ relationships. Many of us were beginning to feel the need to make our commitment to our partners publicly manifest. There was a merry flurry of marriages.
Speaking personally, I have loved Dhirangama deeply all the time we’ve been together and it seemed to me to call for an element of hypocrisy on my part to treat our relationship as if it could somehow be relegated to a ‘periphery’. But I know that for several of my friends in the College and at Madhyamaloka, our marriage felt like a betrayal. There were a few stark absences from our wedding.
After the talk a good friend of mine came up to me and pointed out to me how much I had myself participated in the culture of sometimes harsh certainty that prevailed in the Order and amongst its leaders for much of the time I was at Madhyamaloka. I immediately saw that was true. In fact I’ve uncomfortably known it for some time and I regret it. I was very much signed-up to the prevailing ideology for most of that time and looking back, I see that I wasn’t always kind in the way I tried at times to get others to toe the Triratna line. If any reader of this was harmed in any way by the stands I sometimes took and by the way I sometimes spoke, I am truly sorry and ask for their forgiveness.
If you’ve read this far, thank you for bearing with me. I’ve said a lot – maybe used too many words. But I’ve been away for a while and I begin to feel that it may just be possible to come back. I’m still a little hesitant. My work is rewarding in so many ways and makes so many demands on my time. That work still feels like a good way to be fulfilling the dream of helping to change the world for the better which brought me into the Order in the first place. But maybe there’s now more overtly space for people like me in the Triratna Mandala. I hope so.
(I am happy for this article to be read by anyone)


The above was just a quote I liked. There's an opposite one about how good action pile up as well.

On page 120 of the hardback edition, Goldstein writes, "As the different traditions are now meeting in the West, is it possible to to hold the various perspectives--bodhisattva versus arhant--without creating an irresolvable sectarian conflict of views"

Page 130, "Rather than solidifying and then polarizing these two approaches to bodhicitta, as happens with sectarian attachments, we can see them as two sides of the same principle, helping to balance out the dangers that may arise from each one by itself." 

It was, I suppose, a matter of time, before these were treated as a sort of perfection of wisdom koan. So there is no resolution, except to say there is something beyond that both sides can inform, and you are clinging to sectarian views to see a contradiction. I have felt that way at times, that there was something beyond what someone saw as an apparent contradiction and to seek those out was to try and find a way to not go deeper, and to dismiss. I feel that way many times about carnist arguments.

I also remember Sayadaw U Pandita saying two people are on a road in the fog. I tell one to go left and I tell the other to go right. Both move towards the center of the road, but they see my instructions as contradictory.

When I worked with special education students at job sites, I would often realize that students didn't have a concept or a principle that lead to poor judgment. 

Even more close to home, I have been given a "dope slap", and been told to get a lobotomy, when I didn't see some higher principle, by my so-called friend and preceptor. I took umbrage at the time, and it's given me a lot to meditate about. I spent a retreat just watching my brain get angry at something he said, for 2-3 days. I worked to get back to the object of meditation when in the shrine room, but out on walks by myself I indulged the thoughts. Nobody is perfect. Sometimes finding out how people hit at you mentally in weird ways isn't easy at times. Usually further talk can resolve the issue. I think this is why friendship is so important in the spiritual life. Some people just don't know how to be friends with you. Sometimes I don't know how to be a good friend, and that has kept me isolated, which I don't mind because I'm an introvert. True friendship is deep and doesn't easily get off the tracks. You can't get rid of true friends, even if they tell you the hard things you need to hear. Sometimes also you have to give up on a friendship attempt because there's just too much to overcome, and it would almost be like you were a door mat to remain in the relationship. Or so people tell me.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The biggest thing you can do to help the envirnment

Just watched Cowspiracy and What The Health. (Both on Netflix in the USA by the way.)

Now I've said I have 3 reasons to be vegan: Ethical, Spiritual, health and Environmental. I actually list environmental last, but these two movies really make the case that if you really love the environment and yourself, then you should be a vegan.

Kip Anderson dramatizes how eating meat leads to the most pollution and destruction of the environment, more than transportation by far, more than anything by far. All the envirnmental organizations don't mention that because their bread is buttered by big business that is invested in carnism. Then he demonstrates that health organizations don't mention how deadly meat is, even though they claim to be to help diabetes or cancers...

I think first about the ethical precept to not lie. They lie like tobacco companies did. They suggest you eat meat, which helps you to get diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease. The best way to cure these things is to eat a vegan diet. There's really no logical reason to eat meat. Or consume meat products, which health wise are just as bad. That is what changed me from vegetarian to vegan. The health factor is so much better for the vegan diet.

My doctor always tells me her macrobiotic friend still got cancer. So what? It's not a one to one correspondence, but it is a factor. But it gives you so much more energy to eat vegan.

Go watch these two movies and talk to me.

My friend thought What The Health over stated their point, which undermines the point, by having a woman who needed hip replacement to be walking around. She still needs hip replacement. But her energy level and whatnot still improved greatly.

People focus on transpiration or whatnot. That's nothing compared to being vegan. The meat industry, the dairy industry is creating all the environmental problems. Go watch these two documentaries. They have a similar format and form, same director.

One Dharma

I was wondering if One Dharma would resolve the arhant v. bodhisattva debate, which of course I realized is no problem. The Buddha was in 2 sanghas and had an independent group of 5 that he lead, in which he practiced and lead before he was enlightened. When he was enlightened he taught the first 60 arhants, and told them to disperse, no two going in the same direction. So you can be in a sangha and even lead a little group, even if you're not enlightened, but once you get more experience of enlightenment, you need to pass on what you have learned. I suppose it's a question of when. The Bodhisattva ideal says start before you are enlightened, and the arhant says just go for your own enlightenment. If that's selfish, I guess we could use more of that kind of selfishness in our world.

The next question I have is if mappo presents a problem for one dharma. Mappo is the idea that we have degenerated so much, that nobody can get enlightened any more, so you have to chant a mantra and hope to be born in a pure land. Goldsetin says it's an error to thin nobody is enlightened, or that you can't become enlightened. So how does he resolve the motivation for pure land Buddhism. Is it not Buddhism, or are there more than one Buddha Dharma.

There were interesting notes about his practice. Even though he was taught in the Vapassana tradition at the beginning ( Anagarika Sri Munindra,[12] Sri S.N. Goenka,[12] Mrs. Nani Bala Barua (Dipa Ma) and the Venerable Sayadaw U Pandita.[12] Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche,[12] Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche), he does Tibettan meditation to start his morning. He touts the Bodhisattva Ideal. Lets see where he goes with Pure Land, which I think is part of the one dharma. Put another way, Goldstein sees all the traditions as contributing to one dharma (so far, p 118).

Friday, September 08, 2017

One Dharma

 I started One Dharma today. The book came out when I was just getting into Buddhism, but I'm just getting to it now. It's one of the books in the Queens Library, which I love, so I got it as a library book. I'm going to read about the 4 reflections when I wake up tomorrow.

(I note there is a "one dharma" retreat at Buddhist Insight retreat center which will be lead by a Tendai leader. This is Japanese Tendai, not Chinese Tendai.)

It's an old idea, there is only one dharma. So how do you account for all the different traditions and different practices? So far the execution of the book has been OK.

In other news, Mastering the Addicted Brain is by a Thai-American who writes about the importance of meditation. It's very concise, practical and comprehensive. An ideal book for someone new to recovery, and anyone who wants to brush up on recovery principles and ways.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar, and the Rohingya

I've found a few links to explain, from a perspective of course, what is going on in Myanmar. I am not sure how accurate these things are but they help uncloud the sentiment "how can a nobel peace prize winner not speak out."

I almost hesitate because I know so little. Mostly I just see the article in the Times. Wikipedia focuses on the persecution. If there has been a systematic Muslim plot of aggression, then it seems less one sided. If there is a reason to "fight back", as I'm sure there is, then there must be more to understand. I honestly don't know how accurate these posts are, except the last one the Washington Post is a reputable newspaper, so that one I would stand by their accuracy more.

I will note that Nalanda, the great Buddhist university of ancient times was burned by a king who was Muslim. An expansionist group who picks on peace loving people isn't cool. Think about how terrible the settlers of America were to the peaceful Native American tribes. I wish aliens came down and found them before Columbus, and worked with them. There's a funny bit in Futurama where the centaurs are peaceful, and when someone starts to take over their land, they remember that they won't fight. Absolute pacifism does not seem tenable. Fighting Hitler was a justified war if there ever was one. Not that America carried it out the most gracefully or generously. My first wife roared once that GB was still paying off what they borrowed. I don't know if that's true or not, but she was a history student.

Anyway, information or not, I post these so I can read them through, they look interesting.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Just do it

Every once in a while I get the "shut up and meditate" feeling about my blog. My blog is an attempt for me to process thoughts and explore culture, ask questions. In the end of the day, as fun as Buddhist culture is, I could just meditate.