Wednesday, May 31, 2006

life & death

"Attentiveness is the path to true life;
Indifference is the path to death.
The attentive do not die;
The indifferent are as if they are dead already."


Thursday, May 25, 2006

the learning miles

"In my own experience, the period of greatest gain in knowledge and experience is the most difficult period in one's life. ... Through a difficult period, you can learn, you can develop inner strength, determination, and courage to face the problem. Who gives you this chance? Your enemy."

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

float away

"Imagine yourself as a child lying on your back, gazing up into a cloudless sky, and blowing soap bubbles through a plastic ring. As a bubble drifts up into the sky, you watch it rise, and this brings your attention to the sky. While you are looking at the bubble, it pops, and you keep your attention right where the bubble had been. Your awareness now lies in empty space."

-B. Alan Wallace, "Tibetan Buddhism From the Ground Up"

Friday, May 19, 2006

self is a mistake

"When a lute is played, there is no previous store of playing that it comes from. When the music stops, it does not go anywhere else. It came into existence by way of the structure of the lute and the playing of the performer. When the playing ceases, the music goes out of existence.

"In the same way all the components of being, both material and nonmaterial, come into existence, play their part, and pass away.

"That which we call a person is the bringing together of components and their actions with each other. It is impossible to find a permanent self there. And yet there is a paradox. For there is a path to follow and there is walking to be done, and yet there is no walker. There are actions but there is no actor. The air moves but there is no wind. The idea of a specific self is a mistake. Existence is clarity and emptiness."

-Visuddhi Magga

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

empty by nature

"Even a strong wind is empty by nature.
Even a great wave is just ocean itself.
Even thick southern clouds are insubstantial as sky.
Even the dense mind is naturally birthless."

-Milarepa, 'Drinking The Fountain Stream'

voice of conscience

"Three years into the war against Iraq, the silence of the clergy is deafening, despite U.S. abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and a reported American policy of shipping detainees to secret prisons abroad where, presumably, they can be tortured.

... [T]he clergy seems to be in the same boat as the news media and most members of Congress: they are victims of the post-Sept. 11 syndrome that equates any criticism of U.S. policy with lack of patriotism."

-- Helen Thomas, "Where are the Leaders of Faith?", May 4, 2006, as reposted on

Monday, May 15, 2006

a quiet man dressed in black

I spent a weekend thinking about my friend James White, a handsome, intelligent but painfully shy programmer I worked with who killed himself four years ago. Thanks to the most wondrous writing I've read in a while, another friend, Rosemary Winters, helped me understand better why his death has been so hard to put away.

I don't mean to seem glib, but for some reason I also had these lyrics from DM rolling through my head:

"So why would you care
To get out of this place
You and me and all our friends
Such a happy human race."