The Lake Under The Moon – Metta Teachings

Winter is behind us now. This brings a feeling of light, hope and openness. We can look out of the window at trees and see them forming leaves. Golden Daffodils adorn our gardens once more. The snowdrops and crocuses are also bountiful. This year more than most! I like to think it is not only a new beginning but  also a time to ponder on what lies ahead. Although in the quiet moments  of a Spring day, reflection on what has past is often more on our minds.  Dare we expect more from this new year than the last?  In the old Pali dialect, the language of the Buddha (upanijjhāna),  “reflection” has the self-same meaning that it does in English—it means to be like a mirror or the surface of a deep pond, to receive an impression and hold it without adding anything else. It also means to contemplate or consciously consider. To listen to the inner voice of reason.

Years ago, at Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, New York, Bhikkhu Bodhi spoke of this, and of the Buddha’s advice to his 7-year-old son Rahula. The Buddha told his son about the importance of honesty, telling young Rahula to practice reflection—to reflect on the inner and outer consequences before, during, and after doing something. Please consider trying this. The results are subtle but quite amazing. Consider how you feel before you perform an act of generosity, during, and after. Also consider how it feels to do something less than noble or not do something. Let’s say, not to eat or drink too much or be angry or stingy, to un-grasp the hand of lifelong habits. What is amazing is that this type of practice of reflecting on the quality and consequence of our lives is a way to expand time by opening and deepening and enriching the time we have to spare.

In meditation or just being  alone with our thoughts , we allow ourselves to reflect on something that has already happened. We can allow a memory or experience to arise within us, and like the surface of a deep pond, reflecting the moon without fighting it or fleeing from it or freezing it or adding anything at all. Remember that the ancient root of the word, “understand” means to stand under, to allow the truth of something to soak in. It also suggests holding and supporting, standing under our own experience, receiving it. Think of the lake under the moon.

Crocuses in the garden

Re-written from an article published in Parabola magazine.

Might be a good idea to subscribe. They need supporting.

“Letting Go” For Happiness – Inspirational Quotations

Thanks to Val Boyko for the youtube.


Alan Watt’s videos are a great source of wisdom. This short one is no exception. He speaks here about attachment, and how we humans hang on to things. We grasp at fleeting happiness that, like a butterfly, flits in and out of our lives leaving only memories. Neither things nor people make us really happy. We need to learn happiness from those who are masters in that department. Anandamayi Ma was a master of happiness or what she called bliss.

In the book The Essential Sri Anandamayi Ma, the author, Alexander Lipski has given many wonderful accounts of her mastery and her teachings on non-attachment. Anyone who was fortunate enough to meet Anandamayi Ma – and there are many fortunate ones still living – knows that something of her teaching is in her very person. She was the living embodiment of  “A Blessing”, a gift to mankind. I wish there were more like her alive today, but it seems as the darkness of the age has drenched us with uncertainty and fear, so the great masters have retreated from our world. We are left with their words and  timeless wisdom, in those we need to find solace in this age of  Kali.


Ananadamayi Ma
Ananadamayi Ma

From Selected Discourses – Anandamayi Ma..


Question:  “Please explain the nature of worldly and divine happiness.”

Mataji: “Divine happiness is pure, unalloyed bliss, happiness in its own right.”

Question:  “But surely, there is happiness in the world too!”

Mataji: “Then why do you make this remark?”

Question: “Why do people run after material happiness?”


“You know this happiness from experience, and hence your question. But the Divine is gracious and makes you see that this so-called happiness is not happiness. He kindles discontent and anguish in you, which is due to the want of communion with the Divine. Worldly happiness is derived from the countless manifestations of God. People talk and marvel about those who renounce the world, but in actual fact it is you yourself who have renounced everything. What is this “everything”? God! Leaving Him aside, everyone is literally practicing supreme renunciation. It is only natural that the sence of want should awaken. Even in the midst of comforts and pleasures one feels homesick in a foreign land. There is distress even in happiness, one’s possession are not really one’s own – this is what He causes man to feel. It is said, it is not, that on being hit one recovers one’s senses, one learns by receiving blows.

When He manifests Himself as worldly happiness, one does not feel contented, for along with it He appears as the sense of want. But divine happiness, even the tiniest particle of a grain of it, never leaves one again; and when one attains to the essence of things and finds one Self – this is supreme happiness. When it is found, nothing else remains to be found; the sense of want will not awaken anymore, and the heart’s torment will be stilled forever. Do not be satisfied with fragmentary happiness, which is invariable interrupted by shocks and blows of fate: but become complete, and having attained to perfection, be YOURSELF.”



A Parable:.

A precious necklace was seen flashing from the bottom of a lake. Many felt tempted to recover the valuable ornament and dived deep into the water for it, but found no necklace anywhere. Yet it was clearly visible to everyone from the edge of the lake. They were all puzzled. Eventually they realized that there was no necklace at the bottom of the lake; what they saw was its reflection in the water. They looked up and discovered the precious ornament hanging from a tree. A bird must have picked it up from somewhere and deposited it there.

God who dwells within you is the source of true happiness. In the objects of the senses this happiness is merely reflected. The individual, misled by birth after birth by having only a glimpse of this reflected joy, thinks that this is the real thing, namely sensuous delight. So long as one believes that true happiness can be had in sense objects without searching within, one will never taste true happiness. The kingdom of God, hence of happiness, is within you.

– Anandamayi Ma, the Mother Bliss – Incarnate, by Anil Ganguli

Tantrayana, Short excerpt From Arnaud Desjardins – Religion


Tibetan tantra - yab-yum
Tibetan tantra – yab-yum

Tantrayana or Tantra means  loosely – “Sacred teachings” – (thankas) often written in book form and then handed down to a younger generation for study. Tantra teachings consist of diagrams, images, and symbolism. There is not one iota of pornography in Tibetan tantrism.

My original idea for this post was to use a short excerpt from Arnaud Desjardin’s  “Message Of The Tibetans.”  I see though, it is a deep philosophy and perhaps a clearer explanation in plain and simple English is better used here. I have kept the Desjardin excerpt, in part, because it’s extremely interesting, while  expressing the qualities of  male and female within us all. Also the idea of non-dualism. One without a second. Advaita.  

A very special book on Early Women in Tantra Buddhism.

“The practice of having female companions for meditation is called ” the union of voidness and happiness” or the union of the two polarities (yab-yum). This practice, based on the theory of the Mahavairocana-sutra and the Vajrasekhara-sutra, is a distinctive feature of the Esoteric Buddhism. Sex is strictly forbidden by the Exoteric Buddhism, but it is part of meditation practice in the Esoteric Buddhism. As Vajrasekhara-sutra says, “How pure is man’s mind! It’s only natural that lust should change him. Keeping away from lust will restore purity in him, and keeping away from lust means conquering it with another form of lust.” Sex is thus shrouded in mysticism and given the role of “conquering lust”. It becomes a mean by which the follower of the Esoteric Buddhism can achieve self-purification of his nature. According to the Esoteric Buddhism, “the attraction of lust will draw one into the realm of the wisdom of the Buddha”, that is, by means of carnal love the bodhisattva leads one to liberation. This accounts for the fact that the Esoteric Buddhism treats women as offerings. What “The Collected Works of Buddhism Literature” terms as “love for offerings”: refers to the love for women. This theme is repeated in the Mahavairocana-sutra, which says,”Satisfy the desire for sex so that all beings will be happy.” According to the Esoteric Buddhism, Mahavairocana lives in Heaven like an earthy being- accompanied by the Marici (Queen of Heaven) and surrounded by female attendants. As a result, the rajas (devas and vajras), instructed by Mahavairocana to subdue demons, are in their “wrathful forms” accompanied by devis, their female counterparts.”

Paramasukha Cakrasamvara Yab-Yum Luipa Mandala
Paramasukha Cakrasamvara Yab-Yum Luipa Mandala

Message From The Tibetans

Why all this symbolism of the union of the sexes, what the Tibetans call ‘yab-yam’? Several works associate the Tibetan concept with the Hindu term ‘shakti’. And most certainly, the Hindu images of sexual union, which are equally numerous and equally sacred, represent the union of the God with his ‘shakti’, where the God is considered as passive non-acting and his ‘shakti’ being his power of manifestation, thus active and acting, although feminine.

But the Tibetans never use either the word or the idea of  “shakti” and although the identification of Hindu with Buddhist Tantrism may be justified at a pretty deep level of understanding, this is not the case at the level of outward formulation. For example, in Tibetan Buddhism, contrary to Hinduism, it is the masculine principle which is active and dynamic and the feminine principle which is passive and static. The best use of the word ‘yum’ would be “spouse.” And it is obvious that the purpose of this symbolism is to represent the union of a married couple engaged in the sexual act.

Why choose this? This is the very heart of both Vedantist and Mahayana metaphysics. When Hindus speak of Reality, of Unity (there is no place for  “Two”), they never use the word “Monism” but the term non-dualism, “Advaita” . It is an attempt at the impossible; to describe what is indescribable, supreme reality.

But sages are in agreement that it is non-dualistic. And yet, it is this unity of two, which is symbolized by their statues, murals and paintings/ thankas, representing Tantric divinities in sexual union with their spouses. This non-dualism is the union of prajna with upaya. Prajna, wisdom, infinite consciousness, is feminine, passive, non-manifest. Upaya, activity is masculine, dynamic, manifest. It is compassion, the heart, united to wisdom, the head.

The Tibetans will never speak of Reality as being beyond appearances, of Shunyata beyond Samsara. No, Reality and appearance are one and the same thing. Two sides of one coin. Unity in diversity  IS unity, this is the great experience, or realization, as Tibetans like to describe it.

Another meaning of the sexual symbolism of the Tantras is that in every man and woman there exists a masculine and feminine principle. And often, when the Tantras speak of the union of man and woman, there exists a masculine and feminine principle.

Short excerpt From Arnaud Desjardins – The Message of the Tibetans. Translated from the French.

Parabola Mag. Summer, 2007.

Tan tra  – very detailed history from Tantra Buddhism in the 1960’s.

I See You Mara – Metta Teachings



We can be very hard on ourselves, can’t we? It’s as if, sometimes, we’re watching out for any tiny hint of a mistake, and then we pounce on ourselves, getting angry, or frustrated, or ashamed. I suspect it’s because we can be. When people are allowed or encouraged to be cruel, they often will be. There’s some inherent cruelty in all of us (to varying extents) and this is kept in check by social norms. Change the social norms so that cruelty is encouraged, and it soon emerges. Here’s the Buddha tells us of another way. We don’t need to be demons to ourselves or others.  We simple need to ask the demons to tea.


I see you Mara, stay for Tea!

“One of my favorite stories of the Buddha shows the power of a wakeful and friendly heart. On the morning of Buddha’s enlightenment Mara, the fearsome demon who symbolizes the shadow-side of human nature, fled in defeat and disarray. In Sanskrit “Mara” means “delusion” – that craving and fear that obscure our enlightened nature.

But it seems that he was only temporarily discouraged. Even after the Buddha had embarked on his teaching career and become a revered figure throughout Indian, Mara continued to make unexpected appearances. Instead of driving him away, however, the Buddha would calmly acknowledge the demon’s presence saying, “I see you, Mara.”He would then invite him for tea and serve him as an honored guest.

Offering Mara a cushion so that he could sit comfortably, the Buddha would fill two earthen cups with tea and place them on a low table between them. Mara would stay for awhile and then go, but throughout, the Buddha remained free and undisturbed.

You see, when Mara visits us in the form of troubling emotions or fearsome stories, we can say, “I see you Mara,” and clearly recognize the craving and fear that persists in each human heart. The objective is to see what is true and to hold what is seen with kindness….

Our habit of being a fair-weather friend to ourselves – of pushing away or ignoring whatever darkness we can – is deeply entrenched…. We truly befriend ourselves when, rather than resisting our experience, we open our hearts and willingly invite Mara to tea.”

From Tara Brach’s, Radical Acceptance

beautiful sharing!!♥!

Precious Treasure – Metta Teachings


Karma means we have had many former lives and many more will follow. Each lifetime could well see us born into an entirely different culture, and if the culture is evolved, then it can serve us by helping us to develop our own evolution to become a free being, rather than dominating us to produce or die for the culture itself. Unfortunately, this dark age goes against the grain, and has mostg of the planet striving for all the wrong ideals. We see ourselves as hopelessly lost in a world that is constantly urging us to worship only money and power.

Human life itself is a precious treasure. The metaphor of the Buddhist sutras is that the human embodiment, especially with all wits intact, and especially in a country where there’s a teaching and the idea that evolutionary liberation is possible, then such a life is the precious jewel of the human embodiment. And the Buddha said, if you lose through suicide your precious human life, endowed with liberty and opportunity, that precious jewel that you have now, it’s like throwing a jewel in the trash.

And, to get it back, to work your way back through generosity, morality, patience, wisdom, meditation, to achieve these virtues and come back to be a human, will be as likely as if the old turtle, (who lives in the great ocean and surfaces once every hundred years,) were to surface and put his neck through the hole in a golden yoke that just happens to be floating in the ocean. So, what a treasure it is to have a human life.


There is the idea that there are treasures everywhere if we had the wisdom to see. There’s the story about the great adept Padma Sambhava in one of his biographies. Someone gave him a bag of gold dust. He took the bag and scattered it to the wind, and the person was really shocked because he had spent a long time collecting this – it was his offering. Then Padma Sambhava snapped his fingers and shared his vision for a moment with that person: they perceived all of the mountains and sky and everything as solid gold, they saw that there was no difference between the earth itself and the gold.

Enlightened vision sees everything as a treasure anyway, and the only thing that makes us not see everything that way is our ignorant self-obsession which makes us feel that the universe is an alien thing, separated from us, that we’re against it and we must conquer it. By this way of thinking, we are fighting a losing battle with the universe. That’s the notion of ignorance in Buddhism. And the ignorance is what makes us unable to find the hidden treasure right in our own cells, right in our own atoms, right in our own brains…

-Robert Thurman

The Buddha of Great Compassion – Metta Teachings

The Bodhisattva of Great Compassion

The Sanskrit name “Avalokiteshvara” means “the lord who looks upon the world with compassion”.

Translated into Chinese, the name is “Kuan Shih Yin”or Quan Yin.

Kuan: observe
Shih: the world / the region of sufferers
Yin: all the sounds of the world, in particular, the crying sounds of beings, verbal or mental, seeking help

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is the embodiment of great compassion. He has vowed to free all sentient beings from suffering.

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is has great powers and can help all sentient beings.

His skilful means are limitless and he can appear in any form in all the six realms of existence to relieve the suffering of the sentient beings who live there. He vowed to rescue those who call on him when they are in suffering, for example, when caught in a fire, shipwrecked or facing an attack.

In the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha said that if a suffering being hears the name of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva and earnestly calls out to the bodhisattva, Avalokiteshvara will hear the call and relieve that being from his suffering.

According to the Huayen Sutra, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva transforms himself into forms that suit the nature of those to be helped. His manifestations or transformation bodies are countless.

e.g. if a boy or girl is about to gain some enlightenment, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva transforms himself into a boy or a girl to teach the child.

e.g. If a monk is about to attain some enlightenment, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva transforms himself into a monk.

In short, he can appear as a monk, a nun, or a normal person like you and me. The purpose of such transformations is to make people feel close to him and willing to listen to his words.


In China, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is represented in female form and is known as Kuan Yin. Probably because of Kuan Yin’s great compassion, a quality which is traditionally considered feminine, most of the bodhisattva’s statues in China since the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618 – 907) have appeared as female figures. In India, however, the bodhisattva is generally represented as a male figure.


In her hands, Kuan Yin may hold a willow branch, a vase with water or occasionally, a lotus flower.

The willow branch is used to heal people’s illnesses or bring fulfillment to their requests.

The water ( the dew of compassion) has the quality of removing suffering, purifying the defilements of our body, speech and mind, and lengthening life.

In Buddhist art, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is sometimes shown with eleven heads, 1000 hands and eyes on the palms of each hand (Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva). The thousand eyes allow the bodhisattva to see the sufferings of sentient beings, and the thousand hands allow her to reach out to help them.

Sometimes, he is represented with one head and 4 arms. This is the Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara, worshipped by all Tibetans as “Chenrezig”, the Holder of the White Lotus. It is in the male form which has two hands in the praying gesture while the other two hands hold his symbols, the Crystal Rosary and the Lotus Flower.

There is a sacred place for the worship of Kuan Yin in China – the Putuo Mountain. It is actually an island located near the city of Ningpo, in Zhejiang Province. There are many stories of Kuan Yin’s miraculous appearances at Putuo Mountain.

Actually, anyone can be like Kuan Yin. You may say that you don’t have a thousand eyes or a thousand arms or that you lack skilful means, but it is your compassion that can transform you into a Kuan Yin. With your eyes and hands, you can help others. With your compassion, you can bring peace and tranquility to this world.


The Mani Mantra (The Mantra of Universal Protection) : OM MANI PADME HUM


would like to add a great big thank you to those people who like – it helps me enormously to know just what you all like and would like to hear more about… thanks ~ 🙂

Why Fear When I Am Here – Metta Teachings

from a very old scanned photo

 One of the most powerful skillful means one can bring to feelings of fear is skillful *attention.* To bring attention, and even curiosity to feelings of fear, can help us break through our aversion to dealing
with what we fear. The key is developing a curious “what is this?” mind, for fear is never what it seems to me on the surface. And if we go all the way to the roots of our fears, we find nothing *intrinsic* about our fears—that is, in Buddhist terms, fear is “not self” and without our self-identification with fear it *can’t* stick to us, or stick around.

So whether we feel our fear is rational, or irrational, the point is to begin to “own” the fear by consciously embracing it in our thought. (Well, if not embracing it; at least taking an *attentive” peek at it.    Maybe even give it a little poke! Take your time. Facing dragons takes courage, for sure!

Just remember that, paradoxically, while fear is, absolutely speaking, “not self,” in terms of the ego and personality, it’s actually *your* fear, *your dragon.* You own *it,* however much it may now seem to own you! And therein is your secret to your power over fear).

So, in the end, it’s our aversion to fear, our avoiding of looking into fear, that gives fear its hypnotic power over us. The more we can
pay mindful attention to fear—which is by the way different than being possessed by fear or obsessed by fear—the more we can begin to
dissolve the tight knot of energy and release what binds us.

Yes, it takes courage, but the if you look deeply, you will find, right in the midst of the fear, the very courage you need to do so. No
one need be a victim of or slave to fear. But as is often the case, the only way out is through. “What is this?” “Is that so?”

piece written by my Buddhist friend, Steven.

To Awaken – Metta teachings

Statues: from the Cave of the Thousand Buddhas, China

Dear friends, never lose sight of the fact that the power to transform, to unbind, to awaken, to heal and be healed lies *within* you.

Books, teachers, wise sayings, spiritual friends, the dharma—are, at their best, simply pointers to the reality of *your* individual goodness, *your* individual power for self-evolution and awakening. The relationship of this precious individual goodness and being to the ultimate, the All, to the divine, to the Whole, to What Is, is for each of us work out and discover for ourselves.

God, Buddha, Christ, spirits, angels, gurus, teachers, cannot do it for us. The secret way to the divine, to liberation, is true self-expression, which is not other than the Universe coming to know itself in each particular one— the One revealed in the Many, and the Many revealed in the One.

My best sense present sense is that we are each of us invaluable, irreplaceable individual aspects of this Great Awakening. The seeming paradox of sensing the “kingdom of heaven within,” the “True Self,” the “Buddha nature,” or whatever one might want to call the ineffable, is that the more one senses one’s own inner light, the more one has the joyous sense of “God with us,” or of the deathless “Buddha nature, of the quickening Christ-spirit—of that which is universal and deathless. We are individual, but we are family; we are the Many, yet we are the One. This kind of poured out tonight, as I was writing, so I thought I’d share it. Of course, as the saying goes, “your mileage may vary! Gasshō to your individual sense of the highest good and the deepest humanity!

~ Steven