by Dainan Katagiri Roshi
The Triple Treasure in Buddhism, “I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the Dharma, I take refuge in the Sangha,” is the foundation of the precepts. The precepts in Buddhism are not a moral code that someone or something outside ourselves demands that we follow. The precepts are the buddha-nature, the spirit of the universe. To receive the precepts is to transmit something significant beyond the understanding of our senses, such as the spirit of the universe or what we call buddha-nature. What we have awakened to, deeply, through our body and mind, is transmitted from generation to generation, beyond our control. Having experienced this awakening, we can appreciate how sublime human life is. Whether we know it or not, or whether we like it or not, the spirit of the universe is transmitted. So we all can learn what the real spirit of a human being is. Read more
by John Landretti
I have gone into the waste lonely places
Behind the eye; the lost acres at the edge of smoky cities.
I live in an old neighborhood near a small downtown, just beyond the reach of the last parking meters. Any of the houses here would look stately and haunted perched on a hill somewhere, but as it is they’re all serried together down the long city blocks: most gables and bay windows look out on the bay windows and gables of one’s immediate neighbor. I’ve given up a country view for convenience; the university where I work is just a half-mile away—and five hundred feet up—at rest on a stack of sea bottoms some 350 million years old. Read more
by Barbara Kingsolver
On a cool October day in the oak-forested hills of Lorena Province in Iran, a lost child was saved in an inconceivable way. The news of it came to me as a parable that I keep turning over in my mind, a message from some gentler universe than this one. I carry it like a treasure map while I look for the place where I’ll understand its meaning. Read more
by Shohaku Okumura
Verse on the Kesa
Great robe of liberation.
Virtuous field far beyond form and emptiness.
Wearing the Tathagata’s teaching
I vow to save all beings.
When Dogen Zenji went to China and began to practice at Tiangtong monastery in 1223, he found that in the sodo (monks’ hall), the monks rested their folded okesas (the formal term for the kesa, or monk’s robe) atop their heads with veneration and chanted this verse after early morning zazen each day. Read more
by Kathleen Norris
I find it sad to consider that belief has become a scary word, because at its Greek root, “to believe” simply means “to give one’s heart to.” Thus, if we can determine what it is we give our heart to, then we will know what it is we believe.
But the word “belief” has been impoverished; it has come to mean a head-over-heart intellectual assent. When people ask, “What do you believe?” they are usually asking, “What do you think?” I have come to see that my education, even my religious education, left me with a faulty and inadequate sense of religious belief as a kind of suspension of the intellect. Religion, as I came to understand it, was a primitive relic that could not stand up to the advances made in our understanding of human psychological development or the inquiry of higher mathematics and the modern sciences. Read more
Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche
This precious human life is an opportunity to enter the gateway of liberation. Entering the gateway refers particularly to taking refuge in the Three Jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Through the gateway of refuge, we enter into the vastness and profundity of the Buddhist teachings. Taking refuge is the most profound commitment to arise from intrinsic mind: it is the commitment to realize absolute truth. The fruition of enlightenment is based on this commitment. Because of it, we are able to maintain awareness of body, speech, and mind and to generate a genuine ability to benefit sentient beings. Read more
Translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery. Now at that time Ven. Sariputta was staying among the Magadhans in Nalaka village—diseased, in pain, severely ill. Cunda the novice was his attendant. Then, because of that illness, Ven. Sariputta attained total Unbinding.
So Cunda the novice, taking Ven. Sariputta’s bowl and robes, went to Ven. Ananda in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery, near Savatthi, and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to Ven. Ananda: “Venerable sir, Ven. Sariputta has attained total Unbinding. Here are his bowl and robes.” Read more