Friday, 15 November 2013

The universe is made up of experiences that are designed to burn out your attachment, your clinging, to pleasure, to pain, to fear, to all of it. And as long as there is a place where you’re vulnerable, the universe will find a way to confront you with it.
Ram Dass

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Guided Meditation with Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday, 2 November 2013

TRUE HEALING: Being Present with A Loved One's Suffering - Jeff Foster

Monday, 16 September 2013

More pictures of the mindfulness retreat at 'Entering the Stream' September 13th to 15th 2013

Be Still and Know - Mindfulness Retreat

Pictures from the the mindfulness retreat in the Plum Village tradition lead by brother Chan Phap Kham & brother Chan Phap Dung (from AIAB, Hong Kong) & the sisters from Nhap Luu Monastery. Entering The Stream Monastery is a Meditation Practice Centre following in the path of the Buddha with our teacher Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. The nuns made us very welcome. There was walking meditation, sitting meditation, Dharma talks, stick exercises, beautiful food, the sounds of the bush, chanting, singing, big fires, icy mornings, friendly smiles, kangaroos and new and old friends.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Buddha's Teachings


The following words of wisdom come from the teachings of the Buddha and those meditation masters who have followed the Buddha’s path of happiness. The simple verses on this page explore the themes of individual awareness and kindness, wise relationships, and the interconnection of all beings. At their heart they simply remind us that we too can live with the wakefulness and compassion of a Buddha.
May these words and practices bring you inspiration, wisdom, and delight.
Live every act fully, as if it were your last.
Love in the past is only a memory. Love in the future is a fantasy. Only here and now can we truly love.
Most of the sorrows of the earth humans cause for themselves.
Even loss and betrayal can bring us awakening.
Words have the power to destroy or heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.
Every wakeful step, every mindful act is the direct path to awakening. Wherever you go, there you are.
Our own worst enemy cannot harm us as much as our unwise thoughts. No one can help us as much as our own compassionate thoughts.
In one’s family, respect and listening are the source of harmony.
To give your cow or sheep a large, spacious meadow is the best way to control him.
To open our own heart like a Buddha, we must embrace the ten thousand joys and the ten thousand sorrows.
The heart is like a garden. It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?
True freedom comes when we follow our Buddha nature, the natural goodness of our heart.
Do not blindly believe what others say, even the Buddha. See for yourself what brings contentment, clarity, and peace. That is the path for you to follow.
Wherever you live is your temple if you treat it like one.
Though we often live unconsciously, “on automatic pilot”, every one of us can learn to be awake. It just takes practice.
The mind contains all possibilities.
If you can’t find the truth right where you are, where else do you think you will find it?
Life is as fleeting as a rainbow, a flash of lightning, a star at dawn. Knowing this, how can you quarrel?
Hatred never ceases by hatred; by love alone is it healed. This is the ancient and eternal law.
Victory creates hatred, defeat creates suffering. Those who are wise strive for neither victory nor defeat.
Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.
Weigh the true advantages of forgiveness and resentment to the heart. Then choose.
In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.
Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.
We are not independent but interdependent.
Spiritual life should include a great measure of common sense.
We can be spacious, yet full of loving kindness; full of compassion, yet serene. Live like the strings of a fine instrument - not too taut and not too loose.
If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.
Good-humoured patience is necessary with mischievous children and your own mind.
Life is so hard, how can we be anything but kind.
Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.
Everything in moderation, including moderation.
There is only one time when it is essential to awaken. That time is now.
Through our senses the world appears. Through our reactions we create delusions. Without reactions the world becomes clear.
It is not our preferences that cause problems but our attachment to them.
Joy comes not through possession or ownership but through a wise and loving heart.
The more fully we give our energy, the more it returns to us.
Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.
The trouble is that you think you have time.
Blessings come from care, troubles from carelessness.
If you do not care for each other, who will care for you?
Avoid the company of deluded people when you can. When you cannot, keep your own counsel.
When leading, be generous with the community, honourable in action, sincere in your words. As for the rest, do not be concerned.
In business, reinvest a portion of all you make, keep a portion for your use, save a portion for those in need.
Whatever we cultivate in times of ease, we gather as strength for times of change.
Learn to respond, not react.
No matter how difficult the past, you can always begin again today.
Our body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.
When you eat, eat slowly and listen to your body. Let your stomach tell you when to stop, not your eyes or your tongue.
An upright posture and a few relaxed breaths can make a great difference.
We do not need more knowledge but more wisdom. Wisdom comes from our own attention.
There are no holy places and no holy people, only holy moments, only moments of wisdom.
When asked, “Are you a god or a man?” the Buddha replied, “I am awake”.
Whoever sees the truth sees the Buddha.
Desire blinds us, like the pickpocket who sees only the saint’s pockets.
Not getting what you desire and getting what you desire can both be disappointing.
When wishes are few, the heart is happy. When desire ends, there is peace.
That which is timeless is found now.
As you travel through life, offer good wishes to each being you meet.
Just as driving on the right side of the road gives us the freedom to go anywhere, so accepting the natural law of constant change is our route to freedom.
Whatever path of action you find that brings good and happiness to all, follow this way like the moon in the path of the stars.
In wisdom be a lamp, a light unto yourself.
Karma can change life like the swish of a horse’s tail.
Inner freedom is not guided by our efforts; it comes from seeing what is true.
When you walk, just walk, when you eat, just eat.
Don’t keep searching for the truth, just let go of your opinions.
To meditate is to listen with a receptive heart.
Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well.
Stay centred, do not overstretch. Extend from your centre, return to your centre.
Take time every day to sit quietly and listen.
If you know about the power of a generous heart, you will not let a single meal pass without giving to others.
Like the mother of the world, touch each being as your beloved child.
Harm no other beings. They are just your brothers and sisters.
Learn to let go. That is the key to happiness.
Joy and openness come from our own contented heart.
To awaken, sit calmly, letting each breath clear your mind and open your heart.
Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.
In life we cannot avoid change, we cannot avoid loss. Freedom and happiness are found in the flexibility and ease with which we move through change.
Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.
As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life.
To know the way and not practice is to be a soup ladle in the pot and not taste the flavour of the soup.
Treat others with justice and respect. In the long run, how you treat others will be how they treat you.
Imagine that every person in the world is enlightened but you. They are all your teachers, each doing just the right things to help you learn perfect patience, perfect wisdom, perfect compassion.
All things are like a river. We never enter the same river twice.
In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you learn to let go?
Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind. To be happy, rest like a great tree in the midst of them all.
The only way to bring peace to the earth is to learn to make our own life peaceful.
Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.
Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds.
No one outside ourselves can rule us inwardly. When we know this, we become free.
Fear is always an anticipation of what has not yet come. Our fear and separation are great, but the truth of our connection is greater still.
There is the path of fear and the path of love. Which will we follow?
Every life has a measure of sorrow. Sometimes it is this that awakens us.
Strength and justice are the products of a steady heart.
Calm and compassion are so precious. Make sure not to lose them through intoxication.
Forgiveness is primarily for our own sake, so that we no longer carry the burden of resentment. But to forgive does not mean we will allow injustice again.
We inter-breathe with the rain forests, we drink from the oceans. They are part of our own body.
Roses become compost; compost feeds the garden for the growth of new roses.
We do not possess our home, our children, or even our own body. They are only given to us for a short while to treat with care and respect.
Even our anger can be held with a heart of kindness.
In conflict there is another way. Imagine that you were the Buddha; how would you solve it? (P.S. Who else could the Buddha be?)
What has been long neglected cannot be restored immediately. Fruit falls from the tree when it is ripe. The way cannot be forced.
Do not seek perfection in a changing world. Instead, perfect your love.
Simplicity brings more happiness than complexity.
The greatest protection is a loving heart. Protecting yourself, you protect others. Protecting others, you protect yourself.
Generosity brings joy; honesty brings peace.
Do not judge yourself harshly. Without mercy for ourselves we cannot love the world.
A day spent judging another is a painful day. A day spent judging yourself is a painful day. You don’t have to believe your judgements; they’re simply an old habit.
In times of difficulty take refuge in compassion and truth.
As rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, let your heart be untroubled by judgements and let your kindness rain on all.
At the bottom of things, most people want to be understood and appreciated.
If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.
There is no fire greater than greed and hatred.
Life lives on life. We all eat and are eaten. When we forget this, we cry; when we remember this, we can nourish one another.
If you are poor, live wisely. If you have riches, live wisely. It is not your station in life but your heart that brings blessings.
Karma means you don’t get away with anything.
When you meditate, sit with the dignity of a king or queen; when you move through your day, remain centred in this dignity.
Let your mind become clear like a still forest pool.
If you let cloudy water settle, it will become clear. If you let your upset mind settle, your course will also become clear.
If you take care of each moment, you will take care of all time.
Some days we feel like strangers. When our heart opens, we will realise that we belong just here.
Things to do today: Exhale, inhale, exhale. Ahhhh.
If you wish to know the divine, feel the wind on your face and the warm sun on your hand.
Those who are awake live in a state of constant amazement.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Magdalene- The Seven Devils , by Marie Howe


by Marie Howe
“Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven devils had been cast out” —Luke 8:2.
The first was that I was very busy.
The second — I was different from you: whatever happened to you could not happen to me, not like that.
The third — I worried.
The fourth – envy, disguised as compassion.
The fifth was that I refused to consider the quality of life of the aphid,
The aphid disgusted me. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
The mosquito too – its face. And the ant – its bifurcated body.
Ok the first was that I was so busy.
The second that I might make the wrong choice,
because I had decided to take that plane that day,
that flight, before noon, so as to arrive early
and, I shouldn’t have wanted that.
The third was that if I walked past the certain place on the street
the house would blow up.
The fourth was that I was made of guts and blood with a thin layer of skin
lightly thrown over the whole thing.
The fifth was that the dead seemed more alive to me than the living
The sixth — if I touched my right arm I had to touch my left arm, and if I touched the left arm a little harder than I’d first touched the right then I had to retouch the left and then touch the right again so it would be even.
The seventh — I knew I was breathing the expelled breath of everything that was alive and I couldn’t stand it,
I wanted a sieve, a mask, a, I hate this word – cheesecloth –
to breath through that would trap it — whatever was inside everyone else that
entered me when I breathed in
No. That was the first one.
The second was that I was so busy. I had no time. How had this happened? How had our lives gotten like this?
The third was that I couldn’t eat food if I really saw it – distinct, separate from me in a bowl or on a plate.
Ok. The first was that I could never get to the end of the list.
The second was that the laundry was never finally done.
The third was that no one knew me, although they thought they did.
And that if people thought of me as little as I thought of them then what was
Someone using you as a co-ordinate to situate himself on earth.
The fourth was I didn’t belong to anyone. I wouldn’t allow myself to belong
to anyone.
Historians would assume my sin was sexual.
The fifth was that I knew none of us could ever know what we didn’t know.
The sixth was that I projected onto others what I myself was feeling.
The seventh was the way my mother looked when she was dying.
The sound she made — the gurgling sound — so loud we had to speak louder to hear each other over it.
And that I couldn’t stop hearing it–years later –
grocery shopping, crossing the street –
No, not the sound – it was her body’s hunger
finally evident.–what our mother had hidden all her life.
For months I dreamt of knucklebones and roots,
the slabs of sidewalk pushed up like crooked teeth by what grew underneath.
The underneath —that was the first devil. It was always with me.
And that I didn’t think you— if I told you – would understand any of this -
* Published in the July/August 2011 issue 

of t

Poem by Marie Howe - "Prayer"

by Marie Howe
Every day I want to speak with you.  And every day something more important
calls for my attention- the drugstore, the beauty products, the luggage
I need to buy for the trip.
Even now I can hardly sit here
among the falling piles of paper and clothing, the garbage truck outside
already screeching and banging.
The mystics say you are as close as my own breath.
Why do I flee from you?
My days and nights pour through me like complaints
and become a story I forgot to tell.
Help me.  Even as I write these words I am planning
to rise from the chair as soon as I finish this sentence.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Everything is Changing.

                                 Coastline at The Crags in Western Victoria near Port Fairy.

The rocks are in a state of flux. 
Worn away by years of wind and water. 
Solid rock is blowing away like dust and sand.
Waves are forming and fading back into the vast ocean.
Your breath and my breath - in and out.
In and out.
Claimed and lost.

One of the most rugged and wild sections of Victoria's coastline can be viewed at The Crags, just 12 kilometres west of Port Fairy - a great daytrip and a perfect ending to a tour of the coastal sights of the Great Ocean Road.
The calcarenite cliffs, formed thousands of years ago as water "percolated" between shell fragments, fossils and sand, offer spectacular views of the coastline between Yambuk and Port Fairy and the volcanic Lady Julia Percy (Deen Maar) Island which sits 19km off the coast.
A visit to The Crags will give you a good understanding of why this area is named The Shipwreck Coast, with menacing rock formations jutting from the seabed.  Spectacular at any time of the year, during winter months stormy weather and black skys add even more drama to this wild shoreline. In warmer months it's a great spot to relax and view sea birds sweeping along the cliffs.
The area is an important archaeological site with indigenous cultural sites listed on the National Estate. It is part of the traditional homelands of the indigenous Peek Wurrung speakers and has spiritual connections with Deen Maar. Over many thousands of years the coastal reserve was used as a place of gathering, ceremony and feasting for indigenous people.
The Crags is a wild and scenic section of our coast, with panoramic views. Lady Julia Percy Island is home to more than 4000 seals, fairy penguins, birds of prey and has the largest Australian rookeries of fairy prions and driving petrels. Many of the bird species can be viewed from The Crags as they move across the ocean in search of feeding grounds.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Just for now.

Just for now....

Just for now

without asking how, 
let yourself sink into stillness. 
Just for now, 
lay down the weight you so patiently bear upon your shoulders.
Feel the earth receive you, and the infinite expanse of the sky grow even wider as your awareness reaches up to meet it. 
Just for now, 
allow the wave of breath to enliven your experience
Breathe out whatever blocks you from the truth. 
Just for now, 
Be boundless, free, with awakened energy tingling in your hands and feet. 
Drink in the possibility of being who and what you really are-
so fully alive that the world looks different, newly born and vibrant
Just for now...
---- (Dana Faulds)

These Few Words.

Pines at the old reservoir walking track at Langi Ghiran near Ararat , Victoria.

These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now.
David Whyte

Wonderful poem by Naomi Shihab Nye

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Art Of Disappearing (Naomi Shihab Nye)

The Art Of Disappearing (Naomi Shihab Nye)

When they say Don’t I know you?

say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.

Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say we should get together.
say why?

It’s not that you don’t love them any more.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead Part 1: A Way of Life (Narration by Leonard...

Tibetan Book of The Dead - The Great Liberation