Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bhumisparsha Mudrā | Young Urban Zen | Dalai Lama | Science meets Buddhism

Bhumisparsha Mudrā

Bhumisparsha Mudrā | photo of statue, June 23, 2011
high resolution 5 x 7 print quality below
work in progress

Siddhartha resisted every temptation Mara could devise. The lord of desire had one final test. He demanded to know who would testify that Siddhartha was worthy of attaining ultimate wisdom. And his demon army rose up to support him. Siddhartha said nothing. He reached down and touched the ground, and the earth shuddered. Mara’s demons fled.

see also: Bhumisparsha Mudrā update 7/17 -
whats more: Bhumisparsha Mudrā update | Life of Zen

earth touching
This gesture calls upon the earth to witness Shakyamuni Buddha's enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. The right hand reaches toward the ground, palm inward.
A mudrā (Sanskrit: मुद्रा "seal", "mark", or "gesture") is a symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. While some mudrās involve the entire body, most are performed with the hands and fingers. A mudrā is a spiritual gesture and an energetic seal of authenticity employed in the iconography and spiritual practice of Indian religions and traditions of Dharma and Taoism.

TheBuddhaPBS's Channel - THE BUDDHA: Enlightenment, part 2

Jane Hirshfield, poet: "He sat down under a bodhi tree in the shelter of the natural world in all of its beauty and fullness, and he said I will not move from this place until I have solved my problem."

“Let my skin and sinews and bones dry up, together with all the flesh and blood of my body! I welcome it! But I will not move from this spot until I have attained the supreme and final wisdom."

All at once, Mara, lord of desire, rose to challenge him. With an army of demons he attacked. Siddhartha did not move, and their weapons turned into flowers.

D. Max Moerman, scholar: "Mara is the ruler of this realm of desire, this world that we all live in and what he’s afraid Siddhartha is going to do when he attains enlightenment and becomes the Buddha is conquer that world, that is he’s going to do away with desire. He’s going to wreck the whole game."

Mara did not give up. He sent his three daughters to seduce him. Siddhartha remained still.

Mark Epstein, psychiatrist: "When he faces Mara he faces himself and his own destructive capacity. But he’s not the warrior trying to do battle with those qualities. He has discovered his own capacity for equanimity. He has become like the top of the Great Himalayan Mountains; the weather is passing over him, storms are raging around him, and he sits like the top of the mountain impassive, not in a trance state, you know, totally aware of everything. So he frustrates Mara."

TheBuddhaPBS's Channel - THE BUDDHA: Enlightenment, part 3

Siddhartha resisted every temptation Mara could devise. The lord of desire had one final test. He demanded to know who would testify that Siddhartha was worthy of attaining ultimate wisdom. And his demon army rose up to support him. Siddhartha said nothing. He reached down and touched the ground, and the earth shuddered. Mara’s demons fled.

W.S. Merwin, poet: "The Buddha reaches down, and with his finger, touches the earth. He says, 'The earth is my witness.' He said, 'Mara, you are not the earth. The earth is right here beneath my finger,' and the earth is what we're talking about. Accepting the earth, not owning the earth, not possessing the earth, but the earth just as it is, abused and exploited and despised and rejected and, plowed and mined and shat on and everything else, you know. It's still the earth, and it is, we owe everything to it."

Siddhartha meditated throughout the night, and all his former lives passed before him.

Robert Tenzin Thurman, scholar: "He remembered all his previous lives—infinite number of lives—female and male and every other race and every other being in the vast ocean of life forms. And he remembered all that viscerally so that means his awareness expanded until all the moments of the past were completely present to him."

D. Max Moerman, scholar: "He gains the power to see the process of birth, death, and rebirth that all creatures go through. He’s given this sort of cosmic vision of the workings of the entire universe."

As the morning star appeared, he roared like a lion. "My mind," he said, "is at peace." The heavens shook, and the Bodhi tree rained down flowers. He had become the “awakened one”—the Buddha.

Mark Epstein, psychiatrist: "Something new opens up for him which he calls Nirvana, which he calls Awakening."

Jane Hirshfield, poet: "He said, at this moment all beings and I awaken together. So it was not just him. It was all the universe. He touched the earth. 'As earth is my witness. Seeing this morning star, all things and I awaken together.'"

Thurman: "It’s not like entering a new state; it’s uncovering or surrendering to the reality that has always been there. He realized he’d always been in Nirvana that Nirvana was always the case; your reality itself is Nirvana. It’s the unreality; it’s your ignorance that makes you think you’re this self-centered separate being trying to fight off an overwhelming universe and failing. You are that universe."

Epstein: "You’re already enlightened. He’s saying the capacity for enlightenment, that your awake-ness already exists within you."

Hirshfield: "Nirvana is this moment seen directly. There is no where else than here. The only gate is now. The only doorway is your own body and mind. There’s nowhere to go. There’s nothing else to be. There’s no destination. It’s not something to aim for in the afterlife. It’s simply the quality of this moment."

Merwin: "Just this, just this, this room where we are. Pay attention to that. Pay attention to who's there, pay attention to what isn't known there, pay attention to what is known there, pay attention to what everyone is thinking and feeling, what you're doing there, and pay attention. Pay attention."

Young Urban Zen - City Center - San Francisco Zen Center

"Young Urban Zen is a new group under the auspices of the San Francisco Zen Center, with a particular focus on those between 25 and 35. We’ll be meeting Monday nights to meditate together, discuss our experience of Zen practice, and find out what makes it worthwhile for us. The group is built on the notion that, if you’re going to study yourself, then it’s a good idea to engage with other people who are doing the same."

Young Urban Zen Facebook page

Peace Through Inner Peace - His Holiness the Dalai Lama, public talk

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's public talk given at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, on May 8, 2011. Prior to his talk, the University of Minnesota presented an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree to His Holiness. (

YouTube - Peace Through Inner Peace - University of Minnesota
Video courtesy of the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota.

Where science meets Buddhism: emptiness, interconnectivity and the nature of reality

- Buddha Weekly: "'There is a large discrepancy between how we perceive reality and how reality actually exists.' So begins this rather interesting video on the common thread of emptiness, interconnectivity and the nature of reality between Buddhism and Science. Science and Buddhism do often appear to be aligned and non-contradictory, especially given [that] Einstein['s] wrote, in The Human Side, 'If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.'"

Buddha Weekly | Where science meets Buddhism: emptiness, interconnectivity and the nature of reality


Tricycle: What makes Buddhism revolutionary?"

Captain Karma vs. The One-Percenters: An Interview with Noah Levine

"This month at the Tricycle Book Club we are discussing Noah Levine's new book, The Heart of the Revolution. Last week, I was very happy to get an opportunity to sit and talk with Noah...

The Ino's Blog: Study Hall - Shobogenzo
June 13, 2011

"In this way, you let go of yourself for the sake of dharma without knowing how many thousands of times you do so. You seek dharma for the sake of yourself without knowing in how many billions of eons you do so. This is the vital activity of following a teacher. This is the activity of practicing yourself and following yourself...

To speak of dharma and practice for others is to hear dharma, to clarify dharma, and to realize dharma, birth after birth. If you have a sincere heart in speaking of dharma to others in this birth, your attaining dharma is easy. Or, if you assist and support others hearing dharma, your study of dharma receives a wholesome effect. You receive the effect in your body and in your mind...

This being so, if you hear a phrase from someone in a far-eastern region, speak it for another in a far-western region. Endeavor in hearing and speaking equally with a single self. Practice and realize an east self and a west self.

Rejoice, hope for, and have the aspiration for bringing buddha ancestors' dharma, the ancestral way, closer to your body and mind. Extend this practice from one hour to one day, then to one year and to one lifetime. Make buddha ancestors' dharma the essential spirit and play with it. This is to live your life meaningfully".

from 'Self-Realization Samadhi' ('Jisho Zammai') ~ Dōgen Zenji

right-mindfulness & breath-mindfulness

work in progress

high resolution 5 x 7 print quality file | donate
For final versions see: Bhumisparsha Mudrā update | Life of Zen

Satipaṭṭhāna is a way of implementing the right mindfulness (sammā-sati) and, less directly, the right concentration (sammā-samādhi) parts of the Noble Eightfold Path. Satipaṭṭhāna meditation develops the mental factors of vipassana (insight) and samatha (calm). Satipaṭṭhāna is practiced most often in the context of Theravada Buddhism although the principles are also practiced in most traditions of Buddhism which emphasize meditation such as the Sōtō Zen tradition.

Anapanasati Sutta
The Ānāpānasati Sutta (Pāli) or Ānāpānasmṛti Sūtra (Sanskrit), 'Breath-Mindfulness Discourse,' is a discourse that details the Buddha's instruction on using the breath (anapana) as a focus for meditation.

see also

Bhumisparsha Mudrā update | Life of Zen

whats more: Workshop at the Zen Center with Issho Fujita

Master of the Shakuhachi & about Zen & Buddhism

• more buddhist art -

buddha 100407

Dharma Wheel & About Dharma

tara 8790 (more)

Vajrapani 100514

Diamond Sutra

buddha cave

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ram Dass interviews Thicht Nhat Hanh (1995)

YouTube - ‪RamDassChannel's Channel‬‏:

Ram Dass interviews Thicht Nhat Hanh at the State of the World forum, September 1995

Ram Dass is the author of the 1971 bestseller Be Here Now.

His NEW BOOK, Be Love Now, is the third book in a trilogy that began with Be Here Now and was followed by Still Here, Ram Dass's acclaimed work on aging, changing, and dying. In Be Love Now, Ram Dass shares what he has learned in his remarkable four-decade-long spiritual journey. Through timeless teaching stories, compelling and often humorous personal anecdotes, and soul-stirring insights, Ram Dass tracks the stages of his own awakening in his trademark down-to-earth style.

Starting with his days as Harvard psychologist and psychedelic inventurer, continuing through his profound encounters with his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, and moving beyond the reawakening brought on by his near-fatal stroke, Ram Dass shares his life experiences while offering a timeless teaching on love and the path of the heart.
Ram Dass has written 12 other books including Miracle of Love, The Only Dance There Is, and Journey of Awakening.

Teacher, author and spiritual guide, Ram Dass continues to teach us that compassion and love are the true sources of service, along with living in the present moment.

We will be posting videos of Ram Dass discussions and teachings as they become available. For more in depth discovery and to join Ram Dass' growing online community, please go to our website at

" As I no longer travel to teach, I now share my heart in cyberspace. This site gives us the opportunity to meet through live webcasts and personal webchats. We also have a vast archive of my talks from the 60's through present day. I invite you to participate in our online global satsang and connect with like-minded souls through our Be Here Now social community. To me these are amazing new manifestations of our deeper self. Share this dance with us. "

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

One of the best known and most respected Zen masters in the world today, poet, and peace and human rights activist, Thich Nhat Hanh (called Thây by his students) has led an extraordinary life. Born in central Vietnam in 1926 he joined the monkshood at the age of sixteen. The Vietnam War confronted the monasteries with the question of whether to adhere to the contemplative life and remain meditating in the monasteries, or to help the villagers suffering under bombings and other devastation of the war. Nhat Hanh was one of those who chose to do both, helping to found the 'engaged Buddhism' movement. His life has since been dedicated to the work of inner transformation for the benefit of individuals and society.

In Saigon in the early 60s, Thich Nhat Hanh founded the School of Youth Social Service, a grass-roots relief organization that rebuilt bombed villages, set up schools and medical centers, resettled homeless families, and organized agricultural cooperatives. Rallying some 10,000 student volunteers, the SYSS based its work on the Buddhist principles of non-violence and compassionate action. Despite government denunciation of his activity, Nhat Hanh also founded a Buddhist University, a publishing house, and an influential peace activist magazine in Vietnam.
The Most Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh (Thây), our spiritual teacher, founded the Unified Buddhist Church (Eglise Bouddhique Unifieé) in France in 1969, during the Vietnam war. Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, a poet, a scholar, and a peace activist. His life long efforts to generate peace and reconciliation moved Martin Luther King, Jr. to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. He founded the Van Hanh Buddhist University in Saigon and the School for Youths of Social Services in Vietnam. When not travelling the world to teach “The Art of Mindful Living”, he teaches, writes, and gardens in Plum Village, France, a Buddhist monastery for monks and nuns and a mindfulness practice center for lay people.

The Unified Buddhist Church established Sweet Potatoes Community in 1975, Plum Village in 1982, the Dharma Cloud Temple and the Dharma Nectar Temple in 1988, and the Adornment of Loving Kindness Temple in 1995. Thich Nhat Hanh’s sangha (community of practice) in France is usually referred to as the Plum Village Sangha.

see also: what next: must see: The Great Bell Chant | Thich Nath Hanh, Gregory Colbert, Phap Niem

update: ashes & snow - the video collage of Gregory Colbert's photos and with Thich Nath Hanh Phap Niem - "The Great Bell Chant (Simple wish)" was taken offline by the user. now i find this -