A natural disaster, a so-called Act of God, doesn’t discriminate between its victims. It damages everybody – rich and poor, good and bad. Whenever you have power over people, keep natural disasters in mind. Be godlike in your fairness. -Han Shan Deqing We think of natural disaster as having an incredible ability to cause harm, and rightly so. Human beings think we are very powerful and in control a lot of the time. But once in a while a hurricane… Read more

Is Buddhism a religion? Short answer: Yes.   This is a question that gets asked all the time. It’s kind of a silly question because when you get down to it the consequences of the answer are meaningless. It’s the kind of thing that people just like to argue about. In the age of the internet arguing about things that don’t matter is common. Is Buddhism a religion?. People say “it’s not a religion, it’s a philosophy” or “it’s just… Read more

If a man carries too many worldly burdens, his body will soon wear out. If he worries about too many worldly problems, his mind will soon collapse. To be so occupied with material things is a dangerous way to live, a foolish waste of energy. A man ought to simplify his needs and use his strength to attain spiritual goals. Nobody ever ruined his mind or body by exercising self-restraint. -Han Shan Deqing We can simplify our lives. Han Shan… Read more

 In polite society everybody notices if a man’s hands are dirty. He’ll be stared at contemptuously. Why, the fellow will be wretched until he can wash his hands. But isn’t it funny how a man can have character that’s defiled by greed and hate and nobody will pay the slightest attention? He’ll move about in perfect ease. Evidently, a dirty character isn’t worthy of notice as a dirty hand. -Han Shan Deqing   Don’t judge a book by it’s cover?… Read more

Those who pursue money are always rushed, always busy with urgent matters. Those who pursue the Dharma, go slow and easy. “Boring” you say? Maybe. Maybe it’s downright dreary to stop and smell a flower or listen to a bird. Maybe a glint of gold is really more dazzling than the sight of one’s Original Face. Maybe what we need is a better definition of “treasure”. -Han Shan Deqing Han Shan is talking about money. Our jobs sure do own… Read more

Everything in the universe is subject to change. There’s only one exception: death always follows life. Isn’t it strange that people haven’t noticed this, that they conduct their lives as though they’re going to live forever, that death is nothing to worry about? Of course if they really want to live as long as they obviously expect, they’d better pursue the Dharma. Life, death, and change itself are transcended in the Dharmakaya. -Han Shan Deqing   I think we know… Read more

This is a passage from a teaching by Master Han Shan called “The Maxims.” What are the two most common goals for people who live in the world? Wealth and fame. To gain these goals people are willing to lose everything, including the health of their body, mind and spirit. Not a very good exchange, is it? Worldly wealth and fame fade so quickly that we wonder which will last longer, the money, the fame or the man. But consider… Read more

I had a very vivid dream recently. In the dream I was leading a retreat. I was in a place that I had never been before. There were a lot of people in attendance, some I knew and some that I didn’t. It all seemed to be going very well. Obviously if you’re leading a retreat you want it to be well attended. When no one comes to a retreat it feels like a disappointment. If just one person comes it can… Read more

This is a passage from a teaching by Master Han Shan called “The Maxims.” People are always looking for the easy way. The hard way – the way learned by difficult experience and painful realizations – doesn’t interest them. They want a short-cut. True Dharma seekers are afraid of short-cuts. They know better. They know that without effort, there’s no sense of accomplishment. It’s that sense that keeps them going. People who don’t appreciate the struggles of climbing lack understanding… Read more

This is a passage from a teaching by Master Han Shan called “The Maxims.” It is easier to do the right thing when we know what the right thing to do is. We can’t rely on instinct to find the Way. We need guidance. But once we’re shown the path and begin to climb it, we find that with each step up we grow in wisdom and fortitude. Looking down we see how many of our old desires have fallen… Read more

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