Hope and Fear

Friday, October 2nd, 2015
Bastille Vault, Canal St Martin, Paris. September 2015. Photo: MBuffett
Bastille Vault, Canal St Martin, Paris. September 2015. Photo: MBuffett

“One of the classic Buddhist teachings on hope and fear concerns what are known as the eight worldly dharmas. These are four pairs of opposites–four things that we like and become attached to and four things that we don’t like and try to avoid. The basic message is that when we are caught up in the eight worldly dharmas, we suffer.

First, we like pleasure; we are attached to it. Conversely, we don’t like pain. Second, we like and are attached to praise. We try to avoid criticism and blame. Third, we like and are attached to fame. We dislike and try to avoid disgrace. Finally, we are attached to gain, to getting what we want. We don’t like losing what we have.
According to this very simple teaching, becoming immersed in these four pairs of opposites – pleasure and pain, praise and blame, fame and disgrace, and gain and loss – is what keeps us stuck in the pain of samsara.
We might feel that somehow we should try to eradicate these feelings of pleasure and pain, gain and loss, praise and blame, fame and disgrace. A more practical approach is to get to know them intimately, see how they hook us, see how they color our perception of reality, see how they aren’t all that solid. Then the eight worldly dharmas  become the means for growing wiser as well as kinder and more content.”
-from Comfortable With Uncertainty, by Pema Chodron

Source For Soaring

Thursday, September 17th, 2015
Practice. Everyday. Steadfast. Clarity. Romney Pilates, New Orleans, September 2015.
Practice. Everyday. Steadfast. Clarity. New Orleans, September 2015.

There is joy, a winelike freedom that dissolves the mind and restores the spirit, and there is manly fortitude like the king’s, a reasonableness that accepts the bewildered lostness.

But meditate now on steadfastness and clarity, and let those be the wings that lift and soar through the celestial spheres.


Meditation and the Mind. Keep it Simple.

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015
Simple. Single. Focus. Everyday. New Orleans, September 2015
Meditation. Single Pointed Focus. Ordinary. Everyday. Everywhere. New Orleans, September 2015

“The Buddha taught that the mind is wild and the human experience is full of unpredictability and paradox, joys and sorrows, successes and failures. But through good meditation techniques, a simple attitude, and unconditional friendliness toward ourselves, we can work toward taming the one thing that causes our suffering: the mind.”

-from the Pema Chodron Foundation Newsletter

Abhyasa and the Hot Buddha

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
Showing up. Romney Pilates. September 2015
Showing up. Romney Pilates. September 2015

Abhyasa: continuous endeavor; constant practice; repetition; exercise; exertion (from A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy; Sanskrit Terms Defined in English)

“And so I practice without knowing how it will all turn out. Clearly, along with clarity and faith, my commitment requires some will and effort. As Patanjali says in verse 14, establishing a firm foundation in practice requires sustained exertion over time. Commitment to practicing means I practice if it is easy for me, and I practice if it is hard for me. If I am bored, I practice; if I am enthusiastic, I practice; if I am at home, I practice; if I am on vacation, I practice. There is a saying in Buddhism: If it is hot, be a hot Buddha. If it is cold, be a cold Buddha. This is the consistency and determination in practice that Patanjali means when he speaks of abhyasa. In the beginning, this sustained exertion may be an act of will, an act of ego. But as we continue, the practice itself creates a momentum that propels us through the difficult moments of fear and boredom.”

-From Yoga Journal article, Hot Buddha Cold Buddha by  Judith Hanson Lasater

River of Life, Grace of a New Day

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015
The Mississippi River, Yesterday. August 31, 2015. Photo: Mbuffett
The Mississippi River, Yesterday. August 31, 2015. Photo: Mbuffett

…Give birth again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts.
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me,
The rock, the river, the tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes,
Into your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

-from On The Pulse of The Morning by Maya Angelou

Bodichitta: The Heart of Everyday Life

Monday, August 24th, 2015
I-10 East, New Orleans to Mobile. August 2015. Photo: MBuffett
I-10 East, New Orleans to Mobile. August 2015. Photo: MBuffett

Even ordinary people like us with hang-ups and confusion have this mind of enlightenment called bodhichitta. An analogy for bodhichitta  is the rawness of a broken heart. This is our link with all those who have ever loved. This genuine heart of sadness can teach us great compassion. It can humble us when we are arrogant and soften us when we are unkind. It awakens us when we prefer to sleep and pierces through our indifference. This continual ache of the heart broken open is a blessing that when accepted fully can be shared with all.

The openness and warmth of bodhichitta is in fact our true nature and condition. Even when our neurosis feels far more basic than our wisdom, even when we’re feeling most confused and hopeless, bodhichitta – like the open sky – is always here, undiminished by the clouds that temporarily cover it.
-from Comfortable With Uncertainty by Pema Chodron


Tuesday, August 18th, 2015
Inhale Exhale. New Orleans. August 2015. Photo: MBuffett
Inhale Exhale. New Orleans. August 2015. Photo: MBuffett


Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror up to where you’re bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead, here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as bird wings.

be happy. becOMe this mOMent

Monday, August 17th, 2015
River Road Train Tracks, New Orleans, August 2015. Photo: MBuffett
River Road Train Tracks, New Orleans, August 2015. Photo: MBuffett

Being able to stop and be aware of the present moment is part of the definition of happiness. It is not possible to be happy in the future. This is not a matter of belief; this is a matter of experience.

- from Silence by Thich Nhat Hanh

Lotus : Sweetness In The Depths

Thursday, August 13th, 2015
Urdhva Padmasana, New Orleans, July 2015. Photo: MBuffett
Supported Urdhva Padmasana (Upward Facing Lotus), New Orleans, July 2015. Photo: MBuffett


On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying, and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded.

Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind.

That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and it seemed to me that is was the eager breath of the summer seeking for its completion.

I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and that this perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.

-Rabindranath Tagore