Tea House

Daily Perspectives and Stories on Buddhist Trends, People, and Ideas

Month: June 2016

Five Worms – A Preamble

Steve Braff


From wclimate.com

I saved five worms today
as they lay plump and limp
upon the wet pavement –
blind altar of ignominious death
by the coming heat or passing car.

I saved five worms today
as I plucked their slippery bodies
stretched supplicant, almost inert
from the indifferent asphalt
and tossed each to shelter
in the wet grass.

I saved five worms today
only to recall and regret
the child I once was
absent care or concern
who blithely walked by
– no doubt upon –
their benevolent bodies.

I saved five worms today
only to see my path forward
scattered with their unsung dying
the inevitable suffering
the immensity of it
till I refused to look down
eyes locked on the horizon
mumbling poetry
as I made my way home.

Guan Yin Temple: Flower Ornament and Pure Land Vistas

Raymond Lam

Guan Yin (1 of 40) copy

“Pay respects to the Buddha first, then to me,” advised my preceptor once, when we visited him at his monastery, Guan Yin Temple. “Because we take refuge in the Buddha first, then in the Dharma, then in the Sangha.” He was implying that compared to the Buddha images of our temple, he was actually a secondary priority. In a world where so many scramble over each other to obsequiously flatter or fawn on celebrity teachers, a master who knows he is a flawed mortal creature is the real kind of teacher that should be revered.

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Am I a Buddhist?

Graham Lock

From shutterstock.com

From shutterstock.com

I have recently seen a few YouTube vids of talks and discussions in which renowned Dharma teachers assert that there can be no Buddhism without rebirth, and in a couple of cases they go as far as to say that those who don’t believe in rebirth shouldn’t call themselves Buddhists. Debates about this issue have, of course, been rumbling on at least since Stephen Batchelor’s Buddhism without Beliefs, and probably for a lot longer. I’m not going to get into the debate about rebirth here, but just for the record I don’t believe that rebirth happens and I don’t believe that it doesn’t happen. I just don’t know (and yes, I have read Ian Stevenson and Jim Tucker, and no, I am not a committed materialist).

So I suppose that in the eyes of some people I am not a Buddhist.

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