Friday, April 30, 2010

The Way of Grandma

Between the two of us, Marcus and I own three or four Tao de Chings.  What is so appealing about this slight but hefty booklet for Chinese leaders?  The paradoxical truths offered open up a type of wisdom usually understood only by those who have lived a long life.  The verses teach that the path to strength is a yielding one.  The path to dignity is through an investment in what presents itself to you.  My favorite passages do this with a few turns of phrase that beckon you to sit back and contemplate the paradoxical nature of one's own efficacy.  Below are some of my favorites.  If I were to rename this book, I would call it "The Way of Grandma."  

"Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water,
Yet nothing can better overcome the hard and strong,
For they can neither control nor do away with it.

The soft overcomes the hard,
The yielding overcomes the strong;
Every person knows this,
But no one can practice it."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Homemade Rosaries Photo Diary

There is a former Tibetan Buddhist monk who sits with anyone who will come to his gift shop, Little Moon, on Wednesday evenings.  Several people that I know have met him on separate occasions; it seems that some of my friends simply like to go in and have a chat with him every once in awhile!  He is always open for a conversation, deep or otherwise, even with perfect strangers.  As a thank you for the opportunity to sit with others so close to my home, I picked up several wooden prayer braclets from his shop one night.  On another occasion, I bought fair trade turqois beads from India at the Lark Street Festival.

Every month or so I would take the beads out and appreciate their natural beauty, knowing that the money was given to the craftswomen and men who made them.  I hold them in my hands, feeling the smooth substanital weight of the wood and the cool rough of the stone, and wonder what they would become.  Well, this week, I realized that they were to become a handmade rosary for my sister's birthday.  Here are the steps it takes to make a handmade rosary!

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Buddhist Nun Explains Buddhism

Let's think about Buddhist compassion for a minute, and, since we were on the subject of nuns earlier, let's do it through the thoughts of a Buddhist nun.  The question is: how can we best be compassionate?  I would love to hear your response to this question since compassion seems to be at the root of ethics and I think we can all learn from each other.  I do not think you have to be a Buddhist to have immense amounts of compassion, but Buddhists do, I think, turn it into a challenging art of life, which I deeply appreciate.