The Dalai Lama within us

As this blog unfolds, it will be obvious that the Dalai Lama is not THE Dalai Lama, but someone who has the Dalai Lama qualities.  He’s a combination of mythology, spirituality, religion, and a keen professor from Miami of Ohio, who we call the Dalai Lama.

We called him Dalai Lama for several reasons – he was bright, calm, loving, balanced, and he practiced his craft.  He wasn’t someone to one person and someone else to another person – and, he could spot the fakes a mile away.  But, his alignment was not to judge, but to focus on what he could do – many times ignoring what others would have trouble ignoring.

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From Pity to Compassion … Sometimes a tough ladder to climb.
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Anger Management

When you get angry at someone else, that means you’re judging them.

If we’re not supposed to judge others, then we should not get angry.  Hard to do, but something to idealize.

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The Dangling Carrot

It may be a long time between seeing someone you love or who has influenced you.  But, it’s only a few days at a time in-between, that we don’t recognize what effect those people have on our lives.

Everyone, like it or not, is a teacher and a coach. Most fight for what they believe is truth and the community, and if the benefits come, then they come because of that.

You know, that’s a real metaphysical approach to life.  As I get older, I see those things with more clarity.

Your life is your story. Just as so many great men before us.

  • We’re born 
  • We live 
  • We have challenges, temptations and rewards 
  • We die 
  • We are reborn

That’s the metaphysical story.  Stories that are intended to teach us lessons.

Every day is a metaphorical story:

  • We wake up 
  • We face the daily negatives and positives 
  • We end our day 
  • We wake up the next morning

Even activities can be metaphorical:

  • FIRE:
    • We start a fire
    • We need to feed that fire for it to remain lighted
    • We get warmth from that fire
    • If the fire dies, it’s because it is no longer being fed
  • LIFE:
    • We are born
    • We are fed and cared for
    • We experience life
    • If we are not cared for or fed, we die
  • GOLF:
    • We have a set of clubs
    • We practice
    • We get better
    • If we quit practicing, we get worse

Today, the metaphysical story is this:

  • That person or you were born 
  • They influenced, coached, taught, succeeded and faced many challenges 
  • They died 
  • They are reborn

But, what is being reborn?

  • Memories are reborn a little in each of us in this room 
  • We remember those people – they’re alive, their memory is alive, we remember them as alive
  • But, more importantly, we allow those positive impacts on our lives to help lead us, guide us, and educate us through our days.

Who will you be in death?  How will your life be reborn in others? Will you be remembered as a friend and someone who has done many right things?  Do you need to know that you’ll have an afterlife in order to do good in this life?  Do you think that “dangling carrot” is noticeable to those around you?  Are you doing the right things for others … or for you?

Our friends, coaches, influencers and mentors live in each of us who they have affected. They’ve affected me.


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Another Lama’s response


Politics, religion, and race seem to be today’s topics that most create divisions among people. Why? I think it’s because each of these broad areas is deeply rooted in core ethical values. And of course at certain points on the continuum these three areas are intertwined.

When it comes to religion, it’s been easy for me to reject those friends and acquaintances who promote a religion of hatred and fear. Their morals are so clearly wrong I have no problem saying “adios, it was never really all that nice knowing you anyway.” Same when it comes to race. When a friend makes his or her hatred of an entire people – or judges an individual based on color alone – that will be the last real interaction I have with them. In both cases, the decision is easy, because these are issues that for such people no amount of conversation or behavior modelling will have the least effect. And I choose not to be associated with such people. “You are the company you keep,” as the adage goes.

Only in the last couple of years have I come to the same conclusion about politics. And my standards are the same: do someone’s politics violate my standards of morals and decency in behavior toward others. There are conservatives who do not violate these standards, people you can discuss issues with and walk away saying “If it were left to you and me, we could work out our differences and run this country.” But if you can’t even have a civil and rational discussion, frankly these people have no respect for you and do not deserve your respect or friendship. I don’t know what leads certain people to lose their minds to irrational demagoguery and extremism. But I do know we must stand strong and confront it in a variety of ways: by how we conduct our personal interactions, by how we combat institutionalized unethical practices, by how we vote, and by who we associate with.

Does it increase division? Yes, but it’s a fundamental ethical not political division. And I have enough faith still that those espousing rightwing extremism will ultimately fade or be relegated to a minority with little influence. Until then though, we need to be strong in the face of what we know is wrong. I know this is not easy when it comes to lifelong friends. The only alternative in my opinion is an iron clad agreement to not discuss substantive topics, which makes the relationship pretty shallow and is usually impossible for extremists anyway.

Brother Lama

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Your “friends” response from the Dalai

Young Buddha,
First, your friends may not be racist, but they are very narrow minded, and if they are saying things like that, they may be hopeless.  I wonder what they thought of Bush 2?
I too have always been an independent, although vote mostly democrat.  I am a social liberal and probably middle to slightly right on economic issues.  People like me have trouble finding candidates, but because the social justice issues are more important to me than the economic issues, I almost always vote democrat.  I did vote for Reagan the first time and once for Bush 1 (the first time).  By the way, if your friends are concerned about the constitution, I wonder how they feel about Iran contra or all the stuff after 9/11 by the Bush administration.
I don’t get the Trump thing with your friends.  That is scary.
I always say I will vote for the best candidate, but lately i have voted democrat because, if nothing else, they seem better or the lesser of evils.  I find it difficult to like Hillary, but I will vote for her.
What turns me off most about the current crop of Republicans is the way they ignore facts and truth and create this alternative reality/bubble.  I know some will say that is politics, but the level they have sunk to on facts and evidence is frightening. Republicans also seem much more hypocritical.  And then there is this poor, downtrodden white Christian male thing.  Good lord (no pun intended).
I try not to talk politics with friends.  One is an anti-government, gun-toting libertarian and is a social liberal (that’s the libertarian part).  We spar occasionally, but we keep it real, and we always find common ground.  He also is a bit of a prepper.  Last we talked he would not vote for Trump, but my guess is he will not vote for Hillary.
By the way, have your friends noticed that their lily white, male, Christian, privileged asses have done a lot better under Bill Clinton and Obama than Bush?  Have they noticed Obama lives the family values they like to spout off about?  Have they noticed how many of their hypocrite boys don’t?
Anyway I am rambling more than usual.  If you really like these people, avoid politics at all cost when interacting.
And last, who buys a second home near Augusta unless you are a member.  There is not much there.  Just sayin’.
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Help me, Dalai, how do I keep my friends that don’t share my ideology?

OK, here’s one for you.  I need advice.
There’s a line from the Big Chill, where Sam (the actor) was reminiscing about days at Michigan and he said something like: “I thought since they looked like us, and acted like us, that they were like us.”
I have friends from high school and college that I still have interaction with …  all of them were by “best friends” at one point in my life.  All are very successful – One, I know, got a $110,000 bonus a few years ago (he’s a banker); Another owns his own business and recently built a second home in Florida; A third owns his own business and just bought a second home ($750K) in Georgia.
I can’t talk politics with these guys at all. They pull out all the cards, like “Obama is not a citizen” or “Obama is a Marxist” or “Obama is a liar” – they stop short of saying what might be the real reason, which is the color of his skin.  But, they don’t appear, on the surface, to be racial bigots. I do know that there’s no sense in discussing these matters when they start spouting off things like, “I’ve done my research” or “what he’s done is contrary to the constitution.”  I’ve even been shown (proudly) pictures of them with Trump.  These are educated people, mind you.
What bothers me more than anything though is that they have no respect … they “despise” him, or they say “he’s never been my president” or “I hate him” or “He’ll bankrupt the US when he runs out of taking other people’s money, like us hard-working business people.”
Years ago, which I attribute to my journalism training, I refused to join either party.  But, it also felt good to me – I was resolved to not vote party line … I wanted to vote for whomever I thought was the best choice, regardless of their party.  Then, about 10 years ago, when talking with my then-boss, he said the only way to vote was party line, and that he would vote straight Republican ticket every time.  From then on, to cancel him out, I voted straight Democratic ticket.
Now, I worry that’s what everyone is doing.  Our polarization has grown – the right and the left appear to be pulling further apart and almost demanding that you take a side.  If I go back to voting for the “best” candidate, is that a non-vote? Have the politicians become so extreme, that there is no “best” candidate.
And, how do you treat your “friends”?  How can I be friends with these people? Do I just rely on new friends, friends whose ideology best aligns with mine?  How do you do it?
“Help me O-B1, you’re my only hope.”
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Obama Fact Checking 1/2009-3/2016

Some may respond that is not objective, but if they aren’t then who is? There’s good and bad in these numbers and, as Fact Check says: “We leave it to our readers to judge how much credit or blame the president deserves for what has happened on his watch, and we caution that no single number or collection of numbers can tell the entire story. What we offer here are some key yardsticks from sources we consider solid and reliable.”

Obama’s Numbers April 2016 Update


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“Behind every great fortune there is a great crime.”

— Honoré de Balzac

I read this today, and I’m not sure I am in full agreement.  Granted, there is truth, but does not this discount rich good people?

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Pope Vs. Trump


So, I’m going to get into the political arena again. First, I’m not Catholic and second, I’m not Republican. I’m not defending Trump and I think the current Pope is absolutely marvelous.

However, it feels as though one of Jesus’s greatest teachings was being nonjudgmental. If that’s the case, isn’t the Pope judging the Donald when he alluded to the building of walls issue.

The world takes all kinds, and I can accept that. That doesn’t mean I have to agree or follow, but I don’t think it’s my place to judge whether or not someone is Christian or not. In fact, we all sin, and if that logic holds true, then are there any real Christians?

Quit Slingin’, and start singin’!

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Why is it?

  • you don’t understand cancer until you or a loved one has it
  • you don’t understand a handicap until someone you know has one
  • you don’t understand gun control until someone you know gets shot
  • you don’t understand being gay until a family member or friend comes out
  • you don’t understand homelessness until you’re homeless
  • you don’t understand being broke until you are
  • you don’t understand not being able to get a job until you can’t
  • you don’t understand religions until you have an epiphany


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More Gun Control

I don’t understand how anyone doesn’t see the need for gun control. After the latest you would think … But some say it’s all about helping the mentally ill and that taking guns won’t solve anything.


I know some will say that limiting gun purchasing won’t make a difference, but this article seems to indicate differently:

Here’s some logical thinking from the Connecticut Governor Richard Blumenthal:

  • Universal background checks on all gun sales – close loopholes of just applying to Federally licensed dealers (include unlicensed dealers) and the 72-hour incomplete rule.
  • Cut down on illegal trafficking of guns.
  • Get rid of high-capacity magazines.
  • Laws to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental health issues.
  • Laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic violence abusers and to have them surrender their guns.

What will finally change things?  Those that oppose will eventually know a victim before things get changed because that’s when it becomes real.

Please stay accountable in the ballot boxes.


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Gun Reform

Can we approach this without inflaming the right? It’s not about taking your guns, it’s about reform. How do we solve the mass killings? Giving more guns to people isn’t working.

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Guns don’t kill people, people kill people

I keep hearing that, but my question is, would people without guns kill people?

I know that there are a hundred responses to this and some will be hostile, but that’s not what it’s about.

Some think we need to protect ourselves from the government.  We don’t trust the government.

Some think we need to protect ourselves from our neighbors. We don’t trust our neighbors.

Some think we need to protect ourselves from criminals.  We don’t trust … our police force.

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Passion Exposure Vs. Extreme View points

Take Middle Way

I was thinking the other day how much I admire people who can really stand up for what they believe. You know them – the Democrats that post their Hillary images on Facebook; or the Gun Law proponents. They’re actually not afraid to expose themselves. I thought, I wish I could do that, that’s admirable.

But, then I started thinking – how often do those change the minds of people that are in the middle or vulnerable to listening. Probably not too much. And, then, who do you know to trust? For every lie there’s a truth, and for every truth there’s a lie. And, for every half-truth … and so on. You get the picture.

Buddhist philosophy teaches about being in the middle – The Middle Way. Jesus spoke of being accepting. By being proud of our beliefs (to the point of pounding our chests and screaming “We’re better than you are!”) are we not actually further alienating our fellow humans? Aren’t we further separating the extremes – getting farther away from the middle?

Is it doing more harm than good?

If we quit, will we be leaving ourselves open to the lies of the “competition” or those with other views. And, without being held in check, will that mean that everyone will only believe what they are hearing?

Maybe it’s a matter of simply saying what you believe in, and not what others believe in. Speak about what you think is right and why you think it’s right, but without the incendiary provocations, which elicit inflammatory rebuttals. Can it be done. Start first with yourself and see where it goes.

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If you don’t get it here, you’re not going to get it.

Life not Dress Rehearsal

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An introvert’s spirituality

As an introvert, we may not be able to appear as spiritual as an extrovert. It’s not in our DNA. Greeting someone in church next to you because the pastor is asking you to can be uncomfortable. Asking to be evangelical about your faith can be an overwhelming anxiety. We’re just not cut out for that. Introverts get their energy from being alone and looking inside, not necessarily projecting it outwardly. If you’re an extrovert, please don’t think that if someone is not “friendly” that it means there’s some ulterior meaning – it could be that person is an introvert and situations that an extrovert may handle with ease (and want to handle) are just too difficult for an introvert. Please respect the introvert. 🙂

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Concealing the truth with preconception

If we go into “something” with a preconceived idea of what it will be, we could be concealing the truth.

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There is another subtler way to understand the trikaya, and it is this understanding that Trungpa Rinpoche taught. He did it in this way.

Stepping to the blackboard, he picked up a piece of chalk and drew this figure.


Then he stepped back and asked: “What is this a picture of?” Of course no one wanted to say the obvious, and there was an extended silence until finally some fellow raised his hand and said, “It’s a picture of a bird.”

Rinpoche replied, “It’s a picture of the sky,” and in those six words he taught the entire trikaya.

From Tricycle Magazine, Spring 2015

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Function of a Government

“The proper function of a government is to make it easy for the people to do good, and difficult for them to do evil.”
— Daniel Webster

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Easter Metaphor

Once again, I’m confused by the literal meaning of Jesus dying for our sins. Today’s message from the pastor told of how a man jumped on a grenade in order to save his friend in a foxhole. I get that. It’s real. But, how does Jesus being crucified translate to that? To me, it doesn’t. But, I do get the metaphor about dying to our own sins and then being reborn as a new person … and, if you will, allowing Jesus to be the way-shower for those changes. Although over-used, I do like the WWJD thinking, because I think Jesus taught three basic principles – Peace, Love, Understanding. To me, that translates into Calmness, Kindness and Acceptance. I also noticed today how the Lord’s Prayer fills those gaps. There’s no judgement there – it’s about God (not a Christian God), being good NOW (on earth as it is in heaven), forgiveness and avoiding suffering (had to get a little Buddhism in there) – “deliver us from evil.”

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China’s motive

This is interesting from several vantage points. What is the ulterior motive? If China doesn’t believe in the religion, then what is the need to control the next Dalai Lama? Could it be more than just political? Maybe – think of a meditative nation used for more dark purposes? We know meditation can change and group meditations on the same thoughts may have even more power … so is it possible that China is simply allotting resources to capture meditative powers in order to use them for its gain? Ironic? Subversive?

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Church Christian Movement

This kind of says it all. 😉

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Easier said than done to train your mind to desire the silence.


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8 Mantras to help break selfishness

Obviously easier said than done, and maybe not something that can be done all the time in our world. But, good practice for daily mediations and life living.8 habits

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Remain Constant to Zazen

  • Live modestly with goods and belongings
  • Live in awareness of the environment and its fragility
  • Practice kindness
  • Maintain creative practice and activity in the arts
  • Be faithful to solitude
  • Propagate peace in the world and the surrounding communities
  • Remain in active communication with other members of the Order

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Destroy or Sustain

Do we destroy or do we sustain the world? Of all the current worlds and previous worlds, I wonder where we stand? In some ways, is this God’s little game – his way to experience time?

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Anger – hard to manage

“If we want to succeed in life and bring about a more peaceful world, we must learn to control our emotions and not to be affected by a moment of anger.”
— —Master Hsing Yun, “Don’t Get Mad, Don’t Get Even”

I know that when I get provoked, I find it very hard to not want to “get back” at that person.  Lately, I’ve tried to just not send that note with the scathing remark. Let it sit, then go back to it and remove it.  Granted, the angry energy was within me, but I did not transmit it out into the universe to to other people.  Maybe that’s a good first step. Ideally, maybe, I can get to that stage where I can ignore or accept those moments.

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The Necessity of Love & Compassion

“There is no denying that our happiness is inextricably bound up with the happiness of others. There is no denying that if society suffers, we ourselves suffer. Nor is there any denying that the more our hearts and minds are afflicted with ill-will, the more miserable we become. Thus we can reject everything else: religion, ideology, all received wisdom. But we cannot escape the necessity of love and compassion.” The Dalai Lama

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Sage advice from Mike Kincaid – the king Swigmaster:

“Attend when you want to; that’s Swigness; the flow into everything and nothingness, whatever you need at the moment you need it; nothing more, nothing less, unless you require more or less of whatever you need.”

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