Because, Buddhism

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My altar. Every morning I light a stick of incense and bow three times and remind myself a variety of things: let go and detach, deep breathe, be mindful of dependent arising (karma), and above all remember compassion and forgiveness. Many days I simply bow and hope.

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Apparently the Buddha said:

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

(From the lijiun blog at wordpress, with thanks)

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I position the portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama looking toward the photograph next to it because those are the doors to his home in the Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet. May the day come soon when Tibet and her people regain their liberty and rights. I took the photograph of the doors when I visited Tibet in 1986.

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The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprises him most about humanity:

“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he’s never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”


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Tibetan Prayer Wheel. Inside the copper cylinder is a roll of handwritten prayers. When the wheel is spun — always clockwise — the prayers go out to the world.

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For a brief lesson by the Dalai Lama in sitting meditation:

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How I got my altar—or the mystery of synchronicity

For many years I had a makeshift altar arranged on the top of an old sideboard. I loved the sideboard but it took up a lot of space in my small apartment and one day I said to myself, I have to get rid of this, I need a real altar. A few months later I got a phone call from Paul, a stone carver with whom I used to work. “I have this thing for you,” he said. “Me and a buddy were driving through Richmond and we saw this piece of furniture just sitting at the side of the road and something told me to get it for you. I put it in the back of my truck.” Paul and I had had a few conversations but he didn’t know that I meditated or had an altar. I asked him what the piece of furniture looked like. “Well, it’s red with gold. Lots of carving. Tall and deep with three sections and a little drawer. Do you want it?”

If there’s a Richmond temple missing their altar, please let me know.

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