Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, They are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourselves with others you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater or lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive from high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, Gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have the right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Wild Fact of the Day:
Once humankind used 7000 species of plant and 1069 species of fungi as foods.
A single community averaged 120 wild species in their daily diet providing a massive range of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc) and phytochemicals, such as plant-made serotonin that keeps us all happy. Each country studied records a dietary range of 300 to 600 wild species once eaten.
There were no simple divisions: we were hunter-gathers, cultivator-collectors, farmer-foragers, agro-pastoralists, fisher-foragers, and our strength was dietary diversity. It was never just farming until around 300 years ago (UK) and many other modern cultures still have over 20% wild food in their diets. In 12 remaining traditional hunter-gather communities studied, between 30% and 93% of calories are wild not farmed.
Sadly today over 50% of the entire globe’s daily calorie intake (and, I would argue, nutrient intake) comes from just 3 species – carb laden corn, wheat, rice. And 80% of calories from just 12 species – you know the other 9, those sad, tasteless, watery supermarket vegetables. No wonder city dwellers only have a third of the beneficial gut bacteria species that foragers have.
The result of the loss of our wild food diversity – and the exercise spent collecting and catching it – is that we have become sick, sad and obese!
As one researcher puts it the “gradual replacement by store-bought produce causes discernable and significantly negative impacts on nutritional security at household and community levels”.
I live in a field in West Lothian. 4 wild acres where I am planting and encouraging medicinal and foraging species. I have been fascinated by herbs and plants since childhood. My original interest was sparked by a wild childhood in Kenya, where I was introduced to herbal medicine by a local Kikuyu herbalist at the age of six. We were outdoors most of the time and I remember with joy the freedom of those early years. I love foraging for wild food as well as wild medicine and would happily never visit a supermarket again.
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1/4 kg of paneer (chopped into 2cm cubes)
1 cup of peas
1 large tomato (chopped small)
OR 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
11/2 teaspoons of coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon of rurmeric powder
1 tablespoon of garlic finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon of crushed chilies
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of green coriander leaves (chopped)
1 cup of water
OIL FOR FRYING
4 tablespoons of oil
1/4 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 large onion (finely chopped)
Heat oil on a wok and fry the paneer pieces until golder brown (alternatively they can be brushjed with oil and grilled or sauted).
Heat oil in a good size frying pan, add cumin seeds. When browned, mix in the oinions and fry until brown. Mix in the garlic and all the other spices and stir for a few seconds.
Add tomatoes and cook until the liquid has evaporated (with puree, the cooking time will be less). Mix in the paneer and peas, cover and cook on low hear for 3 to 4 minutes. Add water and cook for a further 5 to 7 minutes (tossing it around once or twice). Ensure that the vegetable is not dry. before seving add coriander.
This dish can be cooked without onions and garlic: At the baghaar stage, with cumin seeds, add 1/2 teaspoon of asafoetida and leave out the onions and garlic altogether.
This and paneer with spinach are standard dishes found on most Indian restaurant menus in the UK and India.
BAGHAAR is the method in which whole spices, such as cumin or mustard seeds, are browned in hot oil or ghee before any other ingredients can be added.
From Feasts of India by Mridsu Shailaj Thanki, Jaganath Press.
PolItIcal upheavals are causing widespread anxiety about many issues, including health care, all over the world. Where do we go from here and what can we do on an individual basis to improve our own situation?
First let me say, as a doctor, I see health care as a vital human right. I regard universal access to healthcare as a hallmark of a genuinely humane society which values “love of one’s neighbor”, whereas the absence of such a system may well be a sign of the opposite.
Many health problems arise from causes that we cannot control directly as individuals. among these are accidents, natural disasters, wars, genetic conditions, illnesses caused by pollution of the environment, illnesses whose causes remain unknown, etc. Continue reading
This is a simple, spicy Indian lunch or brunch made with rice and potatoes. Perfect as a side dish with curry, too.
Boil the potatoes until cooked. Drain and set aside to cool, then peel and cut into 1cm/½in cubes.
Put the rice in a sieve and wash gently but thoroughly under cold running water. Empty it into a bowl, cover generously with water and leave to soak for two minutes. Drain and leave in the sieve set over a bowl.
Put the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan and set it over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the asafoetida and the urad dal. As soon as the dal starts to pick up a little colour, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and chilli (whatever type you are using). As soon as the mustard seeds start to pop, a matter of seconds, add the curry leaves (take care as they will splutter), then the onion and potatoes. Lower to a medium heat and fry, stirring now and again, for 3-4 minutes or until the onion and potatoes are slightly browned. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the top and stir.
Add the poha rice, gently breaking up any lumps, and sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt and the sugar over the top. Cook on a low heat for 3-4 minutes, tossing frequently by lifting all the ingredients from the bottom of the pan with a flat spatula and folding them over, until the poha is heated through. Cover and set aside until you are ready to eat.
To serve, garnish the poha potatoes with fresh coriander and serve with lime or lemon wedges.
Can we love our families fully while upholding the Buddha’s teaching on non-attachment?
Sometimes people ask me if there isn’t a conflict between the Mahayana instruction to see all beings as close relatives, worthy of our affection and compassion, and Buddhist teachings on non attachment. Perhaps they are thinking of Jetsun Milarepa’s words:
When you look at your child
Firstly he is a soft-spoken young god.
Then he is a distant-hearted neighbour.
Finally he is an enemy and creditor.
So I let go of children.
We cannot separate Buddhist doctrine and practice from how Buddhists actually live in the world. How do they square non attachment with love and compassion, and what does this say about how we should relate to our families? Most Buddhists in Asia, far from exhibiting some chilly spiritual disdain for such matters, usually demonstrate great affection for their families. I can testify that my own teachers are no exception. Indeed, my master, Sakya Trizin Rinpoche, is a wonderful example of a father and now grandfather who is, at the same time, an unflagging source of kindness and loving guidance to his students. It’s striking how often my other principal teacher, Karma Thinley Rinpoche, though an ordained abbot, emphasizes the value of family life as an environment for training in the key Mahayana virtues.
It is, however, undeniable that we must let go of some level of attachment in our personal relationships. Continue reading
Because of the complexity of various forms of meditation, the text is broken up into two main areas, although it could be broken down much further.
This seems to take the form of prayer in order to appreciate the revelations of god. This can be done by concentrating on a passage in the bible and considering its meaning in the context of a love of god. It is also a tool used to increase knowledge and cognisance of Christ.
If you are reading these words, it means that you either realize you’re not at peace and want to be, or the sound of the word drew you … it’s something you haven’t really thought about, but it resonates and you want it in your life.
The universal truth is that we all suffer. Whether rich or poor, young or old, regardless of gender or any other factor … we all suffer psychically.
Why? Because we are prisoners of our ego-mind. We are controlled by the feelings and perceptions … the emotions, judgments, cravings, and attachments … that are the ego-mind’s reactions to our life experiences. It is these feelings that are actually the cause of our suffering. But we nevertheless identify with them; we’ve lost connection with our true self, our heart. If we were only able to reconnect with our heart, we would be able to free ourselves from the control of our ego-mind and experience the inner peace and happiness that is our birthright.
We cannot change the world around us. It is what it is. But we can change how we relate to ourselves and that world. And by doing so, we can control whether we suffer or experience peace.
This is not some new age theory. These truths have been taught for thousands of years by the mystical traditions of all three Abrahamic faiths … Christian Gnosticism, Kabbalah, and Sufism … as well as Buddhism.
Helping people of all faiths as well as non-believers learn these truths and walk this challenging path is the purpose of How to Find Inner Peace. Why will this book help people when others haven’t? It is reality-based; it grows out of the turmoil of life. And it lays out a practical, step-by-step approach to finding inner peace. If you want inner peace, believe it or not the choice is yours.
The book is available in both softcover – $12.95, and eBook – $9.99 formats.
Ronald Hirsch has had a varied career as a teacher, legal aid lawyer, survey researcher, nonprofit executive, composer, writer, and volunteer. Having found Buddhism at age 49, he has walked the path of Buddhism 25 years now. Along the way, he has had the good fortune to have had some powerful teachers who opened many gates for him. His Zen practice follows no particular lineage but reflects the teachings of his Vietnamese and Korean Zen mentors.
He is the writer of the award-winning blog, www.ThePracticalBuddhist.com, and the author of three books on Buddhist practice and one ecumenically spiritual work, Raising a Happy Child. He is also the author of We Still Hold These Truths, acclaimed by James Fallows, National Correspondent, The Atlantic, as “a systematic and serious effort to make the [presidential] debate as clear and valuable as it can be. Agree or disagree with his specific conclusions, the questions he is asking are the right ones for the public this year.” He grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania and resides in New York.
While strolling down the main boulevard in Shigatse, the home of the Panchen Lamas, in 1987, I see only a few people and almost no cars. Tibet has just opened up for foreign travellers and back-packers some months before. Standing on the pavement, perusing the items displayed on makeshift tables in the market stalls, my eyes had suddenly fallen on a tiny text. The print is on handmade-parchment, fashioned in the age-old style of inked woodcarving. It is a revelation from many hundred years back, and its Tibetan title means Refined Essence of Oral Instructions. It contains the parting words of Padmasambhava as he is just about to leave Tibet, the master who is admired and loved throughout the Himalayan countries and now all over the world as being the main teacher of Vajrayana Buddhism. My breath stops and my heart skips a beat. The words are like hearing him speak to you in person. I buy two copies without hesitation.
Homage to the master. Continue reading
I remember, many years ago, visiting the Samye Ling monastery for my annual vacation from Germany to meditate, reflect and to attempt to recover from the existential anxiety of a young, displaced composer. I spent much of the time in silence, hoping to accelerate the process.
I met Jean Paira Pemberton when she joined me on my long walks. I was silent; I listened to her as we walked along farm tracks along streams of water or in the hills, covered in pine forests. I was enjoying listening to a remarkably erudite and intelligent person, flattered by her trust, relaxing in her warmth. She often talked about the recent loss of her only son, and of her poetry.We were both engaged in our processes of healing. Jean and I have been friends ever since, our bond deepened through our relationship with the dharma and Ringu Tulku. It also proves that a difference in age is no barrier to friendship. Jean was born on 20 May 1930, which puts three decades between us, but I have always found her ageless. ‘Between ages’, as she might have put it, because she talked about her being ‘between two cultures, two languages and two disciplines.’
When I met her, Jean was in the process of doing what she was doing all her life: turning experience into word. This is how she herself explains the process.
Some charismatic leaders take advantage of Western misconceptions rather than correct them, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher from the UK argues.
In today’s Western society, where the dominant cultural systems are failing to provide explanations for life’s philosophical questions, a space has opened up that Buddhism is uniquely suited to address. Continue reading