Friday, February 15, 2019

Alan Watts: Guided Meditation (video) via Indigo Bliss; Dhr. Seven, Ellie Askew, Wisdom Quarterly

Alan Watts: Guided Meditation (Awakening The Mind)
This video provides relief from taking any unnatural perspective. This is Alan Watts, someone who needs no introduction. He shares a method for realizing self-awareness. His voice has been enhanced as to the audio quality, paired with a suitable song that syncs nicely with his words. When we meditate we are often looking for a way to find ultimate answers. Thanks to for the animation.

"The Way of Mindfulness" (free book)

Soma Thera, The Way of Mindfulness: The Satipatthana Sutta and Its Commentary (© 1998), Bhikkhu Bodhi (intro); edited by Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly

American scholar-monk Bhikkhu Bodhi explains: The Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness (Satipatthana Sutra) is generally regarded as the canonical Buddhist text with the fullest instructions on the system of meditation unique to the Buddha's dispensation. The practice of satipatthana meditation centers on the methodical cultivation of one simple mental faculty readily available to all of us at any moment -- the faculty of mindfulness.

What is mindfulness? It is the capacity for attending to the content of our experience as it becomes manifest in the immediate present. What the Buddha shows in this sutra is the tremendous, but generally hidden, power inherent in this simple mental function. Mindfulness is a power that can unfold all of the mind's potentials culminating in final liberation from suffering.

To exercise this power, however, mindfulness must be cultivated systematically, and this sutra shows exactly how this is done. The key to the practice is to combine energy, mindfulness, and clear comprehension in attending to the phenomena of mind-and-body summed up in the "four arousings of mindfulness":
  1. body
  2. feelings,
  3. consciousness, and
  4. mental objects.
Most contemporary meditation teachers explain satipatthana meditation as a means for generating insight (vipassana). While this is certainly a valid claim, we should also recognize that satipatthana meditation also generates concentration (samadhi [generally defined as right concentration, i.e., the first four jhanas or meditative absorptions).

Unlike the forms of meditation that cultivate concentration and insight sequentially, satipatthana brings both these faculties into being together.

This happens naturally, in the actual process of development. Concentration will have to gain a certain degree of stability before insight can exercise its penetrating function.

In satipatthana, the act of attending to each occasion of experience as it occurs in the moment fixes the mind firmly on the object. The continuous attention to the object, even when the object itself is constantly changing, stabilizes the mind in concentration, while the observation of the object in terms of its qualities and characteristics brings into being the insight-knowledges.
To practice satipatthana successfully a student will generally require a sound theoretical knowledge of the practice along with actual training, preferably under the guidance of a qualified teacher. The best source of theoretical knowledge, indeed the indispensable source, is the Satipatthana Sutra itself.

However, although the sutra is clear and comprehensible enough as it stands, the instructions it offers are extremely concise, often squeezing into a few simple guidelines directions that might need several pages to explain in a way adequate for successful practice.

For this reason, from an early period, the ancient masters of Buddhist meditation began to supply more detailed instructions based on their own practical experience. These instructions eventually evolved into a lengthy commentary on the Satipatthana Sutra, which was then incorporated into the complete commentaries on the two collections in which the sutra appears, namely, the long and middle-length discourses (Digha Nikaya and Majjhima Nikaya).

The two commentaries that have come down to us today, based on the older Sinhalese language commentaries, are called the Sumangala-vilasini (on the Digha Nikaya) and the Papañca-sudani (on the Majjhima Nikaya). These commentaries are ascribed to Buddhaghosa, an Indian elder scholar-monk who worked in Sri Lanka in the 5th century A.C., but are securely based on the old commentaries which record the explanations devised by the ancient masters of the Dharma.

The commentary has in turn been further elucidated by a sub-commentary (tika), by Acariya Dhammapala, who worked in South India, near Kancipura, perhaps a century or two after the time of Buddhaghosa.
This book, The Way of Mindfulness, contains all of the authorized instructions on satipatthana meditation passed down in the Theravada  Buddhist tradition: the Satipatthana Sutra stemming from the Buddha himself (in the more concise version of the Middle-Length Discourse Collection, which omits the detailed analysis of the Four Noble Truths found in the Long Discourse Collection's Maha-satipatthana Sutra or "Greater Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse"), the commentary by Buddhaghosa, and selections from the sub-commentary by Dhammapala.

While the volume of material found here will certainly exceed the amount a beginner needs to start the practice, the book proves itself useful at successive stages and will eventually become a trusted friend and advisor in all its manifold details.

Thus the reader should not be intimidated by the detail and the sometimes formidable technical terminology, but should continue reading, selecting whatever material is found useful and leaving until later whatever presently seems difficult to grasp.
The book was originally compiled in the late 1930s by Ven. Soma Thera (1898-1960), a Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka, and has been maintained in print since the early 1940s.

The Buddhist Publication Society in Kandy, Sri Lanka, has published the work since 1967 in several editions. This latest version contains several minor changes in terminology authorized by the present writer [Bhikkhu Bodhi].

Christine Chan and her friends in the Buddhist Communities in Malaysia, as well as Rev. Suddhinand Janthagul from Thailand, who helped in the proofreading of the Pali texts, deserve our congratulations and appreciation for their hard work in transcribing the book and for making it available for free distribution.

I am sure this book will prove an invaluable road map for anyone who has entered the steep and rugged road of satipatthana meditation, leading to final liberation from all suffering.
- Bhikkhu Bodhi

SUTRA: The Discourse on the Arousing of Mindfulness
The Origin of the Discourse on the Only Way
Thus have I heard. At one time the Blessed One [the Buddha] was living [among] the Kurus, at Kammasadamma, a market-town of the Kuru people.
Then he addressed the monastics: "This is the only way, O meditators, for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the destruction of suffering and grief, for reaching the right path, for the attainment of nirvana, namely, the Four Arousings of Mindfulness."
"What are the four?
"Here, meditators, a meditator lives contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending (it) and mindful (of it), having overcome covetousness and grief with regard to the world.

"One lives contemplating feelings in feelings, ardent, clearly comprehending (them) and mindful (of them), having overcome covetousness and grief with regard to the world.

"One lives contemplating consciousness in consciousness, ardent, clearly comprehending (it) and mindful (of it), having overcome covetousness and grief with regard to the world.

"One lives contemplating mental objects in mental objects, ardent, clearly comprehending (them) and mindful (of them), having overcome covetousness and grief with regard to the world."

1. The Contemplation of the Body
"And how, O meditators, does a meditator live contemplating the body in the body? 
"Here, O meditators, a meditator, having gone to the forest, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty place, sits down, bends legs crosswise on the lap, keeps body erect, and arouses mindfulness with regard to the object of meditation, namely, the breath which is in front.
"Mindful, one breathes in, and mindful, one breathes out. One, thinking, 'I breathe in long' understands when breathing in long. Or thinking, 'I breathe out long' understands when breathing out long. Or thinking, 'I breathe in short' understands breathing in short. Or thinking, 'I breathe out short' understands when breathing out short.
"'Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe in,' thinking thus, one trains oneself. 'Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe out,' thinking thus, one trains oneself. 'Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe in,' thinking thus, one trains oneself. 'Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe out,' thinking thus, one trains oneself.
"Just as a clever [wood] turner or a turner's apprentice, turning long, understands, 'I turn long' or, turning short, understands, 'I turn short,' just so, indeed, O meditators, a meditator, when one breathes in long, understands, 'I breathe in long' or, when one breathes out long, understands, 'I breathe out long,' or, when one breathes in short, one understands, 'I breathe in short,' or when one breathes out short, one understands, 'I breathe out short.'

"One trains oneself with the thought, 'Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe in.' One trains oneself with the thought, 'Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe out.' One trains oneself with the thought, 'Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe in.' One trains oneself with the thought, 'Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe out.'
"Thus one lives contemplating the body in the body internally, or one lives contemplating the body in the body externally, or one lives contemplating the body in the body internally and externally. One lives contemplating origination-things in the body, or one lives contemplating dissolution-things in the body, or one lives contemplating origination-and-dissolution-things in the body. Or indeed one's mindfulness is established with the thought, 'The body exists' to the extent necessary just for [insight] knowledge and remembrance, and one lives independent and clings to nothing in the world.

"Thus, also, O meditators, a meditator lives contemplating the body in the body."
"And further, O meditators, when one is going, a meditator understands, 'I am going.' When one is standing, one understands, 'I am standing.' When one is sitting, one understands, 'I am sitting.' When one is lying down, one understands, 'I am lying down.' Or just as one's body is disposed, so one understands it. More

Black metal: "Lords of Chaos" (video)

Ahrya Fine Arts, Beverly Hills; FilmWeek; Seth Auberon, Wisdom Quarterly

The story of true Norwegian black metal and its most notorious practitioners -- a group of young men with a flair for publicity, church-burning, and murder: MAYHEM.

Oslo, 1987, 17-year-old Euronymous is determined to escape his idyllic Scandinavian hometown and create “true Norwegian black metal” with his band, MAYHEM. He’s joined by equally fanatical youths, Dead and Varg. Believing that they’re on the cusp of a musical revolution, the group gets even darker driven by the black metal dogma to spread evil.

They begin burning down churches throughout the countryside and stealing tombstones for their record store. But when the press catches up with them and Euronymous takes more credit than he’s earned for the group’s violent acts, Varg, fresh out of jail, arranges a dark encounter to settle the score and ultimately determine who the darkest black metal musician is. Tickets

FilmWeek on AirTalk (, Feb. 15, 2019) is a one-hour weekly segment looking at films, offering movie reviews, filmmaker interviews, and discussions on various aspects of the film industry. Today's film is all about extremely heavy Scandinavian metal and the kids who took (take) it very seriously:

(VICE) It's true: true Norwegian black metal and chaos

"Lords of Chaos" (Noisey) is a teenager's quest to launch Norwegian black metal in Oslo in the early 1990s. It results in very violent outcomes. In theaters Feb. 8, 2019 (On Demand Feb. 22, 2019). Directed by Jonas Åkerlund. CAST: Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Jack Kilmer, Sky Ferreira, and Valter Skarsgård. WEBSITE: Like "Lords of Chaos" on,,

Birds of Passage

The Image Book
A Tuba to Cuba


Scots Festival, Los Angeles (Feb. 16-17)

ScotsFest (; Pat Macpherson, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly

Eighty-eight years ago, in the quaint seaside town of Clydebank, Scotland, construction began on the Queen Mary. Exemplifying the finest craftsmanship of the country, the Queen Mary’s heritage is celebrated throughout the two-day ScotsFestival honoring Scottish culture.
The Queen Mary is pleased to welcome back the annual ScotsFestival & International Highland Games XXVI February 16 & 17 (9AM - 6PM). Experience the rich culture and history of Scotland first hand through an array of authentic activities, athletics, dancing, entertainment and cuisine, paying homage to the Queen Mary’s Scottish legacy.
ScotsFestival honors nearly fifty Scottish clans & vendors throughout the weekend with professional and amateur competitions in piping, drumming, massed bands, darts, Highland dancing, and the brand new North American Professional Highland athletics. The Scottish Highland Games, a precursor to today’s Olympic Games, were designed to test the strength, skill, and technique of ancient warriors through face-offs. With falconry, sheep herding and a large array of other activities, guests will have culture at every turn!
Whisky tasting sessions with aged malt experts are available for adult festivalgoers while the wee laddies & lassies can bear witness to Queen Mary’s coronation, knighting ceremonies, and even take part in the Wee Highland games.
This February, join us for our 26th annual ScotsFestival celebration. More: 2019 schedule and official guide map

1984: Troubles continue in Burma

Associated Press (; Andrew Win, Crystal Q. (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Kyi Lin, center, the gunman who shot a prominent Muslim lawyer who was a close adviser of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, is escorted by police at Yangon Northern District Court in Yangon, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 (AP).

George Orwell, who wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four, was talking about England and Burma, then under British rule as part of India, and the troubles and police state he described are still going strong. Of course, the book best describes life in the USA as a surveillance state somewhat akin to Huxley's Brave New World.

Court sentences 2 to death for killing Suu Kyi aide
RANGOON, Burma - A court in Burma (a.k.a. Myanmar) on Friday sentenced two men to death for the [assassination] of a prominent Muslim lawyer who was a close adviser to the country's top leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Yangon (Rangoon) Northern District Court found the gunman, Kyi Lin, guilty of premeditated murder and illegal weapons possession for the Jan. 29, 2017 shooting of Ko Ni in broad daylight at Yangon airport. An accomplice involved in planning the killing was also sentenced to death, and two other men involved in the crime received prison sentences.
A fifth suspect thought to be the crime's mastermind remains at large. Ko Ni was shot in the head at close range on Jan. 29, 2017, as he walked out of the airport after returning from a working trip to Indonesia. Closed-circuit television footage showed he was shot near a taxi stand as he held his 5-year-old grandchild.
Onlookers chased down the gunman, catching him only after he also shot dead a taxi driver who was one of his pursuers. An ex-convict previously imprisoned for illegally trading in antiquities such as sculptures of Buddha, Kyi Lin also received a 20-year sentence for killing the taxi driver.
The death penalty in Myanmar is carried out by hanging but no executions appear to have been carried out since 1988. Many prisoners on death row have had their sentences commuted. The failure to apprehend the crime's alleged mastermind left many questions about the motivation for the killing, especially with the defendants offering contradictory testimony.
Speculation about the reasons Ko Ni was targeted focused on two possibilities. Ko Ni was noted for criticizing army interference in politics and advised Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy on ways to get around articles in the army-imposed constitution that give the military wide powers even after Myanmar's transition to democracy. Her party got around a ban on her becoming president by simply creating a new executive post, state counsellor, with presidential powers.

The fact that two of the defendants are former army officers fueled theories that the military was involved with the crime, an accusation it denies. As a prominent advocate for the Muslim minority in overwhelmingly Buddhist Myanmar, Ko Ni was also a target of abuse from ultra-nationalist Buddhist monks and their allies, some of whom publicly gloated after his death.

Burma has been gripped by anti-Muslim sentiment in recent years after deadly communal violence in the western state of Rakhine, home to many Muslims from the Rohingya ethnic minority. More

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Eckhart Tolle: How to control emotional triggers (video)

Eckhart Tolle (, Feb. 8, 2019); Ashley Wells, Crystal Q., Wisdom Quarterly

How do I keep from being triggered?
How can I be aware of my aggressive ego prior to it arising? Eckhart Tolle (toe-lay) explains that as we develop deeper Presence [a kind of "mindfulness" or sati], the gap between an ego assertion and becoming aware of it will shorten. To strengthen our awareness of ego, he suggests practicing Presence in everyday situations so you can notice being taken over by the "pain-body." To find greater fulfillment in life, see: Interested in diving deeper into Eckhart Tolle's work? Enjoy a FREE 10-DAY TRIAL to "Eckhart Tolle Now": Check out some other playlists, such as meditation:

Alan Watts: Society is a hoax (video)

Alan Watts via TheSpiritualLibrary; Pat Macpherson, Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Alan Watts: Society is a HOAX; take control of your life
Listening [persistent unbiased attention] is an action [during] which the miracle of understanding takes place. If I may turn aside for a moment, I think it is important to understand what it means to listen. For then, perhaps, what is being said will have a meaning beyond the ]words. It seems to me [Jiddu Krishnamurti] that very few of us ever do listen. We do not know how to listen. I wonder if you have ever really listened to your child, to your wife or husband, or to a bird? I wonder if you have ever listened to the mind as it watches a sunset, or if you have read a poem with an attitude of listening? If we know how to listen, that very listening is an action in which the miracle of understanding takes place. If we know how to listen to what is being said, we shall discover whether it is true or false. And what is true, one does not have to accept: It is so. It is only when there is contention between the false and the false that there is acceptance and rejection, agreement and disagreement.

Snowden explains who really rules USA (video)

Howskii deMaverick; Pfc. Sandoval, Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Edward Snowden explains who really rules the United States of America
“I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things... I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under”
''I'm willing to sacrifice [my former life] because I can't in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, internet freedom, and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building..."
BIO: Edward Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is a former National Security Agency (NSA) sub-contractor who made headlines in 2013 when he leaked top secret information about NSA surveillance activities. He worked for the NSA through sub-contractor Booz Allen in the organization's Oahu office. During his time there Snowden collected top-secret documents regarding NSA domestic surveillance practices that he found disturbing. After Snowden fled to Hong Kong, China, and met with journalists from The Guardian and filmmaker Laura Poitras, newspapers began printing the documents that he had leaked, many of them detailing the monitoring of American citizens.

Fundamentals of Vipassana (Insight) Meditation

Ven. Mahāsi Sayādaw, Fundamentals of Vipassanā Meditation, Maung Tha Noe (trans.) via; Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells, Crystal Q. (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

What do we meditate on [to] develop insight?

This is a very important question. There are two kinds of Buddhist meditation -- meditating to develop calm and meditating to develop insight.

Meditating on the ten meditative devices only gives rise to calm rather than insight. Meditating on the ten foul things (i.e., an unsightly swollen corpse), too, only gives rise to calm, not insight.

The Ten Recollections, like remembering the Buddha, the Dharma, and others, too, can develop calm but not insight.

Meditating on the 32 parts of the body -- like hair, nails, teeth, skin -- these too are not insight. They develop only calm concentration.

Mindfulness (sati) of breathing is also concentration-developing, but one can develop insight from it as well. The Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga), however, includes it in the concentration subjects, so we will call it as such here.
Then there are the Four Divine Abidings (brahma-viharas) -- love, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity -- and the Four Formless States leading to formless meditative absorptions (jhānas).

Then, there is the meditation on the loathsomeness of food.  All of these are subjects for concentration-meditation.

Venerable Burmese scholar-monk Mahasi Sayadaw
When one meditates on the Four Elements inside the body, it is called the "analysis of the Four Elements." Although this is a concentration-meditation, it helps develop insight as well.
All of these 40 subjects of meditation are subjects for developing concentration. Only mindfulness of breathing and analysis of the Four Elements have to do with insight.

The others will not give rise to insight. If one wants insight, one will have to work further.
To come back to the question, How do we develop insight? The answer is that we develop insight by meditating on the Five Aggregates of Clinging.

The mental and material ("name-and-form," nama-rupa) qualities inside beings are aggregates of clinging. They may be grasped with delight by craving, in which case it is called "grasping of the sense objects" -- or they may be grasped wrongly by wrong views -- in which case it is called "clinging through wrong views."

One has to meditate on them and see them as they truly are. If one does not, one will grasp them with craving and wrong views.

Once we see them as they truly are, we will no longer cling to them them. In this way one develops insight. We will discuss the Five Aggregates of Clinging in detail. More 


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Whose is this Buddhism?

Ajahn Khamdee via Ven. Sujato; Dhr. Seven, Ellie Askew, Crystal Q. (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

[Who is the] Owner of Practice?
Thank you for the Dharma.
There are three sorts of Dharma: the Dharma of theory, the Dharma of practice, and the Dharma of attainment.

The Dharma of theory refers to the teachings of the Buddha: the discourses (sutras), the (monastic) discipline, and the higher teachings (Abhidharma), all "84,000" sections of the Pali language canon. This sort of Dharma is everyone's common property.

As for practice and attainment, they're the individual property of those who do them.

The Dharma as the teachings: sutras/discourses.
For example, [one of the Buddha's four chief disciples, two of them nuns, two of them monks like] Ven. Moggallana's practice was his own practice. His attainment of the paths and fruitions leading to nirvana was his own attainment.

The same holds true for [the other chief male disciple] Ven. Sariputra and each of the noble disciples, all the way down to all of us practicing here [and now].

The practice and attainments of each person are that person's very own. It's like our own land and fields. They belong to us individually; they are not common property.

[Therefore, it is wise to take our common property and make it our own, take the Dharma (teaching) and make it our own. For our practice of it and attainment through it will be our own. Only then will we really benefit from what the Buddha made known.]

The Essence of the Heart (Ajahn Chah)

Ajahn Chah (; Ven. Sujato; Dhr. Seven, Ellie Askew (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Mother, who is that man? - Rahula, that is your father, who is not the Buddha.
If you want to find Dharma, it has nothing to do with forests or mountains or caves. It’s only in the heart. It has its own language of experience.

There is a great difference between concepts and direct experience. With a glass of hot water, whoever puts his or her finger into it will have the same experience — "hot" — which may be called by many terms in different languages.

Similarly, whoever looks deeply into the heart will have the same experience, no matter what a person's nationality, culture, or language may be.

If in your heart you come to that taste of Truth, of Dharma, then you become like one big family — like mother and father, sisters and brothers — because you’ve tasted that essence of the heart, which is the same for all.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Chi Energy Secrets revealed (Valentine's Day)

Ananda M. (Dharma Meditation Initiative), Dhr. Seven, Ellie Askew (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Love (metta) is what we are about.
What is the Buddhist view of romantic love? Study meditation on Valentine's Day this year as we connect (one of Dr. Lustig's "4C's") with one another. Guest reveals secrets of QiGong and Reiki (energy healing). We can learn to heal ourselves and gain clarity and evolve spiritually. We'll see a hands on demonstration of polarity energization and balancing then practice. Question and answers, vegan snacks, kombucha, and socializing. FREE to those who RSVP:

Pleasure versus Happiness (video)

Steve Cutts; Dr. Robert Lustig (; Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly

PLEASURE vs HAPPINESS If you’re confused between happiness and pleasure, don’t feel alone. Search “pleasure” and what you’ll read is “a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.” Money can buy you pleasure, but happiness has to come from somewhere else. If you’ve been told your entire life that pleasure is happiness, then you’re in [big trouble]. Pleasure is short-lived, visceral, usually experienced by oneself, achievable with substances. Happiness, by contrast, is often the opposite—long-lived, ethereal (purposeful, transcendent), often experienced in meaningful social groups, and cannot be achieved through substances. Pleasure is taking, while happiness is giving. - Dr. Robert Lustig More

Mindvalley: "evolve" with mentoring (video); Crystal Q., CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

Buddhist monk teaching at MindValley
Create "extraordinary levels" of success by shifting the two core aspects that define you as a human being - your beliefs and your habits. At Mindvalley Mentoring each class is based on the transformational theory of “consciousness engineering” where one learn s to model some of the world’s top minds by going deep into:
  • Their beliefs about life and the world or what we call their “Models of Reality”
  • Their daily habits which create their success or what we call their “Systems for Living”

How Mindvalley Mentoring Works


Discover the Consciousness Engineering framework for speeding up learning


Gain powerful and applicable insights from Great Minds (100+ trainings and growing)


Experience dramatic improvements to your health, wealth, mind, and spirit More

Eden Energy Medicine (video)

Eden Energy Medicine (; Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly

"Your body is designed to heal itself. The ability of a body to maintain its health and overcome illness is, in fact, among nature's most remarkable feats." -Donna Eden and David Feinstein's award-winning guide Energy Medicine

Donna Eden is on a mission
After figuring out how to direct her own energies to heal herself in her early 30s, Eden has dedicated her life to empowering people to tune into their own subtle, healing energies using Energy Medicine. Read more about her journey. Energy medicine and its benefits are not reserved for gifted healers, doctors, or alternative-health experts. We ALL have the ability to use our life-force energy to create mind-body shifts that can transform our lives. More

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The problem with beauty (sutra)

Samuel Beal (trans.) Dhammapada Verses and Their Origin Stories, "33. Advantageous Service" ( edited by Dhr. Seven, Sayalay, Wisdom Quarterly
Beauty? It's only skin deep. But that's pretty deep when you're beautiful (D.M.I.).
What's the big deal? So what if I'm pretty?
Formerly the Buddha, along with his followers, having gone to the kingdom of Kosambī, took up residence in the monastic compound (vihara) called Mi-yin ("lovely sound"). There he preached the Dharma for the sake of [unseen] "shining ones" (devas) and humans.

At that time the king of the country was Udayana (Yau-tien), whose queen was of remarkably pure character. Having heard that the Buddha had come to his kingdom, the king and the queen, with her attendants, went to visit him. Having paid him the usual  respectful salutations, they sat down and the Buddha, for their sake, began to teach to show the impermanence, disappointment, and vanity of things, from which all our misery comes.

Then he illustrated how heavenly rebirths were the reward of merit (virtue) and hellish ones the result of demerit (unwholesome actions). In consequence of this discourse (sutra) both the king and queen came to accept the Five Precepts of a lay-disciple then returned to the palace.

Now at this time there was a certain Brahmin [caste man] named Kih-sing ("lucky star"), who had a daughter incomparable for beauty, just 16 years old. On her account the Brahmin, for 90 days, exposed a heap of 1,000 gold masurans and challenged anyone to find a single fault in her so that whoever could do so would get the gold. No one was able to, so desiring to find someone fit for her to marry, the Brahmin again challenged anyone to bring a man equal to his daughter in grace. To him he would give his daughter as a wife.

Now, having heard that the family of the shaman Gautama, known as the Shakyians [Scythians], were remarkable for their beauty and therefore fit to possess his daughter, he came to the place where the Buddha was staying. Taking his daughter with him, after the usual salutations, he said:

"My daughter is extremely beautiful, unequalled in womanly grace. You also, Gautama, are remarkable for your beauty. You may, therefore, have my daughter and make her your companion (wife).”

The Buddha's beauty
The beauty of a buddha is incomparable.
The Buddha replied: “Your daughter's beauty, sir, is according to your own estimation, whereas my beauty is according to that of the buddhas. My beauty and a woman's beauty are wholly different. Your daughter's loveliness, sir, is like that of the picture on the jar (vessel), in the middle of which there is only filth and excrement. How can that be considered as 'beauty' that belongs only to the eyes, the ears, the nose, the mouth, the body? It is this 'beauty' of external (outside) form that causes disappointment, overturns families, destroys kinship, sacrifices relationships, kills children. All of these come from this [love of] womanly beauty. But I am a shaman. I stand by myself and would rather endure any calamity than comply with your request. Sir, you may go. I decline your offer.”

Shhh, what the old king doesn't know won't...
At this the Brahmin, who was very irate, departed. Then, coming into the presence of the king, he expanded on his daughter's beauty and offered her to the king. The king, very pleased at the 16-year-old's appearance, accepted her and made her his second queen.

He weighed her down with presents and jewelry. Nevertheless, his mind began to fill with jealous thoughts on account of the young beauty, and discontentment and dislike grew for his first queen.

This at last persuaded him to send for her on a certain occasion to indulge her fancy (knowing that she would not come). When the king sent for her, the first queen declined to appear on the grounds that she was engaged in some spiritual exercise (fasting) and so for several occasions.

The king, enraged by that, sent a man with a rope to drag her into his presence. When she was brought in, he took his bow and arrow and shot her through the body. But the arrow he discharged returned again towards the king and did her no harm. And so it happened again and again.

At this the king, filled with astonishment (awe and fear), said to her: “By what magic power have you been able to bring this about?”

She replied: “I have but taken guidance (sarana) in the Three Gems and the whole day have been engaged in spiritual observances (fasts), and on this account the World-Honored One [the Buddha] has protected me.”

At this the king exclaimed, “Wonderful!” Dismissing the beautiful, young second queen, he sent her back to her parents and re-established the first queen in undisputed authority. Then, with the queen's attendants, he went to see the Buddha and, after due salutations, he explained to him what had happened, at which the Buddha (after a short sutra) repeated these lines:
“If heaven were to rain down the seven precious items, yet the covetous person would not be satisfied. That person's pleasure would be little but the sorrow much. The wise person, possessed of virtue, although possessing the pleasures of heaven, would wisely let them go and not covet them. One who finds happiness in removing thoughts of lustful enjoyment, this person is the [real] disciple of the Buddha.”
Then the Buddha explained to the king the inevitable result of an unwholesome life: it would redound 10,000 times more miserably on the guilty person, while the reward of spiritual exertions and self-improvement [unselfishness] would certainly be the enjoyment of heaven.

Having spoken, the king and queen and their attendants realized perfect release (enlightenment) and became partakers of the Paths.

Best song of 2018? (video)

Hellcat Records (, May 1, 2018; Editors, Wisdom Quarterly
Y'guys are high if yous think it's The Interrupters' "She's Kerosene"! Recount. Who did the voting anyway? Guys, it should be a country hit, good ol' American ranching and cow killing music.

"She's Kerosene" by The Interrupters is from the album Fight the Good Fight, available now. Directed by Tim Armstrong. Director of Photography Kevin Kerslake. Produced by Dan Hodge. Official website:, facebook, twitter, instagram.

"i’m a match, she’s kerosene, you know she’s gonna burn down everything, she’s an arsonist, in her pastime, and i’ve been burned for the last time, it started out like any other morning, the sky was red, he took it as a warning, she kicked the hive, now the bees are swarming, then played the victim 'til the crowd starts forming, she’s got a history of making a scene, yeah she’s telling stories, she’s gaslighting, like he’s the executioner and she is the queen, but he’s the one who’s neck is in a guillotine, he said i’m a match, she’s kerosene, you know she’s gonna burn down everything, she’s an arsonist, in her pastime, and i’ve been burned for the last time, the smoke clears out, and he’s been awakened. he said this life could be mine for the taking, she needs a drink so she start shaking, and play the victim, 'til his heart starts breaking, no real tears cause she don’t mean it, this landscape used to be so scenic, and he could make it out, if he could dream it. rising up from the ash, he’s a phoenix, i’m a match, she’s kerosene, you know she’s gonna burn down everything, she’s an arsonist, in her pastime, and i’ve been burned for the last time, you play with me, you're playin' with fire."
UPCOMING SHOWS February 27 - Phoenix, AZ @ Velvet Jones March 1 - Dallas, TX @ Tree's March 2 - Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live March 3 - Austin, TX @ Mohawk (Outdoors) March 4 - New Orleans, LA @ Parish at House of Blues March 7 - Destin, FL @ Club LA March 8 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution March 9 - Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum March 10 - Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade March 12 - Richmond, VA @ The National March 14 - Boston, MA @ House Of Blues (w/ Dropkick Murphy's) March 15 - Asbury Park, NJ @ Stone Pony March 16 - Silver Springs, MD @ The Fillmore March 17 - New York, NY @ Irving Plaza March 19 - Quebec, QUE @ Imperial Bell March 20 - Montreal, QUE @ Club Soda March 22 - Toronto, ONT @ Danforth Music Hall March 23 - London, ONT @ London Music Hall March 24 - Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom March 28 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls March 29 - Indianapolis, IN @ Deluxe at Old National Ctr. March 30 - Chicago, IL @ House Of Blues April 1 - St. Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall April 2 - Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall April 3 - Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater April 5 - Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre April 6 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot