Monday, October 3, 2016


     The first time I tasted peanut butter cookies, I was at Tassajera Zen Mountain Center in California, and I loved them!  I learned that to make peanut butter cookies, you mix the ingredients to prepare the batter, and then you put each cookie onto a cookie sheet using a spoon.  I imagined that the moment each cookie leaves the bowl of dough and is place onto the tray, it begins to think of itself as separate.  You, the creator of the cookies, know better, and you have a lot of compassion for them.  You know that they are originally all one, and that even now, the happiness of each cookie is still the happiness of all the other cookies.  But they have developed "discriminative perception," and suddenly they set up barriers between themselves.  When you put them in the oven, they begin to talk to each other"  "Get out of my way.  I want to be in the middle."  "I am brown and beautiful and you are ugly!"  "Can't you please spread a little in that direction?"  We have the tendency to behave this way also, and it causes a lot of suffering.  If we know how to touch our nondiscriminating mind, our happiness and the happiness of others will increase manifold.

     We all have the capacity of living with nondiscriminating wisdom, but we have to train ourselves to see in that way, to see that the flower is us, the mountain is us, our parents and our children are all us.  When we see that everyone and everything belongs to the same stream of life, our suffering will vanish.  Nonself is not a doctrine or a philosophy.  It is an insight that can help us live life more deeply, suffer less, and enjoy life more.  We need to live the insight of nonself.

-Thich Nhat Hanh,  The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching:  Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation

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