October 2014

"A Passion Not Tamed By Words" — (excerpt from) The Couples Tao Te Ching by William Martin

Painting by Lauri Blank

Spinning words together to create vows
will not unite two souls.
Pouring over words in marriage manuals
will not pour spirit into a relationship.
Words may speak of love
but they cannot create it.

The union of one soul with another
is born of a passion that must not be tamed by words.
Let your words be tools of this passion,
not barriers to it.

Words emerging from love's furnace
will be few but powerful.
A few words of understanding
may heal a wounded heart.
A few words of wisdom
may comfort a lonely soul.
A few words of sensuous longing
may kindle love's embraces.

William Martin’s Website

An Old Buddhist Story

An Old Buddhist Story

In ancient times there was a small village with a monastery nearby. One day, samurai warriors arrived and sacked the whole village. They took all the valuables, burned the homes, and killed all the people they met. Finally, they came to a monastery, and out in front of this monastery was an old Zen master. He is just sitting in the garden when a young samurai warrior comes up to him. The samurai pulls out his sword, holds it up over his head and says, “Old man, don’t you know that I have the power to kill you? I could lop off your head right now without even thinking of it.”

And the old man just looks up at him and replies, “Don’t you know that I could allow you to cut off my head right now without thinking of it?”

Now, at this the warrior drops his sword to his side for a moment. He’s never met someone who had no fear of his own death, and so this old man intrigues him. And the old man says, “Oh, look at how weak you are.” So once again the samurai lifts the sword over his head, and the old Zen master looks up at him and says, “That’s hell.” These words strike the samurai, and again he drops his sword; and the old man says, “And that’s heaven.” With that, the warrior bowed to the old Zen master and left him in peace.


"Prayer" (excerpt) THE LUNAR TAO by Deng Ming Dao

—“Do So In Prayer” by Samantha Rochard

by Deng Ming Dao

Prayer is simple.

Pressing your palms together is a universal gesture of prayer, benediction, gratitude, and humility. It signals that you are unifying all aspects of yourself and that you are completely present. No one can pick up a weapon or form a fist with palms pressed together. In prayer, there can be no aggression.

Some people doubt prayer. They declare that there are no gods to listen. Prayer works—because that higher part of ourselves is listening—and it works instantly: the very act of prayer is its own truth and its own reward.

We have to free ourselves of childish expectations; we must not pray like children whining to our parents. We must also reject any latent feudalism in our hearts: we still call our gods “lords” and act like serfs begging for consideration. Neither infantile wailing nor medieval supplication is the prayer we need.

Without a doubt, we all have problems. We all have misfortunes. We all face times that try us to our souls. Nevertheless, we cannot go to a temple and order up a solution by bargaining on our knees. In all of history there has never been a single person that the gods raised to float above the earth. Every person has had to walk on the ground, experiencing both good and bad.

We say “I need to pull myself together” when we’re frazzled. If we look at that statement literally, we can see how helpful it is to put our hands together. Press palm to palm, breathe deeply.

When you pray, there is no brand on you that says “Taoist," “Buddhist,” or “Confucianist.” Don’t worry about what kind of prayer you’re making. A sincere prayer is far more important than a crafted or dictated one.

You’re you, a whole person. Give yourself some time to be quiet at the end of each day. If you’re faced with a big decision, take refuge in silence. Put your hands together. Trust yourself to do the right thing. You’ll know instantly.

The gods will instantly appear because we came from One and
remain part of One.

Click Here for Deng Ming Dao’s Website

"Can’t" by Edgar Guest

“Manto Negro” by Paulo Themudo


Can’t is the worst word that’s written or spoken;
Doing more harm here than slander and lies;

On it is many a strong spirit broken,
And with it many a good purpose dies.

It springs from the lips of the thoughtless each morning
And robs us of courage we need through the day:

It rings in our ears like a timely sent warning
And laughs when we falter and fall by the way.

Can’t is the father of feeble endeavor,
The parent of terror and halfhearted work;

It weakens the efforts of artisans clever,
And makes of the toiler an indolent shirk.

It poisons the soul of the man with a vision,
It stifles in infancy many a plan;

It greets honest toiling with open derision
And mocks at the hopes and the dreams of a man.

Can’t is a word none should speak without blushing;
To utter it should be a symbol of shame;

Ambition and courage it daily is crushing;
It blights a man’s purpose and shortens his aim.

Despise it with all of your hatred of error;
Refuse it the lodgment it seeks in your brain;

Arm against it as a creature of terror,
And all that you dream of you someday shall gain.

Can’t is the word that is foe to ambition,
An enemy ambushed to shatter your will;

Its prey is forever the man with a mission
And bows but to courage and patience and skill.

Hate it, with hatred that’s deep and undying,
For once it is welcomed ’twill break any man;

Whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying
And answer this demon by saying: “I can.”