Saturday, May 30, 2015


In my opinion, the Bill of Rights and the freedoms enumerated therein and elsewhere are significant factors in making possible the spread of Buddha's Teaching and Practice in the USA and elsewhere in the West. I have briefly touched upon this in a number of places, including in a recent Dharma Talk "Freedom of Thought, Freedom from Thought" at 
and intend to clarify this further in future writings.

The following is from an interesting article about the Magna Carta and freedoms/rights:

"There was a divergence between English and American conceptions of Magna Carta. In the Old World, it was thought of, above all, as a guarantor of parliamentary supremacy; in the New World, it was already coming to be seen as something that stood above both Crown and Parliament. This difference was to have vast consequences in the 1770s.

The American Revolution is now remembered on both sides of the Atlantic as a national conflict—as, indeed, a “War of Independence.” But no one at the time thought of it that way—not, at any rate, until the French became involved in 1778. Loyalists and patriots alike saw it as a civil war within a single polity, a war that divided opinion every bit as much in Great Britain as in the colonies.

The American Revolutionaries weren’t rejecting their identity as Englishmen; they were asserting it. As they saw it, George III was violating the “ancient constitution” just as King John and the Stuarts had done. It was therefore not just their right but their duty to resist, in the words of the delegates to the first Continental Congress in 1774, “as Englishmen our ancestors in like cases have usually done.”

Nowhere, at this stage, do we find the slightest hint that the patriots were fighting for universal rights. On the contrary, they were very clear that they were fighting for the privileges bestowed on them by Magna Carta. The concept of “no taxation without representation” was not an abstract principle. It could be found, rather, in Article 12 of the Great Charter: “No scutage or aid is to be levied in our realm except by the common counsel of our realm.” In 1775, Massachusetts duly adopted as its state seal a patriot with a sword in one hand and a copy of Magna Carta in the other."

The full article is here:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Your Life is the Whole Universe

Elihu Genmyo Smith

Your life is the whole universe.

Our practice opportunity now is embodying this.

You are the boundless universe, this endless dimension life, this not-two – whether we recognize this or not. Unfortunately, self-centeredness leads us to miss this, even to deny this with actions, words, thoughts and reactions. This is called dualistic delusion. Please look closely at what is so for you – what are the consequences of your beliefs? This flower here now is the whole universe.

There is no you except “including” this universe – and ongoing practice nurtures awakening to this. Yes, we can and must be this awakening right now.

You are not “you” inside a container of skin and bones, inside emotions, thoughts and so forth; you are not “you” going about in a separate universe. And if you believe otherwise, if you believe that life is “you” going about in a separate universe, what are the consequences of that for you?

There is no you without the universe as is right now. Of course, provisionally there is no problem with all sorts of dualistic statements, beliefs and behaviors as long as we remember their provisional nature. There are consequences of using them as anything more than provisional.

Our life is ongoing Bodhisattvic Vows and Bodhisattvic effort - nurturing and supporting all we encounter in awakening as this universe moment now.

Right now includes conditions and circumstances we want and those we do not want, those so-called inside and so-called outside, so-called me and so-called not me. Though we may believe “wants” and “not wants” should make a difference in what is, attaching and clinging to these emotion-thought does not fundamentally change what is so. Attaching, clinging and craving does make for difficulty and suffering – which has results for you and those you encounter......

For the rest of this article go to:

(c) 2015 Elihu Genmyo Smith

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dharma Talks from May Sesshin

Opening Remarks  5/20/15
Not-Dependent  5/21/15
Freedom Of Thought, Freedom From Thought   5/22/15
Freedom Of Thought, Freedom From Thought, part 2  5/23/15
Three Phrases for Ongoing Practice   5/24/15

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Healing Results of Walking

Here are interesting results of studies and examples of walking labyrinths as a form of practice, a form of "meditation". These entangled pathways are being used in such diverse settings as hospitals and prisons. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Charlie Hebdo - PEN

I believe that freedom of speech is fundamental in having made possible the spread of Buddhist practice in the United States. I have been following with interest the Charlie Hebdo - Pen controversy and have found the following articles particularly insightful, especially since they come from writers with different political and ideological backgrounds. If you are interested, check them out.

This is a review of perspectives from France:

And here are some American perspectives:

And here is a later review and evaluation with appropriate links: