Category Archives: Buddhism

Motoring to The Other Shore

ride 2 other shore~ d nelson

Dreaming of reaching the other shore
of Freedom & Enlightenment.
Once safely there, fulfilling the last letting go
of the supportive vessel which gets me there.

ride 2 other shore 3 ~d nelson

Being a dream, I fancied a vehicle,
a bit different from a hand-made raft (which itself is a metaphor for wisdom teachings & practice),
but rather like the one my uncle restored
in 1972 while listening to Beach Boys 45’s,
long ago when I was a kid.

ride 2 other shore 2

Confident that I’ll release this transport,
along with all desires & notions
once on the other shore,
I’m indulging now in a little model
fantasy of color, horsepower & chrome.

ride 2 other shore 5

Sweet, this dream of venturing on highways
inward to find that peaceful, distant peaceful shore.
Perhaps, with mind calm, this vehicle cleverly
decelerates slow enough to out-maneuver
fire’s smoke many of us are breathing,
and skillfully bring peace, understanding where there’s
injustice, hunger, anger & divisiveness, discrimination, misperceptions,
& sad circuses; going on in places high & low,
near, far & all around right where we’re cruisin’.

ride 2 other shore 7

“In the same way, monks, I have taught the Dharma compared to a raft, for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of holding onto. Understanding the Dharma as taught compared to a raft, you should let go even of Dharmas, to say nothing of non-Dharmas.” ~Buddha, Water-Snake Simile (simile of the raft), Alagaddūpama Sutta


May You Bloom Happily & Stay Fresh as the Dew

“To live in the world
with your heart undisturbed by the world,
with all sorrows ended, dwelling in peace —
this is the greatest happiness.” ~ from “Discourse on Happiness”

flowerfresh ~d nelson

Being out of the house
breathing pure, fresh air
seeing the beauty before me
helps my bloom, keeps me fresh.

Interesting that, for me, being indoors
staring at the computer
doesn’t make me feel as fresh
as does having the sky above, earth below
& reflecting on the guidance on happiness, below.

Yet I do get on-line to brief
myself on those latest events.
While such laments of suffering
fuel compassion, I can also feel blue,
despite the aspiration to have my heart
undisturbed, like a Buddha.

May you feel fresh, with inner happiness.
Savoring & taking refuge
in other’s freshness and blooms.
And may we all have more wise
than foolish ones to associate with
& offer compassionate guidance.

Discourse on Happiness

I heard these words of the Buddha one time when the Lord was living in the vicinity of Savatthi at the Anathapindika Monastery in the Jeta Grove. Late at night, a deva appeared whose light and beauty made the whole Jeta Grove shine radiantly. After paying respects to the Buddha, the deva asked him a question in the form of a verse:

“Many gods and men are eager to know
what are the greatest blessings
which bring about a peaceful and happy life.
Please, Tathagata (one of the Buddha’s names), will you teach us?”

(This is the Buddha’s answer):
“Not to be associated with the foolish ones,
to live in the company of wise people,
honoring those who are worth honoring —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To live in a good environment,
to have planted good seeds,
and to realize that you are on the right path —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To have a chance to learn and grow,
to be skillful in your profession or craft,
practicing the precepts and loving speech —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To be able to serve and support your parents,
to cherish your own family,
to have a vocation that brings you joy —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To live honestly, generous in giving,
to offer support to relatives and friends,
living a life of blameless conduct —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To avoid unwholesome actions,
not caught by alcoholism or drugs,
and to be diligent in doing good things —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To be humble and polite in manner,
to be grateful and content with a simple life,
not missing the occasion to learn the Dharma —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To persevere and be open to change,
to have regular contact with monks and nuns,
and to fully participate in Dharma discussions —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To live diligently and attentively,
to perceive the Noble Truths,
and to realize Nirvana —
this is the greatest happiness.

“To live in the world
with your heart undisturbed by the world,
with all sorrows ended, dwelling in peace —
this is the greatest happiness.

“For he or she who accomplishes this,
unvanquished wherever she goes,
always he is safe and happy —
happiness lives within oneself.” ~Buddha, Mahamangala Sutta, Sutta Nipata 1; translated by Thich Nhat Hanh, in Plum Village Chanting Book

Neighbor’s Peaceful Slow Down Action

Before starting the car,
I know where I am going.
The car and I are one.
If the car goes fast, I go fast.
meditation poem (gatha) ~Thich Nhat Hanh

standing by her sign ~d nelson

standing by her sign ~d nelson

Aware how wonderful it is
to walk, moving slowly
feeling fully alive
step by step
on the earth
holding hands with loved ones,
a neighborhood comes together.

Realizing unsafe feelings
walking out on their sidewalk
in front of their houses
concern for children, adults & pets
neighbors now taking an action
using signs painted by children of many ages.

another peaceful sign 6

another peaceful sign 6

Please enjoy your drive
arriving happily with each breath.
No need to hurry
& sacrifice the journey’s joy
for the sake of arriving somewhere else
whether in space or time,
in that large, fast automobile.

A whole community can feel safer,
happier and more peaceful
when we simply slow down,
driving mindfully through
residential neighborhoods.

Am What I Ate & Will Eat

When we have peace, then we have a chance to save the planet. But if we are not united in peace, if we do not practice mindful consumption, we cannot save our planet ~Thich Nhat Hanh

pure pumpkin ~d nelson

pure pumpkin ~d nelson

You are what you eat
was the mantra infused
during undergrad dietitian training
many decades ago.
Filled with PRO, CHO, Fats, Vit, Min & water
felt nutritionally fit back then.
With daily walking & biking
felt physically fit, too.
No need to panic,
I’m organic.

scales don’t tell the whole truth!

Now seeing clearer
we are what we consume.
This precious winter squash
containing nothing less than
a true miracle of
sunshine, rain, earth, hard work
patience of time and good fortune
along with its ancestor’s seeds.
Can I prepare & eat it joyfully
with gratitude & reverence
for all the conditions
which give complete nourishment,
for my existence?

Slowly chewing each bite
30 or more times,
calling it by its true name
So many beings do not have enough to eat.
May I eat just enough
to keep up good health,
not become overweight
eating more than my fair share
of this precious earth’s bounty.

What comes in through my eyes,
ears, nose, taste & touch
also feed my body, mind, heart & soul.
May I consume so that health,
peace, happiness & well-being are maintained.
Aware that many websites, books, movies, songs
likely are not healthy for me or others.

My deepest desire is also a type of food.
By wanting to care for myself & help others be well,
acting to preserve our precious planet
& reverse the process of climate change,
I add my humble eating habits’ intention,
to your courageous eating habits’ intention,
to humanities potential awakening
– for a future to be possible
with mindful consumption,
one simple squash at a time.

Earth & Sky Leaning Upon Each Other

bird on a wire ~d nelson

bird on a wire ~d nelson

With conditions just right
our birds’ consciousness
touches suchness, nirvana,
the true nature of all phenomenon.
Observer and observed,
creation and creator,
suffering and compassion,
fear and safeness,
left and right
co-arising simultaneously;
just as earth & sky
lean upon each other
for their existence.

With insight of interbeing
our bird
is truly

sky'd redwoods

sky’d redwoods

Reality, as it is, is called suchness. Suchness means, ‘it is like that.’ You cannot describe it in terms of notions, especially notions of birth and death, being and non-being, coming and going. No word, no idea, no notion can describe reality: the reality of a table, the reality of a flower, the reality of a house, the reality of a living being. To meditate means to be invited on a journey of looking deeply in order to touch our true nature and to recognize that nothing is lost. Because of this we can overcome fear. The ultimate is the foundation of our being, the ground of being…….” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

autumn earth & sky

autumn earth & sky

To Teacher, with Love

We need to be aware of the suffering, but retain our clarity, calmness and strength so we can help transform the situation. ~Thich Nhat Hanh


thay-smiles, upon arrival at his root temple, Tue Hue, in VietNam, 2007 ~d nelson

Breathing in a calm breath I pass on the news that on November 11th 2014 Thay (endearing Vietnamese term for “teacher”), Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, experienced a severe brain hemorrhage, and for a period, falling into coma. According to Plum Village Monastery, Thay is receiving 24 hour intensive care from specialist doctors, nurses and from his monastic disciples. At present, Thay is still very responsive and shows every indication of being aware of the presence of those around him. He is able to move his feet, hands and eyes. There are signs that a full recovery may be possible. It has been asked that, besides compassionate prayers and meditations, the best way to support his recovery is to diligently continue practicing our mindfulness, concentration and insight, to cultivate freshness & solidity. The pioneer of the Engaged Buddhism movement was due to join Pope Francis and other world faith leaders for a historic summit at the Vatican this December 2nd, hosted by the Global Freedom Network, to take action against modern slavery and human trafficking.  His current status is posted at .


August 2009 I posted “Happy 4 me & U” about the publication of “Mindful Living Every Day”, available on Parallax Press. Many have commented how it has supported their mindfulness practice at home by helping friends and family understand these teachings and practices of love. In tribute to my teacher, my movie, for a short time, can be seen below.  May it support your aspiration of living with the energy of mindfulness, for the benefit of yourself and all beings.


Sweet Eve of the Dead & Dying

Enlightenment for a wave is the moment
the wave realizes that it is water.
At that moment, all fear of death disappears. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

eternal napping

eternal napping

In that small elm tree out front
still beats the original ancestral tree’s
heart energy.
A giving tree
for countless generations.

In me beats the heart of both parents,
each cell has dna back
to the beginning-less beginning.
Parents and ancestors
are worthy of remembering
what they did, what they hoped
how they succeeded and failed,
and how they continue on
in what I think, say and do.

Welcome Home

Welcome Home

Decorating town with reminders
of the dead and gone is a valuable expression.
Physically dead and gone, perhaps,
in their human form
but their actions, or karma, lives on.
Just look around and see
their legacies left behind,
legacies living on into the future.

I’d like to think I’ve learned
how to experience beauty and love
while gaining insight on reducing suffering
for myself, others and the world.
Despite good intentions and some diligence,
I’m not so sure about the insight
and to that I express some regret.

On this eve of my mother’s imminent passing
I’ll go and sing gentle lullabies of love
to help her sleep peacefully
for the ages,
body returning to the earth,
reuniting with parents, ancestors
and the original giving tree.
She did her best
with the conditions presented her.
Living on in so many ways,
including me,
& my doing my best to be
a beautiful continuation.