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Useful Buddhist Links

Snow Lion Publications Here: Books, jewelry, statues, ritual items etc.

The Engaged Zen Foundation Here : Buddhist Prison Ministries.

Dharma Crafts Here: Craft items, books, statuary, ritual items, etc.







Part of the Mandala ceremony done at the completion of the sand painting. Prayers and chants in preperation of the destruction of the mandala.

The picture below shows the monks hard at work at the creation of the sand painting. This particular painting took over two days to complete.


Here I am with the monks posing for a picture. My shirt contrasts rather brightly with the maroon of the monks robe and so it does it look a bit 'photoshopped' but that wasn't the case.



More to come.



From My Blog

Beyond Good and Evil

Every once in a while you wake up and you learn something that you didn't know before. A bit of information that gives you pause. Someone you know dies. A shock, a tragedy, something not expected. You feel bad, shaken and upset. What if somebody dies that you don't like. Do you cheer? If you are religious do you think about the will of god or the workings of karma? Would you feel smug about it as the death of someone you don't like confirms your vast and secure theories of the universe? That would certainly be arrogant and self delusional of you to think. What if that person who dies is someone you wished was dead. What if the level of dislike and distaste you have for the person is as high as can be, would you feel happy, vindicated, triumphant over the death of the person you despise? What kind of a person would that make you then? Would that make you an evil person? If you felt your life had been destroyed by that person, now dead, would you be an evil person if you felt happy with the knowledge of their death? What is the level of harm that one person can do to you that makes you alright with being happy they are dead? What if you believed that the dead person wished you dead? An eye of the beholder sort of determination? What if you knew all of that and had fleeting feelings of happiness or whatever you might want to call it and then seeing yourself in that instant, felt remorse and afterwards felt bad for feeling good. Perhaps you could then detatch yourself from any feelings and you went beyond good and evil over it. How on earth would that even be possible? Is it possible to feel enough Buddhist detatchment over the whole thing that you could remove yourself from judgment over it?


A good friend lost
Now Playing: Caroline Néron - Dans Nos Yeux

As happens once in a while, a friend from a few years back contacts me to catch up, touch base, say hello. My website and my listing in the alumni page at the University of Dayton School of Law leave a trail there for anyone who might care to find me and speak with me. Careful planning makes it so, unfortunately and for a number of reasons I don't often try to find old friends and old classmates. A LexisNexis search, a run through Google or a look through the alumni directory would be sufficient for me to find anyone I would desire to find but I don't do it. There is always time. Time sometime later to make that small effort. So as a result I don't look up people. There is always time right? Yah. Well a friend of mine, Marc did take the time to look me up and it was good to hear from him. In our emails back and forth he mentions a fellow classmate, Andy Johnson or as was the running joke for us "Andy's Johnson."

Andy was a tall, gangly fellow with the disposition of a puppy. We'd constantly make our "Andy's Johnson," clever remarks and he'd smile and never took offense and we never meant any. He was a fellow who seemed not to have a hostile bone in his body and it seemed to me that it would never occur to him to say a bad word about anyone. When he would talk it seemed like he was always laughing even when he wasn't. A smile on his face and he'd always be genuinely glad to see you. When he would tell a joke it was like he was a little kid saying something he knew that grownups would disapprove of so his jokes or something funny were told only after he looked around to make sure that someone who might take offense would be out of earshot.

At the end of a long hard week in class he'd come down to the local watering hole that some of us had taken as our own. BW3's on Friday after class was where we would grab some hot wings, some happy hour beer and Curtis, Johanna, Shaun, others, we'd pull some tables together, enough to accommodate however many of us would show up. Andy would laugh with us and we'd talk about what funny things happened in class. Sometimes he'd get a bit excited, a beer or two down the evening and when he wanted to say something and his words were tripping around on his tongue his eyes would sparkle and the smile on his face would broaden as if to acknowledge that he thought he was being a bit foolish or silly. But we would slap him on his back, laugh at his jokes and generally do the things that friends would do with each other as we recognize everyone who would want to be in the conversation and who would likewise have a patience and joy with us.
I can't begin to tell you how wonderful a person Andy was or how everyone instantly liked him. It's like you can instantly sense who is a good hearted person and who you would like to think of you as a good hearted and good person. I know I thought very well of him and he was the kind of person you hoped thought well of you. He was also the kind of person whose friendship you didn't have to buy. This speaks to a character flaw of mine, I took it for granted that he would be there with a smile and a happy hug for me whenever I did get around to seeing him or contacting him. I know he was the kind of man who would be there for me if I was the kind of person who asked anyone for help or support. A good man with a good soul and a huge heart. My friend Marc told me that he had finally gotten a nice job in Ohio and was on his way to work one morning when he got in a car accident. Andy died that morning. Marc tells me that he thinks about Andy often. I haven't stopped thinking about Andy since hearing about this untimely end to this good young man.

There is no question in my mind that life is not fair. Evil people live and prosper, good people who struggle and fight to get ahead in life die in car accidents. Life is short and brutish and it's a sack full of misery, pain, horror and suffering. A person like Andy makes you almost believe that isn't true, his warm smile and good heart carved a bit of hope and kindness into the world and he will be missed.

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