Eight Stanzas for Training the Mind

A Thought From His Holiness The Dalai Lama:

Photograph by Oscar Fernández featured in our Dalai Lama 2017 wall calendar.

Photograph by Oscar Fernández featured in our Dalai Lama 2017 wall calendar.

No matter whom I meet and where I go, I always give the advice to be altruistic, to have a good heart. From the time when I began to think until now, I have been cultivating this attitude of altruism. This is the essence of religion; this is the essence of the Buddhist teaching.

We should take this good heart, this altruism, as the very basis and internal structure of our practice and direct whatever virtuous activities we do toward its increase higher and higher. We should suffuse our minds with it thoroughly and use words or writings as means of reminding ourselves of the practice. Such words are the Eight Stanzas for Training the Mind, written by the Ga-dam-ba Ge-shay Lang-ritang- ba (1054 – 1123); they are very powerful even when practiced only at the level of enthusiastic interest.

I recite these verses every day and, when I meet with difficult circumstances, reflect on their meaning. It helps me .… If this helps your mind, practice it. If it does not help, there is no debate; just leave it. The dharma, or doctrine, is not for the sake of debate. These teachings were spoken by the great masters in order to help, not for people to quarrel with each other. Were I as a Buddhist to quarrel with a person of some other religion, then I think, if the Buddha were here today, he would scold me. The doctrine is to be brought into our own mental continuum for the sake of taming it.

In conclusion, my request, my appeal, is that you try as much as you can to develop compassion, love, and respect for others, share others’ suffering, have more concern for others’ welfare, and become less selfish. Whether you believe in God or not, in Buddha or not, does not matter. The important thing is to have a good heart, a warm heart, in daily life. This is the principle of life.

Eight Stanzas for Training the Mind

    1. With a determination to accomplish
      The highest welfare for all sentient beings
      Who surpass even a wish-granting jewel
      I will learn to hold them supremely dear.
    2. Whenever I associate with others I will learn
      To think of myself as the lowest among all
      And respectfully hold others to be supreme
      From the very depths of my heart.
    3. In all actions I will learn to search into my mind
      And as soon as an afflictive emotion arises
      Endangering myself and others
      Will firmly face and avert it.
    4. I will learn to cherish beings of ill nature
      And those oppressed by strong sins and suffering
      As if I had found a precious
      Treasure very difficult to find.
    5. When others out of jealousy treat me badly
      With abuse, slander, and so on,
      I will learn to take all loss
      And offer victory to them.
    6. When one whom I have benefited with great hope
      Unreasonably hurts me very badly,
      I will learn to view that person
      As an excellent spiritual guide.
    7. In short, I will learn to offer to everyone without exception
      All help and happiness directly and indirectly
      And respectfully take upon myself
      All harm and suffering of my mothers.
    8. I will learn to keep all these practices
      Undefiled by the stains of the eight worldly conceptions
      And by understanding all phenomena as like illusions
      Be released from the bondage of attachment.

All text from materials published by the Snow Lion imprint of Shambhala Publications and featured in our Dalai Lama wall calendar.


His Holiness the 14th Dalai LamaHis Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is both the head of state and the spiritual leader of Tibet, although he describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. He was born in 1935 and, at the age of two, was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama. In 1959, with the Chinese suppression of the Tibetan national uprising in Lhasa, His Holiness was forced into exile. Since then, he has been living in Dharamsala in northern India, the seat of the Tibetan political administration in exile.

In 1989 His Holiness was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent struggle for the liberation of Tibet. He is the first Nobel Laureate to be recognized for his concern for global environmental issues. He has received many awards, honorary doctorates, and other accolades in recognition of his message of peace, nonviolence, interreligious understanding, universal responsibility, and compassion. He is also the author of more than 70 books. For more information, please visit his website.


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Desktop Wallpaper Calendar — February 2017 — Free to Download

February is full of early spring surprises and holidays including Random Acts of Kindness week. Kindness can be food for the soul. Read more about this annual celebration.

Here are a few of the special days during this month:
1 – Feast of Saint Brighid
1 – Imbolc (Pagan/Wiccan)
1 – Vasant Panchami (Hindu)
2 – Groundhog Day
6 – Waitangi Day (New Zealand)
10 – Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
11 – Tu B’Shevat (Jewish)
12 – Lincoln’s Birthday
12-18 – Random Acts of Kindness Week
14 – Valentine’s Day
15 – Flag Day (Canada)
15 – Nirvana Day (Buddhist)
20 – Presidents’ Day
22 – Washington’s Birthday
25 – Maha Shivaratri (Hindu)
26 – Annular Solar Eclipse
27 – Great Lent (Orthodox Christian)
27 – Losar (Tibetan New Year)
28 – Mardi Gras

February Free Desktop Wallpaper

See download tips and system instructions below.

Mac Users: Click thumbnail image above to see a preview of the downloadable graphic. Then Ctrl+click that image and select the command “Save Image As” in the pop-up menu to save the image to your computer. Some browsers allow you to click and drag the image to your desktop. Then use your System Preferences to change the desktop.

Windows Users: Click thumbnail image above to see a preview of the downloadable graphic. Then right-click that image and select the command “Save Image As” in the pop-up menu to save the image to your computer. Some browsers allow you to click and drag the image to your desktop. Then use your Personalization Settings to change the desktop.

Note: Desktop wallpaper calendars are free for personal use only.


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Random Acts of Kindness Week

It’s that moment when we have become present and offered a kindness – or the intention of kindness –  where there’s a real transformation. — Tara Brach

Image from the Present Moment 2017 wall calendar published in partnership with our friends at Sounds True.

Image from the Present Moment 2017 wall calendar published in partnership with our friends at Sounds True. Photo © Katsiaryna Yudo.

Random Acts of Kindness Week, which will be observed February 12-18, 2017, is an annual opportunity to unite through kindness. Formally recognized in 1995, this seven-day celebration demonstrates that kindness is contagious. It all starts with one act — one smile, one coffee for a stranger, one favor for a friend. It’s an opportunity for participants to leave the world better than they found it and inspire others to do the same. Since inception, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation estimates that millions of individuals, celebrities, businesses, schools, and partners have participated in these weeklong celebrations.

Visit the foundation website to learn more about events in your area. Or you can simply make a personal commitment to practice more mindfulness during that week to create waves and waves of kindness in the world.

From the RAK Foundation website, here are some fun scientifically proven benefits of being kind:

KINDNESS IS TEACHABLE
“It’s kind of like weight training, we found that people can actually build up their compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others’ suffering with care and a desire to help.” (Dr. Ritchie Davidson,  University of Wisconsin)

KINDNESS IS CONTAGIOUS
The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to “pay it forward.” This means one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people!

KINDNESS INCREASES:

THE LOVE HORMONE
Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, occasionally referred to as the “love hormone” which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism, which is extra helpful when we’re feeling anxious or shy in a social situation.

ENERGY
“About half of participants in one study reported that they feel stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth” (Christine Carter, UC Berkeley, Greater Good Science Center)

HAPPINESS
A 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that people who are altruistic — in this case, people who were generous financially, such as with charitable donations — were happiest overall.

LIFESPAN
“People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.” (Christine Carter, Author, “Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents”)

PLEASURE
According to research from Emory University, when you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed — not the giver. This phenomenon is called the “helper’s high.”

SEROTONIN
Like most medical antidepressants, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy!

KINDNESS DECREASES:

PAIN
Engaging in acts of kindness produces endorphins — the brain’s natural painkiller!

STRESS
Perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age slower than the average population!

ANXIETY
A group of highly anxious individuals performed at least six acts of kindness a week. After one month, there was a significant increase in positive moods, relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance in socially anxious individuals. (University of British Columbia Study)

DEPRESSION
Stephen Post of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that when we give of ourselves, everything from life satisfaction to self-realization and physical health is significantly improved. Mortality is delayed, depression is reduced and well-being and good fortune are increased.

BLOOD PRESSURE
Committing acts of kindness lowers blood pressure. According to Dr. David R. Hamilton, acts of kindness create emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and, therefore, oxytocin is known as a “cardioprotective” hormone. It protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.


About the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

An international nonprofit, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, believes that kindness is key to making the world a better place. This nonpolitical, nonreligious organization leads the way by reminding people that they have a choice to be kind and provides them with free tools to make kindness common in their everyday lives.


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Lunar New Year — Preparing for the Chinese New Year Festival

Chinese New Year decorations

Photo by Warren R.M. Stuart / Flickr

Please don’t get overwhelmed, just choose a handful of preparations from below that thrill and excite you!

  • Do give your home a clear out and deep clean before the evening of January 27 which is the Eve of Chinese New Year’s (January 28 for 2017) — you absolutely want to clear out the old stagnant chi and welcome in fresh new energies! As you clean, imagine you’re sweeping away all illness, obstacles, bad luck, negative attitudes, and anything causing grief, stress, anxiety or frustration to members of your household or business. Dispose of anything broken or with unhappy memories. This is a time for your spaces to SPARKLE! GLIMMER! SHINE!
  • Repair and refresh any leaking faucets, squeaky door hinges, broken locks, burnt-out light bulbs, squeaking beds and so on. And toss any broken or cracked china or crockery — they bring bad luck.
  • If you have a red front door, give it a fresh coat of glossy vermillion red paint.
  • Schedule your hair cut and color, manicure and pedicure before Chinese New Year’s Eve so you don’t “cut” away any luck in the new year.
  • Send out your invitations for a special celebratory meal or celebration to occur anytime during the two-week Lunar New Year Festival which begins on January 28th, New Year’s Day. Have a noisy, uplifting and happy party with an abundance of food, music and laughter! Especially auspicious days for 2017 would be on January 27th or 28th; February 3, 4th or 11th.
  • Make amends with anyone with whom you’ve had a row or falling-out.
  • Start to pay down or off all your debts as best you can. And pay your current bills so you go into the New Year feeling debt-free.
  • Shop for new clothes for the New Year — ideally some red outfits or even just red accessories for the celebrations.
  • Treat your home and business to one piece of new furniture or décor so you’re continually up-leveling and refreshing the energy.
  • Start to find fifteen very special gifts, one for each day of the Chinese New Year, to woo your beloved one(s) and expressing your love, cherishing and care.
  • Send out some Chinese New Year greeting cards—snail mail, hand-delivered or email.
  • Treat yourself to a brand new red purse and wallet and fill it with lots of cash such as 108 or 27 crisp uncirculated bills or 9 or 27 gold one dollar coins. Add money from a wealthy person and 3 Coins on Red Ribbon.

    Gwynne WarnerGwynne Allyn Warner is the founder of 10,000 Blessings Feng Shui and practices Black Sect Tantric Buddhist Feng Shui as a disciple of Grandmaster Professor Lin Yun. She was certified as an Advanced Feng Shui Consultant by Helen and James Jay of Feng Shui Designs. Gwynne began her studies in Buddhism in her early twenties while living in London where she became enamored with Kuan Yin and thereafter received her Bodhisattva Vows with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Her expertise has been treasured by creative small businesses, service professionals, performing artists, Chinese medicine practitioners, healers, and interior designers among others. For more information and to sign up for her newsletter, please visit her website.


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Magical Garden Coloring Calendar Giveaway

Calendar Giveaway

We’re giving away 3 copies of the Magical Garden 2017 coloring wall calendar. Woohoo! You can enter to win by liking or commenting on this post on our Facebook page. We’ll randomly select 3 winners (US address entries only) on January 31, 2017, at 12:00 pm PT. The Magical Garden features illustrations by Lydia Hess.

 Like or comment on Facbook to enter>>


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90,000 More Trees Planted — 650,000 and Growing

90,000 trees planted

In our dedication to embrace the concepts of Right Livelihood and mindful living, Amber Lotus Publishing partners with Trees for the Future to replenish the resources used in crafting our products. Through this valuable partnership, we planted an additional 90,000 trees in 2016. This brings our total to 650,000 trees planted since 2008.

What began as a simple strategy to offset the number of trees used to produce our products has morphed into a fundamental component of our ongoing mission. As our president Lawson Day says, “We intend to continue planting as many trees as we can for as long as we can.”

Thank you for purchasing our calendars, greeting cards, and gifts. And for being a part of our mission.


Amber Lotus Publishing is proud to be a carbon-negative independent publisher. Read more about our efforts and philosophy of Art, Commerce, and Service.


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Happy Full Moon — January 2017

Full Moon January 2017


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Happy 2017 — Welcoming the New Year

Happy New Year

From all of us at Amber Lotus Publishing…
to all of you and your dear ones. ❤️