Image from our Dalai Lama 2017 wall calendar. Photograph © Kimimasa Mayama. Click image for more info.
There are many different philosophies, but what is of basic importance is compassion, love for others, concern for others’ suffering, and reduction of selfishness. I feel that compassionate thought is the most precious thing there is.
— H. H. the Dalai Lama, from Kindness, Clarity, and Insight
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Happy Vesak to all of our friends who are celebrating this holy day. ~ Blessings
This is the holiest of Buddhist holy days, celebrating the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death, or attaining of Nirvana. While these anniversaries are observed in all Buddhist countries, they are not always celebrated on the same day. In Theravada Buddhist countries, all three anniversaries are marked on the full moon of Vaisakha. In Japan and other Mahayana Buddhist countries, the three anniversaries are usually observed on separate days—the birth on April 8, the enlightenment on December 8, and the death on February 15. Continue reading
Image from our Dalai Lama 2016 wall calendar. Photograph by Rusty Stewart. Click image for more info.
Continuous practice with continuing effort is essential when trying to implement Buddha’s teachings. Inner development naturally takes time and cannot be achieved within a short period. It is quite normal and completely to be expected, as I have confirmed from my own limited practice, that gaining even the smallest level of actual experience of what the teachings describe requires many years of unbroken hard work. So, naturally, we must make effort continuously, with courage and determination.
— H. H. the Dalai Lama, from The Gelug/Kagyü Tradition of Mahamudra
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Image from our Dalai Lama 2016 wall calendar. Photograph by Tenzin Choejor. Click image for more info.
Compassion is a mind wishing that sentient beings be free from suffering, and loving-kindness is a mind wishing they meet with happiness. Loving-kindness induces compassion, and compassion induces the special attitude. The special attitude here means that you not only mentally think how good it would be if sentient beings were free from suffering, but you voluntarily take responsibility for actually engaging in the work of delivering sentient beings to the state of liberation and helping them remove their suffering.
— H. H. the Dalai Lama
from The Stages of Meditation
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Image from the Thich Nhat Hanh 2016 wall calendar featuring artwork by Nicholas Kirsten-Honshin. Click image for more info.
We can start our day with the happiness of a smile and the aspiration to dedicate ourselves to the path of love and understanding.
Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand-new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.
—Thich Nhat Hanh
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Image from our Pema Chödrön 2016 wall calendar. Southern Oregon coast © Chip Phillips. Click image for more.
When you can smile at fear, there’s a shift: what you usually try to escape from becomes a vehicle for awakening you to your fundamental, primordial goodness, for awakening you to clear-mindedness, to a caring that holds nothing back.
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We have the honor of working with Nicholas Kirsten Honshin to produce the Zen Cat series of calendars and greeting cards (as well as his series with Thich Nhat Hanh). In his recent newsletter, Honshin shared stories about his fascinating background and the inspiration for his work. ~Amber Lotus
Artwork by Nicholas Kirsten Honshin from our Zen Cat 2016 wall calendar. Click image for more info.
“The way of peace is the way of liberation” — Nicholas Kirsten Honshin
The teachings of Nicholas Kirsten Honshin’s internationally-renowned Zen Cat Series are born in awareness and the oneness of existence. They demonstrate the love, peace, and joy that unfold in our hearts as we embrace the sacredness and beauty of all life. This acclaimed series has resulted in his best-selling Zen Cat Wall Calendar, which is a meditation in art and words on the interconnectedness of all life.
Honshin’s art is an expression of his personal journey. The Zen Cat series was born from both childhood experiences with his father in coffeehouses with the Beat Generation and his experiences with many felines – including one who would crawl into his lap as he was reading the Buddhist Sutras.
Daiensai Kuden Bonseki Dojin, Honshin’s father, was a renowned artist and ordained Buddhist Priest whose exhibitions ranged from museums to the walls of Beat Generation coffeehouses. Like the French Impressionist artists of Paris, the Beat writers were a small group of close friends first and a movement later. The core group – Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassidy, and William S. Burroughs – met in the neighborhood surrounding New York’s Columbia University in the mid-40’s. They later migrated to San Francisco, where Gary Synder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, and Lew Welch joined the group, and their focus started to move toward expanding consciousness with Buddhism, Jazz, and Poetry. Continue reading
Beloved teacher Thich Nhat Hanh is celebrating his 89th birthday on Sunday, October 11. We hope you will join us in wishing him a joyous birthday as well as sending him healing energy as he continues to recover.
We are honored to share his words of wisdom through our calendars. Every time someone sees the calendar hanging in their kitchen or workspace, we hope they get a rush of inspiration, a profound spiritual teaching, or a centering of calmness. A travel engagement calendar that someone carries from task to task or appointment to appointment can become a transformative tool in addition to tracking time. Thay’s words and inspiration can be a wonderful companion throughout our days.
Image from the Thich Nhat Hanh 2016 wall calendar featuring paintings by Nicholas Kirsten-Honshin.