Image from our Dalai Lama 2018 wall calendar. Photograph by Rosemary Rawcliffe.
“One of my fundamental beliefs is that not only do we inherently possess the potential or basis for compassion, but also the basic or fundamental human nature is gentleness.” — H. H. the Dalai Lama, from Healing Anger
Previously, in honor of his 80th birthday in 2015, we shared Eight Stanzas for Training the Mind.
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A Thought From His Holiness The Dalai Lama:
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. Continue reading
Image from our Meditation 2018 wall calendar. Tree ferns and waterfall © Andrew Watson. Click for more info.
It is often said that there are as many paths to meditation as there are meditators. These paths can be likened to streams flowing into the ocean. Each stream takes a unique course, but they all return to the source from which all waters originate.
The most commonly known forms of meditation share a few basic characteristics:
- Posture: Bring your body into a stable sitting position, in alignment, spine straight.
- Solitude: Bring yourself away to a quiet place where you may be relatively undisturbed.
- Silence: Bring yourself to silence.
- Mental quiescence: Bring your mind to stillness.
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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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