Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I know the situation will work out for my highest good.

Daily Words of the Buddha for April 23, 2014

Sambādhe vāpi vindanti,
dhammaṃ nibbānapattiyā
ye satiṃ paccalatthaṃsu
sammā te susamāhitā.

Even when obstacles crowd in,
the path to Nibbana can be won
by those who establish mindfulness
and bring to perfection equipoise.

Saṃyutta Nikāya 1.88

Gemstones of the Good Dhamma, 
compiled and translated by Ven. S. Dhammika


We all know the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, but getting started is always tricky. “I’ll do it Monday,” almost always turns into Thursday and by the following Monday, the dreaded cycle begins again. For those of you who are familiar with this pattern, have no fear – these six easy steps will help get you ready for next Monday. So take the pressure off and get your body and mind ready to take on the world. Consider this your warm-up to next Monday!

Step One: Shut Your Eyes
Sleep is essential for a healthy lifestyle, but sleep isn’t what it used to be. Unplug your laptop, put your phone away and relax before going down for the count. It’s important to get 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep so that your body has a chance to recover and regenerate.

Step Two: Eat Six Small Meals Per Day
Breakfast. Snack. Lunch. Snack. Dinner. Snack. By staggering your meals into six small portions, you avoid cravings and your body remains fulfilled throughout the day. This also helps you to begin better portion control.

Step Three: Drink More Water
Water flushes toxins from your body, helps with digestion, and allows you to stay active throughout the day. It also helps your skin glow and your thoughts flow!

Step Four: Eat Your Veggies!
Dark leafy greens are your friends. Kale is widely considered to be a cancer-fighting food, as is broccoli and spinach. They contain vitamins like A, C, K and folate along with minerals such as iron and calcium. They are also great sources of fiber.

Step Five: Get Outside!
Just be active. Studies have shown that outdoor activities help increase self-esteem and reduce depression, tension, anger and even symptoms of ADHD and Bipolar disorders. Take this week to walk at least 30 minutes a day for five days. If you can, throw in a strenuous workout once or twice and you’ll be wanting more come Monday!

Step Six: Eliminate Stress
Mediation, Yoga, hiking, biking and deep-breathing all help reduce stress and can even aid in reducing your risk for heart disease and diabetes.

So, before you commit to next Monday, use this week to wrestle these steps and give yourself a fighting chance. After all, Monday is right around the corner!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sarah Varcas: 23rd / 24th April 2014 -- Cardinal Grand Cross

Tuesday, 22 April, 2014 

Cosmic Satori
As the Cardinal Cross reaches exactitude we encounter the opportunity to step outside of everyday consciousness and concerns into a landscape altogether new, in which the four elements air (Mars in Libra), fire (Uranus in Aries), water (Jupiter in Cancer) and earth (Pluto in Capricorn) present everything we need to begin again should we choose to do so.

This cosmic event brings the notion of satori to mind: the experience of awakening as taught in Zen Buddhist tradition, which sometimes arises not as a welcoming liberation but as a force of such power that it tears apart all that is known leaving the awakened one effectively broken – but free – in its wake. Satori embodies the trauma of awakening, the breaking apart of self and soul in the moment of recognition that both are false gods designed to keep us safe in our narrow, tiny lives. If we contrast this with the goal of replacing an undesirable self with a more desirable one, inherent in many spiritual teachings, we can come to appreciate the entirely different order of experience available to us now.

The Trappist monk Thomas Merton once described love as ‘the only revolutionary force capable of producing anything new’. These words also resonate with the energy of this week, for love is a raw force of such transformational potential that we, the human race, have sought to reduce it to hearts and flowers, I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine, and conditionality which demands all manner of pay-offs before commitment is made. The cosmic forces aligned right now mock such inconsequential associations with the most powerful force in the universe and will tolerate them no more.

As we journey through this week immersed in the rays of this rare alignment, we could too easily overlook the vital importance of this time. We may continue to seek refuge in the familiar, allowing change but only so far as we’re comfortable with it: conditional change on our terms. Or we may seek an experience of transformation which comes as a treat, satisfying our need for it to look and feel a certain way, delivering us to a particular destination. But any and all preconceived notions of possibility must be open to challenge right now, ready to be blown out of the water at any moment to make space for a whole other order of experience, of which we can barely conceive until it has arrived.

This is a revolutionary time, no doubt about it. Old concepts and expectations are being shattered, no matter how sacred they may have been to us. Life is not what we thought and nor are we. The life force itself rises up to take control of our lives, no holds barred and with little regard for what we think ‘should’ be happening right now.

And at times of such revolutionary spirit, as Thomas Merton recognises, love is a vital ally, the ‘only… force capable of producing anything new’. For if we cannot soften our ego edges to allow a radically new perspective or to embrace the demons within ourselves and others, nothing really changes. All we do is recreate from the same old ingredients, believing ourselves to be formed anew.

This time will not return to us. There will be others in due course, of a different order and resonance, to help us move through the most intransigent aspects of our psyches, but this particular opportunity is a rare and valuable one. If we can open ourselves to its energy and resolve to allow change to be what is necessary and not what we ordain it to be, we may discover that awakening is more powerful than we ever conceived, than we could ever conceive. That it introduces a whole new orderof being which isn’t about happiness, personal satisfaction or living the life we want. Instead awakening is revealed to us now as the very essence of the incoming Aquarian age which demands that we live in a state of radical trust, a recognition that if we can dream it, it is too small for these times and if we want it with all our heart then our heart yet needs to expand beyond it.

Whatever we believe transformation and awakening to be, the Cardinal Cross brings a new beginning which challenges all notions, reminding us that to know is to limit possibility and to believe is to impose form upon a universe that we have not even begun to understand.

Sarah Varcas


© Sarah Varcas 2013. All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted to freely share this article in its entirety on the condition that full credit is given to the author, it is distributed freely and the URL is included.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Pāli Word a Day for April 22, 2014

nirupatāpa — the untroubled, or that which is without vexation

Daily Words of the Buddha for April 22, 2014

Kāmaṃ kāmayamānassa,
tassa ce taṃ samijjhati, addhā pītimano hoti.
Laddhā macco yadicchati.
Tassa ce -- kāmayānassa, chandajātassa -- jantuno
te kāmā parihāyanti,
sallaviddhova ruppati.

If one, longing for sensual pleasure,
achieves it, yes, one's enraptured at heart.
The mortal gets what one wants.
But if for that person -- longing, desiring --
the pleasures diminish,
one's shattered, as if shot with an arrow.

Sutta Nipāta 4.772, 4.773

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Recipe: Turon (Filipino Banana Lumpia)

Banana lumpia or Turon is a Philippine dessert, made of thinly sliced bananas (preferably ripe plantains), a slice of jackfruit, dusted with brown sugar, rolled in a papery wrapper and fried. Brown sugar is further added while frying for additional sweetness.


6 plantains, ripe, cut lengthwise

12 spring roll wrappers, non-translucent or 12 egg roll wrappers or lumpia skins

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

6 slices jackfruit, cut lengthwise (optional)

1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon starch

1 cup oil, for deep frying


place a sliced banana 1 1/2 inch from the bottom edge of a spring roll wrapper, sprinkle it with some sugar and cinnamon, and top it with a sliced jack fruit.

seal the sides and roll the wrapper, sealing the top as well with water/starch mixture.

In the meantime, heat oil in non-stick wok(so sugar doesn't stick) until it's sizzling hot with the leftover sugar and fry the wrapped bananas until it's golden brown, spooning (or use spatula) the sugar from the pan on the wrapper to give it a bit of caramelized coating.

Drain on paper towels or sieve.

Serve while still warm and the wrapper's crunchy.

Recipe: Lumpiang Shanghai (Filipino eggroll appetizer)

Lumpia is a traditional Filipino dish. It is the Filipino version of Chinese egg rolls. It can be served as a side dish or as an appetizer.


· 1 lb. ground pork

· 1 cup chopped shrimps

· 1/4 cup finely chopped onions

· 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots

· 2 whole eggs

· 3 tbsp. soy sauce

· 3 dashes of sesame oil

· salt and pepper, to taste

· lumpia wrapper

· vegetable oil, for frying


1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix until well blended.

2. Wrap into thin rolls in lumpia wrapper. Fry in deep hot oil.

3. Drain on paper towels. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve with your favorite catsup, Chinese Sweet Chili Sauce, or make your own Sweet and Sour Sauce recipe.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Daily Words of the Buddha for April 21, 2014

Pabbatassa suvaṇṇassa,
jātarūpassa kevalo
dvittāva nālamekassa:
iti vidvā samañcare.

Were there a mountain all made of gold,
doubled that would not be enough
to satisfy a single person:
know this and live accordingly.

Saṃyutta Nikāya 1.156

Gemstones of the Good Dhamma, 
compiled and translated by Ven. S. Dhammika

I Ching For The Week of April 21, 2014

#1  --  Ch'ien  --  Inspiration

Above   Ch'ien  Heaven
Below   Ch'ien  Heaven

The Wisdom:
Challenges met with force
Inspires creation
Lingam is the symbol
Double your efforts with caution

You have engaged with great effort and purpose and made progress in proper measure. Yet you have not yet sealed the deal. Resolution has not been yours. By keeping your exertion tempered, strong, and steady, you will be met with auspicious times. What is coming your way is no less than miraculous. Believe.

Ch’ien is absolute yang, male energy, hence the symbol of the lingam. You are now positioned to have what you want, and through diligent, unceasing effort you will keep it. If you adhere to your truth and remain in integrity, that which Ch’ienilluminates will not slip away as it has done in the past. You are wiser now; trust your intuition, your wisdom.

For this all to work and keep the proper energies in place, the benefit will be to examine your motives for the success you desire. Be certain that it is for your highest good as well as for the good of all. Recognize your own habitual thoughts and reactive behavior that do not serve the highest good, and make a concerted effort to discard these outworn patterns. Replace them with positive thoughts and actions.

Recently, you have given much effort to correcting your own negative thoughts and the actions that arise out of them. It will not serve you or the highest good to allow the energy, power, and enthusiasm that are energizing you now to sway you from your pure and righteous path.

You have been planning
For the success that is about to be revealed;
With considered strategy
Now is the time to
Put your plans into action.  

In some ways it has felt like your success has been hidden somewhere and you lacked the key to finding it. The truth is, you never needed a key; you just had to use your creative energy and do what you have been doing—persevering. Sweet inspiration is leading you toward redemption.

Be on guard: Yang, male energy, when delivered in great measure, can cause corruption of body, mind, and spirit, so be aware and judicious. Ego is the companion to this yang energy. What you have worked for will come to you and remain, as long as you do not become egotistical or arrogant in the light of your achievements. Stay within the boundaries of humility, and maintain your inner stillness. Stay with what you have learned up to this point, that which feeds your heart. Have compassion for those you love and who love you and practice loving kindness toward all sentient beings with which you share this blessed earth.

Caution: If your ego will try to use the powerful energy stirred by your inspiration to activate base or negative thoughts, words, or deeds, immediately correct your course. If you do not, your coming upward spiral of happiness and good fortune will spin downward, and you will soon find yourself stuck in the mire of fear, doubt, anger, and this will lead to an old familiar depression.

Your creative inspirational force is activating your inner truth and strength. Persevere with your outer activities and remain quiet and still within. Your critical ego, the inner judge, will try to run all the programs of doubt, guilt, and fear by which you were indoctrinated in the past and try to pass these off as reality. Don’t fall for this lie; stay firmly in your dignity and integrity. This will disempower the old fast-talking coyote voice of the ego that wants your ear and will lead you off course.

In business, as in personal matters, let go of any thoughts and words that disparage others. Refrain from using negative generalities about the opposite sex. Use only the thoughts and words of honoring and compassion. Quell the negative voice; pay no heed to the critical judge within. In this way you will not chase away that which you have long desired.

There is a very real possibility that during this cycle you will become stressed and tired as you move forward, so take time as needed to relax, rejuvenate, and have fun with your tribe. You are the shining light now. Share your light and positive energy with those around you, be they friends or strangers. Raise the vibration around you. Good vibrations are vital now, for you, for all of us, for the earth. Shine like the sun at midday, and take in the beauty and joy that you illuminate.

You have been in bondage as far as your movement toward your goals. Good news—as Brother Bob says:

I see my light come shining From the west unto the east Any day now, any day now I shall be released.*

The arrival of the energy of Ch’ien has given you a get-out-of-jail-free card. Use it with judiciousness, purpose, love, and compassion, and what you have worked and worried so hard for will come to you and remain, as long as you adhere to the universal laws of right conduct and right action.

There is a saying that originated in the lessons for the monks of Tibet. It is the essence of the teaching of this hexagram: Keep your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds.
In LaK’esh

*Bob Dylan, “I Shall Be Released” 1967


Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Meaning of the Blood Moon of April 15, 2014

The Blood Moon

You are all most likely feeling the impact of this Blood Moon, the eclipse of the moon that took place early Tuesday morning (4/15/14).

The energy during this cycle of change we are in has been building and is now made stronger by this lunar event. We are now reaping the benefits that began when the time wave was set in motion on 12-21-12.

It is important that we as earth’s residents recognize when events like this take place. With our collective force we can bring about change on the planet for the greater good. Join together in intent.

We are feeling like we are not fully in our body and for many this is a highly charged emotional time, a time when changes in health, relationships and our associations are filled with great potential.  Sleep is interrupted and we are brought fully awake in the early morning hours. It is during this waking time that the benefit will be to not try to get back to sleep but to use this space in time to meditate, reflect or write. The subject of focus will be given to you in all cases. This time hold potential for illuminated creativity.

These days that are carrying a dynamic force field are a very good time to make changes in your life that you had on the agenda but have not, for one reason or another, gotten to. During this accelerated cycle it will be good to have the truthful discussion with your fellows, speaking about your feelings and how you are being affected by this energetic shift. This is a very good time for cleaning up and tying off any loose ends. Make the call or do it in person, but do it.

Meditations while sitting in the light of this moon will be very powerful and will open your heart to compassion and kindness. By visualizing the moons energy entering your body through all the pores in the skin will bring you to a stillness during which you can go deep inside and see and experience your truth.

This is a cycle of ritual and celebration. Bring the tribe together in joyous connection. Bring others into your circle that have been just observing or being observed. The collective is coming together and this moon is an important aspect of the healing that has begun on earth. By working in harmony with Gaia and each other we will move us into the stillness and strength of the new earth, the coming golden age



Daily Words of the Buddha for April 20, 2014

Tasseva tena pāpiyo,
yo kuddhaṃ paṭikujjhati.
Kuddhaṃ appaṭikujjhanto,
saṅgāmaṃ jeti dujjayaṃ.

The worse of the two is one,
who, when abused, retaliates.
One who does not retaliate,
wins a battle hard to win.

Saṃyutta Nikāya 1.188

Gemstones of the Good Dhamma, 
compiled and translated by Ven. S. Dhammika

Pāli Word a Day for April 20, 2014

niyyāna — going out of saṃsāra, departure,
way out, release, deliverance

Friday, April 18, 2014

Seeds for Meditation: The Power of Words

Sometimes we are moved by the things we don’t say aloud. Sometimes it’s just a matter of perspective.

A'ia i ka 'olelo no ke 'ola ... A'ia i ka 'olelo no ka make.

The power of words: Words can be life-encouraging or death-dealt. What words are you choosing to communicate with others on a daily basis?

From Plato's "The Athenian Stranger"

Let us beware of creating a darkness at noonday for ourselves by gazing, so to say, direct at the sun . . . , as though we could hope to attain adequate vision and perception of Wisdom with mortal eyes. It will be the safer course to turn our gaze on an image of the object of our quest.
The Athenian Stranger

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I Ching For The Week of March 10, 2014

#35       Jin     Flourishing

Above   Li      Radiance, fire; brightness that brings clarity and 

Below   Kun   Center of the Earth; that on which everything rests; the
                    basis of all things.

The Wisdom:
You are entering a time of great progress.
Achieving stillness is most important now.
Bring tribe and family together to serve the higher forces.
In this way you will shine and share the light.

In many ways you have been in rehearsal for this time of rapid progress. Now the time to move to center stage is here. You cannot refuse the energy that is coming; it is now not about choice, as you have already chosen—chosen to be at your best and to unfold your fullness at this, your finest hour. Get ready, people, there’s a train a-coming.

All of your recent works focused on the outer and inner planes of your existence have been preparation… preparation for entering fully into this time of rapid progress. The time to move into action is here.  

In times like these, you may feel that your movement forward is thwarted in some ways and that will trigger doubt. Hold tight to your plan, you are not in error, you are backed by a great spirit force, the unseen helpers that have brought you this far will not abandon you now.

Strive for fairness in places and activities where you hold power or influence. Honor those who work with you and for you. If you are solo in your craft or art, honor the dancing spirit who comes as a silent muse to enliven you and to tickle your fancy. Make a relationship with this spirit and it will soothe you for all your days.

Heed well the knowledge that the doorway of desire for abundance in your life is now open and will surely begin to flow—it is your destiny. To keep the continuity of progress in your forward movement, there are vital universal laws and truths that will be of benefit to adhere to.

As you gather the fruits of progress, do not forget how you got here and who has been your support; recognize the ones who have blazed the trail before you. You are gaining an abundance of power, influence, love, and prosperity; share this with your mentors, tribe and family. In this way you are signifying that you are grateful and not being overpowered by the ego. Honor your mentors and guides, both emotionally and spiritually, and give them praise and honor. In this way you are operating in the fullness of gratitude, and gratitude is a catalyst in the alchemical mixture that will deliver you to love, peace, and abundance. When the energy of prospering is present, whether in your business, projects, health, or relationships, you are being given a very special, albeit temporary force.

Coming mercifully into your life now is a very clear and powerful energetic force; it is a currency of sorts.  Spend this currency wisely. Be guided by compassion as you move to examine your patterns of behavior and identify those that have not worked in the past that will surely create obstacles for further progress. Replace these outworn negative patterns with positive actions, thoughts, and prayers.  The words you think are more powerful than the words you say. You must correct and change the words of the inner voice when it speaks of negativity, hurtful actions, or revenge. This is the ego pushing you to go off track merely for a temporary pleasure, or to bask in the ego-light of the work you have done for, and in harmony with, the greater good.

Achieving an inner stillness is crucial now, for it is in this stillness where you will hear and feel the voice of your intuitive wisdom. Look to your practice, whether it is meditation, writing, painting, hiking, tilling the land, or any activity that gets you out of your mind and free from the voice of the judgmental and critical ego.

What is being presented to you is fresh and new and it is imbuing you with confidence and strength. Power such as this can be a tricky thing. The way here is to make sacrifice: Let go of old habits, friends, or associates who are too much work, gift portions of your abundance to those in need, and/or speak up on behalf of those who are powerless. Your abundance will also be expressed in words and kindnesses that you can gift along the way. You may chose to gift material goods, clothing, or books you don’t use anymore. Pass the energy around, all the while shining the light that is emerging to and through you from the very center of the galaxy.  Be a part of your community and tribe with an open heart and a welcoming doorway.

You are perfectly positioned and have prepared and practiced well. Have no doubts about this. Accept fully that you are in the right place at the right time. But just being in place is not enough now: You must activate this earned gift of strength and influence with compassion, dignity, and kindness. Proceeding in this manner with humility will please spirit and open many doors that have previously been closed and often unseen. Spirit is with you and watching you and assisting you in finding direction. You once were lost, but now you are found and it was this dancing spirit that led you out of darkness and into the light.

This flourishing that is in bloom is making way for a beautiful and full journey for you and your family, tribe, and associates. Often on journeys such as this, you will encounter obstacles and difficulties on the way toward your goal of peace and abundance; this is the natural order of things. Progress itself breeds these challenges, and they must be met head on. Obstacles can be easily dealt with by being very aware as you plan your moves and actions. Be certain you are not hiding your truth or trying to be “reasonable.” To deal with any angst that will arise, and to insure continuing progress and preserve your sanity, be grateful, cherish the love all around you, and remain centered and calm through your spiritual or physical practice. Find a place in your life to give back, to be of service, and through it all, find your stillness, your confident center. Gratitude for this time and for your gift of life and tribe is an elixir that will insure your clarity on this adventure of living in a body on earth.

You will be of great influence now in your social, familial, and tribal circles. Set goals and work together to accomplish better communication as you move forward and reap your rewards. Do not let yourself slip into judgment or conservatism. Operate with abandon socially and in communication with your loved ones. Be of unconditional love; surprise the ones who have been there for you through the most difficult times. Plan a fiesta, and gather the tribe together for a celebration of life. Be intimate and affectionate to those around you. Embrace your brilliance and illuminate the dark corners of the psyche so that with this light, the truth will shine like the sun at midday.

Open your mind and heart to the art and ideas of the indigenous peoples of your geography, go to them and listen to the soothing and somehow familiar messages that have remained through the ages. Open your eyes as well as your ears and hear the secrets and see the visions waiting for you. The ancestors, whether your direct antecedents or not, have left coded messages in the great storehouse of knowledge: the writings, songs and feasts for the eyes that have remained. The ancient messages have remained for you to discover and embody, and to be signposts for the world’s residents to discover along the road to peace and prosperity for all. The gifts on the path are great, you need only to find a stillness of mind for them to be shown to you.

The earth is entering a golden age where, with effort, dignity, compassion, and kindness, we can join as one with Gaia and all her sentient beings to find again peace on Earth and good will to all.

In LaK’esh ...

I am the other you…Happy new age…


Daily Words of the Buddha for March 09, 2014

Susukhaṃ vata jīvāma,
verinesu averino.
Verinesu manussesu,
viharāma averino.

Happy indeed we live,
friendly amidst the hostile.
Amidst hostile people
we dwell free from hatred.

Dhammapada 15.197

The Dhammapada: The Buddha's Path of Wisdom,
translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita

Pāli Word a Day for March 09, 2014

pamoda— delight, joy