Friday, June 28, 2013

Who's the Muse?

What is the source?  Where does it come from?  How do you do it?

The answer to those questions depends on the artist and their art.  If your art is the practice of bodhicitta- the wish to bring about the benefit of others through generosity, love and kindness, then your muse is reality.  It is the interactions that take place, the conversations that unfold, the stories that are shaped like the convergence of the wind and leaves.

It is random and unpredictable, but if your mind is open and receptive you will be surprised at what you can hear.

You'll discover an unending stream that continuously unfolds, presenting you with opportunities to give gifts that matter, to practice your art. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

No Excuses.

This vehicle operates under the assumption that you are busy.  That you have a lot of responsibility.  That you have others that rely on you and that you need to take care of.  

You already carry a heavy burden.

Your life is not perfect.  It's messy.  You have real wounds, they might even still be bleeding. 

So that is our basic requirement.   That is our ground zero.

Other vehicles might ask you to give it all up.  To walk away, leave it behind.  Escape it all together.  They might ask you to start over, start fresh.

Here, take a reprieve.  A 'Get Out of Jail-Free' card.

That might work, maybe.  My bet is that it won't though.

Better to deal with what we have.  This situation that we are in, it might not look so good.  It is heavy, it gets pretty tiring.  But it is not fixed, it is not permanent.  There is room here.  You can work with this. 

That is why we call this the Mahayana, the Great Vehicle. 

It is called great because it is greater in scope- fulfilling both your own aims and the aims of others.
It is called great because it is greater in aptitude- asking more from you.

We are asking more from you. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Let Your Practice have Character.

If your practice is to simply recite the words or to do what everyone else is doing, then it is fake.  It has no depth, no character.

Let your practice take on a life of its own.  Let it be spontaneous, quirky, weird.  Let it be you.

Then as your practice develops and unfolds, you will develop and unfold.  As your practice becomes more pure and uncontrived, you will become more pure and uncontrived.  As your practice generates qualities of tolerance, love and compassion, so will you. 

If you put the work into your practice, it will change you. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gods and Demons.

Attachment and aversion.
Hope and fear.
Gain and loss.
Fame and blame.
Happiness and suffering.
Good and bad.

Which side do you feed?

We all have our gods and demons, both serve as hindrances on the path of liberation and prevent us from accomplishing our own aims and the aims of others.

We get attached to the gods, reinforce them.  Maintain them and they become the status quo.  Our path has stalled due to our own fixation.

We hide from our demons.  We run whenever they show their face.  Our hiding and fear entrap us and prevent us from going deeper, from moving on.  Our path has stalled due to our own fixation.

Cut through fixation and you liberate gods and demons simultaneously.  Shall we? 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Do What You Want.

That seems to be the slogan of our day.  It also represents the hallmark of having obtained a life of freedom AND opportunity. 

In the process of doing what we want, we should also have a practice that is worth committing to.  A practice that we show up for and are accountable to, day in and day out, whether we have the time or not.

Our lives are all filled with busyness and distraction, but it is our commitment to our practice that brings us our intended result

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Everything is an Offering

What do you offer to the world and others around you?

Love, kindness, generosity.  Joy.  Contentment.  A helping hand and a caring smile.

Or do you offer division, gossip.  Judgement.  A careless hand and a smile of contempt.

Everything you do is an offering.  It has an effect on yourself and others.

You create your mind and your experience of the world around you.  Make it a good one. 

Friday, June 21, 2013


Generosity requires abundance, or at least the perception of abundance.  Which means that abundance is qualified by you and whether or not you feel you have anything to share. 

When most of us think of generosity we think of giving away our material wealth or possessions.  However, most of us have so much attachment to our money and possessions that we don't feel particularly generous.

There are other forms of generosity.

If you are training as an artist, someone who uses generosity, love and kindness to bring benefit to others and the world around them, then you have a lot of options to practice generosity.

You could share a kind word, a loving act, a simple gesture.  You could show up when people least expect it, you could do the work.  You could care, actually listen.  You could give people dignity when they feel they have nothing left to hold onto.

Give gifts that don't have a limit.

As you train, you can learn to cultivate abundance, but it is more important that you learn to recognize the abundance of wealth you already have. 

When you share this kind of generosity you get paid back in blessings.  And a life of abundance.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

What are you waiting for?

More time.
More information.
More resources.
More room.
Better conditions.
A nicer day.
Something else...

The sun is setting, your shadow is growing longer.  You never know how this opportunity will present itself tomorrow.  Better to act now.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Let's Talk Wine

Not many people know this but Washington is a veritable treasury of excellent wines.  You may have heard a few things about the region if you live outside of the Pacific NW, maybe you even tasted one of the mass distributed wines which don't really portray the depth and richness the region has to offer.  Most likely though, you have been missing out on these great and accessible wines.

Let's start with amazing.

There are five main AVA's in Washington, each further divided into smaller AVA's that demonstrate unique characteristics and produce prestigious wines.  More and more we are seeing terroir specific vineyards that produce the highest caliber wines, each displaying a depth and subtlety that differentiates it from other vineyards in the same region.  You have top rated vineyards like Cailloux, Champous, Ciel du Cheval, In the Rocks and Red Mountain which each produce amazing wines that lead to endless exploration, fascination and delight.  There are world class vintners like Quilceda Creek, Figgins Estate and Owen Roe producing cabernet.  Merlot by Long Shadows and Leonetti.  Syrah is really the break out star in Washington, with ingenious producers like Cayuse, Gramercy Cellars, Reynvaan and Rotie Cellars.  That is just the tip of the iceberg, time and time again their are accessible, vivid and distinct Rhone varietals, Bordeaux blends and Riesling after Riesling that will knock your socks off. 

And you can actually get most of these wines as opposed to similar quality California wines which have steep price tags, long waiting lists and seem to be more interested in their name and money.

Washington is forging a new frontier.  You have to taste these wines to experience it yourself.

This is an example of inspirational faith.

There is something about this story that might stir you, hook your attention and curiosity.  You may experience feelings of joy, hope or desire.  It might bring you to laughter, maybe even tears.  It inspires you. 

Yearning faith.

The next step is where you say, 'I want to do that'.  'I can do that'.  This is faith based on learning, contemplating and putting effort into your practice.  This is where you actually taste some of the wines and develop a first impression.

Confident faith.

This is based on your own experience.  You've tasted the wine, know its subtle aromas and flavors.  You know its mouthfeel.  You can distinguish the different regions and vintages, you've examined the unique characteristics of specific terroir.  You know both the immediate and lasting impressions.   Your practice can still go deeper, more subtle and profound, but you have developed certainty within your domain.

The Buddha taught that only confident faith is trustworthy.

In inspirational faith there is no knowledge, experience or conviction.  In yearning faith there is some knowledge and experience but no conviction, allowing doubt to creep in.  It is only in confident faith that we possess knowledge, experience and conviction.

It is this type of faith that we should develop, which means that we need to do the work.

You should come here, we can go wine tasting. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013


How do you prevent days of uncertainty?


Seasons of drought?


Years from being wasted?


How do we keep this stream of merit flowing?


This river of virtue that carries oneself and others to the ocean of fulfillment?


It may not be immediately obvious, but dedicating everything that you do to the welfare of others is extremely powerful.  Remove the borders to your practice.  Share the fruit of your actions.

How is the river of your actions flowing? 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Perfecting Patience

It is not always clear why we should train our minds or how we should actually train in something like patience. 

What does an impatient mind look like? 

It is easily angered.  It is irritated, annoyed. 

It is averse- to the situation at hand and the people that we are dealing with. 

It is in a hurry, uncomfortable and anxious. 

If you enjoy the company of an impatient mind then there is no reason to train your mind.  If you want to remove these fetters that bind your mind, then meditation is the simplest and most effective means to perfect the practice of patience. 

In meditation, you learn to be patient with your body. 
Our bodies are uncomfortable.  We have a lot of aches and pains, a lot of tightness.  So we learn to be patient with our bodies, to not react to what our body is presenting to us, and the discomfort falls away. 

In meditation, you learn to be patient with your feelings.
We experience wave after wave of powerful and subtle feelings and emotions.  We feel good, we feel bad, we feel happy and sad, anxious and calm, tired and on edge.  So we learn to be patient with our feelings, to not react to what we are experiencing, and the discontent falls away.

In meditation, you learn to be patient with your mind.
We all have a monkey mind that can't sit still.  There is a never-ending stream of drama and internal dialogue, a parade of memories and fears, our hopes and dreams, doubt and insecurity.  So we learn to be patient with our mind, to not react to what our mind is presenting to us, and the discursiveness falls away.

In meditation, you learn to be patient with all that appears and exists. 
We encounter all kinds of sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch, all kinds of experiences beyond measure.  So we learn to be patient with whatever appears and exists, to not react to what is presenting itself to us, and the dissatisfaction falls away.

As we work with these levels of developing patience, our practice culminates in fearless patience.  A state of authentic presence where we are fully open and willing to participate with whatever is occurring- whether it be external to us or in our own heads.

Our mind becomes like a crystal clear mirror that perfectly reflects whatever is placed before it, whether it is good or bad, beautiful or ugly.  There is no judgement, no aversion.  No indifference nor avoidance. 

It is a mind that is beyond fear and doubt.  Time and time again you are able to show up, allowing us the opportunity to act with generosity, love and kindness even in the most unfortunate of circumstances.

That is the perfection of patience.  

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Ours is a culture of achievement.  We wrap ourselves in a nice cocoon of materialism, image and identity.  These form the basis for how we interact with the world around us.

Our habit is to control.  We strive to get where we are going as quickly as possible.  In this sense we all want to travel the quick path, the powerboat that carries us to the far shore with the wind in our hair.  We trust that the boat has everything we need to get us where we want to go.  Oh, and we want to look good doing it.

Our habits form over long periods of time as a coping mechanism to deal with the world.  We have a lot of learned behaviors, some good, some bad; but we should examine our habits and determine if they actually bring our intended result.

Does control, materialism and achievement fulfill our aims?  Are you satisfied?

How does a sailboat travel to its destination?  What story does that tell?

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Hardest Part is Over

You showed up.

That is actually the hardest part of your practice.  If you show up, then you can do the work.  You can continue to explore and go deeper.  The conversation can continue to unfold.

Our tendency is to hide.  To wait for someone else to do the work for us or give us a pass.  Maybe if we are lucky we can ride the wave of another's blessing.  Better to sit in the back and hope we are not picked.

So the only thing left is to continue to show up.

As you expose more and more of yourself, pushing through your perceived boundaries and the limits you have set, you will find that more and more falls away.  As more falls away, you continue to become more open, more patient, more kind. 

Your practice becomes an unending stream where everything is carried onto the path.  Drip, drip;)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

What do you Do for a Living?

I am a pharmacist.  I count pills, verify prescriptions, talk to doctors, counsel patients on their medications and answer a lot of questions.  That is my job.  It is rather repetitive.  I am a replaceable cog in the healthcare industrial machine. 

You might be a teacher, engineer or programmer.  You might be a project manager, carpenter, scientist, paralegal, author, lawyer, or designer.  You might even be homeless.  You most definitely are a friend, a neighbor and maybe even a parent.

That is your form.

What if you were to train in the formless?

What if you trained in being open and receptive, trained to listen to the needs of others?  What if you trained in patience and generosity?  Love and kindness?  What if you intentionally cultivated focus and insight?  

Can you imagine in the course of doing your job that you could also do your art- which is to use reality, people and interactions as your canvas to share generosity, love and kindness.  To give gifts that don't have a limit.  To benefit others. 

Your job- which was repetitive and unfulfilling- could take on an infinite and endless potential.  It is a strange notion, but you could fulfill your aims and the aims of others simultaneously. 

That is work worth sharing.  And it pays dividends

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Trim the Fat

Did you add a few extra pounds this year?  I did.

Are you going to get to work, train to get rid of them?

We all have our go-to programs- running, biking, lifting weights, cutting out the white carbs.  We know from our own experience what works and what doesn't.  If things aren't working, we will try something else and dig a little deeper.  You'll fight to make it happen.

You also know from experience that if you concede those ten pounds, those ten recruit their friends and it is a slippery slope from there.

Of course we are all carrying around some extra baggage in our heads- our stress, anxiety, fear, doubt and impatience.  Our neurosis.  You know it is there.  Don't be embarrassed, we have all it.

Do you do the work, do you train to get rid of it?

Not many people do.

If we concede it, that baggage will recruit its friends.  These are the kind of friends that party well into the night.  You'll wake up tired and crabby, meanwhile the baggage is off to a great start and is already recruiting more friends for the next party.

Your mind is extremely precious.  It is your most valuable asset.  Don't concede it just because you haven't learned how to train your mind and no one around you cares to try.  

So the next time someone asks if you work out, give them an emphatic 'YES, every day.' 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Crossing the Chasm

Conventional wisdom says it is better to keep moving forward, one step at a time.  Don't give up any ground, don't lose that forward momentum. 

Especially when you are encountering the resistance

But now we know what the resistance really is.  Paradoxically, as we are plodding ahead one step at a time, our unwillingness to give up any ground actually feeds the resistance. 

The resistance hides in holding onto a ground.

So take two steps back. 

Be willing to be vulnerable, to expose your flaws.  Relax the tight grip on whatever it is that you are holding onto.

By letting go of your ground, the resistance has nothing to stand on.  You've opened up a shift in space

Now you can trust in the practice, step forward, and have the momentum to leap over the chasm. 

Welcome to the other side. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Resistance

Our aims clearly set before us, if we fail to act now when shall this opportunity present itself again?

Caught up in my own idle behavior,
hiding in mundane activities and endless distraction,
negative thoughts, emotions and doubt are quick to strike.
My own self-cherishing and confusion prevents me
from doing work that actually benefits myself and others.

My constant fear of loss and the eight worldly concerns perpetually ensnare my mind.  I am like a bird trapped in a building, the door is wide open but I keep wanting to fly higher to get out. 

This then is my primary adversary, the source of all my troubles, suffering and discontent.

These are the ailments that keep me up at night, tormenting my mind with endless anxiety.

All my efforts will be directed at vanquishing this foe.  There are as many methods for accomplishing this as there are beings, but none are as quick and effective as resting in openness free from fixation.

This then shall be my supreme vehicle, my way of abiding.

When I am no longer bound by these veils that entrap my mind, may I come to find a natural freedom and ease and like a bird, soar effortlessly through the sky. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Self-Help vs. Self-Liberation

Hold on a moment, what are you asking me to do?

You are asking me to be open and vulnerable?  You want me to expose my open wounds, to re-open those scars?

You want me to face my fears?  To acknowledge the things I would rather forget?  To dredge the depths of my pain and sorrow? 

I don't want to remember those that have had to leave me too early.  Nor do I care to relive those memories that haunt me to this very day. 

It is too scary.  Way to painful.  I am too tired, too busy to do this right now. 

But it is still there, right?

Even when we try to hide from it, it sneaks up on us.  If we fight to push it away, it keeps fighting back.  There doesn't seem to be any escape.

Everything that we have done to move on has failed.  Better to ignore it and hope it doesn't haunt our sleep.  But year after year, that date comes or we visit that place and we feel it looming over us.

How can we escape it?

The practice of self-help does not work, it only nourishes the ground. You need to rely on the path of self-liberation.

It rests on three principle aspects of the practice:
1.  Calm the coarse levels of your mind.
2.  Engender in that calm a sense of warmth, love and compassion.
3.  Rest in openness, your natural state of being.  

It will be painful.  Raw.  You will feel sensitive, embarrassed and inadequate.  You will feel hopeless.

And these are good signs.  This means that you are giving up your fixation.  Letting go of the ground you have been holding onto.

These are signs that you are becoming more open, more aware, that you are making progress.

As you move through the storm, through all the sheer winds and rain, you'll discover in its wake a calm, crisp freshness.  A natural openness and ease will ensue and your mind will be freed from its constraints. 

This is actually the most helpful thing you can do for yourself. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Extraordinarily Ordinary

You are going to live a life of great purpose.

An ordinary life in an extraordinary way.

But right now, you are just fighting yourself.  Time to get out of your own way.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Your Work is Remarkable

Time and time again, you show up.

You are open and receptive, willing to be vulnerable.  You actually listen to what others need.  You operate with integrity, honesty and genuinely care for the benefit of others.  You do the work- sharing your generosity, love and kindness when no one expects you to show up.

You push through the hard parts.  You have the courage to look fear in the eye and keep going.  When in uncharted territory, your commitment to the principles of your practice and your understanding of the essence of the path let your forge ahead with confidence.

You make mistakes and fail.  Often.  But those failures give rise to wisdom and insight.

You do remarkable work.  But don't go thinking that you are remarkable.   

Then, we have a problem on our hands.

Then you have a ground to maintain.  A position to uphold.  Then you need to use force to assert yourself against dissenting opinions.  You might just throw people under the bus. 

You will offer up blame and shift criticism.  Things will get really bad when all you do is talk.

You will fear failure.

Do you see how these two cannot co-exist?

If you work for the benefit of others, your aims are simultaneously fulfilled.

If you work for your own aims, it will eat you alive.

Last week I was taking a ferry in the San Juan Islands and we saw a deer swimming in the ocean.  Everyone got up to look.  It was remarkable.  People were reaching for their cameras, pointing out how rare it was to see a deer swimming in the ocean.

Of course, for the deer this wasn't about her or her achievements.  She just knew this is what she had to do to get to the far shore. 

She was doing remarkable work. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

White Sheet, White Mind

Do me a favor.  This is something to be experienced yourself, don't just read the words.

On the next bright, beautiful sunny day go outside, sit in a field and lay out a perfectly white sheet.  Sit in a field that has trees, flowers and all kinds of stuff.  Sitting comfortably on the sheet, just be aware of the sheet, your surroundings, the sun in the sky above.  Just relax.  

You will notice as the winds stir that your sheet starts to collect a lot of dirt and debris.  You might get some leaves and flower petals, some insects trekking across your sheet.  Your once perfectly white sheet will actually start to look rather untidy.

So there are a couple things we can do about this.

The first method is to be constantly mindful of anything that stains our sheet and then strive diligently to clear it.  Using this method our mindfulness is paramount and we actually may be able to keep the sheet clear for a period of time.  Invariably though more dirt and debris will arise and we will keep ourselves busy in the clearing process.

This is the method of the causal vehicles.  The vehicles based on mind.  They do enable one to recognize and experience the pure nature of the mind, but they are bound by their fixation on defilements and impurity.

The second method is to just rest and continue to watch as our sheet starts to collect debris.  As we continue to identify with the originally clean and white sheet, not reacting to anything whatsoever, we start to notice that the debris doesn't actually defile the sheet.  Actually, as the winds continue to stir the debris moves around on the sheet and can even remove itself if we wait patiently.  The debris starts to become an ornament, magically dancing around the purity of our perfectly white sheet. 

This is the method of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection.  If we can identify and recognize the originally pure nature of our own minds, then there is really nothing to do but rest in openness.  The resting without fixation is actually what allows the liberation of the defilements, if there are any defilements to begin with. 

In this example, sitting outside represents resting in openness.  The perfectly white sheet represents our originally pure nature of mind.  The stirring winds represent the constantly changing process of dependent origination; cause and effect.  The trees, flowers and stuff represent our reality- often times beautiful but also messy.  The insects trekking across the sheet represents our own neurosis, ugly and disgusting.  The dirt represents all of our thoughts and emotions, fears and insecurities.

Oh, and if you want to leave the sheet that is your own anxiety and doubt.  Just relax and stay seated.

Be the sheet.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Escape the Castle

There is a story going around town. 

It's in our schools, our workplace and in our retirement planning.  Even our healthcare, really. 

It wants you to believe that if you stay here, trust in the process, then everything will be provided for you.  It is safe and secure, providing protection against long-term risks.  You will be given lots of opportunity to enjoy yourself, make your mark.  If your good- which you are- then you will come to know money, power and status.  You will be provided with every comfort and need.  You will live a good, healthy life. 

The moral of the story is that if you put in the time and the effort then you can escape all the pain and discontentment that you are currently facing.  That someday you too can sail off into the sunset.

Of course the castle story is a fairy tale. 

Money, power, fame and position all bring their own attendants of suffering and discontentment.  Even if we can achieve a relatively comfortable lifestyle, their is still something missing, a hollowness that all of the excess and non-stop distraction cannot fill. 

It is time to escape the castle. 

But what does that mean?  How do we actually do it?

The first thing we need to do is shift our perspective.  Our current perspective is that our happiness, satisfaction and contentment come from things outside of us.  Our achievements, success, position; even our families.  What happens when our spouse or kids leave?  What then? 

So the shift in perspective is a shift from cultivating outer wealth and enjoyments to the cultivation of inner wealth and enjoyments. 

But let's be clear here- this shift in perspective is not about guilt.  If you feel guilty about your achievements, your success, your position, your outer wealth, then that is a reflection of your own poverty mentality.  Poverty mentality might have to take on a new meaning here as well, poverty mentality refers to the lack of your own inner qualities.  Your lack of inner wealth. 

So this actually requires a great deal of responsibility.  Actually, this burden is extremely heavy.  We are responsible for our own happiness and contentment.  We need to actually cultivate this inner wealth, we need to train our minds and push through all of our own insecurities, doubt and self-pity. 

No one can do this for us. 

But this is not the path of guilt, nor the path of poverty.  You have great potential and you have all of these resources available to you.  You have the opportunity to use your leisure and enjoyments for good use. 

Outwardly, you don't need to change a thing. 

You only need to conquer your mind. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Why Siddhearta?

The Sanskrit name Siddhartha has two root words: siddha-artha.
'Siddha' means to accomplish, fulfill or establish.
'Artha' means purpose, aims or meaning.

So Siddhartha means 'to accomplish your purpose','to establish meaning', or 'fulfill your aims'.

Siddhartha Gautama was a young prince born in northern India around 600BC. There are many accounts of his biography, and I encourage you to read them all, but this is a new way of looking at the story of a particular young prince's path to awakening.

Siddhartha grew up in a sheltered palace.  His father embellished him with the best education and training of the day, not to mention satisfying his every need and comfort.  His destiny was clear- stay here in the castle, everything will be provided for you and someday you will take over this throne and lead the people.

The story usually goes that Siddhartha managed to escape his father's heavy hand and ventured out into the streets.  There he was confronted by disease, suffering, and a dying old man.  The customary account is that Siddhartha was so moved by these encounters that he decided to flee the castle and embark on the spiritual path.

But what else was going on in Siddhartha's head?  Was he really satisfied living life in the castle?  Did all of the material wealth and indulgence really bring fulfillment?  Had he had enough of all of the excess and distraction?  What was it in his life that made him want to leave the castle in the first place?

Regardless, Siddhartha escaped the castle.

India at that time was a spiritual hotspot.  Many traditions were thriving and Siddhartha had access to some of the best teachers of the day.  He first practiced extensively with Alara Kalama, became his foremost disciple and was requested by that teacher to be his heir.  Undoubtedly he would have experienced peaceful meditative states, mental states of bliss and clarity.  He would have known single-pointed concentration and the quiescence of a deep samadhi.  He would have been lauded for his achievements and honored by the community. 

But he chose to leave.  There was something that was missing.  Why was he dissatisfied with the practice?  Why was he not fulfilled, his aims not met?

He then studied under the guidance of another prominent teacher of the era, becoming his foremost disciple and requested to be his heir.  Undoubtedly he would have experienced exalted meditative states of peace, clarity and non-conceptuality.  He would have known first-hand the many benefits of meditation and had much insight into the nature of reality.  

But he chose to leave.  There was something that was missing.  Why was he dissatisfied with the practice?  Why was he not fulfilled, his aims not met?

He then set out with a group of five close friends who were all excellent practitioners.  These guys worked hard.  They pushed themselves to the limit.  They underwent extreme physical challenges.  They tried every possible diet, eating only the purest of foods and water.  They stayed in mountain locales and jungles, alongside sacred rivers and under sacred trees.  If enlightenment was to be gained through hard work, these guys worked the hardest.

But enlightenment was not achieved.  

Siddhartha's body collapsed along a riverbank.  His practice had not yielded its intended result, his aims unfulfilled.  

Then a young girl appeared, maybe by chance, maybe by the intervention of the gods as legend has it.  She gave the weary and weakened Siddhartha a gift of some milk and rice pudding.  They nourished his body, nourished his mind.  That gift gave him strength, the strength to continue his practice.  

At that moment it is hard to say what Siddhartha was thinking.  All the effort he had put in, all the striving for the goal.  He had tried every possible method, manipulated every possible condition.  Still, there was something missing.  Why was he dissatisfied with the practice?  Why was he not fulfilled, his aims not met?

He then sat down under a pipal tree and vowed that he would not get up from his seat until he gained awakening.  He vowed that he would not change anything, would not rely on any external conditions whatsoever.

Siddhartha took his seat in the unchanging way of abiding and faced his negative thoughts and emotions.  Without wavering from his meditation, negative thoughts and emotions were freed in their own place, thus he continued to rest naturally.  

Siddhartha took his seat in the unchanging way of abiding and faced his hopes and fears.  Without wavering from his meditation, his hopes and fears were freed in their own place, thus he continued to rest naturally.  

Siddhartha took his seat in the unchanging way of abiding and faced his negative deeds.  Without wavering from his meditation, his negative deeds were freed in their own place, thus he continued to rest naturally.  

Siddhartha took his seat in the unchanging way of abiding and faced his doubt.  Without wavering from his meditation, his doubt was freed in its own place, thus he continued to rest naturally.  

Siddhartha took his seat in the unchanging way of abiding and faced his perception in an intrinsically real self.  Without wavering from his meditation, his perception of an intrinsically real self was freed in its own place, thus he continued to rest naturally.  

There he sat.  Not holding onto anything whatsoever he was naturally freed in his own condition.  Not grasping at anything that arose in his experience, reality was freed just as it is.  

Resting in that unchanging way of abiding, his mind was conquered.  His delusions tamed.  His doubt pacified.  He discovered in his heart a vast openness, a profound peace and radiant warmth.  From that sense of inner fulfillment generosity, love and kindness naturally blossomed into the world.  He shared his heart with the world and brought untold benefit to generation upon generation.

His aims were met, he looked no further. 

So Siddhearta is about conquering your own mind.  When you are weak and wearied, the generosity of others will give you the strength to proceed.  When they themselves are tired, your generosity will bring them a place to rest.

External conditions will not fulfill your aims.

If you are able to discover in your heart a vast openness, a profound peace and radiant warmth- then generosity, love and kindness will naturally blossom and spread your art in whatever form it may take.

Now go take your seat.