Inner peace

Peace has at least three dimensions: inner peace, social peace and ecological peace — making peace with yourself, making peace with the world and making peace with nature.

 I believe that without inner peace no outer peace can be realized. If our society is full of people who have no negative thought, people who have achieved a degree of peace of mind and have a peaceful soul, then naturally they will not fear. But if we  have not been able to combat our personal fears, then it is very easy for governments and military leaders to encourage fear of an external enemy.

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Community of all beings

It is not possible to live in peace with the Earth as long as we relate to and manage other beings of the Earth as inferior, inanimate, or without consciousness.

The various manifested forms of life—plants, animals, and minerals, including their elemental consciousness—are not destined to be our slaves, to be manipulated or destroyed as if they have no intrinsic value or life or consciousness. These beings represent different archetypes of life that are an integral part of the evolving life and consciousness of the Earth.

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A level of interior maturation

The ecological crisis we now face has emerged, in no small part, from the gross disparity that exists between our relatively underdeveloped inner faculties and the extremely powerful external technologies at our disposal.

With humanity’s powers magnified enormously through our technologies, we can do irreparable damage to the planet.

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A critical time of transition

Although humanity confronts a critical time of transition, the importance of this particular era should not be unduly inflated. In one respect, it is simply another link in a long chain of human evolution.

The present era is no more important than any other—failure to forge a strong link anywhere along a chain weakens the entire lineage of development. Yet, in another respect, because the current link in the evolutionary chain can lead to some form of planetary consciousness and consensus, it does seem particularly vital.

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Let us grow up with books

In my early childhood I loved to build houses out of blocks and all sorts of toys. Instead of a roof I often used a children’s book with pictures. In my dreams I climbed into the house, laid down on the bed made of a matchbox and looked up at the clouds or at the starry sky.

It all depended on which picture I liked the most. I have intuitively followed the rule of life of every child who seeks to create a comfortable and safe environment for himself. And a children’s book really helped me accomplish this.

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Cleversticks – Bernard Ashley: download pdf with more images

Ling Sung started school on Monday, but on Wednesday morning he decided he didn’t want to go anymore.

There were too many things the others could do that he couldn’t. Like tying his shoes.

Terry could do his, and he kept undoing them and doing them up again while everyone had to watch.

Continue reading “Cleversticks”

The curious garden

There was once a city without gardens or trees or greenery of any kind. Most people spent their time indoors. As you can imagine, it was a very dreary place.

However, there was one boy who loved being outside. Even on drizzly days, while everyone else stayed inside, you could always find Liam happily splashing through his neighborhood.

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In my heart

My heart is full of feelings. Big feelings and small feelings. Loud feelings and quiet feelings. Quick feelings and slower feelings. My heart is like a house, with all these feelings living inside.

Sometimes my heart feels like a big yellow star, shiny and bright. I smile from ear to ear and twirl around so fast, I feel as if I could take off into the sky.

This is when my heart is happy.

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A flock of birds

A great flock of quail lived together in the forest. Food was plentiful and life was peaceful. One day a crafty hunter, who could imitate their song perfectly, came to the forest. When he whistled, a great group of quail gathered in response. When the flock landed on the ground, the hunter approached silently and threw a huge net over them. With a hearty laugh, he slung the net over his shoulder and took the quail to market. Each day he played his trick, and the flock grew smaller and smaller.

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Miss Rumphius

The Lupine Lady lives in a small house overlooking the sea. In between the rocks around her house grow blue and purple and rose-colored flowers. The Lupine Lady is little and old. But she has not always been that way. I know. She is my great-aunt, and she told me so.

Once upon a time she was a little girl named Alice, who lived in a city by the sea. From the front stoop she could see the wharves and the bristling masts of tall ships. Many years ago her grandfather had come to America on a large sailing ship.

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One of the most powerful dreams…

One of the most powerful dreams I was ever given was a visitation from my maternal Grandfather who came to me as an adult, twenty years after he died. Like many ancestral dreams, it was singularly vivid and more lucid than everyday dreams.

I looked into the bright clarity of his eyes, felt the warmth and weight of his hand on my shoulder, and recognized the melody of his thick accent even though I was seven years old when last I heard it.

Continue reading “One of the most powerful dreams…”

Perpetual Curse of the Warrior Mindset

“We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” Albert Einstein

For well over 2000 years a competitive mindset has dominated the world’s most powerful human civilizations. The goals of our leaders (as well as most members) have been to conquer, defeat or control whatever (and whomever) we can. Those who thought differently were quickly pushed to the side, silenced, enslaved, ignored or demonized.

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Fairy tales

Fairy tales are about trouble, about getting into and out of it, and trouble seems to be a necessary stage on the route to becoming. All the magic and glass mountains and pearls the size of houses and princesses beautiful as the day and talking birds and part-time serpents are distractions from the core of most of the stories, the struggle to survive against adversaries, to find your place in the world, and to come into your own.

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The Dream We Didn’t Know We Had

If someone had told me five years ago that I would be living happily ever after on a small farm in western Oklahoma, I would have adamantly denied the possibility. Back then, I was a confirmed city girl. I enjoyed the amenities of city life. Then my husband and I decided to move from our longtime home in the city. We looked at houses in several surrounding communities, but nothing suited our needs or our budget.

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Bright girls

This insightful article on how girls and boys confront new and challenging material differently is one that many parents of Mighty Girls have found helpful in thinking about the praise and feedback we give to children. As psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson writes in Psychology Today, “[In] my experience, smart and talented women rarely realize that one of the toughest hurdles they’ll have to overcome to be successful lies within. We judge our own abilities not only more harshly, but fundamentally differently, than men do. Understanding why we do it is the first step to righting a terrible wrong. And to do that, we need to take a step back in time.”

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Nasreen’s Secret School -A true story from Afghanistan

My granddaughter, Nasreen, lives with me in Herat, an ancient city in Afghanistan. Art and music and learning once flourished here.
Then the soldiers came and changed everything. The art and music and learning are gone. Dark clouds hang over the city. Continue reading “Nasreen’s Secret School -A true story from Afghanistan”

The junkyard wonders

It was the end of summer. The katydids were still buzzing when I finally summoned up the courage to ask my dad if I could stay with him and Gramma for the school year instead of going back to California to be with Mom like always. “Your mother would miss you, Trisha, but I will talk to her,” Dad said.
I had a reason for staying. A good reason. Continue reading “The junkyard wonders”

Mama Sebona’s Shopping

Mama Sebona lived on a hillside, a long way from the shop.

To get to the shop, she had to walk along the footpath, down the hill, through the river, in and out of the rocks, up and over the ridge, along the valley and through the mealie-fields to the dusty road where there was a little white shop with a red tin roof under the gum trees.
It was a long way. Continue reading “Mama Sebona’s Shopping”

A Lesson for Kings

A jataka tale from India

The King of Benares and the King of Kosala once met on the road. Each sat erect in his chariot, taking the middle of the road. Each refused to make way for the other.

The charioteer of the King of Benares thought to solve this dilemma by letting the older of the two pass first. But on inquiry he found both to be of the same age. Continue reading “A Lesson for Kings”

The royal bee

The Royal Bee was inspired by the true story of our grandfather; Hong Seung Han, when he was an illiterate boy in late nineteenth-century Korea. Too poor to attend school, he would eavesdrop at the door of the rich children’s schoolhouse until he was eventually allowed to attend. After he won a national academic contest, the Governor of his province invited him to reside in the palace. There, he tutored the Governor’s young son while continuing his education.
Years later our grandfather attended seminary in Pyongyang under the teachings of an American missionary and became a prominent church minister. In 1905 he wed our grandmother; Pang Seung Hwa. Together they became missionaries in China. Continue reading “The royal bee”

The Bush

Joyce danced when the rabbits came. There was a ‘he’ buck rabbit and a ‘she’ doe rabbit. They weren’t at all like the thin, grey rabbits Joyce saw in the open country they called the bush. These were fat, white rabbits with pink eyes and fluffed up fur. They were bigger and a different shape. Joyce’s mother bundled them out of her basket and put them together in one wooden hutch. Continue reading “The Bush”


Don’t make a habit of lying.
You will always be alone.

Fire, Water, Truth and Falsehood

One day they went hunting together. They found a large number of cattle and began driving them home to their village. “Let us share these cattle equally,” said Truth as they traveled across the grasslands. “This is the fair way to divide our captives.”Long ago, Fire, Water, Truth, and Falsehood lived together in one large house. Although all were polite toward each other, they kept their distance. Truth and Falsehood sat on opposite sides of the room. Fire constantly leapt out of Water’s path. Continue reading “Sincerity”

Respect for Nature

Nature is generous to people.
Respect the much it gives you.

Our big home

We all live here.
People, ants, elephants, trees, lizards, lichen, turtles, bees.
We all share the same big home.
We share the water. We splash and slosh and swim in water.
And, of course, we all drink water.
Whales, dolphins, manatees, penguins, palm trees, you and me. Continue reading “Respect for Nature”


Willing yourself to be happy, successful, wealthy, number one, famous, the top salesperson, or the richest person in your community are ideas born of the ego and its obsessive self-absorption.

In the name of this willpower, people run roughshod over anyone who gets in their way cheating, stealing, and deceiving to accomplish their personal intention. Continue reading “Happiness?”

How Keeping a Zen Mind Can Save a Relationship

Rushing to judgment about another may only hurt yourself.

Three Zen masters—one from Korea, one from Vietnam, and one from the United States—have offered powerful teachings to keep us from rushing to judgment about others, teachings that can save a relationship. Continue reading “How Keeping a Zen Mind Can Save a Relationship”

The Tower

Ten-year-old John McNeil ran barefoot out the door on a windy, cold day in February and headed straight for the 125-foot electrical tower behind the McNeil home. John didn’t realize the dangers of the structure, which carries power from Hoover Dam to the southern Arizona communities. He didn’t know that it carried 230,000 sizzling volts through its silver wires. He wasn’t even aware that he had forgotten his shoes. John suffers from autism, a condition that separates him from reality, forcing him to live within his own thoughts. That day his thoughts were set on climbing to the top of that tower, touching the sky and feeling what it’s like to fly. Continue reading “The Tower”

It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies

Susan* bought her 6-year-old son John an iPad when he was in first grade. “I thought, ‘Why not let him get a jump on things?’” she told me during a therapy session. John’s school had begun using the devices with younger and younger grades — and his technology teacher had raved about their educational benefits — so Susan wanted to do what was best for her sandy-haired boy who loved reading and playing baseball. Continue reading “It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies”

A Smiling Journey in Darkness

I was scared to death of death. I suppose everyone is scared of death in some way, but I avoided thinking about it at all costs. When my significant other decided she wanted to get a dog, I loved the idea — except I knew that one day I would have to see it die, and so I resisted as long as I could. We ended up with two dogs, and when the first one died, I happened to be 3,000 miles away, which was a great relief to me. Continue reading “A Smiling Journey in Darkness”

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