Mt. Adams Buddhist Temple
Tuyết Sơn Thiền Tự, 雪山禅寺
November 2021
Building A New Temple
Fall colors fill the ground in our cloister retreat area
Temple Services 
Evening Meditation Tuesday - Friday 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Noon Meditation Monday 12noon - 1pm
Thich Nhat Hanh study group on the 2nd & 4th Wednesdays at 6:30 pm,
for info, contact Bonnie at
Dear ones,
Mark Twain, a famous American writer, said:"The most important days in your life is when you are born and the day you find out why". Ah - the old question of why we were born - an easy answer from the Buddha, "The Buddha taught the non-existence of 'the being', 'the individual', 'the self', 'you' and 'me'. He taught that there is no self to be born. So the problem 'Why were we born?' does not arise!" The Buddha goes on to describe our purpose in life as “Ceasing to do evil, Cultivating the good, Purifying the heart: This is the teaching of the Buddhas.”
Each day is precious - if we can live in this moment right now without any concerns or guilt from the past and without worries, fear, or concerns for the future, we can be very alive in this moment right now.

May we all remain healthy and well. Thay Kozen
Our New Temple Building - the first of 3 phases
Our dear Theravada brother, Ajan Phrawoody, sent us this beautiful reminder.
Thich Minh Thien, (Thay Z) Abbot of Budding Dharma
Arlington, Texas


Recently I was reading an article about the human need to compare all things; categorizing that which we see, that which we perceive and that which we desire. In this treatise, there was a poetic expression about a mountain and a lake that I thought I would share with you.

The lake looked at the mountain and thought: Oh fortunate mountain, rising so high while I must lie so low. You look far and across the world and take part in many interesting happenings while I can only lie still . How I wish I were a mountain.

The mountain looked at the lake and thought: Oh fortunate lake, lying so close to the warm-breasted earth, while I am constantly craggy, cold and uncomfortable. You are always so peaceful while I am constantly battling the howling storm and blazing sun. How I wish I were a lake.

All the while, quietly, the mountain was coming down in silver streams to run into the lake, and the lake was rising in silver mists to fall as snow upon the mountain.

Doesn’t this bring to mind the old adage, The Grass Is Always Greener…? The mountain wishes to be the lake and the lake wishes it could be the mountain. Our ever active mind continually falling into comparing so many that things can sometimes prevent us from seeing our own worth, our own beauty, our own radiance and unique abilities. We miss so much that is right in front of us and thus, miss the opportunity to experience abundant gratitude for what is already and always there.

Admiration for what we see in other situations or in the character of others can sometimes motivate us to strive to be better. But it can also prevent us from seeing our own worth, our own beauty, our own radiance, our own path. As we can derive from the wishes of the mountain and the lake and how they both continually interact with each other, we can see how in truth, they are both part of each other. The same is true for us; every single one of us. According to the teachings of the Buddha, all things are connected to each other and yet, each is also a unique expression of itself.

So, if we find ourselves in the state of frequently comparing who we are, what we have and what we do with others, and come away with the feeling that we are lacking, it is time to remind ourselves again and again that we are unique individuals on this journey and look deeply for the interconnection of our individuality with all things. In doing so, we reduce our need to compare ourselves and to more openly express our gratitude for who we are, what we have and how we can contribute to making this a better world.

We each play our role in the here and now, like the lake and the mountain, connected forever in the dance of life, striving to grow in wisdom and to also play in joy. The divine reality of the Universe does not compare or judge us but rather responds with love, nurturing and care. May we let go of comparisons and instead, hold ourselves and others in love and joy.

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Alcoholics Anonymous & Buddhism
My name is Rob and I'm a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. I have never had a belief in any superior being outside myself. AA's Eleventh Step suggests prayer and meditation as a means of improving conscious contact with god "as we understood him". As a non-believer I don't pray and I hadn't been meditating so I couldn't say I was working the Eleventh Step. It has always been important to me to work all the Steps so I decided to do something about that. I sought information on meditation. I got a teacher and training and began to meditate.

For me Buddhism works very well with the program of AA. The Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path frequently intersect with the Twelve Steps. The Five Precepts as they were taught to me fit perfectly with AA. The Precept on not lying and especially the Fifth Precept on not using intoxicants are well suited to the aims of AA. I feel my life has changed as much by the adoption of Buddhism and meditation as it did when I entered AA in the first place.
Next Meeting - Saturday, November 13 at 11:00 PST

The meeting can be accessed on Zoom at  Our topic this month is "Wise Mindfulness," our 7th stop on the Eightfold Path. 
The Trout Lake Abbey is spiritual 'home' to the monthly Recovery Dharma Inquiry meeting while we are meeting in virtual space. We are grateful for the continuing support of the Mt. Adams Buddhist Temple and look forward to a time when we can once again meet in person on the Abbey grounds.
Recovery Dharma (RD) is a worldwide program of peer support for persons recovering from substance use disorders and also 'process addictions' such as gambling, overeating, tech addiction, and other harmful or dysfunctional behaviors. RD uses Buddhist principles and practices and draws lessons from other peer support recovery programs including 12-Step fellowships such as AA and Al-Anon.

Participants will be admitted from the waiting room, Meetings last approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. The 12 months of the year are used to explore each of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path
For more information, contact Richard Withers at Meetings are also listed at the Facebook group "Gorge Recovery Dharma" and at the web site for Columbia Gorge Mindfulness Meetup.
The book Recovery Dharma can be accessed and downloaded for free at
For more information, contact Richard Withers at Meetings are also listed at the Facebook group "Gorge Recovery Dharma" and at the web site for Columbia Gorge Mindfulness Meetup.

an anonymous writer sent this
From a class assignment. Next, please share a significant challenge you’ve faced (personal and/or professional), how you addressed/are addressing the challenge, and what you’ve learned in the process.

I am a high school science and meditation teacher in a small town . I transitioned to the job a few years ago after founding an outdoor science school in the mountains. I absolutely love my job--my science teacher colleagues are wicked smart and extremely good humans--I even joined an ‘02 Stanford grad, Kathryn Davis when I took the job. The meditation class is a class I proposed last year. It was met with tremendous enthusiasm from students and teachers alike. Last year, during the pandemic, I recorded a collection of guided meditations for students and staff to use in their classes. It was really rewarding to produce useful tools in a time of deep uncertainty.

A significant challenge I’m still working to overcome is self-worth--and by that I mean a deep trust in myself and my goodness. This is a characteristic which was not modeled to me by my parents--and you can’t pass something down if you don’t possess it yourself. Over the last decade, I got myself into two partnerships where I gave away my power. I came into the partnerships with tremendous social capital, financial resources, spirit, and drive and found myself compromising, lacking motivation, and putting aside my needs a few years in.

I’ll focus on my marriage which was one of the partnerships. In my 30s, I left the Bay Area to start the science school in Oregon. After crushing on him for years, I married one of my closest high school friends. I got married because I wanted to have kids. We have two beautiful boys, ages 6 and 8, but we had a pretty miserable marriage. I found myself caught in the classic old-fashioned wife trap of taking on all the cooking, cleaning, and parenting--with the added burden (which I desired!) of running the outdoor science school. My “wasbund” was also building his business and chose to advance that to the detriment of our family. He was often traveling and also decided to become a volunteer fire-fighter. When I tried to sell him on the idea of co-parenting (parenting an equal time) he would say “show me one couple who actually does this.” My examples weren’t good enough for him. (BTW, a friend has since told me that the idea of co-parenting is a lie women are fed in graduate school...)

Since he was gone many evenings and mornings teaching a martial art which was ancillary to his business, I felt like in order to keep the family afloat and whole we needed to do family things in those precious moments when we were together. The result was that I gave up my own personal interests and hobbies for the “good” of the family but that made me depressed and dispirited. Four years into the marriage, while I was 8-months pregnant with baby #2, he told me he was in love with his business partner and martial art student. It was a really hard moment--followed by many hard years--trying to rebuild and repair connection. During that time I found I had been suppressing years of anger about the unfair marriage contract--and then found myself trying to “be cool” about an open marriage when I was really sad, angry, hurt, and afraid. I was deeply afraid I would lose my husband and my kids--that this other woman would take them away from me. I also placed an added burden of wanting to be “ok” with an open arrangement because I felt that was what a good Buddhist would do.

I’ve since come to know and understand the Buddhist concept of equanimity--or the heart-mind state of being ok with what is--can’t be forced. I was engaging in “spiritual bypass”--I was trying to bypass my real feelings for feelings I deemed more appropriate or good. I didn’t want to face my anger, jealousy, bitterness, rage, or fear head-on. Eventually, I had to face the truth--the truth that my husband didn’t love me anymore. He loved someone else. So, we came to an agreement to get a divorce, to parent 50-50 (yeah!), live close to each other, and have a healthy non-married relationship. We got mediators instead of lawyers. We both agree we are better co-parents than lovers. I tell myself when I question the decision--”I lost a husband, but the children gained a father.”

My meditation practice and loving kindness practice supported me tremendously throughout all of this. My Buddhist teacher reminds me “When in doubt, love more.” Throughout the journey, I learned many valuable lessons. The most important--FEEL YOUR FEELINGS! It’s through feeling all the feels that you heal and change. It also learned that the depth of my feelings reflect the depth of my love and care. I was so afraid of my deep feelings, but now I know they are beautiful!

I’m sure those of you who have gone through divorce know--on the other side you question the nature of relationships--their meaning, their solidity, their purpose. I spent so many years grasping after connection with my wasbund and fearing his connection with this other woman. I now know, through finding new friendships that connection is always available to me. I trust in knowing people will enter and exit by life; my relationships will morph and change as they need to. I’m dating someone right now and he’s on the short list for a really great job in Seattle. If he gets it, I know it's the right move for him--spiritually and career-wise. And I know that I will find new connections if he goes. And it will be ok. I will be ok. Because I have gone through this dark period, I have returned more whole than ever. I hope to pass along this wholeness to my kids--and to heal the intergenerational trauma of my mother and her mother and back even further.
My Beastie, my Teacher.
by Dennis Hartley

What was I thinking? I had a nice, calm, orderly life, and then I go and adopt an eight week old poodle beastie, Poppy. Well, my life changed in an instant. I’m learning a lot along the way, like patience, forgiveness, and about my own expectations and attachments. When she doesn’t mind me I can feel frustration and anger even. She is a dog, just being a dog.  

Poppy’s mind is always in the now. When she is playing with a ball or chewing on a bone, that’s all she is doing. My “monkey mind” however is often distracted with what I need to do today, and my schedule and worries about tomorrow and beyond.  

When I look deeply at her, I recognize that she is a sentient being with needs and feelings. And I am responsible for her well being. She is deserving of my love, and respect. To love her just as she is, and help her have a happy life. My Beastie, my Teacher.
Dajian Huineng;, also commonly known as the Sixth Patriarch or Sixth Ancestor of Chan, is a semi-legendary but central figure in the early history of Chinese Chan Buddhism. According to tradition he was an uneducated layman who suddenly attained awakening upon hearing the Diamond Sutra.
Huineng was called a Southern Barbarian as he was not Chinese. He was actually from Vietnam (in an area now part of mainland China).

The Patriarch asked me, "Who are you and what do you seek? "I replied, "Your disciple is a commoner from Xinzhou of Lingnan. I have traveled far to pay homage to you and seek nothing other than Buddhahood." "So you're from Ling-nan, and a barbarian! How can you expect to become a Buddha?" asked the Patriarch. I replied, "Although people exist as northerners and southerners, in the Buddha-nature there is neither north nor south. A barbarian differs from Your Holiness physically, but what difference is there in our Buddha-nature?

Upon nearing his time of transition, the 5th Patriarch asked his students to write their understanding of the Dharma. The student with the correct understanding would inherit the lineage and become the Abbot. Shenxiu, a well educated and quite well respected senior monk wrote a poem.

Shenxiu's Poem:
The body is the bodhi tree.
The mind is like a bright mirror's stand.

At all times we must strive to polish it
and must not let dust collect.

Huineng upon hearing the poem by Shenxiu, asked another Chinese monk to write Huineng's poem.

Huineng's poem:
Bodhi originally has no tree.
The mirror has no stand.
The Buddha-nature is always clear and pure.
Where is there room for dust?

On the next night, the Patriarch secretly went to Huineng's room and asked, "Should not a seeker after the Dharma risk his life this way?" Then he asked, "is the rice ready?" Huineng responded that the rice was ready and only waiting to be sieved.

The Patriarch secretly explained the Diamond Sutra to Huineng, and when Huineng heard the phrase "one should activate one’s mind so it has no attachment," he was "suddenly and completely enlightened, and understood that all things exist in self-nature." The 5th Patriarch transmitted "the doctrine of sudden enlightenment" as well as his robe and bowl to Huineng. He told Huineng, “You are now the Sixth Patriarch. Take care of yourself, save as many sentient beings as you can, and spread the teachings so they will not be lost in the future. He also told Hueneng to "escape from monastery" as

He also explained to Huineng that the Dharma was transmitted from mind to mind, whereas the robe was passed down physically from one patriarch to the next. Hongren instructed the Sixth Patriarch to leave the monastery before he could be harmed. "You can stop at Huai and then hide yourself at Hui." Hongren showed Huineng the route to leave the monastery, and rowed Huineng across the river to assist his escape. Huineng immediately responded with a clear understanding of Hongren's purpose in doing so, and demonstrated that he could ferry to "the other shore" with the Dharma that had been transmitted to him.

May the Infinite Light of Wisdom and Compassion so shine within us
that the errors and vanities of self may be dispelled; 
so shall we understand the changing nature of existence and awaken into spiritual peace.
Mt Adams Buddhist Temple   46 Stoller Rd., Trout Lake WA 98650 509.395.2030