Dharma Friends: We have the excellent fortune of a little retreat this week live and on Zoom. It’s an exceedingly powerful and concise sadhana practice for our times, being taught by my close vajra brother Erik Pema Kunsang, live streamed from Denmark. The power and efficacy of this little practice is incomparable. I was on retreat alone in Crestone many years back and was having terrible obstacles and brought out this practice from my main teacher’s lineage that I had the permission (lung) for. After performing it only once, the deep seated obstacles instantly dissolved like snowflakes on a warm stone. If you can make it, even last minute do join us!

The image is Samantabhadra Padmakara in union with Mandarava that I drew a few years back for this practice, as there is no other image of them in existence that we could find and someday, I will color it in I hope and finish the thangka!  You can see all of the stages here: https://boulderreiki.com/drawings/ Thanks to Phakchok Rinpoche and Michael Tweed for their support, I tried really hard to make the lines and them beautiful and passionate, and Guru Rinpoche’s gaze, unfathomable. The drawing kind of drew itself and took many weeks. Thanks so very much to Erik for using this image and teaching us. I’m looking forward to practicing via a zoom retreat with my always kind Danish sangha friends, and others worldwide this week!

lotus essence tantra

The Lotus Essence Tantra

“At Gomde Denmark – July 12 – 17 – we will study and practice this tantra.
“Bearing in mind how Padmasambhava extensively praised this profound tantra with his infallible vajra speech, study this tantra, contemplate it, train in it, memorize it, write copies of it, wear it, use it in your daily recitation, and correctly transmit it to others, fully and widely.”
“Thus, you will increase the activity of Samantabhadra Padmakara until it pervades throughout all of space. In this way exert yourself one-pointedly in constantly spreading its excellent light of benefit and happiness to illuminate not only your own mind but that of others as well.”
–Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo
English registration: 👇🏽
Dansk tilmelding: 👇🏽

Words from Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche about the Lotus Essence Tantra

“My guru uncle Samten Gyatso had many lay students and they all knew the Lotus Essence Tantra by heart. There wasn’t a single one of his students who didn’t know how to chant this tantra. Whenever they had a free moment or even while walking about they would recite it from memory. Many of his old students said that it was very good to chant because whoever hears it will be liberated. That is the kind of pure appreciation that they had.There is a long version of Liberation Through Hearing called the Single Child of All Buddhas Tantra, which is a much longer text but still there were many of Samten Gyatso’s students who knew that by heart as well.

Samten Gyatso once said that, “I have two things through which I can benefit other beings, one is the Single Child of All Buddhas Tantra and the other is the Lotus Essence Tantra. And there is absolutely no doubt about that!” Normally he would never mention anything of the kind, he was what is called a ‘hidden yogi.’ He would never talk about himself as being anything special, not even a single word. He was never heard saying, “I have realized …” or “I am special. I have special qualities.” Not once. He would move around just as if he was a completely ordinary person. But he did say, “There truly are two things that I have which can benefit others. One is the Single Child of All Buddhas Tantra and the other is the Lotus Essence Tantra.”

From Blazing Splendor, the biography of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche.

Fond memories of the few times we visited the retreat center Gomde Denmark, where they are broadcasting from tomorrow night! If you can ever visit, it is indeed a pure land, and the kindest people ever. These are a few photos, I think from a few different years.
Love to all, always~ may the genuine dharma prevail.

The Inner Guru

Forward: This article is for my Tibetan Dharma friends, and makes references to our practice and terms that are not public. I refer to these terms generally but do not disclose any entrusted information. This reflection speaks to universal principles for anyone involved in a spiritual tradition.

Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche lives in Boulder and Crestone, Colorado. He’s a noted Tibetan Buddhist teacher who is often called to help with Buddhist people in our local community who are dying, as our principal teacher was often not available. We have a large famous Buddhist community that was headed by a powerful teacher, Chögyam Trungpa, that he considered to be a “madhasiddha” that has now passed. Rinpoche reportedly said that he was looking forward to being with us as we died, as it would be a privilege to see the student’s accomplishment after many decades of these powerful meditation practices. Reportedly, he said that time and time again he’d come to help westerners at the time of death and we are showing… no signs of having practiced or having even been on a spiritual path. (!)

He said that westerners were still very attached and exceedingly frightened and we held onto every single last moment of life that we could, and refused to let go. We had devotion and desperately wanted him to help us, but he said that we were not able to find the inner guru and at the time of death. As the body is in a dissolution phase, it’s too late for him to begin to teach us. He could not point students to turn inward to see in the inner clear light, otherwise called our secret mind nature instruction, if we hadn’t really trained that way properly in our practice. This processes is explained well in The Tibetan Book of The Dead.

It wasn’t that the people were not devoted, actually it was the contrary. It was that we objectified everything, the Guru, the Yidam, we train in worshiping, deifying and externalizing the guru and we look to him to help us at the moment of death. The political commoditization of the tradition and teacher’s exalted roles has helped contribute to mistaken views. As the winds and faculties are dissolving at the moment of death, it’s really hard to impart subtle dharma teachings. If we haven’t trained in the recognition, it was too late, no magic, blessing or phowa, really could help, we are on our own.

How We Are Now Determines Our Mind at Death

Are we getting enlightened, making “progress” on a spiritual “path?” My husband noted that if you have such powerful training methods that could result in attaining enlightenment in one lifetime, you and many of your friends must be getting close now, at least a few. Nope. Admittedly, from what I see from myself and my friends, is some of us having terrible, even semi-violent tempers and many show a tremendous amount of attachment, anxiety and spiritual arrogance. We aren’t as a whole, softening, opening and cultivating wisdom, kindness and working to help others; many seem selfish, proud, escapist and rather narcissistic, wearing the dharma as credential rather than compassion. It doesn’t surprise me at all that we would pass with that same attachment and delusion, and sadly, Rinpoche is correct.

The Inner Light

We may be really devoted to our tradition, our teacher and practice, our daily deity visualization fervently. The problem from what Rinpoche noted, is that when we deify another human being, you are still externalizing and reifying the object of refuge. We look outside, it’s “him” or look outside to the object of our practice if we have a yidam, and this  process can continue into the more fruitional esoteric, secret practices such as togyal;  the mind looks “out” at something like a T.V. screen. Trungpa called this process “spiritual materialism.” We could spend the entire path looking outward for what is sacred, something to heal us co-dependently, as an object of refuge. We can have sincere devotion and even invest a lot of time in our practice but the foundation, may simply be dualistic grasping.

All of these methods are for one point only, and that is to see our own inner clear light, the subtle inner guru and to train and stabilize there. We can practice with tenacity and devotion for an entire life, and totally miss this basic point.

I’m grateful to Rinpoche for pointing out this grave error, and I so hope that all of our personal practice is clarified.

We know that death comes without warning, anytime. So Rinpoche I presume, was suggesting that we really begin right now to train in a proper way and find this inner refuge. We can the see the subtle, clear light, the inner guru if we have received instruction. Our training becomes part of us, and when we die, we can take refuge and find solace there as part of unconditioned, awakened space. Sometimes, I’ll practice actually dying, I’ll lay down and imagine that it’s…THE moment, breath out and let go. This pre-training makes me less fearful about dying.

Bypassing Spiritual Bypassing

I say this again and again, but I believe that many westerners seek out the dharma as a refuge, coming from a lot of trauma, fear or loss. Even if not, we in the west generally have so much stress, unprocessed grief and anxiety in our culture, we aren’t inherently warm, well and grounded as a whole. Unprocessed trauma and pain, create a lot of “blocked channels,” (mental and emotional obscurations that prevent wellness) so when we implement all of these many practices with a fundamentally blocked being, the methods to liberate themselves become the obstacles, or the constructs of our ego identity and can be harmful in many ways.

I’ve seen my friends think they’re “venerable, or acharyas” and proclaim a very spiritual outer identity, when in fact, behind the scenes they’re not at all. Many are just downright arrogant, hurtful to others, self-righteous and mean.

Why are we not becoming more humble, helpful and patient, but rather often dying in such a fearful way as Rinpoche described? I’ve seen my western dharma practitioner friends, and at times myself, become more sensitive, and more frightened and anxious over the years rather than warmer and more grounded. I’m seeing this as a pattern quite consistently. Where are all of these magical qualities as promised? They have some excuse saying the “that path of purification” is undetectably slow, but I don’t buy it, it works or it doesn’t. I don’t however, believe that the Tibetans or Indians are more holy and we’re fundamentally flawed as some teachers suggest, I think they have a myriad of their own cultural issues and obstacles to overcome.

I do think that we have to start with a fundamentally clear and grounded being in order to even begin shamatha practice, let alone any of the higher rituals or yogas. They always say “you have to have a good, solid horse to ride” or start with a “proper vessel.” If we haven’t resolved a lot of the fundamental trauma in our being, we’re just going use ALL of the dharma in a way that is poison. And, not poison that transforms into wisdom but poison as an unhealthy, toxic, life wasting, poor investment that not only harms you but can harm others too. That’s the root of all of the many recent sad stories of clergy abuse and spiritual betrayal over the past few years. Teachers and students alike, can use the dharma to cover, hide and ultimately, to harm.

Touching Trauma and Starting All Over

For me over the past few years, it’s almost like I had to start at square one and go back to very very deep, dormant and painful childhood wounding and release trauma memories. I have had to process a huge amount of tears and journaling and start to become basically healthy, before I can even do sitting practice. It’s been like a full time job, and I’m grateful for the time in our isolation to do this deep and essential work. The karmic debris that we have accumulated in our energetic system must be routed out, touched and released in order to have any chance of progress.

I have been told that even a lot of our teachers, Rinpoches, Khenpos, monks and nuns alike are abhorrently abused in their development and training. A lot of them, I was told in confidence have full on PTSD and trauma but they themselves hide it because they are supposed to appear to the world as being compassionate and holy. Often it’s just an act, I regret to say, as many of us have seen teachers behind the scenes, act in ways that are contrary to any dharma.

There seems to be a lot of fundamental damage *for all of us* that we need to really honestly take a look at humbly, and delve deep into our human trauma. It’s essential to work on early childhood or past karmic issues, especially if we were abused. This is where we begin the healing process before we apply any of these dharmic methods. We could examine, in an honest way, who we are and look directly at our blocks- what are we are hiding and covering? We should not deny or turn away, but rather face exceedingly painful things that have happened in our past and cry them all out, until things are open and clear. This process is called “opening karmic knots” in the higher tantras. Then, we can get ready to embark on the Buddhist noble path of shamatha and so on.

Yes, there’s a lot of corruption, ego and pain as we are now, but I believe that our obstacles need to be honestly looked at, honored, addressed, released and~ loved. If we begin the spiritual path in this real and raw way, I think we really have a chance to go deep into our heart to recognize the inner guru, the birthright of our clear light. We can then live this life in a sane, open and loving way and at the end… we can breathe out in peace and have no fear.

 

 

Photo by Ali Arapoğlu from Pexels

kiwi
free weight loss course

 

 

Many of us gained weight during our Covid isolation, I’ve heard it called tongue in cheek the “Covid 19” meaning many gained just about 19lbs! I have compiled a scientifically proven weight loss plan that is healthy, simple and sustainable that I have used myself. It was recommended to me by other moms who’ve had great success with sustainable weight loss! This is not medical advice, this protocol below is from my personal experience only. For me it starts working on day 1. Please do check with your doctor before starting any diet, especially a reduced calorie one as there can be serious complications for certain people such as diabetics. This is a hybrid plan of about 4 diets all distilled into 1 easy to follow, healthy plan. It borrows from the Metabolic Factor primarily, Optavia® (Medifast®), Low Carb., Whole Food and Intermittent Fasting, all in one!

The main way that this diet is successful, is consistency. I failed a few times at it because I’d be really great and stick to it religiously for 4 or 5 days in a row, and then reward my efforts by~ cheating- a giant dinner out with family, with… dessert!  What my coach said is that it takes a few days to stoke your metabolism to start burning fat, if you cheat every few days, the body stops the metabolic process and starts storing fat again. Also, this diet differs from Optavia because it includes whole foods, and not unhealthy pre-paid, prepackaged, high carb. “fuelings,” with weird chemical sugar substitutes.  I have had better success eating more than less, if the calories are too restricted for you, you can get tired, dizzy, grouchy and god-forbid, put it all back on and then some, once you return to more normal eating patterns. A weight loss of 1-2lbs per week is considered safe. I’ve heard doctors say that any healthy diet that includes reducing calories and increasing exercise works, and consistency is the key– as Yoda reminds us “do or do not, there is no try.” Are you ready to commit for at least 30 days? Let’s do this!

 

8 STEPS TO A NEW YOU!

  1. Start with 6 Minutes of Burst Exercise Every Morning and 5-10K steps each day.

  2. Eat 5, whole food, high protein and vegetable (100-120 calorie) “snacks”  approx. every 2 hours.

  3. Eat 1 high protein and vegetable whole food “lean and green” meal per day (600-700 calorie), choose afternoon or early evening.

  4. Intermittent Fasting, it’s called 15:9 IF- eat all of your calories in a 9 hour, consistent block like 9:00-6:00.

  5. Drink 8 glasses of water each day.

  6. No alcohol, soda, fruit juice or sugary drinks.

  7. Stop eating refined sugar and refined carbs.

  8. Track meals and calories, water, fitness, steps and progress with an online paid app like Noom or for free, with MyFitnessPal.

 

1. Start with 6 Minutes of Intermittent Burst Exercise Every Morning and 5-10K steps each day.

Before you consume anything other than water, as soon as you wake up, do only 6 minutes of intense cardio, like jumping jacks, (or for Buddhists like me, we can do 100 prostrations which are like sacred squat thrusts!). I do 1 min. interval jumping jacks- 1 min. fast walk-jump 3 x 3 sets, or if you can run outdoors for 6 minutes. If you have an elliptical, do a fast 6 mins. on the interval setting, do push yourself! This jump starts your entire metabolism, and the body already begins to start burning fat. You can get a Fitbit or pedometer and walk every day, sun and fresh air does wonders for body-mind-spirit!

2. Eat 5, whole food, high protein and vegetable “snacks” approx. every 2 hours.

Eat proteins and fresh, organic, living vegetables. I created some perfect egg and veg. 100 calorie snacks and here are some more ideas.

3. Eat 1 high protein and vegetable whole food “lean and green” meal per day, choose afternoon or early evening.

Coaches call these “lean and green” meals. Create a basic high protein, low carb. veggie lunch or dinner. Some grains are ok, make the meal satisfying and nice, no need to count calories per se.

4. Intermittent Fasting: eat all of your calories in an 9 hour, consistent block like 9:00-6:00, it’s called 15:9 IF.

This doctor explains intermittent fasting and helps to undo some diet myths.

5. Drink 8 glasses of water each day.

Yes 8, full glasses, this helps to hydrate, detox, digest and keeps you full.

6. No alcohol, soda, fruit juice or sugary drinks.

This is essential, but sugar free coffee and teas are fine, if you have to, use stevia, xylitol or monkfruit sweetener on occasion, but rarely as even alternative sweeteners can affect insulin.

7. Stop eating sugar and refined carbs.

Yes, no flour and sugar dessert, pasta or heavily starchy foods. Some quinoa, amaranth, barley, wheat-berries, brown or organic rice and occasional potatoes are ok.

8. If need be, at least at first, track meals and calories, water, fitness, steps and progress with an online paid app like Noom or for free, with MyFitnessPal.

This is a 1200-1300 reduced calorie diet sufficient for standard weight loss for most people under 200lbs. You may need more or less caloric intake depending on weight, age, health, gender and level of physical activity. Please consult with your doctor, nutritionist or online weight loss coach for a custom plan and guidelines.

weight loss

Disclaimer:

The techniques, ideas, and opinions here are not intended as a substitute for proper medical advice. The information provided here is solely for informational purposes only. All information is generalized, presented for informational purposes only, not medical advice, and not to rely on this information as medical advice and to consult a qualified medical, dietary, fitness or other appropriate professional for their specific needs. Sakura Designs, LLC and Dawn Boiani waive all liability for any harm. This information has not been evaluated by any government agency and the information is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

Photo by Any Lane from Pexels

No sound spiritual path or religion or religious doctrine frightens, controls, exploits, abuses or hurts people or children.

To my Tibetan Buddhist friends, this is a repost of years of discussion on Reddit. We should not be discussing any of this publicly, but certain teachers are publishing our secret tenets and it’s causing some confusion and harm, so please bear with me if there are things here that are hard to understand. Please forgive any faults or omissions. If you haven’t seen the 1972 film Brother Sun, Sister Moon, see it right now or again.

Do you recall the premise of the film, the when the jewel encrusted, gilded panel of those in religious control and authority, shunned and called the monk Francesco, St. Francis of Assisi, a heretic? However, they were wrong. He was by far, the open hearted, authentically spiritual, righteous one. Often those in religious authority have lost any voice of gentle wisdom, compassion or grace- whatsoever. It’s all men’s callous power and control and religion is a powerful method of submission, made up stories about some divine or unseen moral or afterlife punishments that evoke fear and instill powerful social control.

We are at an intense crossroads now of culture conflict. Tibetan Buddhism, taking its root in the west is an ancient feudal culture where they built these many magnificent nationwide religious institutions. These however are headed by one authoritarian teacher in control, that you can not question. In contrast we have the west, many revolutions against totalitarian control, absolute monarchies and the cultivation of much more transparent and democratic structures. We have therefore… a problem.

I have two close Tibetan teachers that have never harmed me, or anything that I know of. This ethical, more modern vajrayana teacher knows exceedingly well that I’m speaking out against this culture of cultural based Lama harm and agrees with most all of our concerns. His direct instruction to me as I speak was to “be very gentle” and it’s hard, for me these are intensely emotional issues, the deepest actually.

I came into Tibetan/ Vajrayana Buddhism as spiritual seeker and met him and my main teacher when I was doing a study abroad program in Nepal. I came from a really harsh bullying and abusive culture, and was so hopeful to find real love, kindness, community, decent and ethical people that I really could create a new family with. Now, again, many of us have lost this after the recent #metoo scandals, we found more control, abuse, heart wrenching scandals and covert alcoholism rampant, even in Buddhism and it’s not at all healing; we are still in the dissolution phase. This is why I’m prompted to write and reflect so often. To be clear, I do not want the Buddhist tantric tradition with it’s powerful ancient yogas to fail, I just want what is not sound to change. Anyone reading thank you for witnessing our collective pain, may it heal through awareness.

Spiritual Narcissism

Men’s encoded doctrine aside, looking at everything with fresh eyes, I feel that real spirituality, dharma can only heal and help us. It does not evoke fear and you are not a submissive slave to anyone ever- spiritually, financially or sexually. I doubt any true Buddha or liberated, compassionate being would wish this upon us. Some teachers claim that they are Buddhas, but seem rather like covert spiritual narcissists that indeed gravitate to positions of power, the need for adoration, attention and control by emotional/psychological manipulation of their followers. These people are hardly a light forward of liberation, it’s rather, more of a personality disorder.

“The belief that your spiritual wisdom makes you more special than others is also known as spiritual narcissism. It can be used to shield yourself from criticism, to impress others, or to enhance your-self-esteem and feel good about yourself.”

Unethical men in power take what is beautiful and sound, our love, our hope, our fears of the unknown, our longing for liberation, our vulnerability and appropriate it for their own power. Some say now that we are not ready for the power and dangers of their tradition, and if we don’t like it go elsewhere. I’ll hope and aspire to never, ever be “ready” for this culturally co-opted version of “Vajrayana”- with all due respect, many teachers seem self righteous and crony-complicit. Views that are intensely orthodox, fear evoking, fire and brimstone, totalitarian, victim blaming, conservative, conduct coverup… That- to me, is not the dharma, any dharma.

Someone was talking about a senior Tibetan or Bhutanese teacher in his lineage abusing babies and being drunk. Just like these cat and dog abuse stories that have come out, so many of these men drink behind the scenes or are on dry drunks. I hope friends can see who many of these people are at their core- instead of ethical changes, culpability and creating healthy community, what is called “relational resolution,” some Lamas have doubled down and *they* split us into those who “submit without seeing” and those who do, “samaya breakers” and are shunned.

 

It’s funny because I see those who use religion to hurt, control and command and students who turn away from seeing the harm, especially to abused children in their gonpas as being complicit as the real “samaya breakers.” Religious abuse is the gravest of crimes because it’s done on the deepest spirit level and we are so open and trusting when someone wears robes.

 

Cruelty and cultural ignorance I believe, was never intended when the Buddha reportedly gave such and open and precious transmission in the secret-fourth moment of the third turning. These men co-opted this and institutionalized it and their built up this Vatican like gold-gilded culture that is just not the dharma, we’ve misconstrued the essence for the form.

And it doesn’t matter how magical, opening and tantalizing the blessing or empowerments were, if at your core you are not kind, you don’t care for children’s suffering and treat your students like dogs, none of it matters or can liberate.

With the reference to Francesco, St. Francis of Assisi, I’d sure rather be on his side than theirs, but it’s disappointing. The Dalai Lama clearly asked for change and revolution in the foundational feudal, slave and owner tenets of Tibetan Buddhism but we did not yet listen. Certain teachers, more than one, recently spoke in direct contrast to him, thwarting and reestablishing central power and control and say we can’t or won’t change anything. They often do this when they are afraid, have something to cover and are losing ground.

Examine A Teacher for 12 Years Before Empowerment

Poor conduct is generally shown to closer students after having received an empowerment where the spiritual front falls. My friend in Shambhala said “I could have come to the center and watched the teacher come, give a talk and leave for 12 years and never ever know what was hidden behind the scenes,” so this “it’s your fault” victim blaming in the male written texts is not fair, and it was designed to ultimately enable abuse, cease critical thinking and submission after empowerment, none of which is helpful.

Ready for the amazingness of Vajrayana? No, I don’t think this madness and command and control was ever what the Buddha intended at the third turning. It’s the s.o.s., men in power using samaya as a weapon, and it’s awful to do that, spiritually criminal actually. Friends, it’s not your fault if your teacher is corrupt and you have to leave. You will not be cast into Vajra hell, and yes the Dalai Lama says you should speak out.

This is what my teachers said about samaya to help us heal. I was super scared, terrified actually about what we were taught about the hells, vajra hell and samaya, he said to me gently “don’t worry about all of that scary stuff, its very simple, if you don’t practice you won’t make any progress.” His father once said to my friend who was also frightened- lovingly “there is only one true samaya” (ultimate clarity) and he said that in the moment all fear ceased.

My teacher said “there is no punisher, no crime, no one to punish.” He also said in confidence “some Lamas use samaya to keep the community together, that’s not the ‘real’ samaya.”

Dharma can not harm the mind, only help, and these warnings, secrecy dangers etc., I feel are mostly unfounded. I think much of this stuff was man-made by people with vested interests.

From The Dalai Lama

We can and must change and evolve create a much more ethical way. Some teachers already have; they are never, ever abusive even behind the scenes, look at the gentleness of Mingyur Rinpoche or Anam Thubten who doesn’t wear robes or sit on a throne but is so loving and helpful. People like that, I trust and would devote to. I would never however, cease critical thinking or intentionally use religion to hurt or harm anyone, ever and if we have, well, there’s no time like the present to wake up.

What Now?

I’m going deeper into my own practice, connecting to only loving, gentle and ethical teachers and friends, calming the winds and opening the heart, trying to live a decent life. My husband said “you are free now to finally become a Buddhist.”_/\_

healthy sunday granola

Yogurt and Granola Parfait Sundays

My teen daughter has… not one, not two but…three girlfriends staying over for summer vacation and it’s been hard to get them to eat a healthy breakfast. This is by far the most decadent of all of my recipes, but a sure fire way to get any sleepy breakfast-rebelling child to eat! A Yogurt and Granola Parfait Sunday topped with fruit, caramel or chocolate sauce, whipped cream and mint. I put them in fancy tall wine glasses so they can see the layers, and it works.every.time.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz fruit and nut granola
  • 12 T natural plain full fat yogurt
  • 1 c. Your choice of fruit: sliced strawberries, blueberries, bananas etc.
  • Chocolate or caramel topping that you use for ice cream
  • Ready Whipped Cream in a spray bottle
  • 4 Sprigs of fresh mint

Directions:

Layer ingredients as shown and top with mint!

yogurt parfait

yogurt parfait

Yogurt and Granola Parfait Sundays

My teen daughter has... not one, not two but...three girlfriends staying over for summer vacation and it's been hard to get them to eat a healthy breakfast. This is by far the most decadent of all of my recipes, but a sure fire way to get any sleepy breakfast-rebelling child to eat! A Yogurt and Granola Parfait Sunday topped with fruit, caramel or chocolate sauce, whipped cream and mint. I put them in fancy tall wine glasses so they can see the layers, and it works.every.time.

Ingredients
  

  • 6 oz fruit and nut granola
  • 12 T natural plain full fat yogurt
  • 1 c. Your choice of fruit: sliced strawberries blueberries, bananas etc.
  • Chocolate or caramel topping that you use for ice cream
  • Ready Whipped Cream in a spray bottle
  • 4 Sprigs of fresh mint

Instructions
 

  • Layer ingredients as shown and top with mint!

Notes

Serves: 4

Message from those who call out male corruption and envision a new, ethical, feminine and better way forward. #beyondmisogyny #kidstoo #hellissocialcontol #wecandobetter

Tibetan Buddhist Dharma Friends:

– We don’t entrap and curse people with high control, punitive vows.

– We don’t control and scare people with frightening talk of 18 torturous hells in this or some afterlife.

– We don’t remove, silence, shun and stonewall people who speak out against hurt, harm and abuse.

– We don’t blame women for the misconduct and even violence of some Lamas.

– We don’t threaten that people will go to hell or get sick if they ever leave a teacher or community.

– We don’t mandate pure perception, when what is happening is harm.

– We don’t wear the dharma as a garish robed ornament of spiritual pride.

– We don’t support and defend teachers that are unwell and hurt students and society.

– We don’t sexually or physically abuse children, ever. There is no “kumari” justification for rape, and we must protect young monks and nuns in these institutions.

– Some “yogi” friends proudly claim to use black magic to try to harm people, people that bring to light, these very actions above.

How could we have taken something so simple, open, benevolent, well intended and used it for such darkness? Times and tradition that harms must and will evolve and change, and we must awaken, and not be swayed by attempts to scare us and thwart power.

We can and must do better and listen to the Dalai Lama’s insistence on a full-on “revolution from Lama corruption,” returning back to the raw basics of practice and unconvoluted decency.

If you use religion or your position to instill fear, ownership, exploitation, child abuse, command and control, you then, are the “samaya breaker,” irrespective of your title, that we could consider distancing ourselves from. Yes, the unethical tenets of this tradition can, will and must change.

Basic Healthy Genuine Spirituality:

– We allow people to think for themselves, practice and come to their own internal knowing.

– We comfort and reassure each other with warmth, love, care and fearlessness.

– We are open to healthy, relational resolution and discussion if there are concerns or conflicts with our teacher or community.

– We honor women, children and all students, we speak to and about each other with respect as intelligent and capable.

– We offer to be a support, listen, help, heal or be there for others in need or dying.

– We listen and honor each other’s experience if people are hurt.

– We are humble, ordinary and take off any pious robes or anything that divides, establishes false trust and evokes spiritual arrogance.

– We openly speak out against anyone in power, religious or political, that are unwell and hurt students and/or society.

– We love, protect and nurture our children, the best investment is our healthy posterity!

– We generously work to really help each other and our world with whatever talent and skill we have.

 


Link HHDL, Recorded at the inauguration of the seminar “Buddhism in Ladakh” @ Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (CIBS) in Leh, Ladakh, India on 1st August 2017. This post was originally published on June 7th, 2020

 

lemon almond cake

Lemon Almond Cake with Cashew Cream- Sugar, Wheat and Dairy Free

We were having friends over for Midsummer’s Day and wanted to create the most perfect guilt-free, healthy summer cake possible- so here it is! The base is a pretty dense single layer almond flour, shortbread style cake. You only need one layer of this cake because it becomes like a very filling marzipan. I found it best to use the spring-form pan to remove the cake when it’s finished but if you don’t have a spring form pan make sure to grease and flour it before you put the batter in. The cashew butter coconut cream frosting is incomparably delectable and all of this is dairy free, wheat free and sugar-free! Be careful when using monkfruit sweetener it’s about 200-400x sweeter than sugar, and some may like to omit it from the frosting. If you have an herb garden or fresh herbs from the market, top with fresh summer springs of mint!

Almond Shortbread Cake

Ingredients:

• 1 1/2 cups almond flour- superfine (not almond meal)
• 4 large organic eggs separated
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 cup granulated monk fruit sugar
• 1 T lemon zest
• 2 T lemon juice
• Sliced berries, mint and thin lemon slices for topping

Instructions:

• Preheat the oven 350F. Well grease and flour a spring-form or 9-inch cake pan.
• In a mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, egg yolks, sweetener, and lemon zest, and mix well. In a separate bowl, beat together your egg whites until there are stiff peaks.
• Gently combine the two and transfer the cake mixture into the greased cake pan.
• Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, until it slightly browns on top. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan, as the shortbread tends to stick. Spring-forms work best and you can slide a knife under before removing.

Cashew and Coconut Cream Frosting

Ingredients:

• 1 stick of vegan butter softened
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 3T cashew butter
• 2 tsp. monkfruit sugar
• 1/2 can- 6oz- 200ml full fat coconut milk cream (use the fatty part)

Instructions:

• Add softened vegan butter to a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to cream butter until it whips add vanilla and mix once more to combine.
• Add monkfruit sugar until well combined and fluffy.
• If too thick, add 1T at a time of the remaining coconut milk of it too thin, add 1tsp of almond flour at a time to thicken. The texture should be similar to a buttercream frosting.
• Refrigerate when done for 1 hour before spreading on cooled cake.
• Spread on cooled cake and decorate with berries, mint and the remaining lemon, sliced!

lemon almond cake

Lemon Almond Cake with Cashew Cream- Sugar, Wheat and Dairy Free

We were having friends over for Midsummer's Day and wanted to create the most perfect guilt-free, healthy summer cake possible- so here it is! The base is a pretty dense single layer almond flour, shortbread style cake. You only need one layer of this cake because it becomes like a very filling marzipan. I found it best to use the spring-form pan to remove the cake when it's finished but if you don't have a spring form pan make sure to grease and flour it before you put the batter in. The cashew butter coconut cream frosting is incomparably delectable and all of this is dairy free, wheat free and sugar-free! Be careful when using monkfruit sweetener it's about 200-400x sweeter than sugar, and some may like to omit it from the frosting. If you have an herb garden or fresh herbs from the market, top with fresh summer springs of mint!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour- superfine not almond meal
  • 4 large organic eggs separated
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 cup granulated monk fruit sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • Sliced berries mint and thin lemon slices for topping

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven 350F. Well grease and flour a spring-form or 9-inch cake pan.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, egg yolks, sweetener, and lemon zest, and mix well. In a separate bowl, beat together your egg whites until there are stiff peaks.
  • Gently combine the two and transfer the cake mixture into the greased cake pan.
  • Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, until it slightly browns on top. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan, as the shortbread tends to stick. Spring-forms work best and you can slide a knife under before removing.

Notes

Cashew and Coconut Cream Frosting
Ingredients:
• 1 stick of vegan butter softened
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 3T cashew butter
• 2 tsp. monkfruit sugar
• 1/2 can- 6oz- 200ml full fat coconut milk cream (use the fatty part)
Instructions:
• Add softened vegan butter to a large mixing bowl and use an electric hand mixer  to cream butter until it whips add vanilla and mix once more to combine.
• Add monkfruit sugar until well combined and fluffy.
• If too thick, add 1T at a time of the remaining coconut milk of it too thin, add 1tsp of almond flour at a time to thicken. The texture should be similar to a buttercream frosting.
• Refrigerate when done for 1 hour before spreading on cooled cake.
• Spread on cooled cake and decorate with berries, mint and the remaining lemon, sliced!

christian

Dawn Boiani-Sandberg (Then I was Dawn Fiske) getting baptized at 10 by the Bishop, Emmanuel Church, Newport, RI

When I was 9, I joined the Episcopal Church in Newport, Rhode Island. This was my own decision, as I was close friends with some kind neighbors who invited me, who would later become my godparents, who I still keep in touch with today. My parents thought it was a bit odd, as they were quintessential 80’s somewhat self absorbed “yuppies,” and not really into religion. I became very involved with the church, went to Sunday school, community events and even joined the bell choir where we’d have to come to church to practice twice a week. I felt so much love and sincere kindness from this community, and it gave me hope and solace from a rather unsavory family life.

christian

Choir Girls from Emmanuel Church, Newport RI circa 1980- That’s me third row- second to last on the right

As far back as I remember as a small child, I was always pretty religious or maybe hedging more toward spiritual. Every morning I would wake up and pray into space and thank “God” or the universe, for another day of life. It was kind of strange in retrospect because my parents didn’t really talk to me about god or religion but somehow there was this innate knowing or belief or maybe just hope- that we were connected to something vast, greater and it was intelligent and compassionate.

I felt completely at home and enriched by my connection to this Episcopalian Community. They became the center of my life. I was impressed by how sincerely kind and compassionate people were as well as socially altruistic. We would raise money to sponsor children in developing countries, have bake sales, parties, trips to the beach, talent shows- arts and crafts- volunteer for those in need-  in or out of the community; it was a full and rich life.

Later on, when I left Newport and went to boarding school in Massachusetts, I started to read about all of the world religions and go deeper into religious philosophy and introspection. That’s where I found the Tibetan Book of the Dead and that pretty much sealed my fate for the next 25 years. Tibetan Buddhism seemed to offer a very complex, detailed system of how the world was structured and a deep understanding of the human mind. It provided a yogic path of inner development- for us to actually make spiritual progress that was beyond just doctrine or faith. As soon as I could, when I was 19, I packed everything up moved to Boulder, Colorado to go to a Buddhist University, The Naropa Institute- to study meditation, Tibetan art and tantric yogic methods.

Looking for a Spiritual Path

We talked so much about benefiting the world, cultivating compassion and a bold vision of creating an enlightened society. The premise of the community was that if you developed yourself and cultivated qualities of calmness, wisdom and sharpened the skills of your human efficacy that you could actually attain enlightenment and at that point, constantly offer yourself to benefit others. We were told that we had  exceedingly fortunate lives, good karma from our past lives and that our task was to take a vow to be of service to our world. There were some heartfelt moments with one of my teachers, and some powerful experiences on retreats, and for these memories I am grateful. I followed all of their training diligently for many years, but noticed in myself and others that these qualities as promised were not emerging even though I performed all of their practices and studied.

During our covid isolation we’ve all had a lot of time to reflect on our life and what is meaningful to us. After the #Metoo movement, many organizations, religious and secular, were exposed for having unethical conduct and scandals behind the scenes, not just in Christianity, but in Buddhism too. What got exposed in our Tibetan Buddhist community worldwide, was pretty unsettling to say the least. We found out that teachers abused their roles of power and control and unquestioning trust and devotion, to take sexual liberties with their students of both genders, forced us to give money and property, swear us to secrecy under something called secret conduct, use violence regularly that’s what they called a “teaching method.” If anyone speaks out, expresses hurt, concern or doubt, they send out henchmen to silence, discredit and slander whistleblowers- basic cult and organized crime modus operandi. They collect small children as early as the age of six from families and ordain them into their monastic institutions worldwide, where children and teens are to this day, subject to daily, violent physical and sexual assault. The teachers in power all know and turn a blind eye, while they give daily talks about compassion and non-harming. That’s just a small snippet the problems with my beloved faith of refuge and solace.

Taking Care of Each Other

During the year where we were in isolation I actually caught Covid, and there were only two people from my Buddhist community of 10k, that called to check on me, offered to help or expressed any care. It reminded me of a few years ago when I was also concerned about my mom who had breast cancer and I was worried about myself too. Our main teacher here in Boulder, who we are to regard as a divine, enlightened “Buddha,” was performing a four day obstacle removing practice. I remember I was so worried about her and I reached out to my Buddhist community, the leader of a large dharma center and I asked if I could just come and practice with my teacher for an hour. They said to me curtly “the only people that are welcome are the people that are his closest students.” They have a graded, hierarchical system of who’s who, and I had little value. They couldn’t even be kind to offer any words of comfort, support and encouragement- it was just a back-handed slap, telling me that I meant nothing. I tried for years to lobby them to create healthy community, take care of each other, uphold ethics and relational resolution; but nope, they consider anyone who requests transparency and change to be “possessed by a demon or evil,” yes I’m not kidding.

The majority of the proceeds from our donations and attention are not on each other, helping the underprivileged etc. but were used to serve the teacher and uphold his royal, jetset, mansions, court lifestyle. This was the first time that I realized that this indeed, is NOT a spiritual community, they were not the spokespeople for enlightened society, they didn’t even have the basic entry level etiquette skills of human decency. My husband commented “most of your dharma friends don’t seem to be well at all, it seems like a narcissist training camp.”

I live in a town, chock filled with self-involved Buddhists who took vows of altruism, yet when in need, they don’t take care of each other if we are sick or dying. Older students who aren’t popular, noted teachers or major donors, are literally left for dead, alone.

The hurt and hypocrisy to me personally, as well as so many lives, has caused me to step back, start fresh and reevaluate what community, faith and what the religious “path” means to me. What do I need, what can really help me to grow and use this short life for something meaningful? I had to seek out religious trauma counselors and shed many tears about the hurt and betrayal of our spiritual leaders as well as the unkindness and callousness of a lot of people who I considered trusted friends. The Tibetan Buddhist community that I was involved with since 19, is falling apart now, they are hemorrhaging with a loss of funding and membership after these scandals, and this trend is global.

It’s About Kindness

So, a few months ago, out of nostalgia, longing and being community-less, I started to join some of the online zoom sessions with a local Episcopalian Church, that just happens to be right by my home. I met with their Reverend, Rev. Bruce Swinehart and he was very kind. I told them about all of my tears and woes, feelings of deep, core spiritual betrayal. This little tiny Episcopalian Church in our neighborhood raised one million dollars during our covid isolation toward building renovations. He also told me that the parish raises money to provide temporary housing to support immigrants and those seeking asylum who were stopped at the border by the Trump administration. He told me that their community is pretty tight knit, if someone in the community gets ill there’s a group of people that will check on them and bring casseroles to the family or when community members are in need. If there’s a couple struggling with their marriage or a teen in trouble, the priest meets with them for spiritual counseling. The clergy did not behave as holier than thou, inaccessible or untouchable, they want to help. What a difference between this community and my former “enlightened society!”

Here are some photos from the outdoor Sunday church, from Saint Mary Magdalene’s Episcopal Church where the bishop was there to offer communion. They sang a song about diversity and the voices of the LGBT population and talked about constant forgiveness, healing our broken hearts and world, and real love. I was moved. Everyone greeted and some hugged each other at the end. This warmth and benevolent aspiration is the magic of real human dharma.

Is my story the quintessential heroic journey where Dorothy goes on this elaborate, long, gold gilded path to encounter this fantastic giant faux authoritarian deity with magic, smoke and mirrors and then finds that everything that she needed she had already in her own backyard within her? Well no, that would be too simple and easy. I’m not willing to relinquish my investment of my 25 years in the belief system of my Buddhist tradition, one of my teachers who was always kind and some of the powerful meditation practices that I still perform today. My concern and aspiration simply pertains to community, ethics, viability and what it really means to create real love.

If you use your religion as a way to build yourself up and think that you’re superior, are arrogant, profit financially, use your tradition to sexually exploit and control others, or justify any intention or action of harm whatsoever, this is no less than the depth of human obscuration and what could be called- “evil.” Retribution and cruelty to others is not “protecting one’s faith,” hurting others, especially children is dead wrong and it doesn’t matter what you call yourself priest, monk, Catholic, Buddhist, there are universal, basic human ethical truisms.

It’s Not About The Outer Form

There’s a famous story of the Buddha’s tooth, where a woman reportedly attained enlightenment. She had so much devotion and faith that she had a relic of a dog’s tooth that she believed was from the original Buddha on her shrine and that inspired her to meditate fervently and become a compassionate person. It doesn’t matter if you are theist, non-theists, an atheist it doesn’t matter whatsoever, what outer form or methodology, practice, what doctrine you ascribed to- it comes to one thing and one thing only, are we kind? Do we treat each other with decency and respect? Do we care for each other when we are aging and ill? Do we use this life to learn and grow, be accountable for our mistakes and feel regret and vow to not harm? This is the essence of the spiritual path, the real Dharma, the real enlightened society, the real God or sacredness within. If you have a heart of kindness~ that is… everything.

Homemade Spearmint Tooth Powder

This easy to make home tooth powder makes my teeth feel very clean, white and polished! This is a modified recipe from my first peppermint tooth powder with the addition now of bentonite clay and xylitol. I love to continually perfect new recipes and the previous tooth powder cleaned well, but tended to be very salty and gritty. This this one now, is very minty and sweet and I look forward to brushing. Take all ingredients and blend them until the power is very fine, like flour and there should be little risk to enamel or gums. This recipe if used 1x a week, should last about 1/2 a year! Store in a glass container or covered container.

Ingredients:

• 1/2 c. Bentonite Clay (1 part)
• 1/2 c. Baking Soda (1 part)
• 1/4 c. Himalayan Sea Salt (1/2 part)
• 2 T Xylitol, Stevia or Monkfruit Sugar
• 2 tsp. of Spearmint Essential Oil

Directions:

Take all ingredients and blend in a blender until very, very fine, stir and blend again. Make sure that the sea salt is no longer course, it should look like course flour.

When you use it, first pour a little Hydrogen Peroxide onto your toothbrush to wet, then dip in powder and brush, brush the tongue too.

Use 1x/week as a polish and antibacterial cleanse to compliment regular daily paste brushing.

Homemade Spearmint Tooth Powder

This easy to make home tooth powder makes my teeth feel very clean, white and polished! This is a modified recipe from my first peppermint tooth powder with the addition now of bentonite clay and xylitol. I love to continually perfect new recipes and the previous tooth powder clean well, but tended to be very salty and gritty. This this one now, is very minty and sweet and I look forward to brushing. Take all ingredients and blend them until the power is very fine, like flour and there should be little risk to enamel or gums. This recipe if used 1x a week, should last about 1/2 a year! Store in a glass container or covered container.

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 c. Bentonite Clay 1 part
  • 1/2 c. Baking Soda 1 part
  • 1/4 c. Himalayan Sea Salt 1/2 part
  • 2 T Xylitol Stevia or Monkfruit Sugar
  • 2 tsp. of Spearmint Essential Oil

Instructions
 

  • Take all ingredients and blend in a blender until very, very fine, stir and blend again. Make sure that the sea salt is no longer course, it should look like course flour.
  • When you use it, first pour a little Hydrogen Peroxide onto your toothbrush to wet, then dip in powder and brush, brush the tongue too.
  • Use 1x/week as a polish and antibacterial cleanse to compliment regular daily paste brushing.

 

Organic Dairy Free Potato Salad

How To Make The VERY Best Potato Salad Recipe. The base is my grandma’s recipe and I use organic vegetables and vegan mayo- and it’s hands down the best potato salad- ever. We have our very first urban homestead herb garden this year, so the parsley is fresh from the garden! This is a perfect side dish for every summer outdoor barbecue or gathering, and now that we are vaccinated we can finally have dear friends and family over. We tried the vegetarian Beyond Burgers on the grill and they cooked up really well, add a fresh salad and some light, cool rosé wine and you have a perfect event- enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 pounds Organic Yukon Gold or Organic Russet Potatoes peeled and chopped to 3/4″ squares
1.5 cups Veganaise or Hellman’s Vegan Dressing
8 small sweet pickles chopped or 2T sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons organic yellow mustard
5 celery stalks washed and diced
8 hard boiled eggs peeled
1/2 organic white onion diced
2 T fresh chopped parsley for garnish
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cut the potatoes into squares and place them in a large stockpot, add 1 tablespoon salt and cook the potatoes for 15 minutes, until fork tender. Do not overcook.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl chop the eggs until fine with a hand pasty blender or two knives crossed. Add the veganaise, pickles, celery, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Stir until smooth.
  3. Once the potatoes are tender, drain and let cool.
  4. When cool, stir in the egg and veganaise mixture. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with parsley and paprika.
  5. Cover the potato salad and refrigerate. Serve Cold.

Dairy Free Potato Salad

Dairy Free Potato Salad

Organic Dairy Free Potato Salad

How To Make The VERY Best Potato Salad Recipe. The base is my grandma's recipe and I use organic vegetables and vegan mayo- and it's hands down the best potato salad ever. We have our very first urban homestead herb garden this year, so the parsley is fresh from the garden!

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pounds Organic Yukon Gold or Organic Russet Potatoes peeled and chopped to 3/4" squares
  • 1.5 cups Veganaise or Helleman's Vegan Dressing
  • 8 small sweet pickles chopped or 2T sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tablespoons organic yellow mustard
  • 5 celery stalks washed and diced
  • 8 hard boiled eggs peeled
  • 1/2 organic white onion diced
  • 2 T fresh chopped parsley for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl chop the eggs until fine with a hand pasty blender or two knives crossed. Add the veganaise, pickles, celery, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Stir until smooth.
  • Once the potatoes are tender, drain and let cool.
  • When cool, stir in the egg and veganaise mixture. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with parsley and paprika.
  • Cover the potato salad and refrigerate. Serve Cold.

My family and I used to travel to California every year and stop in an old Spanish missionary town called San Juan Capistrano, outside of San Diego. There is the oldest and best restaurant there where I called them later and asked for their authentic fresh table-side guacamole recipe. A fresh, cooling summer treat, we just love this!

If you can ever visit this town please do, this restaurant site has been recognized as a California State Historical Landmark. The northern section was originally the home of Miguel Yorba Adobe, built in 1797. The southern half housed the Juzgado (court and jails), so it used to be a jail- and was established in 1812. Visit if you ever can, it’s an amazing cultural experience with an old Mission Church and botanical garden right next door.

http://eladobedecapistrano.com/catering/las-flores-room/

Spanish Guacamole from Mission San Juan Capistrano

Prep Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
10 mins

mexican guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 ripe organic avocados, not too mushy not too hard
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 fresh jalapenos finely chopped
  • cilantro for garnish
  • 2 T of fresh squeezed lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 organic Roma tomato finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced

Instructions:

  1. Cut the avocados in 1/2 and remove the core, scoop out into a bowl
  2. Mash the avocado with a large fork or hand pastry blender
  3. Add the onion, jalapeno and tomato and gently mix well
  4. Add lime juice and salt and pepper to taste
  5. Top with cilantro and serve with organic corn chips made from real Mexican style tortillas!

authentic mexican guacamole

authentic mexican guacamole

Spanish Guacamole from Mission San Juan Capistrano

My family and I used to travel to California every year and stop in an old Spanish missionary town called San Juan Capistrano, outside of San Diego. There is the oldest and best restaurant there where I called them later and asked for their authentic fresh tableside guacamole recipe.

Ingredients
  

  • 4 ripe organic avocados not too mushy not too hard
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 fresh jalapenos finely chopped
  • cilantro for garnish
  • 2 T of fresh squeezed lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 organic roma tomato finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • Instructions:
  • Peel the avocados and remove the core

Instructions
 

  • Peel the avocados and remove the core
  • Mash the avocado with a large fork or hand pastry blender
  • Add the onion, jalapeno and tomato and gently mix well
  • Add lime juice and salt and pepper to taste
  • Top with cilantro and serve with organic corn chips made from real Mexican style tortillas!

Sangchö or Lha Sang, A Tibetan Native Smoke Offering Ceremony

I was at my home in Boulder instead of my retreat home this weekend and invited an old dharma friend over to perform a traditional smoke purification ceremony, borrowed from the Tibetan Bön/ Buddhist Tradition. In traditional shamanistic culture, it’s very common to gather outside by the fire, to connect to nature, the elements and each other. The smoke is said to purify, to burn away obstacles in our lives and has a way of immediately connecting to our ancestral sacredness. We start by sitting silently and then we recite a traditional prayer composed by Dudjom Rinpoche. As the smoke billows, you imagine clearing a new path for that month, and anything you wish to let go of or create, can be part of your aspiration, and you lightly imagine that nature “listens.” We offer fresh juniper dipped in water, that I am fortunate to have plenty of growing on my property, as well as bourbon and aromatic woods. Other substances like ground barley tsampa flour are often offered as well.

We use a little backyard chiminea, that’s placed in a fire-proof simple Japanese rock garden, where I put at little pagoda too, to act like a sacred reliquary garden stupa. It’s a powerful, healing practice that you can do on special days like the full moon, equinox or solstice. Just make sure that you don’t start an uncontrolled fire on high risk days, and that your county/ city allows chimineas! We also make sure to clear any tree branches above to be safe from fire, and douse fully when we are done. I’m including the traditional smoke offering text we use, if your dharma friends want to perform their own, it’s generally “secret” but if you are connected to this tradition, this is the best text to use, you can download it here:

https://www.siddharthasintent.org/assets/pubs/RiwoSangcho.pdf

Homemade Peppermint Tooth Powder with Baking Soda and Sea Salt

This recipe was given to me by my healthful, mountain yogi friend who uses it every day. I have read that brushing with sea salt and tooth powders can damage enamel, but I found a way to use this amazing cleaning recipe safely. Take all ingredients and blend them until the power is very fine, like flour and there should be little risk to enamel or gums. I use this 1x a week rather than every day as a special cleansing paste. Some recipes call for 1 part bentonite clay powder, but this works really well without that. This recipe if used 1x a week, should last about 1/2 a year! Store in a glass container or covered container.

Ingredients:

1/2 c. Baking Soda (1 part)
1/4 c. Himalayan Sea Salt (1/2 part)
50-75 Drops of Essential Oils like: Peppermint, Spearmint, Clove, Tea-tree, Eucalyptus or Cinnamon, blends are ok!

Directions:

Take all ingredients and blend in a blender until very, very fine, stir and blend again. Make sure that the sea salt is no longer course, it should look like course flour.

When you use it, first pour a little Hydrogen Peroxide onto your toothbrush to wet, then dip in powder and brush, brush the tongue too.

Use 1x/week as a polish and antibacterial cleanse to compliment regular daily paste brushing.

 

 

An intimate photo of my teeth after the tooth powder cleanse, quite shiny and white- Proof that it works!

tooth powder

Homemade Peppermint Tooth Powder with Baking Soda and Sea Salt

This recipe was given to me by my healthful, mountain yogi friend who uses it every day. I have read that brushing with sea salt and tooth powders can damage enamel, but I found a way to use this amazing cleaning recipe safely. Take all ingredients and blend them until the power is very fine, like flour and there should be little risk to enamel or gums. I use this 1x a week rather than every day as a special cleansing paste. Some recipes call for 1 part bentonite clay powder, but this works really well without that. This recipe if used 1x a week, should last about 1/2 a year! Store in a glass container or covered container.

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 c. Baking Soda 1 part
  • 1/4 c. Himalayan Sea Salt 1/2 part
  • 50-75 Drops of Essential Oils like: Peppermint Spearmint, Clove, Tea-tree, Eucalyptus or Cinnamon, blends are ok!

Instructions
 

  • Take all ingredients and blend in a blender until very, very fine, stir and blend again. Make sure that the sea salt is no longer course, it should look like course flour.
  • When you use it, first pour a little Hydrogen Peroxide onto your toothbrush to wet, then dip in powder and brush, brush the tongue too.
  • Use 1x/week as a polish and antibacterial cleanse to compliment regular daily paste brushing.

 

 

 

I don’t have central AC in my homes, and even if so, the grid may give out for awhile so we have to prepare and stay safe from heat exhaustion or stroke – here are some great tips to stay cool during this heat wave!

1. Stay out of sun, stay in shade or indoors during high heat hours.
2. Strip down and get wet!
3. Take it easy, rest, read, during the higher heat hours.
4. Take a cold shower or bath.
5. Use Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap/scrub for colder showers.
6. Use cold washrags on your neck or wrists and heat points.
7. Stay Hydrated! Drink lots and lots of cold water.
8. Freeze bananas and berries for a cooling dessert/ snacks.
9. Use box and oscillating fans.
10. Invest in an attic or whole house fan (we did this, amazing!)
11. Close your curtains or blinds, block out sun.
12. Sleep in breathable linens and a get a cooling gel pillow.
13. Sleep in the basement or lower level if you have one.
14. Close the doors of unused rooms.
15. Strategically Angle Fans (in living space-heat in/out).
16. Install Ceiling Fans.
17. Use Some Ice and Fans to Cool Things Down.
18. Use Portable Evaporative Coolers.
19. Keep Appliances Off.
20. Prep Meals and cook in the morning, with a slow cooker or outside on a grill.

 

Copy credit in part:

Photo by murat esibatir from Pexels

KEBAB  ✓ No attribution required.

Welcome to a new, positive way of thinking about anxiety. This is a very common problem that most of us experience at some time or other in each of our lives, and it’s not a disorder, illness or psychiatric disease. Anxiety is a normal brain responding in a very common way to the experiences it has had. It is very important to understand that you are not broken and you do not have a “disorder” that has to be “fixed.” You have some brain circuits that developed outside of your conscious awareness due to certain causes and conditions, and we can calm and correct these temporary imbalances. Here are many simple to use, but holistic, whole person steps I have personally used to “reel in” anxiety when in rears-

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Six Simple Daily Steps for Happiness!

You know, I happen to be Buddhist, but one with an inquisitive mind. We have what we know as the Buddha’s First Noble Truth and that is: “Life is Suffering.” However, it’s a misnomer to just stop there and concede to a life of misery. I think a lot of students and even some teachers […]

Well, the first thing I’d like to say if you suspect that you may have mental illness or a personality disorder or you have gotten an official diagnosis is… don’t panic! The fact that you’re here reading articles like this or seeking therapeutic help is rare. Self awareness and treatment is invaluable for people who suffer with personality disorders and it’s a huge step forward to even begin to see that one needs help. Congratulations are in order! I do not purport to be a psychologist, I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and have worked as a mental health counselor and wellness coach. More than training, I have been the recipient of narcissistic abuse for the good part of my life from my primary relationships. As a survivor and hopeful thriver, I have a lot of first hand experience with the dynamics of relational abuse and have encountered many modalities for healing, that I’d like to share.

Compassion for All

A lot of the self-help books and trainings and even therapists are geared toward helping the people who are the recipients of abuse. However, I’m finding that there’s not a whole lot out there to help people if they find out that they themselves have a personality disorder. Many professionals and online forums consider people who are narcissists, or people to suffer from antisocial personality disorder (psychopathy) to be wholly evil, predatory and conscienceless. Many therapists refuse to work with deeply rooted untreated personality disorders like borderline as the borderline can be emotionally manipulative and harmful, even to the therapist. They talk at great length about cutting people out, no contact, boundaries from “toxic people” and how to walk away.

One of my Buddhist teachers in contrast said, the people that are unwell, hurt, angry and reactive are the ones that need our love the most. I still love the disordered person that is in my family, I know they will never seek treatment. Yet, I see their past, their trauma that caused them to become like this: reactive, rageful and never, ever admitting fault, it’s always everyone else’s issue and they are the poor victims of mistreatment. Inside, they are broken, hollow and alone. Education is the key, for me to be able to create a safe environment to be around this family member. What they had to endure just being them, is enough “punishment” for their lifelong and continuous hurt to me. I’m grateful actually, to have been raised by a full spectrum narcissist and then to seek out a spiritual community headed by someone with a similar psychological profile. I admittedly struggle with being a wounded healer, codependency and care-taking as the fallout of my upbringing. However, they say “take it to the path,” the pain, many tears and years of therapeutic and healing modalities has I hope, caused me to grow and love even more deeply.

There is Hope

I would like to offer a different perspective on how people with personality disorders came to be and feel that if they were to ever seek help, no one is beyond redemption. I believe that no human being, even hardened criminals, even if they go so far as to identify as a predator, abusers who uphold the persona of the “wolf in sheep clothing” con men, gang members, people in political power, people that hold trusted roles as spiritual leaders but are exploitative and use people to glean sex, money, power, control and narcissistic supply, could not be treated and learn to uncover their innate dormant conscience and no longer harm others.

If the disorders that we experience come from: early childhood physical or sexual abuse, neglect, bullying, loss of a parent, growing up with a lot of intensity or trauma, then in order to survive, the child learns to dissociate and protect the vulnerable part of them from being hurt. As they age they perceive people who love them as people who are going to hurt them, a myriad of maladaptive, reactive, controlling or dissociated behaviors can ensue. Experts say often that the age that the abuse started is the age where the person stopped developing emotionally. Often you have people that are adults on the outside but yet broken, the “walking wounded” on the inside. This is not evil, this is sad, and we must safely help each other as much as we can, both “victim and perpetrator” in this hard and fragile life.

This organization, The Compassion Prison Project does a lot of work to help us all to be “trauma informed,” having compassion for unfortunate people that come from trauma and abuse that results in committing crimes. The project offers ways for us all to understand and heal, rather than mere punishment of doing years of time. I myself, used to volunteer in prisons and saw large, muscled, grown men, with tattoos, seemingly hardened, cry and express real regret. These images stay indelibly, with me.

Indeed, some people are born with neurological deficits which are the constructs of antisocial personality disorder, the traditional psychopaths or sociopaths. These are traditionally defined as people that are not capable of feeling real love, compassion, empathy or having any conscience. The statistics are staggering- 1 in 20 people are considered to be on the spectrum of antisocial personality disorder so there’s a very good chance that each of us encountered someone like this in our lives or… maybe ourselves? If you have been diagnosed with a personality disorder and you’re trying to seek help you are not too far gone to be considered un-treatable, then it’s time to take this very seriously and begin the process of self-awareness and healing right away as to not hurt yourself or others any more. The pain of living with untreated personality disorders can create a lonely and hollow life for the person that suffers from this and the impact on people’s family and social relationships can be devastating.

If you suspect you may have a personality disorder, first and foremost, I would adopt this mantra-

“I am a good person but through this illness, I have hurt myself and many people. I am so proud that now, I’m brave enough to see it, and will diligently seek help. I know I can get better and stop these negative recurring patterns. I will someday become a loving, healed and helpful person.”

Here are some helpful steps as to how to get treated:

 

 

  • If your doctor or therapist suggest medication take it diligently.

 

  • If you have problems with alcohol or substance abuse, go to detox, often covered by insurance and then join a supportive 12 Step Community.

 

  • Consider consulting with a Functional Medicine Doctor, there are many powerful OTC supplements that can help.

 

 

  • Journal– Make an extensive list about every single thing you have done to hurt others in your whole life prior to treatment and if possible, contact all of them to apologize, even if it has been decades.

 

  • Real Self Love– Forgive yourself for any harm you have done by acting out of the untreated personality disorder or mental illness.

 

  • Self Energy Work– Learn how to do reiki healings, EFT tapping or self care acupressure like Jinshin-jitsu, take regular warm baths, support, cradle and re-parent a taxed, damaged nervous and adrenal system.

 

  • Seek Emergency or therapeutic help if you uncover memories that are too painful or encounter any mental or emotional state that’s too much to handle alone, or if you have any desire to harm yourself or others.

 

  • As you get stronger and better and are in treatment, if you have committed crimes, you may choose to work with your counselor and contact a lawyer and turn yourself in and explain that you were mentally ill when committing them, and plea for a lesser sentence or a mental illness waiving of sentencing.

 

  • Make sure that you follow the law, always, there are no exceptions or special permissions for you. If you belong to a rebellious group of friends or religion that gives you special permissions to break the law and harm others, leave any unhealthy culture or organization that supports and enables disordered thinking.

 

  • Vow to be mindful of your body, speech and mind, notice if there’s a tendency to feel hurt, reactive rageful and when you notice this come up, take a deep calming abdominal breath, feel your body, look at the other person with kindness and start again.

 

  • A well balanced nutritive diet, daily exercise and sunlight are the basics of any human mind-body-spirit health!

 

  • Contrary to popular thought, I do not recommend meditation, solitary retreat, withdrawal or solitude for long periods of time or any high yogic practices until you have been treated and are stable and psychologically healthy.

 

  • Self Talk– believe that each day is new, each day is a new you, full of potential and renewed!

There is no shame in being diagnosed with any type of depression, bi-polar personality disorder or mental illness. (!) The statistics for us all collectively suffering after the past few years with the disasters, pandemic, loss of life, isolation and economy are all pervasive. I know it’s easier to be in denial, project and blame others, that’s how personality disorders keep their stronghold on those who suffer, but I trust that somewhere, people know when they are unwell and need help. We must remove the mental health stigma, get whatever help needed, to create the best life for ourselves. I love the mantra:

Hurt People Hurt People, Healed People Heal People

Taking steps toward our personal inner health- mind-body-spirit becomes the building blocks of a healthier society, families and spans into the next generations. There are so many amazing powerful and transformative healing resources out there. We can bring light to our shadow, and admit if we are in pain and we’ve hurt others and need help. We can take whatever steps we can to become the best, most healed people we can be! As long as we are still here, with faculties intact, there is always… hope.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer and Emergency Information

 

Disclaimer: Please do not use these articles as a way to diagnose yourself or others. These articles are for educational purposes and they are links, reposts and personal opinions of the author. If you relate to any content, we have a list of hotlines below that you or a loved one can use to seek help for abuse, trauma or mental health issues. Some content can cause “triggers” as sensitive content is discussed.

Resources: National Child Abuse Hotline (US and Canada): 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)

National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233) TTY: 800-787-3224 Video Phone for Deaf Callers: 206-518-9361

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) TTY: 800-799-4TTY (800-799-4889)

Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741741 (US and Canada) or 85258 (UK) National Runaway Switchboard: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

CODA https://coda.org/

 

https://www.pexels.com/photo/fashion-woman-notebook-pen-34072/

Photo by Alex Green from Pexels

I had a long conversation yesterday with a survivor from Vajrayana Buddhist abuse. I told him that I went back to our Buddhist community, now that everything is falling apart from the inner scandal exposures after #dharmametoo. I asked him if he felt that there was any hope as the community is now willing to discuss ideological and structural changes for them to stay viable. The survivor said that he had to a join number of online support groups to be able to heal from the spiritual, psychological and emotional damage of having gone through pretty significant spiritual betrayal. I didn’t ask him what the details were of his experience but many who were in unhealthy sanghas all have been hurt in different ways.

He said he didn’t think that it could be fixed because the basic structural tenets of Vajrayana Buddhism are predicated on classic, quintessential cult ideology, and they aren’t able or willing to see this. We wonder if it is a little bit like the adage “a day late and a dollar short,” if for 10 years they took steps to contract to the community, mandate loyalty, secrecy and exclusivity, and thusly estranged and hurt people, now that people have left and have been really hurt, is it too late for an apology and a “hat in hand,” begging people to come back? It’s funny about apologies, especially when teachers get exposed for their sexual and power exploitation/misconduct or in any political or social milieu like Michael Cohen- their apology, self reflection and regret would be worth a whole lot more if it were offered, *before* they got caught.

I been thinking a lot about what he said yesterday and I have gone through the list of what defines a cultish community many times. I’ve said before, I think a lot of us in the west, came into the Dharma because our original religions weren’t working or were dated or we did not have any viable spiritual tradition. We as spiritual seekers, may have come from drugs, broken families or loss or divorce or were having trauma, emotional or psychological problems. We found something that we were told was completely divine in that we can and should commit our lives to completely, and that it would result in this amazing bingo prize of attaining full enlightenment. Who wouldn’t sign up for that?

I can learn all of these amazing texts and scriptures and hang out with the most holiest and famous teachers and develop some type of self identity for where mine was broken and fragmented, by giving it all away to them. The more that I would be devoted and express submission and love, the more kudos I got and still get, from so many. I could feel like my life has meaning, as it was indeed now defined by my teachers and religious tradition. It is the Buddhist version of being saved, and now I meant something, anything, they defined and gave me value. Yes, you got it, we simply forged a culture of sycophants and co-dependency and when you use religion or a guru as a drug to hide under the cloth, cower and cover, there is zero chance of healthy spiritual evolution.

It’s funny, whenever I express warm memories of my teacher who passed away and pictures of him, I glean a huge amount of kudos and warmth from my global Dharma friends, but if I express any type of criticism of their ideology, longing for things to improve and change or call out what men in power have used to hurt us for centuries, then I become a persona non-Grata. I could spend my entire time posting pictures of Buddhist teachers and Dharma quotes as a way to glean piety by association and indeed fortify my spiritual ego- every day collecting the faux love of dharma social media likes- but how lonely really, pathetic and indeed, unsatisfactory.

A young dharma frienemy who is an ex-monk and self proclaimed teacher and “dharma expert,” now dresses in some theatrical robes and brocades. We went to Naropa together, he posts endless images of teachers, many with him as photo ops and quotes all day and lives from thousands of social media “likes.” It all seems sad, ego stoking, attention seeking and indeed, not the dharma at all, at all. Spiritual Narcissism. Even my living nemesis talks about how we should not post images of teachers to gain confirmation.

This endowed one, put up a photo of Jigme Phontsok and some loosely attributed quote about “not upsetting the minds of others,” and I made a simple and accurate cultural commentary that the Tibetan tendency to never to discuss issues of concern, has brought us/ the Tibetans to the edge of demise socially and politically. I was immediately personally DARVO attacked on his page by him and a piranha pool of people that could not withstand even so much as one tiny moment of critical thinking. It is shocking actually because we have a tradition of prestiged intellect, logic and debate. Even our founder the Buddha reportedly said “please examine in your own experience, everything I said-make and it known to you before you adopt it as true.”

In reality unfortunately, any criticism whatsoever is completely suppressed even to the point where the speaker, if they even express one contrary view would be considered demonic or a vow breaker and shunned, silenced or emotionally berated. This is the farthest thing from what the Buddha wanted, all of it- the gold gilded statues, unkindness, abuse, spiritual ego and experts, hierarchy, commoditization, idolatry and volumes of utterly tedious and dated conceptual scripture, all of this is simply not the authentic Buddhist Dharma or path, at all.

Until people can step back and clearly examine what we have adopted in this ancient culture that is unhealthy and no longer serves us, we will be unable to make the social and cultural changes needed for this tradition to survive into the next generation in the west. Very few young people are magnetized and are upholding it now, and people simply refuse to wake up. As long as we hold on to what is no longer sound… we will not survive. The next generation is indeed shrewd.

 

Induced Dependency – Cults demand absolute, unquestioning devotion, loyalty and submission. A cult member’s sense of self is systematically destroyed. Ultimately, feelings of worthlessness and “evil” become associated with independence and critical thinking, and feelings of warmth and love become associated with unquestioning submission. https://people.howstuffworks.com/cult4.htm

Does the need for transparency, ethical change and social updating invalidate every teacher, all of our practice and every tenet of Vajrayana Buddhism? I say absolutely not. My simple, humble, ethical Yoda-like teacher and training was amazing and the most treasured of my life. But, just like myself as a microcosm- I have a good heart and basically healthy life; I’ve done a lot of good things but there are certain blind spots in me that are really important to rout out uncover, heal and improve. Without this honest inquiry and willingness to change, it’s possible that disease could ensue, like heart disease etc.

We can’t have a closed spiritual tradition that’s unable to question, learn, grow and evolve now. So, considering the original discussion above, the ability for our friend’s tradition to survive is going to be determined by whether or not people are going to be able to see how the religion got used to uphold personal ego and arrogance, profit from people in the community financially, sexually exploiting women and children and the maintaining of religion and power to keep people silenced, owned and trapped and not really capable of making any spiritual progress.

It might be high time- can we get back to the basics of what the Buddha wanted which is… to just sit with ourselves, let all of the inner winds and complexity we’ve taken on, settle. Open our hearts and our minds in an ordinary way, and from being very clear, humble and open, we can offer qualities that would really benefit our world. This simplicity is devoid of being an administrator or upholding some type of large organization, or collecting children from families and having so much institutional complexity and harm. I feel like it’s time for us to listen to the original teachings, connect with ourselves, the earth, the elements and truly and authentically, finally become Buddhist. If we do this, what is sublime, healthy and capable of liberating- will endure.

 

Photo by Daniel Torobekov from Pexels

 

Dawn Sandberg added 14 new photos — with John Horner and Greg Smith at The Great Stupa Of Dharmakaya.

We had a magnificent visit to see the stupa at Shambhala Mountain Center yesterday in Colorado, who’s land was burned in the fires last year.  It was both hopeful and poignant to be there, fire and flowers. I spent over 2 years on that land and want to preserve it at all costs, and hope that all will heal well in the community over time. Please notice, the Kami Shrine, a temple built to honor the Shinto Sun Goddess Amaterasu, the fire burned close by on either side, her shrine all wooden, remained unscathed!

poblano pepper soup

Aztec Poblano Pepper Soup

Vegetarian Mexican Roasted Poblano Pepper and Jalapeno Soup

I used to visit Mexico every year and found this perfect, spicy, flavorful and hearty soup recipe. It’s reminiscent of ancient Mexico, and when I make it, I’m back there again, surrounded by colorful stone handcrafted architecture, woven bright textiles, drying peppers and sunshine. Some recipes call for the peppers to be skinned, but I always leave skins on, and the soup comes out really well.

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 10 poblano peppers, medium
  • 5 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 large white onion peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, reserve some for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of 1/2 and 1/2
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 50 oz- 1 and 1/2 cartons of vegetable broth
  • 14 ounces Mexican melting queso or monterey jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 c organic flour
  • 2T honey
  • 1 stick of vegan or regular butter
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

 

Instructions:

  1. Slice all peppers in 1/2 and remove seeds and stem.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Roast Peppers on baking sheet until the skins starts to bubble, about 15 minutes.
  4. In a large stockpot, saute onions, garlic, cumin and salt in butter, then add vegetable stock.
  5. Add roasted peppers when they are ready and bring all to a boil.
  6. Whisk in crumbled cheese, 1/2 and 1/2, corn starch and flour, simmer for about 15 minutes.
  7. Blend all in a blender in sections and pour back into stockpot, reheat, top with cilantro and serve warm, with crusty bread and a fresh salad!

poblano pepper soup

poblano pepper soup

Aztec Poblano Pepper Soup

Vegetarian Mexican Roasted Poblano Pepper and Jalapeno Soup I used to visit Mexico every year and found this perfect, spicy, flavorful and hearty soup recipe. It's reminiscent of ancient Mexico, and when I make it, I'm back there again, surrounded by colorful stone handcrafted architecture, woven bright textiles, drying peppers and sunshine. Some recipes call for the peppers to be skinned, but I always leave skins on, and the soup comes out really well.

Ingredients
  

  • 10 poblano peppers medium
  • 5 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 large white onion peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro reserve some for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 50 oz 1 and 1/2 boxes of vegetable broth
  • 14 ounces Mexican Melting Queso or Monterey Jack
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 c organic flour
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 stick of vegan or regular butter
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 c 1/2 and 1/2

Instructions
 

  • Slice all peppers in 1/2 and remove seeds and stem.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Roast Peppers on baking sheet until the skins starts to bubble, about 15 minutes.
  • In a large stockpot, saute onions, garlic, cumin and salt in butter, then add vegetable stock.
  • Add roasted peppers when they are ready and bring all to a boil.
  • Whisk in crumbled cheese, 1/2 and 1/2, corn starch and flour, simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Blend all in a blender in sections and pour back into stockpot, reheat, top with cilantro and serve warm, with crusty bread and a fresh salad!

Notes

Servings: 6

Photo by Alex Azabache from Pexels

Healthy Vegetable Lasagna with Zucchini and Ricotta

This is a veggie lasagna recipe, with ingredients sourced from Trader Joes, but any store with has no-prep lasagna noodles like Barilla and organic veggies will do! This lasagna is very quick, easy to assemble and it’s a family staple, and best when we can source tomatoes, basil and zucchini from the garden! The only pre-prep is to steam the broccoli and zucchini, and a quick blend with a blender or food processor.

This recipe takes many shortcuts, (pardon the non-zero waste prepackaging)- we use no-boil lasagna sheet noodles, prepared tomato sauce, ricotta, cottage cheese, and prepackaged shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. All the ingredients go straight into the baking pan.

Ingredients:

• 1 (16 oz) box No Boil Lasagna Noodles
• 1 jar Tomato or Marinara Sauce (26 oz.)
• 1/2 head of broccoli, steamed, drained and chopped -or-
• 1 (16 oz) bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed or fresh, lightly chopped
• 2 small green zucchinis steamed, drained and sliced
• 16 oz shredded mozzarella
• 1 (16 oz) container Fresh Whole Milk Ricotta
• 1 (16 oz) container Small Curd Cottage Cheese
• 1 (12 oz bag) of shredded Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of grated.
•  Fresh Basil garnish or dried Italian seasoning (optional)

 

Instructions:

• Preheat oven to 350° degrees F.
• Steam and chop the broccoli, and slice and steam the zucchini.
• Blend the steamed broccoli (or fresh or frozen thawed and drained spinach) and a blender or food processor.
• Stir broccoli or spinach into ricotta in a bowl with 1/4 t salt.
• Cover the bottom of an 8×12-inch or 9×13-inch baking dish with 1/2 cup tomato sauce or marinara.
• Put down one layer of noodles (I use 3 and 1/2 noodles for each layer).
• Spread the ricotta and broccoli on the noodles.
• Place another layer of noodles and sauce and mozzarella cheese.
• Spread container of ricotta cheese.
• Top with another layer of zucchini and Parmesan then a top layer of noodles, remaining sauce, and a dense layer of remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
• Bake for about 50 minutes, until top is bubbling and melted. Top with basil or Italian seasoning. Let lasagna cool for a few minutes before serving.

Garnish with basil, and enjoy! Serves 6.

Vegetable-Lasagna

 

 

veggie-lasagna

 

trader-joes-lasagna

Healthy Vegetable Lasagna with Zucchini and Ricotta

This is a veggie lasagna recipe, with ingredients sourced from Trader Joes, but any store with has no-prep lasagna noodles like Barilla and organic veggies will do! This lasagna is very quick easy to assemble and it’s a family staple, and best when we can source tomatoes, basil and zucchini from the garden! The only pre-prep is to steam the broccoli and zucchini, and a quick blend with a blender or food processor.This recipe takes many shortcuts, (pardon the non-zero waste prepackaging)- we use no-boil lasagna sheet noodles, prepared tomato sauce, ricotta, cottage cheese, and prepackaged shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. All the ingredients go straight into the baking pan.

Equipment

  • blender or food processor

Ingredients
  

  • 1 16 oz box No Boil Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 jar Tomato or Marinara Sauce 26 oz.
  • 1/2 head of broccoli steamed, drained and chopped -or-
  • 1 16 oz bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed or fresh, lightly chopped
  • 2 small green zucchinis steamed drained and sliced
  • 16 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 1 16 oz container Fresh Whole Milk Ricotta
  • 1 16 oz container Small Curd Cottage Cheese
  • 1 12 oz bag of shredded Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of grated.
  • Fresh Basil garnish optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350° degrees F.
  • Steam and chop the broccoli, and slice and steam the zucchini.
  • Blend the steamed broccoli (or fresh or frozen thawed and drained spinach) and a blender or food processor.
  • Stir broccoli or spinach into ricotta in a bowl with 1/4 t salt.
  • Cover the bottom of an 8×12-inch or 9×13-inch baking dish with 1/2 cup tomato sauce or marinara.
  • Put down one layer of noodles (I use 3 and 1/2 noodles for each layer).
  • Spread the ricotta and broccoli on the noodles.
  • Place another layer of noodles and sauce and mozzarella cheese.
  • Spread container of ricotta cheese.
  • Top with another layer of zucchini and Parmesan then a top layer of noodles, remaining sauce, and a dense layer of remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
  • Bake for about 50 minutes, until top is bubbling and melted. Let lasagna cool for a few minutes before serving.

Notes

Garnish with basil, and enjoy! Serves 6.

Photo by Anna Guerrero from Pexels

chai oatmeal

 

Chai Spiced Multigrain Oatmeal

A friend’s German grandfather lived until 102 and he ate warm oatmeal every morning. I like oats with a 7-Grain Cereal and whey power for added protein. A serving of this stick-to-your-ribs cereal is packed full of everything you need for an energizing morning. Our chai oatmeal is high in flax, fiber and protein, and rich in vitamins and minerals. Add any toppings, milk or sweetener you want, or enjoy plain with a simple austerity.

Ingredients:

  1. 1/4 c. Multigrain Hot Cereal
  2. 1/4 c. organic rolled oats
  3. 1 T. whey powder (optional)
  4. 1/2 t. cinnamon
  5. 1/2 t. cardamon
  6. pinch of salt

optional toppings: butter, bananas, raisins, nuts, berries, honey, oat or your preferred milk

Instructions:

• Bring 2 cups of salted water or your preferred milk to a boil.
• Add oats and multigrain cereal mix to water, stir.
• Turn off heat but keep pan on burner, covered.
• Let sit, until water is absorbed and grains are soft; about 10 minutes.
• Finish with your favorite toppings.

Serves 2

 

chai oatmeal

Chai Spiced Multigrain Oatmeal

A friend's German grandfather lived until 102 and he ate oatmeal every morning. I like oats with a 7-Grain Cereal and whey power for added protein. A serving of this stick-to-your-ribs cereal is packed full of everything you need for a energizing morning. Our chai oatmeal is high in flax, fiber and protein, and rich in vitamins and minerals. Add any toppings, milk or sweetener you want, or enjoy with a simple austerity.

Equipment

  • optional toppings: butter, bananas, raisins, nuts, berries, honey, oat or your preferred milk

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 c. Multigrain Hot Cereal
  • 1/4 c. organic rolled oats
  • 1 T. whey powder optional
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. cardamon
  • pinch of salt

Instructions
 

  • Bring 2 cups of salted water or your preferred milk to a boil.
  • Add oats and multigrain cereal mix to water, stir.
  • Turn off heat but keep pan on burner, covered.
  • Let sit, until water is absorbed and grains are soft; about 10 minutes.
  • Finish with your favorite toppings.

Notes

Serves 2

date truffles

Healthy Chocolate Date Truffles

These naturally sweet treats are… AMAZING! It seems like you can blend up whatever sweets and nuts you have around the house as long as the texture can be rolled into a ball and mixed with cocoa powder, leave them in fridge overnight to set. These are just as good, sweet, chocolaty and decadent as any real truffle!

Ingredients:

• 25 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
• 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 cup almond meal
• 1/2 cup of: peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts or sunflower seeds
• 1/2 cup of coconut oil
• Coatings: cocoa powder, shredded coconut, crushed hazelnuts or any other crushed nut

Instructions:

1. First soak dates them in warm to hot water for 15 minutes and then drain before putting into the food processor or quality large blade blender.
2. Put all of the above ingredients into the blender or food processor, blend slowly, and stop intermittently to ensure mixing until a thick oily “dough” ball is formed. You will have to scrape down the sides of the blender/food processor a few times to get all of the dry ingredients, or add a tad of water if it won’t blend. Once a dough is formed, scoop the dough (about 1 Tablespoon each) and roll into a smooth ball with your hands.
3. Roll into cocoa powder, coconut, and hazelnuts by spreading ingredients onto a plate and roll the moist dough balls around in a circle to fully cover. You can serve immediately, but they are best if refrigerated overnight. Store truffles in the refrigerator, they can keep up to a week.

healthy date balls

date truffles

Healthy Chocolate Date Truffles

These naturally sweet treats are… AMAZING! It seems like you can blend up whatever sweets and nuts you have around the house as long as the texture can be rolled into a ball and mixed with cocoa powder, leave them in fridge overnight to set. These are just as good, sweet, chocolaty and decadent as any real truffle!

Ingredients
  

  • 25 Medjool dates pitted and soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
  • 4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup peanuts pecans hazelnuts or sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • Coatings: cocoa powder shredded coconut, crushed hazelnuts or any other crushed nut

Instructions
 

  • First soak dates them in warm water for 15 minutes and then drain before putting into the food processor or quality large blade blender.
  • Put all of the above ingredients into the blender or food processor, blend slowly, and stop intermittently to ensure mixing until a thick oily “dough” ball is formed. You will have to scrape down the sides of the blender/food processor a few times to get all of the dry ingredients, or add a tad of water if it won’t blend. Once a dough is formed, scoop the dough (about 1 Tablespoon each) and roll into a smooth ball with your hands.
  • Roll into cocoa powder, coconut, and hazelnuts by spreading ingredients onto a plate and roll the moist dough balls around in a circle to fully cover. You can serve immediately, but they are best if refrigerated overnight. Store truffles in the refrigerator, they can keep up to a week.

I found that Traditional Chinese Medicine was very effective in treating my severe case of Covid 19, very quickly. They have many ancient, proven effective herbs and remedies that act as an anti-virulence, as well as ones that target and strengthen certain organs and organ efficacy like lung function. Here is my personal experience and what helped, and in no way am I offering any professional medical advice, please always consult medical experts.

I went in for my first Pfizer vaccine, but my daughter had tested positive for Covid 19 a week before. I left the house when we were first diagnosed and went to a hotel suite alone, as to not catch it, as I was at higher risk than my husband as he is a few years younger. Sure enough, I started to get sicker and sicker and you may guess, after a year of vigilant quarantining, masks, Purell and social distancing, I was… Covid-19 positive.

Variants- A Warning from the Health Department

Everyone who tests positive for Covid 19 gets a call from the Public Health Dept. in Colorado for contact tracing and quarantine purposes. The counselor said part of why we are seeing a slight uptick with Covid cases on the rise in certain areas, is the new P.1 variant strain, which I did not have, thankfully. She was so sorry to report that even people who are fully vaccinated can get this (since like any annual flu shot, vaccines help to prevent, but these have only a 90% effective rate) or unvaccinated people who had Covid before might even get reinfected. What? I thought.

People are relaxing now with a false confidence when indeed we should not completely, as we see second waves worldwide. However, our national vaccine success helps to mitigate that possibility as long as we keep taking them and not be so afraid of the exceedingly rare side effects. I know it’s one dire thing after another these days, and we all wish it were different, but I beg everyone to remain super vigilant in public places for awhile longer and please please please, GET VACCINATED!!!! You do not want this virus, I barely survived it, even with no underlying condition!

To the Hospital after Fainting

I came home and my husband created a sealed quarantine room in the house. We sealed the room completely with tape and tarps torn from black contractor/ leaf bags so my husband would not become infected. We had a Hepa filter fan in the room and turned off the whole house fan as to not circulate the aerosols of the virus. I did not leave the room for any circumstance whatsoever and gratefully had an attached bath, windows with sunlight, a roof to sunbathe and a hot water heating element teapot. I had found an urgent vaccine appointment for my husband a few days before I returned home. I started to cough so hard that I was getting a mild concussion, and pushing on my pelvic floor, miserable. My fever was steady at about 101-102. I was very tired and my lungs were filling up quickly with congestion. I could not eat, barely sleep and had these coughing bouts, whooping and dizzying. My resting pulse ranged between 98-121, tachycardia, and I felt like it was a fight for each and every welcome breath. Even binge watching 57 hours of Downton Abbey and feeble attempts to meditate provided no solace.  At times, indeed I thought I might not make it, really- and had to fight for hope, for my very life.

Dawn in the hospital bed with an EEG test.

Do Not Suppress Cough or Mild Fever!

I went to the ER one morning after I nearly fainted, I began to not see or hear and almost called for an ambulance. It is only day 4 of my fever and symptoms. They did a CAT scan to rule out a blood clot, yet saw covid pneumonia in one of my lower lung lobes, with a “webbing” of infection spreading which can be fatal. My oxygen was at 90, BP ok, so they sent me home to recover. They gave me a breathing spirometer to increase lung capacity that I was supposed to take 10 deep breaths every hour. This was very powerful as the nurse said that it “pops” the infected nodes in the lungs and can prevent fatality. They did rule out anything really dangerous but was there for an hour and 1/2 in Boulder and the bill was over 18 thousand dollars! This is why we must cap medical costs, have transparency and not a for-profit system, criminal! The saline drip costs about $1.40 a bag and they billed me $1,187. Now my insurance paid most of this for me, but still, we need a not-for-profit system. I am however grateful to have access to privileged medical care, and would only wish for that same access to everyone, worldwide.

I bought a finger based O2 and pulse monitor to check every hour, and was told to return if my O2 got below 88 where we live at higher altitude.

I called the CDC and a tele-health nurse, and they told me to *allow the coughing and slight fever!*

If you think about it, what are the two ways that the body has any chance of successfully fighting viral pneumonia? That would be a fever and the ability to cough out and expel any type of infection in the lungs. This made complete sense to me so I decided to not take any cough suppressant, cough drops, Mucinex or fever reducer if my fever stayed under 103. I did find these powerful TheraBreath Zinc lozenges since Covid drys your whole respiratory system out. I wonder if so many people are dying because they try to suppress symptoms and go against the body’s own healing attempts, taking too much OTC medicine and lay flat where the pneumonia can take over?

Every other night I would break down and take two baby aspirin or some acetaminophen to get to sleep but never any ibuprofen because there have been a lot of fatalities with that particular medicine, and it’s never used in our home. There have been some studies that aspirin helps to mitigate severe symptoms and prevents blood clots. I’d have intense night sweats, altering from cold to hot and it was impossible to get comfortable and feel ok. I did prop some pillows up or sleep “prone” on the belly and that worked. I tried to connect and listen to my body I could actually feel the congestion in certain areas by consciously trying to move/ cough up lung congestion to help my immune system and its recovery. When I could I got up and walked around, and did some light yoga and some postural drainage. I took steam baths with a towel over the head, with Vicks or Thieves (eucalyptus, clove oil) and had a steam humidifier going on full blast in the room 24/7. I rubbed tiger balm on my chest, but could not smell a thing! I drank plenty of water, tons, diluted fruit juices and steaming ginger tea with honey every couple hours.  I forced myself to eat healthy foods that my husband prepared to rebuild my strength, and we even had Meals on Wheels come for a few days!

Traditional Chinese Medicine

I contacted a very well noted and respected acupuncturist, Doctor of Oriental medicine, Dr. Jake Fratkin, who has been perfecting a tested Covid formula from China for over a year and did a Zoom tele-medicine call. He prescribed these three tinctures, with a foundation of Minor Buplerum or Xiao Chai Hu Tang. The night, actually the hour where I started on this protocol along with Vitamin C, D, Zinc a food based multivitamin and amino acids, I began to recover, and did so very quickly thereafter. When I was feeling better, I’d go out of the window onto the rooftop and sunbathe, the fresh oxygenated air did wonders! It took about 8 full days to recover with no remaining fever, some cough remained for another week, but I stayed inside under the strictest of home quarantine for 10. My husband helped me with postural drainage and gently beating my back called percussion.  My husband did not get Covid, thankfully. I think it is amazing that TCM has so many protocols for anti-virulence!

 

 

Covid Fast Remedy Checklist

 

Here is my personal Covid checklist if God forbid anyone in my family gets this again:

  • Vitamin D, C, Zinc, Multivitamin, Amino Acids and if prescribed by a TCM Doctor, Chinese anti-virulence herbs
  • Diluted fruit juices, green juices like Kale and Cucumber fresh nutritive foods like soups, broth, protein, vegetables and watery fruit like kiwi and oranges
  • TheraBreath Zinc lozenges
  • Fresh or Powdered Ginger Tea with Honey, nonstop
  • Vics Vapo Rub, Tiger Balm or Eucalyptus based Essential Oils like Thieves (I make it myself) that they used during the Black Plague
  • A Neti Pot to moisten and clear nasal passages
  • A Room Humidifier
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Baby Aspirin
  • A Spirometer
  • An O2 and pulse monitor

 

Wellness wishes to all, I’m 98% recovered, and it’s been just over a month. Some reduced lung capacity and tiredness and some slight paresthesia, as covid can have odd residual effects, but indeed, I’m so very grateful to have overcome it and happy to be alive.  I have my second vaccine on Saturday and will take it without hesitation. My heart to all of the many lives lost and their families, the unbearable anguish of our time. Please everyone still stay safe, and moreso, please make every moment meaningful- love well, live with integrity and joy with such a magical, fleeting, colorful and beautiful world we have. ♥️

 

quinoa egg muffins

Quinoa Crust-less Quiche Tarts

About Quinoa:

Quinoa “grain” originated in the Andean region of northwestern South America and is a protein, dietary fiber, B vitamin rich plant from the amaranth family, that is actually an edible seed.

I raise urban hens and in the spring, they are laying now so many eggs, daily, more than we can eat. We give a dozen away per week to friends. It’s been great to craft so many high protein, vegetarian dishes, with some ingredients from our proud backyard homesteading!  (Read: The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre.)

Medifast, Optavia and Weight Watcher’s Approved!

Our Quiche Tart “Muffins” are packed full of healthy ingredients like protein-rich quinoa, vegetables, and eggs. They’re Weight Watcher’s approved at 2 Points per tart, or as an Optavia fueling at slightly under 100 calories per muffin.

Quinoa Crust-less Quiche Tarts

Ingredients:

• 6 large eggs
• 2 cups of cooked organic quinoa
• 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon table salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/6 teaspoon (sprinkle) of cayenne pepper
• 1 ounce of chopped spinach
• 4 sliced Portobello mushrooms
• 1 large diced tomato or red pepper

Instructions:

• Set oven to 400 degrees.
• Boil 1 and 1/2 cups of quinoa= 2 cups cooked.
• Chop and dice all vegetables.
• Lightly coat a non-stick 12 muffin pan with non-stick olive oil spray.
• Crack eggs into a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk with an egg beater.
• Add cooked quinoa, cheese and stir all ingredients to combine.
• Pour quiche mixture evenly into muffin pan, filling each well about 2/3rds of the way.
• Place pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until tarts puff up.
• Remove pan from oven and allow quiche tarts to cool in pan for 2-3 minutes, carefully remove with a large spoon.

quinoa muffin

quinoa muffin

Quinoa Crust-less Quiche Tarts

About Quinoa: Quinoa "grain" originated in the Andean region of northwestern South America and is a protein, dietary fiber, B vitamin rich plant from the amaranth family, that is actually an edible seed. Medifast, Optavia and Weight Watcher’s Approved! Our Quiche Tart "Muffins" are packed full of healthy ingredients like protein-rich quinoa, vegetables, and eggs. They’re Weight Watcher’s approved at 2 Points per tart, or as an Optavia fueling at slightly under 100 calories per muffin.

Ingredients
  

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups of cooked organic quinoa
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/6 teaspoon sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • 1 ounce of chopped spinach
  • 4 sliced Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 large diced tomato or red pepper

Instructions
 

  • Set oven to 400 degrees.
  • Boil 1 and 1/2 cups of quinoa= 2 cups cooked.
  • Chop and dice all vegetables.
  • Lightly coat a non-stick 12 muffin pan with non-stick olive oil spray.
  • Crack eggs into a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk with an egg beater.
  • Add cooked quinoa, cheese and stir all ingredients to combine.
  • Pour quiche mixture evenly into muffin pan, filling each well about 2/3rds of the way.
  • Place pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until tarts puff up.
  • Remove pan from oven and allow quiche tarts to cool in pan for 2-3 minutes, carefully remove with a large spoon.

Vegetarian Blue Cheese Soufflé with Non-dairy or Dairy Options

Ingredients:

• 4 tablespoons vegan butter
• 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan/vegan Parmesan cheese
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or soy flour
• 1 1/2 cups soy or oat milk
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
• 6 ounces fresh chopped organic spinach
• 6 oz chopped baby portobello mushrooms
• 8 large free range eggs, separated
• 8 ounces crumbled blue/vegan blue, Roquefort or Gorgonzola cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Blue Cheese Souffle

Directions:

• Preheat the oven to 400° and brush bunt cake pan with butter.

• In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of vegan butter. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Whisk in the soy milk and cook over moderately low heat until smooth and very thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in the salt and cayenne. Turn off the heat, whisk in the egg yolks, cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the blue cheese, spinach and mushrooms.

• In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the cornstarch at medium-high speed until frothy. Increase the speed to high and beat until firm peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold these whipped egg whites into the remaining mixture.

• Spoon the soufflé mixture into pan. Bake until the soufflé is puffy and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately, as indeed even the best soufflés do flatten as they cool!

Blue Cheese Souffle

Blue Cheese Souffle

Vegetarian Blue Cheese Soufflé with Vegan or Dairy Options

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan/vegan Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or soy flour
  • 1 1/2 cups soy or oat milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 6 ounces fresh chopped organic spinach
  • 6 oz chopped baby portobello mushrooms
  • 8 large free range eggs separated
  • 8 ounces crumbled blue/vegan blue Roquefort or Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400° and brush bunt cake pan with butter.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of vegan butter. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Whisk in the soy milk and cook over moderately low heat until smooth and very thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in the salt and cayenne. Turn off the heat, whisk in the egg yolks, cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the blue cheese, spinach and mushrooms.
  • In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the cornstarch at medium-high speed until frothy. Increase the speed to high and beat until firm peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold these whipped egg whites into the remaining mixture.
  • Spoon the soufflé mixture into pan. Bake until the soufflé is puffy and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately, as indeed even the best soufflés do flatten as they cool!

 

“Let go of people who are not prepared to love you. This is the hardest thing you will have to do in your life and it will also be the most important thing. Stop having hard conversations with people who don’t want change.
Stop showing up for people who have no interest in your presence. I know your instinct is to do everything to earn the appreciation of those around you, but it’s a boost that steals your time, energy, mental and physical health.

 

When you begin to fight for a life with joy, interest and commitment, not everyone will be ready to follow you in this place. This doesn’t mean you need to change what you are, it means you should let go of the people who aren’t ready to accompany you.
If you are excluded, insulted, forgotten or ignored by the people you give your time to, you don’t do yourself a favor by continuing to offer your energy and your life. The truth is that you are not for everyone and not everyone is for you.
That’s what makes it so special when you meet people who reciprocate love. You will know how precious you are.

 

The more time you spend trying to make yourself loved by someone who is unable to, the more time you waste depriving yourself of the possibility of this connection to someone else.
There are billions of people on this planet and many of them will meet with you at your level of interest and commitment.

 

The more you stay involved with people who use you as a pillow, a background option or a therapist for emotional healing, the longer you stay away from the community you want.
Maybe if you stop showing up, you won’t be wanted. Maybe if you stop trying, the relationship will end. Maybe if you stop texting your phone will stay dark for weeks. That doesn’t mean you ruined the relationship, it means the only thing holding it back was the energy that only you gave to keep it. This is not love, it’s attachment. It’s wanting to give a chance to those who don’t deserve it. You deserve so much, there are people who should not be in your life.
The most valuable thing you have in your life is your time and energy, and both are limited. When you give your time and energy, it will define your existence.

 

When you realize this, you begin to understand why you are so anxious when you spend time with people, in activities, places or situations that don’t suit you and shouldn’t be around you, your energy is stolen.
You will begin to realize that the most important thing you can do for yourself and for everyone around you is to protect your energy more fiercely than anything else. Make your life a safe haven, in which only ′′compatible′′ people are allowed.
You are not responsible for saving anyone. You are not responsible for convincing them to improve. It’s not your work to exist for people and give your life to them! If you feel bad, if you feel compelled, you will be the root of all your problems, fearing that they will not return the favours you have granted. It’s your only obligation to realize that you are the love of your destiny and accept the love you deserve.

 

Decide that you deserve true friendship, commitment, true and complete love with healthy and prosperous people. Then wait and see how much everything begins to change. Don’t waste time with people who are not worth it. Change will give you the love, the esteem, happiness and the protection you deserve.”

 

ANTHONY HOPKINS

Photo by Garon Piceli from Pexels

spiritual bypassing

Repost from Jeff Brown

Author of Grounded Spirituality:

“They didn’t go to sit in the meditation cave to enlighten their consciousness. They went there to bypass their issues with the world. They didn’t turn to silence to extinguish the monkey mind. They turned to silence to turn down the volume on their pain (the monkey heart). They didn’t nestle into stillness because it’s THE royal road to the kingdom of God. They nestled into silence because noise ignited their traumas.

They didn’t tame the ego because the ego is the enemy of the sacred. They tamed it because it confronted them with their unresolved humanness. They didn’t purify the body because the body is something less than Divine. They purified the body in an effort to escape their toxicity. They didn’t strive for transcendence because there is anything up there for us. They strove for transcendence because they lacked the courage to live on Mother Earth.

They didn’t seek formlessness because it is our most awakened state. They sought formlessness because their form hurt too much. They didn’t master non-attachment because it is the primary path to self-realization. They mastered non-attachment so they could sidestep the challenges of human relationship. They didn’t shame anger, because anger is a sub-standard emotion. They shamed anger because it triggers their unacknowledged rage. They didn’t shun non-judgment because all judgments are bad. They shunned non-judgment so they could get away with doing anything they wanted.

Friends, we have been fooled for centuries. The patriarchy went to a lot of trouble to camouflage and cloak their personal issues. A whole spiritual world was birthed from their self-avoidance. And it is now time to call it out. It is now time to bury patriarchal spirituality in a graveyard of its own making, and to co-create a spirituality that is grounded in our humanness, our bodies, our feelings, our relationships with each other and Mother Earth. It’s the only way we can save our species.”

 

cave yogi

 

https://www.facebook.com/Naldjor
Photo by Prince Kumar from Pexels

the fifth trumpet

Is Corona Virus the infamous plague predicted in the Book of Revelations? Well, having lived through it, I’ll give it a resounding yes.

The Fifth Trumpet
…The star opened the pit of the Abyss, and smoke rose out of it like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the pit. And out of the smoke, locusts descended on the earth, and they were given power like that of the scorpions of the earth.  They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.…

Revelation 9:3

I ascribe more to the Vedic world view, that we happen to be in a destruction cycle, things change, we call this a KaliYuga. It is a bummer to have to live through as things fall apart with there being a lot of death and destruction caused by our karma, but as Gandalf reminds us: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

I lie awake at night alone, each breath a welcome struggle to live one more second as my inflamed lungs made me feel like I was drowning. My fever was 102, I had tachycardia, my resting pulse was getting over 120, Defcon 1– full body alarm intruder warning, I could literally see the oscillating matrix of red-tinted death in space, it was intentional, alive- nothing short of the seek and destroy, inhumane, ruthless, where could it find a vulnerability, and if I wanted to give up even for a second, death would have ever so easily welcome me. Yes, I survived Covid 19, and it was a hard fight.

In my semi-altered fevered state, I spontaneously began to pray into space as I often do in the mornings and evenings. Then, I had an Obi-Wan moment, a team of my ancestral protectors appeared in front of me, vivid, clear and real. It was a panel of wisdom beings before me, my Tibetan teacher Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, my loving grandmother who passed and my yidam, the lion headed goddess Simhamukha, and my exceedingly wrathful protector, I’d prefer not to say her name here now. I was awestruck to see them all there at once, but the quality was none-other than love, compassion and reassurance. We started to talk, or rather, they talked and I listened, the voice was my guru’s.

I asked how is it that they were appearing to me all at once and why? What I will share is now personal, but I checked in and have the green light to share here. He (my teacher) said, we are all here all the time, you don’t yet understand non-duality, so you have to practice much more. We exist as you do, all on the “same shore” behind the constructs of time and space, death and birth. We all exist collectively and are all made of the same substance of light and mind, and you thinking that you are you, and that there are “things” that are separate is just an illusion. He said that I had reached a turning point with the virus, that I was not dying from it and that I would be better in 3 days, and for me to not be in fear.

He said that I spent too much time believing that I exist and then consequently believing that others exist and this creates dualistic grasping. He said I and others waste our lives trying to remedy loneliness on social media by wanting to feel connected and “wanting something” from beings that have no one inside of them that is permanent, real and that my quest was childish and life wasting. Why would I chose to fill my life, chasing beings who’s nature is empty as mine is? It wasn’t that they don’t care about beings, but my care had to now pivot from wanting something from others to clear seeing and feeling the fullness of giving. He wanted to remind me to do at least two meditation sessions per day, 2 hours in the morning, and 2 hours in the evening.

Why practice so much I asked if it is all a dream? He said that when you practice, you become a stable, open vessel for wisdom and compassion rather than blocked and “they needed me to do that.” He said that the universe was filled with love and compassion and they forgive me for my flaws. I asked them if I had harmed he Dharma or broken any vows by speaking out against women and child abuse, and they said “no, the things that you expressed concern about were valid and these teachers and monks had to simply stop their misconduct as that was harming the dharma.” I was supposed to work to continue to help to protect children who are harmed.

My teacher had very thick glasses and huge lips, and after our conversation he kissed my forehead like a loving parent, and the whole panel of my wisdom ancestors emanated love to me, took away my fear and reassured me that I would recover soon now. He said don’t sit inert, get up and move, do light yoga and practice and this will soon pass. They said that I always has access to them and that if I practice a lot more, someday all will be revealed. This is true “revelation” that indeed, inspires me most. I am alive today, woke that morning and my fever had resolved. I now tested negative for Covid and no matter how dark things seem, will start anew, giving with the fullest of hearts rather than grasping, and devote my life to the dharma, our own collective, awakened heart.

 

Photo The 5th Trumpet http://www.howarddavidjohnson.com/revelation.htm

Reposted/ Reformatted from http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com 2001 (Images have been enhanced/replaced, copy unaltered)

The enlightened women or female figures named below all come from Vajrayana or “Tibetan” Buddhism, the school of Mahayana which originated in India and later moved to Tibet and the other Himalayan countries. Hence, most figures are identified first by their Sanskrit name, with the alternate Tibetan form appearing in parentheses. When it is the other way about, e.g. Achi Chökyi Drolma, Machig Labdrön and Palden Lhamo, it is because their practices developed or were practised principally in Tibet.

I have also indicated the type of deity each is, i.e.

  • a yidam — an enlightened meditational deity who embodies the union of wisdom and compassion, yet is not separate from the meditator
  • a guru — usually the founder or holder of a lineage; a fully realised being whom one identifies wholly with one’s spiritual guide
  • a Dharma protector — usually portrayed as an enlightened being in wrathful form, a protector’s primary function is to eliminate the spiritual obstacles hindering the practitioner
  • a historical figure — someone who lived as a female human being on this earth and can be placed historically according to tradition

So what’s a thangka?

A thangka (pronounced tonka, as in tonka bean) is a Tibetan painting on cloth, stored scroll-fashion when travelling. For those who wish to learn more about what thangkas are and how they are created, the Dharmapala Centre in Bremen, Germany has an excellent English-language page which explains the process.

This page will be continually updated as I discover more links (and find the time to expand upon the descriptions of the deities). My apologies for any inaccuracies that may arise from my ignorance or haste; your corrections are most welcome. Note: I would love to add more images of female Buddhas and bodhisattvas, provided that my doing so does not violate copyright. If you have any that I may use, please let me know so that this page can be as visually inspiring as possible!

SPECIAL THANKS to New York’s Padmasambhava Buddhist Center who have given their kind permission for me to illustrate this page with selected images from their beautiful online thangka gallery. Most of the deity images below are theirs.

Table of Contents


  1. Achi Chökyi Drolma – Dharma protector of the Drikung Kagyu tradition
  2. Dechen Gyalmo – yidam, guru and historical figure – see Yeshe Tsogyal
  3. Dorje Yudronma – Dharma protector
  4. Ekajati (Ralchigma) – Dharma protector – protectress of mantras
  5. Ekajati – yidam – wrathful Black Tara
  6. Kakasya – yidam
  7. Kuan Yin – Chinese bodhisattva of compassion
  8. Kurukulla – yidam – deity of power
  9. Lamanteri – wrathful yidam
  10. Machig Labdrön – historical figure and yidam – the founder of Chöd
  11. Magzor Gyalmo – Dharma protector – see Palden Lhamo
  12. Mahamaya – historical figure
  13. Mandarava – yidam and historical figure – long-life deity
  14. Marici – yidam – goddess of the sun
  15. Mayadevi – historical figure – mother of Sakyamuni Buddha
  16. Nairatmya – yidam
  17. Niguma – lineage guru and historical figure – lineage dakini
  18. Palden Lhamo (Sri Devi) – Dharma protector – wrathful protectress of Tibet
  19. Prajnaparamita (Yum Chenmo) – guru and yidam – Mother of all the Buddhas
  20. Samantabhadri (Kuntuzangmo) – guru and yidam – Primordial Mother of all the Buddhas
  21. Sarasvati – yidam – goddess of learning and the arts
  22. Simhamukha (Sengdongma) – yidam – lion-headed Dakini
  23. Sukkhasiddhi – guru and historical figure – lineage Dakini
  24. Tara, Green (Drolma) – yidam – beloved Saviouress
  25. Tara, Red – yidam of bountifulness
  26. Tara, White (Drolkar) – yidam – she who grants long life and wisdom
  27. Troma Nagmo (Rudrani) – yidam – see Machig Labdrön
  28. Tseringma – Dharma protector – goddess of the mountain
  29. Ushnisha-sitatapatra – yidam – goddess of the glorious white umbrella
  30. Ushnisha-vijaya – yidam – the long-life deity
  31. Vajrayogini / Vajravarahi (Dorje Naljorma / Dorje Phagmo) – yidam – the queen of Dakinis
  32. Yeshe Tsogyal (Dechen Gyalmo) – yidam, guru and historical figure – mother of Tibetan Buddhism




Achi Chökyi Drolma
Dharma protector of the Drikung Kagyu tradition

Achi Chökyi Drolma (Tib. A-chi Chos-kyi sGrol-ma) is a female Dharma protector whose practice was introduced by Drikung (‘Bri-gung) Achi, the matriarch of the Drikung hereditary lineage. She is white-coloured and is usually portrayed seated and riding a snow lion, the legendary white animal of Tibet; she may also be shown standing (see right). Unusually, for a Dharma protector, Achi Chökyi Drolma’s aspect is not wrathful, but peaceful.  See Achi Chökyi Drolma – Chief Protectress of the Glorious Drigung Kagyu for the story of her origins, an image of the deity, and a description of her iconography.

Dorje Yudronma

Dorje Yudrönma
Dharma protector

Dorje Yudrönma is said to be one of Tibet’s chief protectors. She holds an arrow with the five colours in her right hand and a white silver mirror in her left. The lifestory of the Longchen Nyingthig yogi Jigme Gyalwai Nyugu (from the Dzogchen Lineage of Nyoshul Khenpo) relates that an emanation of this deity appeared and offered him food once when he was suffering hardship and poverty. Dorje Yudrönma is associated with a divination practice which uses a mirror. The Art of Tibet site includes a good thangka of Dorje Yudrönma.

 

Ekajati
Dharma protector – protectress of mantras

Ekajati is a female dharma protector especially popular in Nyingma, where she is also considered a protectress of Dzog Chen. She is cognate to Palden Lhamo. The Nyingma form of Ekajati (whose name literally means ‘One Plait’ or ‘One Braid’) has one tuft of hair, one eye, one mouth, one breast — and sometimes only one leg! — to demonstrate her singleminded devotion to Dharma. Whenever a Nyingma refuge tree or series of protectors is portrayed, Ekajati is usualy the dark-red central figure in the bottom row (see the thangka of Dharma protectors of the Nyingma tradition from the Chagdud Gompa site); however, she may be depicted as dark-blue or black, rather than red. In the Sarma (New Translation) schools Ekajati is regarded as the mother of Mahakala and Mahakali (Palden Lhamo).  Chopa.com has a particularly lovely thangka of Ekajati.

Ekajati
Yidam – wrathful Black Tara

Ekajati is also the name of a wrathful form of Green Tara known as Black Tara. She is depicted in seated posture holding a curved knife and skullcup. This form is often shown in a triumvirate with Avalokiteshvara and Green Tara. This unidentified thangka from Andrew Stinson’s thangka website also depicts Ekajati.

Kakasya
Yidam

Kakasya is a guardian goddess with the face of a crow: one of the bird-headed goddesses associated with the mandalas of various tutelary, or personal, deities. The Asian Art Museum included a delightful statue of Kakasya in its Mongolia exhibit.


Kuan Yin
Bodhisattva of compassion

This female Bodhisattva is variously known in China as Kuan Yin (or Kwan Yin, Quan Yin, Guanyin or Koon Yum), in Japan as Kannon or Shokanzeon Bosatsu, and in Korea as Kwanseum Bosal or Kwan Um. She is regarded as being identical to the (male) Tibetan deity Avalokiteshvara (Tib. Chenrezig), but also has much in common with the female Tibetan deity Tara.

Sites dedicated to Kuan Yin:

  • Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy
  • The Quan Yin Virtual Altar – with numerous links to other Kuan Yin sites
  • Kuan Yin – a prayer from the Lotus Sutra, with links to images of statues
  • Temple of Kwan Yin. A virtual temple dedicated to Kwan Yin, Bodhisattva of Compassion in both English and French. Contains a gallery.
  • El Templo de Kwan Yin, a Spanish-language webpage
  • A short hymn to the bodhisattva
  • Kwan Yin Vows by Ven. Sarika Dharma

Articles on Kuan Yin:

  • How to meditate on Tara by Ven. Jhampa Shaneman
  • The Enlightenment Of Bodhisattva Kuan-Yin (Avalokiteshvara)
  • Kuan Yin – Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva by Lin Shen-Shou
  • Kuan Yin, The Great Compassion Bodhisattva (Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva)
  • Quan Yin, The Goddess of Compassion and Mercy – an article on the bodhisattva (adapted from an essay by Bethleen Cole)
  • Stories of Quan Yin, Bodhisattva of Compassion
  • A prayer (with melody) to Quan Yin, from a cancer recovery website
  • On celebrating the enlightenment day of Gwan Yin
  • The Eastern Tradition of Kuan Yin & the Tibetan Goddess Tara

Images of the Bodhisattva:

  • A lovely photograph of a statue of Guanyin (see left)
  • A scroll painting of Hibbo Kannon by Kano Hogai (19th century Japan)
  • A scroll of Guanyin from the Dunhuang Buddhist complex, dated to 968 AD, and a statue of her from Rehe (China).
  •  A free Guan Yin screensaver from Toronto’s Cham Shan Temple.


Kurukulla
Yidam – deity of power

Kurukulla is an energetic dancing red figure with one face and four arms, two of which hold a bow and arrow made of flowers. Her practice helps generate energy and power. JBL Statues sell a statuette of Kurukulla, although their equation of Kurukulla with the Hindu goddess Kali is incorrect. The FPMT centre in Boston is named after her (Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies) and includes a nice thangka of the deity. There are several thangkas available online:
  • Thangkas of Kurukulla on the Art of Tibet site: thangka #322, a stunning, “pale red” Kurukulla surrounded by dozens of her emanations, thangka #422 (on a red background, with Palden Lhamo below), thangka #655 – a clear and simple representation, and thangka #765, a very dramatic depiction of the deity.
  • A thangka of the mandala of Kurukulla is on the Tibet Shop site.

Kurukulla Face

In Geluk tradition Kurukulla is sometimes also referred to as Red Tara [presumably because of her appearance]; but this name can also refer to a completely separate yidam. In the Hevajra Tantra, Kurukulla is a semi-wrathful female power deity, red, in essence Hevajra, and unrelated to Tara.

Lamanteri
Wrathful yidam

The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco included a Mongolia online exhibit which described a statue of Lamanteri thusly: “Lamanteri is the Mongolian name for this wrathful form of the goddess Tara depicted with the third eye and four pairs of hands.”

Painting by Duccio Ceglie
(courtesy of peacenvironment.net)


Machig Labdrön
Historical figure and yidam – the founder of Chöd

Machig Face

The eleventh-century Tibetan founder of the chöd (cutting) practice, Machig Labdrön is usually depicted in deified form as a peaceful white dancing figure with three eyes, playing a damaru (two-sided drum) with her right hand and holding a bell with her left. (She is also depicted in seated form on Miya Shimada’s Chöd Club site.) Thangka #349 on the Art of Tibet site depicts Machig Labdrön’s life story, and thangka #223 shows her at the centre of a Nyingma chöd lineage tree. Alex Clarke’s Chaos/Chös page includes a depiction of Machig; and although it is iconographically incorrect (e.g. the image’s proportions are incorrect; she should be white, not pink; etc.), I include it here because it is an intriguing example of what may become the wave of the future: computer-generated deity images. There is also a short article about Machig Labdrön in Polish (Maczik Labdryn) on this Polish Buddhist site. Aro gTér includes a particularly lovely line drawing of Machig with accompanying article.

Black Tröma
Wrathful Black Tara

 

Other depictions of Tröma on the Web include solitary Tröma (Chagdud Gompa), Tröma Five Deity (Art of Tibet), and Tröma Nine Deity (Chagdud Gompa).

See:

  • Machig Labdrön and the Foundations of Chöd by Jérôme Edou (Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 1995)
  • A Study of the Profound Path of gCod: The Mahayana Buddhist Meditation Tradition of Tibet’s Great Woman Saint Machig Labdrön – a Ph.D. dissertation by Carol D. Savvas (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1990)
  • Women of Wisdom by Tsultrim Allione (London: Arkana, 1984 / New York: Arkana, 1986) – includes the life story of Machig Labdrön

Mahamaya
Historical figure

Mahamaya was the mother of the historical Shakyamuni Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama — this name means ‘Great Illusion.’ See also Mayadevi. There is also a male anuttarayoga deity named Mahamaya who is not to be confused with the Buddha’s mother; this practice is found in all the Sarma (New Translation) schools and was originally made famous by Marpa; it is also found in the ‘Five Deity Tantra’ practice of the Shangpa Kagyu.


Mandarava
Yidam and historical figure – long-life deity

An Indian-born princess who became the spiritual consort of Padmasambhava, founder of Buddhism in Tibet (his second consort was the Tibetan-born Yeshe Tsogyel — see below). She appears in deified form as a yidam of long life, wearing the ornaments of a bodhisattva. Her right hand holds an arrow (a symbol of Dzogchen) adorned with banners and a melong (a round mirror, representing the clear, reflecting nature of mind). Mandarava sits in the manner of Tara, with right foot extended, to show her willingness to help sentient beings.

Marici
Yidam – goddess of the sun

Marici (pron. Marichi) is a red-coloured female yidam associated with the sun and with dawn; her name in Tibetan is Öser Chenma, i.e. [goddess of] Great Light. Her mantra is traditionally used as protection by travellers. Marici has an orange-coloured body (the colour of the sun at dawn), and three faces, eight arms and two legs. Of the three faces, the first (central) is orange and smiling, her right face is red, and her left is the face of a white boar: each has three eyes. Her first right hand holds a vajra at the heart in the mudra of teaching, the second holds a vajra axe, the third holds an arrow with the tip pointing downwards, and the fourth, in the mudra of generosity, holds a (sewing) needle. Her first left hand, in the mudra of teaching, holds the stem of a plant (tree?) whose crown is at the level of her left ear (next to the boar’s face). Her second left hand holds a bow, the third holds a thread (?), and the fourth holds a noose ending in a loop and hook. Marici’s right leg is extended in the manner of Tara, while the left is tucked in. She is dressed in the royal robes of a bodhisattva: five-pointed crown surmounting each face, jewels, silks and so forth. Marici rides a throne/chariot drawn along by seven white boars.

Mayadevi
Historical figure – mother of Sakyamuni Buddha

Queen Mayadevi (also Maya or Mahamaya) was the historical mother of Sakyamuni Buddha. She died not long after his birth, but is believed to have been reborn in one of the heavens where he later manifested and taught her the Dharma so that she too became enlightened. She is traditionally depicted just as she was about to (painlessly) give birth, standing and holding the branch of a tree in her right hand.

Nairatmya
Yidam

This dark-blue figure appears as both a single yidam and also in union with her consort, the Highest Yoga Tantra male yidam Hevajra. The name means ‘No-Self’ in Sanskrit. This was also the name of the wife of Marpa (whose main practice was Hevajra) — the founder of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

Niguma
Lineage guru and historical figure – lineage dakini

This woman was a formidable mahasiddha, variously described as the sister or consort of Naropa. She founded the practice known as The Six Yogas of Niguma (see Glenn Mullin’s text The Six Yogas of Sister Niguma, which includes a vigorous line drawing of Niguma).

Palden Lhamo (Sri Devi)
Dharma protector – wrathful protectress of Tibet

Palden Lhamo (whose name translates as “Glorious Goddess”) is the only female dharma protector common to all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. She is very wrathful, and rides her mule through a sea of blood, surrounded by wisdom fire. She is dark blue and has one face with three eyes; she wears a sun at her navel and a moon at her crown, and over her is a peacock umbrella (a traditional symbol of protection). She is variously depicted, but her most common forms are two-armed and four-armed. There is also a system of divination by dice associated with her. She is sometimes considered cognate to Sarasvati or Tara, but is at the same time a wrathful form of the peaceful goddess Sri Devi.

See:

  • An article on the iconography of Magzor Gyalmo (a form of Palden Lhamo) by Natalie R. Marsh, with an accompanying thangka image. From the Mirrors of the Heart-Mind exhibit.
  • From the same exhibit, an illustrated essay on a sculpture of a figure from the entourage of Palden Lhamo, commentary by Cathleen Cummings
  • my choice for most beautiful depiction of Palden Lhamo on the Web, from the phenomenal Art of Tibet site
  • Another thangka or two from Art of Tibet

Prajnaparamita
Guru and yidam – Mother of all the Buddhas

Prajnaparamita embodies the bliss/emptiness that gives rise to all phenomena — hence her honorofic title as Mother of all the Buddhas. She usually appears as a tranquil seated figure clothed in silks; her body is gold in colour, and she has one face and four arms. Her first two arms are held in meditation posture in her lap, while the other right hand holds a nine-spoked vajra (thunderbolt sceptre symbolising compassion/bliss) and the left, the text of the Heart Sutra which is the essential wisdom-text on the emptiness of phenomena. There are other forms of the deity, as at right: her first two hands in prayer mudra at the heart, second right hand holding a mala [rosary] and second left hand holding a text.

Her name means ‘Perfection of Wisdom’; in Tibetan she is also known as Yum Chenmo, or ‘Great Mother’. She is closely associated with chöd practice (see Machig Labdrön). Natalie R. Marsh offers an essay on the iconography of Prajnaparamita (along with an accompanying thangka image). From the Mirrors of the Heart-Mind exhibit.


Samantabhadri
Guru and yidam – Primordial Mother of all the Buddhas

Samantabhadri (Kuntuzangmo in Tibetan) is the consort and female counterpart of Samantabhadra/Kuntuzangpo, the primordial Buddha of the older schools of Tibetan Buddhism. They are usually shown in sexual union (yab/yum in Tibetan), the blue male figure and white female figure embracing each other in lotus position. Samantabhadri is sometimes shown alone, in which case she is seated in lotus posture with her hands in meditation posture in her lap. Samantabhadri is always shown naked (as is her consort) to demonstrate the unadorned nature of Absolute Truth, the emptiness of all phenomena. She is in some senses an analogue of Prajnaparamita. A near equivalent of the New Translation schools is the dark-blue Vajradhatu-ishvari, shown in union with consort Vajradhara as the yab-yum Vajradhara / Vajradhatu-ishvari.

Sarasvati
Yidam – goddess of learning and the arts

As the goddess of learning and the arts, Sarasvati (also spelled Saraswati) is in many ways a counterpart to Manjushri, the male Bodhisattva of discriminating wisdom, and is sometimes his consort. Sarasvati is a peaceful yidam who holds a vina (a sitar-like lute) on her lap; she also sometimes holds a text. There is also a Hindu deity named Sarasvati with near-identical attributes. She is sometimes associated with Palden Lhamo, who may be regarded as Sarasvati in wrathful form. The most popular form of Sarasvati is white-coloured, with one face, two eyes, and two arms; however, there are many other forms including the white four-handed Sarasvati and the red Vajra Sarasvati.


Simhamukha
Yidam – lion-headed Dakini

Simhamukha (Tib. Seng-gdong-ma or Seng-dong-chen) is a wrathful dancing dark-blue figure similar to Vajravarahi in appearance and ornaments, holding a curved knife in her right hand and a skullcup in her left, except that she also has the face of a lion — hence her name in Tibetan and Sanskrit (meaning “lion-face”). Her practice was founded by a woman, Jetsun[ma] Lochen. Simhamukha’s practice is found in the Sarma (New Translation) schools is associated with the Chakrasamvara Tantra.

Examples of her iconography on the Web are a statue on the Dharmaware website, and two glorious images on the Art of Tibet site: thangkas 424 and 419.

Sukkhasiddhi
Guru and historical figure – lineage Dakini

This mahasiddha belongs to the mother lineage of chöd. Her name means ‘good or blissful siddhi‘ (a Sanskrit word meaning a miraculous accomplishment, which can be either mundane, e.g. healing, flying, etc., or supramundane, i.e. the siddhi of full Enlightenment). She compiled her own six yogas (see also Niguma) which she gave to Khyungpo Naljor, the founder of Shangpa Kagyu.


Tara, Green
Yidam – beloved Saviouress

Also known as Drolma (Tibetan), Tara embodies the compassionate activity of all the Buddhas (her name means “the liberator” or “she who saves”). She is pictured with one face, two arms and a green-coloured body. Her right hand is outstretched in the mudra (sacred gesture) of generosity, and her left holds the stem of a blue lotus which blossoms at her left ear.

See:

  •  The Practice of Tara by Ven. Sangye Khandro
  • Tara: Her Origins and Development by Dharmachari Purna
  •  Green Tara page on Angelfire
  • The Eastern Tradition of Kuan Yin & the Tibetan Goddess Tara
  • Who is Arya Tara?
  • Arya Tara Page
  • Supplication to Tara
  • Blessed Arya Tara Page
  • Download a Windows wallpaper of Tara (available in several sizes) from the Green Tara Gallery, computer-created by Osel Shen Phen Ling webmaster Bob Jacobson.

Books devoted to Tara include:

  • In Praise of Tara: Songs to the Saviouress by Martin Willson (London: Wisdom Publications, 1986)
  • The Cult of Tara: Magic and Ritual in Tibet by Stephan Beyer (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973) — a study of Tibetan beliefs and practices concerning Tara
  • Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna by China Galland (New York: Viking, 1990)
  • Bodhisattva of Compassion: The Mystical Tradition of Kuan Yin by John Blofeld (Boulder: Shambhala, 1978) — a study of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, in the female forms of Kuan Yin (Chinese) and Tara (Tibetan).

This form of Tara, Green Tara, is the most common one; but Tara also appears in other forms, such as White Tara, Red Tara and the Twenty-One Taras. In the Gelukpa school there is also a Highest Yoga Tantra form of Tara known as Cittamani Tara (as well as a Highest Yoga Tantra form of the Twenty-One Taras practice). See the Praises and Requests to the Twenty-One Taras on the Osel Shen Phen Ling site for an example of a kriya-tantra sadhana (meditation text), as well as the Britannica entry on Tara for a more scholastic look at the deity.

Tara, Red
Yidam of bountifulness

Red Tara is a special practice of Tara practised in both the Nyingma and Sakya schools. She is depicted in much the same way as Green Tara (seated with right leg slightly extended, left hand held to the heart with an utpala flower blooming by her left ear, and right hand making the gesture of generosity), except that her body is ruby-red, she possesses a third eye, and her right hand holds a long-life vase. There are lovely thangka reproductions of this deity (both solitary and amongst her mandala deities) on the Chagdud Gompa site, which also offers a photo of a Red Tara statue with the bow-and-arrow attributes of Kurukulla (to whom she can be related). See also the Art of Tibet site (e.g. thangka 331). Red Tara can also be either one of several out of the various sets of twenty-one Taras, or in the lower tantras (Kriya or Carya).


Tara, White
Yidam – she who grants long life and wisdom

Also known as Drolkar (Tibetan) or Sitatara (Sanskrit), Tara embodies the compassionate activity of all the Buddhas (her name means “the liberator” or “one who saves”). White Tara is especially associated with long life and wisdom. Unlike the green form of this deity, White Tara has seven eyes — one in each hand and foot, and a third eye on her face — to show that she sees and responds to suffering throughout the universe; and she sits in full lotus posture.

  • The Osel Shen Phen Ling site includes a long-life sadhana (practice text) of White Tara.

Tseringma
Dharma protector – goddess of the mountain

Tseringma is the foremost of the Five Long-Life Deities — formerly mountain-guardian spirits — who plagued the great Tibetan yogi Milarepa during his cave retreats. They were converted to Buddhism and Tseringma became his consort. She is a white figure shown riding a snow lion and carrying a long-life vase in her hand. Thangka 433 on the Art of Tibet website depicts Tseringma and her sisters.

Ushnisha-sitatapatra
Yidam – goddess of the glorious white umbrella

This white-coloured deity, a form of Tara, is a female counterpart of the thousand-armed form of Avalokiteshvara. She has one thousand faces, arms and legs; each face has three eyes, and she has one eye in the palm of each hand and the sole of each foot, showing that she watches and protects sentient beings. Her central faces are white (as is her body); her right faces are yellow, the faces at the rear of her body are red, and the left faces green; there is also a “tier” of blue faces at the top of her head. Her right hands hold wheels of the Dharma (dharmachakra) and her left hands hold arrows; one of her other left hands also holds aloft a white parasol which also symbolises her protection.

There is a lovely thangka of Ushnisha-sitatapatra (#429) on the Art of Tibet site. Robert Chung’s website also includes an illustrated sadhana [ritual text] of this deity.

Ushnisha-vijaya
Yidam – the long-life deity

Ushnisha-vijaya (Tib. Namgyalma or Namgyelma) is a peaceful white deity and an emanation of Vairochana Buddha. She has three faces, ten eyes and eight hands. Her right hands hold a lasso, bow, and vase with the nectar of immortality; her fourth right hand bears an eye in the palm and is in the mudra (posture) of generosity. Her left hands hold a miniature Buddha image, a double (crossed) vajra, and an arrow; the fourth left hand is held in meditation posture in her lap.

Ushnisha-vijaya is often shown in a triumvirate with the other two principal long-life deities, red (male) Amitayus and White Tara (see above). Robert Chung’s Namgyelma page includes a picture and her two mantras.


Vajrayogini / Vajravarahi
Yidam – the queen of Dakinis

Vajrayogini (Tib. Dorje Naljorma, Adamantine Female Practitioner) is the principal female yidam of Highest Yoga Tantra of the New Translation schools of Tibetan Buddhism. She is a slightly wrathful red female figure shown holding a curved knife in her right hand, a skullcup in her left and a khatvanga (trident or staff) in her left elbow. The Naro form of Vajrayogini, most commonly seen in the Sakya and Geluk traditions, is shown standing with her face turned upwards and to the left, with the skullcup held up to her mouth and the curved knife pointing to the ground.

The Vajravarahi form of Vajrayogini, generally more frequent in Kagyu, is shown in dancing pose with the right leg bent; this form holds the curved knife up in the air and the skullcup to her heart. Vajravarahi, whose name means Adamantine Sow, is usually shown with a small sow’s head, representing triumph over ignorance, emerging over her right ear. In either form of this deity she may be visualised as a solitary yidam or in union with her consort dark-blue Heruka Chakrasamvara, a principal mother-tantra deity of Highest Yoga Tantra.

Good pictures on the Web include:

  • A lovely statue of Vajravarahi (in karma dakini form) from the Mirrors of the Heart-Mind exhibit.
  • A poem — Homage to Vajrayogini — written by Mark Webber. From Cyberkaya.
  • Statue of Vajravarahi (Dharmaware)
  • Thangka of Vajrayogini Naro Khacho (Dharmaware)
  • The computer-generated image of Vajrayogini and her virtual 3D mandala (Miya Shimada)
  • A most remarkable multi-faced and multi-headed form [mis]identified as “Vajrahari”, from an Indonesian website; any information on this aspect of Vajravarahi would be most gratefully received!

Yeshe Tsogyal
Yidam, guru and historical figure – mother of Tibetan Buddhism

This remarkable female hermit-saint, the Tibetan consort of Padmasambhava, is sometimes shown in Nirmanakaya form — the ’emanation body’ a Buddha takes so as to be visible to ordinary beings — as a woman in everyday Tibetan clothes, seated and holding curved knife and skullcup. She is also shown in deified form as the Queen of Great Bliss (Tib., Dechen Gyalmo) as a red standing figure with a damaru (double-sided drum) raised in her right hand and a curved knife held to the ground with her left.
Yeshe Tsogyal’s sacred biography may be read in Kevin Dowman’s Sky Dancer: the secret life and songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyel (London: Arkana, 1989) and Tarthang Tulku’s Mother of Knowledge: The Enlightenment of Ye-shes mTsho-rgyal (Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1983). The meditation practice of Dechen Gyalmo, Queen of Great Bliss, is discussed in Anne C. Klein’s Meeting the Great Bliss Queen: Buddhists, Feminists, and the Art of the Self, which has a lovely cover illustration of the deity.

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Header image Kali Levitov: https://dakiniasart.org/shop/fruition-fine-art-print-kali-levitov/


This is a Live process post, please check back for updates weekly until completed.

Simhamukha-thigse

This is the basic sacred geometric proportions of Simhamukha, called a thigse. In the very center starts with her seed syllable, a black hung. Each deity is a full mandala, evoking a certain quality of energy.

 

Simhamukha thigse Stage 1- a rough sketch to lay out her figure.

 

Simhamukha thigse Stage 1- closeup. This is very rough, her lines and symmetry will be perfected over time.

The artist has a very strong, deep connection to this ancient and powerful female deity, so this will become a full thangka painting soon. Please bookmark and check often to see progress! More about her…

sample painting

Old age brings wisdom and fierce certainty

“What is this ecstasy about? It is a little hard to tell, because she has the face of a lion, but she is in love with the dharma, wild and fierce in her defense of those who seek it, and she gleams with the fervor of one with a mission. She is capable of goading and shoving and nagging practitioners who are sliding towards the wrong path, but she is always doing it out of love.

SimhaMukha is a female Dakini-form of the great Mahasiddha Padmasambhava, although some say she was his principle Dakini teacher. She is also the Buddhist version of the Hindu warrior goddess Durga who rides a lion or tiger. She is called the queen of the Dakinis, and as in so many instances, where eras and eons bleed into one another through rebirths, new regimes, and archetype re-creations over time, she is also Queen of the Matrikas, 7 ancient Hindu female goddesses. She has some similarities with the Egyptian Sekhmet, and in the West, her essence is what we might call the Crone, the old wise woman, whose looks have fallen away leaving only the wisdom left to see.

She is a wisdom goddess and can be a yidam, a personal protector deity. She repulses psychic attacks, subdues demons, and keeps nightmares and dark energies away. She helps transform anger or wrath into enlightened awareness and subdues misguided beings. She is naked and her hair is disheveled, as are all Dakinis because she represents going beyond the conventions of society. Her mind is calm, there is no background noise, she is completely present here and now.”

From An Etsy Printmaker

 

Simhamukha is connected to the ancient Egyptian deity, Sekhmet

Sekhmet

“Sekhmet (Sakhmet) is one of the oldest known Egyptian deities. Her name is derived from the Egyptian word “Sekhem” (which means “power” or “might”) and is often translated as the “Powerful One” or “She who is Powerful”. She is depicted as a lion-headed woman, sometimes with the addition of a sun disc on her head. Her seated statues show her holding the ankh of life, but when she is shown striding or standing she usually holds a sceptre formed from papyrus (the symbol of northern or Lower Egypt) suggesting that she was associated primarily with the north. However, some scholars argue that the deity was introduced from Sudan (South of Egypt) where lions are more plentiful.

She was often closely associated with Hathor (the goddess of joy, music, dance, sexual love, pregnancy and birth). In this partnership, she was seen as the harsh aspect of the friendly Hathor. A temple was constructed by Amenemhet II to Sekhmet-Hathor at Kom el Hisn (Imau in the western Delta) in which she and Hathor are referred to as the “Mistress of Imau”. Imau was situated near a branch of the Nile that has since shifted eastwards, but in ancient times the town was right on the edge of the desert on the route to the Libyan frontier. Clearly it was hoped that Sekhmet would protect the border.

Sekhmet’s main cult centre was in Memphis (Men Nefer) where she was worshipped as “the destroyer” alongside her consort Ptah (the creator) and Nefertum (the healer).

Sekhmet was represented by the searing heat of the mid-day sun (in this aspect she was sometimes called “Nesert”, the flame) and was a terrifying goddess. However, for her friends she could avert plague and cure disease. She was the patron of Physicians, and Healers and her priests became known as skilled doctors. As a result, the fearsome deity sometimes called the “lady of terror” was also known as “lady of life”. Sekhmet was mentioned a number of times in the spells of The Book of the Dead as both a creative and destructive force, but above all, she is the protector of Ma’at (balance or justice) named “The One Who Loves Ma’at and Who Detests Evil”.

She was also known as the “Lady of Pestilence” and the “Red Lady” (indicating her alignment with the desert) and it was thought that she could send plagues against those who angered her. When the centre of power shifted from Memphis to Thebes during the New Kingdom the Theban Triad (Amun, Mut, and Khonsu), Sekhmet’s attributes were absorbed into that of Mut (who sometimes took the form of a lion).

She was associated with the goddesses given the title “Eye of Ra”. According to myth, Ra became angry because mankind was not following his laws and preserving Ma’at (justice or balance). He decided to punish mankind by sending an aspect of his daughter, the “Eye of Ra”. He plucked Hathor from Ureas on his brow, and sent her to earth in the form of a lion. She became Sekhmet, the “Eye of Ra”and began her rampage. The fields ran with human blood. However, Ra was not a cruel deity, and the sight of the carnage caused him to repent. He ordered her to stop, but she was in a blood lust and would not listen. So Ra poured 7,000 jugs of beer and pomegranate juice (which stained the beer blood red) in her path. She gorged on the “blood” and became so drunk she slept for three days. When she awoke, her blood lust had dissipated, and humanity was saved. In one version of the myth, Ptah is the first thing she sees on awaking and she instantly fell in love with him. Their union (creation and destruction) created Nefertum (healing) and so re-established Ma’at.

The saving of mankind was commemorated every year on the feast day of Hathor/Sekhmet. Everyone drank beer stained with pomegranate juice and worshipped “the Mistress and lady of the tomb, gracious one, destroyer of rebellion, mighty one of enchantments”. A statue of Sekhmet was dressed in red facing west, while Bast was dressed in green and faced east. Bast was sometimes considered to be Sekhmet´s counterpart (or twin depending on the legend), and in the festival of Hathor they embodied the duality central to Egyptian mythology. Sekhmet represented Upper Egypt while Bast represented Lower Egypt.”

https://aminoapps.com/c/paranormal/page/blog/sekhmet-goddess-of-healing/3WPL_GNntBu0w0mg2G4YJlQoN25DvnGDPNb

annika

Dearest Friends,

I have been off of blogging and social media for a personal crisis. I’m sorry to report that my daughter Annika has tested positive for Covid-19, and we, the mom and dad, may have it too, very probable. She went to the Grand Canyon with her friend for spring break, and we think he had it a week prior. It’s been so hard on our children to be isolated and plugged into lifeless computers all day without any social contact, enough sunshine, exercise or normal life. My heart goes out to her and all of them; a lot of kids are struggling now and they’re called C generation for Covid. Tons of children are experiencing inconsolable depression and suicide rates are sadly, very high. Parents are trying to console them and offer some sense of love and normalcy.

Every single month there’s either a fire, grocery store shooting etc., so we’re trying to hold on and impart some type of hope and beauty to them in a world that’s in a very painful and destructive cycle. It’s like a live filming of the theme from: Life is Beautiful. If I make it through, I have many more poignant articles that I want to write from the depth of my recent introspection. I’m only two days away from my vaccine, so it’s been heartbreaking for us, but we have hope and are taking good care. I soberly see everyone and everything as fragile and pure now, with so much appreciation and meaning. Please pray for her, for our family, and please know, we aren’t out of the woods yet and you can still get it 20 days after the vaccine, stay really safe and vigilant all, I will write more and update later.

All my Love and well wishes to all,

Dawn

🙏🌹🌺 ❤

lotus auspicious symbol

Lotus Flower Gouache on Canvas by Dawn Boiani 1994 Digital Art Hybrid

see detail: https://boulderreiki.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/lotus-auspicious-symbol-1538×2048.jpg

No mud, no lotus.

The Lotus Flower

The Lotus Flower is a great auspicious symbol whose meaning everyone should comprehend. The Lotus Flower begins to grow at the very roots of the lotus plant that is usually submerged in the mud. Then, it slowly rises out of the mud or the muddy water as an awesome flower that is worth looking at. How it grows provides us with a great lesson in life. Behind its tantalizing beauty lies those struggling to rise above the difficulties and hardships of life. Thus, it gives us a valuable lesson that we should never be bogged down by difficulties and hardships. Instead, we should rise above those trials in order to blossom into a fully-grown and wonderful person.

In a way, the Lotus Flower in Buddhism signifies purity and renunciation. It is the epitome of how a person can attain full spiritual blossoming through trials and difficulties. It also signifies a complete break from the cyclic existence or karma that usually besets a person. In many Buddhist temples and altars in Tibet, you will often see the image of the Buddha seated over a blossoming lotus flower.

Copy courtesy of:

https://www.greattibettour.com/tibetan-culture/8-auspicious-symbols-of-tibetan-buddhism.html

Vegan Chick’n Marsala with Grapes

Ingredients:

• 2T olive oil
• 1 stick vegan butter
• 4 vegan chick’n breast cutlets
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 (8-oz.) pkg. crimini (baby portobello) mushrooms
• 1 cup of sliced green grapes
• 1/2 large white onion coarsely chopped
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (soy flour for those who are gluten free)
• 1/3 cup cornmeal (optional)
• 2/3 cup creamy, unsweetened soy or oat milk
• 1 cup dry Marsala wine
• 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

vegan chicken marsala ingredients

vegan chicken breasts

Directions:

  1. Boil water with salt and add your choice of pasta (gluten free) and prepare a side salad.
  2. On a plate, mix flour, cornmeal, 1 tsp Italian seasoning 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  3. Defrost chick’n breasts and coat with mixture on both sides.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick deep skillet over medium-high.
  5. Add coated chick’n breasts to pan; cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Remove chick’n from pan and set aside (do not wipe out pan).
  6. Melt 1/2 stick butter in pan. Sauté mushrooms, onions and grapes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add creamy soy milk, remaining vegan butter and Marsala wine to pan; bring to a boil. Cook until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes, add more salt and pepper to taste. Add cooled chick’n breasts back to pan, turning to coat. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Serve with healthy pasta and salad!

vegan chicken marsala

vegan marsala

vegan chicken marsala

Vegan Chick'n Marsala with Grapes

Ingredients
  

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 stick vegan butter
  • 4 vegan chick'n breast cutlets
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 8-oz. pkg. crimini (baby portobello) mushrooms
  • 1 cup of sliced green grapes
  • 1/2 large white onion coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour soy flour for those who are gluten free
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal optional
  • 2/3 cup creamy unsweetened soy or oat milk
  • 1 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

Instructions
 

  • Boil water with salt and add your choice of pasta (gluten free) and prepare a side salad.
  • On a plate, mix flour, cornmeal, 1 tsp Italian seasoning 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • Defrost chick'n breasts and coat with mixture on both sides.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick deep skillet over medium-high.
  • Add coated chick'n breasts to pan; cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Remove chick'n from pan and set aside (do not wipe out pan).
  • Melt 1/2 stick butter in pan. Sauté mushrooms, onions and grapes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Add creamy soy milk, remaining vegan butter and Marsala wine to pan; bring to a boil. Cook until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes, add more salt and pepper to taste. Add cooled chick'n breasts back to pan, turning to coat. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Serve with healthy pasta and salad!

walk in sun

You know, I happen to be Buddhist, but one with an inquisitive mind. We have what we know as the Buddha’s First Noble Truth and that is: “Life is Suffering.” However, it’s a misnomer to just stop there and concede to a life of misery. I think a lot of students and even some teachers feel that we just need to wake up to the that fact this life is hallmarked by sense of misery and dissatisfaction. One even wrote a book called: “Not For Happiness,” depressing. However, leaving this first noble truth truism as a final statement, in my opinion, would be the antithesis of what the Buddha had intended with his teachings and realization. Why? Because his subsequent teachings say… there is indeed a way out of suffering- we don’t have to be miserable! That was his very quest. That’s the entire point of what it means to be a Buddhist; we believe that at some point, we will not be forever bound and controlled by a mind that makes us unhappy.

Some teachers talk about our need to be comfort seeking and seek pleasure and use our Buddhist practice as sort of a health and mental improvement task, an ego boost and an effort to make “samsara comfortable,” but I beg to differ. I ascribe to the theory that “pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.” Have you ever had a backache or headache, and it didn’t feel great but maybe inside you felt such a sense of warmth and well-being or were doing something super fun, that you were just able to ignore it and didn’t let it ruin your day? That is pain but not suffering; our difficulties can take place in a larger space of accommodation.

I recall one day, I was feeling particularly depressed and anxious and just didn’t feel like getting out of bed. It was a sunny day, I could see the white and pink magnolia tree outside and morning birds chirping, but I was miserable. A lot of hopeless thoughts and negative self talk was swirling around in my mind and making me really sad, without any energy. I started to just imagine in that moment, is there anything beautiful that I can recall? Then I remembered one of my friends, he used to be a pretty close Yogi friend who lives on what might be, lifetime retreat. During the warmer months, he wakes up every morning and makes some tea and does meditation and yoga outside on a colored, hand-loomed woolen Tibetan carpet on his porch, greeting the sun. Just the memory of him, sitting in the sun inspired me and I jumped up out of bed, took a shower did little bit of yoga and meditation myself, and all of the mind-made depression and anxiety completely dissipated, like a cloud clearing!

I know it’s hard for a lot of us to do hours of sitting meditation we have a very movement and “doing rather than being” oriented society- get up and go and always be busy, distracted or doing something… anything! You know the old work ethic Christian proverb: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Maybe a lot of us aren’t cut out to be super disciplined yogis and mindfulness, this panacea that will heal all woes. I checked with a lot of my friends and in all honesty, a lot of them admit to not really practicing meditation very much, a lot of us are Buddhist in name or theory only. So even if you’re not destined to become a yogic mahasiddha or totally liberated and enlightened in this life, I think we can borrow from a lot of the exceedingly simple and powerful healing modalities that can make great improvements toward our happiness, reduce anxiety and increase well-being… every single day! I don’t think that any religion, even Buddhism has the only way or copyright- patent-and trademark on one particular route toward spirituality or human well-being. I actually think the Buddha would endorse this approach, after all, the third and fourth noble truths clearly say that we don’t have to live forever, bound by mind-imposed suffering, and it can be as easy as changing a thought. Here are a few tips to cheer up and indeed use this “Life For Happiness.”

 

Simple Practices to uplift your mood and start and finish your day feeling refreshed, happy and be more joyous:

 

Sunshine

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is required for positive mood. Serotonin production happens whenever we get sunlight through our eyes and feel the warmth the on top of our head. Ensuring that we go out for one half to one hour per day is an inexpensive, nutritive and easy method to increase our mood. Be sure you take your sunglasses off for fifteen minutes.

Forest Bathing

Forest bathing–sitting quietly among trees–has been proven to have many mood-boosting benefits. In Japan “forest bathing” is prescribed by doctors and even covered by medical health insurance!

Earthing

“Earthing,” that is simply putting your bare feet on the earth where there’s some moisture and coolness for contact. This can re-calibrate and regulate your entire energetic system and lead to wellness and well-being. Release any stress, pain, sadness, anything into the earth that you are ready to let go of, when you contact the ground. It might take some time to ground entire body, but you only need about fifteen minutes every day.

Exercise

Exercise, as we know is a fantastic mood-booster. Walking, hiking and running could be easily done by almost anyone and doesn’t even require a lot of special equipment. To reset your mood and get the greatest health advantages, 30 minutes to an hour of exercise per day is ideal, but every little bit is helpful!

Straight Posture

Standing or sitting up straight and holding your head up actually provides a neurotransmitter activity increase to your brain, and opens the whole energetic system. So check your posture regularly and ensure you’re not walking around with your head hanging down, sulking or staring at your phone! Observing your posture will also assist you to prevent or reduce chronic pain.

 

It’s Got Electrolytes

Stay Hydrated

Not getting enough water will increase your fatigue and drain your joyful mood. Make sure to keep a glass of water besides you at all times and drink through the day. I love to drink 16 oz. of warm water with a packet of orange emergen-c each morning before I do anything else. “It’s got electrolytes.” This provides a bit “mini-cleanse” each morning.

Obviously, if you think about it, all of these things may be done at the exact same time, take advantage of where you live, the mountains and foothills, or your local park, and go on a walk or climb. If you can, just be sure to take off your shoes and dip your legs in a mountain stream!

Getting the maximum out of sleep and having an effective morning and evening routine, 15 minutes of meditation, journaling and eating antioxidant fresh fruits and vegetables are additional areas which will greatly improve your happiness joyful disposition and endurance.

So you see, there are many simple of ways to increase your well-being, which can be easy, natural, free and safe. One hour per day, out of 24 toward self care could be the difference between a joyous life- or not! You owe it to yourself, integrate these six powerful steps into your daily routine, Just for Happiness!

 

How To Create a Vision and Manifest Your Very Best Life Possible

When I first graduated from college, I was living over in Nepal where I had been studying abroad and reflecting on what kind of life that I wanted to create when I came back to the United States. I sat back and reflected: what am I good at, what can I see myself doing and what type of environment would I like to be doing it in? I had a few ideas- I was going to go back and do a Masters Degree in Psychotherapy, I had applied for a job at the United Nations in Kathmandu because my mom was working there, and I had a propensity to be a trader since I used to sell things every summer while traveling with the Grateful Dead. I knew that I didn’t want to work forever in an office, and I like to spend time with my teachers, retreat, travel and feel like my life is mine rather than someone else’s. I asked the advice of my teacher, and he did a Tibetan divination called a Mo and it said that “business is best”. I was 21 years old and that was the beginning of me starting an international import/export company that has been pretty successful. I sold the business in 2005 when I gave birth to my child and with that money, was able to purchase a retreat home in Crestone Colorado, where I now live 1/2 time, and intend to retire to.

The reason I shared this process is because I believe if we have a “free and well favored life” and our health, there’s really no stopping us and what we’re able to create. I think a lot of us create a prison of social obligation, pattern and fear and wind up getting into a rut in selling out into a redundant, patterned, obligatory lifestyle that doesn’t make us happy. What’s the point in investing in drudgery day after day? Sometimes we don’t realize how much power we have to create and change and manifest our lives as long as we have our faculties and our health. I write about this time and time again, that people on their deathbed reflect and wish they had taken more risks created the life they truly desired and allowed themselves to be happy.

Years ago, a close friend Dharma artist Jack Niland, asked a question to one of my teachers Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche about the Tibetan Bön (བོན་པོ།) Master’s Five Teachings of Dawa Gyaltsen. The final teaching states that “Union is Great Bliss.” He asked: What is great Bliss? Rinpoche replied: “Great Bliss is Manifesting Your World, anything from a smile to opening a fan, to creating a kingdom~ Manifesting is dharma art. When you experience Great Bliss, you can’t help but to manifest your world.”

I see the signs of those who are most accomplished like some of our teachers, have an unhindered, tireless propensity to create almost anything they desire or can conceive of. Brilliant and benevolent, enlightenment is hardly inert, reclusive and non-active. Beings like these, through their practice, touch the lives of so many and we are forever grateful and inspired. We can uncover this too within us, in unhindered bliss and emptiness.

 

Dawa Gyaltsen’s Fivefold Teaching:

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Bliss

“I see people spend their whole lives doing things they hate and they feel trapped, like they can’t get out of it, and live exhausted, overworked and stressed and unhappy for years and eventually, die this way.

How can we do anything like attain ‘rainbow body’ if we live this life with our creativity and power blocked, insecure and small, filled with self doubt- thinking we can’t manifest anything like become what we want: publish a book, start a cafe- we certainly aren’t going to attain enlightenment that way.”

paraphrase from teachings from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche on Spontaneous Creativity– Boulder Shambhala Center 9-19


The Visualization Process

So how can we do this? The first step is to sit with yourself and try to connect with the inner silence, stillness in the body and spaciousness of the mind. After your being settles down, then create a mental intention, a question of what you would like to design with that empty spacious mind canvas. What do you feel that you lack: is it money, a fulfilling relationship, a more fulfilling career, better health? Then, from that space, use your imagination to fill it in great detail with pictures of what you could see yourself doing and creating to bring about your happiest and most fulfilled life possible. For example, if you want to create a better career, imagine what you’d be doing when you wake up each day, where would you work, who with, what are you wearing, what are you doing, what impact does it have on society- and make it as vivid and real as possible.
If you’d like to manifest a relationship, imagine what your dream partner would look like, imagine things that you would do together, imagine where you live together, what the house looks like and how you would feel around that person. From the empty palette of mind’s imagination, create and call-in a full and fantastic life of the things that you feel that you might be lacking and would like to see manifest. When you’re finished, imagine that you send what you’ve created out into space almost like a large transparent soap bubble or a message in a bottle. Just dissolve your visualization with a belief and trust that these things will begin to manifest, the seeds now having been created will come back to you. After your visualization process, you can download our exceedingly simple but powerful Life by Design worksheet below. Do it today, you owe it to yourself!
May each of us have the most fulfilling, brilliantly blissful manifestation possible!
life by design

 

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

lentil-winter-stew

 

Vegan Winter Curry Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

This vegan flavorful spicy stew has sweet potatoes, coconut milk, kale and lentils, hearty with an Indian flair.

SPROUT TIME 2 days ahead if possible
PREP TIME 20 mins
COOK TIME 1 hour
TOTAL TIME 1 hr 20 mins

Servings: 6

sprouted-lentiles

Ingredients:

• 3 large organic sweet potatoes, unpeeled scrubbed clean and diced into 1-inch squares
• 16 oz organic green lentils (best if sprouted, soaked for two nights before, living sprouts add more nutrients!)
• 3 cups of vegetable stock (plain water is ok too)
• 2 cans can full fat coconut milk
• 1 small bunch kale remove stems and coarsely chop
• 1 tablespoon coconut oil
• 1 medium yellow onion diced
• 2-3T hot curry powder or regular curry powder with 1/2t hot red pepper powder
• 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced or 1t powdered
• 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
• ground sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
• 1T monkfruit or coconut sugar, to taste
• Optional garnish: chopped cilantro lime wedges

Instructions:

  1. Sprout lentils if you have time. Soak lentils overnight for two night prior to making, and change the water 2x per day. Un-sprouted lentils work too.
  2. In a large stock pot, cook lentils in vegetable stock with salt for about 30-40 minutes until tender.
  3. At the same time boil the diced sweet potatoes in a separate sauce pan, and when ready, drain.
  4. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the coconut oil to the pot and let it melt. Add the onions to the pan and stir. Saute the onions, stirring occasionally, until translucent about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and saute spices, ginger and garlic to the pan and cook for a few minutes, do not burn. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Add everything to the stock pot.
  6. Add the coconut milk and kale to the pot and stir. Place the lid on top and continue to simmer the stew until the kale is wilted and bright green, about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Add sweetener, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime to taste.
  8. (Optional) Serve, garnish with cilantro and lime.

lentil-winter-stew

Vegan Winter Curry Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

This vegan flavorful spicy stew has sweet potatoes, coconut milk, kale and lentils, hearty with an Indian flair.

Ingredients
  

  • 3 large organic sweet potatoes unpeeled scrubbed clean and diced into 1-inch squares
  • 16 oz organic green lentils best if sprouted, soaked for two nights before
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock plain water is ok too
  • 2 cans can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 small bunch kale remove stems and coarsely chop
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 2-3 T hot curry powder or regular curry powder with 1/2t hot red pepper powder
  • 2- inch piece fresh ginger peeled and minced or 1t powdered
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • ground sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 T monkfruit or coconut sugar to taste
  • Optional garnish: chopped cilantro lime wedges

Instructions
 

  • Sprout lentils if you have time. Soak lentils overnight for two night prior to making, and change the water 2x per day. Un-sprouted lentils work too.
  • In a large stock pot, cook lentils in vegetable stock with salt for about 30-40 minutes until tender.
  • At the same time boil the diced sweet potatoes in a separate sauce pan, and when ready, drain.
  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the coconut oil to the pot and let it melt. Add the onions to the pan and stir. Saute the onions, stirring occasionally, until translucent about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and saute spices, ginger and garlic to the pan and cook for a few minutes, do not burn. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Add everything to the stock pot.
  • Add the coconut milk and kale to the pot and stir. Place the lid on top and continue to simmer the stew until the kale is wilted and bright green, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add sweetener, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime to taste.
  • Serve, garnish with cilantro and lime.

Notes

SPROUT TIME 2 days ahead if possible
PREP TIME 20 mins
COOK TIME 1 hour
TOTAL TIME 1 hr 20 mins

Authentic Indian Chai

I lived in India and Nepal and traveled through Bhutan, Sikkim and Darjeeling, and got used to drinking “masala cha” or Indian spiced chai many times per day. Today is an at home snow day and what better treat but to make a giant pot of warm tea to keep on hand! There are a lot of things that claim to be authentic chai, sold in modern coffee shops, Starbucks and even some ready-made ones like Bhakti chai, in all honesty not one of them are even slightly reminiscent of what Indians really drink. However I’ve cracked the code and found the most authentic recipe and this one is even dairy free and sugar free but still really sweet, light and creamy, and.. spicy!

 

How to Make Indian Chai

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Yield: Makes about 6 cups of masala chai- 6 servings.
Tools: A tea strainer, a pot with a spout, a thermos
Spicy and sweet and absolutely authentic!

For the chai:

  • 1 cup milk extra creamy oat milk
  • 5 cups water
  • 3T monkfruit sugar
  • 5T loose black Indian tea leaves
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or sub. 1/2 tsp clove)
  • 1 tsp powered nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper (yes black pepper)
  • 1/4 tsp powered ginger

Chai ingredients

Directions:

  1. Boil the water in a deep stock or saucepan, if it has a spout, that’s best.
  2. Pour all ingredients except the tea.
  3. Place over medium heat.
  4. Allow to heat until small bubbles appear around the perimeter of the water and milk.
  5. When the water and milk comes to a boil, pour in the tea leaves and turn off the heat and stir well.
  6. Allow to steep for about 5 minutes off of the burner.
  7. Do not cook the tea on heat.
  8. Strain carefully into a thermos, and serve!

chai pot

Additional Notes:

Craft your own individual tea based on taste. Some people like it’s sweeter, some people like it spicier than some people like to omit the pepper and ginger. The traditional recipe calls for whole milk and regular sugar, which of course you can substitute if you want to have it taste exactly like it tastes in India and Nepal. These herbs, in Tibetan medicine have a deeply nutritive effect as well as being flavorful. Cheers!

strain chai

Indian Chai

Authentic Indian Chai

Authentic Indian Chai Tea-Sugar and Dairy Free

I lived in India and Nepal and traveled through Bhutan, Sikkim and Darjeeling, and got used to drinking "masala cha" or Indian spiced chai many times per day. Today is an at home snow day and what better treat but to make a giant pot of warm tea to keep on hand! There are a lot of things that claim to be authentic chai, sold in modern coffee shops, Starbucks and even some ready-made ones like Bhakti chai, in all honesty not one of them are even slightly reminiscent of what Indians really drink. However I've cracked the code and found the most authentic recipe and this one is even dairy free and sugar free but still really sweet, light and creamy, and.. spicy!

Equipment

  • Prep: 10 minutes
  • Cook: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 6 cups of masala chai- 6 servings.
  • Tools: A tea strainer, a pot with a spout, a thermos
  • Spicy and sweet and absolutely authentic!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup milk extra creamy oat milk
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 T monkfruit sugar
  • 5 T loose black Indian tea leaves
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or sub. 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1 tsp powered nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper yes black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp powered ginger

Instructions
 

  • Boil the water in a deep stock or saucepan, if it has a spout, that's best.
  • Pour all ingredients except the tea.
  • Place over medium heat.
  • Allow to heat until small bubbles appear around the perimeter of the water and milk.
  • When the water and milk comes to a boil, pour in the tea leaves and turn off the heat and stir well.
  • Allow to steep for about 5 minutes off of the burner.
  • Do not cook the tea on heat.
  • Strain carefully into a thermos, and serve!

Notes

Craft your own individual tea based on taste. Some people like it's sweeter, some people like it spicier than some people like to omit the pepper and ginger. The traditional recipe calls for whole milk and regular sugar, which of course you can substitute if you want to have it taste exactly like it tastes in India and Nepal. These herbs, in Tibetan medicine have a deeply nutritive effect as well as being flavorful. Cheers!

juice fast

Treat your body to an infusion of nutrient density and energy! Here are my favorite organic juice cleanse recipes that make for a rejuvenating cleanse and a complete body reset. I am a big fan of juice fasting, and my body simply loves it! The body has a natural ability to rejuvenate and heal itself, with a little kind care and help. I wanted to share what a juice cleanse looks like from start to finish. First let me say, I’m not a dietitian and I do not claim to be an expert, but I learned a few tips as a health coach. It’s also nice to give your heavier food intake and digestion little rest and maybe to lose a little weight when we are feeling bloated. It’s also great to cleanse in the new year after following our holiday indulgences. I try to do these once per month, or at least quarterly/ seasonally.

What does a juice cleanse do for your body?

As I mentioned previously, I am not a doctor or dietitian so you ought to consult with one if necessary of if you have any health concerns or conditions. Juice fasting is not recommended if you have to do intense physical exercise, demanding work or really intense yoga practice, especially kundalini or pranayama practices. Light, healthy stretching, hatha yoga, and gentle walks in the sun are fine for this juice fast. Try to take it easy, meditate, take Epsom salt baths and rub the body with oil to stimulate the lymphatic system and calm the nerves.

My personal experience of juicing and smoothie making has been invaluable. The juices supply a mega dose of nourishment and antioxidants to my body that makes us feel great. For me I found it better to include to green smoothies per day to add more calories and nutrients to keep me more grounded and able to still go to work, as too few calories can make me dizzy and lightheaded.

Juice fasting allows my body to reset with regards to digestion. The additional dose of vitamins boosts our immune system also gives us far more energy that normal. How long should you do a juice cleanse?  It is completely up to you. I consider that I get the best results when I make juices for 2-3 days. You must remember that along with those 2-3 juicing days, there’s a post cleansing period that is very important.

In case you are new to juicing, I’d say start with a 2 day cleanse. After the cleanse ease back into solid foods by eating salads and small vegetarian meals, chewing slowly, drink herbal cleansing tea, and hydrate with considerable quantities of water.

 

juice fast

So in order to begin, you will need a juicer and a good-quality blender with powerful blades like a NutriBullet or Ninja. If you don’t have a juicer you usually can get a cheap one by asking around on Craigslist or Nextdoor and I recently found a whole bunch of working ones for 10-20 dollars at the local thrift store. If you truly are not able to acquire a juicer and/or blender you want to get started on the fast right away you can use the ready-made juice bottles that you can get at any health food store. I have done it, I bought a few big jars of organic carrot juice and beet juice and some ready-made smoothies. Of course there’s nothing as nutritive as cutting your own vegetables and creating your at-home living fresh organic juices. Higher quality, slow processing juicers extract more fiber and nutrients from the veggies and fruits that gives you more pulp and gives you a bit of a milder juice aka more fiber!

 

green juice smoothie

 

When you create an at home fasting cleanse, your diet will need to be pretty basic. Raw fruits and vegetables are a necessity, and you should make sure that they are organic and fresh. Eliminate all sugars, carbohydrates, high fructose corn syrup, wheat, corn, and any other food products that are grown using pesticides.

As you fast, you will need to make sure that you are drinking enough water. Water helps to flush the system, and it can also help to cleanse your bowels and keep your stomach feeling full. Drinking plenty of water when you create your own cleansing tea is very important.

What does a juice cleanse schedule look like?

I drink about 5 servings of juice a day and 6 glasses of plain water. I make 3 types of juice and I call them by color. Green Juice (2 servings per day ), Red Juice (2 servings per day ), Orange Juice (1 serving per day ). And after that I cap off the day with golden almond moon milk.

A 16 oz drink every 2-3 hours for a total of 5-6 juice/milk drinks per day, plus water

So here’s what a juice fast day looks like:

• 7:00 am wake up — drink warm tea made from lemon water and honey or stevia
• 8:00 am — Red Juice + Water
• 12:00 noon Green Juice Smoothie + Water
• 2:00 pm — Red Juice + Water
• 4:00 pm Orange, Carrot and Ginger Juice + Water
• 6:00 pm Green Juice Smoothie + Water
• 9:00 pm  Moon Milk Oat or Almond Milk Tea with turmeric and ashwaghanda

Orange, Carrot, and Ginger Juice

Ingredients- All Organic:

  • 8 medium (about 1.5 pounds) carrots – scrubbed clean and tops cut off
  • 8 medium (about 3 1/4 pounds) juicing oranges (depending on your juicer, you may need to cut the peels off)
  • 1 3-inch knob fresh ginger – peeled

Instructions:

Place everything in a juicer. Serve immediately.


Red Juice- Beet, Carrot and Green Apple

Ingredients- All Organic:

  • 2 medium beets, trimmed and scrubbed
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and core
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1T fresh lemon juice

Instructions:

Place everything in a juicer. Serve immediately.


Green Juice Smoothie

Ingredients- All Organic:

  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1 banana
  • 1T flax oil or ground flax seeds

(Variations: you can substitute the pineapple and mango for one more banana and a chopped apple, or 1c. of a three berry mix)

Instructions:

Place everything in a blender. Serve immediately.

Day 1:  It is always the hardest for me because you might feel a bit light headed and hungry. The truth is, we are packing our entire body with so many micro-nutrients, it’s plenty to operate on.

Day 2:  You might feel very light and joyous. I get better sleep through the night, wake up in the morning ready to proceed. Things are sharp and crisp and you’re simply ready to take on the afternoon!

I do organic juice fasting about every 3-4 months as a way to re-set my entire body and allow it rest. It’s a life changing treat for your body and mind, try one today!

juice fast

How to Create A Two Day Juice and Smoothie Cleanse- Three Juice Recipes: Red, Orange and Green

Treat your body to an infusion of nutrient density and energy! Here is my favorite organic juice cleanse recipes that make for a rejuvenating cleanse and a complete body reset. I am a big fan of juice fasting, and my body simply loves it! The body has a natural ability to rejuvenate and heal itself, with a little kind care and help. I wanted to share what a juice cleanse looks like from start to finish. A 16 oz drink every 2-3 hours for a total of 5-6 juice/milk drinks per day, plus water

Ingredients
  

  • Orange Carrot and Ginger Juice
  • Ingredients- All Organic:
  • 8 medium about 1.5 pounds carrots - scrubbed clean and tops cut off
  • 8 medium about 3 1/4 pounds juicing oranges (depending on your juicer, you may need to cut the peels off)
  • 1 3- inch knob fresh ginger - peeled
  • Red Juice- Beet Carrot and Green Apple
  • Ingredients- All Organic:
  • 2 medium beets trimmed and scrubbed
  • 1 Granny Smith apple peeled and core
  • 3 medium carrots peeled
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • Green Juice Smoothie
  • Ingredients- All Organic:
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1 banana
  • 1 T flax oil or ground flax seeds
  • Variations: you can substitute the pineapple and mango for one more banana and a chopped apple, or 1c. of a three berry mix

Instructions
 

  • Instructions:
  • Place everything in a juicer or blender. Serve immediately.

 

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels
Photo by Alisha Mishra from Pexels

Healthy Tibetan Bread- Balep Korkun (Monastery Bread)

I lived amongst Tibetans in Nepal for many years. Every morning we would get up and make a homemade kneaded bread called Balep. I used to do a lot of solitary meditation retreat there and this was the easiest an fastest thing to make on a one burner hotplate. Balep is a very traditional native fire bread, originating in central Tibet, that can be made with the most simple of ingredients and cooked over an open fire as was traditional in their originally nomadic culture. It’s eaten most every morning by Tibetans, and also the primary breakfast staple in all of the monasteries. It’s kind of like in-between a homemade tortilla and an English muffin; it’s thicker than a tortilla, and people will make them in different ways. I made a denser, heavier and more complex, protein and flax infused version, but the simple, original flour, water and baking powder one works just as well! This recipe makes bread for 3-4 people.

Ingredients:

• 1 and 1/2 cups of Paleo flour or rice flour
• 1/2 cup of organic white flour
• 1T of baking powder
• 2T of ground flax meal
• 1T of whey powder
• 1/2 t. of salt
• One cup of soy milk or water (more or less depending on altitude/ dryness)
• One egg

You also make this simple, native “fire bread” more simply with just: any flour-2c., baking powder, 1T., and 1c. water.

Belap-Korkun ingredients

Preparing the Dough:

  1. Firstly, you mix ingredients and a little milk very well by hand and keep adding milk until you can make a smooth ball of dough. Do not over-wet, the dough should stay drier, sticky and ready to knead.
  2. Then knead the dough very well until the dough is flexible.
  3. When you have finished kneading the dough, separate it into six pieces and roll them into balls.
  4. After that, place the dough on a floured surface and roll it out with a rolling pin, making a flat, round shape about 1/2″ high x 6″d.
  5. Repeat with all your dough.

tibetan bread kneeding

Belap Korkun rolling