When you sit down for breakfast.
Breakfast is an opportunity to practice.
When you pick up a piece of bread, look at it for one second with mindfulness.
In order to realize that, “this is a piece of bread.”
If we are thinking, if we are absorbed into our thinking, we will not know that this is a piece of bread.
We do it automatically.
But with mindfulness, you realize that this is a piece of bread.
And in this piece of bread is the sunshine, the cloud, the earth.
Is really an ambassador sent to us by the cosmos.
Is before we put it into our mouth.
And mindfully we chew this piece of bread.
We are in touch with the cosmos.
We are real — and the piece of bread is real.
In that moment there is true light.
But if we are thinking all that time, we are not real, and the piece of bread is not real either,
That is why mindfulness helps us to be truly be present and help light to be truly present for us.
Wen we drink our soy milk, we are aware that we are drinking.
Mindfulness of drinking.
And that is a miracle.
There is a contact between you and milk.
And every mouthful of the breakfast should be eaten that way.
It is a miracle that I’m here.
And that piece of bread comes to me to nourish me.
And in our breakfast we do not think of anything.
We just focus our attention on the food and on the brothers and sisters sitting with us.
And we eat our breakfast in such a way that we remain a free person.
We should eat our breakfast in such a way that we make our freedom and we enjoy possible during the whole time of breakfast, eating.
Freedom means we are not pulled away by the past.
Freedom means we are not pulled away by the future.
You are not pulled away by your projects, your worries.
You are truly there with your friends enjoying your breakfast.
You invest entirely in your breakfast.
In your breakfast eating.
And that is why you’re free.
And that is a joy.
And eating breakfast like that way is nourishing, not only to the body, but also for the mind.
Eating is a true practice.
A deep practice.
We can take the time in order to eat.
It’s ok to to take double time in order to enjoy our breakfast or our lunch.
Because really there is nothing to do except life to be lived deeply.
And that is our training.
What you are looking for?
Like: happiness, peace, joy?
They are all in the present moment.
The Pureland of the Buddhist must be found in the present moment.
The Kingdom of Heaven, of the Catholics, of the Protestants, should also be found in the present moment.
Look at the tree — is a wonderful thing, a tree.
A tree is very beautiful.
A tree, to me, is as beautiful as a cathedral.
Even more beautiful.
There are times when I stand before a tree with the deepest respect.
I look into the tree and I saw the whole cosmos in it.
I saw the sunshine in the tree.
Can you see the sunshine in the tree?
Yeah, because without a sunshine no tree can go.
I see a cloud in the tree.
Can you see?
Without a cloud there cannot be a no rain.
I see the earth in the tree.
I see everything in the tree.
So the tree is where everything in the cosmos come into.
And the cosmos reveal itself to me in the tree.
Therefore to me a tree is a cathedral.
And I can take refuge in the tree.
And I can get nourished by the tree.
The tree belong to the Kingdom of God.
The tree belong to the Pureland.
And I can get in touch with the tree only if i go back to the present moment.
Because the tree can only be found in the present moment.
And that is why in and out is so important.
Practicing walking meditation is to practice meditation while you walk.
And, you can be peaceful and happy during the practice.
You walk and you do it as if you are the happiest person in the world.
And if you can do that you succeed in walking meditation.
Because we do not set ourselves a goal — or a particular destination.
So we don’t have to worry, or to hurry.
Because there is nothing there for us o get.
Therefore walking is not a means — but an end-by-itself.
So each step you make, must make you happy, peaceful, and serene.
And each step brings you back to the present moment — which is the only moment in which you can be alive.
Make steps as if you print your foot on the ground.
And you do not print your anxiety and sorry on the ground.
Instead you print peace, serenity, and happiness on the ground.
And it is possible to do that.
Provided that you want very much.
Well if we do not make happy and peaceful steps.
And with the eyes of the Bodhisattva you can look into the first step of someone and see the sorrow, anxiety, the fear, that the person has left in his footsteps.
So you must be able to make steps in which no trace of sorrow and anxiety can be found.
Only peace and joy.
Suppose I have a miraculous power.
I would like to bring you to the Pureland of Amitābuddha.
If you are Christians, to the Kingdom of God.
But once we are there how shall we walk?
Shall we print our sorrows and anxieties on the land of Amitābuddha?
That way we will pollute the Pureland and the Pureland will become impure.
Therefore its very important that we can make peaceful, happy steps right here on Earth.
And as you can make peaceful, happy steps on the Earth, the Earth becomes the Pureland.
And that is something I do not invent.
That is said by the Buddha himself.
The Pureland is in our mind.
It depends our way of making steps.
That this land is a Pureland.
The Samsaric land.
Many years ago I visited the place where the Buddha stayed.
I climbed up the mountain where he stayed.
And I sat down on the rock that I believe on which he sat down several times.
And I contemplated the sunset that I believe that he had contemplated hundreds of times.
Maybe thousands of times..
I had the feeling that if I cannot walk like the Buddha.
Sit like the Buddha.
Look at things the way the Buddha look.
And then you cannot continue the work of the Buddha.
To afford this world with awareness.
And with love.
Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow—
even today I am still arriving.
Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
of all that is alive.
I am a mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird
that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.
I am a frog swimming happily
in the clear water of a pond.
And I am the grass-snake
that silently feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin a bamboo sticks.
And I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl,
refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am the pirate,
my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo,
with plenty of power in my hands.
And I am the man who has to pay
his “debt of blood” to, my people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.
My joy is like Spring, so warm
it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
My pain is like a river of tears,
so vast it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up
and the door of my heart
could be left open,
the door of compassion.
Originally published in Earthlight Magazine