Happy birthday to me, 2015

I had originally thought that they got me a new tattoo in the form of a Dharma Wheel or an Enso, both of which would have been great symbols for me, to go along with my labyrinth.

Turns out, though, that I didn’t have the decisiveness to get a new tattoo yet. But they got me good stuff to feed my spiritual journey!The first thing that they got for me was an “altar cleaning kit” from the Zen Mountain Monastery shop that included tools to clean up my incense bowl. Kristen gets (got?) frustrated with it looking “like a dirty, used ashtray” after I would burn sticks of incense. With the tweezers and sifter, I can pick out the unburnt ends and with a flattened spoon, I can smooth out the ash surface and make it look pretty.

There was also a Dharma talk/lecture/retreat involved, “Precepts and the Professional—A Retreat with John Daido Loori” that I have been looking forward to getting my ears on. :) The whole thing is about 7 hours long, which will make for some intense listening.

The final part of the puzzle was a copy of “Buddha-Dharma: The Way To Enlightenment” that I got turned onto thanks to the American affiliate of Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (BDK):
Society for the Promotion of Buddhism
and the Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research.

BDK has a number of publications available, and their pricing is significantly attractive, to the point that I’ll be buying several more to add to my growing library. Also, BDK makes many of their translations available for free download on the website of the home organization (BDK Digital Downloads). They also offer a subset of Buddhist teachings, a hardcover published in about 40 languages, for no cost, similar to how the Gideons provide copies of the Christian Holy Bible to hotels and motels, etc. What is interesting about the BDK book is that individuals can request a copy, as well, free of charge. Order a complementary copy of The Teaching of Buddha by BDK. They also provide the Teaching in MP3 format, and it is available for Kindle reading apps for $5.00.


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