How to Fix It

Poem

Collage and Photo by Benn Bell

How to fix it

Leave a legacy of love

Shovel shit against the tide until you reach the end of the line

Everyone has a story

And nearly everyone undergoes a startling metamorphosis

By morning

All is emptiness under the moon

The umbrella academy offers scant protection.

The Five Powers

Buddhism by the Numbers

Photo by Benn Bell

The Five Powers

  1. Faith
  2. Diligence
  3. Mindfulness
  4. Concentration
  5. Insight

Mindfulness leads to concentration, and concentration leads to insight and to faith.

According to the Lotus Sutra, all sentient beings have the Buddha nature.

“Buddha” comes from the root verb “budh”, which means wake up.

Every moment is the opportunity to water the seeds of happiness in yourself.

Based on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh

The Five Aggregates

Buddhism by the Numbers

Photo by: Benn Bell

The Five Aggregates

A human being is composed of Five aggregates (skandas): form, feelings, perception, mental formations, and consciousness.

  1. Form – Means our body including the five sense organs and our nervous system.
  2. Feelings – There is a river of feelings inside of us. Our feelings are formations, impermanent and without substance.
  3. Perceptions – Noticing, naming, conceptualizing, perceiver and perceived. All suffering is born from wrong perceptions. Understanding, the fruit of meditation, can dissolve our wrong perceptions and liberate us. “Where there is perception, there is deception.” -Diamond Sutra.
  4.  Mental Formations – There are 51 mental formations present in our store consciousness in the form of seeds. Every time a seed is touched it manifests on the upper level of our consciousness as a mental formation. With daily practice we are able to nourish and develop wholesome mental formations and transform unhealthy ones. Freedom, non-fear, and peace are the result of this practice.
  5. Consciousness – Consciousness in this context means store consciousness, which is the basis of everything that we are, the ground of all our mental formations. Consciousness contains all other aggregates and is the basis of their existence. Consciousness is simultaneously both collective and individual.

The five aggregates are interconnected or as Thich Nhat Hahn says, “Inter-are.”

The Fauna of Costa Rica

Photo Essay on the Rich Biodiversity of Costa Rica

Strawberry venomous dart frog used by indigenous people to poison their darts and arrows. Photo by my guide Grievens.
Black Iguana. Photo by Benn Bell

Humming Bird (picture taken by my guide Grievens)

Collard Peccary of Costa Rica. Photo by Benn Bell
Costa Rican Turkey. Phot by Benn Bell
Coati. Photo by Benn Bell
Day of the locust. Photo by Benn Bell
Sloth hanging out on tree just outside of the Restaurant where we were easting. Phot by Benn Bell
This little guy paid us a visit one morning. Photo by Benn Bell

Costa Rica is a beautiful country rich in Biodiversity.

The Four Immeasurable Minds

Photo by Benn Bell

Buddhism by the Numbers

The Four Immeasurable Minds

  • Love, compassion, joy, equanimity
  • If you learn how to practice love, compassion, joy, and equanimity, you will know how to heal the illness, anger, sorrow, insecurity, sadness, hatred, loneliness and unhealthy attachments.
  • Whoever practices the Four Immeasurable Minds together with the Seven Factors of Awakening, the Four Noble Truths, and the Noble Eightfold Path will arrive at deep enlightenment.
  1. The first aspect of true love in Buddhism is friendship.
  2. The second aspect of true love is compassion.
  3. The third aspect of true love is joy. True love always brings joy to us and the ones we love.
  4. The fourth element of true love is equanimity: nonattachment, nondiscrimination, even mindedness, letting go. If your love has attachment, discrimination, prejudice, or clinging it is not true love. This is the wisdom of equality.

Based on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn

Flora of Costa Rica

Rich Biodiversity

Torch Ginger

Costa Rica is one of the most Biodiverse countries on planet earth. While we were there we were able to enjoy a rich variety of flora in vivid living color. I share some of that experience with you in the following pictures.

Yellow Allamanda
Yellow Canna Lily
Birds of Paradise
Torch Ginger

Outside our Hotel in San Jose
Palm Fronds
Under the Volcano (Arenal)

Outside Child

Debut solo album by Allison Russell

Outside Child

Outside Child, Allison Russell’s extraordinary debut album is “about resilience, survival, transcendence, the redemptive power of art, community, connection, and chosen family.” It is also about a journey out of an abusive background and of breaking the cycle of abuse. Her first solo album, released just this month, rises above the confessional to the spiritual. It is full of emotional intelligence and raw power. Her voice is plaintive, haunting, and heartrending. The song Nightflyer from the album is a perfect example. She is appearing tonight at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville; I wish I could be there. She has performed with Our Native Daughters, a group of banjo-playing Black women at the invitation of Rhiannon Giddens. I give you Allison Russell.

GARDEN PARTY

Went to a garden party at Kevin’s

all the best people were there

including a past trade minister from Canada.

Started off with a shot of tequila, then a beer chaser

moved on to eggnog which was heavy with rum

then finished with a couple of glasses of Merlot.

“Doesn’t all that mixing bother you?” Asked Alice.

“Never mix never worry, Honey.”

Well, so far so good.